Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival proves to be another solid entry in the series. In terms of quantity and variety, the default song list is on the same level as Drum 'n Fun, and while the DLC will pad things out, the 30- and 90-day song passes do a much better job of making this feel like the most packed entry yet. The removal of minigames is a bit disappointing for those who liked them, but Great Drum Toy War and its strategic elements more than make up for it. It's a much better experience if you're willing to shell out for the drums, but even if you don't, you'll have fun with Rhythm Festival if you're a big rhythm game fan who isn't too hung up on grooving to familiar Western pop hits.
Twin-stick shooter fans will certainly have some fun with NeverAwake. The short levels make it perfect for quick, on-the-go bursts of shooting, while the actual shooting and power-ups make for a fun and challenging experience. It looks and sounds great, while the presence of two different endings gives the game some replayability. That said, the story isn't all that compelling considering that we've seen it used before, and the game can start to feel like it's running on for too long due to the sameness in some levels.
Itadaki Smash isn't exactly the worst beat-'em-up on the Switch, but it gets close. The graphics are drab, with some bad-looking character models and mediocre animations. The humor is tiresome, and the lack of moves reveals the game's shallowness. The game is short, but the cumbersome saving combined with the overall instability makes it difficult to like. The Switch has a plethora of very good beat-'em-ups, both old and new, so there's no need to check out this offering.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R is a much better experience compared to the original title. The modes feel more tightly put together, the character roster has been expanded greatly, and the fighting feels more involved, making the experience much more fun than in the 2016 offering. Unless you're primarily an online player, this is well worth checking out.
Cult of the Lamb does an excellent job of combining two distinctly different genres into an absolutely fun experience. It helps that both genres are presented in their simplest form, rather than aiming for more advanced users with a bevy of options, so the mashup isn't so overwhelming. Both genres play well on their own, and the balance is thoughtful while still providing a good challenge.
The only saving grace to Ashiragu: The Last Shogun is that it runs, and you can get one Bronze Trophy out of it. Aside from that, there are no redeeming qualities. Under no circumstances should anyone play this. It's a mystery why Sony continues to let this and other games from the developer/producer exist in the marketplace at such a high price.
Tentacular shows how well VR can be done once you stop limiting it to exercise, combat, and rhythm-based genres. The puzzles are simple to understand, and the presence of a timer doesn't make it frantic. Your floppy tentacles and the finicky physics can lead to some frustration, but all of your tasks are still possible. The presence of room scaling and analog stick movement makes the title accessible for many setups. It's all done with an adorable aesthetic and a runtime that feels meaty - even before you include the playground. Tentacular is a fun experience for VR fans who are looking for something calming, different and fun.
Even a year later, Biomutant still left us impressed in just about every area. From the adventure to the world and its history to the characters and quirks, Biomutant remains a compelling title. That said, the PS5 iteration doesn't feel that ambitious. The positives, such as an increase in fur and its interactions with the world, come with divisive negatives, like level of detail pop and controller features. It's still a good title for those who haven't played it before, but if you've already finished the game, you'll be thankful that you don't need to pay more for a marginally improved experience.
Despite the stuttering and issues with the extras, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection is still a very good title thanks to the quality of titles on offer and the enhancements to make each game a little easier for inexperienced players. The duo of arcade classics still stands the test of time, and their home version counterparts do a very good job of porting it all over while adding new elements to mask the parts that didn't get moved over. The portable games can be hit-and-miss, but they're still very good compared to the Game Boy lineup. The fighting games are interesting, and the other beat-'em-ups are solid. Hopefully the title gets patched for improvements, but retro fans will definitely enjoy it.
Destroy All Humans! 2 - Reprobed will appeal to fans of the original and a more niche audience that craves destruction without caring that the plot isn't too cohesive. Others who will be aficionados are players who like mayhem on foot rather than from a flying saucer and appreciate gameplay improvements, even if they make the title much easier. It's a fun experience for everyone who's willing to check it out, especially with the title's relatively low price point compared to many other PS5 games.
