SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is a fun enough game in its own right, but it's encumbered with the weight of near-ancient game design practices. It's new bright visuals bring Bikini Bottom to life in a whole new way, with character animations now better portraying the classic cartoon than ever before, but its gameplay is still firmly anchored to 2003, some of which has been negatively impacted by its updated visuals. At its core, Rehydrated is a repetitive and cumbersome 2003 platformer. A bit of water in 2020 isn't enough to soak new life into this old dried up sponge.
Edna & Harvey: The Breakout – Anniversary Edition takes the much maligned English version of the much lauded German original and gives it a fresh coat of paint that feels right at home on modern consoles, yet still retains some of the original problems that kept it from joining the point-and-click pantheon of greats. It's got a great new art style and a fantastically intuitive console interface, but never breaks out of a kind of plodding mediocrity that keeps it from moving up from being just okay to something better.
Skelattack is a game of exceptional mediocrity, a frustrating adventure with an identity crisis and a balance problem. It screams potential that it never even comes close to reaching as it draws obvious inspiration from numerous places, but fails to capture the charm and intention behind those progenitors. Its story and art is its strongest aspects, but the stagnant gameplay drags down what could have otherwise been a pretty good concept. There's a core of a good idea here, but like it's lead character, there's simply no meat on these bones.
The Last of Us Part II is an era-defining game; a perfect companion to the first that harmonizes with, rather than smothers, that original pivotal ending, crafting an unforgettable and emotionally challenging narrative with these beloved characters.
In terms of the quality of the content, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath is a great addition to a genre that typically only sees smaller updates like characters and stages. Shang Tsung taking a lead role brings a classic Mortal Kombat feel back to the story that has long since abandoned the more grounded conflict between the realms for events taking place on a much grander scale across time. While its price as an add-on may be pretty high for what it ultimately delivers, being part and parcel of a complete collection of Mortal Kombat 11 makes it a great entry point for new players who didn’t pick the brutal fighter up since it released last year.
There simply isn’t anything else like it, even if it does follow some of the more rote open-world playbook rules when it comes to progression and collectibles. A choppy framerate in intense sequences is really one of the only things holding the experience back, but like a fisherman without a hand—or a leg—it doesn’t stop me from heading back to the open water for more.
John Wick Hex is a fantastically unique adaptation of the film property, and even if it doesn't quick stick the landing, I have to applaud Mike Bithell and his team for bravely trying something different with something as loved as John Wick. The gameplay is sharp and tight, brilliantly adapting the inner workings of John Wick's mind into a gameplay mechanic and making you feel like a top-tier assassin when you pull it off. While a bit rough around the edges John Wick Hex is a great licensed adaptation with a bold fresh take on the existing property.