If you've never played Drinkbox Studios' delicious platformer before, then this is the best place to start. And, while we'd never recommend double-dipping a nacho in real life, we certainly encourage it with this super-charged adventure.
Through the combination of a simplistic but phenomenally effective art style and some incredibly fluid dialogue sequences, Firewatch proves itself time and time again as one of the most memorable games we are likely to play in a long while. It's poignant and very special, albeit disappointingly choppy at times. It may feel a touch short, but its story will feel firmly finished upon reflection, remaining naturally entombed in the Wyoming woods. This is a rare game that tackles strong morals and emotions under the guise of a beautiful walk through the wilderness that always manages to keep you on your toes, a walk you'll be hard pressed to ever forget.
If you've never played Dishonored then this game should already be in your basket. It's a pristine release that's being saved from fading into history with this re-release and delivers all the content as a thank you. For the double dippers considering this, a stern word of caution. Very little has changed since you left Dunwall but if you really get a kick out of your controller talking to you then by all means, go in for the kill.
MouseCraft is an excellent addition to the puzzle genre, which successfully draws upon the strengths of several classics, while differentiating itself at the same time. A unique take on the 'rat in a maze' concept, this is entertaining on all three of Sony's systems, and while it's not exactly a visual showpiece, it's charming enough to make you smile like when you're saying the word 'cheese'. In short, this is a fun little timewaster that you're likely to enjoy more than you anticipate – even if you're lactose intolerant.
Two locations and four bosses doesn't sound like a whole bunch but don't be fooled - The Ringed City easily clocks in at four to five hours depending on how you fare with the bosses and other challenges. It's a meaty instalment and a welcome deviation from the practices seen in Ashes of Ariandel, while still interlocking with and continuing the complex narrative. The bosses are challenging and visually fantastic - besides a cheap NPC opponent - and the environments continue the Dark Souls tradition of being large, intricate, and engaging. The Ringed City feels like the climatic end that the Souls franchise deserves, even if we find ourselves hoping that this isn't actually the end at all.
Not A Hero is a thumping good shooter experience made all the more exiting through an intriguing art style; unrelenting gore and a relatively non-linear composition to pleasantly fleshed out levels. The humor, while likely to grind on you after a while, is rib tickling for most part. Its overall tenure is brief, never staying long enough for you to think too deeply about aiding a burrow-digging politician in murdering party opposers to gain power, and rightly so. While it won't have you mercilessly addicted to knocking out kickflips, it'll likely be one of the best 2 and a quarter shooters you play this year.
Being digitized has been the enabling factor for Armello. In reality this would be a boring stat-checking and constant dice rolling experience, but the PS4 takes all the slack, doing the math and dice-rolling for you, allowing you to just enjoy the show. This makes the heavy rule book seem more palatable while you enjoy the rich and engaging lore. It's a well-balanced and good-looking experience that shows originality is still possible in a format that's centuries old.
The endurance of This War of Mine: The Little Ones is limited and is certainly not something you'll want to play several times over and that's perfectly fine. It's a hard-hitting and unsettling look at the coldness and cruelty of the human condition and how the removal of social constructs unravels people so quickly that'll haunt you for a long time to come. Its premise is so bold it can often outshine its delivery, the idea it's conveying never feeling fully realized beyond the brief dips in pace. It's the most real feeling simulator of war out there and that in itself makes This War of Mine: The Little Ones quite terrifying and truly memorable.
Guns Up! is devilishly addictive and provides a seriously fun formula of mutually beneficial attack and defence tactics. It's initially intimidating economy only works to give the game depth once you've completed the enlightening tutorial, leaving you with a constant desire to progress and improve both your settlement and your garrison of units. All the above is unsettlingly blighted by an ever-present need to fork out real cash or face the reality of dampening the enjoyment by grinding for hours. It's a necessary evil in the free-to-play genre that's simply too overbearing here to fully accept or ignore.
