The art is spot on in its reverence to the Junji Ito works that inspired it, and the soundtrack matches the game's 1-bit graphics with a collection of fantastic 8-bit style jams, all of which come together to create a visual experience you're not likely to get anywhere else. I was also pleasantly surprised at how well the game's interface can be navigated using a gamepad as opposed to a mouse, though if you still prefer using a mouse cursor that is also an option built in as well. I'm not sure I would overall recommend the Switch version over the PC version of the game, but if portability is a big factor for you (an aspect this game lends itself to very well), then the Switch is a perfectly acceptable platform for stopping an old god from engulfing this sleepy Japanese town in madness.
It also should be mentioned that for some bizarre reason the game can only be controlled with the D-pad, which I found caused a lot more hand cramps than usual especially when playing in handheld mode. [UPDATE: We have been informed that this was the result of a bug, a patch has been submitted addressing this issue]. A lot of what's here is good, but more than anything I think it just makes me more interested in what the dev team comes out with next with the lessons learned from this project's completion.
The soundtrack is also great, composed by series regular Takeshi Abo, and it especially shines during particularly action heavy scenes. The localization is overall solid though there were a few typos here and there as well as a line or two that felt a little stilted or awkward, but again these do not occur very often. I am not sure if I would put it at the same level as its most successful predecessor (Steins;Gate), but Anonymous;Code is a very worthy addition to the Science Adventure series and a game that anybody interested in visual novels should definitely take a look at.
Luckily the game is constantly auto saving so no progress was lost, but any crash is still frustrating nonetheless. Getting past those though, I found this second entry into the story of Edwards Island to be worthwhile. The world feels dark and mysterious, the voice actors are all killing their roles, and for those who have played the original game you will probably walk away feeling satisfied with at least one of the possible endings the game offers, I know I was.
Personally, I have enjoyed my time in Forgotten Valley and the experience of building a little family. While years can feel like they crawl by slowly, the progression you get to see as kids around the village get older and new people arrive in the valley is nice and satisfying to experience. I look forward to spending a lot more of my time in this sleepy little village.
Harmony: Fall of Reverie is a fascinating and experimental exercise in how to write a branching narrative in a way that keeps the player occupied with more than just the occasional binary choice. The way it handles the path the player takes as they progress, especially with the mechanic of gathering crystals, is like nothing else that I have ever played. While it is a shame that the loading screen issues drag the experience down a bit, for fans of narratives in video games and the unique ways only a game can tell them, Harmony is well worth a look.
The cast of characters is fun and varied, from the anxious Sayoko to the bubbly and optimistic Yoru, and all of them etch themselves into your memory immediately. Ghostpia never fully throws out an explanation for many of its mysteries, but with a season 2 apparently already planned it fits to leave some questions unanswered. Those looking for a purely narrative experience that may take you back to those late nights watching Inuyasha will find that weirdly precise desire in this town full of ghosts, and I have a feeling you won't regret your visit.
This is made a bit worse by the fact that the game hits the point where most stories of this type usually end, and then keeps going for upwards of an hour, doggedly refusing to roll credits in favor of a drawn out series of epilogue scenes. I really wanted to like Decarnation–it was near the top of my list in terms of most anticipated indie titles for the year–but sadly it just did not deliver the experience I had hoped. It is not what I would necessarily call a bad game, but it is one held back by its multiple missteps along the way.
Many of the problems I ran into have been or will soon be patched according to the developers, but unfortunately it was a tad too late to not paint my experience at least a little bit. Overall, Curse of the Sea Rats is a game I think has a lot of potential, but the samey characters and bugs hold it back from being what it seems like it really could be. If you're really itching for a new metroidvania experience, or just really like rats for some reason, you could definitely do a lot worse than this one, but I sadly cannot say I would recommend you dash to the eshop as fast as you can for it.
It is not a soundtrack you will forget any time soon. Rakuen is a story about grief and life, one that is told well and that people should absolutely experience if given the opportunity. Just make sure you have a box of tissues at the ready, just in case.
