Spear Master recaptures the pick-up-and-play arcade spirit but doesn’t bring much new to those who are familiar with the formula. What it does well. Solid controls, easy-to-pick-up gameplay and a surprisingly touching story. But I honestly was left wanting more. For its low price point, I think this is well worth considering if you want a simple arcade experience alone while waiting for the train. But equally, it may make a pretty good game night game with a group of loved ones. Certainly, give it a look and remember to be careful with sharp objects.
Overall, Jusant is a wonderful experience and a climb well worth starting if you’re looking for a short but engaging adventure. Unlike many games in this genre, Jusant’s traversal of the environment feels unique. Its climbing mechanics are so engaging I had just as much fun exploring the world and taking in the experience as feeling the need to seek out collectables. This is DON’T NOD bringing their A game. Successfully conveying an emotional story by saying very little. When I finally reached the top of the mountain, I was not disappointed, and hopefully, you won’t be either.
qomp2 is a pretty good puzzle adventure. The simple controls certainly make for an enjoyable experience that puzzle fans will enjoy in small bursts, maybe after a long day at work or before bed. I’ll be honest: the gameplay didn’t fully click for me. I often found it frustrating to get my ball to head just the right way, and while the gameplay has that Zen-like feel to it, I found the quick deaths quite frustrating towards the end of the game. I did, however, like the reworking of the Pong formula and creating an entire game from the simple concept of a ball escaping. All in all, Qomp2 is a unique puzzler, and any game that attempts something original is good in my book.
Promenade successfully recaptures that additive collectable gameplay in 2D form. Once I started collecting, I just found I couldn’t stop. The game may borrow ideas from other platformers. I feel it certainly adds enough personality to stand on its own. This is thanks to varied level design and its charming graphical design. Promenade falls a little short in some areas. Controls can be unforgiving in some of the tougher platform segments, and some of the ideas introduced in the game, like stealth, don’t always click. But despite these flaws, I found myself eager to explore the levels, finding as many cogs as I could. I highly recommend Promenade to any platforming fan or those looking for a positive gaming experience.
Dungeonoid 2 Awakening is a decent arcade game, but it doesn’t meet its full potential. The ball and paddle gameplay is just as addictive as it ever was in the arcade. Making the game a scrolling adventure gives the game its own unique take on the design, but adding a time limit and aggressive spawning of power downs really detached me from the gameplay, severely reducing the pull to continue on. Maybe this could be tweaked with patches. As it stands, I only recommend Dungeonoid 2 Awakening to the most dedicated arcade fans.
Jett Rider brilliantly blends exploration with arcade action to create a gameplay experience that’s hard to put down after you take off from your jet pack the first time. The game may have limitations with its narrative and graphics, but this is more than made up for by its core gameplay focus. With a focus on arcade gameplay, it manages to set itself apart, appealing to retro fans and gamers who like a good adventure. Tied in with a nice price point, I absolutely recommend Jet Rider.
Electrician Simulator is a good entry in the ever-expanding genre. It is an intriguing look into a career that educates as well as entertains at the same time. The game is absolutely suited to all audiences, possibly the younglings (or oldlings) who are curious about the career or folk who love their simulator games. I found I enjoyed it best in small doses, taking on a few missions at a time. Like all simulator games, I did hit a point where I found rewiring just got a bit boring, which was more notable in the larger missions. But that is often what is the draw for many players. Electrician Simulator also plays it very safe in terms of its design. Many simulator games follow the same template of taking on missions and earning money and not much else. Electrician Simulator does what it does well but also doesn’t take any risks or add much new to the simulator genre. If you’re looking for something relaxing to start the year off or fancy a new virtual career change, I still recommend Electrician Simulator.
Tools Up! Ultimate Edition is the definitive version of a co-op title that may have flown under the radar for some gamers. While there’s probably not enough here to warrant a second purchase for previous players, this is a fantastic purchase for anyone new. Decent in solo mode but a lot of fun in co-op with some loved ones. The controls are simple and accessible, and the inclusion of a casual mode makes this suited to all gamers of various skill levels. Tools Up! Ultimate Edition falls a little short with its lack of online and some fiddly controls in places, but the experience was enjoyable overall and, most of all, fun. If you’re looking for the next game night game, this comes highly recommended.
Raccoo Venture is a good 3D platformer standing tall next to the games of the 90s it takes inspiration from. A channelling adventure with plenty of variety in gameplay that comes highly recommended to experienced platform players. However, its design may not suit the more casual crowd. Platforming and boss fights can be incredibly punishing in places far from the innocent graphical design it reflect. As for me, I welcomed the challenge, and despite my issues, I still enjoyed my time with the game. Another reason I liked it is the game made my son laugh hysterically. Something about the raccoon’s butt bounce had him in fits of giggles. Now, the game will be a cherished memory for me forever.
