Slain! reveals itself almost immediately as a demo tape with a splashy cover, a composition in progress that carries a spark of potential buried in the mix. It does not live up to the promise of its visuals, instead merely keeping pace with its influences white not daring any attempt to surpass them.
Driving is inefficient, extortionate, and most people are garbage at it, including myself. I couldn't comprehend why anyone would endorse the lie of the open road. American Truck Simulator reflected the anxious reality, but also allowed me to appreciate the grandeur of it all.
Submerged is skeletal and unoiled. It is damned by competence: a short story that checks the boxes, but in doing so leaves no mark. I fell asleep twice while playing it, shaken awake by Miku's worsening cough, just looking to fix up Taku and motorboat out as fast as possible. It's a game that has no ambition and says nothing, and through that, quietly stumbles, erodes, and disappears, leaving no impression, no haunting memories.
It's sublime when a plan comes together, but squirming out of a nasty mess takes a higher degree of patience and pressurized innovation. Anyone can play a map enough to have near-omniscience on a level's layout and just waltz through with nary an eyebrow raised. Invisible, Inc. doesn't deny you this experience at the beginner level, but it's more rewarding when played without a net (and it also allows you to customize challenges if you truly can't deal with an anxiety-inflating alarm, for example). Play spy and nimbly case the joint, then follow up as a hard-knocking crew left to bungle your best laid schemes and tango with the consequences.
Captain Toad has its little secrets, tiny rewards, difficulty level that blooms at a leisurely pace. By the pound, what Captain Toad offers most is interactive charm. Nintendo confirms that the chef received your compliments and your complaints. This experience is new and old, the closest approximation of the feel of 8-bit NES friction in some time. Here we have a simple broth that plays on the tongue in a zesty way, both familiar and fresh.
I couldn't turn off Gremlins or Chucky or Bun Bun fast enough, tripping over myself to end the experience. But Alien: Isolation reels me in for more. If the light of the churning sun streaming through the window is the last thing I see before having my face torn off, then it was a good run. Next time I will happily take it slower.
Titanfall, like my coach, was more concerned with fun than winning. This sense of dedication to a player's good time by offering several ways to contribute, along with the on-point distillation of decades of enjoyable game design, is why Titanfall is already spoken of so highly.