Ben 10 is an enjoyable little beat-'em-up romp. All 10 of Ben's aliens feel fleshed out and vastly different from one another, and jumping from enemy-to-enemy in the fast-paced combat is suitably satisfying. Fans of the show will be thrilled with the faithful recreation of the show's art style and general feel. Unfortunately, it's a little bit let down by the afterthought upgrade system, incredibly short length, and non-existent difficulty.
WWE 2K18 is a solid entry into the annual series, but is unfortunately let down by a few clunky implementations. The presentation and actual wrestling gameplay are as good as ever and Universe Mode has seen a number of additions to make it far more enjoyable. Unfortunately, the ambitious attempt to revamp MyPlayer misses the mark a little with glitches, repetitive side-quests, and a story that's afraid to deviate even a tiny bit from its set path.
The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Video Game is another good entry in the LEGO series of games. The increased focus on combat pays off with a fleshed out system that makes each character feel unique, while the free-running provides enough safety nets to keep you from getting frustrated. Despite a couple of technical hiccups and a poorly thought out ending, LEGO NINJAGO has so much going for it that the overall experience isn't dampened.
One Piece: Unlimited World Red - Deluxe Edition is exactly what a licensed game should be. It captures the essence of the One Piece franchise through its story, writing, and characters, while also providing gameplay that could stand on its own without the name attached to it. Ganbarion has struck a delicate balance of creating a game that works for both hardcore One Piece fans and players who have never heard of the series before.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II improves over the original in some ways, but fails in many others. There are a number of great quality of life improvements here and two new classes are very welcome. Unfortunately, the meat of the game is the combat, and it's just not very interesting. It becomes a chore to trudge through enemies and there's not even the pull of an intriguing or interesting story to keep you motivated.
Leaving Lyndow has some promising aspects, but overall it's a frustrating experience. The puzzle sections are poorly thought out and mostly implemented to impede the player's progress and extend the running time for a little while longer, while the technical hiccups shatter your story immersion.
Toby: The Secret Mine has plenty of great ideas that could make it a great game, but it quickly plummets down a mineshaft thanks to a number of missteps. It generally succeeds as a puzzle game, but the heavy focus on platforming doesn't work well and hampers the overall experience. By following the basic visual style and gameplay from such a highly regarded game like Limbo, The Secret Mine sets itself a standard it's never able to reach.
Portal Knights brings some interesting new wrinkles to the crafting genre that has become so popular recently. The increased focus on combat works well, particularly with the boss battles and having a clearly defined end goal is a great way of keeping you invested. Unfortunately, some of the other additions like the poorly thought out stats system and the reliance on random drops for creating crucial portals keeps the game from ever fully achieving knighthood.
Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island is a sound gameplay experience, but lets itself down in a number of other areas. The humour and dialogue fall incredibly flat and there's really no rapport developed between Skylar and Plux during the game. The game's also very short, and while this isn't a terrible effort by any stretch, it begs the question why you wouldn't just play Ratchet & Clank instead.
NBA Playgrounds is a good modern take on the old-school arcade basketball game genre. It brings enough new ideas to the court to keep things feeling fresh, but at heart, it still retains the charm and accessibility that made NBA Jam such a beloved franchise. There are a few kicks with the shooting mechanics and rebounding is less than ideal, but the gameplay is strong enough in other areas to ensure it's still an overall slam dunk.