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.
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.
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.
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.
For as long as I recall, MediEvil has been a crucial part of my gaming upbringing. It was the first game I ever played; I remember spending long weekends with my dad trying to beat a level. I remember using our horrible dial-up internet to look up cheat codes. I even remember going around the school playground shouting at the other children and muffling my voice like Sir Dan. This is for the fans and it’s not very accessible to anyone outside of that circle. Regardless, it was a big treat to see Sony has not entirely given up on the franchise, and if there’s enough interest, may consider developing a new game altogether.
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.
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.