Little Dragons Café is an extremely tedious exercise in repetition. There's kind of an initial thrill to the idea of managing a café and picking out the recipes that it'll use, but eventually you realize that you don't do much to help out other than providing the basic ingredients and occasionally bussing tables. The only real reward for slogging it out day-to-day is a handful of character focused cutscenes that don't really feel like a meaningful accomplishment. Add in some truly awful field controls and a constantly skipping framerate, and you've got a true recipe for disaster.
Overall, this Forsaken expansion has made Destiny 2 a journey worth returning to. The daily grind feels a lot more manageable, with more chances to obtain end-game gear. There are some exciting new modes to dip into, and the new bounties system really encourages players to dig deep into the world. Destiny 2 is still an end-game grind, but with all the new and interesting ways to obtain your favourite gear, it's a much more rewarding experience than before.
Monster Hunter: World still has all the complexity expected from this series, but it dishes it out in much more palatable chunks than usual. It's still got a frightening amount of depth, but it feels manageable in a way that few in the series have pulled off before. Players may still feel a little lost from time to time, but a little guidance from series vets or other friends can drastically reduce the growing pains new players will likely experience. On top of all that, this is one of the best-feeling titles the series has had to date; so saddle up with some friends, and explore all the New World has to offer.
Octopath Traveler is an extremely satisfying storytelling experience vastly different from other traditional JRPGs out there. The eight stories followed over the course of the game are all compelling in different ways, and each is engrossing in different ways. The combat is simple, yet nuanced, and building party compositions never stops being a fun exercise as the adventure presents each new challenge. The pacing does have some small missteps here and there, especially as the world opens up between each major act, but it's a tiny hurdle in an otherwise magnificent experience.
Despite all its exterior polish, TurtlePop: Journey to Freedom is a bit of a mess. It's trying to pull elements from multiple different genres, but it does it in a chaotic way that leaves the player little time to process what's happening on-screen. It's a constant battle with the controls to switch between the various turtles you need to control, and to also manage the genie, all while various on-screen hazards endanger the player's shot at a perfect score. The co-op mode slightly alleviates some of these issues, but it doesn't do enough to fix the fundamental issues with this quirky puzzle-platformer.
Wizard of Legend is one of those rare titles where it's easy to come back to it at any time. The game, for having so few bosses and levels, never begins to feel dull or repetitive. There's tons of variety in equipment and spell loadouts, and the dungeon changes enough each time that it never really starts to feel stale. It would be nice if there was a little more variety in the stages offered, but there are enough unique combinations that each adventure is always fresh and exciting.
Rainbow Skies is not only uninspired, it feels almost like a cheap nostalgia cash-in for JRPG enthusiasts. The characters are generally annoying and mostly one-dimensional, and the writing is quite poor and riddled with syntax issues. The explorative nature of the game is something that players might be drawn to, but that's not enough to carry the significantly weaker portions of the game. The combat system is sort of cute in its simplicity, but it's not unique enough to keep players invested throughout all the annoying little quirks that fill up the majority of Rainbow Skies
The PC version of Dynasty Warriors 9 is frustrating, more for its wasted potential than anything else. The game is difficult to control on PC, and that significantly hinders a lot of the fun, fast-paced combat, which is all-too scarce at times. Additionally, while the open-world approach is a great direction for the series, it doesn't capture the epic battles that the series is known for in the same way. Maps are either too crowded, or frightfully empty. It's nice to see Omega Force taking the series in a new direction, but this entry hasn't quite found its footing.
InnerSpace falls more than a bit short of the heights it aspires to. The levels feel hard to navigate and they aren't helped by the laggy controls and constant motion of the Cartographer. It feels poorly optimised for Nintendo Switch, with frequent camera stutters and choppy frame-rates. It's overall a very unsatisfying experience, which is made all the more frustrating by the sheer potential InnerSpace has. The beautiful environments and quietly haunting atmosphere are still enchanting, but everything else just feels empty.
LEGO Worlds is so close to being a fantastic idea that all the little hang-ups feel way more annoying than they should. The creation mode is fantastic, but extremely touchy controls-wise; and it's gated off by necessitating the player to complete the same missions dozens of times each if they want its best tools. The idea of a digital LEGO sandbox is the stuff that dreams are made of and, honestly, it just hasn't been done justice this time around.
Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online is a pleasant surprise, actually. The fast-paced combat is a welcome change from the tedious encounter system from previous games, and the story strikes a good balance of cutesy and interesting. Unfortunately, the gameplay gets really repetitive as bosses and enemies get reused level after level, so it's hard to want to keep at it for long. The balancing is completely off, and there's not a lot of challenge past the first couple of dungeons. Still, the gameplay has its charms, and the solid writing makes this one of the first Neptunia titles casual RPG fans and devout Neptune addicts might both enjoy.
Blue Reflection is a solid, if somewhat fanservice-y, JRPG that suffers from some poor pacing issues. The characters themselves are decently fleshed out, and it's worth sticking with them to see how their arcs develop, even if there is a lot to keep track of. The skill customisation is a lot of fun to mess around with, but combat is the weakest part. Despite the excellent combat tracks, most battles feel like a drawn-out exhibition more than anything else. As one of Gust's best titles in years, however, it's definitely worth checking out.
Moero Chronicle is just straight up disappointing. It's a lacklustre dungeon crawler, with time consuming, wasteful mechanics that pad out dungeons. It's a subpar ecchi game far too invested in its own subpar story to excel at the fanservice it offers, and it does all of this with creepy undertones, frustrating interfaces, and an overall aggravating vibe. There might still be a niche Compile Heart fanbase that gets something out of this, but even then, it's a stretch.
While the threat level system theoretically makes for some interesting moment to moment choices, it makes the campaign feel woefully unbalanced at times. Combat also lacks the smoothness one would hope for from the genre, with movement and aiming feeling choppy and imprecise. Between monotonous gameplay and a generally uninteresting story, Solstice Chronicles: MIA lacks the qualities that help shape a successful single-player campaign, and the co-op changes feel like a strict downgrade from its predecessor.