Murder Mystery Machine is a thought-provoking puzzle game that requires you to think outside of the box if you wish to obtain the best grade. Rather than having you solve the crimes committed by simply talking to and arresting the suspects, you must piece together the who, why, where, and how through the use of the initiative crime board mechanic. However, in order to get the best result, you must leave no stone left unturned and ensure you link every possible clue and conclusion to the correct reason and motive – which is very hard, even for veteran puzzle gamers. It delivers an interesting story over eight cases, full of suspects, clues, red herrings, beautiful dioramas, and victims, but can a rookie solve one of the biggest cases of her career?
Timothy’s Night is the much prettier, dolled-up twin-sibling to the original colour-less 2018 edition. Instead of simply porting the same game to the PlayStation 5, the developers have added more content, changed the whole colour scheme, updated various mechanics, boosted the visuals, and expanded the world, so despite being technically the same game, it felt fresh and new. Due to the ambitious visual overhaul, the game feels like it dips below 60fps at times, but not enough to distract you from the brilliant use of the DualSense controller and fun gameplay. Whether you’ve played the original game or not, Timothy’s Night is a fun game to replay or experience for the first time. There is no free upgrade, as it’s more of a remaster than a 1:1 update, but the 6-8 hours is well worth the price of the game. Also, it’s great to see a small indie developer fully utilise almost everything the PlayStation 5 offers in order to enhance their game and deliver a product closer to their vision, rather than a simple port with no changes.
I have to agree, Hades deserved every single award and critically acclaimed review it received, it’s one of the best roguelike games I’ve played on PlayStation. The visuals, voice acting, music, and gameplay all work perfectly together, creating a very polished, addictive, and challenging, yet rewarding experience which you’ll instantly become hooked on and find hard to put down. The game does suffer from a lack of variety when you’re playing in long sessions, but that’s because the game is beautifully hand-crafted rather than procedurally generated, so it’s to be expected. If you’re not mesmerised by the satisfying combat, strategically planning your upgrades and boon pick-ups, or wiping your sweaty palms after an intense boss fight, you’ll be fully engaged with the brilliant narrative and interesting NPC interactions.
The Falconeer: Warrior Edition is one of the best dogfight games I’ve ever played, it looks beautiful, plays brilliantly, sounds amazing, and contains a lot of interesting gameplay and story to keep you entertained. If you feel the combat or missions are getting a little repetitive, go exploring and seek out hidden ruins and settlements, then return to the main story when you’re ready to progress, there’s no pressure to stick to a linear path. Casually take your time, bond with your warbird and enhance your abilities, then help out another faction as you uncover more of the story – it’s one of the best indie games I’ve played this year.
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!