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Hey Poor Player Holiday Buyers Guide 2021 – What’s Old Is New

These Games Keep Coming Back

Holiday Buyers Guide

Welcome to the Hey Poor Player Holiday Gift Guide. From Monday, November 8th through Friday, November 19th we’ll be bringing you a guide to all the games, accessories, systems, and other hot items players will be looking for this holiday season. With Black Friday and other Holiday sales set to start in the coming weeks, we thought now was the perfect time to help draw attention to just what you players should be looking for in the coming weeks. So whether you’re looking for a gift for someone else, or maybe something for yourself, we’ve got you covered.

Today we’re taking a look at some of the best games which saw a rerelease in 2021. These games all already existed somewhere, but came out on new platforms either as a port or a remaster. Because we focused on original titles in most of our other lists, these games will mostly show up on this one. Because of that, we’re doubling the number of titles so you can see more recommendations on what to play.

 

Castlevania Advance Collection

 

Holiday Buyers Guide

Platforms: Switch (Our Review), PS4, Xbox One, PC

Price: $19.99

Bringing four of the best games in the Castlevania series to modern platforms was a brilliant idea, as these games had mostly been stuck on the Game Boy Advance for nearly twenty years. These games mostly hold  up beautifully, providing a blueprint for twenty years in an emerging genre. Here’s what I had to say about it when it released earlier this year:

“If you’re at all a fan of Metroidvanias and haven’t played most of these games, there’s no reason to wait. Not every game here is perfect, but they’re all at least good. Circle of the Moon provides the best mix between the old and new style of Castlevania, while Aria of Sorrow is an absolute triumph that holds up beautifully even after all these years. Harmony of Dissonance has more flaws but is still mostly an excellent play, and even Dracula X is a very solid title. I would have loved to see more work done to provide a total package here, but few collections have ever provided a better set of titles.”

 

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!

 

Holiday Buyers Guide

Platforms: Switch (Our Review), PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC

Price: $14.99 digital, $29.99 physical

Even now, months after the release of this updated version of the visual novel modern classic, I hesitate to say too much about Doki Doki Literature Club. I don’t want to ruin things for anyone but this isn’t the game you immediately think it is. I reviewed it earlier this year and this is what I had to say about it:

“A strikingly immediate game that covers dark subjects most titles wouldn’t dream of approaching, Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! left my jaw on the floor multiple times. I won’t tell you why, or when. You’ll know when you get there. I was at times happy, sad, and truly horrified.”

 

The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword HD

 

Holiday Buyers Guide

Platforms: Switch (Our Review)

Price: $59.99

Reviving the Zelda title with perhaps the worst reputation of any modern entry in the series was a risk but Nintendo somehow translated a game which felt so tied to the Wii to a more modern platform, making it a better title in the process. It surprised me a great deal when I played it earlier this year:

“While a game taking so long to get going is never a positive, once you get into Skyward Sword, you’ll find a stunning adventure. Featuring some of the series’ best dungeons, memorable boss fights, a stunning score, and now some big quality of life improvements, Skyward Sword becomes a must-play game. Eventually.”

 

Mini Motorways

 

Holiday Buyers Guide

Platforms: PC (Our Review), Apple Arcade

Price: $9.99 (PC), Included With Subscription (Apple Arcade)

Mini Motorways, the follow up to Mini Metro, got a little bit of attention when it released on Apple Arcade back in 2019, but like most of the games that were exclusive to that platform its reach was limited. Finally coming to PC in 2021, more players can finally see what the big deal is. Here’s what our own Heather Johnson Yu had to say about it earlier this year:

“Considering it’s a game all about cars and congestion, you’d think Mini Motorways would be a tense and stressful endeavor, but it’s by far one of the most addictingly chill game I’ve played in recent memory. I’m pretty sure it lowered my blood pressure, setting a nice calm mood right before bed. Players expecting a sandbox city planning game will be momentarily disappointed, but after only a few minutes with it, that disappointment will melt away (along with the day’s worries and woes). If you need to relax, like, right now, you must check out Mini Motorways.”

 

Mushihimesama

 

Holiday Buyers Guide

Platforms: Switch (Our Review), PC

Price: $19.99

Released for Switch this year, this classic SHMUP saw new life and a new audience. You can still get it on PC easily, though that versions been around a few years. It’s been featured on many other platforms over the years as well, though none recently. Here’s what our own Francis DiPersio said about it earlier this year:

“So, should you add Mushihimesama to your Switch library? If you’re a fan of the shoot ’em up genre, I’d say it’s a no-brainer. It’s an exhilarating ride that will put your skills to the test. But you don’t have to be a shooter veteran to enjoy what the game has to offer. The Novice Mode dials back the challenge considerably and serves as a great tool for dipping your toe into what the Bullet Hell genre is all about.”

