Stray Blade has some redeeming qualities, though these will largely be subjective. It is easy to tell that Point Blank Games set out to create a title with passion in an attempt to offer something more unique. The visuals and art design are gorgeous, the world is interesting if a bit generic, and the general gameplay loop can be addicting if you can put up with the clunky combat. Though with that said, Stray Blade does little to warrant your attention in the landscape of today's video game offerings. If you want a souls-like RPG that you can turn on, take in the vibrant scenery, and play through whilst turning your mind off, you could do far worse. For those looking for a refined combat experience, tight controls, and rewarding gameplay, you would do best to look elsewhere.
If you are a fan of horde-like games then Warhammer 40,000: Darktide will no doubt scratch that itch. Whilst the gameplay can become repetitive and the grind seems to offer little value at this stage, I cannot deny that I had a blast playing it with a group of friends. Some incredible “oh crap” moments occurred during combat when we were overrun by a horde of enemies and had to work together to stay alive. It’s moments like these that keep you coming back for more. As this is a games-as-a-service title, we expect many more improvements and features to be added with time to enhance the experience and features.
Despite some weaker elements, everything combines nicely in ELEX II to provide an unpolished journey, but one that I was thankful I experienced. The game is rather unique, with some modern touches and attributes. Yet at the same time, if you played this game without knowing anything about it, you could mistake it for something from over 10 years ago. It has a unique charm, and if you are willing to put up with some janky combat and odd glitches, there is certainly an engaging story to follow with exceptional dialogue and choices that really seem to alter the world around you. ELEX II takes you on a long journey filled with meaningful engagements and a world teeming with character.
I wish I had more positive points to speak about, but AWAY: The Survival Series just isn’t that fun to play, and being a video game this is one of the most important aspects for the developers to nail. The experience feels unnaturally empty and shallow, and whilst the good intentions are there, the execution makes it a hard title to recommend spending money on, at least in its current state which feels like an early access title, despite it being a proper release. If this title piques your interest, I would suggest waiting to see what the developers end up fixing and tweaking as they have promised to fix multiple issues and provide constant updates to offer a more polished title.
I had a great time with No More Heroes III. The story, wacky characters, and stylish action all had me begging for more, but the open-world sections, graphical and performance issues and the constant on-screen effects do wear thin after lengthy play sessions and let the otherwise fantastic experience down. The game is an incredibly unique experience that is jam-packed with funny, strange moments that make it truly stand out from the crowd, and the solid combat and zany narrative elevates it to an adventure that is well worth playing. If you like your action games with a healthy dose of balls-to-the-wall weirdness, this one’s for you.
I had a great, albeit frustrating time with Eldest Souls and thoroughly enjoyed the short experience. It is a brutally difficult game, but the music, art style, and overall challenge had me coming back for “one last try” each and every time. I will say that if you are not a fan of boss-rush or challenging games, then this will not change that. But if you are after a title with an old-school appeal that does not hold you by the hand and presents a truly captivating time, then I think you will find a lot to enjoy here.
Subnautica: Below Zero is another masterclass in survival gaming, setting itself apart from the overabundance of survival games on the market with its tranquil ocean setting, addicting exploration, and unique wildlife. If you are a fan of the previous title or survival games in general, this really ticks all the boxes that you are looking for, providing an enthralling world to explore and get lost in, all with gorgeous graphics and sound design. It can at times feel like a retread of the previous game with a few tweaks and additions, but Subnautica was by no means a bad game, so this is still a very well-crafted follow-up in the series.
I had a great time with Spacebase Startopia, and that’s coming from someone who’s not typically a fan of this genre of games. I just don’t usually have the patience to sit down and manage a little empire, but Spacebase does provide a somewhat streamlined experience when it comes to empire-building simulation games, never becoming as overwhelming as some of the Tropico games, for instance. That does not mean the game cannot pose a challenge when things get going, however. There is still plenty for you to micro-manage and keep track of to ensure a successful operation. I just wish the combat mechanics were more engaging, as it stands they feel almost unnecessary. With all that said, I feel it is perfect for newcomers to the genre presenting a fun and cartoony experience that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
I heavily enjoyed my time with Mortal Shell, and if you are a fan of Souls-like games then you will certainly enjoy this one. The combat is extremely engaging, and the atmosphere and setting provide a disturbing and dark would to explore. At times, if I did not know the title of this game I would have assumed it was a Dark Souls entry.
Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl — Gold proves to be a fun and entertaining adventure with plenty of care put into the writing and gameplay. I would strongly recommend this title to any RPG fans as it provides something a little different to the usual range of “too serious” RPG stories and has no issue with poking fun at the tropes often seen in other franchises.