Fire Emblem Engage is an okay addition to the Fire Emblem series, with fun and varied maps and enough changes to the tactical mechanics to make it probably worth playing for any FE fan, though not all of its changes are winners. Its spectacular graphics are something to behold; it's just a shame that it is accompanied by a story that falls completely flat and emblem heroes that are shadows of their former selves. It's just sadly underwhelming in the face of what its predecessor, Three Houses, achieved better.
Floodland has a lot of great ideas and an addicting gameplay loop, but its Clan mechanics quickly suck any fun out of a game as soon it rears its ugly head. With only one scenario to play and no customisation options for these clans, it's all too easy to suffer a slow decline for reasons that don't feel like your fault. With such a major mechanic feeling so flawed, it's hard not to feel like Floodland has taken a wrong turn at the last minute. For such a solid base, it's a real shame.
Do you want more of Bayonetta 1 and 2? That's Bayonetta 3! It keeps the heart and soul of the first two games in every sense, but adds even more fun ways to pound your enemies into the dirt with style. Its chock-full of action set pieces, each more ridiculous than the last - it stays at 100% almost the whole time. Our favourite witch is back in black!
With its skilled application of a foreboding atmosphere instead of cheap jumpscares, The Excavation of Hob's Barrow is the perfect game to lead us into the spooky season. It's a well-crafted mystery that is creepy in all the right places, taking us back to a not-too-distant past of superstition. If you're in the mood for a suspenseful tale of oft-overlooked folklore and themes of grief and loss, the Excavation of Hob's Barrow gets my firm recommendation.
Return to Monkey Island brings the beloved classic point-and-click series into the modern puzzle adventure genre, and it's a perfect fit. It's a fine addition to the Monkey Island series, but it nevertheless seems held back by Monkey Island 2's strange ending. In its attempt to explain it away, it just hurts its own narrative, which had the potential for more than it achieved. But it is still a fun ride, full of wild, funny, and surprisingly sincere moments. I will be keenly looking forward to the next Monkey Island game from the mind of Gilbert and his team.
Not often do we see a narrative RPG with so much squeezed inside a relatively small package. I Was a Teenage Exocolonist will leave you thinking, laughing, crying, and even blushing. With beautiful character illustrations and a story that feels genuine from start to finish, this is a must-play for anyone who enjoys narrative games. Though one playthrough will run you around 5-10 hours, the things you missed will have you coming back for one more playthrough every time.
As much fun as Nintendo Switch Sports games are, it’s hard not to feel as if Nintendo didn’t exactly push the boat out on the game. 6 games might have been enough for a new game in 2006, but not these days, and not for a full-priced game. That and the lack of extra modes and options make it feel like it’s a half-game, something that should have been bundled in with Nintendo Switch Online instead of sold at full price. It’s still a fun distraction, perfect for engaging the non-gamers in your family… as long as you’ve spent enough hours unlocking some accessories first.
Chinatown Detective Agency’s main draw, the real-world investigation, is a great idea that worked very well for the most part. It will be interesting to see if it can survive the internet’s aggressive SEO algorithm, but I still think it’ll be a fun time for any mystery game fan. Unfortunately, multiple bugs and glitches that should have been caught before launch ruined a lot of my experience, along with a truly annoying inability to save mid-mission. The good news is, the developers have already been very active in fixing many issues with the game, so the grievances I have with the game may very well be temporary.
Even if you don’t normally enjoy point-and-click adventures, Norco is a must-play for anyone interested in story-driven games. It’s one of the best-narrated tales since Dysco Elysium, rich with the real-life history of the town of Norco with some imaginative fiction mixed in. It’s dark, funny, and scary in all the right places, and even if the ending doesn’t wrap up all the mysteries it opens, it’s still sure to leave its mark on you.
Monark has all of the dot points needed to be a great game, but it just doesn’t go far enough to stand out in any one area. It has a few great nuggets of ideas that would have been great to see expanded upon, but it barely scratches the surface. There are too many areas that were lacking either visual flare or gameplay substance for it to be memorable among titans like Persona and Megami Tensei. Despite that, it still might be worth playing for fans of the genre. It’s like popcorn — it’s not a masterpiece, but it’s easily consumable and will scratch that JRPG itch.