 

Saviors of Sapphire Wings & Stranger of Sword City Revisited

 

Holiday Buyers Guide

Platforms: Switch (Our Review), PC

Price: $49.99

Packaging together two dungeon crawling RPGs, one of which was seeing its first release in the west, provided a great package for Switch and PC players earlier this year. Even if you’d played Sword City before, there was a lot here for you. Here’s what our own Kenny McKee said earlier this year.

“Saviors of Sapphire Wings / Stranger of Sword City is a two-for-one bundle of previously released Experience DRPGs that, as a whole, is unique and exciting for many reasons. Not only are these both upgraded versions of their originals, but, technically speaking, Saviors of Sapphire Wings is an entirely new game for us in the West, as the original game, Students of the Round, was never released over here. It’s also unique in how complimentary these games are toward one another—in terms of both gameplay and story—and how Experience managed to use them to create something entirely unique.”

 

SNK vs Capcom: The Match of the Millennium 

 

Holiday Buyers Guide

Platforms: Switch (Our Review), PC (Our Review)

Price: $7.99

SNK spending 2021 figuring out that there’s a real market for old fighting games from their Neo Geo Pocket Color system is wild. A lot of them released this year and most are quite solid, but none match SNK vs Capcom: The Match of the Millennium. It somehow manages to hold up against modern fighting games more than twenty years after it initially released. Here’s what Francis DiPersio said about it earlier this year:

SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium may not be as awe-inspiring now as it was when it released more than 20 years ago, but it’s pretty darn close. Even today, it’s hard to believe SNK was able to produce such a full-featured fighting game on their humble handheld hardware. If you’re a retro fighting game enthusiast who somehow missed out on the game when it first released, don’t make the same mistake twice. Just be sure you have a decent controller — or better yet, a proper fight stick — to go with it if you want to get the most out of your purchase.”

 

Tadpole Treble Encore

 

Holiday Buyers Guide

Platforms: Switch (Our Review)

Price: $8.99

When Tadpole Treble first released on the Wii U and PC back in 2018, it mostly flew under the radar. An action rhythm title with a gorgeous” art style, few players were paying attention to the Wii U at that point and it cost the game a real chance to connect. Thankfully like so many of the best Wii U titles it got a second chance on the Switch, and our own Daymon Trapold had this to say about it:

“Honestly, and I don’t say this often, if ever, I have almost no criticism for this game. My single criticism is that I wish it was longer, and that’s just me being greedy. I want more to immerse myself in, more music to just get lost in. With everything the world has been through in the last year, Tadpole Treble Encore is the game we need. It’s nothing but feel-good, charming, moving fun. I cannot recommend this game enough for any music lovers out there.”

 

There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension

 

Holiday Buyers Guide

Platforms: Switch (Our Review), PC (Our Review)

Price: $12.99

We liked There Is No Game an awful lot when it first released on PC in 2020. It’s charming combination of point and click gameplay, which combined with a modern sensibility and some fantastic writing, caught our eye. It sadly slipped by many of the players out there however, so it was great that a Switch version this year gave players another chance to discover it. Our own Daymon Trapold said:

“Every now and then, a game comes along that just absolutely blows up your expectations. There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension is one such game. Superb design, excellent voice acting, with a surprisingly moving story, it’s an undeniably endearing and unique experience. Honestly, it’s hard to find anything to criticize with this game. ”

 

Umurangi Generation 

 

Holiday Buyers Guide

Platforms: Switch (Our Review), PC

Price: $24.99 (Switch), $14.99 (PC)

A photography game with visuals inspired by Jet Set Radio, taking place at what may be the end of the world? It sounds a bit esoteric, and it is, but Umurangi Generation also features stunning environmental storytelling and a deep set of options. The PC version wowed many players last year and the Switch version, despite a few small issues, still provided a great experience in 2021. If you prefer to play this one on a handheld, don’t be too fooled by the price difference. The Switch version comes with the DLC you’ll have to buy separately on PC and with that the price is only $00.01 different. Here’s what I said in my review earlier this year:

“While not the definitive way to play Umurangi Generation, this is still a stunning game. With a unique vision of the future, informed in part by current times, it has a strong message, delivered with fascinating gameplay and unique style. If you have the option to play on PC, I would recommend doing so. If not, however, Umurangi Generation is well worth your time on any platform. This is a deeply felt game tailor-made for our times.”

 

 

Andrew Thornton
Andrew has been writing about video games for nearly twenty years, contributing to publications such as DarkStation, Games Are Fun, and the E-mpire Ltd. network. He enjoys most genres but is always pulled back to classic RPG's, with his favorite games ever including Suikoden II, Panzer Dragoon Saga, and Phantasy Star IV. Don't worry though, he thinks new games are cool too, with more recent favorites like Hades, Rocket League, and Splatoon 2 stealing hundreds of hours of his life. When he isn't playing games he's often watching classic movies, catching a basketball game, or reading the first twenty pages of a book before getting busy and forgetting about it.

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