Pokémon Scarlet and Violet takes the familiar trappings of the mainline series and overextends them while supporting its structure and foundation with duct tape and silly putty. Scarlet and Violet promises to add more to the core Pokémon formula, but all it truly adds is more square footage. It’s a game that invites unflattering comparisons to other open-world video games, current and past, and even ones from Nintendo itself.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a frantic game about violence and tension. The most defining moment for its gameplay is running away in fear from a larger Alpha Pokémon, whilst you haphazardly toss Pokéballs at smaller, unsuspecting Pokémon in your path. Despite the grind, I felt motivated to catch these mons, rather than dreading random encounters like in previous games.
Despite its mechanical flaws, in depicting a story of flawed characters, it’s hard to pass up on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. This title feels free of franchise-building and shady business practices. While it tries to ape on your familiarity with the property, it somehow all stands on its own. The visuals, lovable characters, and the promise of hijinx in space are inviting, but within this off-beat exterior is a solid emotional core.
The Jackbox Party Pack 8 will probably not be the end of the line for this series, and even though the games today are far more complicated than something you’d see from the first or second packs, iteration is the key to a fun pack of games. Gather your friends together (if it’s safe) and get cracking on uncovering the intricacies and strategies of these games — hopefully with a ton of laughter in between.
Regardless, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl serves as an example of how surgical marketing can be, feeding competitive players with specific bullet points while trying to cast a wide net with its popular IP. Playing it may certainly make you smile, and moments of hype can follow. But in the end, it’s an extended meme at best and a monument to capitalistic cynicism at worst.