As a singleplayer game, rushing towards completing its series of AI fights at faster and faster speeds is a pleasing diversion, sustained by the AI which seems as silly and quirky as any person. As a multiplayer game, it's destined to be brought out late at night, whenever you've got friends around. Don't worry, you'll say. Nidhogg is easy to explain.
I think there are two reasons I play strategy games. One is for complex campaigns requiring deep thought and careful planning, whether that be in Unity of Command or Supreme Commander. The other is for the relaxing power trip provided by swirling numbers of units, as in Eufloria or Galcon Fusion. Infested Planet sits somewhere between the two, a mid-point that's more satisfying in some ways for the greater sense of accomplishment it delivers and less satisfying in others for the frustration of never quite letting you relax.
Mankind Divided is a new version of one of my favourite games of all time and free from the execution problems that hampered that last iteration. The levels are bigger and prettier. There are no dumb boss fights. It gives you slightly more agency over its story. The new abilities are nice, even if they don't dramatically alter the flow of the game.
The Final Station is a simple game, which is always just compelling enough for its duration. I’ve come to think of it as an efficient, low budget horror movie: it has a high concept it can’t afford to show directly and so it wrings as much as it can from the mystery and the satisfaction of piecing the plot together from snippets. It’s only a shame that its action suffers more from never having a particularly interesting concept of its own.
By throwing out most of Spore's traditional mechanics in favour of a cross between Katamari Damacy and Nested, Everything gets closer to sublimity. And though I don't think it gets all the way there – not for me, not right now – the silliness is constant and delightful.
Brute introduces a few twists as you go along that I haven't mentioned here, but doesn't do enough to establish its own identity and step out from underneath the shadow of its inspirations. That doesn't make it any less fun. If you've tired of its inspirations and are looking for something new, then it'll scratch that same itch.