The reality is if Insurmountable were a real board game, I’d be interested in picking it up, and the price would be much steeper due to the physical pieces. The digital experience it offers is a unique one worth having for any fans of slower-paced strategy games, even if its freshness is shorter-lived than I would like.
Returnal’s shooting mechanics are solid, the game is gorgeous, the enemy variety is nice, and the boss fights are stellar. So, it’s a shame that literally everything else kind of falls apart. The rogue-lite aspects are sub-par at best and outright bad at worst.
Outriders is still a great game. In a lot of ways, it’s the absolute best iteration of the looter shooter genre out there. The repetition is a bummer, but the combat, class, and loot system are worth riding it out for. The amount of playstyle customization you have access to is a true anomaly.
It doesn't stray far from its inspiration but still delivers key improvements with stronger replay value, better visuals, and an experience that's fresh enough to feel new while staying true to itself. If it could have ditched some of the flaws that plagued the original it would have been perfect. Regardless, Evil Genius lives To Die Another Day
For Sparta is a small but mighty game with a ferocity to honor its namesake. The gameplay is fantastic, and it very cleanly side steps the repetitive pitfalls the genre sometimes falls into. Its laser-focused direction does it a lot of favors. It’s not a long-term grinding game with a billion things to unlock, and it doesn’t try to be.
The phobias themselves have a fantastic aesthetic design and animation too. The rigid and puzzlelike nature gives the game a unique playstyle that’s a lot of fun to solve. The lack of polish is very apparent, however. Between the bugs, strange design choices, and lack of cohesion the game feels like it needed more time in the oven, and maybe some focused direction.
Space Otter Charlie is cute, fun, and easy to play with, clever but simple puzzles, enjoyable old-school boss fights, and plenty to explore, find, and craft. It’s a game aimed at a more casual demographic that I’m really not a part of, but that’s okay. I still found a lot to appreciate.
Curse of the Dead Gods boasts some very compelling and unique game mechanics combined with a fantastic combat system that demands mastery of the content it offers. Hades may be the social pretty boy of the genre, but Curse of the Dead Gods is that disciplined old adventurer ready to whip you into shape. Fortune and glory kid, fortune and glory.
It retains the same charm, fun physics, and team coordination that made the base game great. It’s on the short side with just a couple of hours of content, a problem that often plagues many party games. The DLC is on the cheap side though, so it may just be worth moving in on.
Hades is an example of a masterfully designed cohesive package. Its few flaws only manage to surface because of how much the game expects you to play it. Its greatness remains untarnished because you’ll want to. Zeus owns the sky, and Poseidon the sea. Well, eat it Olympus. Hades has a kick-ass game.
Ratropolis is an engaging real-time strategy and kingdom building game that successfully fuses with the thoughtful deliberation of deckbuilding, tactical card play, and resource management. I sometimes think cards can make any game better, Ratropolis certainly makes a strong case for it.
Where Odyssey was rough, Valhalla is crystalline. It may have a couple of cracks as even the most beautiful diamond can be flawed, but this is the magnum opus of the series. The absolute best Assassin’s Creed to date and a great way to kick off the next generation.
Regardless The Oathbound faction is incredibly cool, fun to play, and brings another unique playstyle to the game. Star Kings is a powerful final act for the elegant beast of a game that we call Age of Wonders: Planetfall. Previous fans would be doing themselves a disservice by missing out on it.
Risk of Rain 2 stacks up as one of the most well-designed rogue-lites on the market, and is a clear example of early access done right. Its replay value is high, and its fun factor is even higher, especially with friends. The cracks of its porcelain skin are ugly, because of how pristine the rest of its form is.
Watch Dogs Legion is a solid if familiar title. However, the innovative recruitment system and neat simulation elevate the experience into something novel and worth experiencing, even if the game doesn’t always commit to its design the way it expects players to.