Donut Dodo plays a loving homage to the old arcade days whilst bringing with it some modern improvements and a few tricks of its own to make it stand out from the competition. If Donut Dodo was an actual arcade cabinet, I would be happy to sink a few coins into it. But since this is the modern day, you can pay a small fee and enjoy some good high score chasing fun on TV or handheld.
Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration, is easily the best retro compilation of games I have ever played. You’re taken on a journey through video game history. Which is not afraid to educate you on both the highs and lows of the company. It raises the bar for compilations being released in the future, it would be great to see this design repeated with other companies or game series. Allowing me to learn more about each game actually made me more interested in playing some of the games I initially wasn’t fond of. This is the museum exhibit experience brought home for you to enjoy alone or with friends at any time. Whether you love Atari or not, this is an essential purchase for anyone interested in gaming history. On a personal level, Atari 50 reminds me why I love video games and I never expected Atari of all companies to remind me of that in such a positive way.
Ship of Fools fits my personal definition of two thumbs up. It is a very entertaining gameplay loop with engaging ship combat. With quirky weapons and challenges which had me keen to jump back into another run even after yet another failure. There are niggles to mention. I found the controls a bit clumsy when the action really heated up and the game does suffer from some pretty nasty difficulty spikes at times. It’s the typical rogue-lite formula, where you gradually improve after a lot of repetition and spending time upgrading back at base. A formula that no doubt is starting to tire. But when I sat back to reflect more, Ship of Fools was just a fantastic co-op game to play with a friend or loved one. My shipmate and I have been going through a pretty rough patch in life in general and Ship of Fools felt like an experience which just allowed us to forget our troubles for a few hours and enjoy ourselves. Just a couple of fools having a good time. Hopefully, you will feel those delights too and if you haven’t tired of rogue-lite yet this is well worth picking up.
If you’re looking for a simple but ultimately fun twin-stick shooter From Space will provide an entertaining experience in single-player and online if your friends are available. The local co-op would have suited this experience for me but every gamer will be mixed on this. What lets From Space down in places is its poor AI with teammates, repetitive mission structure and the horrific inability to pause. It doesn’t really add a lot new to the twin-stick formula. But I will admit it’s a familiarity I still enjoyed. The PC version does hint at community feedback which suggests patches to the game are on the way. So, if you decide not to jump on this yet, consider keeping it on the wish list. In its current state From Space is an alien invasion I don’t mind revisiting, provided my son is in a deep sleep.
Bravery & Greed was a satisfying roguelike experience for me. But it is also an example of the roguelike formula starting to become a bit too familiar and in desperate need of updating. And I say that as a huge fan of the genre. Bravery & Greed manages a strong recommendation from me because its combat is very satisfying, and I very much liked the fantasy setting. Having the ability to play this co-op online or locally also makes this one to recommend to friends or family. If you’re feeling greedy for another roguelike this will still provide hours of entertainment.
Aquarist has the potential to be a decent simulator, but it’s not there yet. Controls are frustrating in places and navigating the menus is more tricky than it should be. Carrying out mundane tasks like cleaning fish tanks and building a new aquarium is fun for a while but it doesn’t take long before it gets a bit repetitive. I feel this may still garner a recommendation if you love aquariums and want to relieve some old memories. But be aware you have to put up with some rough edges and this game won’t suit those looking for a quick gaming fix. It didn’t escape my notice that this game is available on PC but still in Early Access which makes me wonder if it will still see some patches coming in the future. So maybe there is hope for the Switch port yet. Until then I would approach with caution
Lunistice is a cheerful low poly platformer. Tight controls and charming graphics make this package well worth a recommendation. That’s before I mention the generously low price. This is an ideal pick-up when you want a short project over a gaming weekend. For me, things did start to get too stressful at the end I’ll need a few weeks (maybe months) to recover before I try to improve my rating. If you love your 3D platformers though consider this one to pick. If you still need more convincing then be sure to try the free demo available on the eShop.
Nightmare Arena is a nice compliment to this great RPG package. A tough challenge that will demand you put your thinking caps on, rather than relying on typical RPG grinding to succeed. By itself, it is decent but not as memorable as the main game. If nothing else this review is a reminder to check out the main game. Then consider spending a little extra on the DLC and soundtrack to support the developer. If Video Game Fables continues to release DLC I’ll certainly be interested.
NecroBoy: Path to Evilship falls into the category of a little gem for the puzzle experience. A generally straightforward but satisfying experience with a story that has a lot of heart. For a solo developer, they have done a pretty decent job creating a welcoming experience that will suit gamers of all ages. It doesn’t veer far from its puzzle formula, not really taking any risks with its gameplay. But it is an original concept. This may be a great one to enjoy playing with the younglings or if you just want a nice weekend game that’s not too taxing. Definitely add this to the wish list to support a budding indie developer. Hopefully, this is not the last we see of NecroBoy and his puzzle escapades.
