Like Gas Station Simulator before it, Food Truck Simulator could benefit from a little more polish. And, also like Gas Station Simulator, you’re paying money to pretend to have a job. But expanding your little business and being the best Food Truck Guy, shaving seconds off each time you fry, never gets old. As mundane as its premise may seem, Food Truck Simulator is a real joy.
Lord Winklebottom Investigates isn’t perfect – the arbitrary order of some of the puzzles in particular is bothersome, and some of the solutions are too obtuse for their own good. But despite its rough edges, we’re glad we stepped into Lord Winklebottom’s weird, wonderful world. And if there are further adventures on the cards, you can count us in.
Mothmen 1966 is a haunting outing that, with the exception of one awkward line, uses quality writing rather than jump scares to keep you on edge. Yes, you’ll get a little extra out of it if you’ve an appreciation for cryptozoology or astrology, but that’s by no means compulsory. It’s entertaining and unsettling in equal measure and if, as its developers suggest, it’s the first of many, we look forward to seeing where LCB takes the series next.
Things picked up with the ending, but Silt‘s bosses are in sore need of an overhaul. Thankfully, Silt has plenty of stand-out encounters to help erase the memory of those few middling ones. If you’ve the remotest interest in what lies below, this atmospheric aquatic outing is well worth diving into.
For that reason, Not Tonight 2’s story didn’t quite land for me, but the journey itself, laden with laughs, was absolutely worth taking. I won’t soon forget the sheer joy of arriving at an absurd new location, frantically trying to wrap my mind around the gloriously off-the-wall entry requirements, and the silly, smug satisfaction of doing a good job.
Entertaining, funny and thought-provoking in all the right places, Not For Broadcast is a hugely engrossing foray into the nightly news arena. You’ll laugh your face off at times, but like the best satire, it’s also disquieting enough to have you uncomfortably squirming in your seat.
There’s still room for improvement, a Jurassic World Evolution 1.999 by my calculations, but even with its issues, Jurassic World Evolution 2 is a fantastic sim game that’ll have you coming back for more, even when you’ve exhausted its campaign and Chaos Theory mode. It’s an absolute must if you’ve got the remotest interest in Jurassic Park, dinosaurs or unleashing nightmarish giant lizards upon an unsuspecting public.
Still, Let’s Build a Zoo’s comedic approach to zoo management belies just how deep it is. It isn’t perfect and I’d love a patch that halved the number of animals you need for splicing, but seeing your visitors gawp in wonder at your creations is worth the price of admission alone. The moral choices it throws at you, which aren’t all just for the sake of being evil, elevate it even further. If you’ve the slightest interest interest in sim games, you’ll have hour after hour of ethically-dubious fun with Let’s Build a Zoo.
The Sundew isn’t perfect; every so often I ended up shaking my fist at its list of tasks, mocking me with its empty boxes, knowing full well some of them were entirely dependent on others. But this pixel-based point-and-click adventure still had me hooked to the end. All the more remarkable for being a solo effort, The Sundew is a real treat for adventure fans, cyberpunk aficionados or anyone who’s sick of being a chirpy chosen one.
If hard sci-fi sends you to sleep, you might want to give this a miss, because every now and then, the story be can a little dry. But for everyone else, if you’re prepared to give Encased your time and attention, and overlook what are mostly fixable flaws, you’ll discover an engaging, compelling and pleasingly deep RPG.
Stripped of its hellish veneer and of the illusion you’re actually calling the shots, Hell Architect is a relatively run-of-the-mill management game. It’s by no means torture to play, but it fails to live up to its wickedly intriguing premise – and the odd dashes of humour can’t fix that.
Including the dungeon-crawling mode Beneath does damage Paint the Town Red‘s sense of identity a little, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker. The real joy of this game is the fact that you can dip into it for 30 minutes or so of gore-soaked fun; if you’ve had a tough day, it could be quite a cathartic experience. Paint the Town Red may have spent more time in Early Access than most, but it’s still a bloody joy to play. Just don’t think throwing the first punch means you’ll come out on top.
There’s a lot of promise here but it’s smothered by Claire de Lune’s insistence on punishing you for not being able to read its designers’ minds. If you were to take the game’s inside levels, pretend the outdoor areas don’t exist and halve the price accordingly, you’d have a real gem. Or just disabling all of its infuriating invisible walls would do the trick. As it is, Claire de Lune left me fighting to have fun and, missing daughter or not, that’s not a battle I have the stamina for.
Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights‘ combat could still do with some work, not least because the animation is so gorgeous that limiting your physical attacks deprives the game of an extra dose of visual finesse. But this is still a magical outing that will have you hooked until the Blight is nothing but a bad memory.
Is Backbone worth a look? Yes, particularly if the idea of playing as an anthropomorphic animal appeals to you. There are times when it’ll have you on tenterhooks and there are several characters that are strong enough to stand out. It’s admirable that this was achieved on a small budget, but ultimately the developers have tried to cram too much in for Backbone to be truly successful.
Overboard is not the biggest game in terms of a single playthrough, but you’ll dive in again again until you’ve polished your excuses and suspicion-dodging shenanigans. Throw in a superb soundtrack, a gorgeous visual aesthetic and you’ve got a game to die for.
At its best, Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted delivers the kind of jump scares and edge-of-your-seat tension the series is known for. But, minus a VR headset, it’s not a great way to experience Five Nights at Freddy’s, even factoring in the bonus games and the additional lore it imparts. Given that you can get the first three Five Nights games on Nintendo Switch in their original, superior incarnations, it’s hard to recommend Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted to anyone but FNAF completionists.