Hello Neighbor 2 feels more like an updated version of the first game. It’s considerably larger than the first game, and the expansion of the AI technology to additional characters is a welcomed decision. Outside of that, there is very little separating the two games. Hello Neighbor 2 still has a clunky UI, unsatisfying controls, and problems being consistent with its own rules. Where there was a real opportunity to take the franchise to the next level, this sequel just feels like more of the same.
The Callisto Protocol is a deeply immersive sci-fi horror experience that firmly grabs you at the start and doesn’t let go. While this immersion shows its cracks during the transition into new areas, it’s not enough to ruin the overall experience.
As Dusk Falls is an impressive debut from INTERIOR/NIGHT. It tells an emotionally impactful story with some solid vocal performances. The branching storyline is cleverly implemented and the multiplayer features offer a convenient way to play with friends. As Dusk Falls is a clear indicator that the future is bright for INTERIOR/NIGHT.
LOUD is a groovy rhythm game that has some excellent tunes to pair with a charming protagonist and a solid gameplay layout. There’s great incentive to replay, and I’ll surely be coming back to master those levels that I barely got past the first time around. It's a perfect pickup on Switch, and I’m sure it’ll also be quite enjoyable on PC.
Raft is simply one of the most charming survival games I’ve played. Simply standing on my raft as it floats over the waves through an endless body of water is truly relaxing. There’s also a great sense of pride and achievement that comes with seeing what I’ve built every time I load into the game. It’s an easy recommendation for survival fans that may have been holding off on jumping into early access, as well as those just learning about the game for the first time.
Sonic Origins is not only an excellent trip down memory lane for fans of the series, it’s also the perfect entry point for those looking to play them for the very first time. The games are all as beautiful as ever and control like a dream. There are also a plethora of bonus goodies that celebrate the iconic artwork and music of the platforming series. While it’s easy to get caught up in arguments about the current direction of the Sonic IP, Sonic Origins is a refreshing reminder that the original games are among the best 2D platformers ever made.
It’s hard to imagine Touken Ranbu Warriors having strong appeal to anyone that’s not a die-hard Musou fan itching for a new Warriors-like. Those that played the original Touken Ranbu will surely get a kick out of seeing those characters come to life in a new way, but there isn’t much to write home about beyond that novelty. Touken Ranbu Warriors feels like just enough to maybe hold you over until the next mainline Dynasty Warriorsentry comes around.
Sniper Elite 5 is a game that knows exactly what it is, and delivers on all fronts. The x-ray kills are as good as ever, and improvements to stealth and level design make the campaign enjoyable between the moments where you’re shooting through a guy’s eyeball. The Axis Invasion mode adds an entirely new dynamic to multiplayer, which still features the standard modes for a more traditional experience. It’s hard to imagine fans of the series not being satisfied with what’s there in Sniper Elite 5.
Dolmen is a solid sci-fi spin on the Soulslike formula, even if there are some places where it falls short. Not being able to jump is a simple but detrimental design flaw, and the mediocre cinematics bog down what could have been a very cinematic experience. Despite that, Dolmen still features challenging combat, as well as a variety of ways to play to your own unique style. I look forward to seeing if and how Massive Work Studio will build upon this foundation in the future.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the definitive LEGO Star Wars experience. Although the game can feel a bit cluttered with its overload of collectibles and shiny things to look at, it’s an impressive collection of the full saga.
Babylon’s Fall feels like a game that came out a decade ago, both visually and in its gameplay. Combat is clunky and boring most of the time, outside of a few highlights here and there. There’s nothing that encourages players to engage with the live-service elements, despite it being a core tenet of the experience. It’s like someone fed a computer a bunch of information and had it generate an action RPG. Babylon's Fall’s biggest credit is that it’s technically competent; the game isn’t broken or held back by major bugs or issues. It’s a shame, because PlatinumGames has proven itself to be an impressive talented studio. Unfortunately, Babylon's Fall manages to disappoint on just about every front.
Lost Ark is the gold standard of Modern MMOs. Smilegate and Tripod deliver an incredibly polished experience that gives players dozens of dishes to choose from, all equally delicious. It hits on all those classic MMO beats, while injecting a fresh style and approach to all of it. Lost Ark has already proven to have some strong staying power in the east, and is now set up for a long and fruitful lifespan in the west.
Nobody Saves the World cleverly plays on RPG tropes, poking fun while injecting them with new life thanks to interesting mechanics that keep gameplay fresh. The story expertly balances humor and seriousness, and the world is gorgeous enough that you always feel encouraged to keep exploring. Drinkbox Studios delivers its best work yet and one of the early hits of 2022 with Nobody Saves the World.
A Short Hike is a delightful journey through a vibrant park, bolstered by some fascinating characters and impressive writing. The gameplay is well-rounded, with abilities that are fun to use and a consistent progression. Despite a nitpick or two, there’s hardly anything to knock about Adamgryu’s latest outing.
Jurassic World Evolution 2 is endless fun for a fan of the blockbuster franchise. A large library of species to unlock and study, bioengineering, and the ability to revisit iconic moments from the movies makes it an easy recommendation for anyone looking for their fix of Jurassic content. Even as a park manager, the game is quite satisfying, aside from some light frustrations here or there.