I don’t think anyone expected Persona 5 Strikers to be as fleshed out as it is. There's a massive full game here with well over 50 hours of content for you to experience. Further, it's a way to reunite with a cast that you’ve probably already spent just as long with, if not more. The action-RPG systems make for a surprisingly fun and addictive gameloop that isn't overshadowed by the mainline entries and it still offers more than enough unique elements that differentiate it from a Musou title.
TOHU is almost certainly a puzzle adventure that will win you over based on its visual charm alone. Sadly, the game doesn’t really expand on the wonderful world it presents with a matching narrative. Still, the beautiful environments, clever puzzle design, and wonderful soundtrack will hold your attention across this exceptional but short experience.
Lily of the Hollow: Resurrection might be better experienced in its native language. The grammatical errors render it almost impossible to follow as you spend more time compensating for the errors than paying attention to the plot. It’s still visually a pleasing visual novel, but one that won’t leave any meaningful impact.
Abyss of the Sacrifice is a strange game because it’s got so many elements I absolutely adore. It’s a story-heavy experience with multiple protagonists and a unique setting but manages to constantly interrupt progression and not take advantage of its own systems. The puzzles are fun, but they were integrated only to hinder the overall pacing. You’ll probably have more fun if you want cute girls starring in a puzzle game instead of thinking about its other elements.
Pretty Princess Party is, at its core, an incredibly casual game. It’s a low-stakes and low-effort title that lets the player use their creative potential should they decide to get involved. If you’re a parent looking for a safe title for kids to play to explore their skills and reaction times, this is a solid pick. Otherwise, I don’t really know who’s going to play this game. On a more positive note, It’s got fewer bugs than Cyberpunk 2077.
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light provides a look back at the humble beginnings of this SRPG series that continues to find new fans to this day. It shows its age in systems and visuals, but the added options to speed up the experience and save anywhere makes it accessible for non-seasoned retro gamers. This is a game that I’m glad made it to this generation, at least to preserve its official western release.
Cafe Enchante is one of the slower experiences of an otome romance. On the one hand, it should have used its themes to differentiate itself from other titles, but it doesn’t. Even with this slow burn, fans can still enjoy the familiar beats with a new cast of pretty boys, but I wouldn’t mind some more sparkles and butterflies.
Hardcore Mecha provides you with all the tools needed to scratch that mech action itch. While the main campaign lacks narrative and creativity, the core gameplay is solid, which finds its way into the boss encounters and multiplayer mode. There’s definitely room for quality patches that would improve the experience, but a few hours of fun are packed into this title for mecha fans.
No More Heroes is a game that sounds like it could be fun, and then on closer examination, looks bizarrely empty, full of padding, and shallow in terms of story depth. However, when you actually experience it, you’re left with an experience that experiments with just how much it can employ the concept of “less is more.” It’s got a down to earth yet absurdist narrative that is incredibly rewarding with an extremely cool and satisfying combat system providing an unstoppable feeling.
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle has some great gameplay moments, even though it misses the mark on what the original did so well. The adventure hosts some great boss fights, a responsive combat system, and an unlockable difficulty mode that makes the entire experience even more enjoyable with the addition of a kick-ass soundtrack. Still, it remains in the shadow of its predecessor. It’s less goofy and more absurd and ends up being a heavy-handed retelling to correct the original’s plot. If this weren’t a sequel, I would have been praising it far more, but it spends most of its time desperately struggling to figure out what its own identity is.