Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth is superior to Remake in every way, with a story that gripped my heart and a perfectly reworked version of a world that has filled my imagination since I was a kid. Square Enix succeeded in a feat that is very hard to achieve with a remake – it felt as if I was playing the story for the first time. While there are some technical elements that were frustrating from a gameplay perspective, I found myself hungry to get at the controller every day after work, and was delighted by every secret and new mechanic I uncovered. It was a joy-ride of a game, even when boss battles were beating me into the ground. I can’t wait for the world to get ahold of this title, as Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth is sure to impact fans in the same devastating, amazing, emotionally debilitating way the original game did so many decades ago. It’s a thrill ride, a treat, and a gameplay experience I won’t ever forget.
House Flipper 2 is the addictive train wreck I’ve wanted all year long. I have never vacuumed crumbs with such glee or tossed trash around with such enthusiasm. This is the perfect game for fans of titles like Powerwash Simulator, but will also appeal to The Sims players looking for a title more focused on the creative elements. House Flipper 2 will delight players with its interesting stories, and provide endless ways to satisfy the cleaning itch without having to get your hands dirty. However, if players looking to play House Flipper 2 don’t have a powerful gaming PC, it may be better to wait until the game becomes available on PlayStation and Xbox consoles in March, as the current requirements could be hindering for those without gaming machines. Despite this, it is a must-have for simulation fans, and one I plan to dedicate unfathomable hours to in the coming months.
Cuisineer is just wonderful. It’s not as big as some shop-keeping titles, and it has limits as a dungeon-crawler, but the gameplay is enjoyable and addictive – and I kept wanting to go back for more. While it’s only available on PC, I know I’d grab it up in a heartbeat if it became available on the Nintendo Switch. I can’t recommend this game enough for fans of low-impact cozy games with simple, pleasant storylines. There are no big surprises, and in a way, it makes this game all the more enjoyable. You know exactly what you are going to get, and with that, it is easy to get sucked into the gameplay loop without a single worry to hold you back or leave you emotionally vulnerable. It’s just fun, and that makes it completely worth investing time and money into.
Silent Hope is a wild, exciting, brightly-colored thrill ride that blew my expectations out of the water. While I went in expecting something different, I am glad it wasn’t anything like what I was hoping for. The dungeon runs are satisfying, the gameplay loop is addictive, and the story has me racing to get to the next plot point. If you are looking for a cozy sim where you farm potatoes and occasionally fight monsters, it might be best to pass on Silent Hope, but if you are a fan of dungeon crawls, adorable art, and brutal boss fights, this is a must-have. While not as gritty or dark as Hades, I found myself experiencing the same satisfaction while playing, and I am already thinking about how to buff characters out differently for my next playthrough.
While it’s got a set of flaws, Paleo Pines offers a charming and immersive farming sim experience. Its focus on dinosaurs adds a unique twist to the genre and instantly makes it stand out. Even if you’re not particularly into dinosaurs, the endearing design of these companions is sure to win you over. The heartwarming narrative, vibrant setting, and lovable characters create an enjoyable gaming journey. With its captivating gameplay and adorable dinosaurs, Paleo Pines is a solid choice for farming sims and cozy game enthusiasts.
Mineko’s Night Market is a beautiful game. Its soundtrack and artwork are delightful; I could listen to the music all day and never tire of it. Unfortunately, the energy, money, and early-game task balances really left me questioning if I liked the game. I think it could be delightful with a few patches to balance and smooth aspects of gameplay. I just wanted to be able to do more because I could see all potential, but it always felt out of reach. Hopefully, the game will receive some post-launch love to help balance some of these gameplay elements because with a few tweaks, it would be easy to fall in love with Mineko’s world. Right now though, it’s just hard to say yes to.
Fae Farm is a delightful haven of magic, color, and whimsy that captures my attention completely every time I open the game. The vibrant world of Azoria is filled with secrets that will keep curious players busy, while basic farming mechanics have been polished and improved to make slice-of-life staples a joy. Anyone who enjoys magic, cute gameplay, customization, and a cozy atmosphere absolutely must pick up the game. It is sure to scratch every itch. Add in the fantastic character creator with diverse and inclusive options for any type of player, and Fae Farm truly is a game that has something for everyone.
