Trover Saves the Universe is the funniest game I’ve played all year, both in and out of VR. I think it’s the first time in a while where I’ve laughed so hard I almost cried whilst wearing my headset. The narrative is brilliant, with its simple plot that has been twisted into something so much more thanks to the comedic genius, Justin Roiland. Although you can play the entire game in both VR and Flat-mode, VR adds a whole new level onto the immersion as you take the place of the silent ‘Chairtagonist’ in your quest to save the world with your purple slave. This is a ‘must buy’ for everyone who owns a PS4 or PC.
Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs is a short game, yet one of the best physics-based VR puzzle games I’ve played. It captures the thrill and enjoyment of the original Angry Birds game and perfectly replicates the concept within a Virtual Reality space for you to play with. Every single character, be it friend or foe, has it’s own personality and charm – it’s a shame that hardly anyone is left alive by the time you reach the end credits! Created as a simple game for everyone to enjoy, Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs can be played by people of all ages, both Left and Right handed people, people of any skill level, and those new to VR thanks to the static nature which causes no nausea at all. If you like the Angry Birds franchise, or even if you just love physics-based puzzles, then check this game out today!
Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa was both a fun and intriguing Visual Novel which had me hooked right until the end. The spin on the ‘Match-three’ formula worked really well and delivered an ‘interesting’ method of breaking down the characters lies and unveiling the truth hidden underneath (as well as their naked bodies). The way the game links the various mysterious events together was really well done, prompting you to relive the same week in order to use your prior knowledge to progress in a different direction. How to unlock the True Ending was a little confusing, but with a little nudge, I was able to achieve it with no issues.
Despite the repetitive and monotonous nature of American Fugitive, I really enjoyed the story and the unique gameplay aspects. Rather than a simple twin-stick shooter or GTA classic clone, the developers introduced realistic mechanics such as breaking and entering and having to avoid being seen whilst carrying out criminal actions. There’s a lot of game to play through, although you’ll instantly feel the strain of the limited amount of gameplay mechanics on offer after a few hours. As such, I’d say this game is perfect for playing in small bursts as the missions aren’t too long, doing that will eliminate any monotonous and déjà vu gameplay.
Effie is a fun 3D puzzle-platformer which pays homage to the classics of yesteryear perfectly. The vivid and luminous contrast between the choices of colours the developers have opted to use, really makes the games visuals pop out of your screen as every single scene is like a child’s colouring book where they’ve gone crazy with the bright primary colours! If you’re not hovering around the overworld at 100MPH, you’ll be fighting evil fiends, solving simplistic puzzles, or traversing perilous platforming. Although the story is a combination of tales we’ve heard before, it’s fun to play through and held the game together nicely.
With its twenty-one tracks, multiple voice-over languages, interesting gameplay mechanics, and colourful locations, Team Sonic Racing is by far one of, if not THE best Kart-based racing game of the generation. When you’re not playing the long story mode, which is fully voiced with an actual story, you’ll be spending your hard-earned Credits on car upgrades or racing friends and strangers for street cred. The only issue I had was the aggressive butt-hurt AI who can’t stand it when I’m way out in front, launching lots of offensive abilities my way and trying to knock me out of the competition. However, I don’t give in to losers, I picked myself up and showed them who’s boss!
I honestly don’t think you’ll find a more stunning looking 2D puzzle-platformer on consoles then Unruly Heroes. Whether you’re playing it with up to three of your friends locally, or on your own and swapping between the four unlikely heroes, you’re sure to find hours of entertainment as you try and beat your best times and collect all the coins and scrolls. Each new area you venture into presents you with a new gorgeous environment filled with enemies, puzzles and platforming, as well as a lot of one-hit deathtraps which can get a bit frustrating. However, the overall experience you get is like no other game within the genre which has been released in the last few years, it truly is a delight to play.
I’m glad I finally got around to playing Resident Evil, a lot of mechanics still hold up and the overall experience was challenging and suspenseful. Despite issues I had with the nineteen-year-old mechanics not adapting very well to modern games, such as pre-rendered backdrops with set camera angles, a very limited item stash, and awkward combat, I enjoyed the experience. With options for both new and old fans of the series, Capcom has adapted to everyone without altering the core-gameplay of the original game – Difficulty settings, visual ratio and prefered control methods will allow everyone to play the game whichever way they feel the most comfortable.
Layers of Fear 2 is yet another terrifying masterpiece which will fuck with your mind from the amazing Bloober Team. It finds a perfect balance between jump scares, chasing and stealth segments, puzzles, and following the narrative so that everything feels exciting, suspenseful, and thrilling. Although I found the overall narrative a little hard to follow at times, the action and gameplay you experience throughout your six to ten-hour playthrough will more than keep you engaged – even if you get a little lost in the story.
Observation is one of the most immersive interactive narrative-based games I've played outside of Virtual Reality. Instead of taking control of the protagonist directly, you'll be in control of the AI which can traverse through the various systems as you investigate the disappearance of the crew. You'll be fooled into thinking you're watching an '80s Sci-fi film with all of the VHS post-effects and familiar surroundings which look like they've been ripped right out of the set from Alien. Although built around the incredibly strong narrative and immersive interactions, you'll have to overcome various puzzles as you move around the ship trying to uncover the truth.
