Bullet hell games are meant to be challenging because when you beat that boss you’ve been struggling with it can feel highly rewarding. Witch Thief doesn’t feel like that though because the amount of frustration that you go through just really isn’t worth it in the end. The story is underwhelming, the dialogue confusingly unfunny and the characters are generic and unlikeable. It feels fun to play at times, weaving between the waves of attacks is the highlight of the experience but you never feel like you give anything back. Instead, you just have to survive long enough for the health bars to disappear out of boredom rather than you being good. There is too much emphasis on luck and what makes this game unique is also its biggest letdown which makes it an unworthy addition in the bullet hell shmup genre.
HELLMUT: The Badass from Hell is a wonderfully crazy and exciting 2D bullet-hell dungeon crawler with an eclectic mix of weapons and upgrades or transformations to play as. It’s hellish in its design but heaven to play, especially when you nail sections without taking damage or timing your powers just right. There is a surprising amount of depth here, with the balance between exploring for treasure and killing to reach your goal, or the choices you make in the store, all adding layers to what makes a very addictive and fulfilling shooter.
Neon Caves is a fun arcade shmup with a lot of personality and uniqueness to make it a standout shooter. It has a very strange, but interesting mechanic that allows it to separate itself from others in the genre. It is a little repetitive as there is only one mode, and there is a steep learning curve right out of the blocks, which may put people off. However, the leaderboards and the addition of a list of challenging achievements should keep hardcore players coming back for more and more because of how addictive it can be.
Killing Floor: Incursion is a fantastic showcase of how good PSVR can be. When gunplay is done that smoothly and in such a badass way, it’s an absolute treat and needs to be experienced by all fans of the FPS genre. I can honestly say it’s the most awesome I’ve felt in a VR headset. While there are other games that use VR in more innovative ways, Tripwire Interactive has made a game that truly feels like you’re playing the lead role in an action movie like Hardcore Henry.
Killing Floor 2 is now, for me, the standard to beat for survival-based multiplayer shooters. The shooting has no right to feel as good as it does and Zed time is highly gratifying and adds to the addictive feeling the game provides. While the progression system and perk system take a long time to get going, they eventually add a deep and meaningful reason to keep playing. The soundtrack is awesome and feels like it narrates the action as opposed to playing over it. The characters also add some charm to the gameplay with quotes and interactions that are funnier than you might expect. The developers have promised to keep supporting the game for at least the next year, which is a testament to how they value their player base. While the game lacks a campaign and a huge variety of modes, it never truly feels repetitive. Killing Floor 2 is a wonderfully done shooter that makes a Zed-infested apocalypse feel like a playground rather than a situation to fear
It hadn’t been that long since I last played Resident Evil Zero on PS4, a few months at most. That being said, I couldn’t put the game down again on the Switch because I was just as gripped as I was the first time I played it. The game truly has something for everyone and serves as a perfect introduction to the greatest and most successful horror game series of all time. Resident Evil Zero plays like a nightmare that you want to fall back asleep into; it’s not pleasant but I never want it to end. It’s a fitting and tasteful remaster and the Switch port holds its own against the more powerful platforms while being able to provide an alternate way of playing. There are still those niggling controls that tamper with how your experience plays out but it’s not bad enough to take away from the game.
I’m having an absolute blast with Black Paradox. I keep coming back to it as there’s just so much more fun for me to have in this retro-futuristic world. The Roguelike gameplay is addictive and for every death I experience, I feel pumped to just try that little bit harder. It’s so ’80s it hurts and I absolutely love that about it. Is it the best game ever made? No, of course not but that’s not what it’s trying to be. Instead, it’s a beautiful homage to the classic arcade days, made even better when you bring along a friend to shoot up all of those evil space baddies. The frustrating progression system holds it back from being the best side-scroller shooter I’ve ever played but it’s certainly one of the most fun.
While it fulfils its promise of delivering a much needed edge to the saturated zombie horror scene, Deadlight: Director's Cut is sadly hampered by its clunky combat system and recycled puzzles. Existing players may feel compelled to delve back into the experience as its visuals feel noticeably refined and its survival mode – although flawed – can be addictive in small doses. But although it's brimming with fresh ideas and possesses a compelling atmosphere, it isn't able to stand tall as it rests on a ground of flawed fundamentals.
Dead Island: Definitive Collection is by no means perfect, but it still succeeds in providing you with a substantial slice of flawed but generally fine zombie slaying action. Despite offering a graphical upgrade, though, there may not be much here to lure in those who have played these titles before – especially seeing as no real changes have been made to the core gameplay, and because newcomer Retro Revenge disappoints.
After capturing our attention with a strong concept and an intriguing open world, Homefront: The Revolution struggles with the basics: weapons feel unsatisfying to use, side quests are repetitive, characters are under-developed, and the online multiplayer represents a step back for the series. Sadly, for all of its ambition, there's just not much here worth fighting for.
Sketching the true horrors of mental illness, Neverending Nightmares succeeds in creating an unnerving atmosphere that will keep you forever on the edge of your seat. It's let down by a lack of environments and varied gameplay, but it still stands as a chilling experience that those with an interest in the genre should check out.
Although it may be undeniably pretty, Masquerade: The Baubles of Doom suffers from a number of glaring flaws that prevent it from being a worthwhile experience. A clunky combat system, misdirected humour, and stale repetitive gameplay are just a few things that will likely diminish any amount of enjoyment that you may be able to draw from this sadly mediocre effort.
Far Cry Primal is able to stand out from the pack, throwing in enough new and appealing additions along the way to warrant a full-game release. As somebody who was largely disappointed in how similar Far Cry 4 was to its predecessor, I found Primal to be a breath of fresh air, adding in it's own new features while still keeping the core mechanics that we've grown to love from the series. It would be refreshing if Ubisoft could continue to do more with the series within upcoming installments, possible toying with more settings and time periods to prevent future entries from feeling monotonously familiar.
Ultimately, Layers of Fear exists as a chilling cinematic experience that is capable of more than a few scares along the way. Uncovering the game's narrative is largely enjoyable and will forever keep you guessing, as clues feel well paced and each horrifying set piece is related. The game may rely on a few too many jump scares and voice acting may feel off at times, but there's still no denying that Layers of Fears is a truly memorable and massively creepy experience.
Ultimately, Unravel presents itself as an unspoken story of lost love and a yearning for the past. Protagonist Yarnie is instantly loveable and is possibly one of the most likeable videogame characters in recent memory. The game shines through its stunning visuals, heartfelt soundtrack and unique platforming elements creating a truly unforgettable experience. Unfortunately, gameplay does lack substance, as it can be completed in just six hours and lacks any real replay value. These criticisms fortunately fail to tarnish the beauty and tranquility that is forever on display.