It may still have the issue many of this type of game have, being that anything and everything can hurt or kill you even if it's not entirely obvious that it will do that, but this is not only not as prevalent as other games I have experienced and is also made less impactful by the fact that you are constantly finding save points as you go. Between the atmosphere, soundtrack, artwork, and characters, if you enjoy creepy experiences Ib is definitely something you should check out. This adventure through art that may or may not have it out for you managed to still find a way to scare and stress me out over ten years after its original release, and honestly I just find that impressive.
If playing in handheld mode you can get around this by using touch controls, which I found worked just fine for the game's purposes. The "horror mystery" also seems to steer away from the horror part at certain points, which might disappoint those hoping to see a lot of curse action, but the plot during these moments is just as interesting as when those curses are involved. I am happy my eye was pointed in Paranormasight's direction, as I think it may already be one of my favorite experiences of the year, and if this kind of game sounds like it appeals to you, it just might be one of yours, too.
The same goes for some of the ghosts, with certain encounters like the sadistic child Ayako repeating several times with multiple characters, which tends to get annoying after the third occurrence or so. Fans of Fatal Frame who want to experience this lost title in the series will likely find enough atmosphere and story to keep their interest, but newcomers may find some of the game's shortcomings to be a turnoff as their first experience. That being said, you can put a hat on your character that's a big Camera Obscura, so in a way, maybe it all balances out in the end.
Lastly, there were a few frame hiccups here and there, most notably when entering a new plateau for the first time. These problems are relatively minor, though, and I still found the game to be incredibly fun to play regardless, but if they're a deal breaker for you it'd be a better idea to look to other platforms for your Pathless experience. Overall, The Pathless is a game those looking for some action and exploration should definitely give a try.
All of these levels feel exactly as you'd hope, meaning any skill level can have a good time. The music of Final Fantasy is legendary for a reason, and Theatrhythm is the perfect representation of that. If you're looking for a great rhythm game to eat up your time and occupy your mind, Final Bar Line is a fantastic choice.
The game deals with some very heavy subjects at times, but always does so respectfully and without making them seem like a crutch for the narrative to lean on. There are also a lot of cats that can not only be pet but can also be named, something some people may see as a very worthwhile bonus (I know I do). If you like your adventure games to try and yank some tears out of your poor, poor eyes, A Space for the Unbound is easily your first great choice of 2023.
Those coming from Persona 5 will likely find many of the systems they're familiar with are present but in a much clunkier fashion. The bland dungeons and sudden difficulty spikes might also turn off new players, but if they can push through those they may find a thrilling murder mystery featuring some of my favorite narrative moments in the Persona series. Add this to an extremely likeable cast of characters like Kanji Tatsumi or Yukiko Amagi, as well as one of the most catchy soundtracks to ever be put into a video game, and you may well find yourself falling in love with Inaba. Despite all of its flaws, you might find that in the end you're actually sad to leave.
undefined.It Takes Two is a very fun game that should honestly be about half its length, but the Switch very much does not feel like the place you should go to play it. The major graphical downgrades and added loading screens make it hard to recommend no matter how good the gameplay feels or how clever the writing is. If you're looking for a fun game to play alongside your significant other or a friend, It Takes Two is among your better options in general, but you'd likely have a far better experience on PlayStation or PC than on Switch.
The town of Moonbury is charming with a massive cast of varied and fun characters, and the resource gathering gameplay loop has the usual ability to keep you sucked in for hours, but there's just something there that made me feel like it wasn't scratching the itch as well as it could have. Add to that the various technical issues and the inexcusable crime of not allowing me to romance Helene, and it is difficult to imagine recommending this game to someone before pointing them towards many of the other options popping up around it. Despite all it does well, Potion Permit doesn't quite do enough to stand apart from the crowd.
The story and mystery presented in the game's world feel fun to discover, and the drastic differences noticed while going back and forth between different branches will likely be enough to keep your attention for the game's 6 to 7-hour runtime. I especially enjoyed the game's narrator, as she gives a delightfully enthusiastic (if not cheesy) performance throughout. If you want a complicated story with a simple delivery method, and a fun way of branching around, Beacon Pines is definitely a game to give a try.