For anyone new or returning to the Pokémon series, Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl is a perfect starting point that bridges the gap between classic and modern Pokémon games. The quality-of-life additions make the game more accessible without making it feel bloated, the art style is simplistic and cute, and the gameplay mechanics will keep players moving through the adventure with ease. For veterans of the series, these versions are an easy recommendation and an excellent recreation of a fan favorite. With only a few exclusive Pokémon between Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl, either one is an excellent choice for any player.
From the tiniest details in each item to the massive story told through simple gameplay, Unpacking is a fantastic indie game. The relaxing gameplay and chill music create a nice getaway experience. It's easy to disappear into Unpacking and complete the entire game in one playthrough, but the experience is so satisfying that players will want to do it again and again.
Overall, Mario Party Superstars does exactly what it set out to do: Make the best of the best in the series. It takes two decades worth of Mario Party minigames and combines them into a perfect little party package. There's really nothing new in Mario Party Superstars, but what is here is pure nostalgia and the perfect entry for any player new to the series.
Overall, Escape Simulator is a great way to experience an escape room without leaving the house. The smooth gameplay and realistically solvable puzzles make for an enjoyable experience. Player-created rooms will undoubtedly only add to the value and make Escape Simulator an easy purchase for puzzle fans.
The constant ebb and flow of Disco Elysium's storyline makes for one amazing adventure that can easily be replayed, tackling problems in different ways each time. The Nintendo Switch is a great fit for this kind of game, and the adjustment of the controls was handled well by the team at ZA/UM. This is a perfect rendition of Disco Elysium for new players who are interested in the game, or returning players who want to relive the fever dream on a portable console.
The true success of In Sound Mind comes from the atmosphere that We Create Stuff has crafted. The puzzles are smart and well-thought-out, the jump scares that the game utilizes don't feel forced or cheesy, and the drastically different style of each tape shines through to create a spooky, complete-feeling game. With creepy sound design, and original music by The Living Tombstone, In Sound Mind is a fantastic single-player horror game.
Overall Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 is a solid upgrade to the CMS series. All of the updated items and graphics will be a welcome addition to past players and a perfect place to start for new ones. It certainly isn't a game anyone would want to binge over a weekend, but any car repair fan will enjoy this one for years to come - or until the next instalment in the series, if it continues to evolve and adapt towards more detail-oriented play.
Overall, DC Super Hero Girls is a very solid kids game. Nothing is new or revolutionary, but the game feels incredibly well put together. The story is enjoyable, the voice acting is exceptional, and the world feels fleshed out. With so many recognizable heroes and villains in a high school setting, it's hard not to enjoy some time with this happy slice of the DC Universe.
Overall, Dark Alliance needs a lot of work to truly warrant a playthrough and can only be recommended in its current state to massive fans of the book series who just want to know what happens in between books 1 and 2. The game itself is a masterpiece to look at, but falls short in the gameplay department, making this a tough sell for anyone who wasn't already going to pick it up and play simply based on its source material.
Overall, Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground is a decent outing for fans of the tabletop miniatures game. It creates a solid "one more time" gameplay loop that keeps players constantly trying to find better units and gear to max out their potential. The story for each faction is enjoyable, despite its constant mid-battle interruptions, and the consistent difficulty level makes for a solid challenge, even if the overall package is unlikely to resonate with anyone who isn't already keen on either the genre or the IP.
It's hard to fully recommend Don't Give Up: A Cynical Tale. There is an interesting story here and fun characters to chat with, but overall the game comes up short. With its linear paths and lack of interactivity for the player, Don't Give Up ends up feeling more like a visual novel with a battle system than an actual RPG adventure.
There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension is full of hilarity, it's an enjoyable experience from beginning to end. It may not re-invent the point-and-click wheel but any type of gamer can find fun inside this little indie-game package, and it comes highly recommended.
Overall, Microsoft Flight Simulator is one of the most beautiful games of this generation and it's attention to detail is spectacular. This new version stands above the rest with its incredible landscapes and customizable options that allow for new or veteran players to easily get into the game, regardless of skill level.