Every February, members of the gaming community participate in an annual event aptly named Four in February (or #4iF). The concept is simple: choose four games from your existing backlog and try to complete them before the end of the month.
I typically approach #4iF by picking out four smaller games. That way I still have time for new releases (Shadow of the Colossus!) and don’t feel overwhelmed trying to cram in a massive RPG — last year I made the mistake of choosing Dragon Age: Inquisition, which won’t be repeated in the year of our Dark Lord 2018.
This year I’m working with:
1: Life is Strange: Before the Storm
A three-episode prequel to one of my favorite games of 2015, Dontnod’s adventure series Life is Strange. Shifting focus from the original protagonist to her BFF, and her accompanied friendship with the now-missing Rachel Amber, Before the Storm aims to flesh out an already strong cast of characters.
The gameplay is similar to the various Telltale adventure series, like The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead. You control a character who converses with various people, choose their replies, and live with the consequences of their actions. Unlike Max, who had the ability to rewind time, Chloe uses her silver tongue to argue, persuade, or talk her way out of dangerous situations.
2: Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut
A blocky looking horror puzzle game that’s as self-aware as it is campy and over the top. Each world acts as a film, with the next being its annualized sequel (anyone who grew up watching horror in the 80’s is all too familiar with this concept).
It’s an easy game to pick up and play, but a bit difficult to explain coherently. Basically, you play as the killer and the objective is to murder everyone before escaping through a portal. The direction you press on the d-pad is the direction the killer walks (more like slides) until they hit something, so it requires a lot of pre-planning and experimenting until you figure out how to dismantle everyone and make your escape.
3: Life is Strange
After finishing Before the Storm, my plan is to replay the original game’s five episodes. I haven’t experienced it since 2015 and I’d like to revisit Life is Strange while the events of Before the Storm are fresh in my mind.
For those of you unfamiliar, it’s an episodic adventure series that focuses on the life of a young photography student named Max. After her family moved from Arcadia Bay, Oregon to Seattle, Washington five years ago, she’s decided to return to her hometown to finish out her senior year at the prestigious Blackwell Academy, where one of her favorite photographers is now an instructor. It’s normal, everyday high school stuff until she starts having vivid dreams of a massive tornado wiping out Arcadia Bay. She also obtains the ability to rewind time after preventing the murder of her former best-friend Chloe Price (the star of the aforementioned Before the Storm) and the two embark on an adventure to solve a missing person case (Before the Storm’s Rachel Amber, Chloe’s replacement best-friend after Max moved away).
4: Moon Hunters
This one is a fairly short action RPG, but uses a genre term that typically turns me away immediately: roguelike. It’s built around co-op action (with a single-player option) and has the player exploring an occult world over the course of five days. The world is different every time you play the game, which not only plays well with the one-hour runtime but increases the replay value by encouraging repeat visits.
The developer describes it as a personality test RPG, which intrigues me, but I’m not sure if I’ll like the roguelike aspects enough to stick around. If I finish, I finish; if I don’t, I’ll pick something else.
*UPDATE* — Since I didn’t publish this article until today, it’s worth noting that I’ve already completed the first two games on the list. Oops.
Will you be taking part in Four in February? If so, what four games are on the menu?
If anyone you know is working toward their four-game goal, give them some words of encouragement! The backlog is a tricky beast to slay, so a little congratulatory statement can go a long way.