Almost everything that's wrong with Untitled Goose Game – and to be fair, there isn't that much – is inherently wrong with the stealth genre in general, and a silly game about a goose wrecking someone's flower beds was never likely to change that. But what it does do, over and above other stealth games, is combine charming visuals and glorious audio with such a ridiculous and unique premise, it's impossible not to honk through this one with a massive smile on your face.
It may be clever, scary and intriguing, but Man of Medan rarely reaches the heights of its stablemate and elder sibling, Until Dawn. Perhaps its a case of difficult second album syndrome, or more likely, it’s just too weighed down by the tropes and trappings associated with the genre. (And the sooner Supermassive ditches its penchant for fourth-wall-breaking, creepy old narrators, the better.)
Developer Adam Robinson-Yu began developing A Short Hike when he was feeling burned out working on another project. It's fitting, then, that what began as an act of self-care for the game's developer has blossomed into a welcome respite from the modern world that everyone should experience.
My Friend Pedro is one of those activities – like skateboarding, or playing the guitar, or any form of dancing – that always looks that much cooler when someone else, someone more proficient is doing it. Don't let that discourage you, though. You'll still have a lot of fun playing a slick, stylish game built almost entirely out of those brilliant, cinematic, single-shot hallway fight sequences.
Don't let the endearing protagonist and lo-fi, vintage visuals fool you: Gato Roboto is a challenging, pedigree Metroidvania. But what sets it apart from its peers are the quality of life improvements that redress all of the genre's worst flaws, without blunting any of the barbs. This is a Meowtroidvania worthy of the name.
Like the movie it's loosely based on, World War Z is in no way scary. It's not even particularly compelling as a piece of horror. But like the movie, it is a relentless piece of AA action fluff that, if played with the right group of people, makes for a riotous and frenetic – if shallow – action tower defence game.
Ape Out is a dynamo of a game, simultaneously stylish and meaty, that manages to succeed as both a technical demonstration of procedural generation – particularly that magical audio – and a bloody fun game to boot. Between this, Gris, and Pikuniku, Devolver Digital is absolutely crushing it right now.
Horizon Chase Turbo is a slick, polished, pulsating love-letter to the arcade racing games of yesteryear. It's just a shame that in a genre known best for what felt like endless rolling roads, what's on offer here – thanks to its transition to tracks and unlock-to-progress mechanics – feels rather more repetitive in comparison.
As loathe as we are to re-open the old "are video games art?" debate, it's no exaggeration to say that Gris (along with the likes of Journey, Ico, and Everybody's Gone to the Rapture) is one of the examples you should roll out to prove that they most definitely are.