- Streets of Rage 2
- LA Noire
When Demon Skin works, it works pretty well – it’s a nice-looking title with an interesting story and some combat mechanics that set it apart from other similar games. Unfortunately, its missteps are just too impactful on the overall experience to ignore. If you have the patience of a saint, you might find enough here to enjoy. If time is at a premium, and you don’t fancy the slog, I just can’t recommend it. A real shame.
Ultimately, while 8Doors: Arum’s Afterlife Adventure is a competent enough addition to the Metroidvania genre, with a decent story and acceptable gameplay, it doesn’t do enough with its potential to rub shoulders with the giants of the field. If you’re mad for these types of games, you can do much worse. However, if you’re only interested in something more unique, this probably isn’t interesting enough to do the job.
It’s to SNK’s enormous credit that they’ve kept the Samurai Shodown franchise fresh for long enough to deliver a game in 2021 that deserves to take its place alongside the heavy hitters of the mainstream fighting scene. Sadly, a lack of content means that it’s unlikely to be first choice for the aficionados. Still worth checking out though, especially if you’re able to give it a go at 120fps.
Early impressions are poor and don’t really get any better from there. Tennis World Tour 2 – Complete Edition is a sterile, sluggish experience from start to finish, and has little in the way of reason to stick with it long-term. If you absolutely must play a tennis game, you might need to dig an older console out of the cupboard. Avoid.
Taken as a whole, PolyAmorous doesn’t get everything right with Paradise Lost, with some maddening technical issues too often dragging me out of potentially powerful or touching moments, but there are enough terrific little touches here that – when combined with a compelling narrative, haunting sound design and some interesting background storytelling – serve to make it worth a playthrough. Just be prepared to do a bit of squinting.
Teyon’s Monster Truck Championship succeeds as a result of its excellent handling model, which makes every race and every event a fun experience, free of the frustration that more sim-style racers can often elicit. Whilst it features a somewhat sparse range of modes, meaning you’re unlikely to stick with it long-term, it’s a really good arcade-style game that you can chuck on for 20-30 minutes every so often and pretty much be guaranteed an enjoyable time.
If you’re an old codger like me with fond memories of old 8-bit computer games, picking up a title that evokes those memories so well is a no-brainer. If, as is more likely, you’re a young whippersnapper (I hate you), I still thoroughly recommend Kinetic Edge. It’s a terrific mix of genres that’s great in single player and even better in multiplayer. Get on it.
It’s impossible to ignore the similarities to The Witness, and it’s disappointing that it’s so patchy from a technical standpoint, but The Pillar: Puzzle Escape was a short, pleasant and surprisingly enjoyable puzzle game that people should check out. It’s not overly taxing, so you might want to look elsewhere if you’re specifically looking for a challenge, but it’s a fine game for zoning out and killing a couple of hours.
El Hijo: A Wild West Tale’s focus on a non-combat brand of stealth, as well as its forgiving mechanics, serves as a very pleasant change to most stealth games on the market, and its overall style is cute without being cloying. It’s not perfect, with some roughness round the edges mechanically, but there are much worse ways to spend a few hours.
Look up the word “charming” in the dictionary, and you might very well find the cover for this game looking back at you. A bright and breezy game with an important message at its core, Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is a terrific experience, imbued with personality at every turn, that can be polished off in a single session. Another winner in a rapidly burgeoning library from ustwo games.