Stephen's Sausage Roll is a rare, beautiful thing. It's a game where every aspect of it is designed with such incredible care and efficiency that it actually comes together as one cohesive whole. I've been intentionally vague on specifics in order to preserve the sense of exploration and excitement that comes with discovering something brand new for when you play it yourself. Please don't dismiss it because of the price or the fact that you think it looks ugly, because you'd be missing out on one of the greatest games I have ever played.
Owlboy is a special game. Almost a decade in the making has certainly allowed for a rarely seen amount of polish and effort in an industry brimming with day-one patches and rushed deadlines. I'm at a loss when trying to think of critiques, honestly. I can't even say that I wish there was more of it because what is here is just so damn satisfying from start to finish, and I wouldn't want to ruin that.
I had my doubts going into Dicey Dungeons, despite the pedigree present. I was worried the core reliance on random dice rolls would create a frustrating experience for the player. And while I've had those moments, I always felt that I could look back and say "that's where I went wrong" and not "the random numbers just didn't work out in my favor!" That alone is an incredibly feat. Stack it on top of six incredibly unique character mechanics, episodes that force the exploration of alternate playstyles, and an expertly crafted aesthetic, and you have another absolute slam dunk from Terry Cavanagh.
It's sure to capture the attention of anyone who sees it in action. Thankfully, the game more than backs up its aesthetic prowess with rewarding combat and exploration systems in place. While the combat hardly changes over the course of the adventure, Apotheon asks the player to apply their knowledge in such a wide variety of ways that it constantly feels fresh and exciting. The ancient Greeks valued balance and harmony in their art, and Alientrap has accomplished just that.
TowerFall: Ascension has something for just about everybody. If you're at all intrinsically motivated, you will find something to love in the deep well of content available here. I've (intentionally) not even mentioned the fact that there are hidden secrets scattered throughout the game for the treasure-seekers out there until now, as if the fact that there are secrets was a secret of its own until just now! If you do have some local friends who can come over and hold a controller, buy this game immediately and invite them over, because TowerFall: Ascension is easily one of the best things you can do on a couch.
Legend of Grimrock 2 will consume your mind in many ways. The puzzles will slowly tear away at your brain until they are solved, and the amount of focus needed for just about every combat encounter is through the roof. Grimrock 2 can forever be referenced as a "perfect sequel." It doesn't go nuts adding idea after idea to make things more convoluted, but instead refines what already made the experience amazing while expanding those ideas noticeably enough.
Crypt of the NecroDancer accomplishes what few games even attempt to do. It merges together two completely different genres: rhythm and roguelike. The frustrations of both come as part of the package, but some intelligent design decisions help to alleviate the issue. For those looking for the next gaming obsession after the likes of Spelunky, Binding of Isaac, or Rogue Legacy, look no further than Crypt of the NecroDancer.
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.
Stardew Valley is a game that keeps on giving. There is so much I haven't even explored yet that has my giddy for the future. The core mechanics and relaxing aesthetic merge so well together that players will sink in to the experience and never want to leave.
If you've ever wanted to try your hand at Monster Hunter, start with Generations. The tutorial aspect isn't any better than normal, but it's much more likely to appeal to a wider audience with its breadth of customization options and content. If you've been champing at the bit for more great gameplay you already love, with lots of new things to discover, Generations doesn't disappoint there either.