Summertime Madness is an engaging puzzle-adventure title with challenging puzzles, stunning graphics, a beautiful soundtrack and a wealth of collectibles. While several of its puzzles are needlessly complex, and some collectibles are near impossible to find without a guide, it is enjoyable for fans of the puzzle genre nonetheless.
Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto series has been a staple of the action-adventure genre since the release of its first instalment in 1997. Many main series titles, spin-offs and expansions have released since, including the ever continuously releasing Grand Theft Auto V, which doesn’t seem to stop appearing on new platforms. With Grand Theft Auto VI now finally confirmed to be in development, there is no better time to catch up on the series if you’re interested in giving it a try.
Seed of Life is a semi-open world puzzle platformer from MadLight Games, published by Leonardo Interactive. The game follows Cora, the last known survivor on the planet Lumia, as she seeks to restore life to her dying homeworld. An alien race – the Namurians – had drained its precious Lumium resources and left the planet to perish. After her grandfather fails to return home, and darkness continues to befall the land, she becomes determined to follow in his footsteps and find the ‘Seed of Life’ – a device that holds the key to restoring light and life to Lumia.
The description of Kitaria Fables on the Nintendo Store calls it “a delightfully cute action-adventure RPG with farming and crafting”. As someone fond of farming simulations like Harvest Moon, Story of Seasons and Stardew Valley, I was immediately interested in giving the game a try. I dove into it expecting a rewarding experience, and after playing for a few hours, admit that the aforementioned description is accurate. The game is incredibly cute, it does incorporate elements of action, adventure and roleplay into its gameplay, and it does involve farming and crafting – but, sadly, it didn’t turn out to be the dreamy experience I was hoping for.
After reviewing Freddy Spaghetti on PlayStation 4, I didn’t expect to ever see Freddy again. It seemed pretty definitive that the playful noodle had met his end, and that his creator – Dr. P. Starr – regretted ever trying to create a sentient piece of pasta. Apparently, I was wrong. Developers Playful Pasta have rebirthed Freddy in Freddy Spaghetti 2, where he now takes on the role of an office worker with an attitude. This second instalment in the franchise focuses on Freddy’s journey into adult life and taking on the responsibility of employment – not that he shows himself to be responsible, of course.
On May 10th, after a weekend of early access for those who had preordered, Hood: Outlaws & Legends was released. This PvPvE title combines elements of action, strategy and stealth to create a unique new experience centred around the Robin Hood myth. You’ll join Robin Hood’s band of merry men, helping to steal from the wealthy and give to the poor. In the process, you’ll fend off against not only the state but also a team of four enemy players. As such, across each of the five maps, you’ll need to watch out for potential ambushes and obstacles. When transporting your hard-fought-for loot to your team’s chosen extraction point, don’t get cocky!
Rain on Your Parade is the weather-based equivalent of Untitled Goose Game. You play as a mischievous cloud – aptly named “Cloudy” – whose goal is to annoy anyone and everyone who happens to be standing under them. If you think raining on people is a little dull, when you add in thunder, snow, and copious amounts of acid, petrol, fire, and even a little “Tactical Espionage Action” then Rain on Your Parade brings a whole new meaning to “cloud-based gaming”.
Welcome to the halls of Latin House – the dorm where you’ll be living for your first year of college in Roommates, a college dating sim from Winter Wolves. Whether you’re playing as shy nerdy girl Anne or as confident rockstar Max, it’s time to pull out all of the stops and make the most of your education far away from home. No matter which protagonist you choose to play as, the other will be one of your roommates, as will the chaotic artist Rakesh, the energetic campaigner Sally, the alluring and promiscuous Isabella, and the rule-abiding Dominic. You’ll have the opportunity to choose your classes, seek employment, participate in various special events with your roommates, and maybe even find love as the year progresses.
If you’ve been to university, the chances are that at one point, pasta was your go-to base for a cheap meal. Even now, the versatility of pasta makes it an ever-present food item in my home, and to see a game created entirely about a sentient piece of spaghetti therefore intrigued me. Freddy Spaghetti follows Freddy as he comes to terms with his reality as a living piece of pasta, and documents the havoc he causes in the past, present, and future. Dr. P Starr soon comes to regret his actions in creating Freddy, and endeavours to stop him before it’s too late to save humanity.
