I cheekily titled this review “A Novel Game.” While it is assuredly a unique experience in gaming, it’s also literally a novel game. The device you play Little Red Lie on, the graphics, the way you control the character and interact with the environment, it’s all a vehicle for you to read the story that developer Will O’Neill has penned. And there's nothing wrong with that. While I would have loved to see Little Red Lie take advantage of the medium and include more actual gameplay, I understand that's not the way the game was designed. If you’re looking for something off the beaten path with a heavy focus on character and narrative, give Little Red Lie a look. If you’re a gamer looking to read more, I actually think Little Red Lie is the perfect way to facilitate and reconcile a love of gaming and the desire to read. This title won’t appeal to everyone, but to those that do take the plunge, a distinctly rewarding game awaits, especially if you’re able to talk about it afterwards.
The technical issues, while still present, have been cleaned up considerably since launch, and the game’s sense of progression based around its epic skill tree and fun abilities is top notch. I’ve come to appreciate Sundered’s intense and challenging horde-based combat as well. When this is all wrapped up in an insanely beautiful hand-drawn package, full of innovative creature design and mammoth bosses, it’s easy to see why Sundered eventually dug its hooks into me. If you’re a fan of the Metroidvania genre, or 2D action-platformers in general, give this one a try. It’s a unique title with a scope unmatched in this space. Oh, and it’s drop-dead gorgeous. Have I mentioned this yet?
Nex Machina is another infinitely re-playable twin-stick arcade shooter that’s easy to pick up and play, difficult to master, and fun as all hell. And make no mistake, this game is difficult. While there are different difficulty levels to tackle based on your skill level with the game, this is probably Housemarque’s most challenging title to date. It’s a fair challenge, though (well, maybe with the exception of the game’s final boss, but that’s a conversation for another day!). The buttery smooth gameplay and perfect controls mean that any mistakes you make are your responsibility and yours alone. While Nex Machina is not re-inventing the “arcade shooter wheel” so to speak, the little ways in which this game turns Housemarque’s tried-and-true formulas of of the past on its head make for an experience that feels familiar but fresh.
I really enjoyed my time with Sniper Elite 4. The sniping mechanics, well-designed maps, and incredibly fun co-op play won me over. The less-than-thrilling narrative and minor bugs aside, this is a package that is more than worthy of your time and attention. Sniper Elite 4 is bigger and better than Sniper Elite 3 in every way, and I can't wait to see where the franchise goes from here.