Midnight Fight Express is a solid beat-'em-up. The base move set is enough to make you feel dangerous, but a fully kitted out character makes you feel invincible. The combat is appropriately crunchy, and the game doesn't wear out its welcome despite having a ton of brief levels. It fulfills that fantasy of being an unstoppable action hero, and it keeps that fantasy going thanks to the game's overall replayability. For fans of action titles in general, Midnight Fight Express is well worth checking out.
Aztech: Forgotten Gods is a classic example of a good idea with failed execution. The premise feels fresh, as does the use of gods from a civilization that isn't often covered. The combat system and various traversal mechanics have potential, but technical issues, bad presentation, and an uninteresting open world lead to a game that squanders its potential. Hopefully the team can rebound to present some of these ideas again with more polish. In its current state, it's difficult to recommend Aztech.
Rollerdrome is a solid action game that merges shooting and sports quite well. The blend creates loads of exciting moments that only seem to falter during boss fights. The number of levels and challenges feels just right. The concessions made for all skill levels is appreciated, and the presence of leaderboards and a bonus campaign ensures that there's plenty of incentive to keep people playing. Overall, Rollerdrome is a great title for those looking for something different.
The Tale of Bistun is surprising in several different ways. The story is intriguing not only because it's from a place we don't see much of but also because literature is rarely been done in games at all. The game's length is short but welcome, as a lengthier game would stretch out the repetitive combat a touch too much. For adventure gamers who want something narratively different and don't mind it being something that can be knocked out in an afternoon, The Tale of Bistun is worth a look.
Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered remains an excellent superhero adventure game, but the move to PC elevates it as the best version of the adventure thus far, mainly thanks to the various available graphical options. From full native 4K with a beefier ray tracing implementation to lots of tweakable graphical options, it looks gorgeous and a little better than the PS5 iteration. If you already have the console version, then there's not too much reason to dip into this adventure again, but for those experiencing the title for the first time, Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered is a perfect way to dive into the adventure and get yourselves ready for Spider-Man: Miles Morales, which arrives in a few months.
AVICII Invector: Encore Edition hasn't been hurt at all by the translation to VR. The traditional control scheme has ported well to the controllers, while the blending of music and environments creates a mesmerizing experience. The presence of so few songs compared to a good deal of other rhythm games can be disappointing, since the chances of more DLC is almost nil, but for those who aren't prone to motion sickness, this is another great addition to the Quest 2's rhythm game library.
Like the first title, Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium lives off of the strength of the titles presented here. Even if it does repeat titles from the company's other, more focused compilations, the quality and variety of each one shows why the company has been respected in the arcade space for so long. Just about every title remains fun to play today, with no stinkers in the lot. It really would have been nice to see some improvements over the first collection as far as extras and online play goes, but it remains a solid pick-up for retro fans. Should the company go for a third compilation, we have to hope that it'll reach the polygonal era of games now that the sprite era has been all but exhausted.
If you're fine with the game's length, Gunborg: Dark Matters delivers the kind of tough, skill-based experience that is currently en vogue. The various tools in your arsenal are enough to get high combos and more powerful attacks, while the controls give you enough precision to make tricky jumps and dance around your enemies. The level design gives you plenty of chances to put those skills to the test, while the high difficulty level feels fair but makes even the easiest difficulty level feel like anything but a cakewalk. If you don't frustrate easily, give Gunborg a try.
Like the original release on the 3DS, Disney Magical World 2: Enchanted Edition is fit for younger players who can't quite grasp Animal Crossing: New Horizons and the hardcore Disney fan. The simple activities, brisk pace, and overall Disney vibe is a perfect fit. For everyone else, it has a good amount to do but nothing that captures your attention like Nintendo's game. If you're tired of being on your own deserted island, then Disney Magical World 2 will briefly scratch the life simulation itch, but you can skip this one if you're still paying off loans, are deep in the "Stalk Market," or knee-deep in designing houses for other animal visitors.
In the end, Moo Lander is a solid adventure game that works despite the genre being mislabeled. The placement of more physics puzzles is a welcome one, even if a few can be a little frustrating. Combat is solid enough, provided you know beforehand that the boss fights tend to be a huge pain. The world may not have much in the way of exploration, but it feels anything but sterile, and the tools are quite fun to use. It's an enjoyable game overall and one that adventure fans might be interested in if they wanted something a little different.