AI: The Somnium Files – Nirvana Initiative is an easy game of the year contender. The game features an improved presentation of animations, music, fantastic characters, and writing that left me in half reeling and desperate for more. The pacing throughout the mystery was stellar, and the build-up to the conclusion will keep you on your toes. If you’re into mystery, adventure games, or visual novels, this is the game to get.
fault – StP – LIGHTKRAVTE is one of the most visually impressive titles I have read in a good while, to a staggering degree. With a technically impressive background score and a solid story, I have been entirely sold on this series and want to read the rest of it very soon. I just need to find the time.
Curiosity Expedition 2 is a roguelike that would probably be lots of fun to play on a video chat with friends, voting on actions as a group, and watching the chaos unfold. Otherwise, it’s an enjoyable exploration game with a host of unique features that lets you put your mind to the test without too much stress unless you want it to be.
Olympia Soiree has the makings of a decent romance that puts a lot of effort into its main protagonist and has many different moving parts in terms of narrative beats. Sadly, there’s just no substance or world-building, and the few enjoyable character routes aren’t enough to compel you to complete the game, let alone fall in love. However enjoyable it may be to some, you won’t find anything remotely new about this setup.
No More Heroes 3 is composed of a fantastic combat system with stylish visual flair but, on a narrative level, falls flat in every way compared to its predecessors. However, you weren’t really coming into No More Heroes 3 for the story, were you? This is why after completing the adventure, I simply booted it up to play again. I guess the fights are just that good.
NEO: The World Ends With You was worth the wait. Its brilliant narrative matches its stylish design and fast-paced battle system making it difficult to put down. The game’s development is fueled by the love of the fans, and it shows during every moment of gameplay. While playing, the gap between entries disappeared, and I was transported back to this fantasy Shibuya, hanging out with friends and going on a truly memorable adventure.
Within the Blade is an intricate blend of fast-paced stealth and action that we don’t see too often in this genre. While it falters in repetitive level design, it makes up for it in stylish and satisfying gameplay. There’s a high skill ceiling for players who’d like to challenge, and the experience of utilizing the stealth systems makes for interesting bouts of action gameplay.
If you’re looking for a narrative that has more than its fair share of drama and tension without being overly dramatic or angsty, 7 Years From Now has just what you need. Its minimalist designs become the highlight of the emotional plot as each end guides you to new truths and realizations. I can’t say I’m proud that I was brought to tears by Duplo character models, but it added to this memorable experience.
Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster is the definitive way to experience this PS2 classic. The updated visuals, voice acting, and quality-of-life changes make it a must-play for fans both new and returning. There are some heavy and impactful moments of storytelling telling here that have aged incredibly well, with the only downside being not having enough money to fuse demons for a Yaksini or Loki.
Nier: Replicant ver.1.22474487139… is a beautiful experience and exactly how you should play this amazing game. Upon finishing, it’s easy to say that it is unequivocally one of the best games I have ever played. This story emotionally moves players with the help of its character-writing, intense action, and somber tone, making it easy to immerse yourself in their world.
Star Wars: Republic Commando is a slower-paced, more strategic first-person shooter that is somehow more about unit positioning and character banter than it is about blasting through enemies. There’s still plenty of action to be found, but it’s really the crew who carry this Star Wars adventure to an overall enjoyable experience. I’d say that makes it a story well told packed for a new generation of gamers.
If you can appreciate a unique art style and want to try your hand at some creative puzzles, then DARQ: Complete Edition is a game you’ll adore. However, there’s very little in the way of narrative build-up that makes your connection to this world and the character flimsy. This is only hurt further by its short runtime, but it still manages to provide an exceptional experience.
Mazm: The Phantom Of The Opera is an extremely good adaptation that turns the classic novel into an enjoyable adventure game, and updates it for the modern audience. It faithfully recreates what the original story did well and improves upon what didn’t stick as much. Whether you’ve only heard the name of the story or you’ve seen multiple variations of the tale, you’re sure to get something out of this title, despite the strange lag.
What Comes After doesn’t go much further than “Remember happy memories” and “It’ll get better with time.” I just don’t feel that’s enough to really examine this topic. However, the presentation is charming enough, and the entire experience can be completed in less than an hour, to which it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Perhaps more time would have allowed them to explore the themes they introduced further.
Legal Dungeon is a title that takes the mystery-solving detective drama and quite literally deconstructs it into its base form of putting clues on a whiteboard for you to solve. On top of that, it supplies a narrative with copious cynicism that makes for a non-standard and extremely compelling experience that is so unique.
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.