Whether you are a slow typer or a super fast touch typer there is something here for absolutely any gamer at any age. Outshine seems a fitting name for this game as it totally outshines all known competition in this small genre. Typing aside this is a fantastic arcade experience all round. Great for short or long gaming sessions. The game may be single-player only but it’s one that can be enjoyed with friends and family. I found it just as much fun to watch as to play. I could not recommend this enough.
Trifox is a promising first game from a new developer. A fun premise that is suitable for gamers of all ages that will provide a rewarding challenge without being too frustrating. Like its low poly art style, this game does have some flaws, yet it overcomes these with solid-level design and flexible customisation, which may even have you coming back to the game for another play-through. An absolute gem on Switch which will hopefully gain enough popularity to see a sequel as it would be fascinating to see another entry from this cunning fox.
Witchcrafty has a great presentation but its gameplay keeps things just a little too straightforward to make it stand out from the crowd. It could have used just a few extra tricks to highlight it over the competition. In its current state, it’s very hard to recommend with some of its notable bugs, glitches and inconsistent difficulty. But if these get ironed out I can see this being a pretty satisfactory weekend game if you’re looking for something to pass the time or to share with the younglings. Witchcrafty drew me in with its art style but just left me disappointed for now.
Fallen Knight is a tough but entertaining action platformer. Difficult like the retro days but also an appealing challenge if you’re willing to take up the sword and give it a go. I would like to mention that if you’re prone to stress by high difficulty or easily enraged you may just want to pass on this. I totally lost my cool with some of the grindy boss fights but I kept coming back for more. Fallen Knight is totally suitable for all ages, so even if this is not for you it may make an appealing present for a youngling or any fan or Knight robots with swords. And who wouldn’t be into that?
Youropa is a gravity-defying puzzle platformer that left me satisfied. Its puzzles challenge you to think outside the box without feeling too convoluted that you can’t figure things out for yourself. A few of the games’ physics make moments of the experience a bit tedious. However, that didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the overall experience. The main adventure may seem short and sweet but with the game’s level creator, this could potentially be a game to revisit on a cosy weekend provided the community stays strong. Youropa is an experience that will drive you up the wall in a good way.
Shovel Knight Dig is yet another win for the popular indie icon. A highly enjoyable action roguelike that will keep you busy for a good gaming night or in short bursts. Suitable for gamers of all skill levels thanks to its use of accessibility features. New content is dropped regularly, if not a touch light, but with the game’s addictive gameplay and random generation, I found it hard not to always sneak in another run. Shovel Knight is in the rare comfortable position where his mere presence in a game is a sign of quality. But whether you are a fan of the series or jumping in for the very first time Shovel Knight Dig will not disappoint.
I ended up really liking Dome Keeper. Its gameplay flow reminded me a lot of Kingdom, another gem also published by Raw Fury. Only this time it’s a bit more lonely as you are just a humble space person alone on a very angry planet. Its mix of mining for resources and defending your base quickly became entertaining, having me return run after run, even if many ended with my dome smashing into little pieces. Unlocked content feels a touch light and defending the base can get a bit overwhelming too early. But that wasn’t enough to cloud over the sheer fun I had playing this sci-fi wonder. If you’re looking for a fresh new roguelike then Dome Keeper comes highly recommended.
Nine Noir Lives is a solid point-and-click adventure with excellent voice acting and a well-presented premise. A casual puzzler to play with the mouse in one hand and stroke your cat in the other or sip a coffee. The formula feels very by the book, not really doing anything new for the genre. If you haven’t liked this style of game before this is not going to win you over. But if you are a fan or even if you’re new and just want to test the waters Nine Noir Lives comes highly recommended. You don’t even need to like cats to enjoy it.
Little Orpheus is a casual cinematic adventure that is light on gameplay but won me over with its impressive narrative and art style. If you’re looking for a challenge you won’t find it here. But if you’re looking for a good story to share with family or loved ones that will take you to unexpected places that you certainly won’t forget then I highly recommend picking up Little Orpheus.
Block’Em! is simple to the point gaming fun, which is pick up and play for the whole family. It will make for a good gaming night game to play with your favourite folk or worst enemies. But the game’s downfall is that it keeps things too simple, lacking replay value and variety in its gaming modes. I guess it’s possible more content will be added in future updates but as it stands this is a game you’ll likely play one session and probably never touch again. So in a way, it’s similar to that board game you play with the family for Xmas. If that sounds ok to you, have at it.
Summing up Catmaze initially feels like a pretty by-the-numbers 2D adventure game which ticks all the right boxes. I decided to rate it a little higher though because I just found this adventure a little more memorable than others. This was helped by the unique use of familiars to attack you and cast magic spells. The presentation has a certain magic to it which really sucks you into the fantasy setting. I then became more impressed once I heard this game was developed by one person. It seems like not a week goes by when we don’t see a release of another 2D adventure game but I’m pleased to report Catmaze is one of the good ones well worth your time.