- Red Dead Redemption
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
I’ve missed out on Roller Coaster Tycoon and its descendants, so I can’t compare Parkitect to those games. What I can say is that it is delightful and non-threatening, and playing it has typically left me feeling pleasantly drowsy and contented, the way I might after wandering around a brightly-lit midway, munching a corn dog covered in mustard in a gauzy childhood memory of the carnival.
Frozen Synapse 2 is a welcome return to the intensely micromanaged turn-based tactical battles that made the original so compelling. The asynchronous multiplayer is unquestionably the star of the show, and queuing up multiple online games at once means you're never stuck waiting for an opponent, and that you can play at your own pace. But while the new City Game story mode is conceptually interesting, in practice the largely scripted sequence of story missions doesn't allow for much in the way of meaningful gameplay depth.
What's struck me most about my time with Vampyr is that it manages to turn you into a predator through its mechanics as much as it does with its storytelling. It does collapse under its own weight by the end, but the fact that it so effectively seduces you, almost trance-like, into roleplaying a villain makes it worth biting into.
Shadwen has a lot of dings and dents – a superfluous crafting and loot system, unreliable physics, poor AI, and a fairly one-note aesthetic, and a brief campaign – but it manages to entertain nonetheless with its devil-may-care approach to puzzle solving and a heroine who’s actually a rather horrible, stabby bastard.
Add in a terrific soundtrack by Command & Conquer composer Frank Klepacki, and that’s 8-Bit Armies – it’s a small, tightly-designed RTS geared toward genre newcomers that doesn’t offer much in the way of gimmicky flash or weird new asymmetric factions, but counters with an easy-to-use design with just enough moving pieces to make it a great first step for players who are RTS-curious but intimidated by the likes of StarCraft 2 or Total War.
[W]hile I loved the atmosphere, the setting, and the aesthetic of The Flame in the Flood, I never got that "one more run" feeling I've gotten from other roguelites like Isaac or Spelunky. It's possible that the game's pace is a bit off, or that I haven't quite figured out the "correct" way to play it.