To sum up I did like Hammerwatch II but it’s not a game that’s going to work for everyone. I absolutely praise the developers for not simply copying the formula of the previous games and slapping an II on the box. But this is not a pick-up-and-play experience like the prior games. It took me several hours and 3 character restarts to wrap my head around things. But once the game finally clicked I did start to enjoy myself. Although the experience felt much more geared to co-op play. This steep learning curve will not work for everyone and I can see some players jumping out of the game out of sheer frustration. But if you can overcome this hurdle there is much fun and depth to discover with Hammerwatch II made all the more enjoyable if you can bring a friend along for the adventure.
headbangers:Rhythm Royale is a positive and upbeat take on the battle royale formula, which I liked. I wasn’t very good at it, but I enjoyed its humorous pigeon presentation and family-friendly feel. Unlike several battle royale games, I appreciated the game currently has no battle pass, just DLC for cosmetic outfits. This is much more appealing to gamers like me who just want to dip in and out of the experience occasionally and not treat the game like a second job. Like many battle royale titles, the novelty of the experience wears off once you have repeated the same mini-games repeatedly. The game is currently on season 2 which gives the impression the developers are continuing to support it. As it stands now, it’s good. But time will tell if its fan base will last in a competitive genre.
Galaxy Bricks has a good idea for an arcade game, but its two design elements don’t combine to create an entertaining gameplay experience. In a different life, I know the difficulties with game development when you’re starting out, especially when you’re on your own. So, playing Galaxy Bricks took me back to the struggles I had creating my own game. I just don’t think this was ready to release on Steam. However, if you want to support a new game developer starting out, give it a look. Otherwise, this is an arcade experience you can easily pass on.
Aztec Tiki Talisman is okay. It’s really just a decent no-thrills platformer. It doesn’t do anything special or new, but I also commend it for not being broken. There’s really not a lot to say about it since the game doesn’t stray far from its formula. Maybe it’s worth a look for the younglings or those looking for something straightforward. Aztec Tiki Talisman is certainly priced fairly for what’s available, but it’s hard to ignore there are more appealing options available on the eShop. It just about scrapes a pass from me.
Train Valley 2: Community Edition is great value for money if you’re looking for a challenging puzzler that won’t push you to the limits of frustration. Multiplayer isn’t a thing, but I could see this as a fun game to enjoy with younglings, especially if they love trains. For me, it was at its best when I just went at my own pace and completed the objectives. Levels are numerous and varied, so this will likely keep you busy for a very long time. Controls are fiddly to start with and don’t quite capture the simplicity of a PC. But once you get your head around it this a great one to enjoy after one of those long days. It’s a train job worth taking on board.
Battle Stations Blockade is okay. It’s a simple arcade shooter that does what it advertises but doesn’t offer anything new to the formula. In single-player, the game quickly became quite boring and lacked a certain spark needed to keep me engaged. I would recommend the game to players looking to play in co-op. Some gamers just want something fun and dumb that you can play while chatting socially. It is an experience worth considering for game night, but certainly not for everyone.
Born of Bread is a lovely RPG surprise to end the year on. A wholesome and feel-good experience that is suitable for absolutely everyone, especially if you’re looking for a more casual RPG experience. It has a plot that captures the childlike fascination and wonder of a new world, an actively engaging battle system but not too overbearing, and an overall jolly presentation that had me smiling throughout the adventure. Something delightful to enjoy in handheld or share the experience with the little one; just remember silly voices are a must. Born of Bread is feel-good gaming at its best and an adventure I highly recommend checking out.
Astlilbra Revision is a phenomenal achievement from a solo developer. Addictive combat that makes action RPG grinding fun. It’s a crazy story that will tickle the emotional strings and gameplay that keeps on giving the more you sink time into it. This title keeps you busy for hours and hours, whether you’re tucking in for a long session or only have time to fit in a few minutes. Multiple difficulties make the experience more accessible to a wider audience. There are small things to nitpick, like odd translations and missions requiring a lot of backtracking through the same areas. However, these are easily overlooked by the deep combat system and an awesome soundtrack. Astlilbra Revision is also a game that should be held up as an example to all budding game designers. You don’t need the best graphics or super powered engine to stand out, just passion for your work. Hopefully, this review will give Astlilbra Revision the attention it deserves.
Whether you choose to go it alone or have a space-themed game night game with friends, This Means Warp is a solid arcade experience. Graphics may not seem like a lot, but the gameplay more than makes up for it. Easy to pick up, very tough to master and even more tough not to be tempted to come back in for another round. My only notable niggle is that you can’t mix local and online co-op, which is a bit of a pain when you want to play the game with your wife and a friend in another country. Regardless, This Means Warp is one of those co-op games that does its own thing and succeeds in the process.
I liked Worldless, but I wasn’t very good at it. Visually, the game looks great, and I had a lot of fun exploring the world and trying to make sense of the vague story while taking in the scenes and listening to the score. Combat, however, is tough. It’s not broken or glitchy. It just takes some fast fingers and careful attention to really master it. I liked it in principle, but it just didn’t click for me. I still give Worldless a solid recommendation. If you’re up for the challenge, you will discover a unique adventure that’s well worth taking the time to master.
DREDGE The Pale Reach DLC doesn’t add much new to an already solid formula. There are new fish to discover, new rods to collect and a cool new tool for your ship. It’s about an extra two hours of gameplay to add to the main content. If the main game hooked you, this DLC is well worth dredging up your copy of the game from your backlog to play.