Luckily, the action is a compelling reason. The replayability of Go Mecha Ball comes purely from how much fun it is. A handful of ending scenes are available after multiple completions, but these cartoon-y, still images won't rank among the best games with multiple endings, and the first completion on max difficulty unlocks a unique upgrade. But these rewards don't amount to much. Nevertheless, players will likely pick up the game again and again because it just feels that good. Though imperfect,there's simply nothing quite like Go Mecha Ball out there, and it deserves to be experienced.
Despite the limited content and somewhat fiddly controls, the game feels great to play. It's endlessly satisfying to turn a neglected garbage heap back into a happy home. The sandbox mode in House Flipper 2 offers lots of creative opportunities and the ability to share with fellow flippers is a big bonus, and will hopefully help the game build an ongoing community. Fingers crossed that more content comes down the road to provide players with even more possibilities.
Everything on display here has been seen before, and though it does those things well, its reliance on a tried-and-true formula and its liberal borrowing from Bloodborne in particular work against it, denying it a unique identity. Yet despite the impulse to think that The Last Faith could just be 2D Bloodborne 2, the final product is a great Metroidvania on its own, and - aside from some of the writing - its adaptation of the work that inspired it is very well done. Ultimately, The Last Faith feels sharp, looks great, and it's a lot of fun to play. Playstack clearly loves and understands the genre, and anyone looking to scratch the itch will certainly enjoy this game.
When it comes to adaptations, Hellboy hasn't had a ton of luck lately. Hellboy Web of Wyrd certainly isn't on the same disastrous level, but it's underwhelming in its own respects. Hellboy and his world is a potential gold mine of fantastic adaptive potential, as Guillermo del Toro proved with his pair of films in the early 2000s. The character offers so much more, and though Web of Wyrd has some bright spots, it ultimately fails to realize the potential of its source material.
Some of the problems in MythForce could be forgiven if the core loop stayed fresh and fun, but, sadly, it doesn't. And with services like Game Pass offering up several solid roguelikes, it's tough to justify the $29.99 price tag. Yet, the core idea of an 80s cartoon homage is a lot of fun, and a couple elements of the game succeed brilliantly. A project like this could only have been birthed out of passion, so hopefully MythForce has its day in the sun. The developer has stated it plans to support the game going forward, and further content has been hinted at. But in its current state, there's just not enough to recommend MythForce, both in terms of quantity and quality.
Despite some stumbles, there's still much to recommend playing and finishing Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals. Fans of the first game will get a little more out of it, but new players will catch up easily. Though it wraps up a little too cleanly and some bothersome traversal gets in the way, it tells a well-written, relatable story that's worth experiencing.
Aliens: Dark Descent takes place in a setting that could have been a fantastic place to unveil some gripping sci-fi drama or lore, but instead it's basically just a point-and-click sequence. Even without tripping at the finish line, Aliens: Dark Descent has enough issues that prevent it from excelling. There's fun to be had here, with some great mechanical choices and tactical possibilities that keep the excitement high. It's not the weakest in the history of Alien games, but it's too close to the middle to be memorable.
Planet of Lana is a rare game. It's a clean, tight experience, that manages to tell a charming, if simple, story in its short runtime. The hand-drawn illustrations are truly works of great talent, bringing a gorgeous, nearly surreal ambiance to the design. Its puzzles and platforming may not be a lot to write home about, but there are a few diamonds in the rough that make the gameplay worthwhile. If anyone has even a passing interest in the puzzle-platform genre or simply wants to appreciate some art, they should play this game. Plus, since Planet of Lana is available on Game Pass, there's little reason not to check it out.
Despite jarring bugs and inconsistencies, Curse of the Sea Rats is a well-designed game with a clear direction. Petoons Studio succeeded in making an accessible Metroidvania that can be enjoyed by gamers of varied skill levels. Its art, simplicity, and smoothly escalating challenge make it a great way to introduce a younger audience to the genre. If the rough edges are smoothed away, a real gem lies beneath.
Tackling tragedy in games is important, but doing it well requires empathy, awareness, and a deft hand. Hindsight takes an important story and makes it relevant and relatable by scaling down its narrative to a quiet, personal level. Hampered only slightly by a few design choices, its masterful blending of art, music, interactivity, and writing make it a subtle triumph and a story well worth being told.