FitXR's new subscription and membership model isn't going to appeal to everyone, in the same way that fitness games in general are not going to appeal to everyone. For those who are invested in complimenting their real life workout with something a bit more lighthearted and fun in their spare time, this is a very compelling offer, even if the UI and usability experience can be a little rough around the edges compared to the more polished VR titles on the market. However, the meat of the title - a regular schedule of new classes, a good variety of workout types, and, most importantly, multiplayer - all combine to make FitXR an enticing offer.
Despite the relatively short run-time, B.R.U.C.E. Saves Christmas is an entertaining family friendly adventure that everyone can get involved in. The simplicity of running it plays in its favour in a big way as it will avoid those less tech-savvy getting flustered when trying to join the fun. Puzzles can be tough, but never too difficult to be massively frustrating, and the addition of a hint system should alleviate getting stuck at any point. While it would have been nice to have a few more rooms to explore and solve puzzles in, it's a great social means of playing games together from a distance.
Battle Brothers feels like a really natural fit on the Switch. The open-world nature of the game is one that is easy to get lost in and therefore having the ability to take it on the go is a fantastic attribute. As good as that is, the clunkiness of some of the controls on the console will take a bit of getting used to. However, the fact is there is not really any other title like this on the console with such a uniquely procedural role-playing feel. Making the player care about characters is one of the hardest tricks in gaming and Battle Brothers delivers this, with the sense of loss after a tough battle being really palpable.
Apex Legends is a live service experience, so there are reasons to be optimistic about the future of the title. The best advice at the moment to is to turn off cross-play and just compete against others with the same limitations. At its core, though, there is something really good here. Unfortunately, it's just hidden behind a wall of technical issues in terms of graphics, frame rate, resolution and overall stability. Panic Button is the king of Switch ports, though, and it feels like the developer deserves the chance to try and put this right. Fix the stability, adjust the graphics and work on cross-progression. If Panic Button can put things right, it will enhance its reputation to no end.
VirtuaVerse isn't all bad. It is a solid 10-plus hour plot that is a clear homage to some of the best portrayals of this dystopian vision of a futuristic world. There are a few nice set pieces here and there, and from a graphical standpoint, the visuals pop on the screen and are incredibly memorable. Likewise, the musical score compliments them ideally. However, this is an adventure that never gets off the ground thanks to lacklustre main characters, forgettable dialogue, and a clichéd plot. Worse still, the puzzling point-and-click adventure aspects of gameplay detract from the above more often than they enhance.
Shut In captures these unprecedented times in a small but unique package. With depth far beyond the initial on-the-surface horror story, this experience taps into the evocativeness of a mental health crisis, and the commentary it makes on the dread suffered by those with mental illnesses is powerful. It isn't all deep, though. The narrator successfully plays on the Undertale vibe and the comedic elements within such a tonally dark tale come across very well.
Beat Saber feels like the title that has propelled VR gaming into the mainstream and its effect on inspiring a whole host of other developers to enter this space cannot be underestimated. The core gameplay loop here is one the whole family can get involved in and it is not an over exaggeration to say this game can consume hours once it gets its hooks in. The BTS tracks are a welcome addition and if there is one band whose music seems to fit perfectly with this, it surely has to be theirs. Energetic, bombastic and addictive - prepare to be replaying Dynamite a lot to perfect its tough beat map. While some will argue the game itself and subsequent packs are ever so slightly overpriced, with multiplayer now active and the ability to add as many custom songs as one desires, for any VR owner this is simply a must-buy.
Football Manager 2021 is a continual improvement over its predecessor. While not doing anything that radically shifts the dial, this latest addition further improves the user experience and gives even more ways to set up and run a successful football team. With a 3D match engine that is really starting to do a great job at bringing the action to life, and further touches of realism to player and media interactions, there's enough innovation here for fans to jump onboard. Social life be warned, FM21 is a fantastic time sink and once stuck inside, it's hard to get out.
Star Renegades is exceptionally fun to play and a great addition to any Switch library. With endless combinations of battles to fight and a ton of weapons and items to unlock, there is plenty of content here to deliver dozens of hours of fun. While the Switch version does suffer from some downgrades with load times and performance on occasion, the portability of this rogue-lite means it is ideal for playing on the move. Star Renegades has a lot of scope and ideas under the hood and the dynamic enemy promotions is just one that is incredibly impressive. Exceptionally tough, at times frustrating but always rewarding - this visual treat is definitely one to pick up - especially since the game is set to receive regular content updates over the months ahead.
For a title that is both modestly priced and was also developed by just a small team, The Guise is a valiant attempt at making a Metroidvania-esque title in a gaming world packed with similar efforts. It is a visually striking world that is memorable, with an enjoyable but maybe not so complex fairytale story. While the abilities Ogden can collect do mix things up a bit when it comes to combat, the patterns of enemies make things just a little too simplistic, while at the same time frustrations around the fluidity of controlling Ogden increase that. There is some good fun to be had here, and the boss battles are a highlight among a story that is simple but enjoyable. However, it is possibly not a game likely to stick in the mind over other better executed attempts.