The Long Dark sets a standard for survival games in its core gameplay loop. The tone and feel of the game is top notch and the challenge is brutal in a hostile and frozen world. Unfortunately, there is also another dimension to the game that cheapens the experience. It takes a frustrating amount of trial and error to figure out the mechanics of how you are meant to do something, even when the goal of what you are meant to do is fairly clear. There is also the missed opportunity to utilize the story mode to walk through these mechanics, instead letting the tale try to stand alone. Try to stand as it might, it instead falls rather flat with a progression and narrative that made little sense. There is a very good game in the center of an overall experience that ends up less than the sum of its parts at first glance, but one that if you are willing to put in the struggle and slog through to the other side can reward you with one of the better survival simulations there is.
Apart from the humor, the well done mechanics, the unique presentation, the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have Here Be Dragons or the Romans ever done for us? My only real criticism is that while there is little to fault on that first go, the game does struggle to offer real replayability. It's an excellent strategy game. So play it once through for that good trip and let that be enough.
The AWE expansion is a fantastic addition to the Control base game. Everything about it is just that shade better than the original content. It delivers a horror experience that is a step above, a new weapon that offers something really unique, and a final showdown that is bigger and badder than anything you've done in this game yet. It's a few more hours of a good game, that this time around takes a slight step forward to be even better.
Urban Flow is the best kind of puzzle game: one that is easy to pick up, difficult to master, and lovingly developed exactly for the hardware on which it runs. It's not perfect, but has so much to offer and it so well done in places it's easy to overlook the few warts. It is a welcome addition to the Switch library and a great example of why this console is so good at what it does.
The core of the game is excellent, the gameplay is fun, progression balanced, it has personality, and presents as much difficulty as you are willing to chase flawless runs through the levels. However, there are small quality of life challenges that hold the game back when receiving its due. Streamline the menus and make some tweaks to really optimize the experience on the Switch handheld screen and I would have bumped the score up a notch.
The scope and ambition of this game are a level above the previous one. Even if its execution is only slightly more askew this go round, it's no failure to bullseye a much more lofty goal, a shot that still hits the target for an excellent gaming and storytelling experience.
The game is just as good as it was 10 years ago, and now looks even better.