It endears itself to the player and just asks us to have fun. If you fall over and mess up a line, it is okay. Just give it another shot! Vicarious Visions has done something special and I am so happy to say that The (virtual) Birdman is back and better than ever.
Skateboarding in the time of COVID has been easier than ever due to so many public places being devoid of people, but having a digital analog to an artform that is often best experienced with others has made this time all the more easier. Skater XL is one of the rare "find your own fun" games that trusts players to do just that. So, hop on your board and see where the wheels take you.
They are so cute, but the juices and goo underneath their gelatin-like skin is a necessary resource. But I still feel bad. Sorry, Slimes. When my time on this mortal coil reaches its sunset period, I'll let the Slimes have my insides in an act of penance for the goo-based crimes I committed against them.
The detective-like gameplay allows the world to become a character in and of itself and, at times, I wished that there was no core central narrative. I would be perfectly content with exploring this beautiful Norwegian town, rummaging through the town's ephemera of life and taking it all in at my own pace—as slow and methodical as the bucolic surroundings imply. At just under three hours, Draugen is a perfectly fine excuse to interact with and explore a beautifully realized world; just be ready to come to terms with how forgettable its story is.
The wasteland is varied enough and yet it somehow manages to feel the same no matter where I am on the map. Rage 2 exists, it is playable, and it will keep you busy for awhile. Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Idiot also exists, it is readable, and it will keep you busy for awhile. Do I recommend either of them? Nope.
The core loop of liberation through complete and utter destruction remains incredibly fun, though, and the unilateral destructibility still feels genuinely novel. Important moments of revolution and history are captured in glimpses of the crumbling monuments of a waning mind-set—for example, the destruction of the Berlin Wall is a physical manifestation of Eastern Europe's unrest and frustration towards the Soviet Union, and the wall's destruction remains a mark of liberation in an area where the residual effects of past regimes can still be felt today. Guerillamakes me wonder what will mark America's liberation from the current tyranny in power—or if a liberation, be it physical or psychological, will occur at all.
Onrush is an experience that knows exactly what it is. It does not try to be more than a fresh take on the arcade racer, and in deftly juggling between joyous simplicity and skill-based complexity Onrush has quickly become one of my favorite games in recent memory. Just make sure you listen to anything but the game's soundtrack while you speed-boost your way through Onrush's all-too-familiar visual beauty.