Sunshine Shuffle feels thin, yet overextended at the same time. Had it doubled down on its greatest asset – its characters – it could have been something great. As it is, the story is over far too soon, and all that’s left is a middling card game you could play with less faff pretty much anywhere else. It’s great to see Poker Night At The Inventory live on, but Sunshine Shuffle forgot that the poker was always the least important part of it.
For everything Digimon World: Next Order offers, there is something better. If you want monster-taming, Pokemon and Monster Rancher are right there. If you want specifically Digimon, Cyber Sleuth and Survive are more than enough to have your fill. If you want anything other than wonky pacing, shallow combat, and frequently cringeworthy writing, Next Order probably isn’t for you.
Card games can be a tough sell, especially in video games. The threat of mechanical complexity can put some off, while for others it just seems a boring choice when fully-animated adventures are just as readily available. Sometimes, Foretales doesn’t do the best job of countering this argument, as it can disappear up itself through endless, monotonous combat. And yet, when it puts down the dagger and lets you explore the world to work things out for yourself, it shows that we’re nowhere near close running out of engaging new ways to use small slabs of art.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is Yu-Gi-Oh! at its best. The kid gloves have been taken off to give us a complex, deep game full of exciting plays and powerful combos, but presented in a sensible and readable way, free from Joey Wheeler shoutin' about da heart o' da cards. Whether you're a veteran duelist, a lapsed player, or someone who's had a vague interest at some point in the last 25 years, this is the way you want to get into Yu-Gi-Oh!.
The few times the game opens up to let the player make use of their high level of mobility are incredibly memorable, and the world building makes it feel like we’re only scratching the surface of this world. That’s not enough to make me recommend it, of course, but they do make Shadwen’s shortcomings all the more painful.
I like A Bastard’s Tale, I just wish that some more care and attention went into the gameplay. It tries to go for the Souls-y tough-but-fair difficulty, but its problems means it ultimately falls flat. Despite that, it’s still a short, campy, and very pretty experience that has a lot of heart to it, and for what it costs it’s definitely worth checking out.
I just wished that Fatshark had tried to be as original in the gameplay as they have in the visual direction. At times, it just felt like I was playing a mod, and depending on how you look at it that's either the biggest compliment or the absolute worst thing I could say about Vermintide.