Set a game in a sterile underground facility, give the player physics-based powers and a first-person view, and it can be hard to stand out from the crowd of games inspired by Portal. Make it a tie-in to the Heroes Reborn television series and you're just piling on the red flags.
It would be easy to give Crimes & Punishments the typical "for fans of the genre" recommendation, but I think it aspires to and accomplishes more than that. Sure, it has some rough edges, and not every case is a home run, but the Deduction system makes it all worthwhile.
Hohokum is a delight. I enjoyed it from beginning to end, and plan to go back for every last collectible and trophy, zipping around its colorful world for at least a couple more hours. More importantly it's a real game, with satisfying goals and puzzles to solve.
It asks for the players' money and time, yet they still must create the rewards for themselves. It looks expensive, with decent production values, semi-famous actors, and some real science fact behind the fiction, yet all that work, all that money, and all of your time never truly amounts to anything. We may never solve Kathleen's mystery, but I doubt that's the real tragedy here.
Maybe you missed the great games of the 8-bit era, or maybe you're a parent who wants to subject your children to the punishment of Castlevania, Battletoads, and Mega Man that you went through. For you, I think Shovel Knight goes beyond being a polished, fun, challenging experience. It's a curation of gaming history in a package that's palatable to today's audience.
Among the Sleep is ultimately a cool experience worth seeing through to the end. There's a novelty to the perspective that's hard to deny, and when the game focuses on that it's great. If you enjoy a brisk, atmospheric journey from a fresh perspective, Among the Sleep is a solid choice.
The game is long enough -- clocking in at around ten hours -- that trimming some of the fat doesn't seem like a bad idea. It's a game brimming with potential, and I'd still recommend it if you don't mind some rough edges for the sake of fresh storytelling. It may be a pain sometimes, but my urge to see it through a second time despite that speaks volumes.
On the one hand I have to commend DreadOut for trying to be more than the no-depth scare factories that so many other indie horror games aspire to. It's a callback to the third-person horror games of the PS1/PS2-era and I appreciate that. On the other hand, every attempt to inject that much-needed depth is met with frustrating design decisions. I wanted it to be over well before the end of its brief, two-hour playtime.
Whistleblower hits far fewer snags than the original Outlast in its attempt to scare the bejeezus out of you. It's a brisk, enjoyable, genuinely scary experience, and a great supplement to the story of the core game. If you already liked Outlast there is no doubt in my mind that you'll love Whistleblower. And if you only sort-of-liked the original, well, there's good news for you here too.
The competitive game at the heart of Towerfall Ascension is still the main event, so if you don't have extra controllers and friends you'll probably want to pass. That said, it's nice that there's something fun to do with the game even when you're on your own. It's not enough to recommend the game entirely as a solo experience, but I still had a ton of fun with it and see myself going back for more, even if no one is around.
The bigger issue is that Outlast accomplishes far more as an experience than it does as a game. That would be fine, but it tries to be a game more often than its stealth mechanics and AI could bear. Is it scary? For sure. But it's also capable of falling apart completely, deflating its own scare tactics, and leaving you wondering why Miles Upsher can't throw a single punch.