Islanders is simple and straight-forward but still manages to make each of its city-building runs engrossing with a high-score to chase and procedurally-generated spaces to explore. It's the charming visuals and meditative soundtrack that make your brief stays worth it, enrapturing you in a relaxing aesthetic as you try to survive as long as you can.
The Wizards: Enhanced Edition wrestles with the limitations of PSVR and never wins, deeply undercutting its enjoyable spellcasting with inaccurate motion tracking. These issues are only made worse by uninteresting missions and repetitive combat, making the initial splendour of this spellcasting adventure fade very quickly.
Apex Legends is a surprisingly different interpretation of the Battle Royale formula that introduces new rules for engagement while also refining many of the issues the genre has grappled with for months. It's ingenious tagging system and clever character abilities make it a multiplayer shooter that's easy to pick up and play, but also deep enough to sink hundreds of hours into for months to come.
Resident Evil 2's remake highlights just how great Capcom's first sequel in the Resident Evil series ways, but does it in a way that makes it the most compelling entry in the series thus far. It's smart changes merge with the classic design expertly, while its atmosphere is rich thanks to gorgeous lighting and incredible sound design. It's a reminder of the past, but this remake would be a fine direction for the future of Resident Evil
My Time at Portia wears its influences on its sleeve but fails to build both a compelling world and charming inhabitants to engage with when reaching for the same lofty heights. Its loop of resource gathering and intricate building is implemented well, but it lacks the charm to make it all cohesive enough to be alluring.
Fallout 76's mundane quest and lifeless story put too much weight on the aged combat and trivial crafting for them to bear. It's a multiplayer experiment with far too many flaws to put up with, both in its limiting player interactions and its woeful technical polish. Fallout with friends is still an idea that could work one, but that's not what Fallout 76 is serving up.
The Reignited Trilogy is Sypro in his best purple suit, with a stunning recreation of his three adventures making you forget how rough and aged they've become over two decades. Its gameplay is retrospectively simplistic but still engaging, with only persisting camera issues and troublesome audio implementations getting in the way of a special return journey.
Tetris Effect is a visual and auditory treat that bombards your senses with exploding colours and punchy electronic songs. But it's real triumph is combining this with the delicate nature of Tetris, retaining the precise gameplay while also marrying it effectively with the beat of a drum. Tetris Effect is meditative, exciting and incredibly difficult to put down.
Super Mario Party retains the whimsical and hilarious nature of its predecessors while greatly expanding on its mini-games and their complexity. It's a joyous time with a bunch of friends or family, even if you can't actually get any better at playing due to its heavily randomised mechanics.