The Spirit and the Mouse is a relaxing dawdle through a lovely French village. Playing as the cute, electric-fused Lila is a joy, however, the lack of options available to traverse does hinder the expedition. While the premise is packed with possibilities, the tedious and formulaic mission design makes this an arduous trek.
No Place For Brave is an incredible top-down adventure that tells a touching story about the lengths one will go for family. Its weighty combat is challenging but fair which makes each battle a thrill. Although I did encounter the occasional bug which stifled the pace, this didn’t hinder what was a wonderful and touching experience.
Wayward Stand tells an intimate story that you discover at your own pace. The non-linear design gives you the freedom to personalize your journey through a long weekend at work with your mother. The in-game clock makes the world feel alive and pushes you to follow story arcs rather than meander. While the conclusion is a little lacklustre and there is an absence of gameplay, this is a wonderful passage through a moment in time.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R is a celebration of the weird and wonderful world of the franchise. Fans will love the number of characters and nods to key moments from the series, however, the gameplay lets it down. Its age becomes more apparent as you fight. The sluggish combat and simple systems mean that it can’t compete with its peers. While fans of the original will enjoy the new features, it misses that knockout blow.
Midnight Fight Express captures the action synonymous with films like The Raid. Combat feels great and includes enough depth to pull off technical combos but is also simple and accessible for newcomers to the genre. The story is a miss-fire and lacks the cinematic flair which is within the gameplay. Whilst the aesthetics are basic, it does feel like a fight through a seedy underworld. The addictive gameplay loop makes you want to replay levels to achieve the highest score. Ultimately, Midnight Fight Express achieves what it set out to do: make you feel like an absolute badass.
Tinykin is a joyous trek through the 90s. Full of charm and wonder, the game manages to add to the foundation laid by Pikmin to build a lovely adventure. Every area has lots to find and do which fleshes out the relatively short runtime. While the game lacks challenge, it makes up for it with a bucket load of character. The simple controls and intuitive design reduces any frustration and allows you to freely command your troop. Due to this, you can’t help but smile during the entirety of the game and will enjoy each second.
South of the Circle is a bold title that deals with mature themes. Its approach to storytelling is refreshing as it interweaves flashbacks to assemble a larger narrative. In addition to this, State of Play also respects its audience. They don’t oversimplify elements and allow you to interpret aspects. While the gameplay lacks substance and can cause some passive moments, the lovely design and spectacular score help make this a memorable experience.
Hell Pie is a vile platformer that struggles to nail the landing. Certain segments beam with ingenuity to create some fun and exciting moments, however, an array of bugs, inconsistent mechanics and an overall lack of polish make the game a lackluster experience. It’s great to see 3D platformers aimed at an older audience and even though it does manage to stir that feeling of nostalgia, it relies too heavily on games of the era which makes Hell Pie feel dated.
Endling: Extinction is Forever is more than a game; it’s a statement. The commitment from Herobeat Studios’ to portray an honest view of how humans affect the environment is commendable. While there are heart-wrenching moments in the game that some may find too difficult to consume, it’s an incredible experience that will leave a lasting mark.
For years our appetite grew for the Cuphead expansion, and while The Delicious Last Course can be gobbled up within a few hours, it was definitely worth the wait. The love and passion that is within every thread of the creation are evident throughout and make each moment a pleasure to play. Bosses ascend to new levels of greatness and are a benchmark for the genre. The expressive jazz score and the faithful design help to make this finger-licking dollop of DLC an absolute masterpiece.
DNF Duel is incredible. Arc System Works has struck the perfect balance: the game is accessible for newcomers, yet includes enough complexity for veterans. On the battlefield, the game offers new ideas that will make you strategize and continually plan ahead. While there is a lot of single-player content, it treads familiar ground and is a little underwhelming. However, with its solid netcode, stunning aesthetic and deceptively deep mechanics, DNF Duel hits the sweet spot.
OlliOlli World: VOID Riders is an excellent extension of the base game. It maintains key aspects of the title and adds new layers to create a fresh experience. Every level is a blast. The new tractor beam will challenge aficionados of the franchise as you will have to reconsider your approach to the run. Roll7’s focus on the course materializing before your very eyes is a joy to experience and creates some stunning set pieces. Even though the DLC is a little short, it’s the perfect catalyst for you to ollie back into Radlandia.
Neon White takes elements of a range of genres and combines them to create a truly fascinating experience. Part hectic, card-based, FPS speedrunner and part visual novel, dating sim, the game manages to strike a perfect balance that successfully blends a multitude of strands. Due to its highly addictive and massively replayable gameplay, online leaderboards and secrets within, you’ll love each and every minute of this heavenly title.
Not only does Card Shark explore a topic rarely seen in the medium but it does so with such authenticity that you can’t help but fall in love with the ruse before you. The stunning art direction and clever mechanics successfully put you in the shoes of a swindler. With a dodgy deck in hand, be prepared to get hooked on the hustle.
Silt is a unique game that perfectly blends the themes of horror and isolation. Due to the abominations that manifest within, unease spreads throughout and you will second-guess every narrow path. The wonderful puzzles offer a suitable level of challenge which will you keep you content. Even though the movement is a little rigid and it is relatively short, it’s a brilliant experience that taps into the darkest, depths of thalassophobia.
Kao The Kangaroo is an excellent 3D platformer that captures the magic of the golden era. The solid mechanics and great level design make this nostalgic adventure a joy. Even though it’s not particularly difficult and sticks to conventions, it will keep you hooked from beginning to end.
The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story tells a thrilling tale of greed, family and death. It is beautifully shot and manages to achieve a level of quality rarely seen in the genre. The detective segments are great but are far too easy due to visual clues plastered throughout. While there are issues with the game, it is still an enjoyable experience that will keep you guessing throughout.
The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe is an essential title. Not only does it refine a classic, but it also expands on it. In its cheeky knowing manner, it celebrates and mocks the very ideology of the re-release. With plenty of laughs throughout, the zany game beckons you to explore and rewards you with nuggets of gold at each point. Strange and alluring, the secrets within will surprise and delight you, keeping you hooked on the loop. Incredibly, Crows Crows Crows have managed to create an outstanding package that is attractive to both first time and returning players, making this a truly Ultra Deluxe iteration of the game.
Ganryu 2 succeeds in its goal to continue the legacy of the arcade, however, it’s dragged down by the shackles that come with it. Its failure to take inspiration from modern games means that it struggles to compete with contemporaries. The presentation is stunning and the levels are well designed, varying throughout. However, the stiff movement and lack of continues can make this a laborious experience.