Despite the story and method of progression being a bit naff, RAGE 2 is one of the most satisfying FPS games I’ve played in a long time. With its multitude of skill trees, funded by both cash and secondary pick-ups, there’s a lot to try and unlock which will enhance your experience as you mercilessly cut off the heads and spill the guts of your foes. The vehicles are heavy and control perfectly, with the exception of the one which would have made my life so much easier, and the combination of weapons and abilities keeps the action diverse and interesting from beginning to end. My main complaint about RAGE 2 is that it’s a little too big for its own good. A more compressed map and fewer skill trees may have made it a more refined experience, but at least there’s plenty to do and see in this post-apocalyptic world. I can’t wait for the DLC expansions to arrive for the game as It’ll give me a reason to play on, post-completing the game, and gear myself up for the upcoming content. RAGE 2 isn’t a narrative-focused adventure, it’s a superb shooter encased within a beautiful world which is held together by a loose narrative.
A Plague Tale: Innocence is a brilliant new IP which satisfied me in every way imaginable. The visuals were simply stunning, albeit a little blurry in certain scenes, the voice acting and music were perfectly recorded and pieced together, the gameplay was broken up between stealth, exploration and puzzles, and the narrative was both exciting and engaging to play through. Despite the few personal issues I had with the forced combat segments, I thoroughly enjoyed playing through this alternative take on the deadly Black Death and how two siblings worked together to overcome the dangers they were faced with.
Whilst not the best Sniper Elite game in the franchise, Sniper Elite V2 is certainly worth a look at if you’ve not played it before or have fond memories of it. The remaster has done wonders to the games visuals, pushing the resolution along with various enhancements to the lighting, shadows and textures – it’s never looked so pretty! Not only that, with the addition of a performance mode (I was playing on the PS4 Pro so I’m not sure of this on other models), the gameplay swaps from a solid 30fps to a buttery smooth 60fps at the blink of an eye. There’s just something therapeutic about sniping down Nazis in 60fps, watching their innards crumble in slow motion…
Mechstermination Force is the love child of Contra and Shadow of the Colossus, brought up by loving parents and nurtured into a well-designed experience. The gameplay may throw some people off, with its steep level of difficulty and almost rogue-lite mechanics where you must play to pay for a way to win the day. The visuals are really bright and vibrant, despite the main focus here being ginormous invading robots from another planet who are causing havoc upon the world. As far as Boss-Rush games go, Mechstermination Force sits up there with the best this generation.
PQube Games have once again published an amazing Visual Novel with Our World is Ended. At times I felt like I was within Inception, as we connected to the new world in order to take down the new manifestation of one of our previous games, then it’s like we’ve taken the red pill and we’re being pulled out of the Matrix in order to return to real life. It’s all very exciting and each time you hook into the virtual world you’ll see new events and obstacles the team must overcome in order to survive and get out alive. Sure, there’s a lot of crude and toilet humour, mild small-boob body shaming, lolicon and shotacon questionable moments, and lots of perverted and borderline illegal-in-the-west moments, but it’s all in the name of comedy and fits in perfectly with the personalities of the characters.
If you like story-driven suspenseful horror games which aren’t too scary, Close to the Sun is perfect for you. With it’s beautiful Art Deco design, horrific scenes of gore and brutality, incredible inventions from Nikola Tesla, and an engaging storyline, you’ll be hooked from the moment you step aboard the Helios. I found some of the narrative predictable and muddy towards the final chapters, but the overall experience was very enjoyable and entertaining. If you go into the game thinking it’s going to be like Bioshock, you’ll be disappointed, be open-minded and you’ll enjoy it a lot more.
Trüberbrook drew me in with its gorgeous visuals and had me hooked with its story and narrative. Even though the puzzle solving is mostly limited to narration options and simplified environmental inventory puzzles, the various personalities you’ll interact with really helps to make each solution different from the last. The process of how the developers created each environment in real life, then scanned them in, all whilst applying powder to create winter and their own lighting for the various time periods, is all very fascinating and perfectly came together into a spectacular visual treat for your eyes!
Silence is yet another amazing point-and-click game to add to your ‘must buy’ list on the Switch if you like the genre. There’s very little to fault in this Daedalic Entertainment classic, with its excellent voice acting, captivating music, interesting environmental puzzles, and it’s six to eight-hour playtime, you’ll be hooked from the emotional opening all the way to the final choice you have to make. The game is the second in the series yet prior knowledge isn’t required, so don’t let that put you off picking it up either, they simply called it ‘Silence‘ and not The Whispered World 2 for a reason; it’s its own self-contained story.
My Time at Portia is an amazing port of one of the best Farming, Harvesting and Building sims this generation. Whether you’re out in the field tending to your livestock, mining for resources, building items for the community, or just sat in a cafe chatting to your soon-to-be wife, there’s always something to keep you busy and entertained within Portia. Graphically, the game looks like a 3D modelled Studio Ghibli movie with its bright colours, stunning backdrops and detailed character design. Once I really got into it I found myself totally addicted to it, I just couldn’t stop playing!
With a new coat of paint and a shift in mechanics, Earth Defence Force: Iron Rain sets itself above previous EDF games. There have been some major changes within this title, such as the customisations, abilities, unit types, pick-ups, and loadouts, but once you get used to them, it feels like this way is much better than the old way. The visuals have not only had a coat of paint, but they’ve had an undercoat and at least three layers placed on top to make them look great during gameplay. The addition of subtitles made me happier than you can imagine as more people can now enjoy the story, even if it does get a little generic if you’ve played all the previous games.