The Invincible is hard to recommend on the basis of its gameplay alone, as its walking sim core doesn't always feel like the best use of its potential. Its best features can be found elsewhere, however, with a competent take on a great story and a truly staggering success in the looks department keeping the engine running across a modest runtime. Branching possibilities may not be enough to incentivize a second bout of slow exploration, but as a one-time dip into a mysterious tale of beauty and danger, The Invincible might just do the trick.
The Lamplighters League has enough meat on its bones to make it a comfortable crowd-pleaser for tactics fans, and the careful integration of its many systems couples with a smooth learning curve to make it accessible to genre newcomers. The game taps into some of the best elements of customization and management while neatly avoiding crunchiness, and the only thing that's likely to become overwhelming is the occasional drawn-out battle. Simple to pick up and satisfying to master, The Lamplighters League is a polished tactical adventure that carves out a niche with swashbuckling swagger.
Full Void is worth playing for its best moments alone, and the artistic vision that underlies its crumbling world provides a consistently engaging visual feast. Nonetheless, it's hard not to wish that the gameplay more frequently rose above its comparatively mundane tendencies, especially considering a slight runtime that shouldn't necessitate much filler. Players looking for an exciting challenge or brain-teasers to rival the best adventure games might not be completely satisfied, but those compelled by the look of the game will no doubt find plenty to love in its beautiful artwork and atmospheric design of Full Void.
Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg is a mostly excellent update to a classic RPG and a great game for series fans who want some quick and easy alchemy. A polished approach to modernization brings a host of improvements, with a mistuned rate of progression presenting the only notable downside. Although Atelier Marie Remake may not scratch the roleplaying itch for hardcore gamers or provide the expansive experience of the Atelier Ryza games, its unique charms help it rise to the standard of quality that the franchise is known for delivering.
Oxenfree II: Lost Signals is an undeniably interesting experience limited in minor regards by the challenge of following up on its predecessor. Subtly evolved walk-and-talk gameplay and eminently human characters largely make up for the more familiar moments in the central mystery, drawing players through the story with minimal friction. Fans of the first title or of story-focused games in general can find plenty to chew on here, and the artwork alone could make the experience engaging even with a less interesting narrative. Oxenfree II may not always be operating at its highest potential, but when it is, there's still nothing quite like it.
Park Beyond feels like a throwback to the tycoon games that crowded shelves twenty years ago, intent on recapturing the more manic elements of a genre that sobered up over time. Players interested principally in simulating the management of an actual business might find that Park Beyond's quirks could drag it behind competitors. For gamers looking to scratch the imaginative itch, however, the game rises to the mantle admirably, encouraging the devious designs and flights of fancy that other games might reject. A little more polish could make Park Beyond great, but even with some rough edges, its charm is largely irresistible.
For players willing to overlook these issues (along with a strange amount of shoddy textures), the pleasures of Tin Hearts are readily apparent. The soldiers themselves are charmingly designed, and the mechanical satisfaction of marching them toward a solution is appropriately gratifying. Care is also visible in the narrative, which features a number of predictable beats but proves surprisingly willing to deal with heavier emotions and thorny resolutions. Tin Hearts is a game that begs to be loved, but with a bit too much inconsistency across its respectable runtime, it might be best for it to settle on being liked.
Afterimage is a game that requires some level of patience, taking a bit of time to embrace its potential and relying later on players' willingness to backtrack and sniff out secrets. For those willing to invest, the high points provide ample rewards in fluid, engaging combat and a gorgeous world. Afterimage may not do anything particularly new, but it does many things quite well. If players are looking to play a new Metroidvania while waiting for Hollow Knight: Silksong, Afterimage captures some of the best elements that the genre has to offer.
For a weaker game, dealing with even minor issues might be a deal-breaker, but The Pale Beyond offers more than enough to overcome these quirks. The difficulty is well-honed, forcing players to stay on their toes without verging on frustrating, and the unanswered questions that arise in the story remain engaging until the final revelations. Although the interpersonal component isn't dialed up to draw out tears, solid character writing makes tough choices and failures fall heavy. The Pale Beyond's expedition might encounter a few rough seas, but players willing to brave them can find a journey that is abundantly worthwhile.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons rises above its simple puzzles with a quiet but deeply engaging world, story and characters. Minus a few potential bugs, the Switch port delivers a generally beautiful experience of the game that looks good and runs well. The game is a short but sweet trip that culminates in a truly memorable ending.