The pure freedom that it offers you is impressive. The more you’re willing to invest yourself into taking apart the ships in different ways, the more satisfying it is. It just feels good to form a plan of your own and watch it pay off in real time as pieces of the ship gracefully peel away in the exact fashion you imagined in your mind.
Its compact nature makes for a graceful game that isn’t bloated, but it also steps on its own toes. The number of upgrades, and even how you mine out resources feels like an illusion of choice as the optimal way to play becomes obvious fairly quickly. Up until that point, and even for a while afterward, it’s fun to play. It just doesn’t stand its ground for nearly as long as other rogue-lite games, and replayability is an important defining feature of the genre.
Blacken Slash is a well-designed, challenging, and deep game hidden behind its minimalistic but charming aesthetic. Its core gameplay is simple to understand, but its stat-crunching character building extends far beyond its pick-up and play nature. It feels fast-paced despite being turn-based, and a solid upbeat soundtrack enhances that vibe even further.
There are so many great tactics games out there, that any new one that enters the fold has to give me a good reason to spend my time with it over the others. While Legends of Kingdom Rush isn’t truly a bad game, it really doesn’t bring anything notable to the table. It simply exists.
To speak candidly for a moment. If you were to only ever take my word on a single game, make it this one. There are only a few games out there that can match its quality and quantity within its niche. It mixes the magic of board games and video games brilliantly while inspiring the same kind of joy that games like Slay the Spire can spark but, in its own way that’s unique to it.
Kaiju Wars is clearly a labor of love from people who love Kaiju, and with it, they manage to take a neat concept and turn it into something great. In most games, it’s you laying slaughter to hundreds of nameless grunts and fodder. In Kaiju Wars, you’re the fodder, and the beauty of it is in the challenge that presents.
The combat is tighter, and the game is prettier. But it failed to iterate on its open-world at all, which is an essential part of the game. It feels dated, and the invisible force field that surrounds the machine spawns feels extremely janky. The most important addition is the wide variety of machines you can now fight, and that makes the game worth it alone.
Despite its flaws, Roguebook is still one worth opening. It’s filled with ink that paints a much different picture than its cover would suggest. It turns many common deck-building conventions upside down making for an enjoyable fresh experience in a crowded genre.
Green Hell is a game that’s going to be great once the developers have maggots eat away all the infected bits and patch the wounds in a lovely update-lined bandage. It just isn’t there yet, and I’m somewhat sad I’ve had my experience soured before it got there.
It’s a faithful remaster that will send old school fans on a serious nostalgia high without tainting your memories of it, and that’s fantastic. Newcomers might not be swept off their feet and its gift of pleasant memories may only work out for fans of the classics. But that’s okay, we’ve been waiting a really long time.
One Step From Eden manages to combine the strategic satisfaction of deckbuilding with the chaotic fever pitch of an action game and wraps it into a snug package of player choice. It might feature all the randomness that the genre is known for, but it puts the ball squarely in the player’s court about what to do with it, and that’s pretty magical.
Red Ronin might not be the turn-based tactical game that its main menu implies, but it is a great puzzle game with a popping soundtrack, nice visual effects, and stellar level design. The real-time elements are really interesting and unique, even if it introduces them with all gentleness of a rampaging rhino. If the technical issues can be fixed, Red Ronin could certainly take a seat atop its throne of blood.
Pawnbarian is single-minded with a specific experience that it wants to offer. That experience is a challenging brain teaser using a classic and timeless game in new ways. Limitation is often king to innovation, and with that Pawnbarian calls checkmate.
Embr manages to be a hectic, yet methodical co-op game about firefighters that can also be enjoyed solo. Its replayable nature through a variety of enjoyable modes keeps the game burning bright when many other party games would have long fizzled out on dead wood.
Sheltered 2 offers an apocalyptic survival experience that will put your planning and management skills to the test alongside nifty turn-based combat. Yet, the tedium of such excessive micromanagement might have you wishing for the world to end again.