Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 doesn’t do much different than its predecessor, for better and worse. If you liked the original, this sequel offers basically more of the same with some new cars and environments. Regardless, it’s a well-made arcade racer with endless combinations of tracks to master and excel at.
There are some kinks in Assassin’s Creed Mirage that hold it back from perfection, but without a doubt, it is the sharpest, most succinct entry in the franchise yet. With the best elements brought together throughout the series’ many games, Mirage stands out as at once completely classic and fully modern.
Ad Infinitum is a little off balance when it comes to how difficult and unfair a few of its challenges are compared to the rest of the game, but with enough patience or guidance to make it through those sections, the rest of the game is set at an intense pace, while an excellently creepy atmosphere and a family whose horrors and the trauma they and the war have imparted onto the protagonist fill the game with character.
APICO is a tightly constructed and well-presented simulator about a topic loads of people are curious about but few people dive into. It’s a good way to quietly spend some time thinking about the majesty of these little animals while having a complicated enough gameplay loop to keep you invested for hours upon hours.
Kirby’s Return to Dreamland Deluxe is top-shelf 2D Kirby platforming. It’s visually as good as non-stylized Kirby gets, rife with every copy ability you can dream of, and as nice and fulfilling a platformer as any Nintendo game should ever be expected to be.
Spongebob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake does a lot of things really right and well to make this feel like a Spongebob game for the current generation. But its lackluster objectives and its sometimes repetitive platforming and combat hold it back from being great. Instead, we’re left with a decent game that’s well worthwhile for a casual Spongebob or action-platforming fan, but a bit short of expectations for anybody who hoped this would take over as their new favorite Spongebob game.
River City Girls 2 is a solid beat ’em up on account of both its aesthetic and its gameplay. While it’s hampered by some elements of its combat not being as clear or precise as I’d hoped, the overall atmosphere and experience of playing the game are quite fun.
As a whole, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is the most fun I’ve had on a Pokemon adventure in a long, long time. But this is completely in spite of itself. There are unforgivable graphical issues, and despite endless charming creatures and characters, the open world itself lacks nearly completely in personality or a sense of progression. Nonetheless, it has never felt better being a Pokemon trainer than it does in Gen IX, thanks to the smoothest mechanics yet and quality-of-life improvements.