It's easy to argue that Star Wars: Squadrons doesn't offer quite enough. Players get what is essentially an eight-hour tutorial which acts as a prelude for the game's multiplayer, a limited but fun offering of modes with some potential for great staying power.
Serious Sam is a series that has long alluded me and I'm starting to think it might have been for the better. Although this fourth iteration might feature some staggering, titanic battles and silk-smooth gunplay, its existence feels like a clear reminder that it's often best to let the past stay dead. Serious Sam 4 is an excavation from a long-outdated era that is more Duke Nukem Forever than it is Doom.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a one-way ticket to the turn of the millennium. It's a complete, beautiful love letter to not only Tony Hawk himself as an icon but to a time when both the series and the sport of skateboarding itself were most pure and fun. As a bundle, and with the multiplayer providing even more longevity, this game offers unrivalled value.
Tell Me Why is a Dontnod game throughout its every part, right down to its bones. Although those bones might be bare, it has a lot of soul. With care, Dontnod dive into discomfort and drag us with them throughout three concise episodes that explore the power that comes coupled with familial ties, both bound by blood and by the metaphysical, as well as memory and all of its heartbreaking deceptions.
No Straight Roads has a laundry list of inspirations and it proudly pays homage to them all in one way or another throughout the journey. Though a few of the game's ideas end up feeling underdeveloped, the game has a lot of heart, a slapping soundtrack and the best boss encounters you'll see in a videogame this year. Just like Bunk Bed Junction in Vinyl City, I expect Metronomik to chart well within the indie scene.
Even with its budget price, it's somewhat difficult to recommend Mastermind given its brevity and few technical issues. I expect Peaky Blinders fans will most enjoy Mastermind as a gritty snapshot at pre-series Birmingham that expands on their favourite television family. I'd even go so far as to give it a cautious thumbs up for those who enjoy working up a mental sweat.
Fall Guys is not only a charming, whimsical take on one of television's biggest spectator events, it's on my shortlist of the year's very best games. I don't think the Mediatonic team could have ever dreamed just how big of a success their one-page pitch inspired by It's A Knockout would amount to. It's insanely addictive with the rapid turnaround episode-to-episode making it easier than ever to keep telling one of gaming's biggest lies: "Alright, just one more."
Superhot’s standalone expansion Mind Control Delete is a great example of how to achieve growth, drive your franchise forward and prevent an admittedly pretty basic concept from going stale. Before I knew I was ready for a change, Superhot Team thrust age-old video game tropes into gaming’s most unique shooter in ways only they could and, in a crazy twist, it works.
Battle for Bikini Bottom, despite offering a fair bit of fun, is a testament of antiquated design and, for better or worse, feels entirely like the game you remember from your childhood. There’s certainly a fun afternoon to be had ruining Plankton’s plot to rule Bikini Bottom while spotting the show’s many references with a keen eye, though ultimately Rehydrated is D.O.A.—dry on arrival.