PC Building Simulator on PS4 is an enchanting game, channelling creativity and problem solving through the medium of making and fixing computers that even a PC newcomer like I can get to grips with and wholeheartedly enjoy. I do wish the game had spent a little more time explaining 3DMark scoring and overclocking as these are areas that it skips over too quickly for my liking but otherwise, this is a game that's easy to access, even easier to lose an afternoon too and is a great translation of the PC version.
Bouncy Bullets is one of Petite Games’ better concepts but it’s a game that doesn’t make full use of its potential with its design. It’s a colourful game with an excellent soundtrack but the frame rate issues when using bounce pads, the thicker than custard AI and the shortness to the game relegate this to yet more Trophy Hunter fodder and little else. A real shame.
Horace is a very, very good game. A humour filled but emotionally charged plot delivered via beautiful and well-paced cut scenes, some of the most gorgeous pixel released this year, a smorgasbord of pop culture references and mini-games and a hand crafted feel to the platforming, as if everything has been placed with care and attention, combine into one of the most surprising games of 2019.
Nowhere Prophet is a stylish, slickly designed deck building adventure that’s one of the best in class. Combining narrative ties to the cards/Followers you collect has the surprising side effect (or maybe, desired effect?) to make you actually care about those brave enough to join you on this death road across a desert world where as they’d just be a culmination of numbers to use then discard in other games of this ilk.
Refunct is a short game but what’s there is well crafted. There’s layers of discoveries to be made in the way the game plays and how to overcome each puzzle and this title is designed in a way to make this as enjoyable and natural as possible. While it’s not the prettiest of games, it’s certainly not ugly either. There’s no innovation here, with everything gameplay mechanic on display appearing in other games in more intuitive ways, but if you’re after half an hour of relaxing, simplistic game play that feels as chilled as an ASMR video, Refunct will scratch that itch.
Sairento is one of the most comfortable PSVR games I've played, despite the high flying, high tempo nature of its content which is an incredible achievement and lays the groundwork for a sequel which can take this further. In and of itself though, Sairento needed a little more variety to its action (maybe focusing on first person platforming at times or adding more enemy types) to really send it to the top of its genre.
Despite their being a morbidly entertaining personality to this game which shows all the hallmarks and potential of a well designed treat, it's too broken to play in its current state. I've enjoyed what I have been able to play of Graveyard Keeper but until it's patched, this game is a tough one to recommend to anyone who isn't a PS4 error screen enthusiast.
The intentions of Venture Kid are obvious – to pay tribute to the NES shooters of yore, Mega Man in particular. Via the level design and sound track, the game does this admirably. Unfortunately, at only 6 or so hours long, with bosses that are vanquished easily and with additional weapons divorced from the level design themselves, Venture Kid is a shade of the game it attempts to emulate, resigning it to an “also ran” in a genre that is seeing genuine innovation elsewhere.
Blood & Truth is a game that is leading the charge in smart, player centric, accessible and enjoyable VR games design. From the comfort of my couch, I’ve been made to feel like a highly skilled soldier for 5 whole hours (and more, thanks to the time trials now available), pulling off impossible feats while requiring just the right amount of effort to keep me immersed without making me feel like a passenger.
Visually splendid with a terrific art style, a surprisingly unique premise and a whole bucket full of charm makes Bow to Blood a very entertaining and worthwhile game. While it’s not quite an essential title, feeling a little clunky at times, it’s certainly one I’d recommend to any PSVR owner who’s in the mood for something a tad different.
While The Padre does an admirable job of resurrecting the survival horror tropes of the 90’s, it brings with it a number of the flaws those games had too. If you’re itching for those retro Alone In The Dark vibes, The Padre delivers them alongside an odd side salad of pop culture references – but compared to the modern day peers, there’s aspects of this game feel like they should have been left in the grave.
Blood Waves would have been an adequate mode tacked onto another full game, a tiny side dish to a main meal elsewhere that could kill 2 hours. Unfortunately, as a standalone experience, it’s lacking in depth, excitement and personality. The trap building, the most interesting aspect of the game, is not enough to make this anything more than an also-ran in a genre that’s seen genuine quality over the years.
God’s Trigger is a smorgasbord of twin stick goodness. It takes the challenge of Hotline Miami, the genre innovations of Mr Shifty, blends it with a fun, pulpy if shallow narrative and then blends it with as much blood splatter as humanly possible. It doesn’t do anything particularly new but it does provide a twitchy, immensely gratifying 9 hours of action with the occasional satisfying set piece.
It’s the repetition that truly hampers The Princess Guide however. Aside from new traps to use and increasingly larger and more dangerous foes to fight, very little changes throughout the game. Beat up monsters. Move on to next area. Beat up Monsters. Repeat Ad infinitum. Because the mechanics are either poorly explained or shallowly implemented, the sheen of this game wears thin very quickly and without the unique aspects of its predecessor Penny-Punching Princess, it becomes a slog very quickly.
Despite its issues, The Occupation is thrilling, even with its lack of traditional life threatening situations. Hiding behind chairs to wait for Steve the Security guard to leave after you’ve accidentally set off an alarm, nervously awaiting the full 2 minutes for a safe to open while desperately hoping someone doesn’t walk in on you, hiding under a desk while a file slowly transfers to a disk, waiting just out of view until someone opens a door than attempting to follow them in unseen – The Occupation is full of moment to moment nail biting situations where time is your enemy and your most precious resource.
As Twin-Stick shooters go, The Walking Vegetables: Radical Edition is a competent entry. If you’re a fan of the genre and play a lot of them, as this critic does, this game might feel a little too familiar though. It makes no attempt to break new ground or innovate on any of its mechanics, meaning that despite fighting off a unique enemy in the form of fruit and vegetables, you might as well be playing any number of other titles in the genre.
Crimson Keep has very few redeeming qualities. The reflective light effects on the monsters look great, the procedural generation means that each new run is different and the music is pleasant enough. That’s about it. Roguelike purists that can dedicate enough time and effort to overcome this game’s hefty challenge might get a kick out of dying repeatedly here – but in a genre that’s becoming ever more accommodating and innovative, the luck dependent progress, sluggish combat and deeply punitive nature of the game feels archaic compared to its modern day peers.
That’s the crux of The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame. It is little more than a curated version of LEGO Worlds with the procedural generation removed and quests strung together to form a semi-coherent path through the loose beats of the movie plot. While this does divorce itself from the formula that TT Games have used for 14 years, delivering on the change that many have called for for years, it’s sorely lacking in the kind of whimsical charm, comedy, quest variety and purposeful design that the series has become famous for.
Unfortunately, while the past 4 instalments in the Far Cry series have all been excellent, New Dawn is not. The post-apocalyptic paint job and garish yet joyful weaponry do nothing to hide the fact that you’re doing exactly the same thing once again – except this time it’s pink and are facing off against even less interesting villains. The best moments of Far Cry New Dawn are when it’s referencing what happened in Far Cry 5 and for a pseudo-sequel, this shouldn’t be the case.