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Joseph Pugh's Reviews
Mahokenshi adding a movement element to the deck-building genre is a stroke of brilliance that’s only matched by the clever way its mission structure requires you to constantly adapt your playstyle. It’s just a pity that the experience ends so quickly because it’s one that I definitely want to have more of.
Deathloop’s a solid shooter with room for creativity in how you approach the individual districts. But its hamfisted linear handholding of a single viable sequence of events to actually break the loop greatly diminishes the novelty of the experience and reduces the game down to what feels like a reskin of the Dishonored games.
In the end, Midnight Suns is a phenomenal tactical game with so much superhero spectacle that you will forget it’s being played with cards. The social sim aspects aren’t going to be for everyone, but there are a ton of clever nods and treats to enjoy as a Marvel fan. The dialogue can be excessive, but the cerebral joy derived from the excellent combat system more than makes up for it.
God of War Ragnarok ties up the story in a satisfying way, and the journey it takes you on to get there is memorable. But God of War is also a video game. It’s not a movie, and only some of its game elements hold up.
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.
Wingspan already rules the roost when it comes to family games. It carries that same talon sharp gameplay into digital form remarkably well, and with the addition of AI and local play, it might just swoop into the hearts of bird lovers everywhere.
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.
Trash Sailor’s frantic gameplay and variety of hazards and enemies certainly elevate it above the heap of a dumpster dive. But the frustrating controls and lack of challenge mean it still smells a bit after taking it home.
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.
The incredibly detailed combat, deep strategic layer, living world, and immense variety didn’t just fill the void in my heart left by the absence of X-COM 3, it replaced it entirely.
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.