I really wanted to like Yooka-Laylee. I don’t. Instead of taking a beloved style of game and updating it for modern times (à la Doom last year), Playtonic essentially created a game that could have been from 1998 and released it in 2017. The result is a mess of poorly implemented game mechanics that the games industry fixed two decades ago.
Rain World is so very close to being something special. Its aesthetic is haunting and its dynamic AI creates a world that feels real, as opposed to one that exists purely for you to overcome its challenges. Unfortunately it’s a game undone by poorly implemented controls and a series of strange design decisions that undermine the type of game it wants to be.
Micro Machines World Series sees the franchise attempt to make the move into the competitive online multiplayer scene. But rather than do so by leveraging its strengths and the gameplay modes series fans enjoy playing, Codemasters have focused on a dull game mode that feels out of place with the rest of the franchise.
With just a little bit more variety and a lot less repetition, Agents of Mayhem could have been an entertaining game. It’s not a bad game, nor is it a particularly good one. There were pockets of fun in the game, for sure, but this is a mostly forgettable experience.
Urban Empire is a game with a lot of promise that ultimately lets itself down due to a lack of depth in its core mechanics. While there are probably hundreds of ways each mechanic connects with each other, these connections are never explained to players, making the whole game feel inconsistent.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands is a very monotonous game. Solid gameplay mechanics quickly give way to empty repetition as the game never really varies its core gameplay loop at all during its running time. Regardless of your specific mission objectives, you’ll never break free from the endless cycle of clearing out buildings populated by the same enemies you were fighting ten hours ago.
There’s the core of a great game here, and it’s still fun to smash a car into oncoming traffic and watch the ensuing chaos. But the game is focused on the wrong things, specifically its Smashbreaker and aftertouch mechanics, instead of just dumping you into a simulation of a motorway and told to go nuts. There’s still fun to be had in Danger Zone, but it’s unfortunately held back by this misplaced focus.
Little Nightmares is an excellent experience wrapped in a fairly frustrating game. The world that Tarsier Studios have constructed is excellent – trading on its dollhouse-like environments, terrifying antagonists and incredible audio to create an incredibly atmospheric and disturbing horror game. But this otherwise great presentation is let down badly by poorly implemented gameplay and a story that feels like it goes nowhere.
There’s an interesting premise at the heart of What Remains of Edith Finch – explore a house and get to know a bunch of characters by invading their personal space and seeing how they died. And the short stories themselves can be interesting, particularly the shifts and changes they bring to the otherwise standard first-person gameplay. But there’s very little attempt made outside of these short stories to actually connect the player with its many subjects. Too often I felt like I was simply going through the motions.
Once Firis has passed the exam and the game drops the time limit, Atelier Firis turns into a pretty good JRPG with some deep crafting mechanics but a fairly lacklustre combat system. To get to this point, however, requires a fairly substantial time commitment.