Hopefully, updates will stamp out these issues because RoboCop: Rogue City provides a respectable adventure that feels like a long-lost shooter of the early 2010s in mostly good ways. Admittedly, the license carries the game through its rougher patches; if you’re not a RoboCop fan, the adventure may feel dated or buggy compared to other shooters. But as a B-tier love letter to the tin man in blue, Rogue City is a nice return to the limelight for Alex Murphy.
Despite some big caveats, I mostly enjoyed Sonic Superstars as a solo trip down memory lane. The platforming feels good, the levels are mostly fun, and the presentation looks great. Ripping through robots while hitting loop-de-loops and bounce pads still brings a smile to my face. But the game’s new additions either feel inconsequential or ill-advised, watering down an otherwise respectable package. Sonic Superstars offers a solid return to form for the series’ oldest and most ardent followers, with some hedgehog-sized potholes along the way.
Capcom is trying to have its cake and eat it, too, with Exoprimal by using its story to lure more general fans while hoping the loop keeps hardcore multiplayer fans for the long haul. I’m not sure that will work; I have little motivation to return now that I’ve seen credits. But I had a fun time while it lasted. Exoprimal’s creative subversion of expectations impressed me in more ways than one, and its approach to telling a robust narrative within a multiplayer framework is an example I hope other titles study. I just hope it’s enough to keep the game from going extinct.
Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons has some aggravating design choices that prevent it from reaching the heights of similar comebacks like TMNT or newcomers like Young Souls, but this is a respectable return for the Lee brothers. If you’re hankering to punch goons in the face, a good time can be had as long as you bring a measure of patience.
If nothing else, AEW: Fight Forever has potential. I’m happy to have a more arcade-style wrestling game, especially one based on a major promotion. The gameplay has a strong foundation, and when it's firing on all cylinders, the action channels the simple fun of the ‘90s and early 2000s. The rest of the package just needs to catch up. Until it does, even the most passionate AEW fans may have a hard time sticking around for this main event.
As someone who derives real pleasure in admiring beautiful paintings, Dordogne ups the ante by letting me creatively interact with its gorgeous art. Even better, it layers a largely enjoyable tale on top of it. Like Mimi and Nora’s relationship, there are some bumps to overcome, but good times await those willing to work through them.
Diablo IV continually seduces me with its promises of power and riches and regularly follows through. I’ve had a tough time putting it down even after starting fresh numerous times, and I get excited thinking about how I’ll be foiling Lilith’s plans in the months ahead as seasonal updates begin rolling out. Until then, I’m happy to continue relieving Sanctuary of its treasures – and demons of their lives – in this devilishly impressive epic.
While I would have liked gameplay to have more bite and variety, Planet of Lana is still an enjoyable and beautiful romp. The art direction and main jingle are likely the only things that will stick with me in the long run, but Lana and Mui’s journey is a competent rescue mission that doesn’t always soar as high as the machines pursuing them.
Burning Shores is an entertaining epilogue for Aloy’s sophomore outing. It’s more Forbidden West with a few cool wrinkles, meaning it’s a good reminder of the things that the game did right while retaining a few old headaches (like the hand-holding during puzzles). More than anything, Aloy’s trip to Hollywood justifies its existence by meaningfully building upon the base game’s story, paving a solid runway for the next title to take off.
WWE 2K23’s more incremental bells and whistles means it’s technically an overall stronger package than 2K22. However, unlike last year, it doesn’t benefit from the rose-colored excitement of getting to play a big wrestling sim again after a years-long absence. The similarities to its predecessor means 2K23 feels more formulaic than special, but it still continues the series’ overall positive trajectory. Like watching a returning legend perform their greatest hits night after night, the novelty has faded, but I’m still pleased to have them back – for now.
Much like Cereza herself, Bayonetta Origins doesn’t look like much on the surface, but I smiled more and more as its potential bubbled up to the surface. This is an exceptional and refreshing change of pace for the franchise, and you don’t even need to be a fan of the series or the action genre to enjoy it. Don’t underestimate what this pint-sized spellcaster and her demonic partner have to offer.
Deliver Us Mars’ protagonists quickly cobble together a space shuttle that barely manages to get them to their destination. A similar story feels true of this game. A gripping narrative fuels gameplay that otherwise feels functional but underbaked, making my time on the planet a mixed bag. Deliver Us Mars shines best when it lets you absorb its story, but expect to stumble over several design craters along the way.
Despite multiple shortcomings and my general aversion to the game’s writing, High on Life has occasional glimmers of potential. I’d like to see a sequel polish and improve upon this foundation. I’m always itching for more creative takes on shooters, but High on Life is a reminder that “different” doesn’t always mean “good.”
Harvestella’s systems feed together in a way that forces you to engage with nearly everything it offers, whether you want to or not. But those slice-of-life activities are mundane and get in the way of letting you enjoy the RPG elements on your own terms. Maximizing a day’s schedule is sometimes rewarding, but the sluggish pacing makes it tough to stay engaged for the long haul. Harvestella forces you to do a whole lot to complete comparatively little. At 70-80 hours, it’s one of the biggest chores I’ve played in some time. That’s unfortunate because the combat, story, and characters are decent enough that, in a more traditional RPG framework, they’d shine brighter. As it stands, squeezing this fruit isn’t always worth its small amount of juice.
A pleasant and, at times, playful soundtrack, fun visual effects, and the occasional light interference of a mischievous cat add to an overall charming package. A Little to the Left may have left me scratching my head in confusion at times, but more often, it left me pleased and content with the neatly arranged spaces I created.
A charming though uneventful narrative about stopping a cosmic darkness from consuming the galaxy rounds out this delightful package. Like the best sequels, Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope builds upon Kingdom Battle’s foundation with smart tweaks and fun additions to emerge as a better game in every way.
Dorfromantik balances its strategic and cozy elements well, and it's easy to fall into a serene trance of dropping tiles. Pulling the camera back to reveal the full scope of my landscape always feels like a satisfying reward for my subtle, hard work, much like stepping back to admire a finished painting. While it's not the sort of puzzle game I feel compelled to play more than a session or two a day, I always appreciate the improved mood with which it leaves me.
Tinykin feels comforting in an old-school sense. Its challenges never become convoluted, nor does its design reinvent the wheel, and that’s okay. Tinykin executes its handful of ideas exceptionally well, making it a thoroughly enjoyable and laid-back journey that only requires six to eight hours of your time. Don’t let this delightful adventure sneak under your radar.