I’ve been enjoying Dead Cells since it first launched, and thus far I’ve been thrilled about Return to Castlevania. It’s one of the most polished and well executed of the game’s post-launch content. Castlevania fans, too, have plenty to swoon over, with numerous series references and large handful of unlockable costumes to discover, letting you explore Dead Cells as mainstays like Alucard, Richter, and Death itself. All we can hope is that this lays the groundwork for Motion Twin to pair up with other long-dormant franchises for similar passion projects. The Bubble Bobble x Dead Cells mashup is just begging to be made.
Even with Cursed to Golf’s punishing difficulty, I’ve found myself getting closer and closer to the vaunted 18th hole on each run, with no desire to stop until I’ve reclaimed my mortality. It’s a testament to the craft of developer Chuhai Labs, which was willing to take such risks with such a proven formula that I haven’t stopped even after several punishing deaths. And I won’t stop until I finally remove this dreaded albatross from my neck.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe does a great job of catering to fans of the entire breadth of the series, from its time-crunchy roots to the chiller days of Pikmin 2. But if you find the relaxed pace of the campaign a bit too lovey-dovey for your hardcore gamer sensibilities, just know that there’s a serious challenge waiting for you at the end of this road.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a respite from the current state of the world. I find my general anxiety slowly subside as I run through my town, water my plants, and build furniture for the sassy chicken gentleman living down by the beach. It’s exactly what I need right now.
Having been smitten by the core world-building gameplay of Death Stranding, I am stunned to realize that many of the game’s strongest, most appealing gameplay ideas (specifically the world-building and cooperation) are tossed aside in the final acts, in favor of a much more linear, scripted, cutscene-ridden experience. The freedom and sense of ownership I enjoyed while creating this world are dashed in favor of explaining and wrapping up a story that never had much going for it to begin with.
Of course, the classic question remains: Is Torchlight 2 better than Diablo 3? But I’m not sure that it matters. They’re both pinnacles of action RPG design that coming at the genre in different ways. And having both on the go via the Switch, where a lengthy commute can be whiled away while smashing rock elementals with big hammers, is a gift to us all.
The lack of map diversity doesn't take away from the visual splendor of the game, though. While much of Three Houses is seen from an overhead perspective, initiating combat zooms the camera in, showing off gorgeously animated soldiers in combat. During a particularly tense battle, Claude, the house leader of the Golden Deer, tosses an arrow into the sky before catching it and firing off a critical hit to take out a pesky enemy pegasus moving in on my healer. These flashy moments happen all the time and are unique to the two dozen classes in the game, so there's always some new animation to get pumped over.