Despite providing the foundations of an interesting multiplayer experience, Earthfall massively holds back on its delivery as a Left 4 Dead successor. It instead sits on a shelf amongst other co-operative horde shooters, unable to stand out as anything spectacular or bring anything new to the table.
Despite hitting a lot of the same notes, Milanoir is not the Hotline Miami successor many were expecting. The game has a lot of style, enough for its 6-8 hour campaign to keep you engaged, but it is hidden underneath a layer of extreme frustration brought to light by its technical issues and extreme difficulty curve.
With hardly any other true zombie survival simulations on the market, Undead Labs present a competent horror game. It's rough around the edges, with many bugs and features that feel lacklustre, and a multiplayer that doesn't fully deliver on its promise, but it's still a fun ride with many other improvements over the original. For all of its faults, it's an adventure you can rely on if you were a fan of the first.
Black Mirror has potential to be a decent horror puzzle adventure, but its technical limitations and pacing issues prevents that from ever becoming apparent. Its £25 entry fee is steep for the short experience you'll be getting, and the end product feels like a shadow of its former self.
As a combination of both political strategy and Lovecraftian drama, The Shrouded Isle takes this idea and provides a comfortably tense experience whereby every choice should matter but with enough leeway that inexperienced players can still make mistakes. Fans of classic horror literature may be drawn to this game through its distortedly gothic art style and otherworldly premise, but the large difficulty curve may be too complicated for them, even if the repetitive gameplay structure can feel rewarding once you get the hang of it.
Despite some unsatisfying gameplay systems, Darkwood can provide legitimate thrills and scares for the horror fans that miss the vibes of such classics as Silent Hill 2 and Pathologic without ever using a jump scare. Whether it is the uniquely grotesque art style or the ever-challenging design of its difficulty, Acid Wizard Studio has proven it understands what ingredients make up a good horror experience and the randomised elements of the game allow a unique narrative every time you play.
Whether you're a cat lover or not, Cat Quest creates an ideal blend of charming graphics and traditional hack-and-slash gameplay. Despite holding back on a few things, the satisfying combat and convenient loot system show that The Gentlebros have a tremendous understanding of RPG mechanics and – to let the cat out of the bag – it could pawsibly be my favourite game of the year.
On a whole, RAID: World War II feels exactly like what you'd expect from a Payday clone. It takes less of a political approach than other games featuring Nazis such as Wolfenstein or the upcoming Call of Duty: WW2, and instead moves away from the ‘war is hell' narrative to opt for a more hyper-violent, stylised approach to the subject matter. While the choice of game engine severely lets itself down, there is still much to appreciate if you enjoy other co-operative shooters of its type.
For an hour-long experience, the main thing I took away from The Search were cheap puzzle mechanics and quotes by American lecturer Joseph Campbell. If the game's main themes were not as openly sermonising, then I could see the narrative being less tedious and players would get more out of it. But sadly, the extent of the story would have been much better suited as an essay, short film, or poem.
The PC market is already over-saturated with zombie shooters, and Crimson Earth doesn't bring anything new to the table. With enough bugs, odd design choices and crashes to fill a book, you'd be better off sticking to richer shooters such as Killing Floor or Nation Red. Even for the £2.79 price tag, this is really hard to recommend.
With this stimulating narrative, Lydia is a steady explorative adventure that will leave you speechless by the time you finish it. Its take on adult themes within a childish aesthetic feels familiar but it accomplishes enough to set it apart from other like-minded indie titles. It's a solid debut release by Platonic Partnership and leaves me intrigued to see what comes next from the Finnish studio.