But even when it's not sounding like an improv group at a Bernie Sanders rally, Heroland is a gem. It's incredibly funny, the characters are some of the most charming I met all year, and its unique take on turn-based battles made a strategist out of me. I just wish I didn't need to do so much grinding to see the game through to the end.
There isn't a strong narrative that strings together this adventure, but the lack of one makes the whole experience a bit more beguiling. If I were subject to an endless series of cut-scenes where characters prattle through the exposition, I wouldn't have walked away from The Touryst as intrigued as I am. Mind you, it's not an amazing experience or something I'm going to remember several months from now like other, more dynamic indie games. But, as a small, self-contained adventure with gorgeous style and a playful sense of freedom, I was more than satisfied when the credits rolled.
On one hand, the online is absolutely broken and embarrassing. On the other, anytime I'm not dealing with that nonsense, I'm having fun with the game. Maybe in a couple of months, when I've min-maxed every Pokémon in the Dex and am just focusing on raids, I'll feel more antagonistic toward the game and its woeful online, but right now, when I'm doing literally anything else in it, I'm having a good time.
But honestly, that's a frustration worth enduring because of how amusing experience this can be. While I wouldn't say the single-player option is an afterthought, it's quite evident The Stretchers is made to be played with another person. Or even a group of people as you gather around the telly to find out which of your friends are really in sync with one another. That's when it's at its best; so grab a friend, split those Joy-Con, and try not to lose your cool when the two of you can't seem to figure out how to mow a lawn together.
Two weeks of a workout regiment is not nearly long enough to give a full assessment of how effective it is, but it is enough time to see that Ring Fit Adventure is one well-crafted exercise game. Will it be good enough to help me overcome this lifelong struggle? Ask me again in a month and then five months after that.
The Luigi's Mansion franchise has come a long way since the original was criticized over its lack of content. With an absorbing single-player campaign and a Scarescraper that still packs a punch, Luigi's Mansion 3 is the most content-rich entry in the series, and one of the best times I've had with my Switch in 2019.
Stela clearly wants to be as unnerving and fascinating as its contemporaries but the end product is merely an empty imitation. There is no element of surprise or wonder here, nothing to make players consider the game at a deeper level. Instead, it acts as a good reminder of the far superior titles that came before it.
Sayonara Wild Hearts is what you'd get if Robyn ran the Grid from Tron. A stunning collection of music, action, heart, and radiant setpieces, it's easily one of the most inventive and unpredictable games of 2019. And it could have been one of the best too if only the developers had made the decision to present this album as a whole upfront rather than take players through it track by track.