Monster Camp in a nutshell is about enjoying the story, admiring the whacky, graphic-novel style artwork, and building up your stats over the course of the summer to make sure you have enough points to win over your monster and secure a date to the meteor shower. The dialogue features a great deal of vulgarity, and it’s certainly not meant for the eyes of children. It’s outrageous and hilarious, and the scenarios are just as over-the-top as you would expect. It’s all about savoring the journey, and for most fans of this genre, there is a lot to appreciate.
The intriguing mysteries, colorful characters to befriend, and overall charm in everything from the voice acting to the design of the different Bugsnax makes this game a true winner. It vaguely feels like Pokémon for the new generation, and both children and adults will find a lot to love here. The controls are easy to master, the gameplay is superb, and there’s a lot to do on the reasonably-sized map. If you are what you eat, then I’m the happiest Cinnasnail this side of Snaktooth Island has ever seen.
Doraemon: Story of Seasons is beautifully executed, and it’s one of the most engaging Story of Seasons games I’ve ever played. The story is great and progresses without overly excessive downtime in between major events, and there’s no shortage of things to do to keep you entertained.
Ary and the Secret of Seasons reminds me greatly of an animated children’s film. It also reminds me of an early-2000s online computer game for kids, complete with choppy cutscenes and terrible graphical performance. There’s a ton of charm to be found in the soft animation and the silly characters, but there’s also a disappointing level of detail that’s missing from this unpolished adventure.
Despite a few nitpicks, Atomicrops is, in many ways, is a superb experience. It’s a harmonious blend between completely unique ideas and straightforward, simple mechanics. It’s tough as nails, but not discouragingly punishing. It doesn’t overwhelm the player with a surfeit of nuances to learn, yet it offers enough perks and gameplay modifiers to keep you always stumbling upon something new.
Xenoblade Chronicles is, unquestionably, a game that every JRPG fan needs to play. The combat is thrilling and thoughtful, and even though certain regions feel too large and empty, the world is gorgeous and delightful to explore. There is so much to do and see, and so long as you can hold your own in battle, you can advance at any pace you like. Shulk and his friends are unwavering in their optimism and integrity, and they make for a charming and endearing cast with a story that never fails to move and grow. Certain mechanics are a bit confusing and overwhelming to learn, but overall, Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition hits the nail on the head in almost every way and adds up to a beautiful adventure that thoroughly deserves your time.
At its surface, Stranded Sails: Explorers of the Cursed Islands looks like an adorable and endearing addition to this genre, and though I so badly wanted to love it, I’d have difficulty recommending it to almost anyone other than young children. There is certainly a place in the gaming world for peaceful, low-pressure exploration and farming games, but unfortunately, I’m not convinced that Stranded Sails is one that belongs.
Ultimately, Black Desert on PS4 is very user-friendly, and looks fantastic when running at a premium performance level. But while Black Desert’s aesthetic prowess and customizable sandbox experience is an achievement in the world of MMOs, it’s not a game that offers enough enticement in the minute-to-minute gameplay — or even in the grander, month-to-month scope of things — to leave me thirsty for more.