The occasional bug and missing stamina upgrades are really the only negatives I can lodge at Sable. I can think of very few games that have presented such a beautiful harmony of its attributes. Everything supports everything else. The story implores you to go out into the world, to see all that there is to see. The gameplay ensures that the focus is always on the vistas that lay before you, and it’s all stylised beautifully. The game creates a view of which I cannot tire. This is truly one of the most well-conceived and executed games that I have seen in a very long time. It’s one of those games that truly is using everything to its maximum potential.
Golf Club: Wasteland is a rather standard golf game bolstered by an experimental narrative approach. This iteration is, have no doubt, an improvement on the niche ideas therein, and for that, I applaud the developers. However, good as these ideas are, they suffer from feeling incompatible with each other. Everything is OK, with the distinct sting of feeling like they could have been great, given the right conditions.
Twelve Minutes is a game of dualities. It is very economic in how it presents itself. The focus is tight on three characters, in a small apartment that houses the few instruments of change at your disposal. This allows each little detail to have a nauseating amount of depth to it, including the fantastic performances of the characters and their backstories. The downside to this is that it can lead players astray, due to the limitless possibilities and comparatively limited guidance. Regardless, Twelve Minutes is a tidy and reasonably well-told pressure-cooker drama with few divots, provided you can follow the path.
Boomerang X is truly a spiral of interlocking gameplay loops stacked on top of each other. After a slow start, Boomerang X whips up an absolute whirlwind of bullet-time style combat that can be an absolute sight to behold. So much love and care have clearly permeated the gameplay of this title. The problem is that beyond the loop, there isn’t a lot going on. Some frustrating design elements and a feeling of repetition is present, although it doesn’t fully dampen what is undoubtedly some fantastic moment-to-moment gameplay.
As is the case with many good multiplayer games, the game itself is well made, but mileage may vary with your actual experience playing it. Mechanically, I was impressed with the depth and breadth of everything that you get to play with. Combat itself is incredibly detailed, and the capabilities to have such a compelling game in a crowd of warring factions is impressive. However, the chaos of the battlefield may be a dealbreaker for you; you may find it compelling, or you may find it frustrating. At best I can say it is part of Chivalry 2’s charm, but I’m not able to say that I always appreciated it. Regardless, the specific flavour of madness it provides makes for a fun, violent time, even amongst the varying degrees of chaos.
Sunblaze earns its place as a brutal but mostly fair challenge. It is exciting and fresh in its gameplay in a lot of ways that people should pay attention to. The difficulty will be satisfying for some but frustrating for others. Whilst a lacking story holds it back, clever design mechanics propel it forward. With all that said, when you’re dying every seven seconds, it’s easy for any shining praise to start to dull.
While the characters and the story might be good enough for a music video, it's not good enough for a video game. It is clear these are music video characters, sometimes in great emotional scenes, but often feeling two dimensional. The gameplay is sometimes nice, but often lacking in a discernable thread of logic, and is undercut when you see how little influence you have on what is clearly a prescribed set of events.
At an absolute bare minimum, Essays on Empathy is a fantastic project. Very few games have really given this level of insight into the world of the developer. Truly, this is one of the most impactful games I have played in years. Some of these titles touch on private pains and give a sense of clarity and non-judgemental exploration. I am honestly so appreciative.
As is the case with many annual sequels, MLB The Show 21 is an iteration and improvement over its predecessor. Having said that, if you bought The Show 20, I personally can’t see enough of a change to justify getting 21 in my opinion. There are improvements to the game modes that deserve praise, though I don’t know if it will keep me on the hook for a very long time. Having said that, both titles share some fantastic elements, such as the impressive depth of mechanical customisation, which by itself carries the game into high regard.
Sizeable in the grand scheme of things is a very well-crafted game. There has been a lot of work and effort put in to ensure this small project is packed densely with great ideas. The core mechanic, whilst simple in execution, is used to achieve an impressive array of effects, which make for some entertaining puzzles. The length of the game may disappoint some, but with the game sitting at an equally bite-sized price, I would encourage those interested to absolutely check it out anyway.