For casual players there is not much beyond childish delight but in the scenario sandbox of destruction and design Cities Skylines - Natural Disasters makes a gameplay experience that is tense, trying and terrifically satisfying.
There is no doubt that Q.U.B.E. 2 owes such a debt to a rich past, and with such a strong design direction and philosophy there is plenty to enjoy inside this geometric puzzler. Where Q.U.B.E. 2 really succeeds is reminding the player what is great about being locked in a room alone with a puzzle. It's a shame that the execution doesn't spread across all the areas, but there is certainly enough to enjoy and cherish in this gratifying design.
It's clear that Beholder: Complete Edition is trying to tell a story about oppression, coercion, and state observation, but its heavy handedness and console controls dilutes the message it's trying to produce. Other games have achieved much more with so much less, yet that shouldn't distract from what is a management game with a delightful twist. It's fun to be the bad guy and hauling out a tenant because you spied them eating fish can be strangely compelling. Sometimes admin can be fun and Beholder exploits the subservient and rebel in us all.
Cities: Skylines - Snowfall is a rare expansion that manages to bring holiday cheer to a game that could have easily exposed it for a cheap cash-in if it wasn't done right. However, there is just enough added challenge and detail to the expansion that makes it a welcome addition to the core experience. It is by no means essential, but it adds some twinkle to the transport and some ho-ho-ho to the heating. Cities: Skylines - Snowfall is a perfect expansion to welcome in the Christmas season.
For fans of the board game, and indeed more slower, seasoned tactical play, Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition offers a unique and inviting gaming experience. It's a statistical conundrum wrapped up in the familiar, which makes learning the rules and expansive options much less daunting. It definitely suffers from dips in pace and rhythm, which at times threatens to suck the life from within. However, the turn-based play is consistently engaging and brutal.
It's a shame that in trying to invoke so much nostalgia, instead Thimbleweed Park invokes frustration. A clumsy set of mechanics, humour that quickly runs dry, and a narrative line that splits and diverges in too many directions creates an obstructive experience. That is not to say that there isn't plenty to enjoy here. Fans of the genre will delight in the puzzling and will be able to easily forgive the game for all these tiny foibles.
How it has been allowed for Everybody's Golf to exist on PlayStation is beyond anyone's comprehension, but may Sony continue to get away with this tomfoolery for another twenty years because it's simply a pleasure to have Everybody's Golf on PS4. Accessible for all ages, play styles and ability, this is a game that is the closest thing a player is going to get to being gently hugged whilst holding a DualShock.
Absolver is an experience shrouded in patience and unerring attention to detail. It ultimately rewards players who are happy to spend the time picking apart tiny parts of the title's deceptively simple combat and world building. It is atrociously difficult at times, but such is the framing of the game, Absolver's difficulty curve is designed to teach and inspire, rather than frustrate. Although rather short at around five to six hours, Absolver is still a delicate examination of martial arts and how game design can drastically impact the lessons the player should draw from the world.