One of the most encouraging aspects of Humankind is its studio. Amplitude lovingly ushers its games from launch to DLC and expansions. It fixes issues, and it provides new content. I’m excited to see what this means for the future of Humankind, and I suspect I’ll be playing this more than Civilization and its ilk for some time.
I’m impressed with Dreams Uncorporated and Syck’s maiden effort. Cris Tales charming RPG, full of color, interesting colors, and life, and I’ve enjoyed my time with it so far. Some of the monster designs are A+ as well, such as the Slimes. They are transparent, with little sea scenes inside them, and they were Donald Duck-like sailor outfits. Their bow ties also look like little mustaches. They’re cute as heck, a great example of the game’s art design.
My gripe here is I wish Tactical Adventures had thought twice about its setting and had done as much to turn the “ruined ancient empire” trope on its head as it did with Solasta’s tactical combat. Once it gets better at this, Tactical Adventures has the potential to join the ranks of Obsidian, InXile, or Larian as a top-tier RPG dev house.
When I think of games from Spiders, Cyanide, Piranha Bytes, or Reality Pump, I appreciate how often ambition overcomes limited resources. Their games (such as Gothic, Two Worlds, Greedfall, Of Orcs & Men) may have glitches and fall short of triple-A standards, but they tend to be fun, have good stories, and mechanics and systems that I enjoy interacting with. Werewolf: The Apocalypse has most of these. I enjoyed taking on an evil corporation, learning more about how the Garou fit into The World of Darkness, and tearing my foes about. I won’t hide from that.
Super Mario Party's new modes offer a welcome break from what some might consider the main attraction: the board game. They're faster, and they focus on two of the Nintendo Switch's strengths that make it such a special console in the first place — good Joy-Con motion controls and fun co-op play. For me, it makes this Super Mario Party the best in franchise history, even if I don't care for the staid board game.
The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep delivers on the faith its Kickstarter backers put into the project. It weaves combat, exploration, music, and puzzles into a game that stands out in a crowded market. It's unlike any other RPG, and with other old-school RPGs finding success these days — Pillars of Eternity, Octopath Traveler, and Dragon Quest XI — I hope InXile is able to come back to this fantastical world, just like it's doing with Wasteland.
Civilization is at its best when it enables you to tell your own stories. But at release, Civ VI didn't do such a good job at that. Rise and Fall fixes this in many ways, giving your better ways to expand your civilization without resorting to combat. It adds a quest-like element with a significant penalty or reward, and most of its news leaders add variety to the game.