VooFoo can chalk this down as another successful adaptation, as Pure Pool proves to be an enjoyable and astoundingly well presented interpretation of arguably the greatest pub pastime. The tutorials and help sections should get newcomers up to speed, while the 'Pro' difficulty will definitely test veterans. There are a few difficulty issues which prevent it from hitting a perfect break, but the stripped back interface and immersive atmosphere mean that it certainly won't be snookering you tonight.
Natural Doctrine's combat system is ingenious, but it's obstructed by its complexity, while the remaining aspects of the release just about fulfil their roles to the point of adequacy. Although the game's intricacies will instantly cut itself out of most of the market, it's certainly a fantastic strategy title in its own right, which will challenge even the most adept players. This is a must buy for genre fans, then – and a cautionary tale for newcomers.
Outside of the new playable characters and patched up gameplay, Awesomenauts Assemble! does little to distance itself from its PS3 counterpart. Fortunately, it's still an enjoyable MOBA, with smooth – if a little slow – gameplay and a refreshing visual style. It's without a doubt the best and most complete version of Ronimo Games' excellent eighties homage to date – but it never quite does enough to make it worth a double-dip.
Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection wasn't exactly heavily requested, but here it is anyway. While the trilogy is starting to show its age, this is unquestionably the best way to experience it if that's something you want to do. Some minor visual hiccups aside, each instalment of Ezio's story is present and intact here, and, quite frankly, having them all in a single package is an incredible amount of game for your money whichever way you cut it.
Not as light on content as its predecessors, the core mechanics of Skullgirls continues to work beautifully on almost every level. Staggeringly good animation dolls up its unforgiving control scheme, while the bonkers roster provides innumerable strategies and play styles. It's brutish welcome is certain to dissuade many newcomers with unrelenting AI and unnecessarily obscure move lists, but those that make it past the opening trials will be rewarded with one of the most unique and charming 2D fighters in a long time.
Bedlam is undeniably an enjoyable kick for those who grew up in the '80s and '90s, surely drawing from personal experiences with the games it's emulating. The eccentricities found in Brookmyre's writing may work to alienate those merely passing through, but for those drawn in by the familiarity of its charming block graphics it'll simply be an added bonus. If you're still missing the days of dial-up LAN games of Quake then this is well worth a look, but if you have no idea what that first sentence meant, well you're probably better off giving it a miss altogether.
The Fall takes inspiration from all the right games, merging Metroid-style platforming and atmosphere with Dark Souls difficulty and Portal writing. Its deep and thoughtful explorations into the technicalities of AI are intelligent and surprisingly thought provoking. It's unfortunately hindered by clunky mechanics and overly complicated puzzles that often border on the obtuse when it comes to the specifics required to finish them. Google will be your best friend when playing through this, but try and avoid cheating or giving up entirely; solving The Fall's conundrums is actually somewhat worth the hassle for once, proving to be a creative and rewarding challenge that shows creativity and promise.
A handful of matches with Stardust Vanguards is actually heaps of fun and will certainly be shortlisted among the usual titles picked for game nights. The hectic sci-fi vibe is brilliant and the soundtrack is a thumping thing of beauty. Sadly, things can grind to a halt after a few games and the things that got you going several rounds earlier aren't doing anything for you now. It's a specific game for a specific time and place, made even more specific thanks to its purely local set up which acts as both a blessing and a curse, in almost equal measure. It's hard to pinpoint why it suffers with fatigue quite so badly but, irrespective, it's fully worth having in your library, albeit just for that one night in with your friends you'll all remember for a long time to come.
For all its promise of revolution, Evolve seems to consistently trip where its spiritual predecessor – Left 4 Dead – seemed to excel. The balancing is actually too good, causing it to fall apart when someone doesn't play correctly. The monster gameplay is pleasantly the best aspect, but feels undercooked anywhere else but Hunt mode. This is surely a game that'll only improve as its community stabilises, but right now it's hard to recommend unless you've got a group of willing friends.