Maybe it'd be nice to say that we all should have gotten over Final Fantasy VII by now instead of fawning over the world and its characters. But far from being the simple note-for-note reprise of the original that it could have been, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth swings for the fences to be a big and original thing that feels like a full game even while it is, functionally, the middle. It has weaknesses like combat I'm not wholly sold on and maybe a bit too much start-and-stop through gameplay, but if you've been looking forward to the game, you will not be disappointed. And if you want to experience the full story, this is a really good time.
So at the end of the day, despite everything that made this look like it was going to be a disaster, Granblue Fantasy Relink is not just an alright game. It’s a really good game, a delight in terms of action RPG gameplay, and easily a title that you can start sinking a huge amount of time into whether you know this crew or not. I’m excited for the prospect of more, from more characters to more stories. And if you’re looking for a new RPG to sink your teeth to at the start of the year, you already have a strong example.
The list of things to find might seem a little short at first, but it’s remarkably devious and should keep you searching for a consistent stretch. If you see the scenes above and think “that looks like fun,” hey, you are probably going to have a good time.
On a whole, I feel like Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising is more sure of what it wants to be than its predecessor. It’s not trying to split the difference by being an RPG in one mode and a fighting game in others. On the other hand, the original’s RPG bona fides were a big part of what attracted me to the original, so it raises the interesting question wherein I both prefer the original for what it was trying to do while recognizing that the sequel is probably the better fighting game, which is what it’s trying to actually be. Taking into account the long tail of support for the original, the promise of more characters, and the surfeit of extra modes, this is almost a definite buy for fighting game fans, especially if you are a longtime fan of the original game. But it’s also a good buy if you’ve always loved fighting games but dislike threadbare stories or struggle with the controls. And with the sheer breadth of extra modes available, odds are good you’ll find stuff to love in here.
If you’re looking for a metroidvania game to play that you haven’t played before, this game is going to deliver. It’s not without charm and it’s not wildly incompetent. But it’s a C- effort and that’s all the worse when you know that the studio is capable of delivering much better. Unless you’re in dire need of a new metroidvania or a big fan of the series it’s based upon, I wouldn’t rush to grab this one.
If you are tired as heck of roguelike games, this is not the game that’s going to change your mind. But if you like solid platforming action and are willing to learn the game’s systems, crack the bones and sink into the marrow? You’ve got a heck of a game on your hands, and many exciting runs ahead of you. And that’s even before you unlock your third characters.
What Roboquest aims to do is to be a game that is quick on the surface but brimming with depth underneath, and it fulfills that goal not just adequately but admirably. Every part of this game feels lightweight, like a short romp, but as you keep hammering away at its intricacies you find yourself dealing with ever-greater depth and complexity. It encourages you to just keep going for one more run, time and again. If you like first-person shooters, you will have an absolute blast with Roboquest. The game scratches the itch for a satisfying and active shooter in a way that few other titles manage, and you can expect to spend hours just ducking back in for another round of shooting and jumping in the hopes of reaching the end this time. I can’t recommend this one highly enough.
Gordian Quest is a straightforward and fun game. I liked it all while I played. But I also kept wishing I was playing on my PC, which is… probably the game’s biggest weakness. It feels like a PC game ported to a console (which, let’s be real, it is) and it is a bit limited as a result of that. However, if you want the game in portable form and don’t have (or want) a Steam Deck? It’s a great addition. Sure, you will have to wrestle with the game’s interface a little bit and there will be the odd moment where you feel like something should have worked but you couldn’t see a bit of text that indicated otherwise. But the game is good enough that a bit of interface jank hardly pulls it down, in the end.
There are definitely some rough edges in Affogato, like poor sprite work and the odd technical issue. But while those issues are noteworthy, they are far from being a significant drain on the game. Indeed, I found myself consistently enjoying the game, and while the issues do drag it down they don’t really hurt the game. This is a fun, inventive title with a lot of heart to it.
It’s smaller than its inspiration, a bit simpler in some ways, and I am very deliberately leaving out some of the places it goes simply on the basis that it’s worth seeing it for yourself. If you’re like me and have been looking for more FFT for the past two decades, this game will not sate your hunger completely, but it’ll be damn filling. You will walk away satisfied. That is high praise, and a testament to how good the game actually is. And I’m itching to play it again… and hopeful for an even better sequel one day, perhaps. So give this one a shot.
