Ice Age: Scrat's Nutty Adventures isn't a terrible game, but it is so old fashioned and average that it is difficult to recommend. If you have kids of the right age range and find it on sale, then it's fun enough. The lack of a movie to tie into leads to a particularly weak story that feels like it's tacking on a license instead of a genuine entry in the Ice Age series. Scrat may find his nut, but I was left unsatisfied by a functional but mediocre tie in.
Mutazione is a great example of how games can immerse you in a world in a manner that no other medium can achieve. Whilst it doesn't push any envelopes, it is easy to recommend to anybody who is interested in games that can get an emotional response. Don't let the description soap opera put you off; this is a movingly, melancholic and meditative experience.
There's much to love about Sparklite, and it's clearly been a passion project for the small development team, but my overall experience was a frustrating one. It's hamstrung by its half-formed and unnecessarily repetitive roguelite structure that undermines the positives of the aesthetic and challenging boss fights. A good roguelite gets better and more complex with repetition, but Sparklite just increasingly overstays its welcome.
I really wanted to like Bookbound Brigade, but its flaws are too great to overlook. There are moments when it all comes together and you get a real sense of achievement from navigating a tricky section of traps or figuring out a nice environmental puzzles, but these are too often overshadowed by boring combat and the chore that is getting around the world. Unlike the books and stories that Bookbound Brigade is inspired by, good writing is not enough to salvage this story.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.