The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD improves on the original in every conceivable way. The visual and performance upgrades make it feel like a new game, and the motion controls feel much more responsive, thanks to the Switch's Joy-Cons. But the new button controls are the biggest improvement; instead of fighting against the motion controls, players can now savor the satisfying combat and genius level design. What was once the outcast of the 3D Zelda games now stands tall as one of the best in the series.
For the first home console game in the series in nearly two decades, Mario Golf: Super Rush is a bit underwhelming, at least in terms of what it has to offer. Speed Golf and Battle Golf are both great ideas, but they aren't fleshed out enough to feel like main modes. Golf Adventure is a great way to add depth to what basically amounts to an extended tutorial, but it too suffers from pacing problems. Thankfully, the bulk of the game-the actual golfing-feels better than ever by being both technically challenging and more accessible.
Chivalry II is great fun when it works. Its combat is simple to learn and less simple to master, but incredibly rewarding no matter your skill level. The new 64-player matches and objective-based modes ensure intense, prolonged battles, and the variety in the classes will keep you motivated to grind for that next weapon. But the lack of variety in the maps and subclass abilities, and the overwhelming connection issues, make the game more frustrating than it should be.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is the first game I've played since the ninth-generation consoles launched that feels like a true next-gen title. Insomniac Games has done everything that it needed to do in making both a sequel to its longest-running franchise and a true next-gen exclusive. While it might not technically be a PlayStation 5 launch title, it feels like one-a real preview of the console's capabilities. But beyond that, Rift Apart is just an absolute blast to play.
Biomutant is trying to be too many things. It can be fun when you're comboing supernatural abilities and homemade weaponry to take down a group of bad guys as a furry little post-apocalyptic ronin. But its RPG mechanics are so clunky and uneven, and its various story threads are so underdeveloped, that you'll end up feeling like nothing you do actually matters. If you just want to explore yet another open-world and beat up some bad guys, then Biomutant will keep you busy for a few hours. Just be ready to encounter a slew of baffling and questionably executed design choices.
New Pokémon Snap might be one of the most thoroughly pleasant games that's come out for the Switch, if not ever. While the core gameplay is the same as it was in 1999, everything about the 2021 game is better. The environments are visual delights, the Pokémon are lovingly recreated, and the progression and pacing are just right. If the hobby of gaming has started to feel like a second or third job, then New Pokémon Snap might just be the vacation you need.
People Can Fly's special brand of explosive gunplay is better than ever in Outriders, but the game loses its way by shoehorning in too many of the RPG mechanics that have become bog standard for the "looter shooter" genre. What should have been a rollercoaster all the way through ends up feeling more like a car in stop-and-go traffic.
Really, though, 3 Out of 10’s biggest sin is that, when it comes to the actual “sitcom” parts of this “playable sitcom,” players basically have no influence on what happens. Most narrative games that let players make decisions to drive the story are high-stakes dramas. But if something is a playable sitcom, it seems strange that I can’t choose what the characters do or, especially, what jokes they make. Instead, it just seems like another game, albeit with a slightly shorter runtime and a slightly more humorous tone.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury is the Wii U port that Switch owners have been waiting for. Besides the inclusion of online multiplayer, 3D World is the same good game that players already experienced on the Wii U, and fans of the series who missed it the first time around will enjoy its hybridization of 2D and 3D Mario gameplay. But the highlight of the package is Bowser's Fury, a scaled-down but surprisingly robust mini 3D Mario game that actually takes some chances.
Disjunction deconstructs the stealth genre and boils it down to its simplest and most readable mechanics. Mix in a cool cyberpunk aesthetic and interesting if optional gadgets, and it's a winning formula. Unfortunately, the game stops well short of fully mining either its trope-heavy story or stealth formula, leading to an experience that ultimately feels repetitive.