I think Call of the Sea has something to offer a variety of gamers. The puzzles are fun, challenging, and genuinely make you learn more about the world around you and Norah's personal challenges. On top of that, learning more about Norah herself and what has caused her illness is a huge draw – it's one of those mysteries you want to figure out more and more as things progress. The bright, popping visuals and simplistic gameplay all tie this into a pretty good bow for those who want to give it a shot.
Observer: System Redux remains a solid experience, but with more content and much better visuals. The oversaturation of neon lights is a bit much, but otherwise, the game is still the same great product I played a few years back. I enjoyed the additional content and graphical overhaul, neon lights, and all. This dark sci-fi noir game (still starring the late, great Rutger Hauer) continues to capture the imagination as you trek your way through the mystery of your son's death.
Endzone: A World Apart shows a ton of promise, especially for those looking for an in-depth city builder and simulation management game. There's a literal TON of ways to manage your settlement, depending on the map and game at hand. The world, a broken ruin of what was before, is ripe for your taking as you work to keep your settlement alive and growing amidst the debris. Endzone is a fun yet complex game. It reminds me of the old Settlers titles, where the game's complexities grow as you get further and further into the layers of what's contained within. But that is also potentially one of its failure points – the sheer volume of stuff to manage and control can be daunting, much like how it probably would be if we were to find ourselves in a similar scenario within real life.
The Signifier is a relatively solid interactive experience where you dive deeply into the ideas of self, psychology, technology, and the eventually marrying of the two and the potential ramifications. The mindscape, and some of the creepy factors within, are the best parts of the game and something I recommend anyone see at least once, given how it's presented. But, I also wonder if there's enough meat to the average gamer. It's an intriguing enough story with some twists, but there's only so much to do.
On The Edge plays like the rest of Frostpunk, albeit with some caveats. I enjoyed playing with at least one hand tied behind my back, but I never felt in control of my outpost. Calling back to New London meant I had to wait for their new laws, or food deliveries, or whatever have you. I was merely a subset of their survival trial, and at that one, that didn't matter. However, I had fun. The environment and tech have some new stuff to use to your advantage, and you're not beholden to New London if you want to set out for yourself a bit in terms of scouting nearby locations for supplies and survivors.
I'm having a hard time directly recommending this game. Classic fans are going to love the HD remaster, but newcomers, especially ones to the RTS genre, are going to be in for a tough time. It's got a deceptively tough learning curve, and it's not very forgiving, but it's also a challenging and engaging game. Plus, who doesn't love being the Roman Empire and rolling over your enemies? If you're looking to reclaim some classic glory, go with this Praetorians, but otherwise, this might be one to miss. I should mention that during my time with the game, I never saw any multiplayer games active.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War is a solid if kind of empty title simultaneously. The cooperative experience is great, and I've enjoyed killing my combined favorite type of faceless enemy (Nazis AND zombies!). Still, without that co-op experience with someone else, it didn't feel as enjoyable on my own. That being said, if you and a few friends are down to shoot up some zombies and get some ridiculous kill cam shots afterward, this might be your title.
Children of Morta reminds me of titles like Secret of Mana crossed with recent procedural titles, such as Enter the Gungeon. The inclusion of local cooperative play opens up the experience for two-players to battle together. Tack on a fun story where you learn about each family member's past, their fears, and the driver for them to help, adding a flair to the game. While combat can be a bit of a pain and dying repeatedly is still never a good time, the game still offers a substantial experience.
WARSAW is a solid tactical strategy role-playing game. It suffers from some of the same antics that drive me crazy in other games in the genre, with a bizarre way of calculating hit ratios. The randomized events and absolutely stunning graphical depiction of the game more than makeup for it. For those doubly interested in World War 2 and tactical strategy, this is a great title to look into.
Given that it is a free-to-play title, I'm genuinely surprised and actually delighted by the polished feel of the title. There are several available modes (requiring a constant internet connection), an active community to play against, and ways to get by without having to pay for anything out of pocket. Considering there are some pay-to-play titles can really put the onus on gamers almost requiring buying something from the developer, overall it's a nice change of pace, making Age of Sigmar: Champions a solid title.
Rival Megagun, as I said, is a fun experience. For those that played a lot of these types of titles back in the day, it'll draw some serious nostalgia. Even now listening to the music while writing this, it sounds very reminiscent of the 16-bit era. My only major concerns with the game are the keyboard controls (easily fixed by using a controller) and the shortness of it. Like I mentioned earlier, the story mode is excellent, but once you've run through the handful of levels with multiple characters, it loses some of its charm. Sure you can play on harder difficulties, but that's mostly in the form of challenge only so you can collect some more cards. Expect to win some and lose some while playing online, which I hope will continue to have some legs. I was able to find matches quickly, but it's hard to judge what the community will look like in 6 months to a year.
I wanted to enjoy this game, I honestly did. However, The One We Found suffers from a case of "no polish." There's a lot of good ideas and gameplay in theory, but the practical aspect falls short of expectations. If this had received some more time to fix the overall buggy experience and improve upon some of the clunky control aspects and elements, I feel this review would be in a much different tone entirely.
2064: Read Only Memories draws its inspirations from the greats of the old-school adventure games like Grim Fandango, Myst, and Monkey Island. This point-and-click adventure title has all of the trappings of games made upwards of 20 years ago contained in a beautifully rendered pixel art world with a fun, quirky cast of characters behind it. For fans of slower, puzzle-based games, this will be a must-have on their consoles. However, it is better suited for the PC and feels a little sluggish and off-putting using an Xbox controller when trying to manipulate objects. Plus, with how the game is slower paced and requires a lot of backtracking and managing of objects to help fill out the game's world and provide humor, those seeking faster and more direct gameplay/humor will turn away quickly.
While it can be challenging, Phantom Halls is a cheesy horror movie lover's dream game. The combination of fun gameplay, RPG elements, and an oddball story about the "Slayer Club" (wink wink) in their efforts to save their town show just how far Incedium is willing to go to show their love of B-movie Horror. There are so many callbacks to iconic franchises (Evil Dead DLC anyone?) There's some definite challenge as well, which I think many will enjoy.
The Nintendo Switch lacks in titles that fit a gaming niche as the one Wasteland 2 fills. Yes, there are RPGs on the system, but the mixture between the tactical combat gameplay and the extensive RPG story is a small category of games. Given how much possibility Wasteland 2: Director's Cut has, I think it's a solid title. What detracts from the game are the gameplay issues, awkward camera controls, and the unfortunate visuals. Players willing to put the time in and overlook these flaws will find an intensely rich game, but I'm just not sure everyone is willing to do that on a system that continues to gain new titles.
The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep is a surprisingly deep and rich role-playing game steeped in some old lore. It has some big shoes to fill given the history of the series, and while I'm not familiar with it, I enjoyed what I played. Aside from the stuttering and short learning curve, I was impressed by the game and its overall gameplay. Although, even the learning curve is softened immensely by the excellent tutorial. I'm itching to try more and more of the game and see just what Skara Brae has to offer, and I suggest others do the same.