Soulstice does an exceptional job of keeping the player engaged throughout its entirety. The amount of content just within the combat is jaw-dropping, so much so that it feels like Reply Game Studios aren't saving anything for a sequel. There's a lot to discover (and a lot to master) as you slowly trek through its massive world and uncover one of the most enjoyable detective-style stories that I've come to experience.
Metal: Hellsinger has absolutely kickstarted the boomer-shooter, rhythm FPS genre. Of the handful of issues the game possesses, they're all overshadowed by its insane amount of entertainment value. There's no doubt that The Outsiders have created something extraordinary, something that absolutely needs a sequel. Although very challenging and not without its critiques, its an extremely satisfying experience through and through.
Winter Ember is good, but could be better. The voice acting and script made me extremely disinteresting in the story, and combat is just so extremely dull. It doesn't help either when the soundtrack overheard in all areas of the game is equally as basic. These three things made the game lose a bit of its charm, but that's all mended together thankfully by the enjoyable stealth mechanics and moment-to-moment gameplay. As a pure stealth experience, this game fast became a highly enjoyable experience overall, and one that I'd recommend if you can get past its big issues.
Teardown tears down the fabric of what a demolition physics game can be, yet replaces that with too many restrictions. All your fun will come from the creativity of your imagination, but that satisfaction falls apart when you're limited by the tools the game has to offer. It's such a shame when this game can offer so much more.
Abermore is an immense disappointment. The bugs and glitches can be cataloged so extremely clearly that it's incredible that this game even got released, let alone past playtesting. Hell, was it playtested? Why did this game get released even if it wasn't finished? These questions stuck in my mind as I played through this dumpster fire. Maybe this game will see all its bugs patched? Sure, but that doesn't mean that there's nearly enough interesting, let alone unique, content throughout the levels to warrant any recommendation from me.
While Dread Hunger aims to freshen up a rather burnt-out genre due to the likes of TTT and Among us, there isn't enough reason to keep playing over and over again. Roleplaying is moreso encouraged than required, causing games to get repetitive quickly. Not only that, but the lack of story leaves this game ending on a disappointing note, especially since it immediately promises that it will play a key role throughout the experience.
The story is lackluster, the microtransactions are everywhere, but everything else is amazing; it's like being on a rollercoaster ride every single second you play. Ubisoft put its heart and soul into developing every location just so that each race and each moment feels immensely different from the next. It's an absolutely thrilling, immersive experience that does well to keep you entertained for hours and hours on end. If only you could spend more time racing people instead of bots, then it'd really feel like you're working to become the amazing triathlete Riders Republic wants you to be.
Aragami 2 is so ridiculously easy that you can breathe in its general direction and you've exploited some gameplay mechanic. It's great for those who like speedrunning, or those who might not have a lot of time in their day, but if you're hoping for the slow and methodical stealth gameplay of Aragami 1 then you won't find it in the sequel. Just like most developers (eyeing you Ubisoft over Splinter Cell) it seems working gameplay formulas mean bugger all.
Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos has a lot of obstacles in its way from becoming a solid gem worth your time. The first few hours are a bit of a drag to get through since the majority of this time you'll spend either hating the dialogue or hating the difficulty from the (more predetermined than random) RNG that this game employs. Trudge through this and you'll find that the learning curve gets easier, the writing simmers down a bit, but the difficulty still remains the same.
Maskmaker feels like it's going to give you full control over the game, then it takes it away from you and does it for you. The parts it gives you full control over, however, tend to be exceptionally tedious. The crafting system is great when the game wants it to be, and I loved exploring every nook and cranny that the game had to off, but in short, while the game feels like a bedtime story, ultimately it's just that --- there's not much lucidity that you'd expect from a VR game, and it feels more like an on-rails experience.
SWARM is a really difficult, yet immensely rewarding VR game. It's designed to stress you out both physically and mentally, but once you break that barrier and keep your rhythm going, nothing can stop you. The art style is pleasant, it lacks visual issues that plague many other Oculus Quest titles, and it's just overall incredibly fun to play for hours on end.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 for the PS5 is a great PlayStation game, but not necessarily a great PS5 game. It's still a ton of fun to play, with no noticeable bugs or glitches. However, the only utilized PS5 feature is improved loading times. Adaptic triggers and haptic feedback felt largely unused, so much so it felt more like I was playing with a PS4 controller. Nonetheless, that doesn't stop this remake from being amazing --- it's still a ton of fun to play, and for new players there's plenty of content to chew through that you won't necessarily be missing those missed DualSense features.
There are not many games that are marred with so many issues as Flow Weaver. The gameplay is boring, the texture quality is akin to a PS1 game, the story is barely interesting, and there are far too many bugs and glitches to count. Trudging through the mess that this game is, the only redeemable quality is the dimension-hopping --- a great idea that definitely needs to be implemented properly. As for now, Flow Weaver is not one I'd recommend getting your hands on.
Pumpkin Jack is a superb game, but its flaws come baring teeth once the glass shatters and you start to notice them. The combat is fun and rewarding, the writing and story are fantastic, but there are certain parts of the game that fall short. Plus, for no more than 3 hours of playtime to finish, that $30 price tag is pretty hefty. Putting that aside, every single moment of that short playtime is fantastic. I loved every minute of it, and there's no doubt that developer Nicolas Meyssonnier made something extra special here.
Curse of the Dead Gods is fantastic. The gameplay, while incredibly challenging, is still fun and immensely rewarding. It's so satisfying to finally complete a dungeon after spending hours grinding there. It's a roguelite in nearly the best sense of the word, with the only downside being that there's no established story; no tangible endgame.
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is fantastic. It's a highly immersive experience with great writing that will have you fall in love with some characters and hate others, while also giving you the opportunity to live out your rogue fantasies. Every minute is a genuinely fun DnD-esque experience, even when having to study for a test or have the protagonist complete tasks like learning how to lockpick or fight. A definite must-have for any isometric RPG fans.
Call of the Sea might be short, but it's a highly rewarding puzzle game with a fascinating narrative that keeps getting better and better as the game slowly reveals the truth to you. It's a fully engrossing experience that showcases the best parts of the Lovecraftian genre, but makes it fully accessible to players who want to experience the mystery but none of the horror.
Spirit of the North may look beautiful, sound beautiful, but is a confusing and boring mess. It tries too hard to be artsy while disregarding the importance of fun gameplay and an interesting story. During their short playtime, players are required to interpret the weak narrative and their overall purpose in the game. The only replayability comes from completing the collect-a-thon. However, that provides zero satisfaction to the player and has a hard time trying to stay relevant to the gameplay and story at large.
Thief Simulator VR is just Thief Simulator as a VR port. There have been no improvements made over the original PC version to justify getting it in VR. Even if the gameplay is fun, and the sense of realism has been carried over from the PC game, there are numerous VR-specific problems that will quickly break the immersion. It's a largely uncomfortable experience that has a lot of technical issues.
Cloudpunk started off unique and interesting; you're new to its world and are exploring it alongside the main character, Rania. Eventually, you'll realize it's only a cyberpunk delivery simulator with cringey voice acting and an even worse script. By that point, the game loses any redeemable qualities and becomes a burden to play. Just like the main character, and the mechanics, the game has little to no substance to offer.