Lil Gator Game is as short as it is sweet, with the main story lasting just under five hours, but that's all it needs to be. I loved exploring each nook and cranny of the world during that time for new friends, loot, and memories. By the time the story wrapped up, the game had delivered a poignant and touching message about balancing the important parts of our lives. Lil Gator Game isn't the best Zelda-like I've played, but it's probably the one that will stick with me for the longest.
Even if Sports Story was polished and bug-free, it would still fall strikingly short of the first title in the series. The new sports don’t play well, the fetch quests are tiresome, and the story is tedious and less charming than that of Golf Story. What remains of the retro golf experience is fun, but the whole game feels like a textbook example of being unable to deliver on lofty ambitions.
Need for Speed Unbound feels like a foundational entry for where the series could go from here. Competing across the title’s many events is a blast, and I love the juxtaposed visual aesthetics. Though some elements left me wanting, Unbound is as much fun as I’ve had with a Need for Speed title in years.
Despite technical shortcomings and some filler content, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are chock-full of meaningful additions to one of gaming’s most popular franchises. At worst, these games are steps towards the Pokémon games for which players have clamored, but more often, they serve as effective thesis statements for where the series goes from here. Either way, I can’t wait to see where Game Freak evolves the experience from this point.
Overwatch 2 doesn’t flip the formula the way you might expect a long-awaited, numbered sequel would. But through various clever tweaks, it’s a well-rounded evolution of the experience into which I’ve poured more than a thousand hours since 2016. I may never recreate the magic of those first few years in Overwatch, but Overwatch 2 is a big step towards restoring the faith in the franchise and has me thinking it’s time to pour a few more hundred hours into my favorite team-based shooter.
Splatoon 3 doesn’t reinvent the wheel, nor does it need to. Instead, it improves nearly every franchise element in sometimes small but meaningful ways. With an already-robust set of content available at launch and at least two years of free and premium content on the horizon, Splatoon 3 is simultaneously the series’ best entry to date and its most promising.
Whether you’re playing the goal-based scenarios or the open-ended sandbox mode, I still can’t stop thinking of ways to design a perfect dining hall. Though the frustration of failure sometimes got the better of me, I often couldn’t wait to get back in front of Recipe for Disaster to play through several more days of this enthralling restaurant simulation.
While the music changes and audio mishaps are disappointing, the Sonic Origins package is terrific overall. Having the best versions of the classic Sonic saga in one bundle is supremely satisfying, and Anniversary Mode’s enhancements make the experience of playing through them more enjoyable than ever before. Even in a gaming landscape where most of these games are already available to download on every platform, Sonic Origins is a worthwhile package.
Though it lacks content and features, Mini Motorways has consumed much of my gaming time since I downloaded it more than a week ago. The simple gameplay, clean interface, and satisfying difficulty ramp led me to say, “Just one more run,” several times a session before ultimately calling it quits. Mini Metro hooked me when it first came to iOS years ago and has remained one of my favorite games to enjoy in short bursts, and I’m glad to add Mini Motorways to that same gaming rotation.
Despite its multiplayer shortcomings, Gran Turismo 7 is a terrific racing experience. I love the emphasis on car collection and the respect paid to the history of automobiles and racing culture. Gran Turismo 7 provides some of the best driving mechanics available and gives you several guided ways in which to engage with it. While it sometimes spends too much time off the track, every long cutscene is clearly done with love, and that sentiment shines through even more on the track.