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.
Dinosaur Island VR is merely serviceable. It has moments of fun which means it’s probably worth dipping in if you’re a hardcore dino-fan, but there’s little here to make it stand out. And given the potential of the game’s scaly antagonists, that’s a Jurassic disappointment.
Wattam isn’t without its flaws; in particular, the more characters you gather, the harder it is to quickly switch between them. But even when your journey’s done, there’s more than enough here to draw you back in, whether you’re tackling the game in co-op mode, hunting for those few elusive characters you’ve missed or just diving into this daft and wonderfully charming world.