Metroid Dread is one of the finest games to release this year. It not only encapsulates everything that makes Metroid, Metroid, but it does so in a way that feels new and fresh. Dread stands on its own two feet and demands to be played. The genre has been missing its namesake for far too long now, so I am happy to say that Dread is a worthy crown-bearer. I hope to see more from Samus, Nintendo, and Mercury Stream in the future.
Xuan Yuan Sword 7’s biggest sin is that it’s boring. Really boring. It might look nice, sound great, and be steeped in culture, but actually playing is closer to a chore than anything else. It’s also really long, coming in at 20+ hours. The gameplay on offer here can barely sustain a game half – or even a quarter – of that length. This is scratching at the heels of mediocrity, and it’s not with the time.
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is a roaring success and a fitting anniversary title for a mostly forgotten series. When it comes to fun, challenge, and charm, Banana Mania delivers in spades. It’s a crying shame about a lack of online, even if the leaderboards were a neat inclusion. I don’t think I have smiled, raged, paddied, and cheered this much in any other game this year. It’s a good time to monkey around, and I am excited to see what the future holds for the series.
Overall, The Medium left me with feelings of general frustration. Not at the quality of the game, or the mechanics themselves, but the length of the ride. The game is simply too long and the vast majority of my issues are a result of the core game growing stale, or the story being broken up by long stretches of nothing. All that being said, I had a good time with The Medium. It’s not something I’d recommend people rush out and buy at full price, but it’s certainly a game worth experiencing.
Overall, Monster Train is outstanding. The few issues I have with it are minor at best, and what the game delivers shines through with ease. This is not only the best Roguelike I’ve played all year, but quite possibly the best game. Period. It’s taken four long years for the genre to move beyond Spire, and Monster Train manages to stand beside that titan and carve its own path to greatness. This is highly recommended for any Switch owner.
Overall Islanders is a game that I was not expecting to like - at all. It didn’t take long for it to sink its hooks into me and gently coerced me down a winding path of tranquillity. Genre be damned, in a world full of elevated heart rates and perpetual soul-crushing stress, Islanders is a nice break from reality. Its gaminess can be a bit off at times, but for the most part, this is a fantastic hybrid of a game.
Fort Triumph isn’t a bad game. I’d even consider it a good game for a little while. Its issues are its general lack of polish and how quickly every one of its systems dull by the end of the first or second act, let alone the final act of the fourth campaign. There is oodles of content on offer here, it just wasn’t worth experiencing to the fullest. This is all made worse by the poor production values and general jank. Probably something to look out for on sale.
NIS Collection Volume 1 is probably not worth buying, and it pains me to say. One of these games is one of the best turn-based strategy games to release on the PS2, and all it needed was a tiny change to its speed. Considering that PC players have been using cheat engines to add in 2x speed increases since the mid-2010’s it’s baffling how this wasn’t just included as standard. Even Soul Nomad could have been redeemed. Alas, what we have here is a cheap cash grab that does nothing obscure that intent. If you must play Phantom Brave on Switch, then this might be worth it on sale.
Fly Together is a fantastic little game with hodds of content in both single-player and multiplayer. It ties it all together nicely with solid production values and good, old-fashioned, ale-ridden tomfoolery. Puzzle fans should get a kick out of this, and anyone looking for a new conversation starter during a games night should totally give this a gander.
Neptunia ReVerse is a bad game. What few redeeming qualities it has, are completely overshadowed by the sheer weight and magnitude of its negatives. This is a bland, repetitive, and sometimes disturbing jaunt through a world that is not worth experiencing. Neptunia can ReVerse out of my PS5 and find sanctuary in the nearest bin.