American Arcadia takes The Truman Show's core concept and updates it for the 2020s with a two-sided tale of escape, freedom and corporate control. The gameplay is mainly there to help deliver this story, but I always wanted Trevor to keep running to get me to the final moments and grand reveal.
With the simplicity of squash and block smashing at its core, C-Smash VRS is a virtual racket sport delight. The bat and ball physics are tricky to master, but stick to the easier Zen mode, or play with a friend in multiplayer and co-op, and there's plenty of joy to be had here.
WarioWare: Move It! calls back to the early excitement of the Wii and motion controlled gaming. There's a ton of daft and inventive microgames here (with a slightly surprising amount of bum shaking), that's great for solo, co-op and multiplayer, but brace yourself for some wonky motion controls and fleetingly frustrating failures.
Cities: Skylines 2 has a bright future ahead of it. The core city building is solid, a well-rounded new take on the city building genre that already covers a lot of bases, but has plenty of room for expansion and further ideas to come through to it. Sure, you might miss the creature comforts of old DLC and mods, but given time Cities: Skylines 2 will be a bigger and better city builder.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder puts a fresh new spin on the classic Mario side-scroller with wild and trippy level transformations. It's still Mario at its core, but it's fun not knowing what to expect from each level. This could be the start of a bright new era for 2D Mario games.
Sometimes it's worth trying to reinvent the wheel, and Turn 10's renewed Forza Motorsport takes the series in some new and worthwhile directions. The 'CarPG' levelling and pre-race practice sessions really help to foster familiarity and confidence with cars and tracks over time, and Forza is now on a par with Gran Turismo and others for the online race structure. It all sets the foundations for years of new cars, tracks, races and further improvements that I'm looking forward to seeing.
F1 Manager 23 evolves and grows upon the foundations of Frontier's motorsports sim, adding an accessible new Race Replay mode based on real-world events, and expanding some key options for team management. However, it's not quite there with the overall presentation, and there's some AI quirks that you need to babysit through race weekends, whether you're fighting for every point possible or hunting for championships.
There's a pleasing mixture of the familiar and the new within Pikmin 4. The fresh camera view and tweaks to the gameplay make it feel more accessible, but for returning players, the focus on the Dandori ethos of planning, efficiency and adaptability provides new arenas to test your skills. Oh, and Oatchi's a real cutie too.
Planet of Lana looks and sounds as wonderful as its original reveal promised. While it doesn't redefine the adventure platformer, the adorable partnership between Lana and Mui, the gorgeous art direction and sweeping soundtrack make this well worth experiencing.
As if it was really in doubt, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is another sublime entry in this series. It's not as thoroughly refreshing as Breath of the Wild was six years ago, but as a direct sequel, it takes the same world and manages to transform it with a new over and under world, while Link's powerful new abilities foster ever-more creative play, and a new epic tragedy unfolds before you. As we head into the Nintendo Switch's twilight years, this is practically essential.
Whether being completely cut off from civilisation is a fantasy or a nightmare to you, Stranded: Alien Dawn includes everything from base building as hunter-gatherers, to rediscovering technology and eventually making a successful escape, or setting up a rugged military base. It's just a bit limited in terms of thematic variety, and needs a little more work on the console controls and UI, but constructs a compelling sci-fi take on the survival management sim genre.
Dead Island 2 does a great job of reanimating this dormant zombie-battling series, with the gore-filled combat and excessive weaponry that goes well with the oversaturated LA setting. It's an enjoyable romp, but at the same time, ironically feels like it's playing it safe.
Meet Your Maker is a cunning blend of testing your skills and wits against devious deathtraps, and the creative joys of creating your own murderous mazes. The progression systems are a bit slow, the restrictions it puts on your ability to create levels somewhat restrictive, but there's the foundations of a game here that Behaviour Interactive can build upon.
With a solid and dependable blaster-led Star Wars adventure as its basis, there's more to Tales from the Galaxy's Edge than initially meets the eye, with the most fun to be had in the side tales picked up in Seezelslak's bar. This has had a big glow up since its original Meta Quest release, but left me wanting something more consistently inventive and truly built for PSVR 2 and higher powered systems. Hopefully we'll get to see that in future.
Demeo is a fun and accessible digital board game, evoking games like HeroQuest with its turn-based dungeon-crawling. In VR it's a pleasingly tactile experience that's great to share with co-op friends, but if you need or prefer to play on a TV screen? Well that's still good too.
Cosmonious High makes being the new kid in class feel truly special. It's not quite as universal as the "robots do human things" humour of Job Simulator, but never gives up on being positive, from the alien character designs, to the vibrant colour palette, and the sandbox of simple puzzles and powers to use. It's just missing that half step of complexity as a VR experience.
Leaning on the power of PS5, Kayak VR: Mirage is filled with wonderful locations to visit around the world and explore with paddle in hand. It looks stunning and makes for a great way to demo PSVR 2 or VR in general, but personally, I was left wanting something a little more.