There are some genuinely cool moments buried among the slop. If this were an Early Access title, I'd be very content saying to keep an eye on it as it nears release. Considering that this game is being released like this, I will instead warn not to waste any money on this unfinished title..
Tannenberg is by no means a bad game. That being said, I can't recommend it for the sheer fact that the player count is far too low. The audience for this game is split with Verdun, its predecessor, and there simply isn't enough here to make playing it the clear choice. Two of the modes in Tannenberg aren't even playable unless you want to play completely with mediocre AI bots. Perhaps during a sale or after a big update, when the population spikes, it's worth a purchase. Otherwise, I'd just stick with Verdun.
There's a lot to love with Wargroove. I definitely have my qualms with some of the campaign mission design and plot, there is so much here to love. I can't say that it's a completely innovate entry into the genre, but I think it's safe to say that Wargroove is a title that needs to be in every turn-based strategy lover's catalog.
Just Cause 4 is not a better game than its predecessor. In many ways, it feels like the same game, just with a new continent to explore. For some, this may be all they ever wanted, but for the rest of us, it's just not enough. The formula starts to show itself early and can feel monotonous only a few hours in. There will always be joy in the mass destruction of the Just Cause 4 games, but the games seem to rely more and more on "making your own fun" instead of pushing the player into exciting and unique scenarios via the mission structure and overall game design.
I sort of went into this one with thoughts of "Hey, maybe it's not so bad again?" since the previous episode was decent, but nope. Episode 4 feels like we're back to square zero. One big story moment, a puzzle that leads into a cliffhanger, and more backtracking. I guess Episode 3 was just lightning (albeit a small baby bolt) in a bottle because this is crap in a can.
Artifact is not for everyone. It isn't for people who are red/green colorblind, for one. It isn't for the die-hard deck builders who would rather grind games than pay cash. But it is for people who enjoy card games with an incredible set of fair and unique mechanics that reward out-playing your opponent over luck and randomness. And while it may be based on Dota 2, with a lot to love for its fans, knowledge of the Heroes or universe is in no way needed to enjoy Artifact. All you'll need is $20 and an open and creative mind.
If you came into this review with the simple question of "is this game a modern-day RollerCoaster Tycoon?" the answer is an absolute yes. I spent most of my time in Parkitect analyzing revenue graphs and tinkering with prices to try and nickel-and-dime each guest out of their hard-earned cash. While I wish the ride creation was much friendlier, managing staff, guests, and park design has never felt better or more complete.
For a game called Just Dance, I often have a hard time just doing anything. Using my very expensive phone in my hand as I flail about is not my idea of a feel-good experience as I am constantly aware and being careful. The bottom line is that if you've been playing and enjoying Just Dance games for years, and now you want to be able to dance around to such classics as "DDU-DU DDU-DU," pick up Just Dance 2019 I guess, and hope the mobile app actually works. If you're new to the series, just find someone on Twitch streaming it and dance along at home.
This is a game that does absolutely not need to exist but does for the sheer fact that the original game had no way of raking in the dough. I don't expect this game to become a yearly title, because NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is now set up to appropriately gouge the players for money for years to come. Unless maybe that doesn't work, in which case you can look forward to NBA 2K Playgrounds 3 brought to you by FanDuel to release in 11 months.
Small musical cues are also used perfectly. I didn't notice how catchy these were at first until I found myself mimicking them in the shower. They are only a few seconds long, and I love them all so much! Special shoutouts to the voice actors as well. More than usual, the voice actors accurately representing their characters is of the utmost importance as players may recognize an accent or voice inflection that allows them to pinpoint the identity of someone on the ship. Everyone in the sound department did a tremendous job.
Listen, if you're reading this in the future, go and check the recent Steam reviews. My guess is that they will be rather positive on the game. A lot of the issues are tech-related: crashes, geometry bugs, load times, and framerate can all be fixed with patches. As of now? The interesting puzzles and fantastic music are not worth suffering through the bugs, lackluster models, and mediocre combat and skills. If your interest is piqued here, wishlist it and come back at a later time; I have no doubt that this game will reach its potential, but it's just not even close right now.
After the awful showing of Episode 2, I had absolutely no expectations going into this one. But hey, I came away relatively pleased and somewhat looking forward to what is to come next. The underlying issues that have plagued every episode thus far still persist here, but at least The Council is finally utilizing its strengths in the best way possible, despite its flaws.
Despite all of my qualms, everything seems to fade away each time I warp to a new system or enter an uncharted planet's atmosphere. If you felt the original No Man's Sky had promising ideas but ultimately let you down, NEXT is the perfect time to jump back in. No Man's Sky and its NEXT expansion prove that there is equal parts excitement, dread, and anxiety in exploring the unknowns of space.
The game doesn't quite end when all of the story missions are over. Other than the endless mode (which is where the gun combos can really get crazy), there's an endgame that allows the player to keep going, leveling up and facing harder and harder ships. There are also a slew of planned updates, including more guns and two-player co-op, but what is present at launch feels like a solid foundation. There are some odd and annoying design decisions, and it can feel frustrating to rarely get to really let loose with the gun creations, but damn if I don't keep coming back to go through a few ships and see what destruction I can cause.
I really don't have much else to say. Episode 2 of The Council somehow manages to be worse than the first, despite adding some great puzzle design onto the already impressive narrative gameplay. I suppose if you've plunked down the price for the whole season you may as well play through it, and in that case, I'll see you when the third episode releases and I have to build up the courage to enter into this world that is becoming increasingly less interesting.
A lot could be tightened up to make the game feel more snappy and responsive in almost every aspect, especially when it comes to moving inventory items. Moonlighter is incredibly captivating on the surface, but there is a lot of frustration just waiting to be uncovered.
Laser League is a deceptively simple competitive game. The controls are incredibly straightforward, but that is offset by the sheer amount of things needed to account for at any point in the match. Laser walls and players are constantly moving around the map in various patterns and at variable speeds. There may be a limited appeal if you never plan to play online, as the progression system is tied to online play, but this is a game not to be missed by fans of competitive games. And maybe Roll7 can throw in a colorblind option in the near future? Pretty please?
Frostpunk is such a bizarre game. Playing through it mechanically and logistically leads to a relatively standard resource manager. However, by investing yourself in the town and the people within it, you allow in the crushing weight of the decisions you'll have to make and the emotional consequences that follow. They may not be affecting real people, but treating it as such is what this game is all about. It's an emotional roller coaster that will likely leave you more defeated after "winning" than when you first started, and that is incredible.
There are five acts of this game. While I'm sure some of my concerns like janky animations and a lack of interesting exploration options can be addressed, I think that most of the game's issues will plague each and every episode. They can't shake the bad voice acting. Maybe they can increase the quality of the writing. There is a great blend of RPG and narrative mechanics here, it just isn't worth muddling through everything else to experience.
Into the Breach is a mechanically perfect game that is surrounded by mediocre design decisions. I absolutely adore the tactics-style gameplay and how simplistically the game can convey so much information. But with the only run variance being the three pilotable mechs and the potential upgrades, things just start to feel "same-y" after not too long. For those, like myself, who can easily fall in love with intelligently designed mechanics, there is a lot to love about Into the Breach, but it's not as well-rounded as it could be.