Triangle Strategy is absolutely worth the asking price, even if you only play it once. It performs well in so many departments: gameplay, story, visuals, music, controls, and replayability. I’ve had no major complaints. It may take inspiration from venerable classics like Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy Tactics, but Triangle Strategy feels modern enough to be accessible to newcomers. And thanks to the adjustable difficulty, it’s suitable for both SRPG veterans and beginners alike.
Considering the base game had 60 levels, the DLC’s 30 new levels are a very generous offering. I recommend both to Sokoban lovers looking for a tough challenge. Considering the quality of puzzles and the asking price on Steam, both Sokobos and Aphrodite’s Trial are a steal for their price.
To see the game’s ending, you must catch enough bugs to complete all constellations. I haven’t gotten there yet, despite the fact that Paradise Marsh can be finished in about 2 to 4 hours. But this is a game about exploration, where the journey matters more than the destination. If players enjoy an hour or three of wandering this marshy heaven, I think the game has done its job well enough. Though I should mention that the novelty of exploration wore off after about 2 hours, and I didn’t feel like hunting down every last bug. Others may enjoy the game longer than I did. As I said, it’s a matter of taste and mood. And this, too, is quite subjective but I would rate the game higher if I had less of a problem with motion sickness and found gameplay rewarding enough to see Paradise Marsh to its end. Overall, it’s a lovely game and worth trying. Check it out if you’re looking for a game about exploring the outdoors or catching critters.
Lemon Cake is cute and addictive. The basic loop is enjoyable, and there’s a diverse spread of goodies from chocolate croissants and caramel flan to cakes and crumbles. But it’s a slow grind and doesn’t introduce new mechanics along the way. So it won’t engage everyone to the very end, but it’s still keeping my interest. Even when I think I’m spending too much time on this game, I keep returning for more baked goodness. Recommended for fans of time-management games like Diner Dash and Overcooked.
This unique work of interactive fiction is realistic, relevant, and wholesome. Amazing voice actors and great writing have made the characters so real and got me to care about them. Wayward Strand is a game about being there for people. Sometimes that involves being still and doing (seemingly) nothing. These are abilities I feel I’m losing in the age of smartphones. It can be hard to sit with someone in silence, especially when they’re suffering. But this game has given me a little nudge, a little practice, towards being present.
Strange Horticulture is a beautiful investigative game. I was drawn in by immersive writing, simple but rewarding gameplay, and a fine level of polish in visual and sound effects. I loved the quiet, mysterious atmosphere and well-designed puzzles. But looking back, what I liked most were tiny details—sounds, especially. Crinkled pages turning, shop bell ringing, drops of water falling. It’s an experience you want to soak in. That makes Strange Horticulture more than just a puzzle game. If not for inconvenient maneuvering around the interface, I would readily give the Switch version a “Two Thumbs Up”. I imagine the PC version to be a much better, if not perfect, experience.
You don’t have to be a logic puzzle buff to enjoy this. For a game with such challenging puzzles, Treehouse Riddle does a fantastic job of offering assistance to players who need it. The hint system is great, the presentation is solid, and the overall execution is polished. So even though I didn’t enjoy some puzzles (math riddles just aren’t my cup of tea), I can’t help but give this Two Thumbs Up.
Mutropolis features great comedy writing, with a simple but satisfying story. Its puzzles are logical but some of the hardest I’ve played in this genre. If you’re a point-and-click adventure fan, I wholeheartedly recommend it despite niggles about animation speed and a bug where the main character disappears from view. For the writing alone, I’m giving this a solid “I Like It A Lot” rating.
Overall, the game’s design couldn’t be better. I can see myself introducing Puzzle Galaxy to my daughter someday as one of her first ever video games. It’s good for short, relaxing sessions. Considering the base game is free, its DLCs seem reasonably priced, at about 4 to 5 US dollars (each contains between 22 to 54 new puzzles). But I’d like to see a wider variety of themes. The ones available now are space, steampunk, ocean life, cats and dogs, horses, princesses, and city or country landscapes. It’d be nice to have more categories, such as food, home interiors, dinosaurs, or construction vehicles. Meanwhile, I like that there’s a mix of digital paintings and actual photographs.
Parental note: There’s a teeny bit of violence (blood but no gore), and I recall one use of profanity (in a nickname) but nothing to sweat about for teens and, possibly, older children. Overall, Intruder in Antiquonia is a pleasant game that works, but it could have offered so much more in the story/dialogue department. For that reason, it’s hard to recommend Antiquonia over other games in the point-and-click adventure genre.
