Bugs aside, though, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed our time with Mail Time. This is a cute, whimsical adventure that anyone who likes cosy, relaxing games will enjoy. The silly dialogue won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but we still reckon it’ll raise a smile or two even from the sternest of faces. Leave action and violence aside for a bit, and Mail Time is the ideal chilled-out experience to spend a couple of hours with.
With a fantastic art style that immediately charms you, and engaging gameplay that will keep you coming back time and time again, we love Wildfrost. It’s a very welcome entry into the roguelike card battler genre, offering challenging but fulfilling combat that we can’t get enough of. If you’re a fan of games like Slay the Spire, we urge you to try Wildfrost. You won’t be disappointed.
Dredge is one of those rare treasures: a game unlike anything else that completely captures your attention with its intriguing world and simple yet captivating gameplay. We could keep hunting for rare fish forever, and we only wish there were more secrets for us to uncover; new parts of the world for us to explore. But when our only complaint is “we want more of it”, it’s clear we have something rather special on our hands.
Is Peppa Pig: World Adventures better than Peppa’s first game? Yes and no. Its young fan base will undoubtedly lap up another opportunity to star alongside Peppa in their very own episode, and its character creator is better than ever by letting kids create their own families this time, too. There’s also way more content, and the worldwide locations are bound to delight and inspire. If your little one is a Peppa Pig fan, they will love it. But as adults, we simply wish there was more educational value here.
For most players though, it’s the main meat of Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe – the platforming adventure – that will draw them in. It might not be the most revolutionary game – after all, the original is 12 years old – but it’s a charming platformer that’s as joyous as it always has been. And with the addition of Merry Magoland, this is a sizeable package with essentially endless replayability.
Avalanche Software and Portkey Games have done an impressive job of creating something original within a much-loved franchise. Hogwarts Legacy is the closest any of us are ever going to get to actually attending Hogwarts, and what a magical experience it is. It’s clear that it’s been created with love, and the attention to detail here is phenomenal. It’s not without its issues, of course, but there’s few that get in the way of the overall experience. It looks gorgeous, it’s a joy to play, and being a wizard is just about as fun as we’d always hoped it would be.
There’s something special about the power that Season: A Letter to the Future gives to the player; the freedom you have to explore, to document, to see and do exactly as you wish. Free of threat and any real time pressure, you’ll simply become absorbed, seeing everything for the first time just as your protagonist is. For the action-oriented amongst you, that might sound a little dull. But we can’t overstate just how wonderful it feels to play something like this, a game that really doesn’t mind what you do or how you do it, as long as you’re doing… something. It’s freeing, wholesome, relaxing but evocative. And we wish it didn’t have to end. Let us explore more corners of this enchanting, mysterious world, please.
If you can forgive the odd technical issue and you’re happy to sink into a rhythm of somewhat repetitive missions, Wavetale offers up an enjoyable five or six hours of laid-back gameplay. Its stylish and smooth traversal remains an absolute joy from start to finish: whether you’re skating along the water’s surface or jumping through wind tunnels, you’re going to have a smile on your face.
We applaud Adventure Academia: The Fractured Continent for trying to do something different. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite pay off. Its battle system is chaotic at best and downright infuriating at worst. And with a story that couldn’t quite hold our attention, there are much better RPGs out there. If you fancy trying something out of the ordinary, grab this in a sale. Otherwise, you’re not going to miss out on anything.
It’s not going to redefine what it means to be a 3D platformer, but Kukoos: Lost Pets is a pleasant enough addition that fans of the genre will enjoy. Bright and colourful, and with a nice mixture of collecting, platforming and puzzles, there’s plenty here to keep you invested. It’s just a shame that co-op is held back by some technical issues and its visuals aren’t quite as sharp as they ought to be.
It might not be your usual Dragon Quest adventure, but it’s well worth your time.
Beautifully presented and with thoroughly enjoyable puzzles that will challenge even the most astute of minds, there’s a lot to love about Railbound. While they start off nice and easy, its puzzles soon get fiendish, and solving them is so very rewarding. This is the perfect game to cosy up with this winter, particularly if you like giving your noggin a workout.
It’s clear that Saint Kotar has tried to draw inspiration from the likes of Broken Sword. From the way its exploration works to its dark themes and eerie environments, it really wants to be a point and click game worthy of cult status. That’s highly unlikely to ever happen, though. While interesting at times, its story is too poorly told to ever be truly enjoyable. And the ugly visuals, awful voice acting and budget interface mean most players are not likely to stick around.
Team 17 has brought us some absolutely fantastic roguelike games in recent years, such as Rogue Heroes and Neon Abyss. It’s also responsible for publishing some excellent co-op titles, including Overcooked! and Moving Out. With Ship of Fools, both genres are combined, mixed together to make an absolutely excellent seafaring adventure that we’ve struggled to put down. This is one we’re going to be dipping into for many months to come.
Rarely putting a foot wrong in terms of production and storytelling, we’ve loved every moment we’ve spent with The Devil in Me, an absolutely wonderful conclusion to The Dark Pictures Anthology’s first season. Its story is the most captivating and the most well-realised; so much work has gone into crafting characters and locations, and the sheer goriness will delight and horrify in equal measures. Supermassive Games continues to go from strength to strength, and with The Devil in Me, the studio has cemented itself as a master of the horror genre.
Somerville isn’t always the most enjoyable game to play, then. Its puzzles aren’t anything special, and they’re hampered by clunky controls. But what is special is Somerville‘s narrative and art design. The score, too, is excellent: we just wish there was more of it – too many scenes are simply too quiet. Even if we weren’t enamoured with the ending, Somerville‘s story is worth experiencing. It’s just a shame the gameplay is a little disappointing in comparison.
The goalpost may not have been particularly high, but Police Simulator: Patrol Officers is the best police sim game we’ve played. It’s far from perfect, but if you like the idea of dealing with petty crimes and road traffic accidents, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy this. The detail-oriented approach will appeal to those who like to do things by the book, though others may find it laborious. But that’s the case with just about any simulation game, is it not?
Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch is a lovely-looking game. Its art style and open world freedom engaged us right from the off, like a horse-centric, combat-free Breath of the Wild. Except it doesn’t take long for its design flaws to rear their ugly head. It’s such a shame that the act of playing isn’t anywhere near as fun as it should be, thanks to poor controls and bad design choices. Still, if you really love horses, some of its flaws may be easier to overlook. The fact is that it’s still better than many other horse games out there.
If you’ve played West of Loathing, you’ll know what to expect here: a delightfully silly narrative, excellent writing, and gameplay that’s far more engrossing than it has any right to be. But even if you’ve not, you can jump straight in and have a whale of a time. Video games should be about having fun, and Shadows Over Loathing captures that spirit perfectly. Joyful, captivating and surprisingly deep, you’ll love every moment you spend with it.
Yes, it’s very basic, but it does exactly what we expected it to do, in exactly the right fashion. And so in that sense, Save Room is a roaring success. It’s also dirt cheap. You might not have the patience to complete all 40 levels in one go, but if sorting and rotating objects is your jam, this is the game for you.