All in all, I found CAS to be a fun, fast-paced and action-packed game, albeit one of little long-term interest. If you can get past the pricing, I’m certain most players will have a blast playing the collection of classic games, even if you are unfamiliar with them. I for one became quickly hooked on ‘Giga Wing’, despite having never played it before. There is something in the way of online multiplayer, however, much like the game as a whole, it is unlikely this will keep you going for very long. As a result, although regular arcade-goers might find CAS to be a great opportunity to pick up and play their favourite retro games on the fly, I don’t expect many casual gamers to see much value in their purchase after a week or two of playing.
I alluded to Glyph potentially being a hidden gem at the very start of this review, and I continue to stand by that statement. Yes, the game does have some small issues, namely with its controls, but looking beyond this, Bolverk Games has developed a rich, beautiful and compelling game. It is a game for 100%-ers, speed-runners, or even casual gamers who just want to pick up their Switch and play a level or two. I find myself falling into the former category, and know for certain that I have many more hours left to play of a game that has found itself near the top in my list of favourite games. Glyph is a game that I would implore all of you to try, even if this is isn’t your usual type of game. I’ve refrained from giving it a 10/10 due to the issues mentioned above, but in all honesty, there is very little I can say Bolverk Games got wrong in designing such a charming and wonderful game.
So to conclude, FM21 offers a bit of something to players both new and old. Largely a familiar experience to previous entries, fans of the series will find all the fundamentals they already know, with a few bells and whistles thrown on for good measure. The improved matchday engine provides the most significant of the changes noted in FM21, and this goes a long way in creating the sense of immersion and agency the series is known for. New players are given more of a helping hand with features such as recruitment meetings and matchday xG, but Sports Interactive still has someway to go in making the game more accessible for these players. I have noted some minor gripes with the visual and audio design, however I can appreciate that these will remain secondary to the core gameplay loop. Overall, FM21 offers a familiar, rich and enjoyable experience, and one that keeps the series on an upward trajectory towards greatness.
So, in 2021, is it worth picking up KOF XIV? In all honesty, no. With an appallingly-bad story mode, and notable absence of online opponents, there is really not much content to justify a purchase. Yes, the gameplay is fantastic, and these other flaws are not indicative of that, but simply put, you’ll be getting a very empty game. Waiting on KOF XV would likely be your best bet, but if you do opt of the 14th instalment, you will still get a fighting game with sharp, fast-paced and rich gameplay. Nevertheless, although I do have to hand it to SNK for their successful attempt at entering the 3D fighting game market, considering the other options available, I find it difficult to recommend KOV XIV over them. Who knows, maybe KOF XV will continue to build on the foundations laid here, but that awaits to be seen.
To conclude, I want to reiterate my enjoyment with ‘Here Be Dragons’, despite the flaws noted above. Red Zero Games should receive mountains of praise for a funny, rich and beautiful game, which for me was one I found myself repeatedly drawn to. Yes, there are minor issues that cannot be overlooked, but these may or may not be problematic depending on the player. Some polish to the gameplay design would have served ‘Here Be Dragons’ greatly, as a focus on a more streamlined story and gameplay loop likely would have provided the icing on the cake. However, I can appreciate the attempt by Red Zero Games to create a deep, and ultimately enjoyable, experience for its players. I will keep my eye out for future releases from the developers, but until then, I’ll grab me rum, and set sail again with me mateys on adventures new.
So, would I recommend this game? Well, those who are fans of text-based adventure games may find VMNY to be one filled with interesting characters, a mysterious and well-written narrative, and beautiful visual and sound design. However, those new to the genre, or simply looking to try out the game, may quickly become disillusioned by the never-ending dialogue, which provides little pay-off despite the implementation of choice-based mechanics. As a result, your experience with VMNY will entirely depend on whether you are able to appreciate the game beyond these text-based interactions. If not, rather than stucking the life out of the citizens of New York, you might just find the game sucking the life out of you.