Draugen is not bad, just disappointingly... mediocre-to-decent, when it could be so much more. The whole noir mystery narrated by an unreliable protagonist thing definitely manages to spark some interest, but this never really becomes the engrossing tale it wants to be. Forget the marvellously rendered Norwegian landscape, and the magical music that keeps it company. What lies underneath is just an okay-ish, walking simulator.
First, Alien: Isolation is a good, yet flawed, stealth game; second, Alien: Isolation is a very good, yet flawed, survival horror game; and, third, Alien: Isolation is an almost flawless tribute to the original Alien film. Rest assured, the third reason makes putting aside the few issues at hand quite easy, in order to enjoy what is one of the most thrilling sci-fi rides ever.
Building LEGO-like vehicles, and having them explore a vast world, do quests, and shoot at other, similar tanks or planes, might sound like a fine idea for a construction sandbox, but TerraTech isn't really that good at what it does, for the simple reason that this just isn't fun to play, especially since the transition to the Nintendo Switch has you doing all that building and rebuilding with controls that feel out of place.
True to its name, Whispers of a Machine does exactly that: it whispers. Rather than "shouting," with flashy audio-visuals, cool action, and in-your-face storytelling, it uses the humble, grey-haired Adventure Game Studio, to offer something that's far more subtle in its approach. Clifftop Games creation is a simple, yet stunningly well-written, immersive, and all around fun point-and-click adventure game, with a gripping sci-fi plot, and an unwavering focus in its flawless, detective-style gameplay loop. Currently just a hidden gem, this must-have needs you, fellow adventure fan, to spread the word…
I fell from Grace, is pleasantly... unpleasant. It's a very dark tale of a man, who, while - hopelessly - trying to save his dying wife, loses a lot more. The rhyming dialogue will be off-putting to many, yet it's actually an element that creates a nice contrast with all the tears and blood that will be spilled throughout this pixel-art, horror-ish adventure. On the other hand, the actual process of playing this leaves a lot to be desired, and the pacing is painfully slow for what is essentially a narrative-driven experience.
Warhammer: Chaosbane takes place in a forgettable world, which is annoyingly repetitive, and has more than a handful of rough edges. Despite that, the arcade-like, fast-paced action it offers, as well as its fresh take on the genre's standard classes, makes it easy to forget its flaws, especially when trying it out along with a bunch of friends - or total strangers. Definitely not a recommendation for everyone, but those who'll like it will surely stick around for more than a few hours.
Observation is far from an easy recommendation. If you can't stand slow-paced games, with an unrelentingly cryptic plot, an extreme emphasis in realism and immersion, and puzzles of the "how the heck does this work" variety, avoid it at all costs. The rest can safely give it a go. It's probably the best hard sci-fi thriller of the year, and a must have for those who are in love with space and cosmic horror.
Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy! HD, makes all the necessary improvements a freeware title from 2007 would need, and is served at a price that's almost nonexistent. It's funny, it has a relaxing pace, and, as a whole, it's perfect for a few hours of old-school, point-and-click fun.
A Plague Tale: Innocence is a stunningly beautiful, and finely-crafted… ok. It's an ok stealth/action-adventure, with ok characters and drama, and oceans of rats that add an ok survival horror vibe to it. Certainly a fun title, but not exactly a big recommendation.
Deceptively simple in its concept, Ghostory's form-swapping mechanic provides all this needs to be a neat and challenging puzzle-platformer - and one that happens to provide some pleasantly ghos... ghastly puns. Unfortunately, the fun dissolves due to the subpar level design, which makes this 25+ level adventure feel the same from beginning to end.
While Dark Devotion is in no way a perfect Souls-like or metroidvania, it's definitely a pleasant mix of those two "genres." Some of the design choices at hand can make the experience feel a bit repetitive, and even annoying at times, but, as a whole, this is a pretty solid recommendation for lovers of challenging action-adventures with a dreadful atmosphere.
Grimshade is a love letter to the JRPGs of the '90s. Trouble is it's one that wasn't as eloquently written as it should. The weak-to-decent presentation cannot be fixed, of course, but there's some hope for this, if the developer ever heavily rebalance the tactical battles.
The Padre is a horror-themed adventure that's not frightening, is filled with pop culture jokes that aren't that humorous, has enemies that are annoying to fight with, and, finally, offers an assortment of puzzles that are a mixed bag. It looks good, and, generally, means well... but you should better play Silent Hill instead.
Fate/Extella Link continues offering the same entertaining blend of musou action and RPG-like progression, in a package that is bigger and better. Still, unless a big fan of the franchise, it's not exactly a must-have, as it mostly feels like an improvement that generally keeps things annoyingly safe.
ChronoClock is a decently-written romantic visual novel, with a bit of decent comedy and drama thrown in for good measure, served along some decent audio-visuals. It's hard to recommend it to anyone but genre fans, though, as it doesn't really do anything to stand out from the crowd - despite the existence of a time-bending MacGuffin.
Never mind the fact that Thea: The Awakening can frequently feel like a needlessly complicated 4X stategy/survival rogue-like/card battler. If that was its only issue, this would be an easy recommendation. Regrettably, the inconvenience that is its user interface mars what could be something really awesome.
While a bit short on the replayability side, and with visuals that look good, but not as good as they would do so with the use of a VR headset, Battlezone: Gold Edition is a fun tank arena shooter, with a surprisingly strong strategic mindset. Just be sure to enjoy this with a bunch of other players, as solo play might get way too boring, way too soon.
Dead or Alive 6 isn't the Christ's-Second-Coming equivalent of fighting game sequels. This is mostly an upgraded version of Dead or Alive 5, and not exactly a heavily upgraded one. Having said that, even those few improvements manage to make this the best, and most visually appealing instalment so far - boobies, or no boobies.
Black the Fall is... okay. Not the worst atmospheric puzzle-adventure out there, but also very far from the top steps of the podium. A strong, oppressive atmosphere can get you places, but a game of this kind still needs a good plot, and some gameplay mechanics that are more than decent.