Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin yields a unique blend of farming simulation and action-platforming that manages to be a filling meal without providing much valuable nutrients. For the most part, the two gameplay styles work off each other in harmony, but each have individual faults injecting tedium into the experience. Thankfully, the art style, story, and characters are all rich enough to carry the game through any dry spell.
Astro’s Playroom serves as a stellar introduction to the PlayStation 5, working both as a persuasive proof of concept of the DualSense controller as well as an engaging 3D platformer. The fact that it’s also the most endearing celebration of Sony’s history in gaming to date just projects it into the upper echelon of meaningful launch titles.
Paper Mario: The Origami King is a delightful debut for the arts and crafts world of the Mushroom Kingdom on Switch by having the sharpest execution of the series’ endearing presentation and writing to date. However, developer Intelligent Systems continues to enable Paper Mario’s decade long identity crisis by failing to commit to RPG systems in addition to the inclusion of a half-baked battle system that feels irrelevant to the overall experience.
There was an opportunity here to take this classic story and use it as the backbone for an engrossing game worthy of the material. Sadly, the developer only went halfway with this, resulting in an adaptation about split personalities having its own crippling identity crisis.
Subversion and innovation marry together beautifully in this sometimes sombre, often clever, take on one of gaming's oldest genres. Even if the Hero could only live another five days, the memory of Hero Must Die. Again will remain with me for some time.