Unfortunately though, it all adds up to a survival horror experience that is hard to recommend. You may enjoy some of the puzzles and how the game looks. But other indie games have done it better. There’s promise underneath all the cruft, and I do hope there’s another crack at this from the team, but I can’t say I enjoyed much in Fobia outside of the visuals. Fobia reminded how hard it is to pull off a tight survival horror experience. I kept waiting for something to truly surprise me or show me a twist I hadn’t seen before. Ultimately, I wanted something more.
Zorya struggles to maintain a balance between both players. It usually leaves one out in the cold checking their phone to pass the time. If you and a friend are puzzle fiends, there is some charm to be found here and it’s worth a look. There are quite a number of puzzles here and content that you can keep coming back to.
While it was a slow start I enjoyed my time in River City with Misako and Kyoko. The hand drawn art is incredible and the song list adds to the pacing and overall vibe. The move list eventually gets into enough depth to feel like a new addition to the genre. I’m eager for River City Girls 2. We’ll see how Wayforward changes up an already strong entry on the next go-round.
Overall, Hextech Mayhem is a good step for Riot to continue letting other developers experiment with their IP. The difficulty can spike unfairly at times and the rarer items require a bit too much trial and error to get behind, but it’s a solid diversion at its price point.
If you crave more after Arcane you’d do right by Airship Syndicate’s latest RPG outing. Even if you aren’t a League aficionado, you’ll feel right at home here it’s friendly to new players. You’ll just notice a bit more fan service here and there if you’re familiar with the universe.
While Next Space Rebels’ story tends to run a bit long and the middle part feels like a grind, it’s still a great loop with FMV actors playing out the weird times we find ourselves in. It made me consider just what it was actually like to grind out an existence as an influencer at the mercy of a platform’s whims when you start with a small idea of building a soda bottle rocket in a field. Hopefully, people do stand up against the predictable dystopia we find ourselves hurtling towards. And if they do it with rockets, maybe we’re all the better for it.
Kathy Rain: DIrector’s Cut is definitely the edition of the game anyone new to the title should play. It polishes up the original, keeps the original characterization, expands some of the plot, and adds some quality of life improvements that go a long way for this short adventure. If you’ve been craving an adventure game that stokes some old nostalgia of the 90’s and VHS tapes, then look no further.
Other things like Hero Mode, where you get to pilot a minion, adds some novel twists to kick around with, but overall I felt myself craving something that pushed my puzzle brain like Baba is You or challenged my defense know-how like Plants vs. Zombies. JARS is an inoffensive and fun diversion that apes the two genres without entirely surpassing them or creating something wholly new.
I really enjoyed my time guiding my flock of Trebhum from danger to salvation. And I hope you will too. Just remember to roll like you didn’t know you could.
Some of the new mechanics like the rafting or manipulation of light are most welcome. So while Echoes gives up parts of what made Outer Wilds so great in the grand exploration, Echoes of the Eye is a solid companion piece to the base game. I just wish I didn’t spend nearly all of it away from my spaceship.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time with Astria Ascending. While parts of it felt long and grindy, the English cast is abysmal, and the dungeons design themselves left more to be desired, Astria Ascending is still a solid entry in the JRPG genre. It does what it sets out to do and at its price point it does it pretty well. While it may not quite rise to the heights of some of the forebears it tries to evoke from Square Enix’s past, its friendlier price point makes it a great entry that can steal away 25-30 hours of time. Just don’t expect it to sway you over if you don’t already like the genre. As its tendency to get grindy, and its overwrought characters may not change your mind.
All in all, Flynn: Son of Crimson is a fun and short adventure that’s pleasing to look at with a story that doesn’t get in its way. While it never quite hits the highs of Shovel Knight my time with it was pleasant, if a little too breezy at times. If you’re in need of a beautiful but short 2D adventure, spending an afternoon with your pal Dex to set the world right is an easy recommendation to make.
Overall, Dice Legacy is a fun stress machine that borrows the better parts of other genres. While it doesn’t always do everything well or necessarily telegraph its harder ideas ahead of time, it can be a tense thrill when you get further than you have before. Never before have dice been featured in a game where they’re the biggest thing that matters. If you like rolling dice then I compel you to check out this mash up. Just be ready for the challenge ahead of you.
I can’t help but wonder what King’s Bounty II could have been had it stayed isometric and relied more on written words over spoken dialog. Maybe it could have offered something wholly unique. But this is the choice the developers made and for some of you, if you’re able to get past the jank, you’ll find a pretty okay turn-based combat game in King’s Bounty II. For others who are also looking to get lost in a deep world along with the combat, you’ll be better served elsewhere.
Overall, it was hard to care for Ao and Bo’s story. The dialog was a slog. The character’s perspectives often changed too fast. And while going over their dilemmas, again and again, I found myself not wanting to play anymore. I’d rather just go out for a beer and talk to them in person and let them know life is going to be okay. High school and college are but footnotes in hopefully a long healthy story of yourself. In the end, if you find yourself at this particular time in life, it might be worth experiencing their story. But if you’re past it, you may not find much here to resonate with.
All in all, Strange Brigade is a solid romp that runs very well on Nintendo’s limited hardware. If you and a few friends are looking for a good cooperative diversion to blast through on the weekend, then you can look no further. If you’re hoping for a true successor to Left 4 Dead on the Switch, temper those expectations a bit.
As it stands I finished the game without a lot of desire to repeat the journey to flesh out the many endings (34 in total). Because while there are enjoyable moments, it’s spread across a sparse and long hallway to move through. Ashwalkers has the bones of some good ideas. I’m hoping to see more from this studio as there are unique things to be found here, Nameless XIII just never really hits their mark. There are plenty of walking simulators out there that make you forget what they are. Ashwalkers, unfortunately, is not one of them.
Desctruction AllStars had a chance to deliver some creative car combat and it mostly set it sights on being mediocre and forgettable. Granted it’s free for PS+ users so it’s not a large barrier to get into. But down the road this is not a game worth a price of admission unless they prove they can do something better. It’ll likely be forgotten in the eventual ocean of other PS5 exclusives that release down the road.
A Shady Part of Me is short and could be completed in an evening or two, so it’s much easier to digest what’s on offer before the simplicity of it wears you out. Overall, I would love to have seen more complexity in my time with it, or simply deeper twists on an already crowded genre. If not mechanically then emotionally. LIMBO and INSIDE were standouts not only because of the mechanics but the world-building and tension as well. Likewise, Braid was an homage that never squandered on difficulty. I hope that what comes next from this studio is a bit more daring than what came before it, as A Shady Part of Me inspires confidence.
Demon’s Souls established what came next and it’s all due to its first-class design decisions that are still in Souls games today. For those of you who missed it and came in later through Dark Souls, you’ll be right at home here. Don’t miss out on the PS5’s showpiece if you can. You deserve to experience Demon’s Souls with Bluepoint’s elevation of it. I can’t wait to see what comes next from Bluepoint, From Software, and the PS5.