OneShot is an incredibly unique experience, and one of my favorite adventure games. While there is a tiny bit of magic lost in the transition to console, the additions more than make up for it, especially for fans double dipping with the World Machine Edition. Whether it's your first, second, or third time adventuring with Niko, this is an incredibly memorable journey that you will never forget.
The Outbound Ghost looks and sounds wonderful, but that's about all there is to enjoy here. Exploration and combat are both incredibly tedious, and the story meanders for about six hours until it ends with nothing resolved. I want to like this game, but it feels like it lacks any sort of central vision.
All in all, putting the online infrastructure disaster aside, Splatoon 3 is a lot of fun, but I can't help but feel like it could have been an update to Splatoon 2 rather than a new game. I enjoyed the new story mode, the new weapons are great, and the lobby changes are fantastic, but everything else just feels like too little to warrant $60. I generally don't like to evaluate games on price point, but it needs to be said this is more like Splatoon 2.25 than a full jump in number or even just half. Once you take into account the awful connection it definitely doesn't feel worth it. Don't get me wrong, it's still a good game and a great entry for new fans, but I'd get basically the same experience and probably slightly more stable in Splatoon 2 and that's still right there on my home screen. Nintendo really needs to step their game up in terms of updates, and for God's sake invest in some servers or better netcode.
Jack Move is a fantastic and bite-sized RPG with some incredibly interesting character building. The story feels too jam packed and tonally inconsistent, but it and the characters are enjoyable for what they are. While I'm not a fan of the art style, it does what it sets out to do for the most part and is accompanied by some excellent jams.
One Dreamer is an excellent story about game development, depression, burnout, and second chances. The puzzles are a ton of fun to solve and relate to real-world coding, the music and voice acting are both great, and to top it off the simplistic pixel art is accentuated with some gorgeous lighting.
It's still a bit rough around the edges, but Ooblets is a quirky combination of monster collecting RPG and farming sim. The humor and characters are incredibly charming, and the core gameplay loop is a ton of fun. For every annoying dungeon, there's some cute Ooblets to battle and collect just around the corner. What Ooblets lacks in polish, it makes up for in charm.
Fashion Police Squad is an incredibly silly shooter hearkening back to the original DOOM in its design, while also taking into account some more modern sensibilities. While the combat does suffer from a lack of choice, the tight platforming and hilarious premise does make up for it somewhat.
Soul Hackers 2's only saving grace is its visual design. The characters look cool, the town is interesting, and the UI is somewhat stylish, but that's it. It's not broken or anything, just incredibly uninteresting. There's absolutely no substance to the story, characters, battle system, or level design. It's such a shame, because that style is very appealing, but there's absolutely no reason to play the game otherwise.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 gracefully fuses story and gameplay in a masterful conclusion to the Claus saga. It draws from earlier games in ways that will satisfy long time fans, while also firmly establishing its own world and characters. Aionios is a beautiful world to explore, with a rich history and fascinating conflict. The characters that stand at the center of this tale are some of the deepest, most relatable people in gaming history with a fantastic english dub backing them up. This is a game that will keep you engaged for hundreds of hours, and even stick with you well after.
Portal and Portal 2 are like a magic trick you'll never figure out or a joke that doesn't get old. The duology is just as fun and fresh now as they were when they were first released, perhaps even better. They run flawlessly on Switch and control impeccably with the addition of gyro aiming, so the Portal Companion Collection is well worth it whether this is your first time or your thirtieth.
Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels is the perfect example of a small expansion. It takes a new spin on the Horizon formula while its core remains the same, incredibly fun arcade racer. The new open world is a joy to explore and master, but sadly it can feel too much like an advertisement frequently.
While it still has many issues, Rune Factory 5 on PC is leagues better than its console counterpart. There are a decent amount of graphics options and full keyboard and mouse support so you can farm, fight, and fall for characters at a far more stable frame rate.
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series contains two of the best 2.5D platformers out there. With adorable characters and a heart-wrenching story, it's well worth diving into the world of dreams despite the less than bare minimum updates made. Wahoo!
Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition is a decent way to play an often overlooked PS1 RPG along with its accompanying SNES text adventure, but it doesn't do a whole lot to justify a purchase if you already own the original. In fact, it actually performs worse in some cases. Still, the new options like fast forward and disabling encounters are convenient, and finally having a way to play Radical Dreamers is awesome.
What Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes loses in the social aspects, it more than makes up for in fun combat and three engaging stories. Seeing the Three Houses characters in a different scenario is incredibly interesting, especially with Byleth now playing the villain. This is a rock solid action game that perfectly compliments its sister title.
Kao the Kangaroo makes a valiant effort in this reboot, but it still feels like half the game it should be. Many mechanics feel unexplored, the final world is a single level with a boss fight, and it's very glitchy. Still, it's a fun enough romp for what it is and I hope we see more of this marsupial in the future.
Capcom Fighting Collection sets the new standard all compilation games should be held to. There are a ton of games, though some may complain too many of them are Darkstalkers, accompanied by a suit of wonderful art and music. To top it all off is the fantastic online play and great visual and auditory presentation wrapping it up.
While it's not quite what I had hoped for, Sonic Origins is one of the best ways to play Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic CD, Sonic 2, and Sonic 3 & Knuckles. The sprite art looks fantastic in widescreen and extras like animated cutscenes bookending each game are a delight.
Spike Chunsoft has done it again with AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES nirvanA Initiative. They tell an incredible murder mystery that's a ton of fun to figure out, all while solving brain-bending puzzles and talking to a colorful cast of endearing characters. There are a lot of performance issues and bugs, but those are nitpicks compared to just the sheer joy of diving into people's minds to solve the case.