- Metal Gear Solid
- Mortal Kombat II
Balan Wonderworld is a game that I tried hard to love. It is not the pariah that the internet makes it out to be though. I think the game is charming and flawed. It has tons of issues, but I still finished it. I had some good times sprinkled in with the frustrations. It took me to a simpler time in platform games and there is truly nothing else out there with the same kind of presentation and whimsical ideas it delivers. That said $60 is a hard ask for a game that seems to want to frustrate players at every turn. I wanted to love Balan Wonderworld, but it did everything in its power to test my love every chance it got.
For those new to the series though the game is packed with content. While there are no licensed trucks the customization is fantastic. There are plenty of courses to race on and the variation of modes is great. I do wish this upgrade came with more to offer than just a resolution bump that is negligible. I also feel like the original game could have run at 60fps on One X, so again without Smart Delivery this feels like a minimal update at best.
Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 is yet another game in the genre that will be forgotten. Rainbow Studios has been one of the most prolific in mud-based racing games for a long time. They have crafted some of the best off-road endeavors I have ever played. This is sadly not one of them. It feels like a second thought as far as execution goes. Like they had a license and a chance to make a sequel and just pumped it out with little fanfare. I wanted to love it, but sadly it will be relegated to just a memory in a few weeks’ time.
I cannot recommend this game enough. I loved Kaze and the Wild Masks, and hope it finds the audience it deserves so we might get more games from this team. It really ticked all the boxes I would expect from a game inspired by the mascot platformers I grew up with. It also helps that the game is coming to every platform imaginable. Do not hesitate if you love titles like Donkey Kong Country or even have the most minute nostalgia for that plethora of mascot platformers from the mid -to-late 90s. This game hits all those notes whileinjecting its own flavor to the cause.
Stubbs is a fun game that doesn’t take itself seriously. There is really nothing else quite like it, and I had fun revisiting this dumb action title. For those that never got a chance to play it before it is more than worth checking out, if for nothing else but seeing how different this game is from pretty much everything else out there. It thrives on its wackiness and dumb fun and is still enjoyable today. And now players can experience it on every console or PC under the sun.
Ghost ‘n Goblins Resurrection is a great modernization of one of Capcom’s cult classic titles. Being a fan of the originals, it was a treat to ride down memory lane. Especially since I revisit this series multiple times a year and we haven’t had a true 2D entry in quite some time. I do wish the game would come to more consoles and PC as it is currently only available on Switch, but perhaps that is a future plan. As it stands Switch owners who grew up with the originals should definitely check this out, if you don’t have nostalgia for the series though, this game might just feel like yet another difficult platformer that has yet to get with the times.
Super Mario 3D World was already one of the best 3D Mario games to date. Toss in some tweaks and a decent-sized expansion with new ideas and this package is a no-brainer. There is little to complain about with this latest Mario title on Switch. It is yet another must-own game for the platform. I am excited to see where Mario goes next and this is a perfect end to the 35th anniversary celebration of gaming’s first and oldest icon.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is a long name for a short, uninspired game. I was really hoping this would be a hidden gem that managed to rekindle my love of b-tier titles. Instead it just feels generic in every sense of the word. The combat is its only saving grace, and that cannot carry the game.
Little Nightmares II is a wonderful sequel that adds unnecessary combat to the mix. The journey is still worth pushing through just to experience the horrors the team has delivered. I love these type of games as it stimulates that certain part of my brain that creates a sense of discomfort while also letting me solve puzzles to stay alive. The lighter price point and promise of next-gen updates also make it worth your time. Don’t miss out on the first genuinely disturbing game of 2021.
The Medium is a strong outing for the team at Bloober. It is easily my favorite game they have released to date. The eerie soundtrack and locales set the mood nicely. The story is interesting, and I loved the duality in the puzzle-solving. This is a strong first game for Series X in 2021 and I hope their slate only improves as the year goes on. I wish this had been available at launch, and I am sure Microsoft does as well. It would have been a great showpiece for the console. Still it makes a nice early year title for owners of the new Xbox to dive into.