Deliver Us Mars has an entrancing sci-fi story that will keep you thinking long after the credits roll. There are a few little issues, such as a boring climbing mechanic and frame rate drops on Earth, but with some fantastic voice acting it's easy to get really invested in the characters and the fate of humanity. The simple puzzles do a good job at giving your brain a little workout while never being so taxing that they slow down the pace of the action. Overall, this is a great follow-up that delivers a compelling sci-fi narrative.
Sadly, some of the joy of exploration is dampened by the stuttering framerate which frequently gets a bit choppy, especially when wandering through busier areas. You’re also likely to encounter bugs with things like merchants not having any stock for sale or your hoverbike disappearing. Reloading the game does seem to fix many issues, but these little niggles do begin to get irritating over time. It’s a shame as, apart from these issues, exploring Sable’s strange and mysterious land is an absolute delight.
If you're a fan of the original Dusk Diver, there's plenty here for you to enjoy. Better combat and more time to hang out with the delightful staff of the Tumaz Mart is sure to please, but it's a shame that both the story and many of the side quests are fairly forgettable. Overall, this is a fairly solid hack-and-slash adventure with some really creative dungeons to explore, but it does have a little bit too much busywork and not enough variety.
While nirvanA Initiative doesn’t stray too far from the formula established in the original, the gritty sci-fi story and likeable characters mean that it is a compelling adventure. Piecing together all the threads of the story will lead you on a rollercoaster of a journey and keep you guessing until the very end.
Atelier Sophie 2 massively improves upon everything from the original game. It has a much more interesting story, plenty of heart-felt character interactions, and a ton of different side activities to keep you busy. Becoming a master alchemist and exploring this vibrant dream world is a fantastic way to celebrate 25 years of Atelier titles.
For a game made by a small team it’s very ambitious — but that’s also the problem. Environments are far larger than they need to be, and the title struggles to load in textures and has a fair amount of pop-in. There are also loads of systems, such as party energy levels or crafting, which are never fully explained or seem to be particularly useful... It definitely feels like developer Midgar Studio should have reduced the scope of both the story and some of the gameplay systems, because this may have allowed it to add more polish to the areas that work well. It’s a shame, as the game does have plenty of potential, but it’s a little bit too rough around the edges to fully enjoy.
While some aspects of the story are a little forgettable, if you enjoyed the original Kingdoms of Amalur then it's a fairly safe bet that you'll get some enjoyment out of this expansion. Being reunited with old friends and hearing that they still have the same voice actors is definitely a really nice touch. The new chaos features don't massively change the gameplay but having a raised level cap means that there's even more reason to experiment with your character build and enjoy the fun combat.
The overall gameplay loop might be a bit repetitive for some but this really is a very relaxing and charming craftathon. If you're the kind of person who gets lots of satisfaction from having a long To-Do list and ticking tasks off then this really is a game for you. The storytelling makes gathering all twelve souls an absolute delight and you'll always be looking forward to seeing what the next wicked soul is like. With a gorgeous art style and distinctive character designs this is a great game for those who are looking for something a little bit different.
James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley, and Willem Dafoe do an absolutely fantastic job at bringing the three main characters to life but even they can’t lift the frustration and tedium of having to repeat the same actions over and over again. Unfortunately, by the time you finally figure out how to change the outcome of the loop, the ending will make you wonder if it was even worth it.
The Wild at Heart tells a sweet story about magic, childhood, and friendship. With its enchanting music and gorgeous environments to explore, it's a beautiful adventure that will keep you captivated until the end. Having the spritelings to solve puzzles and fight for you is a really fun gameplay mechanic and adds lots of interesting dynamics to the puzzles. The Wild at Heart has plenty of secrets to discover and it's a real joy to try to uncover them all.
Despite a few missteps in terms of the combat, if you're a fan of detective games then Sherlock Holmes Chapter One is a pretty easy one to recommend. Getting to do things like interviewing witnesses or performing chemical analysis on suspicious evidence is an absolute blast. The island of Cordona is chock full of cases for you to investigate and while there are a few technical issues with the open world setting it's easy enough to forgive when sleuthing around is this much fun.
While The Good Life has its charms, most of the gameplay just feels really sluggish. Many of the story quests will have you making your way to a point on the map to watch a cutscene, you'll then have to make your way somewhere else to watch the next one, and so on until the quest ends. The side quests also end up feeling repetitive and while it can be pretty relaxing to go through all the quests and slowly tick them off, for many players this will get tiresome pretty quickly.
The story mode will be wrapped up within five hours but there is an exploration mode if you haven’t quite had your fill of bugs. Here you’ll be able to take control of other creatures and, as the title suggests, explore. There are short video logs dotted around the place if you want to try to find out more about what happened to the world. Although, once you realise that the other creatures are even harder to control than the sugar glider, and have encountered your fair share of crashes, you’ll probably decide that you don’t actually care that much about the reasons for humanity’s demise.
Astria Ascending is a beautifully hand-drawn game with an old school JRPG feel. It tries to keep the experience modern with some much needed quality of life improvements, but annoying bugs hold it back. It's a bit of a shame that the story is fairly forgettable but the fun combat system does help alleviate this to an extent. With a very detailed job system and plenty of optional side content to get involved with, there is entertainment to be found here if don't mind the grind - but as an overall role-playing adventure, Astria Ascending has clear flaws.
It's pretty amazing to think that Kena: Bridge of Spirits is Ember Lab's very first game. With absolutely stunning visuals and impactful music this is sure to leave an impression on people. Gameplay-wise it doesn't do anything particularly new or innovative but that doesn't stop it from being loads of fun. This is a small adventure with enough challenge and heart to keep you entertained for the full 10–15 hours that it'll take for you to reach its conclusion.
Lost in Random is set in a masterfully crafted world which tells a gothic fairy tale-like story that has plenty of warmth despite its dark hue. With beautiful writing and a touching story, it does a great job at making you really care about what happens to Even, as well as everyone she meets. It also has a truly unique battle system that offers loads of fun in your quest to create a perfect deck. This is a delight to play from beginning to end.
Even with the occasional tricky platforming section The Touryst is an absolute joy to play. There's a diverse range of puzzles and silly mini-games for you to discover and have an absolute blast with. It's a delightful bite-sized adventure that, just like a real holiday, is likely to leave you with fond memories and wishing you could spend more time there.
It might sound like I'm being quite critical of Kitaria Fables but I did actually have a lot of fun playing it. It never quite reaches its full potential, but as long as you don't mind that it's quite grindy in places, then it is a worthwhile adventure. There's also a couch co-op mode which is perfect if you have been looking for a simple RPG to introduce to a younger gamer or if you just want something low key to play with a friend.
There's a fair amount of side-quest stuff to do such as playing mini-games in the maid café or helping out locals with their problems, although none of it is particularly innovative or memorable. There are also loads of different quirky weapons and hundreds of different clothing options to collect. Roaming around Akihabara while wielding a keyboard and wearing a Gundam cosplay made out of cardboard boxes is kinda fun, despite how average the game is overall.
You’ll steadily gain access to new characters throughout your adventure. Not only are they wonderfully entertaining during the story, but they also have unique abilities in battle that can really mix up how you fight. It keeps the game feeling fresh and interesting throughout the 30 or so hours that it takes to reach its conclusion.