Switchback VR begins as everything I wanted from a follow-up to Rush of Blood. By the end of the first track, I was sold and ready to sign off on it for anyone interested. Then it slowly took one step back for every two steps forward. Atmosphere is creepy and tense, but it isn’t all that scary. Environment is so fantastic and awe inspiring, but that screen door effect. Graphics and character modeling are outstanding, but those fire effects. Switchback VR is a fantastic game, and you should grab it in case you own a PSVR2, but there is always small “but” hindering it from becoming perfect.
All this said, I couldn’t help but be pulled from my enjoyment. As fantastic as a puzzle experience it is, as many flowers as I see it deserves, I was often left wondering, “Isn’t VR past this?” Like the VR Experience games before it, hasn’t seven years worth of progress been enough to move on from Escape Room puzzle games, or Food Simulators? These are great for introductory games to virtual reality, but The Last Clockwinder isn’t presented as an introductory experience, it’s presented as a premiere experience.
2MD VR Football Unleashed All-Star is not meant to replace Madden. However, it is so confident in the experience it is, they put it right there in the title. You aren’t going to spend two hours in the game, playing through an entire season, nor are you meant to. But two minutes? Two minutes to become a legend? Two minutes to become a football all-star? Yeah. I’ll take that. You aren’t going to stop from being in the zone, staying loose on your toes, using your hand to wave your WR open, pump faking, nothing that is actually a move inside the game, and that’s ok.
I get that this review, when taking the pure scoreboard statistics out of context, sounds overly harsh. Please allow me, then, to add the context. When you take simple toy avatars, drop them in a child’s playset, introduce catchy music and a theme song that gets stuck in your head, and you deliver simple and repetitive gameplay, all in two minute long levels that keep you moving along, then something wacky happens. You end up with something extremely fun. You end up with What the Bat?.
Describing SEASON: A Letter to the Future to a colleague, their reply was, “sounds boring”, and that is totally fair. In description, it does sound boring, but it is so in the same way that a puzzle is boring. Watching someone hunt for pieces and slowly make progress can be boring, but not nearly so for the person putting it together. Looking for a piece where there may or may not be one, discovering that one you need, figuring out how the picture forms, building snapshots of key areas that later become this bigger world. That is Season‘s sweet spot. That’s its letter to the future.
Just like the Marvel Cinematic Universe iteration of the franchise, no one expected anything from this game, from this group of miscast nobodies. This isn’t the Avengers, they aren’t perfect, but that is kinda their thing. All this time, I wanted more Guardians of the Galaxy in me. Who would have thought? Sometimes, I guess it is the B-Sides that make or break an album.
It isn’t that SkateBIRD is bad, there is just nothing there to make any part of it more than ok. It feels as if Glass Bottom Games spent all their energy high fiving each other over the idea of putting tiny birds on tiny boards and making real world environments into skate parks. There just wasn’t anything left in their tank to make the rest of the game as interesting.
The end result of Foreclosed is, as I said, “ish”. It is a mixed bag, a good little game that stumbles to some fantastic moments. It’s an interesting game with some overall design issues. You breathe in a visually stunning world, both in design and in execution, but struggle to care about the who and why with a story that doesn’t pick up much after the opening act. Foreclosed is a game that absolutely has moments you will enjoy, but it will be deleted from your data banks not long after.
Where the Heart Leads doesn’t want you to play and after a while, I just stopped fighting it.
Insomniac did something great in reminding us that the best of games can still just be fun. That doesn’t mean to toss away narrative or to do without seriousness, but that a game doesn’t need to rely on them. PlayStation has been knocking them out of the park this gen, yet somehow Ratchet & Clank finds itself standing a Rift Apart of the competition.
Mundaun is one last story from Grandpa. You’ve just got to deal with some snoring now and again to get through it.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood comes across like an accidental homage to a time best left to nostalgia. Games back in the PS3 era were excelling despite obvious limitations. This game exists in a time when those limitations are all but removed, yet still feels like it comes up short because while it plays like them, it just wasn’t intentional.
Olija never sets out to be more than it is. It plays it safe, delivering an action platformer with a traversal mechanic and never straying too far from what works. But Olija has an undeniable depth of charm and character that some higher budget productions just can’t grasp. Olija is a tale that deserves to be heard at least once.
If you are a fan of Warhammer’s fantasy universe, then there is a lot to enjoy. If you just need more isometric loot slashers in your life, then you can’t go wrong. But even with that, I just kept thinking, “I could be playing Diablo right now.”
There is no reason not to visit this delightful world. Whether you focus on catching every single bugsnax available or mixing it with the mystery, wit, boss fights, charm and an overall system that appeals to adults while accessible to kids, it is a treat. Bugsnax is an excellent entry point to story driven narrative adventures.
I can’t say that I disliked A Tale of Paper. In fact, I can very much say that I enjoyed my short experience. I just didn’t get it. I didn’t get the why, I didn’t get the where, I didn’t get the who. It is a solid game that, on paper, just isn’t as memorable as those that have come before it.
As much as the team at GameMill Entertainment hit, they also missed. Overall, G.I. JOE Operation Blackout feels like a Fortnite game without any of the hook. Even with the love behind the game, there is no mistaking that this is a licensed product and plays like a licensed product. But at $40, it isn’t entirely not worth it. It just isn’t entirely worth it either.
Marvel’s Avengers does so much right when just being a game, but ultimately fails when trying to be the game Crystal Dynamics wants, which is an obvious Destiny clone.
Neversong is an indie in every sense of the word, and in the best sense of the word. It has the serious charm of games that have come before it, yet finds a way to not only stand on its own, but to stand side by side with the Braids, the Limbos, and the Celestes of the world.
Even if you weren’t a 90’s kid, what Arvore has managed to create will still delight any gaming fan in general.