I enjoyed what Legacy of the Blade’s first two episodes have to offer. Whilst narratively there’s no real freedom of choice, the opportunity to find and kill cultists however you see fit seems to be an evergreen gameplay mechanic, and who can resist finding even more loot to dress your character in?
8-Bit Hordes has attention grabbing visuals but little else on offer. This is Real Time Strategy by the numbers and entirely forgettable, though other developers would do well to remember and adopt the 8-Bit series control scheme. In that regard at least, Hordes might have some of its own ideas pilfered, rather than liberally borrowing everyone else's.
Battle Princess Madelyn has some lovely animated cut scenes to enjoy, the plot begins in a charming manner that brings to mind the Princess Bride, and its retro inspired pixelated graphics are on point. If only they were attached to fun and compelling gameplay, then Battle Princess Madelyn really could have been a contender to capture the crown of Ghost ‘n Goblins. As it stands, it's probably best to avoid this one and break out your SNES from storage instead.
Floor Kids brings freeform fun to the dance rhythm action genre, successfully delivering on a unique gameplay system that provides the player with freedom and the opportunity to improvise. The restrictive chorus sections disappoint and the game is all over rather quickly, but whilst it lasts Floor Kids is definitely a ninja floating nut cracker.
Steel Rats is an undeniably daring experiment; fusing gameplay mechanics, varied visuals and control inputs that have no right to go together. The game should be an absolute mess, but it deftly weaves these disparate elements together and what we are left with is a thrilling and refreshing stunt=based shoot 'em up.
It’s a real shame, as there’s a lot to like with Strange Brigade’s straight-forward co-op shoot-em-up formula, however, Rebellion Games are going to have to do more to freshen up the experience if they want players to return to see the end of The Thrice Damned.
There's so much that I like about 11–11 Memories Retold; the wonderful story, exceptional vocal performances and, for the most part, a beautiful and refreshingly unique art style. These elements all delight, yet they are let down by some poor minigames and underdeveloped gameplay mechanics. Despite these issues though, I was compelled to see this story to its conclusion, thanks to some smart plotting and a narrative that zips along like the very best page-turning novel.
The hype being created for Red Dead Redemption 2 and the expectations of the passionate fan-base made a part of me believe that Rockstar Games could never deliver on all of their many promises. They did, and then some. From the feeling of a realistic living world they've created to the emotional bonds you build, Red Dead Redemption 2 is the video game experience of this generation.
STAY can't be faulted for its aspirations and the attempt to make a believable character in Quinn, to create an individual that the player will want to help. However, the result is a near endless stream of lacklustre dialogue that made it incredibly difficult to stay to the end.
Zen Studios has raised the bar with its supreme table designs in Solo: A Star Wars Story, making it a near essential purchase for any Pinball FX3 fan. Much more than that though, it has managed to do the impossible. It has made me interested in watching the Solo film. Marvellous.
The result of merging together Diablo and Golden Axe should have been brilliant. It's a shame then that Moonfall Ultimate falls a long way short of that expectation. With more of a focus on explosive arcade combat this could have been a fun diversion, as it stands however there's far too many frustrating issues to see you to the end of its limited run time.
The Walking Dead: The Final Season is off to a terrific start. With the best graphics of a Telltale game to date, excellent characters who are all superbly performed and a central mechanic that sees the challenges of being a responsible parent come to the fore, this is the most excited and engaged I've been about The Walking Dead in years. Thanks to a clever character setup that sees Clementine and AJ's relationship echo that of Lee and Clementine from the original series, a palpable sense of foreboding has already been established. Will Clementine meet the same fate as her father figure before her?
Aces Of the Luftwaffe: Squadron does a lot of things right over its short duration. Tight gameplay, small innovations to the shoot 'em up genre and terrific local co-op. Unfortunately, the grind to level up characters and lengthen the playtime turns what was once fun into a tedious and frustrating slog.
If you're someone who lives a life of danger, if everyone you meet is a stranger or perhaps you find that with every move you make another chance you take, then Phantom Doctrine is ideal for you. For everyone else, this is a deep and compelling tactical strategy game that provides innovation in a stagnant genre. I'll be playing it long after I've finished reviewing it, and I can think of no higher praise than that.
Ink Stories should be congratulated on their tackling of a much misunderstood historical event and doing so with such accuracy, clarity and impartiality. However, with a glut of gameplay issues and a short game length that prevents the opportunity to explore some interesting ideas further, there's far too much incentive to give 1979 Revolution: Black Friday a miss. This is best viewed as an educational tool, rather than a satisfying interactive experience in its own right.
Blacksea Odyssey suffers from a poorly implemented rogue-lite structure. Putting aside the duff controls, the main hindrance to your enjoyment will be having to suffer through levelling up the player character in a near endless slog until the game finally becomes fun.
Shio is not a game for the faint of heart. Tremendously challenging, it truly will push you to the limit of your videogame abilities. The stunning level design, clear visuals and wonderfully tight controls all ensure that the game is fair, but that won't be enough to stop player frustration from ultimately setting in. Played in short sittings this is a taught, tight and compelling experience. Just have an extra controller nearby, you'll need it to replace the one you just threw out the window.