Mayhem Brawler is a solid beat-‘em-up game that manages to do something few games in the genre do: make the narrative interesting. This is handled through a bevy of excellent comic book style panels and the ability to choose your own path to different endings. I do wish the combat was just a bit smoother, since that is what the core gameplay is all about, but the oodles of variety and fun supernatural theme make Mayhem Brawler fun despite its flaws.
Fort Triumph is a solid strategy game that should appeal to fans of the XCOM series. I can’t think of anything else quite like it with a fantasy setting, making it a rather unique game. The overall package is generally fairly enjoyable, even if the wrapping (sound effects, narration, uneven humor) has some rough edges to it. Fans of the genre should find enough here to enjoy though.
For me, Cardaclysm: Shards of the Four is a mixed bag with a ton of potential, but too many small issues that are impossible to completely overlook. I really liked the card evolution and deck building systems, I appreciated the quests, equipment and randomized nature of the stages, and the turn-based combat is generally satisfying. I just don’t like the difficulty spikes that are largely due to the uneven resource requirements and the rough control optimization. I have a feeling this would play better on PC with a mouse and a keyboard, but appreciate seeing games like this make their way to consoles, where I tend to play more. A bit of UI / control cleanup and better balance of resources would make Cardaclysm: Shards of the Four a much better overall title that is still worth a look – but be ready for a bit of frustration.
If you’re one of those people who feel like the annual releases are nothing more than roster updates, most likely it would take a massive release to convince you otherwise, and Madden NFL 22 is not that title. That being said, if you enjoy the core gameplay of the Madden franchise and can’t wait for some NFL action? There’s still a lot of fun to be had here and I certainly enjoyed my time with the game.
Synth Riders is an excellent rhythm game, with a strong selection of songs and fantastic visuals that really drew me into the experience. The variety of modes and difficulty customizations make this the kind of game that is easy for people to pick up and play, but also provides a gameplay loop that keeps you coming back for improved performances. The lack of online multiplayer is one of the few bummers here, but the overall package is too good to pass up on.
Streets of Rage 4: Mr. X Nightmare is a fairly priced bit of DLC that is the perfect reason for people who played this title a year ago to pick the game back up again. All three new characters play differently from one another, providing a satisfying variety as you pound your way through hapless bad guys once again. The Survival mode also exceeded my expectations and has that addictive ‘one more time’ feel to it.
Orcs Must Die! 3 is a welcome addition to consoles. Tower defense is one of my favorite genres, and there are not a lot of great games representing the genre on consoles. Orcs Must Die! 3 is a pretty great game. It’s vibrant and funny, with the right combination of strategy and action that kept me coming back for more. A bit more content and variety would have been appreciated, but what is here was still very enjoyable.
Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is not a AAA title, and it lacks a bit of the polish that comes with that, especially where the environmental interactions and some of the visuals are concerned. That being said, Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 gets it right where it matters most – the sniping gameplay. Scouting out for that perfect shot when you connect with it is incredibly satisfying. That gameplay loop of making money, improving your gear and skills and trying things from a different angle was a lot of fun, even with some of its rough edges.
There is a great deal to like about Samurai Warriors 5. The new art style is incredibly appealing, the progression elements make for a compelling gameplay loop and the focus on characters has made the narrative more interesting than ever. The series feels less niche than it has been in the past, with a handful of different modes to encourage replay, even if the combat itself still remains pretty simple by and large.
Sniper Elite VR pulls you in with flashy kill shots and some interesting presentation around the actual process of sniping. The PSVR’s tracking is not as precise as this title needs at times, but that is more a limitation of the hardware than the developers. Stage design makes sense, even if it perhaps seems a bit simplified when compared to the last couple of entries in the Sniper Elite series, and stealth feels a bit barren without any kind of melee options. These quibbles however are relatively minor in the big picture of what this title delivers. Sniper Elite VR is intense, immersive and simply put – a whole lot of fun.