While it is a short game, Lost Words: Beyond the Page deserves a lot of credit for making the most of narrative during that relatively brief runtime. So many games are forgotten almost as soon as I put down the controller – but that is not going to be the case here. While the platforming / puzzling gameplay itself is fairly shallow, the rest of the package is undeniably charming and an experience I enjoyed far more often than not.
Spacebase Startopia is a fairly standard strategy/simulation game at its core, with the balancing of resources, happiness and a bit of light RTS combat mixed in. Some technical concerns around the camera, balky control scheme and less-than-stellar AI diminish the overall experience, however. There is plenty of micromanaging fun to be had here for fans of the genre, but Spacebase Startopia is not among the best in the genre either.
Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection Vol 1 is a fantastic selection of games, even if it does tilt a little heavy towards the fighting side of things. Given that the title has ‘Vol 1’ in there, I wonder if we’ll see one or two more of these collections (the Pocket Color had 31 games released for it). Assuming you haven’t already picked up all of the previously released fighting games, this is a very worthwhile collection for old school gaming enthusiasts.
Black Legend’s combat is solid if unspectacular, and the setting is unique and atmospheric. The character progression is more interesting than the characters themselves, and the story fails to match the intrigue created by the overall visual style due to average writing. Across the board, Black Legend is a decent game with some good ideas but technical issues hold it back.
Monster Truck Championship is pretty easy to pick up, despite its vehicles being quite different from most traditional racing games. The events and options are fun enough, and I thoroughly enjoyed the career mode as it provided me an opportunity to unlock more content. That being said, the production values are simply good, not great and the pacing of the larger trucks and slower events may not appeal to all fans of racing games, as some people simply want to go as fast as possible and not worry about things like tricks or damage bonuses. Monster Truck Championship is not going to be for every racing gamer out there, but I came away having enjoyed my time with it.
Mortal Shell: Enhanced Edition was put together by a relatively small studio, and that makes what they were able to do here even more impressive. It sprinkles in enough unique mechanics to make it more than a simple Souls clone, but should still scratch that itch for fans of the genre. There are some rough edges here and there, with a few design choices that I was not in love with, but the overall presentation and gameplay are satisfyingly well done.
Natsuki Chronicles is a smooth, polished shooter that has some great, modern RPG-lite features that make it accessible despite the shoot-‘em-up genre being one traditionally known for being brutally challenging. A bit more effort in localizing the audio would have gone a ways for making the in-stage narrative easier to soak in, but that is a pretty minor complaint about an otherwise very entertaining game.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV: Diplomacy & Strategy Pack is a worthy addition to an already excellent strategy game. It was enough to get me to sink in dozens more hours into a title that I had not played in several months, reminding me how much I enjoyed the fourteenth installment of the franchise. That being said, if you played the core game in the past and found it not to your liking, I doubt that the additional depth or even the addition of Chronicles mode will convince you to give it another go – the core content and pacing had not changed all that dramatically. If like me however, you enjoyed what the base game had to offer, the additional depth and options hold plenty of appeal.
There is a lot of potential in Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, I just wish more of it had been fully realized. There are moments of excitement to be had, especially in the game’s earlier hours as you take on your werewolf form and lay waste to your opponents. However, the combat and many of the environments become repetitive relatively quick. Given the game’s tie-in to the well-established RPG property of Werewolf: The Apocalypse, I do wish there had been more depth in both character development and the story itself. There is a ton of potential lore to draw from here, but it misses some of those opportunities. The end result? A decent enough weekend action-RPG binge, but not much else.
Having enjoying the racing game Redout, I was looking forward to seeing the developer’s take on the space shooting genre. They got some things right, especially the on-rails sections and creating a nice sense of speed, but there’s enough rough edges coupled with a lack of depth that relegates Redout: Space Assault to simply being an average, budget entry into the genre.