- Final Fantasy VII
- Persona 4
- A Link to the Past
Oceanhorn 2 has the odd moment which is really enjoyable, mostly limited to the puzzles and bosses within the dungeons. But there could be so much more here, there are glimpses of a game that could be really special, but it regularly loses the attention of its audience due to the barren open world. The presentation feels low quality and dated, the combat clunky, the world empty. This looked so promising, but is quite the disappointment.
Forget what you think you know about the history of Breath of the Wild, this takes that story and makes it its own. The result is a hugely satisfying and wondrous adventure. Outside of the main story, it's worth coming back to this again and again. Omega Force has mastered the Musou style and is fully exhibiting that in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. The missions offer up plenty of replayability thanks to their diverse range of 'win' conditions. There is an impressive roster to keep coming back to, and it's filled with some fantastic characters that are a true surprise to discover. Every little element of this game works, and it all comes together so perfectly. While gamers are understandably excited to get their hands on the next-gen, Nintendo is ensuring the Switch isn't gathering dust. This will tear attention away from those shiny new boxes, and rightly so. There is so very much to love here. Frankly, a must-buy.
Fans of the series are going to adore Assassin's Creed Valhalla. Origins and Odyssey felt like Ubisoft trying something new, stretching out and seeing what worked, and Valhalla takes what was learned there and expands upon it. Some things, like the combat, don't feel quite there yet, still, but other elements absolutely have evolved for the better. There's a lot to love here, and not just in the frankly absurd amount of content available. The story is fantastically enjoyable, with Eivor really shining throughout (play Female for what feels the canon story!) - they are truly deserving of standing alongside the icons of this long-running series. This is a legendary tale and an addition to the franchise that is good enough for the gods.
There's nothing quite like Pikmin, as it perfectly captures the same magic as Miyamoto's other masterpieces. While the Wii U itself was a sales disappointment, it hosted some absolutely wonderful titles that deserved a better home and it has been great to see them finally receive that with Nintendo's initiative to bring them to Switch. Pikmin 3 was already a superb game, and while this release is not a remaster, the extra elements added to Pikmin 3 Deluxe elevate it to something special. While the price point may be exclusionary for some, this is completely worth the asking price, even as a double-dip for those who already have it on Wii U. Perfect for families to play together, for friends to grab a Joy-Con each, or for solo play sessions to track down every badge and master the highest rank.
The previous entries in the Project CARS series catered completely towards the sim racer and the decision to break away from that is both strange and bold. Not only has the series abandoned its roots, it doesn't seem to acknowledge them, either, with the team stating this is still a sim gaming. It's not, though - at all. However, that's not a bad thing for the casual fans. The result is a brand new, arcade racer that wider audiences can truly enjoy. Slightly Mad Studios has crafted a fast, frantic, and enjoyable arcade experience. The new cars feel individual and there's plenty of incentive to replay challenges to get the career level increased and the career achievements completed. It's just a shame then, that there's a key part that so negatively impacts the whole experience of Project CARS 3, and that is the grind. It regularly makes things so much worse and it seems like such a quick thing to fix - just increase the money paid out. Make it retrospective for those who have already invested so much time and this will instantly address the biggest issue.
Early glimpses of the puzzles and dungeons showed just how great Ary and the Secret of Seasons could be, and while those are realised here, it's just not enough to make up for the numerous issues and missteps. Many players won't be able to even see those best moments unless they have the considerable patience needed to be able to get over halfway through. A true disappointment; there is an awful lot to like here, but ultimately it's hard to recommend this. Strangely, considering how many times it's been delayed, this just feels unfinished, like a preview build.
A wonderful puzzler with a marvellous aesthetic. Like a children's anime come to life, Mr. DRILLER DrillLand is utterly charming and delightful. Every attraction looks great, delivering sharp, vibrant, and colourful stages in every attraction. As good as it looks, it plays even better. A simple and addictive core basis that has the heart of a classic matching colour puzzler but adds an exhilarating twist to the proceedings with the drilling mechanics. This should be a no brainer purchase, but there's something that will put off many players. It's called the Atlantic Ocean. For some reason, the asking price is literally double in the US than it is in the EU. A baffling and disappointing decision that will sadly stop this reaching as many homes as it should.
Perhaps Jupiter should have stuck with Picross and continued gathering partnerships with other franchises for Picross spin-offs like the recent Picross: Lord of Nazarick. Fans of Diner Dash will enjoy this blatant clone, but based on the asking price this just is not worth the investment. Check out the far superior Overcooked instead.
Those who love The Binding of Isaac and Enter the Gungeon will find an awful lot to like here. The gameplay is fast and fluid, the presentation striking, and there is a huge amount to keep coming back for. There are tons of things to unlock that change up subsequent runs, unique seeds to master the most enjoyable versions of levels, and even an insanely challenging difficulty mode to unlock. The biggest issue is the small amount of rooms to pull from when generating a stage. It's not too noticeable for a few play-throughs, but for the players who will run this over and over, it really detracts from the experience.
The start of Windbound feels very promising - the world looks beautiful, the sailing wonderful, and the development of the crafting system well done. However, after the first few hours, things start to fall apart. The repetitive nature and lack of growth of the core mechanics really hold it back from what it could have been. There's still an enjoyable experience here, but it is obvious it could be so much more, and ultimately feels a little unfinished. This is only the second game to come from indie developer 5 Lives Studios, and it's exciting to see what the team comes up with next.