Choo-Choo Charles is a hard one to review since everything but Charles is lacking that polish in design, animation, and certain mechanics. However, it is still done well enough to stay engaging to get you to the fun moments. There aren’t any performance issues or glitches I ran into either. With its bad character models and some silly side missions, Choo-Choo Charles is simultaneously silly and scary. At one point you’ll be collecting pickles, and the next you’ll be in a heart pounding fight with a demon train engine with spider legs.
Session: Skate Sim is one of the most rage inducing games I have ever played, and not because I didn’t want to try and learn to get better. It simply felt like overcomplication just for the sake of it. The inputs make sense, what they show on the trick sheet make sense, but it just doesn’t translate into the game.
At its heart, Scorn is a puzzle game with a clear design and structure that knew exactly what it wants to achieve and in that aspect it achieved it perfectly. It’s not a game that will please everyone, but these are the type of art games I enjoy. The weaving of the art design and puzzles is so cohesive that I could truly believe these could be part of some living alien world. Combat does drag the experience down quite a bit from the controls to the enemies, but if you’re looking for a macabre puzzle game, there aren’t many games that do it this well.
PGA Tour 2K23 is unfortunately just another iteration and not the evolution I was hoping it would be. Most of the changes to MyCareer seem to be a step back or even sideways, to where I was hoping it would go. The addition of extra pros and courses is fantastic, but still seems lacking compared to 2K’s other sports games. There is still a ton of growth to be had for this golf series, but if you still have 2K21, there isn’t really a need to upgrade unless you really want to play as a professional player and not just your career player.
Madden NFL ’23 is one of those years that if you skipped it, you wouldn’t really be missing anything. The additions to the Face of the Franchise mode aren’t significant enough to drop last year’s iteration and start again here, and that goes for any of the modes. The one big feature, FieldSENSE, didn’t live up to the hype, and even if it isn’t a setback, it didn’t improve upon the main things that annoy me.
Way of the Hunter is one of the best hunting simulators, not labelled as a simulator, that I have ever played. Once you move past (or just simply ignore) the story missions that can drag down the experience, you get to a hunting game that offers the right kind of ease and complexity. While there are some annoyances with movement, pop-ins, and strange perks, you have a beautiful game that offers co-op and two full maps with their own types of animals to hunt for. If you’re a hunting game fan, I recommend this one.
Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course is a fantastic addition to the Cuphead package that offers more of everything you loved about the game. Unfortunately, the only downfall really is how short it feels, and the unbalance of the solo and co-op difficulty.
At the end of the day, XEL is a game that is competent, has some good ideas, and enough gameplay elements to keep you playing. The sound design is well done and I do enjoy the simplistic art direction and its bright, popping color pallet. Unfortunately, it’s a game that just needed more time in the oven to hammer out the bugs and glitches that really hold this back. There are some good ideas here, but the annoyances almost outweighed what it does do well.
Mothergunship: Forge is a decent VR shooting gallery on its own, however, I expected so much more after the stellar original version. The content here isn’t very deep, and it relies too heavily on unlocking a couple new weapons or modifiers as new content. These unlocks are great, but when you can easily beat the game on your second run, you don’t really need a majority of the unlocks.
Postal 4: No Regerts is a game that just couldn’t catch my attention even as someone who like dumb dirty humor and outlandish gameplay ideas. Its biggest failure is simply not being interesting and having decent jokes or at least more gameplay sections like the cat part. I know it tries to have some political commentary in here, but honestly it always falls flat.
Sniper Elite 5 is definitely the best of a series that continues to grow with each installment. I’m happy to say that this one has some of the most meaningful updates to its formula to date. The heavy focus on more involved maps, and gameplay freedom within them is a breath of fresh air and exactly what this series needs.
Weird West is a fantastic ARPG Immersive Sim that really gets you invested within its world. The veteran skill behind this game surely shines throughout this title offering something fun and fresh. I easily spent over fifty hours in Weird West and that’s even having to rush the last couple chapters. I enjoyed losing myself in this world and its characters experimenting with the gameplay tools and options provided.
Tunic may have been a long time coming, but the wait was absolutely worth it. This little indie game has so much heart, and challenged me in more ways than I was expecting. The complete mystery of the world and how it lets the player discover things naturally without the hand-holding nature of most games is a breathe of fresh air. Its difficulty and lack of pushing the player through may turn some off, but trust me when I say that accomplishing the puzzles in this game are rewarding. For me, Tunic is an absolute must-have.
I absolutely enjoyed every minute of Shadow Warrior 3 and for myself I really liked they decided to go back to that linear story focused design from the first game. However, I would have liked to see more of a blend of one and two shine through here because when it comes to weapons and abilities it does feel like a step back from two. Luckily, the new additions to the combat with the gore weapons and interactive arenas always kept me engaged and entertained. It was nice to have Wang back in my hands.
Kingdom of the Dead has a lot going for it from its great art direction and level design and its understanding and appreciation of that old school FPS gameplay. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t quite hit on all notes with its lackluster general enemy encounters and sound design.
Nobody Saves the World is a unique take on the ARPG genre with DrinkBox Studios’ signature style and the end result is something that I completely recommend. While there are some things that I wish were fleshed out a bit more with the dungeons specifically, this was an adventure that I didn’t want to put down. The way the game made me want to keep changing and upgrading characters is really well done by making their world involvement matter in unique ways.
If you can stick through the frustrations of being a new player, or if you don’t mind having a second screen for tutorials, Farming Simulator 22 is an enjoyable game. There is plenty here to challenge you and keep you occupied for a long time. The freedom it gives you to live the farming life you want is fantastic and you can go at your own pace. If you want it to be a relaxing experience, that’s fine. If you want to be a farming tycoon and buy up everything, while running multiple business aspects, go for it.
DEEEER Simulator is by no means a well put together game. It lacks polish, optimization, and animations. Its content is random, short, and its levels aren’t huge. However, there is something charming and fun about it. Its over-the-top and outrageous ideas, designs, and activities give you plenty of “WTF” moments. These moments of stupid fun are here, even if they don’t last all that long.
Despite my lack of experience with base building strategy games, I still thoroughly enjoyed my time with The Riftbreaker. The way it smartly balances out its story progression and combat made it more accessible to a player like me, while still offering plenty of challenge later on. While I do wish the act of balancing so many home bases and resources was easier, overall the blend of genre’s gave me shots of hectic fun with my growing pains of learning the best tricks. This will be a game I will continue to go back to.
For the most part I can overlook a bad story. Hell, I enjoy Call of Duty campaigns from time to time. However, with how thin it already is and with a very anticlimactic ending, I didn’t feel like much was accomplished. Luckily, the gameplay made up for a lot of what was missing story wise. All-in-all I was left with the feeling of wanting more. I want the game to be longer because I want to keep fighting.