Cris Tales is a gorgeous, heartfelt, and often creative adventure that provides an interesting peek at a culture not well-represented in the world of gaming. Sadly, it falls a bit short of its grand potential due to some mechanical and balance issues and a final act that badly overstays its welcome. Cris Tales feels like a game that would have benefitted from some more time in development, but if you're willing to forgive a few faults, your own time with the game won't be wasted.
Mario Golf: Super Rush is the plumber's best sports outing in a good long time, featuring smartly-revamped core mechanics, beautiful, varied courses, clever new modes, and a single-player Adventure full of fun twists. The game may be a bit light on content (something Nintendo is promising to address with free updates), but aside from that, Mario's form is close to flawless this time around.
Chicory: A Colorful Tale is an ambitious, absorbing, and creative Zelda-style adventure with some meaningful, heartfelt things to say about the creative process, self-doubt, and other big issues. Like its characters, Chicory isn't perfect – its controls can be a bit clunky and maybe its painting tools aren't as versatile as they could be – but it's an easy game to love. Does it fall slightly short of masterpiece status? Perhaps, but it's still very much worth adding to your art collection.
Necromunda: Hired Gun has a certain grungy charm and offers up some clever ideas, but unrefined core mechanics, messy level design, and a shameful lack of polish ultimately add up to Necro-no-fun-da. Hardcore Games Workshop fanatics might still find something to enjoy here, but I recommend you don't hire this gun at anything but a steep discount.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground is a solid turn-based strategy game that has some fun in its small corner of Games Workshop's fantasy universe, but it isn't unique or exciting enough to overcome ill-fitting roguelike mechanics that turn progression into a grind. The game will still appeal to some hardcore fans, and may become a better experience with updates, but for now, this latest Warhammer adaptation is routed by a few bad strategic choices.
Resident Evil Village is a wild, thrilling ride across seemingly every horror genre and idea that happened to pass through the mad minds at Capcom. Not every aspect of the game is perfect, but its highs are very high and solid core mechanics and excellent presentation hold the grisly patchwork together. You may survive Resident Evil Village, but your thoughts will linger there long after you've escaped.
While MLB The Show 21 is another solid entry in the series, the pitch to Xbox newcomers and those looking for a next-gen experience isn't as strong as it could have been. Pitching, fielding, and existing modes get some welcome adjustments, but truly significant additions are thin on the ground and the series' presentation is stuck in its tracks. Hardcore hardball fans and Xbox owners who haven't experienced MLB The Show before should have a good time, but this franchise may be in need of a rebuilding phase within the next year or two.
Evil Genius 2: World Domination has a certain nostalgic charm, and not just because of its retro 007 stylings. It feels like something you might have found on your dad or friend's computer back in the Windows 3.1 era and sunk a few diverting hours into. Unfortunately, a lack of depth, challenge, and modern features makes the game hard to fully recommend in 2021. Some fun can be had if you keep your expectations in check, but don't count on Evil Genius 2 taking over your world.
It Takes Two is one of the most varied, inventive games ever made, serving up dozens upon dozens of different styles of gameplay in a remarkably polished, approachable package. An inconsistent level of challenge and lack of editing may strain your relationship with the game at times, but It Takes Two is good enough to justify working through the rough patches.
PixelJunk Raiders has a unique vibe and some interesting ideas, including smart implementation of Stadia's State Share feature, but it isn't anywhere near as fleshed out or polished as it needs to be. Cheapo presentation, clunky combat, unbalanced roguelike mechanics, and a lack of variety combine to extinguish the game's promise. PixelJunk Raiders may stand out like a minor oasis on the desolate Stadia release calendar, but there's a much wider, more vibrant world of roguelike-flavored games out there to explore.