J. Brodie Shirey
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Blue Reflection: Second Light might not break any molds when it comes to JRPGs, but it does a solid job blending different gameplay mechanics with an emotional tale of reconnecting to old friends and making peace with the past. Players who enjoyed the social interactions and teen drama of modern Persona games should feel right at home here, as Blue Reflection: Second Light has all the ingredients of a decent anime-style high school adventure.
Rogue Invader can be a bit of a grind at first, since players will likely play through the opening area quite a few times before they can gather enough resources for a good loadout. Even players who put together a solid build will likely see their efforts swiftly undone by a sudden death. All the same, the game contains plenty of retro charm and challenge for players willing to push through the intense difficulty level.
Players willing to push through some frustration, however, will find a macabre yet charming experience that harkens back to gaming’s early years. Infernax is a solid tribute to the Castlevania series and a fun time for anyone looking for an old-school monster-slaying dungeon crawler.
WWE 2K22 isn’t a perfect reinvention of 2K Games’ wrestling series, but it provides solid gameplay and plenty of variety in its many game modes, and the presentation throughout is top-notch. It’s clear that Visual Concepts utilized the extra time afforded to it by WWE 2K22’s longer development cycle well, providing wrestling fans with a worthwhile experience that redeems the franchise for its previous losses in the squared circle.
King Arthur: Knight’s Tale is solid point-and-click turn-based action, but players should note that it takes some time to level up due to the lack of a mission replay feature, and a considerable amount of gold being required to enable healing for multiple party members. Diehard tactical fans might be interested in what King Arthur: Knight's Tale has to offer, but newcomers to the genre might wish to cut their teeth elsewhere.
It might take some time to get used to Hardspace: Shipbreaker’s controls and zero-gravity movement, but tearing apart abandoned shuttles in the void of space is surprisingly soothing and engaging. While some areas of the game are somewhat unpolished, Hardspace: Shipbreaker is a solid time for those looking to live out the fantasy of a space salvager.
Despite its cute and nostalgic presentation, TOKOYO: The Tower of Perpetuity contains a considerable amount of challenge, and players should expect to die many times while playing. However, there is also plenty of variety, as the constantly changing layout and random power-ups ensure that no two playthroughs are identical. Overall, TOKOYO: The Tower of Perpetuity is a fun-yet-punishing platformer that can be enjoyed in bite-sized intervals - though longer playthroughs might be tedious for some.
While the game’s difficulty is a bit uneven and movement can be stiff at times, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge largely succeeds as a love letter to not only the classic TMNT side-scrollers of old, but the franchise as a whole. With Shredder’s Revenge now in the wild and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Cowabunga Collection set to launch on consoles later this year, it’s safe to say that fans of the Heroes-In-A-Half-Shell have no shortage of retro-style gaming action in 2022.
For better or worse, No More Heroes 3 is pretty much more of the first two games with a new coat of paint. All of Grasshopper Manufacture’s wild action, bizarre storylines, and offbeat characters are present and accounted for, as is the often-tedious grind needed to progress to the next high-octane boss fight. However, for fans of the series, No More Heroes III is still a fine send-off for Travis Touchdown and his supporting cast.