Loop Hero is unique and addictive. I’m always up for another round. I love the gloomy but charming art and music. The only thing I find annoying is how expensive Camp upgrades are, which means lots of grinding. Still, grinding doesn’t feel pain because the basic gameplay loop is so enjoyable. It’s fantastic value for money and not a tough game, as roguelikes go.
Lamplight City has given me an appetite for more detective work, and for more work by Grundislav Games designer Francisco Gonzalez. Both the story and puzzles are well-written. Variant endings make the game even more interesting, though there’s little reason to replay if you get the best endings on the first try. I recommend the game not only to genre fans but also to players who don’t usually play point-and-click adventures (or any games at all). Just be forewarned that the game contains mature themes and is darker than the 12+ age rating suggests. The game is great for handheld play. The font is legible even on the Switch Lite. While there are touchscreen controls, Joy-Con controls are much more precise.
While Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising doesn’t have the stamp of undeniable greatness, it does have truly amazing visuals. The writing/translation, music, and most of combat is rather good too. Town-building feels meaningful as it rewards you with significant growth in combat abilities. Despite a slow, unimpressive start and getting lost in dungeons, Rising builds into an enjoyable action RPG. It’s an easy game, suitable for casual or younger players. It’s also very linear and repetitive, but some players may find such simplicity relaxing. If Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred Heroes can boast similar strengths, I’d be curious to play the longer game when it releases in 2023. Hundred Heroes isn’t planned or confirmed for the Switch yet, but if we’re lucky, I will plead for a larger font than what Rising uses. (On the Switch Lite, text can be painfully small.) Oh, and fewer fetch quests, please! Now 14 hours into the game, I’m guessing the end is only a few hours away. Instead of rushing, I’ve decided to play in short sessions at leisurely pace. That might be the best way to enjoy Rising.
Catie in Meowmeowland has many merits: beautiful art and animation, cute characters, and cool bizarre-ness. It’s lighthearted and slapstick funny, even if occasionally crude or downright mean. (I felt sorry for the giraffe candlestick I had to set on fire.) There’s not much of a story, though the overall plot is clear and it wraps up very well. I completed the game in 3.5 hours. Most levels didn’t take long to solve. But too many solutions felt obscure, and I didn’t enjoy resorting to a trial-and-error approach so often. I kept looking for reasons to give the game a positive rating, yet I hesitate to recommend it unless you are (1) patient and persistent in solving puzzles, (2) open to a cute, colorful art style and (3) not expecting a story or puzzle design on par with well-known point-and-clicks.
I couldn’t recommend this game more. Definitely check out Primordia if you like point-and-clicks, post-apocalyptic settings, or philosophical themes. What it may lack in visual appeal, it makes up for twice over in writing. Lead voice actors Logan Cunningham (Hades and other Supergiant games) and Abe Goldfarb really bring it all to life. The characters, conversations, and well-developed themes were a delight. I enjoyed the puzzles and was thankful for a great hint system. Lastly, the Switch port is excellent.
Is there a place in 2021 for old-school point-and-click adventures? Absolutely, and Dexter Stardust proves it. This is a great title for kids and adults alike, with a likeable protagonist and well-designed puzzles. If you like story-driven puzzle games, go for it!
Make the Burger is beautiful, likeable, and will kick your frontal lobe’s butt. Alas! If only I had time to feast my eyes on these sweet burgers, but the game’s fast pace is too intense for that. There’s a good challenge to be found here, but it lacks staying power.
It’s not going to knock your socks off, but Floating Farmer is a decent game with cute visuals and manageable difficulty. Finishing the 50 levels took me slightly under 5 hours. The difficulty is about easy to moderate for a puzzle game. I’d say the only prerequisite is to have a reasonable short-term memory! Young players should definitely try their hand at this, though they might need help with understanding how to move a tile where they want it to go. If they like Floating Farmer, who knows, they might be game for a Rubik’s Cube next! Do check out Mens Sana’s other puzzle games; the Farmer games have a similar concept and look but different mechanics.
Is The Banner Saga for you? Could be, if you’re into SRPGs, stories with tough choices and real consequences, or Viking stuff. The combat isn’t what I’d call super addictive or mind-blowing fun, but it’s nevertheless unique and engaging. I like that it’s fairly simple yet quite challenging (unless you play on Easy difficulty). I love that the visual novel element is very, very substantial. It’s half the game’s weight, even if not half the game’s length. Combat isn’t merely broken up by cutscenes where you’re passively watching. Here, you’re directing the story. Or at least the details, if not the overall plot. Most notably, you decide if major characters live or die. The Banner Saga trilogy is an all-rounder. Despite an initially confusing plunge into the deep end, I came out gasping at its beauty, most of all the landscapes and hand-drawn combat animations. Both story- and combat-wise, expect a meaty game lasting 30 to 40 hours or more.