GRIP has moments of brilliance, but not enough for me to recommend a purchase unless you’re a fan of Rollcage and are interested in what is essentially an incredibly late Rollcage 3. The addition of either some more courses or a level editor would be a huge improvement although I don’t know if that is in the works. GRIP isn’t everything I hoped it would be, however there is a solid base and plenty to suggest that Rollcage‘s formula still has something to offer in 2018.
I spent thirty hours with Thronebreaker and, while a couple of hours were me moving through the motions of easy gwent matches, the vast majority saw me hooked to the screen either listening to the narrator and cast of characters bringing scenes to life or trying to figure out how to stop spies making it from one end of the gwent table to the other. If you want a great story set in the Witcher world, then I recommend Thronebreaker.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey ends up being a textbook example of how you can have too much of a good thing. I enjoyed clearing out forts in Origins, and for about fifteen hours I enjoyed doing it in Odyssey as well. But nothing changes. You keep doing the same thing again and again, and the gameplay, while fun, is nowhere near compelling enough to justify you spending over seventy hours on it. Thank God there’s not going to be an Assassin’s Creed game in 2019. I need a rest.
Other than the Myst games, I can’t think of any obvious points of comparison to help you decide whether or not to give Return of the Obra Dinn a chance. The lack of guidance and completely open nature of the puzzles separate it from the likes of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter which had you solving smaller puzzles one at a time. This originality is the exact reason you should try it for yourself. I can’t guarantee you’ll love it as much as I did, but I’m certain it will keep nagging away at you in the back of your mind, encouraging you to boot it up one more time to see what else you can discover.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider‘s sense of familiarity is so strong that it might have been better as an expansion along the lines of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. That game also took place largely in one environment and felt exactly the same as the game that preceded it. At least The Lost Legacy came with a lower price tag and online multiplayer and its shorter length made it feel less dragged out. Ultimately, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a by-the-numbers sequel to Rise of the Tomb Raider, capitalizing on the great puzzle tombs but failing to take any other worthwhile steps forward.
At $13, some people will no doubt find Donut County a little too expensive for such a short experience. A quick story playthrough is around 90 minutes to two hours, although if you go for all the achievements (which is definitely worth doing) then you’re looking at nearer three hours. Donut County is also one of those special games that don’t require any gaming experience to enjoy, so don’t be surprised if non-gamer friends and family get sucked in too. The hole experience (couldn’t resist!) is so relaxing you might even find yourself revisiting it: I went back to capture some footage and ended up playing for another half an hour. Give Donut County a try if you can. We could all benefit from something a little more peaceful once in a while.
Quarantine Circular is engaging for most of its run-time, with punchy dialogue and a slowly-unraveling story, however it didn’t land the ending and left me feeling a little flat. Regardless, I love how Bithell Games keeps experimenting and I’m looking forward to whatever it springs on us next.
It’s inevitable that Not Tonight‘s strong political views will put some people off, although it’s hard to imagine who would be offended at such obvious satire unless their own views are a little too closely represented for comfort. Not Tonight made me laugh and feel awkward on a regular basis, often both in close proximity. It has moments of tedium but it’s worth sticking with for the laughs that follow those periods of downtime.
And so ends a terrible season pass. As with Lost on Mars, the only redeeming quality with Dead Living Zombies is the silly humor. However, this isn’t enough to get through the low-quality zombie hoards or motivate you to pump bullets into mutation stations. At least it’s all over now. I can delete Far Cry 5 from my hard drive and forget about it just like Ubisoft did judging by the effort put into this DLC.
Dead Cells might not be the Metroidvania it half-heartedly professes to be, but it is a phenomenal rogue-lite and probably the best game I’ve played this year. The constant feeling of progression should be enough to tempt even those who don’t usually enjoy the genre while still being intense enough for those who lap this stuff up.
Tacoma shows that with great writing and voice acting, you can become attached to characters you only know through colored body outlines and a couple of pictures. I even wanted to know more about the crew’s family back on Earth and I was desperate to dig further into the corporate structure of Venturis and the overall state of the global economy. Tacoma is enjoyable enough that it left me wanting more, even if the experience didn’t hit quite as hard as Fullbright’s groundbreaking debut.
OnRush is a thrill and, appropriately, provides a real adrenaline rush for short play sessions. The lack of depth would have made for a great budget release and perhaps if it had been sold at $20 or $30 it wouldn’t now have empty multiplayer lobbies. As it stands, OnRush is good fun in short bursts and that’s about it.
Where the Water Tastes Like Wine contains charming stories, wonderful illustrations and voice-acting that fits the game’s slow-paced and relaxing nature. And this is where the budget ran out. I have to assume that after paying Sting, the writers, and the illustrators, there was no money left to design the over-world and flesh out the short stories. This leaves Where the Water Tastes Like Wine being half of a great game that requires you to wade through the weaker parts to get to the good content. It’s an eight to ten hour game when it would have been better as a four to five hour one.
Lost on Mars‘ only redeeming feature is the humor and even that won’t be to everyone’s taste. There’s no variety to the enemies or indoor environments and the campaign is especially disappointing, being no more than a quest for collectibles. It’s hard to understand how DLC that takes you to Mars with a funny sidekick can end up being so unbelievably boring. Lost on Mars is another piece of skippable content in a season pass that is looking like a waste of time.
West of Loathing is a wonderfully charming adventure where the stick figures that populate the towns have more character than most of the life-like models in big-budget productions. You’ll spend more time reading than fighting, but when it’s this funny you won’t mind too much.
The Red Strings Club might not be **the** cyberpunk game you’re waiting for, but it’s well-worth your time. Like any good cyberpunk story, it poses tough questions about our potential future and the extent to which we adapt our own bodies and minds at the cost of corporate control. Like any really good cyberpunk story, you shouldn’t expect to get all the answers.
Fast RMX isn’t quite the new Wipeout or F-Zero game that I so desperately want, however it is a damn good futuristic racing game and a bargain at $20. Its budget status shows up in a few places, such as the subdued music, barebones online, or lack of a notable difference between the difficulty modes. However, Fast RMX is exhilarating at top speed and rewards track mastery while minimizing annoying RNG elements. The three race tournaments make it perfect for short play sessions and it will help tide me over until a new Wipeout of F-Zero.
There's a big difference between being inspired by something and flat out copying it. Curse of the Moon copies Dracula's Curse and does a good job of it. So much so, that if you're a fan of Dracula's Curse, you might not even need to play Curse of the Moon. Compare that to Shovel Knight, which combined the best parts of series like Mega Man, Mario, and Ducktails, to be an excellent game in its own right which I recommend to everyone. Personally, I prefer the Shovel Knight approach to retro-inspired games, although Curse of the Moon is a great way to revisit a classic without requiring so much skill and patience to see it through to completion.
The Ultimate Edition subtitle is fitting because it’s hard to see where the N formula goes from here. With over 4,000 levels in N++, not including community created ones and those you create yourself in the level editor, there’s not much need for another sequel or special edition. That makes N++ an easy recommendation, especially on the Switch where it is perfect for short pick up and play sessions. Yes, as much as it pains me to say it, N++ is “perfect for the Switch.”