Rune Factory 3 Special is an excellent remaster that brings all the joy of the original games to the Nintendo Switch. Updated graphics, smooth gameplay, and a solid story make picking up and delving into Micah’s story more than worth the effort. However, for the cost of a modern game, a lack of current mechanics, updated diversity, and limited character options leave the player wanting. There is something about these limitations that is particularly glaring in this title, and many may find the lack of choice frustrating when picking up the game. While great for a wild ride of nostalgia, cozy fans exploring Rune Factory 3 Special should go into it knowing it is a dated game, and that true immersion and personalized experiences in this cozy title will be heavily limited.
Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life revives an original farming sim with faithful, thoughtful detail. The main mechanics are solid, the progression is enjoyable, and there is always something to do. It is a real shame the relationship mechanics didn’t feel more satisfying, as they are such a big part of the game, but all other aspects of the title are top-tier.
Any fan of the cozy genre absolutely must pick up Roots of Pacha. It is the perfect game for fans of farming, social interactions, exploration, and relaxing gameplay progression. Quests to unlock improvements for the town aren’t too easy but also don’t leave you swearing at a rare fish you forgot to catch one season or a difficult crop to grow. From the wonderful music and art to the addictive desire to amass wild seeds, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy the game, and I intend to sink plenty of hours into it in the coming months.
Everspace 2 is a great game for those who enjoy space exploration and complex battle systems. The skill required during combat is fulfilling when done right, and punishingly brutal when not properly executed. However, those looking for an immersive story to slide into may want to consider a more RPG-drive title, as the narrative of Everspace 2 sometimes feels lacking or unpolished. It is a great way to lose track of time while piloting a ship, but not likely to replace any of the standouts in the genre.
Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core Reunion is an emotional barrage of nostalgic gameplay and new challenges. The remaster has given the classic story new life, updating it in a way that both long-time and new Final Fantasy 7 fans can enjoy. While some graphical updates aren't completely smoothed out, every aspect of the game is sensitive to the original content while bringing it up to speed for modern consoles. I have always wanted to play this game as if it was new again, and this remake granted that wish.
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet are a stunning glimpse into the future of the Pokemon video game series. Ambitious gameplay and thoughtful narratives create an experience that stands above prior titles. With performance patches to improve the games’ stability, this could be one of the most important generations yet. For now, though, it’s simply a very good one.
Overall, Let's Build a Zoo is an in-depth and delightful tycoon management sim. Its mechanics are detailed, going above and beyond to create an enjoyable experience. Players will get lost in decorating their habitats, and revel in the difficult choices that shape their zoos. There is no denying the love and dedication put into crafting the game, and it is a true treat to play.
The title may not be a good pick for casual gamers or those who enjoy survival narratives that are fantasy-driven, as it specifically focuses on displaying the real-world effects of habitat destruction and pollution. Despite this, Endling, Extinction is Forever is a deeply emotional and thought-evoking journey that will leave an impression on anyone who chooses to play it.
Overall, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is a stunning and immersive game, offering a satisfying combat system and delightful tactical strategy mechanics. The game is a great choice for those who enjoy real-time combat or past Fire Emblem titles, as well as fans of Fire Emblem: Three Houses. While it doesn't utilize the classic, turn-based combat known of the series, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes doesn't need it to provide an action-packed and exciting gameplay experience.
Longtime fans of Vocaloid music will likely enjoy Hatsune Miku Project Diva Mega Mix+ for its nostalgic song list and updated character models, but this game isn't a good choice for casual PC gamers. Those without a good Steam Controller option and powerful hardware will want to skip the title and wait for a possible console release at a future date or try the original version on the Nintendo Switch instead. However, for serious PC gamers who enjoy a fun rhythm game rooted in 2000s J-Pop, Hatsune Miku Project Diva Mega Mix+ could be a great addition to player libraries. Hopefully, patches to improve keyboard controls and framerate issues will be released to help create a more intuitive experience, improving overall accessibility for any Vocaloid fan wanting to give the game a try.
While Dinosaur Fossil Hunter requires patches to fine-tune important mechanics like driving, digging, and cleaning, it will likely be a good fit for players wanting a satisfying fossil extraction game with attention to detail. It is also a great pick for kids who want to learn more about the realistic challenges of paleontology, and the process of getting dinosaur skeletons into museums.