Laura Kate Dale
It's not a typical structure for a game, but the mechanics really do work in the context of the narrative. If you like the idea of an open-ended '90s murder mystery with no guarantee you'll find a solid answer to its mysteries, then I can't recommend this highly enough. Her Story is a spectacular video game, and one of the most gripping personal narratives I've experienced in some time.
Pony Island messes with players in unexpected ways that stuck with me for days. It took a number of unexpected turns that caught me off guard and was constantly filling me with a sense of inescapable unease. It wasn't on my radar at all before it released, but at under $5 it's a wonderful use of two hours of your life.
If you're a fan of games like AudioSurf and own a Vive, you owe it to yourself to pick up Audioshield. It's an incredibly polished VR imagining of the generate-music-into-levels concept, and it was only let down by the physical realities of how gross VR gets after energetic use by multiple, sweaty people.
Ultimately, I came away from Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires extremely satisfied. The tactical elements outside of battle were well balanced as to be challenging while fair, and the combat carries over the best elements from the main game. It's a bit of a specific niche it's catering to -- fans of Dynasty Warriors combat and long-term strategy elements -- but if those two things are your jam, then Empires should have you hooked.
Fast Racing Neo made a strong impression right off the bat, and is easily one of my favorite games this year. It's fast, it's responsive, it has a compelling color-switching mechanic, and Hero Mode provides a stupidly fast-paced challenge that's going to last me quite some time. I have very little bad to say about this game beside the fact that the resolution dips in split-screen. When that's the worst you can say about a game, it's pretty darn impressive.
Overall, Injustice 2 takes a strong fighting game, delivers an incredibly rewarding and lengthy single player that feels like a priority rather than a tacked on afterthought, and considerably increases the scope of the game by adding in a vast number of well made additional characters to the mix. Sure it hits the uncanny valley a bit, and I'm not keen on the loot boxes or their DLc plans, but it's hard to deny how much fun I had with the game at launch.
Overall, I must say, I was really impressed by my time with Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. It's a polished X-Com style game that removes some of the obtuse layers to ensure the early gameplay curve is accessible, uses humor very well, and kept me coming back for more.