Pixel Night makes a brave foray into the exploration genre that doesn't quite pan out in the end due to detached storytelling and repetitive mechanics. If you're a dedicated adventure game player, Empathy: Path of Whispers will offer little challenge, except maybe in the way of overcoming boredom. It is, at the end of the day, a walking simulator that knows exactly what it wants to be, but falls a few steps short of actually being it.
Dream Alone has a tired story, clunky controls, and flawed mechanics, and most of its problems can be traced to the near-fundamental incompatibility of this type of horror with this type of platforming. Its most promising aspect—multiple dimensions—is by far the creepiest part, which is enjoyable, but it seems to sabotage itself with a few key flaws that impact the entire game's playability.
The King's Bird has the potential to be wonderful—and in its art and music, it is. Based on that alone I would play it all day. But the sense of freedom it is trying so hard to evoke is held back by its finicky controls, and since the game's very foundation is meant to be freeing, it falls short. Altered controls and a slightly wider margin for error, especially on console, would really let The King's Bird soar beyond the confines of its cage, and boost its mechanics up to the high tier of its design.
Solo: Islands of the Heart seems like it's trying to be your counselor. Go to an actual counselor. The gameplay is calming, the scenery is cute, the colors are vibrant, the design is unique, and the puzzles require a good amount of thinking without being too easy, but its attempt to analyze a real human person with pre-determined questions starts it off teetering on the wrong foot. It never quite regains its balance.
Hyakki Castle probably wouldn't be great for newbies to the dungeon-crawling scene, but if you already know you like the movement and combat system then it's definitely something to try. It has its mechanical issues, and requires a lot of fiddling to figure out at first, but is executed creatively and diversely enough to still be engaging. It just needs a little extra touch to become the beacon that it wants to be.
A good time passer, imprint-X is worth its reasonable price but isn’t a bastion of breathtaking gameplay. It has its flaws, many notable but none game ruining. Despite that, it definitely requires some brainpower. Don’t expect to be enraptured by days of scintillating gameplay, but also don’t expect to breeze through it on your first try.
Mechstermination Force feels like it comes very close to having a manageable learning curve. Quality-wise, it's great, and a good homage to its boss-filled predecessors. However, there's nothing more game-ruining than, you know, not being able to play the game. There's hard, and then there's hard hard, and then there's Mechstermination Force. It can be done. It can be beaten. I just hope you have a spare hour or two for every boss, and some throat lozenges and ice water nearby.
Fe is a beautifully ethereal game that, despite its flaws with plot comprehension and spatial organization, is a pleasure to play. If you're fine with wandering, and don't mind the feeling of being swept along on a journey rather than pioneering the journey yourself, then the weak points of this game will seem a lot less weak.
Not Tonight is a good, solid game. The mechanics are fun, the characters are memorable, and the setting is well executed. However, for its satirical approach, it should have gone a few steps further, and taken the risk in order to become the truly biting, funny, and meaningful social commentary that it wants to be.