Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is a great Smash clone that painfully underutilizes its Nickelodeon license, to its own detriment. Lacking some of Nick's biggest characters, franchises, and environments, absolutely no voice lines whatsoever, and all wrapped up in a rather unimpressive package, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is a good concept, and one of the best Smash-alikes to come along in the last 20 years. But it really needs a stronger presentation and more thorough use of its namesake license to earn a better foothold as a mainstay character brawler.
While it may not wholly evolve the franchise in a radically new way, Far Cry 6 smooths out many of the wrinkles and growing pains previous Far Cry games have had, while building on a foundation that's largely worked for the series since 2012's Far Cry 3. Far Cry 6 strikes a great tonal balance, a variety of activities and exploration that never get dull, another imposing villain whose presence can be felt throughout, and a brilliant main character. Yara is a fun playground because it's Dani's playground, and that's a crucial part of the equation, part of the meaningful growth the latest entry brings to the Far Cry franchise. ¡Viva la Revolución!
A Juggler's Tale is enjoyable for what it is, but it doesn't quite reach the particularly memorable nature of similar indie games it so obviously takes inspiration from. There's a great introspective narrative with some brilliant themes regarding personal freedoms and cutting the strings of toxic relationships throughout, but a short runtime and occasionally obtuse puzzles and mechanics leave it feeling a bit more tangled up than it should by the end.
Editor's Note: To support the developers and employees at Activision Blizzard pushing for change, we are covering the games that they are working hard on making. However, we need to acknowledge that employees seek a shift in the company's culture, even as they are still passionately developing games. We will continue to report on the issues at Activision Blizzard as the employees seek to reform the culture and make it a safer, equal, and more inclusive workplace, even as we highlight the games those same workers are creating.Diablo II: Resurrected is Diablo II in everything that matters. Its strict adherence to the tone, themes, and even gameplay of the original makes this an incredible time capsule, revisiting a classic restored, yet not iterated on. It's the best of both worlds; a game that looks and plays wonderfully in 2021, but embodies the dark experience that was first brought to the world more than 20 years ago. They just don't make games like this anymore.
There isn't anything else quite like Deathloop. It's a riveting detective mystery, plays with time loops in unique ways, and never feels like it slows down, even in those stealthier moments. It's a game that's thought out top-to-bottom, with two perfect leads heralding the charge and a unique multiplayer component that feels central to everything that Deathloop is, without ever getting in the way. Whether you're looking to break the loop or preserve it, Blackreef is certainly worth the visit. You may find yourself as stuck there too.
Lost in Random is a magical adventure, and though its dice and card-based combat system never achieves a significant depth at which it could, its still a worthwhile journey. Zoink's strength lies in building wonderous, mysterious, and frankly just weird characters and worlds. Hand-in-hand with Even and Dicey, you won't be disappointed at getting lost in Random.
The Medium is an admirable horror experience from a developer that has been making a lot of huge strides for itself in the world of horror game development. It's not something that is going to change the world of horror games, but it does enough unique things with the simultaneous dual-world mechanic to stand out. Like many horror games before it, it fails to balance its tension with certain gameplay mechanics that can turn from fear to frustration pretty quickly, but these are spaced out enough that it never ruined the experience wholesale. For any horror fans looking for a Silent Hill-esque game to fill that ominous void, The Medium will at least scratch that itch.
Golf Club: Wasteland has a great vibe for its somber and solemn story about the end of the Earth, and I loved the concept behind its world. But it's burdened by a golf game that is simply not all that fun (granted, perhaps it shouldn't be fun to golf on the headstone of humanity). Occasional moments that seemed to portend exciting new golf puzzle mechanics were quickly followed by more lobbing to almost out of reach platforms, made intolerable by frustratingly simple mechanics that seem to have an air of randomness and luck. But while I won't be subjecting myself to Iron Mode, I did thoroughly enjoy the story, art, and music throughout as it plainly commented on the state of the world, making at least one round of golf on this post-apocalyptic world very cathartic indeed.
For all of its issues, Rustler is a fun little game that tries something a bit different, recapturing a long-lost element of game design and adding a fun new twist. Its humorous and satirical elements help keep it light-hearted, and though it occasionally has some comedic misses, its also full of genuinely laugh-out-loud moments. I'd hope to see some adjustments to the combat system as well as a general cleanup of the odd variety of bugs encountered, but as a whole Rustler is a clever and fun title that has zero shame being exactly what it is.