Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is no doubt a worthy successor to Jet Set Radio. That’s not to say the game is perfect; there are some notable issues, such as falling through the floor on occasion, as well as the aforementioned poor combat sections. But those issues don’t detract from this still being one of the most fun games released this year.
After a decade of waiting, Teslagrad 2 is undeniably a great follow-up to the original. The game is gorgeous, movement feels excellent, and the world is a joy to explore. What's here is very strong, but the short length means it's all over too quickly, which may come as a disappointment given the 10-year gap between this sequel and the original game. Despite that, if you are a fan of the original Teslagrad, or games with great mobility in general, you will surely enjoy Teslagrad 2.
Clive 'N' Wrench is not a good game, there is no way around that. When the Switch is home to some of the greatest 3D platformers ever made, Clive 'N' Wrench stands out for all the wrong reasons. From terrible controls to poor visuals and performance, we're sad to say that there is very little redeemable about the game on Switch. The entire project feels like a glorified demo made for a game design class, rather than a completed project that belongs on store shelves. The attempt is admirable, but after a decade's worth of development, Clive 'N' Wrench turned out as an incredible disappointment. With so many other ways to get your 3D collectathon platforming fix on Switch, your time and money are best spent elsewhere.
The Punchuin undoubtedly delivers a solid match-three gameplay experience, but one that's let down by little in the way of level variety and a severe lack of overall content. The charming writing and presentation highlight the passion and skill of the developers but, in the end, what is here feels more like a lovingly-crafted demo than a full release. If you are looking for a quick and enjoyable puzzler, The Punchuin will deliver exactly that but no more. It's fine, but we just wish this package packed more of a punch, as there are plenty of other options out there with more bang for your buck.
There are few games out there that successfully capture childlike wonder and imagination better than Lil Gator Game. Despite some minor issues with the writing and how directionless the adventure can feel at times, it's easy to forgive small frustrations when a game is as wonderfully charming from start to finish as this. Lil Gator is up there with the best indie games released this year and comes with a recommendation for anyone remotely interested in feeling like a kid again.
Despite some technical issues on the Nintendo Switch, Kukoos: Lost Pets still might be one of the best games for younger audiences on the platform. In a world where families make up a large chunk of the Nintendo Switch's demographics, it is refreshing to see such love put into a game primarily designed for kids. From the creative and unique level designs to the Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic, this game is an enjoyable time from start to finish and it comes with a recommendation for anyone who is looking for a charming platformer for the whole family.
Ghost Song is a game that wears its inspirations on its sleeve with pride, and although it may feel a bit derivative at times, it is still able to create its own identity through a great combat system and unique worldbuilding. While the game can be brutally difficult, "explorer" mode makes the game more accessible than it would otherwise. Unfortunately, the game suffers from significant performance problems on Switch, from an inconsistent frame rate to extensive loading times that destroy any flow the game has. If you're willing and able to look past those issues, Ghost Song is an easy recommendation for any and all fans of the Metroidvania genre.
Despite its repetitiveness and short length, Penko Park is still a wonderfully charming successor to Pokémon Snap. From the delightfully creepy atmosphere to some fresh new upgrade ideas, Penko Park is successful in both honoring its roots and creating its own identity. Fans of Pokémon Snap would be remiss to overlook this game and will surely have a great time discovering everything that Penko Park has to offer.
LEGO Brawls feels like an insult to LEGO fans after the fantastic LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga released earlier this year. From the terrible core gameplay to the incredibly grindy unlock system, there are very few redeeming qualities to this package. If you're really desperate to build your own minifigure, most LEGO games already have a character creator of their own. Your time and money are best spent elsewhere.
Bugsnax is a game that is brimming with potential, but struggles in actual execution. Capturing hundreds of adorable snack-themed creatures sounds like such a great idea, but the lack of memorable characters, a frustrating control scheme, repetitive gameplay and numerous technical and design problems, particularly on Switch, makes for a somewhat lukewarm experience. There is certainly fun to be had here, but once you've played for a few hours, the magic fades and you're left with a disappointing game that doesn't live up to expectations.
Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection is a great compilation of some of the series' most highly-regarded entries. Aside from some combat that lacks depth and a convoluted story, each of the three games included here are absolutely worthy of your time. There's still plenty of fun to be had if this is your first set of Assassin's Creed games, with the cities still managing to impress with their sense of scale and historical detail, but some of the dated gameplay elements and glitches may make other entries a better jumping off point. The Rebel Collection is a very fine alternative if you want slightly more modern interpretations of the series, with a seafaring bent. However, if you're already a fan and are able to tolerate its foibles - old and new - Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection is an enjoyable trip into (video game) history and an easy recommendation.
From start to finish, Ocean's Heart is an enjoyable, albeit short, adventure following the familiar 2D Zelda formula. Having a brand new world to explore, filled with various side quests, should be enough to get any fan of that classic top-down template excited. While the writing and dialogue feels subpar at times, the familiar, yet still-solid gameplay makes up for it. Ocean's Heart is undeniably a 2D Zelda game in all but name, but Tilia's adventure shows that a game doesn't always need to be groundbreaking to be a good time.
Vagante is, at times, an impressive game that feels incomplete. There is no denying the incredible amount of dedication that the team put into certain aspects, especially into the visuals and variety of upgrades available, but there isn't enough of a game here to make it all come together into a complete package. The combination of a short adventure, the lack of any story, arbitrary difficulty, and minimal tutorials makes for a hard recommendation. The Nintendo Switch has plenty of incredible roguelikes and run-based indie games, and your time is better spent on them than Vagante.
Doki Doki Literature Club is still a fantastic visual novel, but the Plus version on PS5 struggles to find a purpose besides being a new way to play the original. Existing fans will appreciate some of the new content, such as the side stories and concept art, but locking the content behind multiple playthroughs of a game that loses its appeal after the first time around is a tough pill to swallow. On the other hand, newcomers have no reason to play this version instead of the freeware PC release, since some core PC features were compromised for this port. Doki Doki Literature Club Plus is still a great experience that should be played by anyone remotely interested, but this specific version struggles to be a worthwhile purchase for any fan, new or old.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is a great looking remake of a terrible game. Level design is dated, bosses are completely luck based and all the hitboxes just feel off. There is a reason that Sonic took over as SEGA’s mascot because no remake can change the fact that Alex Kidd’s first adventure is incredibly frustrating and poorly designed.
At the end of the day, it is impressive how Twist attempts to fix all the original game's problems, even if it doesn't quite succeed. If you didn't enjoy the original's roguelike nature, there might be some value here for you, as it is a free update for everyone. Otherwise, if you were on the fence about purchasing the game, there are still far more enjoyable 2D platformers out there that are much easier to recommend.
The three games included in this collection are all enjoyable action games and well worth your time. While there are some issues with this release, such as the absence of all the online modes and the locking of bonus content behind the deluxe edition, they ultimately detract from the core single player experience at the heart of the package. If you are a fan of action games, especially ones where you get to play as a ninja, and you have yet to try the modern Ninja Gaiden games out, you should pick up this bundle right away.