If you’re looking for a dark and gritty murder mystery, filled with suspense and crime-solving, Dry Drowning is for you! With multiple endings, lots of Moral Choices that alter the narrative and events, and creative puzzles to solve, this is much more than a Visual Novel, it’s an interactive serial killer hunt with you in the driving seat. The soundtrack builds the atmosphere, pulling you into the futuristic dystopian city, but the lack of voice acting means you’re not fully absorbed by the immersion. One thing to note, some of the text is comically small, so if you have bad eyesight, playing it on the TV may be your best bet.
Gal*Gun Returns is a great remaster of the original game in the series, one which fans of the previous games will love. Despite being a rather simple on-rails shooter, there’s a lot of things to unlock, multiple endings to find, and a long Doki Doki Carnival mode to master should you wish to invest many hours into the game. Those who like lewd games will be happy to hear that it’s here, in abundance, cutting nothing (from what I can see) for this Nintendo Switch release. My only complaint is that there are no motion controls, a feature which I hope is added in the future.
Little Nightmares II is a great continuation of the grotesque exploration puzzle series. The game is a solo adventure, yet you’ll be joined by the protagonist of the previous game, both working together to discover the reason behind the strange signal and put an end to its hypnotic control. Some parts can get frustrating when trying to run away or solve a puzzle with a timer before you get slaughtered, but this only leads to a lot of satisfaction upon completion. Aside from a few issues with the controls, there’s very little to complain about within this brilliant no hand-holding horror game. Whereas the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in terms of the gameplay, the updated visuals, immersive sound, confusing yet interesting story, and new gruesome freaks, all combine to ensure that after playing Little Nightmares II, you’ll be having ‘Little Nightmares’ of your own…
Psychotic’s Colossus Down is a far departure from the previous games, yet it still has all the charm and humour which I loved within them. The combat, upgrades, and various gameplay mechanics all help keep the game fresh and new, even in multiple playthroughs, with the puzzles and dialogues breaking up the action for a bit of humour and brain usage. If you enjoyed the previous games but fancy something a little different, you’ll like this game, especially if you fancy torturing yourself and playing it in permadeath mode! Whether playing on your own or with a friend locally (or via Remote/Share Play), each level will make you smile as you cause carnage to all things uncool.
If you’re in the mood to play a unique puzzle game with an interesting concept and beautiful visuals, The Pedestrian is for you. Although the game gets trickier and more complex the further you get, you never feel like it’s an impossible puzzle; you can solve everything if you take your time and plan ahead – making this accessible to people of all ages and skill levels. The main PS5 upgrade has to be the immersive haptic feedback in the controller, but the sharp, clean, and colourful visuals also help define just how polished and special this game truly is. The only negative I can think of is that I was left wanting more, I could happily spend many more hours lost within this world as I try to escape.
Despite being on a few platforms now, Control: Ultimate Edition on the PlayStation 5 is by far the definitive version of the game. The 60fps mode is super smooth, the 30fps mode has realistic ray tracing, and all modes fully support the DualSense controller, immersing you within the action and making you truly feel like you’re Jesse. Although not technically adding anything new over the base game (plus DLC via the Season Pass), it was a joy to play through the game once more, exploring the world Remedy Entertainment created and discovering the secrets hidden within the new DLC floors. Whether you’ve played it before or not, Control: Ultimate Edition is a game which everyone should play on the new-gen consoles, this fantastic experience has just got even better!
Lost Caves is a very addictive and solid exploration platformer which delivers lots of entertainment for its very cheap price. Both the pixel-art visuals and the chiptune music combine to create a nostalgiac retro-inspired game which is easy enough to pick-up-and-play yet challenging to 100% complete. Although certain parts of the game can be a little frustrating and difficult, the open-ended format means you can ignore parts you find too hard and simply look elsewhere for the elusive wealth points. For the price, you can’t go wrong with this game – it’ll provide you with an evening of entertainment for pocket change.
Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is, by far, my favourite Ys adventure so far; Adol is a badass! Although the game started off a little slow for me, making me feel like the game was going to be a short and repetitive bunch of missions within a single city, I was happy when the game expanded and new mechanics and areas were opened up to me. The story had me hooked as soon as the narrative introduced a strange introduction early on, making me constantly try and guess what was happening – I simply couldn’t stop playing until the game had explained itself to me! I have issues with the presentation and performance of the game but if I step back and ignore resolution and framerate, I had so much fun and quickly became addicted to the satisfying combat and interesting quests.
Despite being rather bare-bones, Space Invaders Forever contains two awesome modernised editions of the game and one which is best played with friends. Even if you never grew up playing Space Invaders, the game is still fun to play today, especially with the new features such as powerups and massive boss battles – the gameplay is very easy to simply pick up and play without any skill required. I was disappointed in requiring multiple players for the second game (to win) and being forced to use the touchpad in the third, but once I adapted to this control scheme I really started to have fun and quickly became addicted. I would have loved to see more of the Space Invaders history within the game (as bonus features or older games), but overall I was happy with the two single-player focused games.
Modernising a classic game doesn’t always work out for the best, yet ‘Bubble Bobble 4 Friends: The Baron is Back!‘ perfectly recreates the arcade gameplay of the past whilst utilising modern mechanics. Whether you’re playing on your own or with up to three other people locally, you’re certain to have lots of fun despite possibly getting frustrated when trying to tackle the Hard mode. The unlockable abilities enhance the gameplay, allowing you to strategically gain bigger combos and more points. The new Baron content adds many hours onto the game, bringing back a familiar foe in order to tickle those nostalgiac nerves and increase the tension.