The Making of Karateka is a step forward for game's preservation and interactive documentaries. Digital Eclipse has given us an inkling to what might turn into a new age of storytelling, adding up to far more than just a remaster. Combining remade videogames, interviews, and original documents, this offering is a masterclass in how to incorporate an audience into a narrative.
Gloomhaven's jump from board game to PC keeps the game as strategic and satisfying as it ever was, all while streamlining the experience and opening it up to new avenues of play. The genuine effort of the creators shows through to a game that is worthy for fans and newcomers alike to struggle against the hordes of doom that threaten your very cards.
Wrath of the Righteous is a deep, engaging, faithful recreation of the tabletop campaign with only minor flaws. Its Crusade system is imperfect and the learning curve is more of a mountain, but the reward for getting through both is a long experience with incredible replay value. I know I will be replaying a few times soon, and I invite you to do the same.
There may come a time when Solasta achieves the lofty heights I see for it, though that future is uncertain. If you buy it right now for its $40 asking price you may feel put out, but for those that are even minorly interested I strongly encourage you to keep an eye on its development. I can’t say where its development will take it, but with the strong showing already available, I am more than happy to keep diving back into this game. It’s rare to find a tactical RPG with this many options and depth, even where many of the marks of quality still need to be ironed out.
Overall, if Whatboy games spends even a modicum of effort refining presentation, retooling the progression, and (I hope someday) adding in a player generated campaign system, Trials of Fire could be a true legend for the gaming genre. My only issues with it are minor and intransigent, and having gotten past that initial grind I look forward to many hours spent searching through its landscapes and battling its fantastical foes.
Ring of Pain shows creativity and promise, but all to little depth to carry those qualities through. The choices presented by the game are interesting in principle, but in practice your success or failure are determined by luck more than anything else. The result is a game defined by repetition, which struggles to justify the time it asks of you. That said, for a minor price and a fun few runs, you could do far worse as a distraction.
Neverending Nightmares is suffused with dread, from its haunting soundtrack to its (mostly) stylistic artistry, but it fails to deliver a compelling experience. Despite its short run-time, the game often feels like it is dragging, tense buildups of tension becoming overladen with monotony. A true horror fan will thank themselves for looking this title up, but when comparing its price point to its quality, it's difficult to think of who would be thankful they played through the game.
Warhammer 40k Mechanicus contains a bevy of interesting narrative and mechanical decisions, but this tactics game is also marred by questionable implementations of those decisions. This Switch port often feels poorly thought out, but if you can make your way past its annoyances, you will find an engaging experience, filled with love for 40k lore. I hope to see more from this team, as their creativity and skill shows through with charm, even if this entry was not ultimately without flaws.
The Stretchers may not be the deepest experience, but its creativity comes through in spades, giving you a great challenge to experience with a friend. Its solo mode doesn't function well, the game is overall fairly short, and the controls are not always reliable, but the game manages to pack so much into its runtime that you may not find yourself caring.
For a small asking price, Rad will reliably give you a few hours of novelty, as you explore the wasted punk-dystopia and mutate yourself to better clear the land of its inhabitants. Beyond that initial entry point, you will find yourself dogged by an experience that has little to offer in the way of depth or surprises. The core mechanics make for tense, hectic combat, but also encourage you not to engage in it.
Overwhelm's dark, intense action makes for a fantastic yet occasionally frustrating horror experience. When you are in the game, leaping around enemies and using your limited ammo to deal with evolving threats, you will be experiencing an immensely satisfying challenge. It's only a shame that some of the technical aspects can make death too easy and navigation a chore, because the roots of Overwhelm's concept design are exemplary.
Tesla vs. Lovecraft is imbued with a frenetic, bold energy that I only wish its designers had committed to more strongly. While there is fun in the premise of knocking back waves of Lovecraftian horrors while teleporting around them and maximizing Tesla's devices, none of these concepts ever truly hits the mark. The result is a distracting but ultimately mindless exercise in repetition, which fails to ever become truly interesting.
Vermintide 2 is a stylish, engrossing avenue into the horror and hilarity of the Warhammer Fantasy universe. Despite some small hiccups which you won't shake, this game is sure to get you and your friends working as a team to survive the onslaught of the Skaven and Chaos hordes. With a variety of playstyles and in game tactics, this experience proves it is far more than a Left 4 Dead clone, and left me eager to jump back into this game.
Shu is a game plagued by its own potential. With tight platforming and shifting abilities, this bite sized game could have been a real treat. Instead, you find yourself constantly bogged down in small frustrations and game breaking crashes. I like the game Shu is trying to be, but not the game it is.