Amy Kay Purcell
Charming and fast paced, Anarcute is a delightfully quirky little game. Light on story but high on style, this addicting riot simulator offers five to six hours of adorable destruction and cute, colorful animals. As challenging as it is fun, Anarcute requires tactical thinking and quick reflexes. Anarchy has never been this adorable.
Little King’s Story is a delightful RPG with around 30 hours of gameplay. With a cheerful soundtrack, imaginative landscapes, and improved graphics, this re-release can stand shoulder to shoulder with similar games on the market. The gameplay is fun, addictive, and pretty forgiving. You’ll find plenty to do in this game, from digging for treasure, to collecting taxes, to completing quests, to battling bosses and other baddies. Fans of the series will no doubt enjoy getting lost in the colorful kingdom of Alpoko once again.
Bear With Me is an entertaining, witty point-and-click investigation game with a Noir twist. Its strong characters, unique style, and snappy dialogue will resonate with fans of the genre. The game is held back by slow load times and a surprisingly short story, but provides a great little adventure and a solid overall experience.
Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past is a solid JRPG remake with more than enough plot and gameplay to keep RPG fans happy. The turn based battle system is light on grind, filled with Dragon Quest’s trademark cast of colorful monsters, and offers a mostly hands-off feature for fights. With an engaging story, a huge world to explore, and plenty of side quests and additional content, there are many of reasons to get lost in the past.
Rogue Wizards is a solid casual roguelike with unique monster designs, perpetually generated dungeons and 10-12 hours of story-mode gameplay. Dungeons themselves are challenging and fun, requiring a bit strategy to defeat monsters which utilize truly unique and interesting attacks. While the boss battles and AI are a little lackluster, the ability to teleport within floors, bonuses for defeating all enemies, and the replayability offered by the Gauntlet mode make Rogue Wizards a good investment for the small price tag of $15.
Albion Online is taking some new, innovative approaches to some of the tired, established traditions of the MMO genre. Top-down and low poly, Albion Online can be played on computers and mobile devices. With a player-driven economy and a focus on PVP and risk vs reward gameplay, the world of Albion is incredibly fluid. A unique gear focused, class-free system encourages unique and surprising equipment combinations. Dungeons may be boring, but there are plenty of other ways make your mark and either earn or steal a fortune in the world of Albion Online.
Civilization VI is the most strategic installment of the Civilization series to date. With upgrades to everything from city planning and management to an entirely revamped social policy system, the are lots of new and improved features to dive into. Diverse maps, unique leader abilities and plenty of interesting rival empires to befriend and fight, Civ VI has a lot to explore and great replay value.
Pokémon Sun and Moon are the most refreshing and exciting updates to the Pokémon franchise to date. Having found an impressive balance between old and new, providing both nostalgia and innovation, Pokémon Sun and Moon are a must-play for any Pokémon fan. With depth which is surprising and not obvious early on, a new path to becoming the best, and entirely new ways of getting around, there are plenty of reasons to explore the Alola Region.
2064: Read Only Memories is a free expansion to the original game, available on Steam for $19.99. With a cyber-punk setting and a retro vibe, Read Only Memories is filled with a host of interesting and colorful characters to get to know, a complex and escalating mystery to navigate, puzzles to solve, and a sinister plot or two to overthrow, making it a great investment for fans of the point-and-click adventure genre.
Bear With Me Episode 2 takes everything great about Episode 1 and improves upon it. Amber, Ted, and their straining relationship hit the streets of Paper City, diving deeper into the tangled web of deceptions and hidden motivations surrounding Flint's disappearance and the mysterious Red Man. With two to five hours of gameplay, more places to explore, a diverse and interesting cast of characters, a strong infusion of humor, and a diverging story which encourages replays, this point-and-click noir puzzle game brings a lot of enjoyment to bear.
