Lucas White


252 games reviewed
77.2 average score
80 median score
52.6% of games recommended
May 15, 2024

Despite the snags I’ve mentioned, I’m still thinking about Read Only Memories: Neurodiver well after I finished the story. It’s such a pitch-perfect execution on its premise, mixing the worlds of modern cyberpunk with ancient PC technology and western anime fandom. I had a blast spending several hours with these characters and the world they inhabit, and would gladly have spent several hours more. A little more narrative depth and some puzzle guardrails and we’d have a true all-timer on our hands. But as it is, Neurodiver still stands out as a dope slice of niche gaming in a month stupidly crowded with that kind of thing.

Read full review

7 / 10 - Paper Trail
May 14, 2024

When you think about it, that’s kind of the inherent pro and con to puzzles, though. Paper Trail benefits a lot from its distinct mechanics, because they help it stand out among a sea of similar games with similar gameplay hooks. But distinct doesn’t always mean approachable, and Paper Trail ends up being quite complex in a lot of ways that could be awesome for one player and super obstructive to another. And that’s fine! The style, which includes the colorful visuals, silly sound direction, genuine writing, and emotive music, all elevate the experience and aid in that sense of approachability. It’s a little too much for me, but I’m mostly a Tetris guy at the end of the day.

Read full review

7 / 10 - V Rising
May 7, 2024

V Rising offers something distinct, and pretty cookie cutter at the same time. It’s a survival game, but with a novel genre blend meant to attract a different kind of audience. There’s a lot of these, but V Rising brings the action-RPG and gothic styles to the table in a way that feels unique. So that’s fun, but the survival and crafting part is about as boilerplate as it gets. Therefore, if you’re the type of person that shrivels up and shrieks at survival game systems like a vampire considering the concept of brunch, V Rising won’t change your mind. But if you can hang with the concept and also enjoy some Diablo-like combat, having those two things together in one game is pretty rad.

Read full review

8 / 10 - Heading Out
May 6, 2024

Heading Out is an intricate, compelling story that mixes modular storytelling and roguelike structure with deeply America-flavored media of the 1970s and on, particularly the “road” genre. I’m not a car guy but I do enjoy some crusty Americana, especially the kind that challenges authority and romanticizes the sheer scale and variety of this unhinged nation. Sometimes it may get a little too cute for its own good, but for the most part Heading Out captures its intended vibe with a shocking level of skill and accuracy, an academic level of cultural understanding through a lens of media and literature. That’s pretty darn cool. Between that and the intriguing, almost insincere roguelike structure, we have a game that doesn’t really feel like anything else in its own space.

Read full review

Back on PSP, I loved playing the Class of Heroes games. They scratched a similar itch as series like Etrian Odyssey and Wizardry at the time. Nowadays there are many more cool and interesting DRPGs, such as NIS’ Labyrinth series and everything Experience, Inc. has done since then. But due to their cutesy charm, silly attitude and surprisingly treacherous dungeons, Class of Heroes stands out to this day. If you like to set up your own party of weirdos based on your own granular choices, then bash them against endless waves of monsters and traps for the sake of loot and progress, you can’t go wrong with Class of Heroes 1 & 2 Complete Edition.

Read full review

Apr 24, 2024

This is a game that wants you to tinker and fail, before you “get it”. It’s also a game explicitly designed to be different every time you pick it up. With its disregard for convention and disinterest in “quality of life” guidelines, you could have a rough start. But there’s so much going on under the hood, so much charm in its presentation and fearlessness in its design, it’s easy to recommend even to folks who might be looking at me like a weirdo right now. SaGa Emerald Beyond comes with caveats like any other JRPG that isn’t the usual Final Fantasy or Persona blockbuster, but those caveats are in service of an experience you won’t find anywhere else.

Read full review

Maybe Hundred Heroes doesn't have me ready to run outside screaming about miracles, but I'm plenty satisfied and ready to go back and fill in some old, classic JRPG blind spots. Well, after I replay Tierkreis.

Read full review

Apr 15, 2024

2024 has been a year so full of RPGs I can’t begin to imagine ever being able to finish all of them. Coming across Harold Halibut in the middle of so many massive, complicated adventures was a breath of fresh air. Just being able to slow down, soak in all the impressive minutia of a world built entirely by hand in an art studio, and wonder about what it was like to construct and digitize, felt like a release. I was able to let go a bit of having control over every piece of a game, and still have a story in front of me that was thoughtful and engaging enough to sit with me well after the credits rolled. Even the parts that felt rough around the edges were refreshing, as they enhanced the very human feelings that are so clearly front and center here. Harold Halibut is the kind of game I discovered by accident, but one I’m grateful to have come across in that way.

Read full review

6 / 10 - Broken Roads
Apr 10, 2024

Ultimately my time with Broken Roads didn’t light up any of the parts of my brain that video games typically do on some level or another. There’s some promise at first with its distinct, all-encompassing cultural flavor. But the scenario holding up the setting only struggled to capture my interest. Combat was a similar vibe, feeling like doing chores in the middle of reading a middle of the road novel in a crowded genre. While cool on paper the morality system did more harm than good, overloading the dialogue and getting in the way of character and personality. Nothing in Broken Roads felt bad or, well, broken. But whenever I played it, unless I was chuckling at the slang translator doing something weird I was always thinking of other things I would rather be doing.

Read full review

Legend of Legacy was fun and intriguing on the 3DS, but on the Switch it feels like a no-brainer. The frame rate issues and visual imperfections are gone, making the art and character designs stand out even more. The music, composed by Masashi Hamauzu for all you Final Fantasy XIII degenerates out there, is a home run. If this is the kind of game you can gel with, a hardcore dungeon-crawler with strange rules and light storytelling, don’t miss it. If some of these ideas sound neat, but other parts are scary, try out Alliance Alive instead. This team had something special going for sure, and it brings me hope for these kinds of passion projects to see them reappear on different platforms.

