While Rustler manages to live up to everything it says on the tin, namely Grand Theft Auto with horses, there's not much in its delivery that leaves any sort of memorable experience. Relying almost entirely on its humour, Rustler tries to steal your fancy with crass jokes and pop culture references. However, it never quite manages to stand out as anything more than a basic sandbox romp, with all the repetitive fetch quests in tow. Couple that with some lacklustre mechanics, and what you've got is a fairly disappointing GTA clone.
As a metroidvania, Recompile succeeds in bringing the genre typical hallmarks into a marvellous minimalistic world, full of curiosity and poignancy. Where it fails is in its core gameplay. Between a lacklustre implementation of core mechanics, and some glaring oversights, Recompile feels it is not all that it could be. Flaws aside, there are moments in this game, both visually, audibly and narratively, that you won't soon forget. Beyond doubt, this is a stunning game in a few respects that needs to be seen. It is just a shame that the artistic vision had to be delivered at the cost of getting some of the basics right.
Simply one of the most enchanting art-styles you'll experience on an indie game. The hand-drawn characters and backgrounds are magical in motion, and contribute to a potently heart-warming playthrough. Whereas the game's simultaneous character control, puzzles, and individual character skills can be highly enjoyable at the right moments, those moments sadly don't come enough to completely satisfy. Nevertheless, Greak: Azur is worth a go for the aesthetic charm alone, and has some great puzzles for fans of that inclination.
With new characters, items, game modes and customisation options, the Mr. X Nightmare has made Streets Of Rage 4 feel like a brand new game again. Survival mode is one hell of a random trip that you'll be going another round at again and again. The new characters are exactly what you would want them to be, but the options for customising move sets and aesthetics mean that you can tailor your fighting preferences even further. The randomness in survival mode can be hard to take at times, but it's never swallowed without a smile. The Mr.X Nightmare is outstanding fun all the way, and the best sidescrolling brawler in town just got even better.
Janken Team deserve a lot of credit for the incredible facelift they have given Alex Kidd In Miracle World. Whilst nostalgic players will certainly get a kick out of Alex Kidd In Miracle World DX, there's no getting away from the fact that the core gameplay hasn't aged well at all. Slippery controls and excessively punishing courses, as well as random death ghosts and chance rock, paper, scissors, victories make Alex Kidd In Miracle World a tedious endeavour that's far overshadowed by other contemporary and classic platformers. A charming inclusion for retro collectors, but otherwise not recommendable.
Guilty Gear Strive is a simply stunning anime fighter with an astonishing depth of competitive gameplay. It does all it can to welcome newcomers with an extensive training mode and streamlined fighting mechanics, but it is still very much the beloved Guilty Gear niche experience, and rightly so. You can't have too much of a good thing, and Guilty Gear is certainly a good thing, so it's a slight shame that there isn't more content to sink our teeth into. Nevertheless, as a competitive fighting experience, it is still a fantastic entry that fans of the series will adore.
While Subnautica remains a brilliantly immersive and addictive survival adventure, the PS5 upgrade delivers less than we expected. Technically, the game is very similar to its successor, Subnautica: Below Zero, and yet falls short on both performance and visual quality in comparison. A free upgrade is always welcome, but perhaps Subnautica PS5 has automatically been made redundant by its superior sequel. Existing Subnautica players with a PS5 get a nice facelift, but there's little to justify this edition for newcomers.
Subnautica: Below Zero is a sublimely addictive timesink and an exemplary survival adventure game that transcends the genre. The improvements to the formula of the original game are minimal but impactful. Fans of the franchise will certainly have plenty to get into, and the appeal is broad enough to welcome many more newcomers to the experience. Whilst there is little ground broken in terms of visuals, Subnautica: Below Zero more than compensates with an all-round stellar experience that rivals that of bigger budget productions.
While charming in places, and with some fun gravity bending mechanics to stroke your novelty seeking, Gravity Heroes isn't all it could be. With a single player campaign that's barely playable, and too many tedious levels, this retro shooter leaves a lot to be desired. In the finer moments of Gravity Heroes, it can be a fun co-op experience, but without online play it is difficult to recommend this game for any single gamer.
Oddworld: Soulstorm in many ways is the peak of the Oddworld franchise. Oddworld Inhabitants have taken the hallmarked difficulty and dark humour and revamped it with innovative, new gameplay features and some really cool physics. It's only slightly held back by its overall presentation at launch, but despite this, it largely remains a stellar experience with lots of replayability and challenge for those who are Glukkon for punishment.