- Kingdom Hearts II
- Castlevania Symphony of the Night
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate takes its name literally, as everything that fans have loved from the series is present and accounted for this time around. It's the party brawler that lets friends go head-to-head with their favorite game characters, now on Nintendo's impressive hybrid console. Spirits, featured in the World of Light story mode, introduce an exciting role-playing element for a new level of strategy and creativity. Thankfully, this and other new additions only add to the winning Smash Bros. formula, never taking away from what works.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy is the remastered collection that longtime fans deserve and the means to get newcomers interested in the purple dragon’s adventures. Toys for Bob has captured the spirit of the original three entries in the platforming series, popped in a few helpful updates, and created a beautiful visual landscape that gives new life to Spyro’s early journeys. The long load times and past mistakes from the original developers still pop up, but there’s no denying that this remastered trilogy is Spyro’s triumphant return.
Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night & Rondo of Blood offers two of the best experiences from the long-running Castlevania series in one convenient package. While both games still hold up extremely well, the collection as a whole doesn't introduce anything new to fans, making it feel like nothing more than a slapped together port. Still, both titles are worth the time of fans and newcomers.
After the misstep that was Mario Party 10, Nintendo has gone back to basics with Super Mario Party. The competitive boards and minigames are back, along with a few welcome gameplay twists that make this party game feel like a fresh start for the series. From two-console minigames to the Joy-Con motion controls, the new Switch features elevate the entire experience, making Super Mario Party the best in the series so far.
Despite not deviating too far from its series' 30-year long formula, Mega Man 11 is a reminder that Capcom's Blue Bomber still has more life in him. The new Double Gear System and subweapon Rolodex provide enough of a modern upgrade to make the game stand out from the pack, while the tight controls and familiar story make it feel wholly Mega Man. A misstep in the sound design keeps it from perfection, but it's only a small blemish on an otherwise fantastic entry in the series.
While it took longer than it ever should to fix its mistakes, Bungie's new expansion for Destiny 2, Forsaken, is a massive leap forward. Guardians can finally experience a story that packs an emotional punch and several reworked features that make general gameplay epic. However, it also divides players with its endgame progression, forcing them to choose between becoming a dedicated daily player or someone that can only enjoy a small portion of what it has to offer.
Sabotage Studio's debut title, The Messenger, is an impressive evolution for the platforming genre. It takes risks that at times work in its favor but also create frustrating mechanics for players to look past. The melding of 8-bit and 16-bit aesthetics into a love letter for the NES era of platformers is nothing short of genius, but the style outweighs the gameplay in some areas, including the difficulty level.
Drinkbox Studios' Guacamelee! 2 brings back the colorful lands of the living and the dead, but this time around, there's more of a focus on challenging platforming. It's all about Juan's new Pollo powers, which provide new ways to obliterate enemies or traverse around them. It doesn't revolutionize the series or knock other recent platformers out of the water, but Gucamelee!'s sequel is a tight, well-constructed adventure that knows how to crack a joke.
At first glance, Dead Cells might seem like another overhyped Metroidvania-style platformer trying to break into the stuffed platformer genre, but it's actually worthy of all its praise. Motion Twin's impeccable implementation of roguelike elements into a classic 2D exploration game is the key ingredient that makes it all work, and the impressive controls don't hurt either. The enemy variety and story might not be groundbreaking, but the positives eclipse any of the game's small negative aspects. Dead Cells is a standout in the genre.
Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 + 2 are the perfect way for returning fans to revisit the entire X franchise. The classic 2D and 3D platforming games are just as addictive as ever, and the new X Challenges bring a new set of trials for seasoned players to tackle. Newcomers are also welcome with the Rookie Hunter mode, making these collections the definitive way to experience the franchise.