Maria Meluso


31 games reviewed
67.2 average score
80 median score
58.6% of games recommended
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Overall, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader is a fun little trivia romp that faithfully adapts the spirit of the original game show. There is a lot to really love about this game, especially the variety and difficulty of the questions, which can pose challenges for players of all ages. The collectibles add another layer to Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader and offer a tangible goal while adding significant replay value. With a few tweaks to the presentation, like tightening the long pauses between segments, the experience could feel far less stilted. If the somewhat dated concept and graphics aren't too off-putting, fans of the show should definitely pick up Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader for the nostalgia factor, and fans of the trivia genre in general should consider adding it to their collection for a new and exciting challenge to face alone or with friends.

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The Academy: The First Riddle is a mystery puzzle adventure game that takes players to boarding school, but it fails to make top marks.

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May 25, 2021

A challenging puzzle game that lacks autonomy.

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Oct 13, 2021

The terror and hindrance effects make each run feel uniquely challenging, and the story events and Disciple traits are where Rogue Lords really shines. Unfortunately, as it stands, Rogue Lords suffers significantly from its lack of balance and the repetitive nature of both runs and combat. It can be difficult to strategize when RNG constantly feels stacked against the player, and being forced to restart a book after a surprise, impossible boss fight is demoralizing. With some retuning, however, Rogue Lords could better capitalize on its great ideas and innovate for the roguelike genre.

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As it is now, it's difficult to recommend Jurassic World Evolution 2 because, despite some great new ideas, the execution feels potentially alienating for its target audience.

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Bugs might frustrate players.

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Oct 6, 2022

Overall, The Fridge is Red succeeds in creating a creepy atmosphere through the use of liminal spaces and excellent sound design. The world immediately pulls players in with its unsettling feeling and almost demands to be explored. However, The Fridge is Red misses the mark significantly due to the lack of consistent scares, often obtuseness of puzzles, and low-quality graphics. The Fridge is Red includes several great ideas, twisting the stress of everyday encounters into something surreal, but they never quite become fully fleshed out, and they become predictable when they all end in more or less the same manner. Players looking for a few hours of new horror content this October could certainly do worse, but The Fridge is Red lacks the depth and frights needed to contend with the best short indie horror games currently dominating the genre.

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For players who enjoyed the base game, Barn Finders Amerykan Dream offers more of the same. There are new opportunities to explore abandoned buildings and bid on valuable storage units, more ways to earn quick money, and a few new puzzles to solve. Like the base game, however, this DLC lacks the challenges, length, and variety needed to maintain player momentum and increase replayability. It feels like developer Duality Games missed an opportunity to introduce more new mechanics and deeper, varied challenges to Barn Finders, and without much extra content in this DLC, it's difficult to justify the price.

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For what it is, Disney Magical World 2 is a fine introduction to gaming for kids, but it could have been much more.

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Unscored - New World
Oct 6, 2021

Overall, however, New World shows a lot of promise and has plenty of room to continue introducing unique and genre-defining ideas to the MMO space.

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Unscored - Coral Island
Oct 11, 2022

The stand-out feature of Coral Island, however, is the message. While it's not completely uncommon to see conservationist messaging in farming simulators, the way conservation and nature exploitation is addressed in Coral Island is integral to the game's story without feeling too preachy. It also combines well with the more metaphysical lore of the island. It's not an especially subtle message, but it is well-incorporated and elevates the story and stakes. Fans of cozy gaming will find a lot to love about Coral Island, and, even in Early Access, there is a polish and sophistication that bodes well for the full release.

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