The Medium is a very dark story dripping with moody atmosphere and ambience. It has an old-school horror feel like the earlier Resident Evil games, but without jump scares. The thick ambience makes the environments very interesting to explore, as you uncover the twisted truth. I very much enjoyed my time investigating the cursed Niwa Resort, and uncovering the truth of the “Niwa Massacre.” However, it should be noted that the story includes some very dark subject matter, including child abuse. Players will get a glimpse into the minds of a number of characters along the way. It is a thought provoking story with an intentionally ambiguous ending. The weak point for The Medium may be replayability, but it does have a bunch of achievements and collectibles to get. The story is good enough that it will still easily be worth replaying again later on. I finished the game in 11 hours according to Steam, with the vast majority of the achievements. The Medium is available on Steam for $49.99, as well as on Xbox Series X|S. Are you ready to brave the darkness, free trapped spirits, and uncover the twisted truth of the abandoned Niwa Resort?
Golden Force attempts to relive the retro gameplay of yesteryear but, in some ways, falls on its own sword due to a number of issues. It is marketed as “Old school difficulty (but not so frustrating).” This ends up not being quite so true because of the aforementioned gameplay and technical issues, which range from instances of poor level design to noticeable frame rate issues. If you are not hardcore, then I can’t recommend this game due to the punishing gameplay. If you’re interested, I’d say this is probably one to grab when on sale unless you’re sure you’ll enjoy it. Some of the special collectibles are very hard to find, and between that and improving your performance on each stage, it will keep you busy for a long while. It’s certainly not the best retro-inspired title out there, as there are certainly a number of others that play better than this one. Golden Force is available on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $19.99, as well as on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It is also coming to Steam sometime in Q1 2021.
Overall, I quite enjoyed my time with Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut. It was a fun little Metroidvania-style adventure that took me the majority of 10 hours to complete. I collected all of the Magic Jams and got all of the abilities and perks from the shop. I had a lot of fun with the game, and it still holds up pretty well by today’s standards for the most part. The biggest flaw is probably just that it could use a better map system. You can download a copy from the Nintendo Switch eShop for $9.99. Can you put a stop to Risky Boots’ evil plot in order to save Sequin Land, Scuttle Town, and your uncle?
Picklock is a fun little indie puzzle game, but, unfortunately, its execution is significantly marred by the grating issues discussed above. The game just feels unpolished and also too short after its abrupt ending. For the most part, Picklock is just a series of missions to beat. You can try to get a perfect run on each one, but this won’t add much extra gameplay. I beat the game with all missions cleared with a perfect score in around 5 hours. In addition to being short, another issue is that all of the stuff you can buy is just cosmetic and has no real effect on the game. Getting a new car just changes what car you see in the cutscenes when you go to locations on the map. Redesigning the interior of your house just changes how it looks. The four exotic properties you can purchase are just static scenes showing your character relaxing, with one or two other animated characters, and maybe some animated water. All you can do when you go to one of these places is listen to a relaxing, tropical themed music track until you decide to open the pause menu and leave. They are accessed via the real estate agency in town. Some players may also be annoyed that once you’ve gotten all the money you can in the game, it’s not enough to get everything. As a result, you’ll have to forego at least one thing in the shops. If you’re interested in the game, it’s one that you may want to wait for a sale on. Picklock is available on the Nintendo eShop for $7.99, as well as on Steam.
Overall, Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted can be a fun game in spite of its flaws. I imagine most players will want to play it in a darkened room for improved atmosphere, but you’ll get used to the jump scares fairly quickly. I like horror games, but I personally have no desire to play them in VR! So I really wasn’t too bothered by this version of the game not being in VR. If you really want to play this one in VR, you can get the original Steam version of the game, which also happens to be cheaper. The Nintendo Switch version is available on the eShop for $29.99. It is also available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. I got through all of the normal mode levels and collected most of the Faz Tokens in around 10 hours or so, but there is a lot more content in hard mode. A few of the Faz Tokens and cassette tapes are hiding in hard mode too, so there is a bunch of additional gameplay beyond normal mode. Can you survive the night and avoid the rogue animatronics that are out to get you from the shadows?
Spiritfarer is a fun little game, and it will keep you busy for quite a while. I’ve been playing for over 30 hours, and that’s not 100% completion of everything in the game. It tells a touching tale about death, but does so while not being sappy. The game also features a number of Steam achievements. Overall, it’s still a pretty good game, though. Spiritfarer is available on Steam (and other platforms) for $29.99. Can you help all of the lost souls pass on and reach the end of your own story?
Radical Rabbit Stew is a fun little romp through a zany, retro-themed world. Whacking rabbits around with your super spoon is a fun main mechanic, complimented by a number of others along the way. You may find yourself scratching your head a few times at some of the puzzles, but it’s definitely a good game. Perhaps its biggest flaw is that it is on the short side, but it makes up for this with a built-in level editor, allowing players to create and share their own levels! For the Steam version being reviewed here, this is done via Steam Workshop. The editor lets you select items from various wheels, similar to what Nintendo did in Mario Maker 2. Steam says I’ve spent between 6 and 7 hours in the main adventure, and that includes collecting all of the blue coins, which nets you an extra secret after the credits roll. Radical Rabbit Stew is available on the Steam Store for $15.99. You can also find it on several other platforms. Can you whack your way through all the rabbit queen’s minions and defeat her to rescue the legendary space chefs?
Skelattack is a fun little romp through the underworld to save it from the pesky humans. Its biggest flaw may just be that you’ll feel like it’s over too soon. However, the story is a little deeper than you may expect, though not super deep. Skully will uncover truths about his own past life, the true motives of the humans, and more. However, the lore text is entirely optional, as you will only see the lore you’ve collected if you go to the Aftervale library to read it. So it won’t annoy you if you don’t care about it, though I personally like it. It provides some extra details beyond the main story. My adventure in the afterlife came to a victorious end after a handful of hours or so. My playtime is too short to get an exact number from the profile screen on my Switch. This game doesn’t have the most replay value in the world, but you can always replay it to try to find stuff you missed last time. It is still fun and charming enough to be worth more playthroughs anyway. All in all, Skelattack is a fun, charming little indie game. It is available in the Nintendo Switch eShop for $19.99, though this price point may be too high for some based on the amount of content. You can also find the game on Steam, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Will you risk breaking your bones to save the underworld and dare to learn about your own past life?
Just realize this is not the most polished game in existence. It’s just a bit rough around the edges as I mentioned. I ran my station for a little over 15 hours until it unfortunately went bankrupt! This is a game over for you if that happens, but you can always jump back to one of your recent saves and try to rescue your station from reaching that fate again. STATIONflow is available on Steam for $17.99, and the soundtrack is also available to purchase if you wish. Can you juggle facilities and keep all of your guests happy to run a successful underground station?
3000th Duel blends metroidvania and souls-like, but this leads it to alternate between fun and annoying with how some bosses will seriously block your ability to make progress. If you aren’t into difficult games, then some of the bosses will likely spoil the experience for you. Some of them can feel incredibly cheap on your early attempts, killing you in seconds numerous times when you meet them. As you progress, you get to build out your character’s stats in the way of your choosing via the level up statues. Combine that with the myriad of weapons, occults, and items you’ll find, and you have a ton of options for how to build up your hero and play the game. You also can’t unlock the entire skill tree in one playthrough, since the the hero’s max level is capped at 99. So there is plenty of replay value here. I’ve spent over 15 hours in this labyrinthian world so far. 3000th Duel is priced at $14.99 on the Nintendo Switch eShop, and you can also find it on Steam. Are you tough enough to survive and uncover the shocking truth about your own identity?