So, as the closing moments began to tick away I felt that sadness akin to the fading of a memory; the running of a chalk drawing on a London street. It’s not just the comparison of water moving colours, but with the sense of something special happening. Something magical. GRIS captures imagination, the beauty of movement and the lustre of a sumptuous piece of art, all the while letting the player interact with it, making us feel both insignificant and yet ever more important.
All of this makes Horizon Chase Turbo a bit of a frustrating experience. Where it excels is in ideas and concepts, yet it falters on the basic function of exciting racing. It looks and sounds good but lacks any memorable locations or tracks and it straddles an odd balance between pure arcade racer and pseudo-simulation, with its use of refuelling and permanent upgrades.
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is like buying a vinyl record of your favourite album. It’s a little dated, a bit niche and to be honest, newer versions are more accessible and easier to interact with. But there’s love there, what it does, is done incredibly well and while the series is moving on over on other platforms, this is the classic formula distilled into a version that can be played at home on a 40” TV or on the bus.
Small flaws like the lack of customisation and differing styles in enemies can be overlooked if you treat the game as it comes. Bad North is a game that manages to balance the fine line between puzzle game and simulation delivering a tactical roguelike which constantly feels refreshing.
Hello Neighbor could be fun, within the right parameters. The neighbour would hold a lot more terror if his actions carried any weight. The puzzling aspect of switches, hidden doors and traps would be more enjoyable were they staged within an inspiring world or using interesting concepts. But the game fails on all of these points, not holding attention, not really projecting any fear beyond the first few encounters, and the world feels as flat as the polygons used to build it.
Bomber Crew is increasingly difficult and often frustrating, but it has bags of charm and completely suits the Switch. Playing portably is a great way to experience the game; it looks lovely and contains some wonderful nuances within the sound and features. I loved the little homing pigeon, decaling my plane with garish pictures of Yoshi and solving problems, if only there weren’t so many problems to solve at the same time.
Regardless of these issues, Semblance is a breath of fresh air to the platforming genre and one that is entirely welcome. Puzzle lovers will enjoy the idea of working around a problem, casual players can find enjoyment in every aspect and speedrunners are going to have a blast working out movement tech to beat the game swiftly.
It’s a one-time play, there are no unlocks to grab, no need to hunt down collectibles and the game is better for it. Things are kept simple, stylish and for a lot of the time, funny. It’s worth playing for the puzzles, it’s worth playing for the style and mostly, the animations.
Seasons makes the Sims more of a simulation and that can't be a bad thing. You could grumble that more items could have been included or other events were added besides festive holidays, but EA has effectively overhauled the personality of your creations in tiny ways while introducing new actions, ways to interact and design ideas for the home. Plus, you can ‘WooHoo' with Santa and surely that will put us on the nice list?
Once you’re in a groove, you can spend hours chasing the perfect playthrough, combining items and spells and tackling the dungeons. Handily, the game keeps track of how many runs you’ve attempted, which, when you reach triple digits, is a lovely metric for how addictive the game can be.
The puzzle game soon adds the idea of Ming fighting a boss, even though up to now the enemies have been largely passive – touching them kills Ming, but that’s all. Now you have to move nodes around the areas, while keeping an eye on the boss movement, often dying in order to have a little extra time to move the nodes to a new place on the next go around. It’s baggage the game really doesn’t need and the inclusion of something that relies on precision movement with a clumsy transport system designed primarily for puzzles, is a massive hole in an otherwise clever premise.
West of Loathing is a game you pick up for ten minutes and put down four hours later because you were lost in finding the right item or avenging the deaths of a family. Aside from a few tiny flaws here and these, this is a must own game for everyone and one that begs to be played over and again.
With so few football games on Switch, Legendary Eleven might be tempting, but be prepared for a scruffy 0-0 draw rather than a 5-4 thriller. There are some highlights that impress, but the game's many technical flaws, lack of depth and unbalanced gameplay will most likely cause you yearn for something more refined and exciting. It really is a game of two halves.
With a sci-fi twist on an old formula, Songbringer is almost a breath of fresh air. Occasional stereotypes aren't as welcome as all of the new ideas the game brings forward, including a tongue-in-cheek style of humour to accompany a truly unique experience and a gorgeous visual style. With so many options and routes through the story, this is a game begging to be replayed for months to come.