For all of Aqua Moto Racing Utopia’s light sense of fun and nostalgic reminiscence of past games like Wave Race 64 and Jet Moto, the act of taking to the waves is unfortunately tarnished by some frustratingly aggressive AI and a general lack of polish.
David Tennant does infuse this story with a lot of life in the short time he’s featured, and a particular end sequence set on a cybership sets the pulse racing by tapping into the show’s mild horror. However, neither detract from the original experience’s flaws. The chief appeal of playing in VR was being able to immerse yourself into an episode, and even that has now been lost in translation.
In a world plagued by stripped-back indie experiences grasping to evoke an element of nostalgia, I can at least praise I and Me for attempting something wholly original for the puzzle/platforming genre. But what could have been a mighty stride forward disappointingly feels more like a half step.
The main draw here is getting to spend time with Kyle Reese, and this standalone adventure does indeed succeed in rounding him out as a character. This being Terminator: Resistance, though, expect to see lots more Easter eggs sprinkled in. That’s why, much like before, Annihilation Line delivers another ho-hum FPS experience that only true franchise veterans will fully have fun with.
Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is a different kind of survival game, one that's ambition sees it continually ride a fine line between being enthralling and infuriating. To refine 10 million years of human history into roughly 50 or so hours of playtime (providing your clan survives) is a staggering feat, for sure, but some mechanics are so abstract that it'll leave certain players at a loss. Providing you have the patience for it, however, Ancestors can be a rewarding trip throughout human evolution.
Jump into Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception expecting a traditional Japanese visual novel experience, and you'll no doubt be a little disappointed… but look past its intermittent battle sections and there's a fulfilling character-driven tale just waiting to be uncovered.
Rolling Bob, though by no means groundbreaking, is perhaps best described as harmless side-scrolling fun. It may not excel in the visual department and may suffer from some technical issues early on, but when knee-deep in one of the game’s fun puzzle-platformer levels it’s hard not to find yourself tense and gripped.
Ultra Despair Girls' loop of exploring dungeon-like areas, mowing down waves of Monokuma bots, and switching between the ranged combat of Komaru and melee barrages of Genocide Jack… means you've got a third person shooter unlike any other.
Tell Me Why is a well-executed and heartfelt tale about the importance of growing up and moving on, whatever your circumstances might be. Not once did I fail to recognise either Alyson or Tyler as three-dimensional characters and it’s impossible not to be invested in their family’s story, even if some circumstances they’re placed in are overtly melodramatic. Most importantly, the trans experience is expertly handled here, as a stellar example of how video games can sensitively handle a complex character that few get right.