The games of July 2012

July 10

NCAA Football 13

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3


EA Sports turned on the hype machine for Madden NFL 13 at E3 in early June, trotting out big-name former players and talking about various new features, but the pro series' collegiate younger brother – NCAA Football 13 – is due out first. So what's so special about the latest college pigskin release? As detailed in our recent preview, the game introduces the Heisman Challenge mode, in which 16 past winners of the coveted trophy star in playable trials, plus the game makes a variety of small improvements for both casual and hardcore players, while also amping up the presentation with ESPN updates and a dynamic scores ticker on the screen.

Quantum Conundrum

Platform: Xbox Live Arcade, PSN (July 9)

EU: July 10

Quantum Conundrum launched in late June exclusively on PC, but console players will be able to get in on the fun early this month with the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network releases of Portal co-creator Kim Swift's latest brainteaser. Luckily, it's a game worth waiting for; in our 4.5-star review, we called the platform-based puzzler's gameplay "exemplary" and ultimately concluded, "If you had even a passing enjoyment with the Portal games, or any of the recent influx of indie puzzle-platformers, we can’t recommend Quantum Conundrum enough."

Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

EU: Out

Sega's Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure doesn't visually resemble Nintendo's Rhythm Heaven to any notable extent, but after watching the bizarre Japanese trailers, that's the only parallel we can really draw for this unique little 3DS option. Like Rhythm Heaven, it's a music game in the sense that your actions are timed to a beat with each movement or interaction helping to create the background tune, but here, you're hopping over enemies on rooftops, posing to hide behind statues, or dancing in time with a group. The art style and seemingly serious tone of the storyline have us seriously intrigued, though.

Ice Age: Continental Drift – Arctic Games

Platform: Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, DS

EU: June 29 (PS3 & PC versions also available in EU)

Ready for a fourth Dreamworks Animation film starring snow-surrounded animals with celebrity voices? And if so, do you want to bring a game that potentially features facsimile versions of those vocal performances into your home? You're in luck! Ice Age: Continental Drift – Arctic Games delivers a licensed take on the popular CG film franchise to multiple platforms this month, with the Xbox 360 version requiring Kinect for 10 included minigames, while the Wii release sticks with the expected waggling and waving for a like number of diversions. Kids still love licensed minigames, right?

July 17

Heroes of Ruin

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

EU: Out

Continuing the big Nintendo 3DS push from Square Enix this month (which doesn't stop here), Heroes of Ruin is a dungeon crawler developed by n-Space, the studio behind the Nintendo DS versions of recent Call of Duty entries. With a chunky fantasy look, Heroes of Ruin tosses players into battle against myriad beasts (like a walking shark creature!) for loot and treasure, with its standout feature no doubt being the inclusion of four-player online co-op with voice chat, not to mention daily downloadable challenges. For genre fans seeking a Diablo-esque experience on the go, Heroes of Ruin aims to satisfy that itch.