If you are getting the idea that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a great Star Wars game, then you’re on the right track, and I believe that Respawn (and EA) is too. There is so much great about this game that it can be easy to overlook its obvious flaws: graphical errors and glitches, a static and sometimes flawed combat system, unrewarding collectibles, and lacking RPG elements being chief amongst those complaints. A full play through of the campaign took me just over 12 hours – a span that told a cohesive story with impressive components, but in the end nearly overstayed its welcome and resulted in a game that felt to me rather one-note. Jedi: Fallen Order feels like a great base game that Respawn can build upon to make deeper, richer, and more stable sequels that fully explore the powers of a Jedi while polishing the individual elements borrowed from each different genre.
If you can overcome (or somehow master) the imperfect controls of Luigi’s Mansion 3, you will be presented with the best Luigi’s Mansion experience available. The entire game is brimming with charisma, through the soundtrack, set pieces, and cinematic moments of grandeur. I have felt comfortable combing through each floor at a leisurely pace, my four-year-old excitedly watching over my shoulder every step of the way. Fans of the series shouldn’t be dismayed by the sixty dollar price tag, either. This game is both lengthier and meatier than either of its counterparts, and there is plenty to do and see for casual players and completionists alike.
Concrete Genie is not everybody’s game, especially those who don’t already have a deep appreciation of visual art. The story is catered mostly for a younger audience, as a single adult doesn’t appear in the game outside of hasty flashbacks. The gameplay remains mostly static throughout its admittedly short six- to nine-hour playtime, outside of the aforementioned combat sequences that, although properly functioning, don’t really provide any new experiences or challenges that any gamer wouldn’t already be familiar with. The trailers for Concrete Genie do thankfully provide an accurate representation of the game, so if those trailers intrigue you, I think the $29.99 pricetag may justify this creative endeavor.
After 26 years, returning to Koholint Island was a pleasant escape that provided a thoroughly realized game world that I had forgotten how much I loved. Most players will finish Link’s Awakening in under 10 hours, though collecting every seashell and piece of heart, or journeying through Hero mode after finishing a normal playthrough, will extend that game time dramatically. To some gamers’ dismay, this game is priced at $59.99 retail and in the US eShop. Complaints range from the relatively short campaign and cartoonish graphics to the fact of it not being a new game at all, but I would be challenged to find a more polished and charming game in 2019. For me, the weird, wonderful world of Koholint Island, with all of its funny characters, clever dungeons, and inspired background music, made the price tag worth every penny.
Cat Quest II inhabits the same world as its predecessor, though stars different characters and locations, and those familiar with Cat Quest will discover the experience has not substantially differed in its sequel. The same action-RPG gameplay abounds in the new entry, with plenty of dungeons, collectibles, and pet-related puns to keep you busy with light-hearted fun for a few hours. Unfortunately, if you’ve already play Cat Quest or are not a fan of action-RPGs, there may not be a lot of substance in this feline frenzy to feast upon.
I’m always delighted by segments of video games that allow me to control an animal, and even more glad to relax and laugh while playing games in my spare time. Rarely do these two all-too-rare genres cross in gaming, but when they do, and with enough clever direction and a pleasing original soundtrack, you get the beautiful gem that is Untitled Goose Game. Purchasing this game on sale would make for a perfect diversion to relax and waste a few hours of clean, simple fun, enjoyable by gamers (and non-gamers) of nearly any age.
Yet, somewhere along the way, I and many other gamers felt lost. The deeply rich and vibrant lands we once ventured across no longer held any allure, only temporary distractions and shadows of the glory we once strove for. Leveling became easy. Professions became bothersome. Travel was insignificant. Money lost value. High fantasy was sacrificed for a fantasy/sci-fi hybrid, complete with motorcycles, rocket ships, and aliens. Even the war between factions held little intrigue, as too often had the conflict been sacrificed in the name of some greater evil. The flavor from World of Warcraft faded, and subscriber numbers slowly dwindled to a fraction of their peak. We didn’t want to play the seventh expansion of World of Warcraft anymore, we wanted to play the original. We wanted vanilla. We wanted classic. At least, we think we did…
Playing video games should always be a fun experience, and if I find myself not enjoying time spent in a game, I begin to seriously question my use of said time. There were moments of Mabel and the Wood that I genuinely enjoyed, but bugs, glitches, poor design, and frustrating mechanics created an affair of disappointment. Considering I was actually unable to finish the campaign to completion, as well as the multitude of quality metroidvania adventures available on nearly every gaming platform, I can not in good conscious recommend a game that is, at its core, broken.
I can’t think of any other single player game that has offered such a wide breadth and endless stream of content without having to pay for every new level. Whether you are a creative and inspiring designer, a swift fingered speedrunner, or a casual weekend Mario newbie, there will forever be another flagpole to grab, castle to conquer, and princess to save in the incomparable Super Mario Maker 2. The team at Level Down Games can not put it down, and if you decide to make the purchase, we’re certain you won’t be able to either.
Stranger Things 3: The Game does little to add to the mythos of the Stranger Things universe, but still serves as a worthy companion piece to champions of the Netflix series. Fan service is high in the game and though it rehashes the story of the third season with each step, I didn’t grow weary of controlling the not-so-young-anymore children through their high-stakes adventure. A lot of the charm from the show’s dialogue is lost in the translation to gaming, but much of what you love about Stranger Things is still very much intact. Side quests and collectibles not mentioned in the show fill in the gaps that otherwise would have made the game feel lacking. This game is not a revolution of television tie-in gaming experiences, but offers enough content for the price point to satisfy even a casual watcher of the series.