I would highly recommend Aokana - Four Rhythms Across the Blue to visual novel fans who enjoy either the sports theme or the light comedy style the story is told with. While I did have minor complaints about the romance in most routes, I felt it was one of the best visual novels of 2019.
Sankaku Ren'ai is an absolute riot. The writing and localisation is great, all of the characters are likeable, all of the routes are interesting and production values are high all around. It's certainly very geared towards visual novel fans though - not an entry title.
Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen has an intriguing story, great characters, and a decent SRPG battle system. The story of seeing where Hakuowlo starts and where he goes from there is really the selling point here. I did have some complaints about the censorship going a bit too far and the battle system is not amazing, but overall I highly recommend it. It's certainly a candidate for my best visual novels of 2020 list.
Overall, I really enjoyed Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk DX. In terms of the story and characters, I feel it to be the strongest of the Atelier titles I have experienced so far. While I may have some mixed feelings about the alchemy system and took issue with the difficulty spike, I enjoyed the world, all the side stories experienced along the journey and the relaxed feeling of the game. I highly recommend it.
I would personally recommend Bokuten - Why I Became an Angel, again with the caveat that the reader knows what they are getting themselves into. This is a very sad, emotional experience with some highly disturbing scenes and topics. It is also a very well written visual novel with a great story that I would highly recommend to someone who wants to experience something out of the ordinary.
Gal*Gun 2 is a very well put together game, in my opinion. It’s certainly not one for everybody due to the lewd tone of the game, but the gameplay is incredibly fun and it is paired with a fun story, great characters and high production values. It’s not the cheapest game in the world but it will keep you busy for a good 20 hours or so if you try to complete it or at least six if you rush through once. I personally thought the cost was worth it and it became even better when playing with the optional VR DLC.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 feels like a faithful remake, but still improves in all areas. The only real gripe I have with it is that the controls don’t feel perfect with the analog stick, but that’s minor considering there’s another option. There are a good amount of levels and tons of things to do in them. I really enjoyed it and that’s not just the nostalgia talking.
Despite the difficulties with the structure of the game and accessing different routes, I certainly had a good time reading Robotic;Notes Elite. The mystery unfolded an interesting way, the slightly futuristic setting was easily relatable and a lot of the character interactions and humor kept it going for the more relaxed sections. The production quality was incredibly high too, aside from a few minor parts.
Spelunky 2 takes what made the first game so good and adds to it. It’s a challenge that never seems to get old and it’s easy to find yourself losing track of time, as you have just one more go. There’s a lot to learn about the mines and if you like rogue-lites, you may just find yourself addicted to this one.
Crash Bandicoot 4 is a great challenge and I couldn’t stop playing. It has a ton of variety over quite a lot of levels and the gameplay is genuinely fun. The production values are high and there’s always something to do. It’s a definite improvement on the previous games in the series, despite keeping the same feel. Despite being one of the best games I’ve played recently, I do have one big concern. I could see a lot of people giving up and coming away from this game with a bad impression because of the difficulty. While you can keep trying and trying, many areas are just incredibly difficult and some people won’t be able to pass them. This is not going to be a game for everyone and that's not a bad thing.
In Death: Unchained is one of those addictive games that I keep coming back to. It begs you to try once more to get that little bit further. It keeps things fresh constantly by changing elements. The combat isn’t innovative as several other games have done similar, but it is one of the best implementations of this type of system I’ve seen. There isn’t much I can fault about it.
I’ve played every game in this series now and Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition has been the best so far. The variety of gameplay, the over the top stylish action, the amount of customization, and the just sheer fun of how it plays. I had a really good time with the game. That’s before even considering the graphical improvements. I would have liked to see more unique content in the Vergil playthrough, but that’s a minor gripe and his addition to the roster was very welcome.
Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! is a fun title with great characters, a lot of comedy, and a huge amount of content. It’s very character-focused, but it never feels like this is an issue. While there are some issues around the graphics and sound, the writing is enough to propel it to become one of my favorite visual novels and number 2 on our Top Visual Novels of 2020 list.
I really enjoyed Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy. It felt more of a solid adventure story than some other Atelier games but kept the strong focus on the characters and it had plenty of scenes to get to know them. The gameplay is one of the best I’ve experienced in a JRPG too, through the various traversal options, a wide variety of systems, and genuinely fun battles.
Judgment is a great crime thriller and Kamurocho an amazing place for it to take place in. I enjoyed the story, but I had even more fun just going off and spending time with the wide variety of interesting characters and solving side cases. While there are parts that could be improved, overall I had a great time and feel that most people would.
Lost Judgment feels like a worthy successor to the original. While I feel it’s a great story, perhaps it doesn’t live up to Judgment as a crime thriller. In its place, it makes notable improvements in gameplay and brings in some new elements. I really enjoyed it, but certainly recommend that you go and play the first title, then come back and play this one.
I had a great time with Renai Karichaimashita: Koikari – Love For Hire. I found the comedy hilarious and it never felt like it went overboard. The premise was interesting and it was used well to set up fun situations. The eccentric cast of heroines was particularly great. I hear that the fandiscs are planned to be translated too and I look forward to them.
While I had my issues with the ending of Blue Reflection: Second Light and didn’t feel the overarching plot was amazing, it easily won me over with its strong focus on the characters and their relationships. All those little moments stood out far more than uncovering the mystery of what happened to them. Supported by a particularly solid set of gameplay systems for a JRPG, it’s worth the purchase.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus wants to be the best – and it’s certainly the best there ever was when it comes to Pokémon games. It is slightly held back by the issues on the technical side, but the gameplay kept me invested throughout. I’ve been a fan ever since the original Pokémon Blue, but I’ve never had so much fun with this series before.