Dragon Quest VIII is a massive world with well over 50 hours of gameplay. It stands out thanks to stellar voice acting and a huge, quirky set of monsters to battle. While there’s plenty to do, both the plot and the majority of the characters are flat and uninteresting. The quicksave feature and the ability to increase battle speed are significant quality of life improvements over the original, making this a solid title sure to entertain JRPG fans, but the dated and grind-heavy mechanics can make it a bit of a slog.
Homebound is a virtual reality experience best saved for the daredevils and veterans of VR. Its controls are clunky, it has a habit of leaving you spinning in the most gut-wrenching of ways with little to no warning, and its story mode instructions can be frustratingly obtuse. That said, it gives you the opportunity to experience life on a space station, and gazing out the viewport can be a shockingly powerful experience. It's difficult to resolve these dichotomies, but at the end of the day, I felt that the experience it offered was more than worth its $8.99 price tag.
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns brings all the charm of the Bokujō Monogatari games, along with a whole new cast of characters animals, and a number of improvements. With a more colorful and stylized look than the previous game, a new part-time job system, and a revised, more strategic approach to tool upgrades, Trio of Towns is a welcoming, forgiving, and addicting game. One of the biggest Boku games yet, Trio of Towns is loaded with characters, features, and objects to unlock, and is a must-have for fans of life down on the farm.
Narcosis is a shining example of a virtual reality psychological thriller done right, and a is must play for any horror junkie.
Interkosmos is a short virtual reality experience which places you in the hot seat of a space capsule returning to Earth during the Cold War. Combining an incredibly high pressure situation with a great deal of humor, Ovid Works has crafted a truly unique, narrative-driven experience. While the game is only around 30 minutes long, it has branching storylines, two successful endings, and makes death incredibly fun with a whole host of ways for you to perish. It's highly interactive, it makes incredibly satisfying clicky noises when pressing buttons and flipping switches, and it's over the top, colorful, retro graphics make it a unique and fun experience. Climb into the Interkosmos cockpit, make history, and show the world that Major Tom has nothing on you.
1-2 Switch defied my expectations, providing an entertainment experience above and beyond that of what I thought was its closest counterpart, Wii Sports. It has a huge variety of games, some better than others, which appeal to both gamers and non-gamers alike. Although artificial restrictions placed on some games and game modes keep it from being as much fun as it could be, this is an excellent party game, and it's just as much fun to watch as it is to play.
Symphony of the Machine is the epitome of what a virtual reality experience should be. It nails everything from visuals to sound, from challenges to object interaction, all without a hint of motion sickness. This peaceful puzzler will calm your mind, challenge your brain, nurture your green thumb and leave you wanting much, much more. It's rather light on content, offering one to two hours of gameplay, but scores perfect marks in literally every other regard. While the short gameplay may be disappointing for those looking to squeeze every minute of entertainment out of their dollar, Symphony of the Machine is a must have for those dedicated apostles who seek to spread the gospel of VR.
The Caligula Effect offers a fascinating story inside of a huge virtual world. Filled with heavy concepts, writer Tadashi Satomi weaves a complex story about human suffering, artificial happiness, and the lengths people will go to find inner peace. While not nearly as developed or immersive as Persona 5, the game's flashy graphics, star-studded soundtrack and solid story help to make up for what the game lacks in a depressingly shallow and unfulfilling social system, unclear objectives within dungeons and a rather tedious battle system.
The unexpected combination of the racing and wave defense genre, Radiant Crusade is a colorful, high speed VR shooter. While not suitable for anyone susceptible to motion sickness, be it from VR or riding in cars, this title is enjoyable enough in short bursts. A lack of both minimap and contrast between the game's glowing fauna and enemies makes it challenging to master, despite its easy and intuitive controls.
Medusa's Labyrinth has made an art out of building tension, using a brilliant combination of setting, sounds and truly grotesque monsters to create several heart-pounding, white-knuckle, hold-your-breath and drop-your-torch moments. While this game perfectly sets the stage, this setting is tragically undermined by unclear controls which have not been well adapted to VR, nausea-inducing simulated motion, and the tedious chore of physically wandering blindly through an unmarked labyrinth.