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.
Call of the Sea is one of the best puzzle-adventure games I’ve ever played. Each puzzle requires you to think logically and gather all the clues to figure out the solution, you’re rewarded with a trophy and more context to the story for exploring and finding documents, and your eyes are given a treat by looking at this visually stunning game. This is the first time I’ve played a Lovecraft-inspired game that isn’t focused on horror, jump scares, or disturbing themes, instead it’s a peaceful adventure that uses the influences perfectly to create a very interesting and memorable experience.
Protocol is frustrating, annoying, and anger-inducing – I loved it! Despite the brutal and unforgiving insane A.I., who constantly kills you if you so much as look at her funny, I thought the story was interesting, the dialogue was ‘colourful’, and the combination of many different gameplay mechanics was very creative. My only negative, besides the difficulty spike in the final chapter, has to be the ‘long’ loading times – these wouldn’t usually be an issue, but in a game where you’re bound to die over and over, I would have liked a faster reload. I personally preferred the first half of the game over the second, due to how the focus shifted more onto combat over exploration and puzzles, but it didn’t stop me from wanting to unlock all seven endings – which I will do, someday…
Terminator: Resistance Enhanced surprised me, it was a solid FPS with incorporated stealth, survival and crafting mechanics, including lore and references from the first two iconic movies. The new enhanced edition offers a smooth 60fps with a whole host of visual improvements, making the game even more fun to play and precise to control. The Infiltration mode finally lets you see the world from the eyes of Arnold, although I would have liked more from this mode – maybe the future DLC will expand upon it? If you like The Terminator and you’ve not yet played this game, you’re missing out on a hidden gem that isn’t anywhere near as bad as the critics initially made it out to be.
Poison Control is a very addictive third-person shooter which combines quirky Japanese humour with engaging gameplay. Although a lot of the Belles Hells you’ll venture through are very similar, making use of both the ‘human’ and Poisonette allows the gameplay to remain fresh and varied as you complete the set objectives, find the golden chests, and obtain your five golden tickets. The game is best played on the PlayStation 5, with only a single issue post-launch (which has a work-around), yet it does look and feel like it originated as a Switch or Vita title. Regardless, once you start playing Poison Control, on any platform, you’ll quickly become addicted and find it hard to put down until you’ve cleansed everyone’s hearts!
Although it may not be for everyone, I personally found Balan Wonderworld to be a delightful 3D platformer that is oozing with charm and fantastic visuals – especially the cutscenes. Some people may see the backtracking to collect costumes so you can progress in other stages as a negative, yet I enjoyed this as it reminded me of the LEGO games and it felt like I was always progressing. Some boss battles were a little tricky, and the unlocked third stages are harder than the previous two, but it’s a fair challenge that can be overcome with time and practice. My only issue is that the game is clearly one aimed at children, yet the consumable costumes and frustrating bosses may actually be a little too annoying and/or difficult for them to enjoy.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly casual local co-op game to play with friends or family, Potion Party should be high on your list of candidates. It’s very addictive and rewarding, making money to spend on upgrades that allow you to obtain more money in return, gradually expanding and making the process more efficient. You can play the entire mini-campaign on your own or with others locally (or via Share Play), or face them competitively and see who’s the most agile alchemist.