Cozy Grove arrives as advertised-a smaller, more story-based Animal Crossing experience with its own charms and enjoyment. Though the tasks are also just as tedious at times, the fact that Cozy Grove holds back story entries through their daily cycle, rather than fish and bugs, tastes sour at times, even if the rest of what is on offer is a bountiful harvest. For those Animal Crossing fans out there looking for something close to what you've already experienced with New Horizons, this is the perfect drop-in-drop-out version of that experience and is definitely a must-try title, even with the hard feelings over how long it takes to really get to know that seagull-bear.
Even though the aesthetic, soundtrack, and intelligent dialogue create a package that looks outstanding, Rip Them Off fails to come together in its puzzle gameplay. While utilizing trial-and-error can have its merits, Rip Them Off's method of having the player learn a mathematic language that it then changes constantly just doesn't make for a fun gameplay loop. Lacking hard solutions and ramping up difficulty before you've been properly taught makes Rip Them Off a puzzle title that is hard to recommend.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time resurrects this classic series in an authentic fashion. While a modern adventure with maximum replayability is a godsend for fans, a lot of what made the original Crash games rough around the edges is also present in this iteration, with inaccurate platforming and frustrating difficulty. However, for those looking for a return to form for the Bandicoot, Toys For Bob has proven themselves yet again in this long-awaited sequel.
Cyanide & Happiness - Freakpocalypse is a perfectly serviceable point-and-click adventure that offers a lot of opportunities for laughter. However, unless you're a longtime fan of their comics, the jokes can regularly fall flat as they're pumped out in every sentence of dialogue. Between holding to basic mechanics and failing to impress past what is expected, Freakpocalypse forces you to focus on the negatives, even if there aren't that many.
Little Nightmares II successfully creates a series of titles that pair up splendidly. Through masterful environmental storytelling and world-building, Tarsier Studios steps up to the likes of Limbo and Inside to invoke a creepy, horror experience that will force its way into your memories. Even with some frustrating sequences and some perspective clunkiness, Little Nightmares II gets a helping hand with all the other ways it exemplifies the genre.
Tohu is a beautiful and fresh iteration on one of gaming's old school genres. Cursor-based movement in docked mode, a short playtime, and shallow story aren't enough to hold back the top-notch art and animations, intelligent puzzles, and incredible soundtrack from creating a memorable experience from beginning to end. For those fans of LucasArts and Double Fine, Tohu is worthy of your time, while probably not changing the minds of those who haven't discovered the secret of Monkey Island or defeated those dreaded tentacles.
Boot Hill Heroes, though an honorable attempt to make a retro RPG in the rarely-used Wild West setting, fails to hold up to modern standards. It also isn't a close enough homage to let those misgivings slide. A fine combat system and an on-point soundtrack aren't enough to get past the bland gameplay, trope-filled story, and old-school jank.
PHOGS! is as delightful as it is unique and entrancing. While the controls are a little tough to get the feel of for solo-players, teaming "pup" with a friend allows for an experience that, though mostly on the easy side, guarantees the player a thoroughly good time-especially in the boss stages.
Sniper Elite 4 takes its perch as the marquee, non-arcade sniping title on the market. Through its strategic gameplay, disgustingly explosive kill cutscenes, and jam-packed sandboxes, Sniper Elite 4 satiates the need for a World War II shooter, while not getting dragged down by the norms of the genre. Even with some technical hiccups and a less-than-likable protagonist, Sniper Elite 4 achieves, takes aim, hits its mark, and then some.
Descenders joins the reawakening of the skateboarding and cycling genres by offering a unique take on a specific form of cycling we haven't seen in a long time. While the gameplay is thrilling and does its best to stay interesting, mechanics that are at odds with each other mean you will be forced to choose between having that exciting arcade experience or maintaining the roguelite run through the sometimes intense difficulty. Whether taken seriously or just for fun, Descenders isn't consistent, and considering this specific port has some rough edges graphically, you may just want to focus on using it for its multiplayer.