I can't remember the last time I played a puzzle game with so many unique elements to keep track of, and it's definitely rare that I've played a game with so many puzzles that are so consistently well-designed. Out of the 80+ puzzles, I wouldn't say a single one was bad, and none of them were so obtuse that I needed to give up and find a solution online—although some definitely stumped me for a while. If a patch or two comes out to fix the performance problems in the late game, then picking this up will be a no-brainer.
Aesthetically, the skies above Granaria are sublime. The graphics are beautiful, the music is superb, and the incredibly deep ecology of the flyfish that realistically react to overfishing patterns is so extensively detailed that I have no choice but to be impressed. However, repeating the same sections over and over to grind out money while trying to make progress with a crafting system that is so poorly explained made me dread every minute I spent with the game. There's a solid foundation for gameplay once you're in the skies chasing fish and fighting pirates, but every minute that you're not dogfighting your way through the clouds to chase exotic creatures is so frustrating and dull that I just can't bring myself to spend any more time searching for Amelia's elusive Skywhale.
Alan Watts' philosophy lectures are intriguing, but it's not very interesting getting from one lecture to the next. I was never able to be engaged or immersed in the world. Despite being a game about how all things are related, I found the silly, empty experience of Everything very unrelatable.
Despite a few hiccups, HoPiKo is still an incredible game. It's a pure test of mechanical skill set to a breathtaking chiptune soundtrack, and while that may not be for everyone it is absolutely for me. Playing each level over and over until I had mastered the quickest path through it was insanely fun, and I can see myself coming back to this one to beat my best times again and again.
If I want to sit down and spend some time on a puzzle game that I know will hold my attention, I'll play nonograms. But where Picross is like the local pizza place that really cares about giving you the best slice around, Pic-a-Pix Pieces is more like the college food court that you only eat at when you're in between classes and short on time. It's still good, and I still recommend it, but there are other people out there putting a lot more time and effort into making this exact product.
The act of moving around through the Kingdom of Karst is so well-tuned that I had a lot of fun running through hallways smacking monsters with a leaf. Unfortunately, at the end of the day Karst just wasn't a very interesting place in which to spend time, and I felt myself wishing for a bit more substance. There is undoubtedly something special going on in Momodora, but sadly I never felt like I was playing anything more than an introduction to a larger game that doesn't actually exist.
With the only changes being an excellently redone soundtrack, this port is the perfect way to relive your memories of the Playstation 2 classic. However, if you've never played Onimusha, this port's only real value is as a simple way to experience a piece of history. Over the course of 18 years, other games have improved on everything that once made Onimusha great.
Double Cross is almost great. With all the different ways to use the proton slinger in this game, I definitely had a blast progressing through the levels. Unfortunately, the investigation and combat sections make for such dull interruptions that at least a third of your time spent as an agent of R.I.F.T. will be a forgettable slog.
Exploring the stages is fun, but all that fun starts to melt away when you realize just how little freedom you have to experiment with different character builds. The level up system is simply is not balanced enough to match the rest of the game's mechanics. It's just too frustrating to play Xenon Valkyrie. While you can probably figure out the exact way to optimize characters in order to beat bosses with ease, I can't really see a reason you'd want to.
If you want a game to really push you to the absolute limits of memorizing a whole area to identify every hidden clue, then Viviette may be the game for you. Otherwise, it’s best to look elsewhere, since you’ll probably spend more time looking up solutions online than actually figuring them out yourself.
From the gorgeous pixel art to the incredible soundtrack, Desert Child looks outstanding. Looks can be deceiving though, and it's clear that much more time was spent on crafting a distinct style than fine-tuning gameplay. If you've so much as watched a trailer for Desert Child, you've already experienced everything worth seeing in the game.
With the exception of the missing online play, Civ VI is - for better or worse - a faithful and complete port of the PC experience. It's disappointing to be stuck primarily playing with AI but there's a lot to love about Civ VI's single player experience, and playing on Switch turns out to be a solid way to experience the rise and fall of entire civilizations.
I give Ubisoft Montpellier a lot of credit for taking a level-headed look at a period of history that usually gets overshadowed, but the gameplay didn't get nearly as much attention as the aesthetics. If the puzzles had been more unique or interesting they could've propped up the story instead of dragging it down to mediocrity. Instead Valiant Heart turns one of the greatest conflicts in human history into a dull, repetitive chore.
Just like Human Resource Machine before it, 7 Billion Humans is one of the finest puzzle games I've ever played. A game based around programming logic runs the risk of being too complicated for its own good, but Tomorrow Corporation has fine-tuned the difficulty curve perfectly. Scrolling through a program and finding the exact command that needs to changed to carry out the exact right action is as fun as it can possibly be and with over 60 unique puzzles I doubt I'll be putting it down anytime soon.
J.'s story while solving puzzles and crossing obstacles in ways I've rarely had to think about before. It's a game that touched me on a personal level and one I'll be thinking of for a long time to come.
It's a huge shame that The Swindle misses the mark so hard on its execution. The tools, upgrades, and challenges are all really fun to experiment with. There's a great game somewhere within the mess, but you'll probably stop having fun way before you manage to pull off the heist of a lifetime.
A lack of clarity plagues both the aesthetics and gameplay. Reaching a place where you know what you're doing isn't an easy task, but getting over the learning curve is worth it. A single run in Risk of Rain is quick, but it's also so addicting that you'll rarely ever play just one run.
When everything is put together, Rise and Shine is incohesive, and no aspect of it is compelling enough in its own right to make the game more than the sum of its parts. It probably isn't a waste of an afternoon to play Rise and Shine, but it's probably better to do anything else instead.