Overall, despite a few drawbacks and the infernal botanics menu, CrossCode is a really solid title that made me habitually forget I was playing it by myself. The characters are all pretty interesting and unique, the dungeons and puzzles are challenging but not impossible, and the combat is smooth. While there is a lot of menu lag and some of the quests can get a little frustrating, ultimately the latter is something you have to deal with in any RPG, and the former can be generally ignored by staying out of certain menu features. CrossCode is definitely worth checking out, and now that it's on the Switch, you can bring it with you too. If you're any fan of .Hack// or Trials of Mana, take a look into CrossCode, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised.
Overall, The Academy provides a lot of entertaining puzzle solving and an entertaining storyline. While some of the puzzles are confusing or arguable, you get that in pretty much any puzzle game, and the few number of issues with understanding puzzle solutions really speaks for how well they're put together. There are plenty of puzzles, and enough little side missions to keep you entertained for a while. There are enough hint items floating around to help you through the core of the game, and they're easy enough to earn if you put the effort in. The Academy is an enjoyable puzzle solving experience that I would recommend to anyone coming off a Layton bend, or looking for some riddles to solve.
Overall, I have to say I had a surprising amount of fun with Touhou Mechanical Scrollery. The stages weren't too long, and the game finishes before it starts wearing on you too badly. Yes, it is rather short at only four chapters with about ten or so missions per chapter, but it was a nice pace. The graphics are decent, and the soundtrack quality isn't bad. You get enough material drops that you won't be farming a stage for six hours trying to get an azure dragonsphire equivalent, although the amount of money you'll need is a little aggravating. Weapon trees are pretty decent with a variety of options, and I didn't have the game crash while playing. That being said, it's very clunky and could use a lot of refining. As a step away from the standard 2D fare, I'd say it is a nice refreshing step. As a whole however, it falls flat in some key areas, although not to the point that it causes any critical issues.
Overall, I'd say my time spent with Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen was well spent. While the lengthy text may tend to drag on a bit, especially around the middle, the combat is interspersed well, and the breaks given allow to break up the monotony. The characters are interesting and unique, the scenes are well drawn, and the soundtrack selection is well done. Combat can be both smooth and infuriating at times, but is overall different enough to remain entertaining while not so overly complicated you need a guidebook every third turn. If you are a fan of Visual Novels and grid-based tactics, you'll probably get a fair amount of fun out of Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen.
While Infinite: Beyond the Mind doesn't really offer anything new or exciting to the genre, it's still a wonderful experience with a lot of solid design choices behind it. With stages that don't drag on past their welcome, a co-op mode, the ability to save between stages, and some pretty fun boss fights, you can get a lot of fun from Infinite.
Overall, the experience from The Inner Friend felt distinctly lacking, if not at least positive. The game is way too short, some of the areas felt either way too long (the ruins) or way too short (the mall literally took me less than 2 minutes to finish), and more often than not, just when a stage was reaching its end did I really start getting into it. The Inner Friend also suffers from a bit of a "genre disorder" halfway through, as it turns into less spooky, more weird mini games and escorting without the same eerie feeling, and some rather clunky handling on occasion. There was a lot that felt unfurnished and unexplored, and The Inner Friend would have really benefited from some refining and expansion to the different themes explored.
Overall, Operencia does a lot of interesting and new things to the genre. Unfortunately this is bogged down by some infuriatingly annoying fights, cringey dialogue, and some very aggravating skills from enemies, it's easy to lose the magic that the game starts out with. The synthesis is a nice break from the tedium and frustration that can set in, which is a shame given how hopeful I was when I started. While I really did want to like Operencia: the Stolen Sun more than I did, that doesn't mean it's bad, just probably not what a veteran dungeon crawler would really drive for.
Overall, La Mulana 2 is a great successor to La Mulana, much to both my joy and chagrin. With gameplay improvements that don't make me still want to throw something out the window and more reasonable puzzles, to harder platforming, enemies, and enough instant death traps to make me flip a table, La Mulana 2 really didn't trade out any of the difficulty, just shifted it. I can't express just how great this game is to play, especially for those looking for a bit of nostalgia for those tough as nails old-school games.
La Mulana is a really wonderful blend platforming, puzzle "attempting", solid music, and some nice updated graphics. With a slew of interesting interconnected areas, plenty of puzzles to bash your head against, and a great challenge that doesn't feel artificial or purely sadistic. Well, the jury's still out on that last point. I have very few gripes about La Mulana, mainly just bats and not being able to grab ladders while jumping.
Overall, Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories is rather lacking as a whole. While there isn't really anything that makes it unplayable, it certainly doesn't help you out a whole lot either. The concept ins interesting, but it just couldn't take off the way I had hoped it would.