Somerville feels like great ambition being stretched a little thin, and fundamentally, the way it feels to actually play makes me wish it spent a little longer in the oven, refining and polishing the best parts. Fans of the genre, and sci-fi fans in particular will absolutely find a lot to love in this 5 hour or so adventure, but once the credits roll, you may be left feeling more than a little underwhelmed.
As finer an example of “AAA” Hollywood gaming spectacle as ever there was – full of incredible visuals and set-pieces with a tonne of gameplay variety and only a few moments that fall flat. It can’t help but occasionally feel to be a greatest hits collection of previous Call of Duty moments at times, despite the earnest and well intentioned efforts to mix things up a bit, and that’s okay. For fans of the series, they’ll be more than satisfied.
So LEGO: Brick Tales then - a bright, colourful and certainly more creative take on LEGO in its digital form. While there's some fiddly controls at times, it's all quite charming and relaxing - and as the rest of the package is so wonderfully put together, it's hard to gripe too much about a fussy control scheme.
As a big fan of cinema and storytelling, I enjoyed the attempt at a mostly well told, if somewhat predictable yarn, full of plot twists and surprises, particularly with friends in tow. For those of us out there that like a little more traditional gameplay in our games, you may find yourselves wanting, but as it releases straight on to Xbox Game Pass at launch, I expect As Dusk Falls to surprise and delight more than few naysayers out there – myself included.
Chorus is a slick, well made game and fans of the genre will find a lot to like, and perhaps even love here. It controls like a dream, looks gorgeous to boot and while the plot left me a bit cold at times, it’s hard not to admire the work and effort put in overall. If you want to become an ace pilot working with a surly sentient space fighter to take down an evil empire and free the galaxy this Christmas, you’d be hard pressed to find a better use of your time.
A Builders Journey does a lot of things right throughout it’s short playtime, with gorgeously designed levels and imaginative puzzle design through to its themes of play and creativity – and the often unwanted responsibilities that can interrupt it. It doesn’t get everything right, but then it’s so short lived it’s hard not to be entirely charmed by it anyway. If you’re a fan of puzzle games or Lego in general, you can’t really go wrong here.
In my opinion, it's about the crazy and fun vehicles that would never be given a chance to exist except in our heads - but just as importantly, it's the road of our own imaginations that they drive on. Milestone concentrated on both here, and it has paid off in spades.
It's an incredible achievement for a solo developer, and thanks to its inclusion in Xbox Game Pass, something that plenty of players should at least try – you may find the performances, mystery and intrigue of this small urban apartment are some you just have to experience. Perhaps you can break the loop and discover what's happening to you – and why.
Should you play it? That’s the big question, isn’t it? I think, now that the dust has settled, and most of the bugs have been resolved, it’s still worth a go – especially if you’re a fan of either franchise. But beneath the lovingly crafted veneer, the longstanding issues that have plagued Sea of Thieves since it’s launch are still prevalent. Average combat and poor signposting for new players, if this was your introduction to Sea of Thieves, you may be left scratching your head and wondering what all the fuss was about.
Rain on Your Parade is a wonderful little puzzle game with a lot of heart, imagination and some occasionally laugh out loud moments. While it won’t last forever, there’s more than enough here to enjoy on a rainy day and would certainly bring its own kind of sunshine.
For those that love projects that take a few risks and try to do something different, you’ll find plenty to enjoy here. The imagination and variety on display is frankly phenomenal, and as fan of experiments and risks in this medium, I’m left thoroughly impressed. But if you can slip on a good pair of headphones, and imagine yourself in a smoky jazz club with a drink in hand, I think you’ll have a very good time indeed.
Killer Queen Black is a brilliant fusion of platforming, combat and strategy, and if you’ve yet to give it a download, you won’t be disappointed if you do. When you find yourself shouting SNAIL! at the top of your lungs, I suspect the game will already have you hooked.
Little Nightmares II then – a grimy, grotesque and greasy journey through a city of nightmares, it’s inhabitants a collection of melted skin and incorrect proportions, a twisted take on the world around us, with everything good and pure buried under an all powerful darkness. A journey worth not just experiencing, but one you deserve to survive through too. Will you be able to recall all the details once you’ve woken up? Probably – but you may not want to do so. Not yet. Let the nightmare fade first. Let the light come back in.
This is not a particularly forgiving game, and for folks out there that want to see just how good it can look on your screen at home, you may find yourself unable to penetrate the heart of the simulation that lies under this beautifully crafted fuselage. And that’s okay – not every game can be made for every player out there. There’s an enormous amount of enjoyment to be had in just exploring, and that speaks to me in a way not a lot of games have over the years. Cruising at 30,000 feet with the hum of the engine, the rattle of turbulence and the world below me, available in a way it never has been is absolutely worth sending a postcard home about.
Sea of Thieves isn’t for everyone. After all, neither was the life of a Pirate. But if you have the time, the friends and the heart to take it on, it can reward you not just with treasure and glory, but with memories that will stay with you, long after your Pirate Legend has faded into myth.
In lesser hands, this game could have quickly worn out its welcome, but Australian developer House House should be applauded here. What apparently began as a joke between the developers online, has eventually culminated in one of the most memorable games of 2019. Geese are jerks. Go live their dream.
Overall I enjoyed the heck out of Fallen Order. The characters kept me engaged, the combat challenged me. Even after beating the story, I can go back and collect secrets to find out more about the worlds in Fallen Order, collect more lightsaber parts, upgrade my skills to the max and continue to have engaging fights. What is more amazing is that this is a game from a developer, Respawn, who is known for it’s Titanfall series and very popular Battle Royal, Apex Legends. It is amazing to see a developer step out of its comfort zone and into a different genre. It is definitely worth a pick up and my favorite game this year overall.
Lonely Mountains: Downhill is a both a relaxing and invigorating change to most games of its nature, in addition to being a game that requires precision, skill and patience to really get the most out of it. Either way you roll, I’d wholeheartedly recommend picking this up – I haven’t screamed “F**K!” at my screen when I’ve screwed up with this much earnest all generation. Back to the checkpoint. Stupid tree.