Despite featuring some interesting ideas, Wrath: Aeon of Ruin suffers from an uneven pace, excessively dark (and repetitive) visuals, and some poor level design. The excessive emphasis on storytelling was also a bummer, as this is not particularly what a retro shooter enthusiast is looking for in a game. Whilst blowing demons up with a loud shotgun was indeed fun, there are countless other shooters which allow you to do the same thing, but on a more polished foundation.
I am not going to complain about yet another collection of entertaining and thought-provoking puzzles which fit perfectly on a portable like the Switch, but I am not sure if this was the best way to celebrate the franchise’s history. Are there that many people who love Picross and farming simulators? Whatever the case, Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons might not be as robust or polished as the titles in the Picross S series, but it’s still a very entertaining collection of brain teasers.
Dicefolk stands out in an otherwise stale and saturated genre by having one of the most addictive combat systems I’ve seen in a long time. Shockingly enough, that was what I liked the most about it, and not the monster collecting elements. Those were there, and worked wonders, but were quite minute at the end of the day.
I am not exaggerating when I state that Balatro is a masterpiece of a game, a bonafide achievement in gameplay design. A single developer was able to take the core principles of poker, add in a ton of roguelike elements on top a brand new gameplay loop, and come up with something so addictive it will possibly ruin your productivity at work. This damn thing is basically a virtual drug. It’s so simple, so inviting, and downright impossible to put down.
Qomp2 is a fun challenge while it lasts. It’s a game all about a tough, borderline unfair, but ultimately rewarding gameplay loop. You will shout at it, you will want to break your controller in half, but you won’t want to give up that easily. I don’t exactly feel like the game captivated me enough to want to replay its levels and collect its (very few) secret items, nor do I feel like it’s worthy of a second playthrough for the sake of it, but it’s not a bad time while it lasts.
Even if nothing about Dementium: The Ward felt inherently broken (no crashes, no framerate drops, no game-breaking glitches), I just wasn’t having fun with this port of an old DS game with very unimpressive visual or content enhancements. This game was already mostly a novelty back in 2007, a proof of concept, a showcase of what that portable was capable of rendering. On the Switch, on a larger screen, with more horsepower, and in a library filled with other horror titles, Dementium has nothing that makes it stand out.
The awfully-named Under Night In-Birth II Sys:Celes is a pretty good sequel to what was already a really deep, but surprisingly accessible 2D fighter. In terms of content and mechanics, this game is still excellent, worthy of being put right next to other Arc System Works fighters. In terms of presentation, it didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but it’s not like the other games in the series were ugly to begin with. Sadly, in terms of how well this particular PC port was crafted, well, I was a bit disappointed. With a handful of glitches and an overall sensation this port was treated like an afterthought, you are better off playing it on a console.
I had fun with this collection, but I can’t ignore its plethora of issues. Be it due to some really dated level design and controls, or a handful of glitches exclusive to this collection’s remastering efforts, those Tomb Raider games aren’t exactly the most fluid and easygoing experiences out there. With that being said, they are still incredibly charming and very ambitious for their time.
It entertains, it makes you laugh, it makes you feel emotional, it just makes you love this damn franchise even more. With more content than you can possible deal with, an addictive combat system, and what’s possibly one of the best assortments of characters ever put in a video game, with their own strengths, weaknesses, fun facts and inner demons, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is impossible to dislike. Whether you decide to call it the best Yakuza game of all time is highly subjective, but it’s easily in the franchise’s upper echelon.
I don’t remember the last time I had this much fun with a fighting game. Tekken 8 wowed me in basically every aspect. It basically set a monstrously high, borderline impossible standard for any future Unreal Engine 5 fighting games, not only with its outstanding visuals, but also tight performance, near-nonexistent input lag, and sheer amount of content.
In terms of atmosphere and creativity, this game is going places. The mixture of retro first-person shooting and RPG elements is excellent, and the presentation was pretty good. When the combat clicked, it made for a fun time. Sadly, the game was also hampered by a ton of framerate issues, random freezes, a completely pointless and forgettable plot, and a lot of questionable design choices.
Destroyer: The U-Boat Hunter is excessively detailed and specific to the point that it feels less like a pasttime or a piece of entertainment, and more like something which should only be recommended or played by people who actually want to join the Navy.
Those games, just like other Ace Attorney titles, are more than simply excellent visual novels. They are absolutely ridiculous stories, almost always engaging, and often times thought-provoking. They are still the best examples of what the genre can achieve, and how easily accessible and entertaining they can be, even for people who aren’t exactly into static, story-based games with little in terms of interactivity.
Bem Feito tries to be one of those games that want to subvert your notions on following rules and whatnot, but it’s not subtle at all, nor scary, and even less thought-provoking. I appreciate the attempt, but this game needed some extra time in the oven, as well as more meat in its bones in order to actually become memorable and engaging.
Nephenthesys is a painfully by-the-books bullet hell shooter that might not do anything wrong, but fails spectacularly to innovate in any single front, to the point that any memories of playing it would immediately vanish upon turning the PS5 off, the game’s name included.
Whilst some setpieces were still pretty enjoyable, and the game as a whole is still pretty good, I can’t help but think that Bulletstorm is still best enjoyed elsewhere, be it on PC or console, with or without Duke Nukem’s nonsensical presence, or on a more powerful VR headset.
I had high hopes for Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, but it still managed to surpass them. More than just a risky, experimental revival of a dormant franchise, it basically showcases that Prince of Persia works magnificently well as a metroidvania, almost in a "why haven't you done this before" kind of way.
The addition of touchscreen functionality doesn’t exactly mitigate all of the various setbacks and issues which needed to occur in order to make such a game run on such underpowered hardware. With that being said, it’s a lot less worse than anticipated. If you can put up with the reduced visual fidelity and long loading times, this is a neat companion piece for the beefier current-gen ports, but only truly worth it if you’re a massive Harry Potter fan, and if you can find this at a discount.
The Spy Who Shot Me is an unpolished and unfunny take on Nintendo 64 shooters, but behind its boring puns and ultra-limited gameplay ideas, lies a cheap and harmless little game which can be enjoyed for a few hours on a single evening to satiate our never-ending hunger for retro-styled shooting action. Just make sure not to expect a lot from its level design or any revolutionary take on the source material.