Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a great remake – implementing a strong shift in artistic direction, engaging co-op options and well-crafted puzzle and platforming elements. Co-op is an especially clever inclusion, and combined with difficulty options, broadens the appeal of an otherwise niche experience to a wider audience. While hardcore players might be let down by the lack of difficulty, Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a sensational update that fans of the series and even newcomers will enjoy.
Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden is well beyond anything Don't Nod has ever done. It successfully merges their renowned knack for solid characters and great stories, engaging and enjoyable combat and a unique setting to create an experience like no other. It's a incredible fun and easily the studios most ambitious game so far. It doesn't get much better than this.
Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League is a serviceable action game bogged down by an insistence on being a live service title. While the characters are well written and the comedy is on point, a handful of repetitive objective types betray the intentions of an otherwise strong combat system. There is potential here – perhaps over time, Suicide Squad can evolve into something better – but for now, it's something that only absolute diehards will enjoy, and even then, that's not a guarantee.
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy completes the goal of bringing all Ace Attorney games to modern platforms with great ardour. While the three games included are more contentious favourites amongst fans, there's no doubt that Capcom has put in some great effort in bringing these games up to scratch for modern audiences. So, while the writing is still witty and the narrative mostly enthralling, this collection is also easily the best the series has ever looked and a collection many fans will appreciate.
Another Code: Recollection breathes new life into a dormant series by creating a cohesive narrative in a remake with updated visuals. While some great effort has gone into modernising the games from a presentation standpoint, some of the creative liberties taken and frustrating motion-controlled puzzles will no doubt leave fans longing for a more faithful recreation.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora successfully brings the world of Pandora to video games in a big way. It's lush and vibrant and without a doubt one of the most luxuriant open worlds that Ubisoft has ever created. Its gameplay, on the other hand, is lacking the spark that makes great open worlds sing. Fans of the franchise will absolutely adore exploring everything this previously unexplored side of Pandora has to offer, just don't expect it to reinvent the wheel.
Super Mario RPG is a strong remake of an already stellar game. It successfully focuses on improving the original in all the right places: a faster and snappier battle system, strong quality-of-life improvements and more difficult optional content. These improvements combine with the game's already quirky charm to offer an experience that easily eclipses the original. While it's overly simplistic compared to other RPGs, that's ostensibly the point. Super Mario RPG is an oddball piece of Nintendo's history like no other, and that alone makes it worth experiencing.
WarioWare: Move It! is a return to form (pun intended) for the WarioWare series that feels long overdue. It cleverly utilises the unique capabilities of the Joy-Con in ways that haven't been done before, all while remaining both endearing and funny. While the simplicity of Party Mode is both its greatest strength and weakness, WarioWare: Move It! is easily WarioWare at its best and the most fun you'll have looking goofy.
Star Ocean: The Second Story R is a tremendous remake. It gives the original game a visual overhaul that is simultaneously modern and nostalgic. But it doesn't stop there. It breaks open the mechanics to offer much more depth without destroying the spirit of the original. It's far and away the best way to experience one of the best Star Ocean games and one of the best RPGs ever made. If you're a fan of the genre, you owe it to yourself to check out The Second Story R. It's an absolute gem of a game that's endlessly playable and effortlessly stylish.
Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 does precisely what it claims to do - bring the first three Metal Gear Solid games to all major platforms after a much-felt absence. While the technical updates given to each game are scarce, this still represents a great way to get into one of the most important and prolific series in video games. Could there be some more touch-ups to modernise these games? Absolutely. But it's hard to ignore the quality of the games included in this package, and it's a testament to their strengths that, even with slight improvement, they're still as compelling as ever.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder is just that. A wonder. It leverages tight and concise platforming with a robust set of power-ups and skills to offer a degree of flexibility to players like never before. While it's still slightly easier than I'd like, Super Mario Bros. Wonder is an incredibly engaging Mario game and one of the best platformers available on the Switch, if not ever.
Assassin's Creed Mirage makes great effort to simplify the Assassin's Creed formula back to what it was when it first found popularity. The solid stealth mechanics lend themselves well to creating satisfying infiltrations and the open-ended assassinations are some of the series most engaging contracts. It's just a shame that in scaling so much back, the optional content is lacking and the story ultimately goes nowhere. Still, if you're here for an experience akin to the original Assassin's Creed, you'll find little wrong with Mirage. It's an endearing callback to what made us fall in love with the franchise over a decade ago, for better or for worse.
While the bar wasn't that high to begin with, Separate Ways is far and away the best piece of DLC ever released for a Resident Evil game. It manages to succesfully build on top of the already rock solid experience that Resident Evil 4 provides to offer up the spotlight that series super spy Ada Wong has always deserved. With a heady mix of horror, action and even espionage, Separate Ways' incredibly modest price of admission makes it a no brainer. It's an absolute achievement from the development team and not to be missed.
Lies of P takes a bit to get going but once it does it's an absolute joy to play. While as challenging as you'd expect from a game channeling Bloodborne, its minor improvements help make the experience ever so slightly more accessible. More importantly, it manages to carve out its own niche and is one of the strongest adaptations of the formula that make games like Bloodborne so revered. And while some aspects of it's source material don't translate as well as you'd hope to a video game, Lies of P is a solid action game that's well worth your time.
Mortal Kombat 1 is a joyful reinvention of a series that is continually hitting its stride. A strong and varied roster is bolstered by an ingenious Kameo system that offers up a great degree of player flexibility unlike anything else. While it's a bit off an odd choice to not have crossplay at launch and the approach to gear is bound to be divisive, Mortal Kombat 1 feels like the most complete Mortal Kombat experience so far. And perhaps even one of the best fighting games I've ever played.
Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon manages to succesfully bring back and cultivate an experience reminiscent of the old games for newer audiences without losing sight of what made the previous games so good. While it's still relentlessly challenging and the story can be a bit drab, Fires of Rubicon is yet another success for FromSoftware with it's satisfying and fast paced combat.
Immortals of Aveum is a steadfast debut that will assuredly put its creators on the map. It combines strong combat mechanics with an engaging story set in an even more engrossing world to offer up a satisfying and complete experience. While the gear system and some console resolution issues might be off-putting for some, Immortals of Aveum is one of the most pleasant surprises in an already burgeoning year and a spellbinding adventure that's well worth your time.
Pikmin 4 brings together engaging cave exploration and a charming world to explore to offer up the most complete Pikmin experience so far. While the multiplayer offerings feel like a step back from Pikmin 3 and the game is too easy to begin with, Pikmin 4 more than makes up for these shortcomings with its adorable canine companion, vast sandboxes and gripping strategic combat.
Exoprimal earnestly attempts to bring together engaging single-player style encounters that Capcom is known for with an unexpectedly solid multiplayer offering reminiscent of games like Lost Planet. It's a joy to play and a great melding of PvP and PvE elements. While it's a shame that what it has to offer is dealt to players so opaquely, Exoprimal is a pleasant surprise that's well worth a look and not to be underestimated.
Master Detective Archives: Rain Code is a captivating and refreshing take on the mystery genre. It uses a zany story, uniquely expressive characters and a perfect blend of mystery and adventure to stand out amongst its contemporaries. While some performance limitations stop it from looking its best, Rain Code's strong and effortlessly stylish presentation more than makes up for it. It's a satisfying and immersive experience that anyone who's a fan of visual novels, courtroom dramas or both themselves to check out.