Against the Storm is an engrossing and fun game. Its focus is on moment-to-moment settlement management but with a ton of gameplay ideas that make each new expedition feel unique. I love the unpredictable nature of the glades as well as the many ways to interact with the Queen’s requests and the dangerous ruins.
Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew is a complex and very open game that will mainly appeal to players who loved Mimimi’s previous entries in the stealth action genre. All the mechanics are refined, and character choices open up a ton of options for each mission. Success requires patience and good planning, but improvisation often creates more memorable moments.
Knuckle Sandwich is clearly a love letter to classic 8-bit role-playing games but with a twist. Bright City has some interesting characters and interactions (I particularly love the washing machine save points). The story goes places. And the core mechanics are easy to learn and varied.
Wizard with a Gun creates an effective mix of action combat, building, resource management, and rogue elements. The narrative has just enough mystery and quirks to keep players engaged but the focus is squarely on exploration and combat, which involve a lot of repetition but remain engaging.
Backpack Hero has a unique core mechanic that works. I liked constantly thinking of what I wanted to pick up and how I could create combos by placing items just right. There are a ton of possibilities, even if combat itself often feels limited and repetitive.
Worldless shines when players enter battle with a new opponent for the first time, discovering its moves and weaknesses. It’s fun to watch for patterns and create attack combos, with plenty of tension added when trying to perform the Absorption move. Platforming isn’t as complex as combat but adds variety.
If you like walking simulators and deep stories, this game is right up your alley. The atmosphere and the visual style will engulf you completely, making it feel natural to ponder the philosophical questions raised by your trek through Regis III.
Howl is very good without being too complex. It’s turn-based tactical gameplay has depth, designed to satisfy fans of this genre, but is accessible enough for newcomers. And the narrative elements are strong enough to keep both groups engaged, trying to collect as much confidence and skulls to open up new options.
Football Manager 2024 is a great experience for anyone who has played the series in the past 10 years. It refines all the core gameplay, adds some interesting new ideas, and gives players a lot of freedom to engage with the mechanics they like and delegate the rest.
The four-five hours of poor nostalgia will actually be much longer, if you can resist the urge to look up the solutions in some walkthrough. But that is the beauty of Unusual Findings: it treats you like a creative (young)adult that can figure out things on their own and does not need to be guided.
Monorail Stories is a small game with one big narrative idea. I finished my first run in a little more than one hour and there’s enough mystery left that I might try another one, simply to learn more about the setting and about the elements that influence the protagonists' fates.
Star Trek: Infinite is a fine science fiction grand strategy experience, designed to appeal to fans of the TV and movie franchise. The development team has tried hard to deliver as many familiar elements as possible and mostly succeeded. The game creates a more focused experience than the New Horizons mod for Stellaris and its mechanics are easier to understand.
No Place for Bravery offers an interesting mix of tough combat and exotic presentation. Some players might be driven away by the pixel art (the weird legs of the characters still annoy me) or the difficulty level. But the story and the gameplay have the quality required to keep players engaged.
Limerick: Cadence Mansion is a good game for spooky season because it has plenty of familiar mechanics while creating an interesting universe. It’s not horror by any means but there are some effective scary moments. The game creates constant tension between the drive to discover more and the need to run to a Panic room to avoid death and recover.
Torn Away is a narrative-focused game that explores some very difficult historical moments through the eyes of a child. Asya is a strong protagonist and the game works hard to give her interesting things to do from a gameplay perspective. Neither the platforming nor the puzzles sequences are hard to complete and most of the mechanics are familiar.
Wargroove 2 is one of the best smallish-scale tactics titles I have played recently, offering a wide variety of cool scenarios in its campaigns as well as extra variety with Conquest. The turn-to-turn action is compelling, and players have space to tweak the difficulty to suit their needs.
Astrea: Six-Sided Oracles is a complex and engaging dice builder. The universe is interesting, even if the lore is mostly expressed via gameplay and presentation. There are a ton of dice to choose from as players build their own playstyle around their favorite hero.
Days of Doom is a competent combination of rogue-lite elements and turn and tile-driven combat. Battles are tense, especially when bigger and boss enemies arrive, and require players to carefully think about their character’s abilities and positioning.