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.
Kirby’s Dream Buffet is a cute and fun game while it lasts. It feels like the kind of game you might play as a warmup for a short period before breaking into something more substantial. For what it is, it’s quite nice, but it’s hard to justify what it is against its price tag and the free-to-play nature of some of its competitors.
Cursed to Golf is a very creative and far more difficult than expected roguelike. It’s definitely going to scratch your golf game itch, given how truly few there are on current generations, as well as spice up the genre with its unique gameplay and concept.
Super UFO Fighter is neither super nor a fighter. It’s a perfectly fine game that could entertain for a little bit on your own or with a friend, but a party game this is certainly not, and neither is its difficulty finely tuned enough to feel engrossing on either end of the difficulty spectrum.
While Sonic Origins does little to innovate or make this set of ports stand out besides some forgettable Museum unlockables and some nice new artwork, it remains a perfectly fine addition to the accessibility of classic Sonic games on modern consoles. I wish it were not at the expense of the ability to purchase them individually from older ports; however, even with its flaws, it’s as fun as these games have ever been.
MLB The Show 22 is a finely-tuned baseball simulator that offers a nice range of options depending on your patience but is possessed of a nearly insurmountable difficulty curve for beginning players, especially those who are either uninvested in the sport, more accustomed to simpler arcade-style baseball games, or even fans of other popular sports simulators that require less pinpoint accuracy to succeed in. Fortunately, if you’re determined enough to learn to play the game, there are endless pitches to swing at and new games to start over as you fine-tune your button-pressing timing.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land’s simplicity is its greatest asset as well as its greatest weakness. It makes it a fun and simple platformer filled with great copy abilities and a drive to work towards upgrading them all into cooler and more deadly versions. But it won’t likely have the staying power of some of the franchise’s earlier entries either. It’s a AAA Switch game though made by Nintendo, so surely it’s fun and will have its fans nonetheless.
Overall though, Young Souls is a great new entry in the beat ’em up genre that is bolstered by its RPG elements. The RPG aspects are numerous and well-designed so as to keep you constantly engaged with new things to try out or enemies to take a swing at again. The fact that the whole game can be played in classic beat ’em up co-op or solo is an added bonus.
Brain vs Brain is a very welcome return to a long-forgotten series. While it doesn’t offer anything quite so new besides new mini games and a strong multiplayer mode, it’s absolutely difficult to put down and full of challenging fun.
If you’re a longtime Mario Party fan, you will love Mario Party Super Stars. If you’ve never played a Mario Party, there’s no better time than now to get into it. By yourself, on the couch, or online with friends or strangers, every way to play is a blast and then some. Some menu things are a bit annoying and I wish there was were a couple more characters or stages or mini-games to unlock. But in all, Mario Party is back, baby.
Exploring the seas to find new fish, complete quests, and uncover the game’s overarching mystery is never tiresome as Moonglow Bay’s ambiance and gameplay combine for a relaxing experience. It’s a lovely game all around with a few small but ultimately insignificant complaints that could be lodged. Truly, dive into Moonglow Bay and bask in its sweet serenity.
Not perfect by any means, but PandaBall is a pretty solid arcade-style soccer game. It’s missing a few things I wish it had, and some things like the text size are less than ideal, but overall, it’s an enjoyable take on quick and simple soccer matches.
Metroid Dread is not only an excellent game and return of a beloved franchise, it’s emblematic of everything that defined the genre in the first place in a way that many modern Metroidvanias simply aren’t. Its exploration, upgrading, and re-exploration are never spoonfed to you and feel constantly like great accomplishments with great difficulty scaling and thrilling new mechanics and atmosphere.