I have fond memories of playing Crazy Taxi on my SEGA Dreamcast in the noughties. When offered the chance to try out Taxi Chaos – a perceived spiritual successor to Crazy Taxi – I was keen to see whether the classic arcade racer’s gameplay could be brought back to modern screens in style. I was also curious about whether I had improved my virtual driving skills in that time. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I haven’t.
Pumpkin Jack is a fun, quirky 3D platformer that will both entertain and challenge you over the course of its 6-8 hour campaign. Though its platforming and camera controls can sometimes be a tad clunky, the experience is engaging enough for that to not be a problem, and you'll be far more concerned about the monsters trying to take you down. If you liked MediEvil or similar games, you'll love Pumpkin Jack.
Ord. is a unique take on the text adventure genre from Mujo Games, where stories are told through three words at a time. Making use of minimalist backgrounds, visual effects and sounds, at each stage of its five adventures, Ord. presents you with a one-word prompt and two possible replies to choose from. Each choice made influences the course of your adventure as well as the ending you receive, making for some intriguing and often bizarre experiences. At any point, your decision also has the power to immediately end your adventure; as such, you may choose to play it safe or take a risk, but no matter what you choose, you are likely to be left scratching your head at the wacky outcomes. In no other game have I ever found myself bribing a raccoon, though I have felt robbed by one (looking at you, Tom Nook).
PHOGS! is a fantastic puzzle-platformer for all ages, combining well-designed mechanics with a bright, enchanting aesthetic. Playable alone or with a friend locally or online, there are plenty of levels to keep you busy, and plenty of collectables to seek out and invest your hard-earned bones in. Though at times the lack of camera controls and collision glitches can lead to some unfortunate demises, the experience is one well worth investing in and is not to be missed.
TENS! has simple controls, a unique combination of puzzle elements, and a challenging difficulty curve - but its lack of varied multiplayer makes it a very brief experience unless played sporadically. If you're mathematically-minded, don't mind listening to the same soundtracks over and over again, and don't care for the loose narrative linking the puzzles together, then TENS! will win you over.
Starting a new job is never easy. But for Aliph, a freshly-qualified power plant technician, the pressure is taken to a whole other level when her colleague Cassidy is killed in a tragic accident on her first day. With her protective armour damaged beyond repair, and no working radio to call for help, she is forced to manually balance the light and dark energies of the world within herself and navigate through the dangerous Fay Rouge power plant alone in order to repair its circuits and restore its power to the city of Whiteforge.
CrossKrush is a short, compact puzzler that will entertain its players for as long as its ten levels last. There's some replay value in its various modes and multiplayer, but if you've memorised the solutions to each puzzle or perfected your strategy, there's no challenge to the gameplay. With limited content and often-frustrating controls to boot, this is a game suited only for casual playthroughs.
Cake Bash is a fun party game with a lot of potential, but with relatively few bash modes and minigames, it can feel repetitive after a while. The limited progression and fast unlockables also mean that when your completion hits 100%, you may see little reason to continue playing. However, with the freedom to play against bots, local friends or online, if looking for a cute, quick and easy party game to jump into, Cake Bash may fit the bill.
Going Under is a brilliant first release from Aggro Crab Games, combining challenging gameplay, rewarding combat and a wealth of possibilities in terms of both the dungeons and the enemies. Though let down by a myriad of performance issues and bugs, fixes are promised in upcoming patches, as is a variety of post-launch content. For £15.99, you can't go wrong.
Röki is a beautiful tale of love, loss and friendship, taking the player on an emotional journey through a fairytale forest inspired by Scandinavian folklore. If you enjoy challenging puzzles, engaging narratives and collectible-hunting, this is the game for you - but do be warned that the ending may leave you feeling a little underwhelmed.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a stunning new instalment in the Animal Crossing franchise, hindered only by its lack of immediate content, quality of life issues and missing returning characters and features While future updates will give the game long-term playability, for those already sipping vacation juice on their five-star islands, island life feels pretty mundane right now.