While a serviceable enough and technically competent action platformer, BloodRayne Betrayal: Fresh Bites is a game from a decade ago that perhaps didn’t need to make a comeback. While the addition of voice acting and a more forgiving difficulty setting are good new features, it still doesn’t make it all that fun. There really isn’t much of a story or characterisation here for Laura Bailey’s acting to flesh out. Furthermore, while the lowered difficulty makes BloodRayne Betrayal: Fresh Bites less frustrating to get through, the simplistic combat, lack of enemy variety and clunky platforming make it hard to recommend for anyone aside from nostalgic fans of the series.
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is certainly a worthy successor to Pathfinder: Kingmaker. With its highly varied moral choices, a tremendous number of race and class options, as well as the Mythic Path feature, players will have a ton to dig into. That said, the addition of turn-based crusade battles where you lead armies across the land doesn’t quite land as well, feeling sluggish and lacking many of the tactical nuances of the main combat mode. In all, however, despite the experience not being the most polished, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is a deep, challenging and highly enjoyable title that is an easy recommend for fans of RPGs.
Greak: Memories of Azur is a truly charming little title that fans of puzzle and action games will really enjoy. Its unique mechanics of controlling the three siblings at once paid off for the most part, even if it became more frustrating during boss fights. While the game’s restrictive inventory and lack of area maps wasn’t ideal, it didn’t prevent the gorgeous hand-drawn world and enchanting soundtrack from drawing me right into the experience. Greak: Memories of Azur is fun, very easy to like, and definitely worth checking out.
Orcs Must Die! 3 is definitely a case of “another verse, same as the first”, but fortunately the formula still holds up. The changes to gameplay balance mostly work, as does the implementation of the new Scramble game mode. However, the War mode shows that throwing more orcs into a stage doesn’t necessarily make it more fun, and the level design generally doesn’t feel quite as fresh as it once did. All that said, the visceral pleasure of slicing through a group of orcs with a buzzsaw launcher is as present as ever, and ultimately the experience is still a fun time. For tower defence fans, Orcs Must Die! 3 is worth checking out, particularly if you’re planning on playing co-op.
Even if it can feel like the deck-builder roguelike genre is getting a bit oversaturated, Banners of Ruin is definitely one to check out. With its generous and frequent unlocks, as well as its complex-yet-mostly-well-explained combat mechanics, it is easy to pick up and enjoyable to master. While it is not as challenging as some of its roguelike cousins, I personally found its user-friendliness a positive quality. If you are looking for another deck-builder roguelike to play, you should definitely add Banners of Ruin to your deck.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is somewhat imperfect, but the flaws don’t quite eclipse its strengths. Despite the annoying party AI and grind, the combat has the right level of tactical depth I would expect from a turn-based Monster Hunter game. With its adorable Monsties and a wide-open world to explore, gamers looking for a new JRPG to dive into can certainly do a lot worse. As long as you are prepared for some irritating supporting cast members and a somewhat repetitive gameplay loop, fans of the monster-collecting genre will get a lot out of this game.
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance isn’t a bad game, but it does feel insubstantial at the moment. The lack of character development, plot or world-building will probably turn away hardcore D&D fans. As for the fans of multiplayer action games, while the core of the experience is fairly solid, the lack of technical polish, repetitive structure and unexciting loot system will likely not satisfy for long. Hopefully over time, patches and additional content can flesh out the experience and make it the rollicking fantasy hack and slash multiplayer funfest it has the potential to be. Just make sure you don’t forget to bring a friend or three.
Backbone is full of potential for greatness and makes a terrific first impression. With its compelling lead and supporting cast, and a fascinating setting full of tantalising lore and mysteries to solve, I spent most of my experience excited to find out where it was all leading. Unfortunately, much of the detective gameplay and plot start to come apart by the end, leading to an oddly inconclusive and unsatisfying conclusion.
From its charming animations and characters, fun weapons and catchy soundtrack, it’s hard to not have a good experience during the game’s short runtime. However, it does start to drag a bit by the end, and it may have been more fun with the addition of co-op. That all said, Mighty Goose is a great little burst of shoot ’em up arcade goodness, and succeeds at bringing that old style of game into the modern era.
I have played many online multiplayer games in my time, but Knockout City has made a better first impression than most. With its easy-to-understand mechanics, along with the complex mind games involved in almost any interaction, it is very satisfying for quick play sessions. Despite some technical issues and a lack of single-player content and diverse game modes, what is there at launch is a lot of fun so far.