J. Brodie Shirey
In keeping with the tradition of past Jackbox Party Pack editions, Jackbox Party Pack 8 contains a lot of variety for its price tag, as well as plenty of cartoonish charm and some intuitive touchscreen gameplay. From the trivia of The Wheel of Enormous Proportions and the Pictionary-style fun of Drawful Animate to the chilling murder mystery of Weapons Drawn, this quirky minigame collection could make for a nice source of entertainment at the next family gathering or holiday party.
As is the case with many battle royale titles, a player’s enjoyment of Super Animal Royale might ultimately boil down to how quickly they can get a handle on the game’s simple mechanics - and how many near-instant deaths they’re willing to put up with to get to that point. Still, Super Animal Royale contains enough charm and cute unlockables to give it that “one more game” factor, and there is enough bite-size fun to make it a decent time-waster for those so inclined.
Guardians Of Hyelore’s auto-pilot combat isn’t for everyone, and the game might grow dull in prolonged sessions. However, there’s an oddly hypnotic feeling to summoning new units as old ones fall in the heat of battle, and building Guardians' stats by equipping and combing items carries some element of strategy. As such, Guardians Of Hyelore is a reasonable time-waster in short bursts, but those expecting a deep tactical experience should look elsewhere.
Cris Tales embraces the old model of JRPGs, making it feel like a well-worn experience for seasoned fans of the genre. All of the charm, whimsy, and innocence of Final Fantasy and The Legend Of Zelda ooze throughout the game’s setting and characters, but Crisbell’s time powers provide a fun new spin on the classic turn-based combat. Cris Tales isn’t that difficult either, making it a good choice for beginners looking to get into turn-based RPGs.
Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered is a solid update to a classic racing title, bringing the fun gameplay and blistering action of 2010's original to current systems with improved online functionality and new graphics. Whether choosing to burn rubber as an outlaw racer or a cop, this is now the best way to experience the thrills of Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit either for the first time or all over again.
Iratus: Lord of the Dead - Wrath of the Necromancer largely feels like more of the same, but given how fun the main game is this isn't a bad thing. The new content provides plenty of challenge and variety for would-be conquerers looking to unleash their undead hordes upon the world, and players who loved Iratus’ macabre tone and minion-crafting gameplay will enjoy facing off against the new foes provided in Wrath Of The Necromancer - that is, if they survive.