So, here I am comparing Sir Lovelot to a game made eleven years ago. Had the developers made one or two slightly different decisions, Sir Lovelot would earn a place in my heart. Instead, I tore through the game in two hours – though this could be extended if you want to find all the hidden items and secrets. I felt deflated after every level. Like a jilted lover, Sir Lovelot did not perform.
This is where SOLAS 128 falls down: it doesn’t ever really feel intuitive. It fails to point you in the right direction in the opening moments – a brief explanation of what each button does would go a long way. The vague ‘story’ also lets the whole experience down somewhat; had it been more fleshed out, it would elevate the mechanics.
The issue is only being able to play for short bursts because your eyes hurt. Or because you’re sick of reaching over to the mouse to select a new game mode, even though your controller worked on the main screen. With friends, in short bursts, Kinetic Edge can be fun. But for the most part, it feels like rolling a ball uphill, rather than down: awkward and difficult.
Ultimately, we’re left with a game that doesn’t appear to know exactly what it wants to be. Without the platforming, Blue Fire might have been a Souls-like adventure game. Without the combat, it would excel at precision platforming. But with both aspects in the mix, it doesn’t quite stick the landing of either.
Lonely Mountains is far from lonely, it rekindles a feeling of childhood. Of meeting with friends and exploring the woods, daring each other to take jumps or freewheel through water. It’s a game about being alone, by being at one with nature and the bike beneath you.
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?