Waking is a fascinating experiment that tries, but ultimately fails, to combine two radically different ideas together. Less would certainly have been more here, as the clunky and overly confusing action parts get in the way of the interesting narrative and psychological aspects. While I was drawn in by the central conceit and the use of meditation, the end result is more likely to leave you in a coma than drag you into the light.
Summer in Mara is a lovely experience with an abundance of charm and a welcome engagement with environmental and emotional subjects. It makes for a perfect introduction to the genre for younger gamers, and a great relaxing escape from the real world for more mature sorts. It doesn't have the depth of last year's My Time at Portia but is both more accessible and has more developed characters. While there may be little prospect of a summer trip to sunny islands in reality, you could do a lot worse than take a holiday with Koa and explore the wonders of Mara.
Skelattack is a fantastic platformer with a real sense of character and gorgeous aesthetics. Blending cutesy graphics with challenging platforming and some strategic boss fights, it manages to really stand out and deserves to do well. Here's hoping for more adventures with Skully and Imber in future.
Song of Horror is one of the best indie horror games out there. Taking the key aspects of genre classics like Silent Hill and Resident Evil, and combining these with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the genre in other media, Song of Horror really gets under your skin and, just like The Presence, will haunt the dark corners of your mind. But don't worry, that noise was just the wind. Or was it…
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.