Oddworld: Soulstorm clearly comes from a very passionate, dedicated group of developers. Although it is very rough in places, there are parts of it that really do stick out as excellent examples of both gameplay and storytelling. With more refinement this could have been a shining example of what ground-up remakes could be, but it just falls a little short of the high standards set elsewhere. It's still charming and funny, just like the Mudokens you're trying to save, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating.
I cannot, in good faith, recommend a game that I could not finish thanks to game-breaking bugs. Looking past that, on the grounds that said bug can be squashed in time, you have a great concept that is just poorly executed. For all its atmosphere, for all its potential, the game feels totally hollow. Perhaps the point of the game was that you feel closer to the squirrels than your boss, who you hold in such contempt you refuse to speak to her. Perhaps the game is just dull.
Persona 5 Strikers is an excellent welcome back party for the franchise. It takes a formula that is proven to work and takes it to a new place by adding a whole new combat system that allows you to play as the whole team, rather than the main character we're all used to. This said, and although Persona 5 Strikers is excellent in its own right, there's enough that's been stripped back to make this game work that it can't reach the lofty heights of the original.
Sam and Max Save the World Remastered is pretty much what you'd expect - a modern update to a much-loved classic. As much as I love stepping back into the chaotic shoes of Sam and Max, I'm left a little disappointed by the fuzziness in handheld mode and the slightly confused script revisions. That said, the game is still one of the funniest point-and-click adventures I've had the pleasure of playing.
Like the characters in the game, Shady Part of Me is elegant, but troubled. At its core, the game is a well-designed puzzle game about a girl who has to cooperate with herself to overcome her mental health condition. Between this and the moody, melancholy aesthetic, the game hits home in all the right ways, which is why it's such a shame that the ending just doesn't stick the landing.
Alba is the kind of game that all young people should play. Not only is it a heart-warming romp where you get to look at animals, it's educational and empowering, inspiring and beautiful. Not only have ustwo created a world that is stunning to look at, but they've crafted a narrative that boldly shouts that this girl can. Never underestimate the power of an 11-year-old girl - especially one on a mission to do right by the world around her.
I really, really wanted to love Phogs!, but I simply couldn't. It really is a lovely idea, set in a lovely world and there's a simple joy to the game's opening. It's clear just how much love went into this game, right down to the Hollywood Bowl carpet at the bowling alley, but the execution just leaves you wanting. Between the repetition and the bugs, there's just too much to get frustrated with, making the game, at times, an uphill struggle.
I didn't expect Cardpocalypse to resonate with me as much as it did. It's a cute, clever and charming little homage to what CCG life used to be like. Sure, we didn't have supernatural big bads running around the playground, but the excitement of opening a booster pack or getting a new rare to put in your deck really shines through. If you're a CCG fan, or even if you just think back to your Pokémon cards with a sense of nostalgia, definitely give Cardpocalypse a look.
Bugsnax is a unique and wonderful experience, and a must-play for anyone who can get their hands on it. If you're lucky enough to have secured a PS5, make sure you make the most of PlayStation Plus and pick up your free copy while it lasts. If not, this game is still well worth your hard-earned cash.
If you didn't get a chance to play this as a kid or take the opportunity to play the remake, I'd strongly recommend giving it a go before Abe Soulstorm - the reimagining of the game's sequel - arrives on the PS5 next year. Though the humour is juvenile at best, with Abe often communicating in chuckles and farts, it is a perfect example of someone finding light and hope in utter darkness. We could all do with a bit of that right now, couldn't we?