I have enjoyed my 25+ hours with Garden Story for Switch so far. While I have cleared the story, there are still a few upgrades I don’t have, and more cosmetic unlockables to get for Concord to wear. The game is a very chill, relaxing adventure, aside from the bosses which are more hardcore for some reason. However, casual players can still enjoy it using the option to disable death if they so choose. I prefer not to use such an option unless necessary, but it’s a nice inclusion if you want it. The game is marred by a few relatively minor flaws, like the previously mentioned inventory issues. However, it’s a rather unique and enjoyable little journey overall. You can nab Garden Story on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $19.99, and it is also on Steam. Can you help Concord, the unlikely grape hero, restore peace to an ailing grove?
Chernobylite is an enjoyable sci-fi romp through the exclusion zone surrounding the infamous, failed power plant. I’ve racked up 39 hours in the game, which was enough to get all the achievements. However, there are also multiple endings, though you don’t need to replay the entire game to get them all. The game recently arrived on PC (Steam and GOG). Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions will arrive in September. Subsequently, the Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 will get the game sometime thereafter. Chernobylite is currently available on Steam and GOG for $29.99. Do you have what it takes to survive the Chernobyl exclusion zone, and complete your mission with all team members alive?
Overall, I quite enjoyed my time with UnderMine. It takes a fair amount of time to beat the game, at least 20-40 hours. That’s highly dependent on your skill level, of course. There is also a hidden mode to unlock, called OtherMine. To overcome it, you’ll have to push forward without the benefit of permanent progression upgrades like you’ve had in the main campaign. Naturally, this means you’ll have to make do with the random items you find along the way. UnderMine is available on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $19.99. You can also find it on Steam and Xbox. Do you have what it takes to conquer the mines, and the OtherMine?
Nightdive Studios put a lot of work into Shadow Man Remastered. It's time for Mike LeRoi to brave the depths of Deadside once more to save the world of the living. This time around, he'll explore three large new levels that were unfortunately cut from the original game. Luckily, Nightdive Studios even went so far as to rebuild some of them from scratch to make this remaster be what the original developers intended.
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?