For many, If Found... will be an interesting story about LGBTQ life in early '90s Ireland. For others, it'll be a callback to the heartache of our own coming out experiences. It tells a very specific story of a very specific girl, but its examinations of families, friends, and how we sometimes need to let go of the past if we want to move forward, are universal. This is a great example of how stories about LGBTQ characters don't have to be aimed exclusively at LGBTQ audiences, and even without my personal connection to the story, it's the most brilliant game I've played this year.
But that's it. That's the extent of my issues with this game, and for me, the positives far, far outweigh the negatives. If you didn't like Paper Mario: Sticker Star because it wasn't like the first two games in the series, I don't think you'll be satisfied here. For everyone else willing to give it a chance, Paper Mario: Color Splash is a charming journey that will delight your senses, your funny bone, and the part of your brain that houses your nostalgic feelings towards Nintendo.
Even with those two bits absent from this entry, it's tough to knock Picross 3D Round 2 without getting nitpicky. This game doesn't really do anything wrong. Sure, it could be a bit more difficult, but the hours I spent with it were filled with fun and interesting puzzles in a stress-free setting that was just what I needed to take the edge off after a long day at work. This game is comfort food, and it's a dish I won't mind having every single day.
From beginning to end I was completely entranced by these kids' quest to escape the horrors of Heavenly Host. Corpse Party has a timeless story built around solid characters and a genuinely creepy setting that is able to buoy its sometimes outdated gameplay.
There are issues with the game, but honestly, I think Ever Oasis is a blast. Building up my little spot of heaven, running errands for the residents, and venturing out into the great sandy plains outside my garden gate provide equal thrills. The longer I play, the more I enjoy it and that is far more uncommon than it should be. If this game is to be the first of a new franchise, it's a damn good starting point.
I once said I didn't think the Style Savvy series would continue on anything but mobile, but Nintendo proved me wrong. I'm glad I was wrong because Style Savvy: Styling Star is easily my favorite entry in the series yet. It has nearly everything I love about the franchise mixed with a heaping helping of Freeform-level drama, making for a genuinely optimistic experience that exudes charisma with every outfit I put together.
Code of Princess EX really doesn't take itself seriously, but you should. Though not all of the 50+ characters are worth maxing out, the eight heroes of the campaign and the unlockable bosses are an absolute joy to play, learn, and master. With so many modes and so many quests, this is yet another quality Switch title ready to suck up dozens of hours of your life.
Little Dragons Café is the type of game I walk away from feeling more hopeful in the world. Each chapter ends on such an earnest note that it raises my spirits. Sure, it doesn't have the deepest mechanics, and it's not the most polished title I'll play this year. But it has a soul and a kind heart that uplifts the basic gameplay to a place that makes Little Dragons Café an easy recommendation to anyone looking for a soupcon of positivity in their life.
There's really nothing left I can write to get across just how much I enjoy Black Bird. In fact, looking at the word count for what is a relatively short game, I've probably written too much. A more succinct version of this review would simply state “Onion Games has done it again.” For fans of the developer, that's pretty much all I'd have to say to convince them it's worth it. For anybody who hasn't had the good fortune of experiencing the studio's previous offerings, well, there are over 1,000 words above to tell you whether or not Black Bird is worth a shot.