Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is a mixed bag, to say the least. Its strengths don’t necessarily lie in its qualities as a game, but its inclusion in a genre that is inherently addictive. The formula the genre uses has been refined and mastered to the point it has become quite the potent drug, and Olive Town can administer that narcotic effectively when it wants to. The issue is, I found it didn’t have any staying power. I was hooked whilst I was playing, but once I put it down, it was a real struggle to pick it back up. There were just too many niggling little issues that hindered my enjoyment long term. As far as farming-sims go, this one is passable and worth checking out if you have exhausted other, better games in the genre.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of the Forest may have a run-time shorter than its title, it might fumble some of the characters, but it absolutely nails the landing. As someone who is relatively new to Visual Novels, it has opened my eyes to the potential of the genre, the scope in which the genre can encompass, and kept me engaged cover to cover. If you want less anime tiddies, and more gritty, grimdark monster mashing, then I cannot recommend this title enough.
Kowloon High-School Chronicle is a hard game to recommend. It’s old in a way that makes it unpleasant at times, but the core concept is rock solid. Once you get past that initial wall of text, you’re in the clear. That being said, there are much better dungeon crawlers out there, and Kowloon is not good enough to recommend over them. What it has in spades, however, is a theme that is quirky, endearing, outlandish and totally unique. I would wait for a sale before you pick this up, and even then, only if you really appreciate Japanese-Indiana Jones-Anime-Horror-Comedies.
Woodsalt is a mystery wrapped in an enigma tied together with a riddle. A bizarre little title that doesn’t quite know what it wants to be, and therefore has a tendency to elicit a sense of confusion as to why it exists in its current form at all. Its story is genuinely interesting at times - despite pacing issues - but I think it would have been better served as a visual novel. What really killed the game for me, however, was the numerous bugs that took me out of the experience. They halted progress and inevitably broke the game and prevented me from achieving even one of the many endings this game seemingly offers. In its current state, I simply cannot recommend it. If it ever gets fixed, then this might be worth a look
Wonder Blade is far from a bad game. In fact, it was a very enjoyable experience for about an hour. The overall lack of polish in the games finer designs undermine its smooth gameplay and gorgeous visuals, whilst the absence of multiplayer hamstrings its longevity. With a bit more spit and polish, and a couple of mates brandishing Joy-Cons, this could have been quite the hidden gem. Alas, it was not to be.
I enjoyed my time with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. The combat might be clunky, the stealth might be an afterthought and the game might be rougher than a scouring pad, but the game’s story, characters, themes, and world more than made up for these shortcomings. Eivor will go down as one of the better protagonists in the series, and her saga is one that is certainly worth experiencing…ideally after the game has had a patch or two.
Overall Space Crew is a wonderfully addictive little gem. Whilst the games loop can be a tad repetitive, this is an ideal game to take on the go. I’ve sunk an uncomfortable number of hours into this one, and most of that has been in short bursts of stress-filled glee. Space may indeed be the final frontier, but Space Crew boldly goes into its boundless depths and invites you to come along on a jolly adventure.
Overall Wintermoor Tactics Club is an alright game. The story is held up by solid dialogue, an interesting premise, and a cast of characters that are endearing enough to cover up some of the game’s flaws. Unfortunately, those flaws were ultimately too much for me to completely ignore and I left Wintermoor feeling disappointed. This is an incredibly accessible title for gamers who don’t have much experience with Tactical RPGs, however, if you’ve ever seen the box art for a TRPG, then you probably have enough experience to waltz through Wintermoor without breaking a sweat.
I did not enjoy my time with Pathfinder: Kingmaker for the most part. DLC aside, if you wanted to play this game to completion you are looking at a whopping 200 hours or so of content, but when you factor in padding, bad game design, slow everything, and pacing issues then that 200-hour mark feels like a lot of wasted time – which is Pathfinder: Kingmaker in a nutshell really. What this game does well is dragged down by the myriad of things it does poorly. This is simply not a game I can recommend.