Heather Johnson Yu
- Final Fantasy X
- Katamari Damacy
Impostor Factory offers yet another tear-jerking, emotional roller coaster with murder mystery flair. The very definition of bittersweet, Impostor Factory’s emotional climax will only make sense to those familiar with the series, so if this is your first foray into the franchise, please grab To The Moon and Finding Paradise first before diving into this sentimental adventure. Where To the Moon sought fantasy from reality and Finding Paradise sought reality from fantasy, Impostor Factory blends them together in a beautifully unexpected way, reminding us to live life while we have it. If you want a wonderfully well-written story with fully fleshed out characters and thoughtfully choreographed scenes that feel charmingly cinematic, please play Impostor Factory (after To The Moon and Finding Paradise, of course!).
The true yardstick by which an exercise game should be measured is whether or not it was effective in getting players off the couch and into physical activity; I think it’s safe to say that Knockout Home Fitness clears the mark. Its short but intense sessions are appealing to those who, like me, struggle to commit to cardio; after only 15 minutes each day, you really do feel like you’ve gotten in a good workout. While I do wish it better instructed players on form and stretching, its rhythm-based mechanics make martial arts-based exercise fun and, dare I say, addicting. If you’re ready to jumpstart your fitness journey but don’t know where to begin, Knockout Home Fitness will absolutely get you going on the right track.
Embr doesn’t want to set the world on fire, it just wants to start a flame in your heart. And then make sure that the flame is out. And that everyone is safe. And did you get your food on time? Yes? Could you please tip your delivery driver/firefighter so they can continue to give you a hot meal and cold home? Thanks! Okay so yes, Embr may attempt quite a few things in its own wacky way, but it’s literally never a dull moment. Whether you blaze it on your own or with an entourage, Embr is a great way to burn through a weekend.
A Juggler’s Tale is a short, classic storybook side-scroller that asks players if they’d prefer to let fate choose for them or to choose their own destiny. Featuring delightful mechanics set against a dark fantasy world, A Juggler’s Tale will instantly remind fans of the seventh gen era of classics like LittleBigPlanet or Puppeteer in the best possible way. If a twisted fairytale with unique mechanics, captivating aesthetics, and a fantastic story sounds thrilling, don’t sleep on A Juggler’s Tale.
Manifold Garden is a serotonin-inducing triumph of a puzzle game that will captivate anyone who loves abstract aesthetics. Every single frame of this game is a screenshot, and every puzzle one that challenges the brain to think of the world in a more incorporeal manner. If M.C. Escher is your favorite MC, Manifold Garden is an absolute must-play, and I cannot envision a better platform for this geometric garden than PC.
The Plane Effect strikes me as a fairly polarizing experience that won’t be for everyone. If you prefer gameplay mechanics over aesthetics and deeper meaning, turn back now; if you love a cinematic, visually arresting journey and don’t mind clunky controls, this might be the surreal commute from another dimension for you. I can’t guarantee The Plane Effect will be your favorite game this year, but I can promise a unique experience that will make you feel all sorts of emotions; whether those emotions are awe or anger is anyone’s guess.
Suzerain is a must-play for fans of political games, narrative-based adventures, or for those who want to try an inventive concept executed brilliantly. It’s also a great case study in menu-based PC games and how to port them to console, the controls designed with Switch players in mind throughout every step of development. If you’ve ever thought you could make a country thrive under your rule, Suzerain is a great place to test out theories of any political leaning. Whether it be on PC or on Switch, Suzerain is worthy of your vote.
Teacup was a lovely surprise in so many ways, its careful and quiet protagonist making a big impact in such a simple yet unexpected manner. With aesthetics that feel like a children’s storybook giving players a warm and cozy hug, Teacup is a fantastic little wholesome title that will delight anyone who feels drawn to it. If you’re looking for a bright, cheery game, Teacup is absolutely going to be your cup of chamomile.
Clash of Chefs VR may appear simple and childish due to its bright and cheery aesthetics, but don’t judge a menu by its cover — this game will even challenge those with a food handler’s permit. Spending three years in Early Access did Clash of Chefs VR plenty of good, as all that time in the oven ensured a smooth and relatively bug-free experience. If you’re looking for a good VR simulator that you can keep coming back to for fun and frantic gameplay, Clash of Chefs VR will satisfy that craving.