NBA 2K21 is still a wonderful digital simulation of basketball, with a wealth of modes to enjoy, but the MyCareer story has become stale and the microtransactions far too prevalent. This is not the step forwards that it needed to be to keep the series fresh and engaging. In other words, this title does not provide a compelling argument to upgrade from last year's version.
With it's clever web-based hosting that allows anyone with a smart device to join in, as well as it's hugely entertaining selection of games, The Jackbox Party Pack 3 on Nintendo Switch makes for a splendid, instant-party game tool for family and friend gatherings. There's something in this pack for everyone to enjoy and enough content to encourage repeat play.
Neither really a game, nor an experience, GNOG is like a child's quest for discovery, and incorporates the wonder and charm you would expect from such an offering all through simplistic, almost minimalistic, design. It's so very fleeting, taking a mere hour to complete, but it's something that will stick with you for its terrific presentation and concept.
Voxel Shot VR provides some splendid scenarios in this wave-based VR zombie shooter. Meanwhile, the bright colour palette and voxel visuals are charming, the frantic shooting, discarding of weapons, and environmental storytelling is immersive, and it culminates in a fun and exciting experience. However, it's all over with far too quickly.
Mr. Shifty's shifting is one of the most satisfying and enjoyable combat mechanics ever conceived. Teleporting through offices, smashing furniture and enemies in a flurry of kicks and punches is a wonderful visual spectacle, as well as an adrenaline-fuelled treat. Allowing the story to take a back seat so the action leads the way certainly feels like the best move in this case, but there's certainly some room for a more thought-out and quirky narrative. Meanwhile, some frustrating checkpoints can make the more frustrating fights that bit more annoying.
There's enough variety and challenge here to keep players engaged and coming back to VR Sports time and time again. The environments are simple but attractive, the controls are terrifically accurate, the hit detection is excellent, and the variety of skills to master is wide enough to appeal to a sizable audience. It's a great way to show off VR to others, as well as satiate your competitiveness through its leaderboards, all the while getting a bit of a workout and having some fun.
FATED: The Silent Oath tells a short but compelling story steeped in Norse mythology, with some great set pieces that play to VR terrifically. It’s a pleasant change to find a set of characters that are as likable as this, and there are some clever design choices at work to make the VR experience viable for such a story-driven game. It's a shame there isn't more of it.
A stiff challenge, no handholding, and large, open levels is somewhat daunting at first, but spectacular level and character design, sarcastic, fourth wall-breaking humour, and oodles of collectables will quickly grip and immerse you in Yooka and Laylee's quirky world. This is a 3D platforming fan's dream title.
The Crow's Eye cleverly designs a spooky atmosphere that then plays on your expectations wonderfully. Furthermore, an intriguing story that's gradually revealed through well-voiced audio tapes and well-written letters helps build up expectations even more. It certainly lives up to its claim as a psychological horror, but one that'll only put you on edge the first time through.
Heaven Island Life is a VR environment rather than a game, with exploration through a physically flawed, sandy tropical game-world its only allure. It's an initially attractive looking place to spend some time, but soon proves to be highly shallow and immersion-breaking after only the merest slither of exploration.
DiRT Rally was already a great rally simulator, but the PSVR update enhances what was already there by making it that much more immersive and real. That it also makes the racing slightly easier due to depth perception, and that the entire game is compatible with VR and transitions so smoothly, is a testament to the care and attention by Codemasters to implement this technology.
Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers is a different kind of spinoff than usual, and a good one at that, with a well-designed strategy system that's very easy to pick up that provides enough tactical depth to be compelling. However, the countless battles can't help but feel repetitive, and it's still a very similar narrative experience to what can be found in other Dynasty Warrior titles.
How to Survive 2's base building is a smart addition to the survival and zombie-slaying action of the original, however, beyond that, it feels, looks and plays very much like the original title. As such it feels like more of an expansion than a fully-fledged sequel, and whilst the simple but satisfying combat and co-op option makes it fun, it's not the most innovative or gripping survival game on the market.
As cute and appealing as Plantera's presentation is, there's very little 'game' here. Instead, this is an idle game, a click game, one meant to be played between other tasks, and therefore one not well suited to the Wii U. There's still fun to be had, but only in short play sessions that will inevitably become shorter and shorter until, very quickly, there's nothing left to entice you back.
Samurai Sword VR's arcade-style katana swinging and shuriken/kunai throwing is a bit too clumsy and chaotic, requiring less skill and more frantic flailing to succeed. Sure, this can be fun, but ultimately only for a short time. There's simply not enough variety, or accuracy to the hit detection, to make this a title that demands replayability, despite the pull of online leaderboards and the otherwise highly accessible VR, on-rails action.
Shadow Warrior 2's self-referential toilet humour, insanely stylistic combat, bounty of loot and jaw dropping visuals, add up to a thoroughly entertaining and silly game full of gory combat, dick jokes and impressive weaponry. It's great fun if you're not in the market from something serious.