Seth G. Macy
I found myself thinking about my daily farming routine in Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns even when I wasn't playing it. Since there's never any feeling of the grim spectre of Father Time looming large and there are enough random events to shake up the daily routine, doing my virtual chores in these charming and beautiful towns and unlocking a steady stream of rewards is relaxing, despite some annoyances with unnecessary travel and unskippable animations. And since the only requirement of Trio of Towns is to prove that farm life is a noble life, the pressure to succeed is never daunting.
Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze's addition of Funky Mode makes it more accessible without reducing the formidable platforming difficulty to a walk in the park. There's still a lot of challenge, even with the extra help Donkey's Funky uncle affords. But the Switch version manages to take just enough of an edge off a punishing game to let the fun platforming outshine its difficulty.
NHL 19 proves you can have your cake and eat it, too. It has a complex, sim-heavy Franchise mode, fun, fast, ridiculous arcade modes, and everything in between. There's a style of play here for anyone, from the absolute rookie to someone who lives and breathes hockey. The action on the ice feels excellent and there's just so much to do in NHL 19 that I was able to find a game mode to match any kind of mood I was in at the time. We don't need to ask “where did all the arcade-style sports games go?” anymore, because NHL 19 folded them all into a fantastic, robust package oozing with pure fun. What's most amazing is how the modes are so different in tone, but maintain excellence throughout.