Thoth’s main addition to the twin-stick shooter is its constant intimidation tactics. The short segments you set out to beat—64 in all—keep you aghast constantly, and you’ll learn quickly that even when things look peaceful it can mean that something deadly hasn’t shown itself to you yet. Silence is just an opportunity for a bomb to go off.
With Obduction, Cyan has created another game that’s an art of personal journaling. What you know, what you’ve gathered, will save you. The tools seem familiar but it is details that are your weapons. As the otherworldly overlaps the banal, you’re trapped in a labyrinth of places and things.
OmniBus would work better if it rolled with its own punches instead of creating a system that only exists to be fought with—the reward is smaller when randomness does so much of the grunt work. Just sit back and let the car drive you into the sun. Life just flies by so fast when you’re having fun.
Harvest Moon is not that game, and its bells and whistles are traditionally much more limited, structured, and harder circled on the calendar. Despite all odds, it seems Stardew Valley is a different game than the one it mimics. And a pretty fun, different game at that.
This Fatal Frame is hoisted by one specific element. This can feel truest during some truly arduous backtracking. Not the necessity to survival kind of backtracking, but the different characters literally retracing each other's steps from chapter to chapter kind of backtracking. Thankfully, the lynchpin for this game is a pretty decent lynchpin, so if you love ghosts and Instagram and don't mind redundancy, then Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water is the sixth scariest thing you can do with a camera.
Downwell may not have the lifespan of Spelunky or Nuclear Throne, games that have continued unfolding over years for their players. But it also doesn't appear to be aiming for such heights. Its focus is as straight and unyielding as the well down which it drops you. It is fun and addictive, but moreover it's adrenaline-pumping and shocking in its barbarity.