Ironically, The Forgotten City is a game I’ll never forget – it’s a brilliant narrative adventure that requires you to think about how your actions will affect others in order to achieve your goal. I never played the original mod but if it was even half as good as this, I can see why it was universally praised by the three million people who played it – it’s a very unique and well-executed concept combined with an interesting narrative, fun gameplay, satisfying multi-possibility solutions, and trophies that push you to change the way you play the game. All-in-all, it’s a fantastic experience that is best played with no guides or walkthrough, simply set aside a few hours and see if you can solve the many small events which lead up to the big mystery.
Despite being a very simple HD re-release of the PSP original game, AKIBA’S TRIP: Hellbound & Debriefed has as much charm, lewd narrative, and addictive gameplay as its superior sequel. Once you get stuck into the game you’ll begin to overlook the fuzzy assets and simplified gameplay, becoming enthralled by the comedic writing, addictive stripping combat, many side missions, and questionable dialogue. There’s lots of replayability due to multiple paths, endings, and characters, with a massive list of tasks to complete, not to mention the insanely difficult ‘Holic’ mode. AKIBA’S TRIP: Hellbound & Debriefed may not be a looker in terms of modern JRPGs, and I may prefer the sequel over this original game, but I’m glad that we finally got a chance to play it in English officially on modern consoles. If you enjoyed Undead & Undressed then you’ll enjoy this one too, as long as you can look past the very low-quality visuals.
Despite the rocky launch due to a critical bug, Song of Horror: Complete Edition is a brilliant horror game with a unique concept that works really well, permadeath. The fear of death is emphasised by the fact that if you lose a character, they’re gone for the entire game, so you’re forced to proceed with caution and think about every action you take if you wish to survive. Each location is very different, based on horror tropes, giving you creepy and unsettling buildings to explore as you fight or hide from the evil within. If you like horror adventure games, which focus more on exploration than combat, then you’ll love Song of Horror: Complete Edition.
Under the new voxel-based visual design, Earth Defense Force: World Brothers plays just like the EDF we know and love, only this time with solo teamwork gameplay! Ensemble your dream team of four elite or rookie freedom fighters, featuring characters from previous games and various D3Publisher franchises, and set out to save the world once more. It may look different and almost child-friendly, but it’s just as addictive, brutal, time-consuming, and entertaining as previous main series titles under the hood. If you’re a fan of the franchise, make sure you pick up this game.
Despite knowing nothing about the game before I got my hands on it, Scarlet Nexus has quickly become one of my favourite games of the year. It has very satisfying combat, a wide variety of abilities to play with, and an interesting narrative that brilliantly weaves two perspectives together in order to create two campaigns with one underlying story. I highly recommend you play the game on either the PS5, Xbox Series, or PC, so you can enable the higher framerates, but if you’re happy with 30fps then the game also runs really well on last-gen systems. If you have a spare 50+ hours, and a love for anime, you should already have Scarlet Nexus – it’s that good.
I really enjoyed my time with Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, it was a casual escape from my lockdown home-based prison which I’ve been stuck in for over a year. Exploring the small island, talking to the inhabitants, saving animals in need, and generally being a very helpful young child was a very wholesome and relaxing experience. I would have liked the game to be a little more educational and informative, allowing younger children to learn things as they play this beautiful game, but the lack of detailed information never affected my enjoyment. If you’re looking for a casual game where you can soak in the atmosphere, charm, and wholesomeness of cleaning up and helping animals in need, check out Alba: A Wildlife Adventure today – out now on pretty much every platform!
Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World is a brilliant modernised remake of the 1994 classic, Monster World IV. I personally found the story to be enjoyable, the visuals were beautiful and colourful, and the soundtrack made the experience much more exciting and adventurous. The few changes, such as the save mechanic, makes the game more accessible and user-friendly, yet removes the challenge and programmed frustration we see in the original, so you may or may not like the minor alterations. Speaking of, if you buy the game physically then you also get the original game free (on the Switch cart or via a code with the PS4 version). If you like classic action platforming games but want something a bit more visually appealing than retro pixel-art, Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World is for you!
If you’re looking for a game that’ll make you afraid to turn out the lights, Maid of Sker is for you. The constant fear of bumping into something and alerting the blind bag-heads makes the game very tense and nerve-wracking. This enhanced edition provides silky-smooth gameplay, immersive DualSense controller support, upgraded visuals, and introduces us to the new Challenge Mode, although having a gun doesn’t make the experience any less frightening or anxiety-inducing. Considering the game is only £19.99 for both versions, I highly recommend you pick this up if you like horror games – it’ll scare the pants off you!
void tRrLM();++ //Void Terrarium++ is one of the best ‘Mystery Dungeon’ style games I’ve played, the visual design, music, and story are all beautiful and very memorable. Although the game begins quite difficult and frustrating, you’ll soon find yourself getting further thanks to the number of upgrades and abilities you can craft and equip. If you own it on the PS4 already, there’s nothing new awaiting you within the PS5 edition, unless you don’t own the DLC, but if you’ve not played the game – or you want the soundtrack – then I highly recommend picking up the physical copy as that comes with the OST on CD. However, a 366MB game on a 25GB Bluray is beyond overkill!
Manifold Garden is a puzzle game that’ll blow your mind, challenge you, and please both your eyes and ears. Despite looking very simplistic in still images, the game is stunning with its perfect use of subtle colours and non-textured design, delivering a unique-looking experience that will stick with you for a long time. The infinite nature of the game will leave you in awe as you fall into the never-ending depths, forcing you to think outside of the box in order to discover the solutions to the many, many increasingly difficult and tricky puzzles. If you consider video games to be art, Manifold Garden is a masterpiece.