Adding fresh ideas to revitalize an old idea can yield some excellent results. However, it requires a certain degree of effort to be put in to nailing what made the original great. Only then can the solid foundation be built upon. Snake games as a concept have had decades to become extremely polished, yet Sssnakes seems to ignore the lessons of the past in favour of trying new things. The result is a game that feels completely half-baked, with new "features" that struggle to stand up while the ground crumbles beneath their feet.
More Than a Feeling is not a bad game when compared to some of the other titles clogging the market. However, when compared to Telltale's other series, it fails, lacking the drama and heart that made many of them so endearing. When compared to the films that it draws inspiration from, it can't compete with the likeable cast, crackling dialogue, and exciting action scenes. Once again: if you want to spend two hours with the Guardians, you're probably better off watching one of the movies again.
The Long Journey Home is a painful war of attrition. It feels at odds with itself: it wants to incorporate randomization to encourage replayability, yet that randomization makes the critical resource-management components even more frustrating. It could have seriously benefitted from some restraint on the part of the developers; if fewer systems were left up to pure chance, this could have been an expansive, exciting new exploration game. Instead, it's an overpriced curiosity that buries some great ideas under a planet-sized mound of bad decisions.
At the end of the day, Tangled Up in Blue is a completely unremarkable Telltale game. The most unique thing it does is to provide some verticality while exploring environments, thanks to Quill's rocket boots. There's potential for the series to turn into a fantastic, galaxy-hopping adventure with the Guardians; however, if this episode is what can be expected from the whole series, you're probably better off just watching the movies again.
While comparable to episode two, episode three of Minecraft: Story Mode is hampered by its technical problems. The audio issues could be forgiven, but its absentmindedness towards the player's choices completely undermines the core conceit of the experience. Thankfully, its isolated nature means it could be a one-off thing. Considering how enjoyable everything else is, it would be a shame if this episode marked the start of a downhill slope for the series.
There's nothing truly bad about Bokida: Heartfelt Reunion, and it certainly has its looks going for it. Unfortunately, when it comes to design, gameplay, and story, everything either feels underdeveloped or inferior to similar titles. For a couple of hours of peaceful exploration, it may be worth looking into, but after putting it down, it's unlikely that you'll ever have a heartfelt reunion with it.
There's a lot wrong with Minecraft: Story Mode. From its technical issues to its plot to its business model, it really has a lot going against it. Yet, despite all that, it still had its memorable moments. As the writing improved, things became more engaging. As the characters established themselves, they became more likeable (and detestable, for some). Hell, one moment even came close to generating tears: an achievement on its own for a game that feels like a Saturday morning cartoon. There's lots of coal here, no doubt about it. In some ways, though, that makes the diamonds shine all the brighter.
As a conclusion (possibly for good) to Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two - Episode 5 is still strong, never becoming close to a chore to play. It's just a shame that it ended up being one of the weaker points of the season.
Frustrating gameplay aside, Telltale games are still primarily about the story, and episode four shows that it is possible to throw some interesting twists and turns into a narrative that seemed dead in the water. Getting to those points can feel a bit tiresome, and many of the connecting elements feel completely superfluous, but at least there's a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully that light grows even brighter as the series comes to its conclusion.
Last Day of June is a frequently beautiful experience, with a likeable cast, gorgeous visuals, lovely music, and an ending that feels like both a logical conclusion and a tear-jerking finale - yet it stumbles when it comes to actually being a game. Its core concepts are sound, but the constant repetition quickly erodes much of the gravitas, especially for players who get stuck and need to spend some time jumping back and forth between characters. It says something that the game was at its best in its final fifteen minutes or so, where much of the "real gameplay" was thrown out in favour of an "interactive movie" approach. Of course, throwing out that gameplay altogether wouldn't do the title any favours, as its narrative and mechanics are intrinsically tied together and designed to play off one another. It's just a shame that one of those halves is decidedly weaker than the other.
Under Pressure does a good job of showing the cracks that are beginning to form in the Guardians' relationships, while ironically filling some of the cracks that were present in the first chapter's presentation. It still needs some work to make it something truly special, and it remains to be seen whether the consequences will be worth the yawn-inducing build-up. Luckily, things are looking up, and as the main theme suggests, Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy is still very much a Livin' Thing.
The Count Lucanor is a clever little horror game that succeeds in avoiding cheap scares in favour of some truly disturbing moments. In an ironic twist, most, if not all, of the actual "jump scares" are caused by Hans rather than directed towards him. Additionally, the game features several shiver-inducing moments, varied endings (most of which can be seen by saving right before the final area), and a lovely presentation that includes chiptune covers of classical Bach pieces. It's nothing revolutionary, but for a few unsettling hours of addictive puzzle solving, Hans' journey through Tenebre Castle is worth a look. Plus, that kobold is just so darn cute!
Not without its weaknesses, the conclusion to Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy series nonetheless takes things out on a high note. It's clear that Telltale's storytelling and gameplay are wearing out their welcome, so hopefully the teased follow-up season will do more to reinvigorate this shaky franchise. Despite this, if the earlier episodes had you wondering whether Guardians of the Galaxy would amount to anything, well, don't stop believin'.
Episode four is the good kind of unremarkable for a Telltale game. It maintains the quality storytelling and action that has been present throughout this season while fixing the technical difficulties from the last chapter. It's nothing revolutionary for Minecraft: Story Mode, but it really doesn't need to be. It just needs to be entertaining and engaging through its two-hour runtime, and that's something that it manages to do with ease.