It does speak to where Rhythm Sprout‘s interests in difficulty tend to lie, though. It’s a game that has a clear interest in providing challenge wherever possible, and it’s very good at doing that. It thankfully doesn’t forget approachability in that pursuit, but your mileage may vary on its effectiveness. If you’re able to put up with some of the more demanding levels, though, Rhythm Sprout is worth your time.
The ease with which A Space for the Unbound can bounce between tonal shifts – the goofy and sincere, the difficult and moving, the supernatural and the grounded – without feeling at odds with itself speaks to the strength of both the story and the writing as a whole. It’s a carefully crafted game, one that succeeds at almost every turn, spinning a deeply moving and touching story all the while. After last year’s cavalcade of strong stories in games, with any luck, A Space for the Unbound will herald another coming of incredible stories in games this year.
With the addition of cross-play, Them’s Fightin’ Herds‘ console debut makes an already great game even better.. As more and more games steadily adopt that standard, for fighting games especially, it becomes easier and easier to grow and keep a community alive since there’s no worrying over which platform is the most populated, as has so often been the case for many fighting games over the years. Them’s Fightin’ Herds has already been getting by just fine, but now, so many more avenues to play, it’ll hopefully be able to thrive even more.
The Entropy Centre doesn’t dwell too much on the story, though. While the slow reveal of what’s going on is delivered well and the growing friendship between Aria and Astra works and is fun to watch, it’s much more focused on being a great puzzle game first and foremost, which it is unequivocally a success at. The Entropy Centre‘s light use of time manipulation serves as the basis for some clever and satisfying puzzles, easily putting it among some of the best of the genre.
In a time where games are frequently seeing full-scale remakes, often trying to replace the original works in the process, to see a classic come back out with only the smallest of changes made is welcome. And with the original game still readily available on Steam, Shatter Remastered Deluxe isn’t seeking to replace the original: it’s just an opportunity to bring the game back into the spotlight. If re-releases remain the best means to achieve that currently, then at least Shatter Remastered Deluxe takes the right approach.
Betrayal At Club Low‘s humor may be one of its draws, but the way it plays with dice rolls and captures the sensibilities of tabletop games is what makes it shine. The myriad ways any one playthrough can go – or a single roll even – make it a joy to constantly revisit and see what happens if you try this instead of that. This is my first experience with a Cosmo D game (I’ve meant to play Off-Peak for ages but haven’t because I’m terrible) and I feel like a fool for putting them off for so long. If this is just a peek at what the stories of Off-Peak City has to offer, I’m very excited to see what else this surreal world has in store.
As more and more games take inspiration from the Souls games and play with those mechanics, I hope more consider taking Thymesia‘s tack of seeing what removing a fundamental aspect has. The Souls-like designation is more than just mechanics at this point, I think, and seeing more games challenge what genre entails is something I’d like to see. Thymesia‘s choice to remove stamina is odd on its face, but the results speak for themselves.
But also like Mario Party, the actual competitive aspects are moot. Kirby’s Dream Buffet is a party game first and foremost. These sorts of games aren’t meant to be super balanced competitive experiences, but something you can just load up and have some fun with and maybe get a few laughs out of. To that end, Kirby’s Dream Buffet is successful. It’s rather slight overall – you can easily get your fill in just a few games since there isn’t a whole lot to it – but enjoyable even so.
Once a run gets underway and everything starts to click, it’s a good time. Being able to construct a build fully formed before you make another attempt at the 50 level gauntlet that Blacken Slash presents is a great hook that the game delivers on splendidly. I’m probably a long way out from actually getting a win still, but at least I’m always getting somewhere in the meantime.
It’s hard to know what DNF Duel will look like in a year’s time, let alone a few months. Fighting games get huge updates so frequently these days it’s impossible to know what form they’ll take in the long term, whether due to the developers deciding to make massive changes or the meta shifting in such a way that pigeon-holes the greater play dynamics. Right now, though, it’s a ton of fun and relatively easy to hop in and just start pressing buttons. Hopefully it can stay that way for a while because it’s nice to have something to just turn on and get some quick sets in without feeling like I need to actually put in actual work to do anything.
Puzzle games are good because you can take just about any premise and turn it into something fun. Building snowmen in A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build, guiding water to create waterfalls in Spring Falls, splicing microbes in Splice… just about anything can be turned into a puzzle. In the case of Freshly Frosted, that’s building donut factories.
It’s easy to imagine another version of Card Shark where every trick becomes far more involved on the input side of things to try creating a more one-to-one imitation of the movements, thereby making every step a more delicate process. And that version might be good too, but that they can feel satisfying to pull off with such simple inputs while still seeming complex is a definite achievement; not only for the way it makes them more easily accessible but the ways it still feels like you’re shuffling the deck or pulling sleight of hand maneuvers.
Loot River’s pitch is a strong one. Described as “Dark Souls meets Tetris,” Loot River is a roguelike wherein you move platforms (often in the shape of Tetris blocks) around while fighting enemies in Souls-like combat. It’s a roguelike that combines light puzzle solving in how to navigate the game’s tight corridors using the large platforms (especially when you’re trying to grab a treasure chest) and the lethal nature of Souls-like combat splendidly.
Tunic is defined by its mysteries. It’s a game that purposefully obfuscates much of the experience. Its world is packed full of secrets to find and hidden puzzles to solve. It gives back as much as you’re willing to invest. It can just be a simple adventure starring a cute fox. Or it can be a really involved puzzle that requires a ton of patience and fortitude to solve. I’m very excited to see everyone else get their hands on Tunic and start figuring out its many mysteries. I expect everything will be cataloged and be a quick google search away in due time, but until then, the process of discovery should be a fun one.
When Tails of Iron works, it works. There’s a weight to combat that makes each hit feel powerful, the sounds of weapons clanging against each other and the smooth animations demonstrating the force put behind each strike. It’s fast and lethal, a few good hits all it takes to be within death’s grasp. It’s difficult, but thrilling when everything clicks. But there’s only so much I can push through the less enjoyable sections, only so much I can bang my head against the wall that is certain bosses before I lose interest.