Pokémon Scarlet/Violet is a potential 10/10 game, trapped behind severe issues. I personally had some of the most fun I’ve had with any game all year, but there’s a lot to criticize and it certainly shouldn’t have been released in the state it was. It does bring up a conflict in terms of scoring and not everyone will agree, but I feel recommending it is still fair due to all the positives and the sheer amount of fun I had with it – if not at such a high rating
Saints Row (2022) is a mixed bag. The story and characters are only decent and there are a lot of bugs to iron out. The gameplay has only slightly changed since the previous games. That said, the character’s interactions made me laugh and the gameplay is just enjoyable, with a few improvements over the past games' already solid gameplay and a ton to do. I found it difficult to rate this one. There are a lot of points where I feel it could be better, but I still enjoyed many elements of this. It’s one that I somewhat reluctantly recommend.
Renai X Royale - Love's a Battle had me laughing from start to finish. It won’t be for everyone with its fourth-wall breaking and focus on comedic characters over romance routes, but it’s a ton of fun. I really appreciated how even side characters had their moments to shine too.
Dyschronia: Chronos Alternate – Episode 1 has a fascinating world and engaging mysteries to solve. It hooked me from the start and just kept getting better. While the other games in the wider franchise use time looping, it does it here in a much more interesting way. While I did bring up a few issues, Dyschronia: Chronos Alternate – Episode 1 is a story worth experiencing. I’m looking forward to seeing what Episodes 2 and 3 bring.
Cult of the Lamb was one of those games that I just couldn’t put down. I completed it in about seventeen hours, but each time I played it started as intending to play for an hour and then not realizing that hours had passed. The combat is fun and always feels fresh. The base-building aspects give tons of choices in how you grow. More important, Cult of the Lamb ties these together in a way that kept me wanting that next improvement or to defeat the next stage.
If you enjoyed the original Making Lovers, you’ll enjoy Making Lovers After Stories. While it often focuses even more than the original on the comedy, there are still romantic moments here. In the end, it’s just a short collection of follow-up scenes and as long as you go in expecting that, you won’t be disappointed.
Kirby’s Dream Buffet was a pleasant surprise. It's budget-priced, and a lot of fun. It’s certainly no epic adventure like Kirby and the Forgotten Land, but it’s a great party game that’s kept casual and competitive enough for all ages to play.
I enjoyed Digimon Survive as a visual novel and would highly recommend it if that’s all it was. That said, there is some frustration in trying to access all routes, the SRPG combat gets old after a while, and there are a multitude of small issues that do bring the experience down.
If you enjoyed Kinkoi: Golden Loveriche, I’d certainly recommend Kinkoi: Golden Time. While it might not reach the same high points that Golden Loveriche does, it’s consistently great throughout and explores some new characters that we didn’t see enough of the first time.
If you enjoyed Moss, then certainly get Moss: Book II – it’s a true sequel, sticking close but making improvements along the way. If you’ve not played Moss, go and play that, then come back and play Moss: Book II. Just try and play them on a platform with decent tracking.
While minor storytelling and other issues persist, I had a great time playing Yakuza: Like a Dragon. It’s a story of friendship, family, and betrayal with constant twists and turns, set in an intriguing world. It’s all set in a city with tons to do, so it never gets old – or if it does, then you can just hop on a go-kart or go to the arcade for a while.
Nintendo Switch Sports isn’t perfect, but there are certainly improvements to the original formula such as the inclusion of online and the addition of features or modes in some sports. While I doubt it will have the same cultural impact on gaming, it’s certainly still worth picking it up to play with the family or to keep yourself active by challenging others online.
I struggled to rate Café Stella and the Reaper's Butterflies. It does a lot right, but it also does a lot that I didn’t like too. I mostly enjoyed the experience, but I can’t say it left much of an impression on me. It had a few great moments, but no standout plot. Many of the characters I really liked, but some routes fell flat. It has the high quality of a Yuzusoft title in many ways, but it’s the weakest of them that I’ve played. While it’s worth playing, unless you’re particularly into cafes I’d say to wait for a sale.
Dōkyūsei: Bangin’ Summer isn’t perfect, but it does a great job at bringing a classic into the modern era. The remake fixes most of the issues that would make it seem incredibly dated, along with updating it with some beautiful graphics.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga kept me hooked with its huge variety of worlds to experience, activities to do, and things to collect. The humor provided plenty of laughs, and there were plenty of in-jokes for franchise fans. It’s a great way to experience Star Wars all over again.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a far more successful venture into 3D than I first expected. What it lacked in a challenge, it more than made up for in sheer fun and the enjoyment of exploration. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do in the future.
Is Chocobo GP going to knock Mario Kart 8 Deluxe off its pedestal as the best Nintendo Switch kart racer? Certainly not. But it’s certainly a well-made title and plenty of fun, despite some questionable decisions and a lack of anything truly innovative. It’s a pity that many people will overlook it.
I enjoyed Cyberpunk 2077. The story told and moreover the world it built was truly interesting. I’d certainly recommend playing it, but wish it wasn’t held back by gameplay and technical issues, even if it's still fun despite these. I’m glad I waited for the 1.5 update, as it does sound that this is a rather better experience than the one on launch.
KamiYaba: Destiny on a Dicey Deadline is essentially a story about love and getting closer to a heroine. Beyond that, it shows a touching friendship that grows between a group who at first just occupied the same space. While it won’t win any awards for the plot, there are some great characters who I enjoyed spending my time with – and that’s often what people enjoy behind this type of visual novel.