Pixel Ripped 1995 is a VR love letter to an integral part of gaming history, building on the strengths of the original as it once again blends authentic retro games with an innovative VR world. If you remember the golden days of home gaming and the thrill of waking up at Christmas to see a console shaped box under the tree, then this is the game for you to relive. If not, then there's still plenty here to enjoy without the nostalgia.
When Someday You'll Return is at its best, it is one of the finest immersive horror games I've played. Its take on psychological horror and ability to create a sense of dread is second to none, but that comes with some caveats. It can drag in parts, has some frustrating stealth sections and some puzzles that are needlessly obscure, but if you're prepared to make it through the less successful moments, there is a lot to love here.
The Procession to Calvary is very rude, very silly, and a whole lot of fun if taken as it is intended. Much like the Monty Python sketches that have influenced it, it walks the thin line between humour and heresy, but as long you don't mind a bit of irreverent blasphemy mixed in with your silliness, there is a great evening of fun to be had within. You don't even need to have spent 10 years getting a PhD to enjoy it…
The Inner Friend isn't a bad game, but it never really rises above mediocrity. As a result, it's difficult to recommend unless the narrative premise attracts you. There are some moments of greatness amidst an interesting take on trauma and the idea of replaying unresolved memories from one's past, but the overall feel is distinctly average.
While clearly not as impressive in gaming terms as the Bloodlines series, Coteries of New York is a welcome addition to the digital world of The Masquerade. Offering up an immersive and atmospheric take on the politics and personalities of the undead Big Apple, it seduces with it's quality of writing and characterisation, proving to be more than a mere snack to tide the Hunger over until the main course of Bloodlines 2. If you have any taste for the Gothic you should give yourself over to the vampiric delights of Coteries.
Simulacra 2 is a worthy sequel and an immersive take on the role that our digital presence has in defining who we are. The different playable characters help to give a different perspectives to the sotyr and the suspects are sufficiently flawed to keep you guessing as to where blame may lie, but the wider cast of characters don't feel as focussed as the original. While the virus in question here is completely digital, it's uncannily topical given our enforced switch to virtual interactions.
Moons of Madness is a welcome addition to the wider Lovecraftian catalogue, and its cosmic aspects really get to the heart of the mythos' insanity. While there are annoying moments when the developers see fit to include some of the worst excesses of modern horror games, the quality of the writing and the atmosphere is enough to justify seeing things through to a conclusion that is as epic as it is satisfying. This is one trip to insanity that you shouldn't pass up.
Pandaball is a silly idea that plays ok but is just too lacking in content to really recommend. There is fun to be had here but I don't understand the decisions not to include multiplayer tournaments or online play. The end result is a game that will prove mildly diverting for younger players but has little to no long term substance. Unfortunately for these pandas, the game itself is more boo than bam.
Woven could have been a welcome addition to the family friendly game catalogue, but the finished game just lacks any kind of polish or fun. The controls are unresponsive, the design decisions at odds with the presumed audience, and the few moments of interest lost in a sea of mediocrity and meandering backtracking. Unfortunately, Woven is just knit very good.