Read full review

Mar 14, 2024

Times like these I’m glad I get to blindly jump into games like Outcast - A New Beginning. I admit, I’d never give a game like this the time of day if I saw it on a shelf or in a Steam list or whatever. But I urge people out there who like retro sci-fi or classic games in that 90s PC style to give Outcast a shot. It’s charming and silly without being corny, and has a pitch-perfect game feel when it comes to flying around the world and fighting. The storytelling doesn’t hit any home runs, but the sum of the other parts hold the game up regardless. It’s a good time, and bigger, more expensive games could stand to learn a thing or two from it at the end of the day.

Read full review

Mar 4, 2024

As a player, a lot of what’s on the table with The Outlast Trials ain’t for me. The prospect of time investment for a survival horror-style game combined with the Fortnite-style game loop makes my brain hurt. But I understand why it works for the folks who are down, and looking at those sickos having a great time in the Early Access version is a vicarious sort of fun you can have from the critic’s position. I don’t enjoy it, but I “get” it, and being able to see the enjoyment elsewhere helps wrap my head around the game holistically and fill in the blanks. I open this window into my brain for y’all to help explain why a game I won’t be picking back up again still gets a good score!

Read full review

Mar 4, 2024

The Thaumaturge’s biggest problems are a result of trying to do so many different things at once. It’s a juggling act on the best of days, and if you’re a working-class person in 1900s Poland you aren’t having a bunch of great days. Not consistently, anyway. This is a deeply interesting game with a lot of cool imagery, historical storytelling hooks and complex systems that are a blast to engage with. There are a ton of swings, and not every one is a hit. Sometimes the voice acting is wacky, the protagonist feels underdeveloped, and combat can be annoying and burdensome. But I also accidentally stayed up way past my adult, parent bedtime on multiple nights playing it. I feel and probably look like Wiktor after catching a new Salutor, but it was worth it.

Read full review

7 / 10 - qomp2
Feb 19, 2024

If anything, I’m grateful to qomp2 for introducing me to the concept, and eventually to experiencing the first qomp. I can see why that game hit the way it did, and inspired Atari to pick it up and try its own version. It’s a cool subversion of one of gaming’s oldest-standing innovators. But it feels shortsighted to hand the project off to a different set of hands, when the first set is the one that made the magic happen in the first place. And there’s genuine effort here, but the vibes are off, man.

Read full review

8 / 10 - Helldivers II
Feb 16, 2024

Honestly, just take a look at your social media platform of choice right now. Helldivers 2 is exploding, in a way that even fans of the first game have not expected. And there’s a reason for that. This game is rough around the edges, but those edges are serrated; there’s an authorship to the chaos and slight jank that feels woven together from top to bottom. The systems, humor, structure… every aspect of this game feeds into the other for an experience that nails cohesion. Helldivers 2 plants its flag in the dirt and announces itself with a rare confidence in video games today. Now get out there and serve some piping-hot Liber-Tea, soldier.

Read full review

Feb 13, 2024

I definitely had fun solving a bunch of puzzles, especially ones that involved finding the right visual path through a group of rings or playing a sort of reverse Minesweeper with black and white squares. Others, like hidden objects or hunting for nodes inside a boundary, were annoying but I never felt forced to try them. There’s a lot to like about that idea of zero pressure puzzle-solving. But everything else, like leaping, floating, and gliding around the open world, filling in the skill tree, or deciphering the map and other UI elements, bogged me down. Islands of Insight is a shot at blending together ambitious scale with cozy gaming, and has to try harder than it should to not collapse under its own weight.

Read full review

5 / 10 - Graven
Jan 23, 2024

It feels like there were some very specific ideas the creators of Graven wanted to communicate. But while those ideas sometimes weave together with the game’s dark fantasy, old-school shooter style to form some immaculate vibes, that’s about as deep as it gets. The game seems confused about whether or not it wants to be an awesome action game, a thoughtful explorative puzzler, or some kind of mutant Soulslike gimmick. It sputters across the finish line not really achieving anything but a cool look, undermined constantly by boredom. It’s a shame, because Graven has a hell of a vibe. But there’s simply too much bonkin’ and not enough bangin’.

Read full review

Jan 18, 2024

At this point we’re circling back to the beginning. I think it’s super awesome that Another Code: Recollection exists. A deeply underrated classic I thought was, due to the literal expiration of its dev studio, never going to see the light of day again has come back. It’s also the first time the second half of the story is available outside of Japan and Europe! Unfortunately, I’d probably prefer to actually revisit and play the originals because of how the remakes sand the edges off. Between the middling voice acting undermining the story, the barely-there puzzles, and the sterility of the visuals, it feels like the magic of adventure games on Nintendo’s older, gimmicky hardware hasn’t been recaptured. But I still had a great time taking it all in. Weird, huh? That’s what being a history nerd feels like.

Read full review

In a lot of ways for someone like me, Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince is weirdly validating for a video game product you purchase. This series has been living in relative obscurity for decades, either going unlocalized entirely or simply being seen as a niche within a niche destined for handheld gamers looking for more Pokemon. But there’s so much meat, life, and ambition in this one. It’s a console game, it’s got a story it wants to tell, it has ideas beyond “catch slimes, win tournaments”. I hope this is the direction Dragon Quest Monsters keep moving in. It’s no Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, but what is?

Read full review

Dec 6, 2023

It helps that you can see what you're doing when you're driving around a desert.

Read full review