Heather Johnson Yu
- Final Fantasy X
- Katamari Damacy
Coffee Talk may remind players of The Red Strings Club or VA-11 HALL-A, and while it certainly looks the part, it’s as different as a cocktail is from a cappuccino. If you understand the absolute joy that comes from sipping your favorite brew in a coffee shop window, listening to lo fi beats as you watch city lights twinkle while rain lightly falls from the heavens, you will immediately understand Coffee Talk. Perhaps it’s an acquired taste; those with refined palates will easily see how perfect Coffee Talk is — not too sweet, not too bitter — but a bold, refreshing experience that leaves players immensely satisfied until the very last drop.
Without a doubt, LUNA The Shadow Dust is the most beautiful game I’ve played in a long time. A scintillating yet simple story told with no words, only the deepest emotions conveyed through glorious art and hypnotizing music, I was legitimately moved to tears multiple times. Of course, a few of those tears shed were in frustration over a puzzle or two, but in the end, it only extended my time with a phenomenal masterpiece crafted by video game artisans. A powerful, cautionary tale of those who forget that the brightest lights yield the longest shadows, LUNA The Shadow Dust is worth every single penny and will no doubt stay with players for years to come.
Death and Taxes has so much more going for it than I’ve even been able to discuss. The art style is fantastic, the voice acting is perfection, the music is brilliant, and the mechanic is sure to delight any Papers, Please fans. But what really, really stuck with me was not only how it dove deeply into existentialism in an entertaining way that didn’t get mired in the macabre, but how it quietly — so subtle, you could miss it — elevated the feel right back up at the end, aligning morals back to a human scale and setting the expectation and desire to do better.
It’s not often that a decades-old game ages as well as we remember through our rose-colored glasses; fans of the original Sonic the Hedgehog 2 would then feel pleased to hear that SEGA AGES Sonic The Hedgehog 2 gives players the best of what they remembered and then some. With the quality of life improvements and the surprise additions of Super Sonic and Knuckles, among other features, SEGA AGES Sonic The Hedgehog 2 was handled with the love and care such a treasured gem deserves.
Murder By Numbers is definitely your game if you love picross and Phoenix Wright — heavy emphasis on that order. With a seemingly unending amount of picross puzzles at your disposal and plenty of murders to solve, Murder By Numbers accomplishes everything it sets out to do (and then some).
If you are looking for a semi-open world RPG that doesn’t hold your hand, plays like a very old school title, and will shock you with how revolting it tries to be, you might actually like The Pale City. If you’re an avid bookworm who mostly enjoys a story aid over a fully-fleshed out game, I can see this being right up your alley — as long as you enjoy the macabre. For anyone else expecting Baldur’s Gate or the like, consider watching a let’s play before making the purchase, and that advice goes double if you have a short attention span.