As a whole, I wouldn’t say Strange Horticulture is a bad game, just somewhat disappointing. I can see the appeal, but it’s honestly often boring. There are some truly great ideas in here, but nowhere near enough to combat the game’s tediously repetitive main gameplay loop. Having more puzzles, riddles, and even a few more visible environments I feel could have made Strange Horticulture a true gem of an indie game.
Cloud Gardens is a casual, laid-back, puzzle-solving experience. That being said, it’s not the type of game that you will want to play for hours on end, but it’s entertaining in short spurts. It offers over one hundred levels, which sounds impressive, but bear in mind that many of the assets are constantly reused, making levels feel tedious after a while. This makes it ideal for a system like the Switch, where you can pick it up and play here and there on-the-go.
Supermassive Games has been constantly perfecting their formula and now they’ve delivered something great. The Quarry is without a doubt their best game to date. The story unravels at a good pace and will keep you guessing until the very end. All the main characters are given good screen time (unless they die early) and are fleshed out surprisingly well. Even though The Quarry offers less gameplay than some of the other Supermassive titles, this is the first game where the QTEs actually felt like they were a natural part of the story.
Playing Card Shark feels like peeking behind the curtain of a magic show. The gameplay might involve following button prompts, but the lessons are genuine. After playing it I feel like I could use some of the skills I learned on my friends the next time we have a poker night. Uh… not that I would, of course!
There’s just enough story to have your actions make sense and have purpose, while still being open to interpretation. The lifeforms within the seascape are well varied and creepy. The possession gameplay mechanic is refreshingly different and well-utilized. Silt ventures seamlessly into feelings of tension and awe in equal measure. It’s a relatively short experience, but it’s a gem of a game that sticks with you long after you’ve finished playing.
This War of Mine: Final Cut makes players think about aspects beyond simply winning or fighting for “glory”. It asks us to think about the real cost of war. When battles are fought, it is the civilians who suffer most; innocent casualties caught in the crossfire. The main point of This War of Mine: Final Cut is when the horrors of war are upon them, even good people can turn into monsters out of desperation.
What I’ve come to realize it that Lumote: The Mastermote Chronicles is something special… in shorts bursts. It’s the perfect game to pick up and play a few levels of before setting it down to go about your business. Brief play sessions will keep you engaged, whereas long blocks will start to wear on you.
It’s absolutely gorgeous, the controls are tight and responsive, and the new weapons are a blast to play around with. The addition of the Pullcaster and underwater exploration were huge improvements to enhancing the gameplay. It’s a rich world that easy to get lost in. Even after beating the main story, I still want to go back and see what secrets I can discover.
I simply had to know everything about each each character and wanted to see just how different the endings were. I can attest that in each of my playthroughs, no run was ever the same. With so many games being essentially carbon copies of one another, a game like Road 96 is a remarkably refreshing surprise. Don’t let it escape your notice, it’s well worth your time.
It’s hard to recommend Frightence, mainly because there’s just so little of it. Clocking in at under an hour of playtime, with no replay value, it’s tough to make a case for it. The idea is great, but the game ends just as things start to pick up and become interesting. It leaves off with a “To be continued” message, which leaves me hopeful that there is a more solid game in the works. As it stands, Frightence feels more like a demo or prologue than an actual game.
Even though Syberia: The World Before was so different than the other entries in the franchise in some ways, it was also a return to form in others. The puzzles might not be as bizarre or outside the box as other games, but they also felt more natural to the story. Similarly, the other entries had more whimsical and fantastical elements to them, whereas this game is far more grounded in reality. Although, considering the laughably audacious directions Syberia 3 ventured into, I would definitely count this as a big plus.
This is a tough one to recommend because, while there are plenty of worthwhile aspects, there are just as many shortcomings. If you’re a diehard JRPG fan and like a more mellow experience, then you might enjoy The Cruel King and the Great Hero‘s charm. However, if you don’t like games with excess amounts of filler and an overally lack of strategic challenge, then you’ll more than likely find this game on the boring side.
It’s one of the very few games in recent memory that I couldn’t put down. The story started off a little hackneyed, but this was a purposeful design choice. It doesn’t take too long to before it lets you know that there’s more going on than might first think. There are plenty of twists, turns, and revelations along the journey that make for a delightfully complex and engaging experience. There are a lot of retro-themed RPGs on the market, but Rise of the Third Power is one you shouldn’t let pass you by.
I’ll be honest and admit that I wasn’t expecting much more than your typical run-of-the-mill point-and-click adventure, but it turned out to be much deeper than I was expecting. The plot was engaging all the way through, the characters were flawed yet likeable, the art design is far more beautiful than it initially appears, and the vocal performances sell each character. It might have a few flaws, but those are minor when compared to everything else the game does really well.
While it wasn’t the sequel I was hoping for, it does still have its own intriguing narrative. It does get off to a slow start, but things pick up once you hit the second act and gets really compelling in the third act. You don’t necessarily have had to have played the other entries before starting Impostor Factory, but you will certainly get a lot more out of the experience if you are familiar with them first.
On one hand, the story is interesting, at least interesting enough to have made me want to see it through to its conclusion. But on the other hand, it’s incredibly padded with unnecessary sections, rife with bugs and glitches, and has some distractingly bad lip syncing issues.
Aspire: Ina’s Tale was an engaging and delightful experience. That being said, don’t expect it to be a necessarily happy romp, as most of it is quite melancholy. The ending might not have been the biggest surprise, but the journey was well worth it. The characters, tone, atmosphere, and music made Aspire: Ina’s Tale a memorable adventure.
As someone who played the Sam & Max games back when they first released, I am really loving diving back into these wacky adventures with all of the new quality of life upgrades. I highly recommend Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space Remastered for fans of the series. If you’ve never played them before, but like point-and-click adventures and have a twisted sense of humor, then I highly recommend them for you as well.
I truly cannot recommend A Short Hike enough. The trailer is both misleading and yet also tells you exactly what you can expect. The experience you have and what you’ll get out of it is up to you. If you skimp on the side stuff and only focus on getting to the top of the mountain, then you’ll probably feel disappointed, especially since you can do so in under an hour. If you take your time fully exploring the island and helping the locals, then you’ll discovery a surprisingly rich and rewarding experience. A Short Hike is a journey you won’t soon forget.