The biggest worry I had about this game, as I related in my initial preview, was that this is a bit of a wisp of a thing. Fortunately, looking at the price compared to what is actually on display here… I don’t think that’s actually a problem. Yes, it’s a light thing, but it’s not being priced as a high-end experience. It’s asking you to drop a little money on a game where you can do some fun puzzle gameplay within an RPG framework. That’s exactly what it delivers, and for that I think it’s definitely worth a look. If you enjoy a bit of RPG and strategy in a game and enjoy yourself a match-three game, you will be well-served by Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes. I can’t tell you how well it stacks up compared to the DS version, maybe, but now it’s available on more modern devices and it’s still fun. What more could you ask for?
The story works but it has some notable flaws, and if you’re familiar with the property lots of it feels like familiar ground. The gameplay is solid enough but it’s very much about following a very strict path rather than going off in new directions. The visuals are afforded far too much weight and don’t actually work all that well beyond seeing quick snippets in trailers. Which, when you look at it all in one go, might make this the most Star Wars game possible in all of Star Wars. I just wish that felt like a compliment.
If you do enjoy the idea of what amounts to a never-ending survival horde defense mode and are willing to do quite a lot of playing before you earn other characters? There’s stuff to like here! This is not a bad game. But it’s a game that looks a lot more charming than it winds up being. It’s an all right game masquerading as a good one, and while that doesn’t make it bad, it does make it less than the sum of its parts.
If it weren’t already clear from the review up to this point, I adored this game. 9 Years of Shadows is a rare delight in a subgenre that has become a bit overstuffed of late, a careful and fun romp that speaks to the best of its genre by at once feeling almost effortlessly engrossing and yet impossible to put down. Every time I stopped playing I couldn’t wait to get back into the castle, and even though I saw where the major plot twists were very early on I was still happy as they unfolded.
At the end of the day, Fashion Police Squad is a cute, rather lightweight game with a strong sense of humor, telling a simple joke over and over… but it’s a joke that makes me smile, and isn’t that what really matters? I had fun with it and I enjoy its approach to things. Control issues might be there, but that’s really about choice of interface, and if you’re looking for a solid retro FPS on the Switch, it’s a strong candidate. One might even call it… vivacious.
I can’t recommend the game to everyone, and maybe not even to most people. But I think it’s commendable in what it’s trying to do. And if you, like me, have fond memories of picking up games you knew nothing about based on weird art and a love of cyborg ninjas on motorcycles for no reason… this is the modern descendant of those, and it’s having a good go at it.
But then, that perhaps is the worst thing about it. The game isn’t terrible, but it’s a bit forgettable. It comes out on the right side wherein you can have some fun with it, especially if you really like strategy games, but it doesn’t really feel like it works very hard to do more than just be good enough. If you’re in the mood for a strategy game but don’t want quite so much strategy, it’ll fill you up, but it’s not going to delight you in the process.
Fans of exploration and shooters are strongly encouraged to try out The Knight Witch, because it’s a little indie title that’s going to charm you with both its story and its gameplay. What do you know? Mashing concepts together worked out pretty well here after all.
But I think that on balance, the whole thing works out to the game’s favor. This is definitely a title made with a lot of love and attention to detail, and while it’s hardly a flawless production, I think it’s worth checking out for people who sit on either side of the fence. If you’ve always wanted to love a Soulslike title but never quite got there, this might help get you over the hump; if you love them but don’t mind something being a bit more Souls-lite, this will delight you. It’s not going to make it on to my short list of worthy Game of the Year contenders, but it’s a solid outing all around, and that’s not nothing.
Seriously, this is one of those reviews where I want to keep writing because I want to convey how much fun this game is overall. I had a blast with this game. In moments where I was stuck, I didn’t have the urge to throw the game away and never pick it up again; I wanted to figure it out, convinced that there was a path through. I felt happy at each success, rejoiced each time I made a nice sale, felt comfort as I slowly started making money and turning the tides against the forces arrayed against me.