Shin Megami Tensei V is sure to bring a large swath of fresh fans to the series with its beautiful graphics and complex turn-based strategy mechanics. It presents a challenge even on the easiest setting, and the demon recruitment process has been made all the better with livelier, more varied dialogue. Shin Megami Tensei V is only held back by some lacklustre storytelling in the first half, and the unfortunate performance on the Nintendo Switch, which was the wrong console to handle Shin Megami Tensei V’s powerful graphics.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl are faithful recreations of the classic DS titles, updated with plenty of small, ease-of-life changes. While some fans might feel alienated by the features that have been added to make the game easier, the changes are a net positive that make the game a smoother experience all-round. The upgraded Underground is more involved and offers more things to do, and the remade music tracks sound beautiful. Although a lot more could have been done to make these remakes truly special, what’s here will make Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl a worthwhile experience for returning fans and new ones alike.
A continuation of Samus’ story from Metroid Fusion, Metroid Dread excels as a hybrid of both classic and modern Metroid gameplay. The exploration and combat are top-notch, with satisfying boss fights complete with stunning graphics and mid-action cutscenes. It’s only a few nitpicks that prevent Dread from being a masterpiece, but that still means that it’s a must-have for Metroid fans. The future holds a lot of promise for Samus Aran!
Rogue Lords is a fine lead-up to the spooky season, with a genuinely addictive gameplay loop and a satisfying combat system. The ability to mess with the game’s own mechanics as the Devil is an absolutely inspired idea, and the experience is only made less than perfect by a few glitches that need patching out. The game would feel a little more complete if there were more to do in each chapter’s overworld, but what is there is a delightfully challenging roguelike. The inability to lower the difficulty may turn some people away, but other people will relish the challenge.
WarioWare: Get it Together! has some of the best microgames in the series, all of which carry on the zany heart of the WarioWare franchise. The multiplayer modes and weekly challenges add a lot of replayability, making it great for killing a few minutes with friends. But when it comes to adding its own twist to the series, Get it Together‘s constant switching out of characters just doesn’t mesh well with the WarioWare formula that we know and love. That, along with the disappointing lack of much of the comedic dialogue we’ve seen from previous games, hold it back from being Wario’s best. But it still promises a fun time whenever you have a few minutes to spare.
Sonic Colours: Ultimate serves as a sad reminder that even the 3D Sonic games that are ‘one of the good ones’ don’t hold up very well. The updated visuals, soundtrack, and gameplay tweaks at least make it a better experience than the original, and some quality of life upgrades make the worst parts marginally less painful. Sonic fans nostalgic for this game will likely still value having this remaster in their collection, but the new customisable options and Rival Rush Mode are simply not enough to make up for what Sonic Colours lacks.
Humankind is immediately accessible to anybody familiar with the 4X genre, especially the Civilization series. It strays a little too close to Civilization at times, but its unique take on the advancement of culture and ideology prevents it from feeling like a copycat. The way your culture changes between eras means that no two games will ever be the same, no matter how much you try. It’s not quite as masterful as it could be and needs some fine-tuning in some areas, but it remains a solid addition to Amplitude’s library of strategy games.
It’s a crime that The Great Ace Attorney and its sequel took so long to come to the West. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles bundles in two of the best games in the franchise to date, its improved graphical fidelity setting a new bar for the series. Chronicles doesn’t add much in the way of extra content, but it’s hard to improve on something that was already so good. The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve is the crowning Jewel in this particular bundle, but even Adventures is a must-play for any Ace Attorney fan.
Game Builder Garage makes programming fun, with easy-to-follow tutorials and plenty of in-game resources to help you if you get lost. It’s easy on the eyes too, although a lack of visual customisation options was disappointing to see. With so many things it does right, it’s astounding that Nintendo would shoot themselves in their own foot so badly by not including any in-game search function. It may find an audience with some budding game designers, but it’s unlikely to become the phenomenon it could have been.
World’s End Club wanted to be like Danganronpa or Zero Escape, but it doesn’t measure up to either. This game has a pretty cool story sandwiched between aggressively average platforming segments that wouldn’t stand up to snuff ten years ago. It has a cool art direction and likeable characters, but the writing itself is not masterful enough to make the unconvincing plot twists work, nor to make up for the boring and repetitive gameplay.