Kaze and the Wild Masks is an unashamed blast from the past, for better or worse. PixelHive's love letter to 16-bit gaming surmounts budgetary and design shortcomings with a compelling challenge, luscious visuals, and an evocative soundtrack, all punctuated by a solid underdog spirit. Kaze's polished but formulaic gameplay will not be to everyone's taste, but for those who long for the halcyon days when the platformer was king, it's most definitely wabbit season.
Capcom Arcade Stadium is a nostalgic look at a time when stained space carpets and deafening cacophonies were all the rage, performing admirably in its role at offering classic thrills in portable form. The lack of online multiplayer is disappointing, and the package will never feel truly complete until certain titles break free from licensing limbo, but as a way to while away lazy afternoons or dull commutes, CAS is worth its weight in credits.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood proudly wears the reverence for White Wolf's lore on its furry sleeve, with a dark-but-interesting universe and a fierce pro-environment/anti-capitalist message. But behind its wild, bloody carnage and well-meant intentions lies a dated and sorely repetitive stealth adventure that, among its contemporaries, fails to stand out from the pack.
As dynamic, engaging, and challenging today as they ever were, Turrican Flashback offers an authentic compilation of games from the classic series, without a single dud among them. Unfortunately, wafer-thin presentation, missing titles, and a complete lack of side-features (in addition to a subjectively high price-tag) let down what could of - should of - been an encapsulating tribute to one of history's most influential and beloved shooter franchises.
Once players get over the shock of its mechanical departures, Super Meat Boy Forever offers a solid and relentless auto-running experience. But there's no denying that this long-awaited sequel doesn't deliver the impact nor addictive magnetism of its predecessor. Regardless, those willing to look past this initial disappointment will discover a satisfactory time-killer, strongly adhering to the great visuals, manic presentation, and twisted humor that is the franchise's trademark.
From its shadowy story campaign to its frantic multiplayer action, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War offers the thrilling and magnetic gameplay expected of the series, shined up with solid character models, impressive vistas, and sharp visual effects. While there's undeniably room for improvement regarding innovation, Black Ops Cold War gets Call of Duty's third generation off to a strong start.
For all its themes of rule-breaking anarchy, Watch Dogs: Legion toes the line as a formulaic, though ambitious, open-world adventure. While it boasts one of the most visually exciting and stunningly authentic locales in the genre's history, Watch Dogs: Legion's gameplay is mechanical, over-familiar, and repetitive, struggling to capture the exciting promise of a fist-pumping, system-smashing revolution.
Onee Chanbara Origin remains a cathartic, bloodthirsty, and goofy bit of chaos, whose aesthetic charms have been boosted thanks to Tamsoft's excellent audio/visual upgrade. Unfortunately, the passage of time has somewhat dulled Origin's gameplay, which has been far superseded by other franchises. Offering a short campaign, above-average action, and a slim package, Onee Chanbara Origin is for franchise fans only - and not at its $60 asking price.
There's a nugget of an excellent game located deep within G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout, but this outmoded third-person shooter doesn't have the resources, scope, or variety to expand upon its unmistakable potential. With repetitive objectives, frustrating controls, and a lack of online multiplayer, G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout isn't fun enough to stand out in a crowded shooter marketplace, despite the obvious and heartfelt passion showcased for the '80s franchise.
Kandagawa Jet Girls delights with its boisterous, glowing presentation, cast of vibrant characters, and array of fun side-attractions. But the jet-ski action itself is mostly dull, struggling to offer a decent challenge or a genuine sense of speed. Jet Girls rides waves of goodwill thanks to its infectious personality, but this eventually gives way to tepid, monotonous gameplay, hampering what could have been one of Marvelous' best releases yet.