With a solid progression system that means no defeat has to be too punishing and every attempt gets you a little further, Sky Force Reloaded is a 'one more try' shooter. Building up your ship from a pathetic husk to a monstrous killing machine is satisfying and fun, but it's a slight shame that the game is let down at times by bland environments and all too familiar enemy types.
Your fate is decided by a scattering of cards across a table; dice rolls mean death or fortune and your next step could warp you to an insurmountable brawl. Hand Of Fate's mix of strategic planning, random chance, and meaty combat is both rewarding and addictive. Fighting lacks complexity and doesn't quite stand up to the eventual repetition, but this game within a game is still well worth your time overall.
Rogue Trooper is still fun, and boasts a sense of freedom that even many modern shooters don't possess. The polished visuals do a good job bringing a ten-year-old game to new consoles, but the overall feel may be too creaky and old-fashioned for some.
A stealth game built on a philosophical concept: fight an army of yourself that respawns better, faster, and stronger based on your own expanding growth. ECHO boasts a rich and well-designed sci-fi world that isn't bogged down by plot or exposition. There isn't much to do beyond the core sneaking, and the midpoint drags, but this is a genuinely unique and intense title that deserves to be experienced.
If nothing else, Night Trap is a historic document. A nostalgia trip for some and an insight into a rare gaming niche for others. Presented here with insightful extras and a modern lick of paint, it still stands up as a genre curio. There isn't much content here and continued enjoyment will rely on how much you are willing to replay the main story. But, if you succumb to its corny charms, this is a game as entertaining to play as it is to watch.
Graceful Explosion Machine is a gorgeous and innovative take on a now ancient genre of arcade shooter. The weapon system brings an element of combo juggling to the combat and challenge runs are addictive and, crucially, not too punishing. Simply put, this is another top-notch PS4 shmup.
A welcome return to a type of stealth-strategy that hasn't been seen on PlayStation for many a moon. The period setting forms a great backdrop for the action, missions are steeped in atmosphere, and the central characters are just plain cool. Lack of co-op is a missed opportunity, but the addictive challenge badges will keep you coming back for more. Shadow Tactics: Blade of the Shogun is a serious tactical treat..
99Vidas is an affectionate homage to scrolling beat em ups of the 80s and 90s. It's also a fun game to spend an afternoon with, regardless of age and skill. There's not a lot of content and you can run through the story mode in a few hours, but local and online co-op, unlockable characters, and the promise of more levels should give it some lasting appeal.
A fun throwback to a number of different beloved titles, Iron Crypticle is fun in short bursts and can be a blast with friends. Yet, aside from the charm of the 8-bit visuals, there isn't an enormous amount here to keep you dungeon running once the initial novelty wears thin.
Serial Cleaner is a fun little game which offers something that's both similar to other indie titles on the market and thematically unique for the stealth genre. Its difficulty and slight release content are offset by a number of options, a great premise, and some uniquely engaging gameplay.
There is nothing quite like Kingdom Hearts. A wish fulfillment universe populated by a roster of endearing characters both new and established. This collection pulls together smooth running and visually impressive transfers of both the main games, as well as the fantastic Birth by Sleep and three other titles that will appeal to fans and completionists. There is more than enough here to tide you over until the fabled release of Kingdom Hearts III.
Has-Been Heroes is as tough as nails and built for people that like to lose over and over again. The combat offers an interesting twist on a familiar mechanic, but never really evolves beyond that initial learning process. Some of the whimsy present in the Trine series has been carried over here, but not enough to balance out the punishing difficulty.
An interesting genre mash-up that offers noir adventure and city management in bite-sized chunks. An expertly crafted atmosphere can't hide some rigid storytelling and shallow systems, but fans of cop movies and resource management should give this one a go.
Killing Floor 2 is a great co-op experience with pick up and play appeal that promises to keep delivering with frequent updates and community driven content. It's been a long time since there's been such an addictive standalone co-op game on the PS4.
The overall experience at the centre of all Skylanders: Imaginators' toys and loot chests is so charming and feature-rich that kids will enjoy it and adults won't begrudge playing it alongside them. If you don't mind the potentially large financial undertaking that a Skylanders game represents, then this is perfect for younger players. The return of Crash is also good value; it's simply heartening to see that the 90s mascot feels at home in a modern platformer.
BioShock: The Collection is the best way to experience the world of Rapture and Columbia. All three games and their DLC look great and, despite a slightly creaky port of the first game, perform well. Unfortunately, series veterans won't find anything new, meaning that the visual upgrade and the convenience of having everything pulled into one package are the only reasons to return to games that you may have already experienced multiple times.
[email protected] is a fun dungeon crawler regardless of whether the historical significance of collecting letters and throwing the @ sign at goblins is lost on you. A distinctive visual style complements simple and enjoyable combat, a satisfying collection of craftable weapons, and a rewarding learning curve. Dungeon runs can get a bit samey, but a co-op mode and robust dungeon creator reward further visits.