Farm Frenzy Refreshed is by no means perfect. Indeed, it sits on the wrong side of the "casual gaming" spectrum whereby it becomes a grind for the sake of keeping players playing. And yet... I continue to enjoy Farm Frenzy, have done so for nearly a decade (if not longer now), and Refreshed has given me a rush of that all over again on the PlayStation.
My concerns with DC Super Hero Girls: Teen Power sit with it as a property. I know this is a wildly controversial thing to say, but I don't really believe that Marvel and DC are appropriate for children. If the hundreds of implied and explicit deaths per movie or show weren't enough to convince you of that, then the inherent moral lessons from these properties should because there's a lot more there to digest, interpret and come to terms with than people generally think about. Making all that baggage cute, as DC Super Hero Girls: Teen Power does, might make it palatable to a young audience, but it still needs to be questioned.
Game Builder Garage might be pitched at a younger audience - and I can genuinely see Nintendo selling a bunch of Switches to schools for use in the younger grades as an introduction to the all-important education space - but the systematic clarity with which the tutorials of Game Builder Garage are arranged, and then the ease of use and accessibility of the software to play around with afterwards, makes it the best introduction to programming that I've come across, for anyone of any age.
With two artifacts that belong in the video game hall of fame, and one curiosity that highlights Itagaki’s genius by showing what happened when he wasn’t involved in Ninja Gaiden, this collection stands the test of time. So many modern action video games are either self-serious or desperately eager to make sure you laugh when they tell you to. It’s weird, given how bloodthirsty the Ninja Gaiden series is, but the laconic, droll approach that they take to everything they do almost comes across as subtle and classy these days, and I’ve loved revisiting that.
Neptunia ReVerse is clearly a "first-run effort" by Idea Factory to take the tools of the PlayStation 5 and see what they can do with them. It's perhaps a less ambitious effort than what Idea Factory made as its launch on PlayStation 4 (Omega Quintet), but putting that aside, this is a genuinely good game, worth the time of any JRPG fan, and by its very nature the perfect introduction to the entire series for new players with the new console. The additions that have been made here make it even more complete and also worth a replay for the Neptunia faithful. And if nothing else having an excuse to watch Neptune and the other girls run around in swimwear costumes for a few hours is always worth the investment.
And so, though I love the concept and presentation of Wing of Darkness, it falls a little short of being an instant indie classic like Sumire was. Wing of Darkness has the right attitude when it comes to depicting the impact of war. It has impeccable presentation and art direction. The gameplay systems are enjoyable and, for the most part, well-executed. Almost everything about Wing of Darkness is spot-on, but it just falls short of making us care enough that the poignant themes and evocative narrative can really hit home.
Everyday Today's MENU for EMIYA Family is such a beautiful, wholesome, heart-warming thing. It so effectively celebrates a quality of Japanese culture that goes so much deeper than "raw fish" (you have no idea how many people STILL ask me "what can you even eat over there?!?" when they discover that I have a seafood allergy), and it also highlights just how potent the Fate property has become, that this most tangential of tangent spinoff series could end up with something so perfectly pleasant to play. Also. Rin is just so freaking pretty.
We do need more games that go out there and bravely tell stories of deities, cultures and heroes that people wouldn't be aware existed. Aluna is brave in that not only does it do that, but it even goes as far asto make a very dry joke about how obsessed the entire industry is with telling the same stories over and over again. Unfortunately, while Aluna is blessed with some gorgeous art, a brilliant protagonist, and a wonderful setting, it squanders so much of what it does by being an incredibly safe Diablo clone in execution. Aside from a few technical issues with the Switch, Aluna is a perfectly competent and focused Diablo clone, but the game and creative energy behind it promise more which, to our great disappointment, the developers have failed to deliver.
I was concerned that D3 Publisher and the development teams behind EDF were losing sight of the purity of vision behind what they were doing. Iron Rain painted a bleak vision of the future of the series. Thankfully, the developers themselves seem to have realised what a misstep Iron Rain was, and the team at Yukes has pivoted a full 180 degrees with World Brothers. This game is just such great fun.