Return to Monkey Island ably delivers the charm, humor, and sharp puzzles the series is known for, while offering a few tweaks to make things less intimidating for new crew members. A reluctance to try anything too daring in terms of design or storytelling dampens the proceedings a bit, but longtime Monkey Island fans ought to enjoy the voyage even if the series’ sails are getting a bit well-worn.
NBA 2K23 builds on last year’s rock-solid entry with some well-considered on-court changes, a deeper, more satisfying career mode, and an array of accessible nostalgia-tweaking content. Most refreshingly, almost none of these additions are designed to push extra spending. If Visual Concepts stays hungry, NBA 2K23 could be the beginning of a new dynasty that would do its cover star proud.
Splatoon 3 may be the series’ best entry yet, featuring some nice gameplay tweaks and new weaponry, an expanded and polished story mode, and more launch content than its predecessors. That said, it’s very much an evolutionary sequel, every bit as iterative as many of the shooter franchises it’s meant to be an alternative to. After a five-year absence, that may not be enough for some. Splatoon 3 is still fun and funky, but Nintendo’s squid shooter series can’t get by on freshness alone forever.
I Was a Teenage Exocolonist is an engrossing social sim that offers up deep roleplaying and a wonderfully-realized universe, with fun collectible card game mechanics as a bonus. Perhaps more importantly, it’s one of the best distillations of growing up I’ve ever encountered in a video game. It doesn’t matter if you’ve left the era long behind, don’t miss out on getting these teenage kicks.
Rumbleverse occasionally delivers the type of bruising highlights that look good on livestreams, but is held back by a lack of content and unbalanced mechanics that actually discourage the brawling that’s supposed to be the game’s bread and butter. You may want to go a few rounds with Rumbleverse given its nonexistent entry fee, but don’t expect it to go the distance.
Rollerdrome produces some badass moments with its combination of X Games action and bullet-time violence, but it doesn’t replicate what made the OlliOlli games such Zenlike fun. Those looking for a challenge will find it here, but given Rollerdrome’s bland presentation, imperfect controls, and grueling approach to level design, many players will quickly skate on to something else.
Live A Live is a fascinating lost piece of gaming history that offers up an impressively-varied cinematic saga well ahead of its time, although a slide into more traditional JRPG tropes in its third act diminishes some of what makes the game special. Live A Live is an unpredictable journey worth experiencing, but like life itself, it may leave you feeling a bit worn down by the end.
Stray may be small and scrappy, but it’s also beautiful, lovingly crafted, and bounds from one genre and play style to the next with impressive grace. Even cat skeptics ought to be won over by the game, so don’t be afraid to invite this Stray in from the cold.
Sonic Origins does well by Sega's classics, but only to a point. While the action feels true to the 16-bit originals, an abbreviated list of games, lack of features and archival goodies, and frustrating crashes keep this collection a step short of greatness. Hardcore Sonic fans looking to relive some of the hedgehog's best games in widescreen HD ought to have fun, but others may wish Sega had reached harder for that shiny gold ring.
Evil Dead: The Game does a solid job of carving out its own bloody, aggressive take on the asymmetric multiplayer formula, but some nagging gameplay issues, frustrating single-player content, and a failure to fully capture the series' groovy attitude hold the game back. Hardcore Evil Dead fans should find plenty to like here, but with competitors like Dead by Daylight around, this game hasn't really earned its "hail to the king" moment.
Warhammer 40K: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters manages to successfully separate itself from most other tactics games on the market, while also capturing the gritty spirit of Games Workshop's universe. Daemonhunters' punishing difficulty spikes may turn some away, but hardcore strategy fans looking for an uncompromising challenge will likely embrace the chaos.
Nintendo Switch Sports is a fun and nostalgic romp that offers nicely-upgraded visuals and well-implemented motion controls, but there simply isn't enough of it. With a meagre six sports (only two of which bring anything truly new to the table) and very few extras, this one probably won't compete for your attention for long.
Galactic Civilizations IV is another satisfying space-faring extravaganza that introduces some smart tweaks to the long-running series' formula, although a lack of guidance, bloated tech trees, and some other minor lingering issues hold the game back from true top-tier status. Hardcore sci-fi strategy fans will undoubtedly find plenty to enjoy here, but this game may not quite have the gravitational pull needed to separate you from your 4X favorites long term.
MLB The Show 22 is one of the most conservative annual sports titles I've played in some time. Aside from a few minor mechanical tweaks and a handful of ancillary features like online co-op and new commentary, this is essentially the same game we got last year. It's a shame because the franchise's core gameplay remains rock-solid, but it's increasingly difficult to ignore its lack of ambition. Those new to the series can add at least a point to my score, but longtime fans aren't getting much to cheer for.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga sets its sights sky-high and largely does justice to that galaxy far, far away. Its truncated treatment of the movies occasionally disappoints, but charming, content-packed sandbox stages mostly make up for any story mission shortcomings. This blocky take on George Lucas' family drama is worth enjoying with yours.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is one of the absolute best first-party titles the Nintendo Switch has to offer. The game feels great to play, looks wonderful, and introduces a vibrant and surprising world packed with new mechanics, challenges, and content. Kirby fans have been waiting a long time for his first 3D game and Forgotten Land truly is the pink one's Super Mario 64 or Zelda: Ocarina of Time, so puff out a sigh of relief and eat hearty.
WWE 2K22 is a major improvement over its insulting predecessor, featuring some smart tweaks to core gameplay and fan-favorite modes. That said, promises of a "completely rebuilt" experience ring hollow as it's clear old tech is still being used, and while the action has been refined, it remains a notch below most other fighting or combat sports games you could name. Your reaction to the game will largely hinge on how you felt about 2K's series before its hiatus, with those that still saw promise likely to have a good time. That said, don't expect WWE 2K22 to transcend mid-card status if your patience was already at an end.
Shadow Warrior 3 offers some competent (albeit mostly borrowed) core shooting mechanics and first-person platforming, but uninspired, repetitive level design, irritating enemies, and a withering onslaught of dad humor may leave you longing for relief before the game's relatively-brief campaign wraps up. Shadow Warrior 3 isn't without its moments, and may be worth a shot at a considerable discount, but this franchise is still eclipsed by the FPS big boys.