The clever puzzles and vivid visuals can only do so much to quell the frustration caused by the unfortunate glitches and bugs I encountered throughout the game. However, if you can push through the myriad of technical hiccups, Airhead is a decent puzzle-platformer that simply needs a bit more tuning under the hood.
The newly added roguelite elements in Turnip Boy Robs a Bank make for a lengthier, more replayable experience that kept me engaged throughout. The transition to roguelite gameplay may seem somewhat off-putting for players who expected a more Zelda-like adventure akin to the first game. However, even with its shift in gameplay direction, the sequel remains faithful to the original with its humorous tone and cute aesthetic while offering a fresh experience for both new and returning players.
While the game could use a tiny bit more polish and perhaps some DLC, there is still plenty to enjoy in House Flipper 2. Fans of the original should have no trouble diving back into the house-flipping business, with an enhanced set of tools to help get the job done. Sandbox mode opens up new creative possibilities while adding a social element to the game that will only get better as more players get involved. Despite its shortcomings, House Flipper 2 keeps me coming back for more, and I can only hope there will be more to come back to in future updates.
Humerous dialogue and banter brings levity to the grim, heavy narrative and bleak setting of Gunbrella. The game turns an elegantly simple concept on its head, resulting in gameplay that is both responsive and rewarding. Gunbrella is an exhilarating romp with an intriguing story that doesn’t shy away from heavier themes. Though there is some room for improvement, Gunbrella’s heart-pumping boss fights and memorable characters will stick with me long after I’ve closed my parasol.
Although I did experience some technical issues during cutscenes, like screen-tearing and occasional audio glitches, the rest of the journey went off without a hitch. The comedic story and dialogue are delivered with just the right amount of wit and whimsy, with zany characters that are brought to life with solid vocal performances. While the combat leaves some room for improvement, the dynamic puzzles, inventive hero skills, and visual splendor more than make up for its minor shortcomings. Whether you’re a long-time fan of the Trine series or simply have a penchant for co-op puzzles and are looking for a new challenge, Trine 5 does not disappoint.
In true Sabotage fashion, Sea of Stars faithfully captures the nostalgic appeal of retro turn-based games while improving upon its systems with contemporary innovations. The witty, self-aware dialogue and charming cast of characters are bolstered by thoughtful design choices and a compelling narrative. Sea of Stars is an instant classic that retro RPG fans and newcomers alike will not want to pass up.
Fort Solis is presented like an interactive movie, but with gameplay that detracts from the experience rather than complimenting it. The narrative tries to subvert your expectations to maintain the excitement, but despite the compelling circumstances in the beginning, the story failed to stick the landing in the end.
Despite playing the bulk of the game by myself, I enjoyed my time in Moving Out 2 overall. Though still enjoyable, solo play felt a bit tedious at times. The game is clearly designed for cooperative play, couch or otherwise, making the addition of online multiplayer a logical next step for the series. The sequel builds upon the cutesy visuals and pun-filled story of the first game with fresh challenges and fun objectives. Moving Out 2 is a slap-happy romp that caters to players of varying skill levels, making it a great party game to enjoy with friends or family.
Viewfinder’s innovative, clever puzzles and the satisfaction that came with solving them left me eager to face each challenge head on. Although the optional puzzles somewhat extend your time spent in the simulation, the experience felt relatively short overall. However, I can appreciate the time and effort that must have went into the thoughtfully crafted puzzles that are present in the game. Viewfinder’s unique gameplay mechanics encourage you to think outside the box, and the aesthetically pleasing spaces, intriguing lore, and surreal image manipulation left me wanting more. Despite its brevity, Viewfinder is a solid puzzle game that represents an elegant step forward in the puzzle genre.
Despite its veneer of limitless design possibilities, players are ultimately constrained in the types of attractions they can create and pursue during the campaign. While Sandbox mode is your best bet for getting creative with all the bells and whistles Park Beyond has to offer, it too is not immune to the myriad of glitches and technical issues present throughout the game. Although you can spend hours designing and constructing your ideal park, the looming threat of crashes diminishes the incentive to do so, even in Sandbox mode. While there is an innovative theme park sim beneath all the glitches and design flaws, Park Beyond ultimately doesn’t break new ground in its genre and would benefit from taking a few pointers from its predecessors.
Though it is not without its fair share of flaws, the revamped Layers of Fear contains everything that fans enjoyed about the original series and elevates them with improved visuals and new gameplay mechanics that help alleviate some of the monotony. The writer’s story offers an intriguing through-line that sensibly ties together each narrative thread. Technical hiccups aside, Layers of Fear wraps up the series in a graphically enhanced package that is easily the best way for players both new and old to experience the franchise.
Despite having predetermined outcomes, Harmony: The Fall of Reverie does a great job at giving players a true sense of agency over the direction of the story. Even when things don’t go as expected, the events that unfold are no less intriguing. The game raises the bar for what can be achieved through player choice, and those looking for a compelling narrative-driven experience have plenty to enjoy here.
After Us serves as a compelling reminder of the far-reaching consequences of environmental neglect. While there are stories to glean through memories, the game is primarily a tactile experience, emphasizing parkour and puzzle-solving over delivering a strong narrative. The game has approachable puzzles and straightforward controls that should be easy for most to pick up. Its engaging gameplay mechanics, stark visuals, and poignant message make for a satisfying puzzle-platformer overall.
Bramble: The Mountain King is as gorgeous as it is horrifying, with surprises lurking around every corner. The game excels at building tension and suspense while maintaining visual splendor throughout. Although the game isn’t particularly long–I rolled credits around 7 hours–it is an experience that horror game enthusiasts will not want to miss.
Coffee Talk Episode 2 captures the essence of what it’s like to chat with friends at a late-night café over a warm cup. Not a whole lot has changed between episodes, which is a good thing for returning players looking for the same heartfelt storytelling and diverse characters from the first installment. Although the sequel does not tread any new ground in terms of gameplay, the additional recipes and tales should be enough to satisfy both seasoned baristas and newcomers alike.
Road 96: Mile 0 presents a predictable yet relatable tale about teens pushed to the brink under an oppressive system. The energetic soundtrack, quality voice acting, and comedic moments help balance the heavier themes and darker undertones of the story. The newly added Rides serve to amplify Mile 0’s catchy tunes while adding another means of gameplay interaction beyond dialogue choices and minigames. Despite its shortcomings, the prequel does a decent job at laying the narrative foundation for the events of Road 96 while introducing new gameplay mechanics that cater to a new audience of players.
Terra Nil is not what you might expect from a typical strategy game. There are no opponents to face, no incessant clicking, and no steep learning curve. It is a game that takes the concepts found in many city-building games and turns them on their head, emphasizing sustainability and conservation rather than endless expansion or usurpation of resources. While the game's mechanics didn’t always work as expected, what few issues I encountered did little to take away from an otherwise enjoyable and meditative experience.
Hi-Fi Rush delivers energizing gameplay that is smoother than slide guitar. It's accessible, satisfying, and just pure fun. The touching narrative explores themes of friendship and loyalty, while satirizing corporate culture with an unparalleled wit. Tango Gameworks have knocked it out of the park with their first foray away from the horror game genre and I am eager to see what comes next.
Despite fumbling at the finish line, Children of Silentown presents an intriguing story that illustrates how fear can cause people to lose sight of what’s important. The puzzles are reasonably challenging and varied, with appealing visuals that help amplify the game’s moody atmosphere. Although the pacing drags in certain areas, Children of Silentown is an enjoyable point-and-click game overall and I would recommend it for both fans of the genre and puzzle game aficionados alike.