The Artful Escape tells a heartfelt story of artistic self-discovery through a filter of color, light, sound, and joy. Combining gonzo sci-fi imagery with blaring space-rock guitar chords, The Artful Escape is a playable concept album – or at least a grand trip through that album's cover art. Never difficult but always fun, The Artful Escape is highly recommended as both a great narrative and a fun exploration into Bowie-style space rock imagery.
Life Is Strange: True Colors is a fantastic slice of life from an idealized alternate universe. Alex is an excellent protagonist, and her adventures with her attractive, funny friends in their beautiful town is a great way to spend about 12 hours. Beautiful, touching, temporary, artificial, charming, enchanting, and strange, True Colors will touch your soul like the three-minute indie pop songs it loves so much. The taste of ashes in your mouth at the end is purely optional.
Islanders: Console Edition trims every bit of fat from the city-building genre, stripping it down to the core mechanic of plunking down buildings for points. While the controls are a bit fidgety, the chill gameplay and focused mechanics more than make up for it. Play for a few minutes or a few hours, either way, Islanders delivers.
Fire Tonight is a very brief, albeit enjoyable, tribute to the early '90s and synth-pop band Information Society in particular. Though the mechanics in the game are somewhat basic, it is still fun to see a video game take the time to visit a world 30 years gone. People of a certain age (and Information Society fans) will likely get a charge out of this one.
The Forgotten City is a modern classic, an utterly compelling video game that reinvents the adventure genre through intriguing writing and exploration. With stellar voice acting, sparkling conversation, and story twists to spare, The Forgotten City is one of the best games I've played this year, and one of the best video game narratives I've ever encountered. Utterly original, completely entrancing.
Ayo the Clown is a fun, light platformer with origins that can be traced directly back to any number of Nintendo classics, putting it in esteemed company. Though the difficulty might be a bit much for the smallest kids, Ayo the Clown is a light-hearted, family-friendly game that deserves attention from platformer fans.
Sniper Elite VR offers a hefty experience for a VR game, with up to seven or eight hours of well-designed levels to creep through. The mechanics of the game take some time to get used to, and even after becoming accustomed to the controls, still feel a little awkward - though a nice selection of settings helps alleviate those issues. Some forced repetition pads the game towards the end, but overall Sniper Elite VR is a solid and fun experience.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is a mixed bag. Hatching and maxing out your Monsties is a lot of fun, but the battle system in which you spend most of your time eventually wears out its welcome. While the story becomes interesting in the late game, it takes a long time to get there, with extended periods spent wandering from quest point to quest point on autopilot. There are a lot of systems at play here, but they don't always gel into a compelling game.
Summer Olympics Tokyo 2020 is fun with a group of friends and family, but there is very little reason to pick up the controller if you are going to be playing alone. Fun customization options allow a great deal of weirdness, and the wide variety of minigames offer breezy fun without a ton of depth. Lower your expectations, invite some buddies over, and you'll likely have a good time.