Ironclad Tactics is a mean old coot beloved by Lady Luck. He fights fair but your hand of cards may disagree. Seemingly allergic to the very idea of tutorials, Ironclad Tactics has an incredibly hands-off approach to player guidance and a no-holds barred attitude when it comes to battles. It will smack you around. Hard.
Practically oozing fan service from every pore, Burial at Sea is both as glorious and as imperfect as Rapture itself. The visuals are sensational, the combat a reasonably healthy marriage between Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite. Booker and Elizabeth both take well to their detective noir roles. Yet, like the promise of Rapture itself, Burial at Sea's splendor doesn't last forever. Things go unexplained, shrugged off as the too-short DLC rushes towards its conclusion.
You've always got to look out for the attractive ones. Contrast is a bit of a hot mess -- kind of like the bumbling Johnny Fenris in its core. Rife with bugs and prone towards glitching in the worst possible ways, Compulsion Games' pretty little title can and will outrage. If you're willing to overlook the brokenness of its platforming, Contrast is dazzling in almost every other capacity.
Tearaway has squirrels. Fat, papercraft squirrels who are periodically rather cruel to passing gophers. It also has charm, cleverness and enough heart to make up for five Call of Duty iterations. Tearaway is a 3D platformer mashed together with a creative craft class for adult kids, an adventure that is as close to sandbox-y as a non-sandbox game can get.
The Wolf Among Us: Smoke and Mirrors treads some dark waters, spitting grit and quiet reminders that the world is a cold, hard place. Like its predecessor, Smoke and Mirrors enjoys great writing, excellent voice acting and a lead who is likeable in all the right ways. That said, the second chapter in The Wolf Among Us feels somewhat too short -- like a build-up, a segue to bigger things. There are also moments where the writing trips, leaving players to wonder if Bigby's been hit on the head one too many times.
Banished is like the quiet kid in school: unassuming, down-to-earth but also filled with hidden depths. If you're looking for a no-nonsense city builder that demands you keep a handle on important things like food, warmth and how much beer your citizens have. Once you've figured out the basic mechanics, Banished's appeal can dip slightly but there remains something weirdly engrossing about watching the seasons pass.
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy follows a grand tradition of puzzle-adventures. Filled to the brim with brain teasers of all shapes and sizes, The Azran Legacy is a relatively non-linear exploration of the series' last mysteries. Will you like it? It depends. How much do you enjoy having your mental processes challenged?