Song of Iron comes at the tail-end of gaming’s Viking craze. In recent years we’ve seen the likes of God of War, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, and Valheim to name a few. Some of these are still receiving updates and ongoing support. As a lover of all things Norse, I’m delighted to see another game inspired by this influential and fascinating culture. But what makes Song of Iron stand out from its contemporaries is its size, style, and cinematic flair. Oh and the fact it was made by a solo developer.
With billionaires going on sub-orbital day trips and the climate crisis worsening by the day, it’s hard not to think about the state of our planet. More importantly how we can save it, or leave it. After all the billionaires are trying to, right? But how can we, the average individual, ever prepare for the inevitable collapse of our planet? By playing video games, of course; or should I say one video game.
Hey! You! Yes you, the dashing individual reading this review. Are you increasingly becoming dissatisfied with modern life? Do you long for an age where you could profit from your own hard work? And do you frequently look in disgust at the ruins of a once-mighty tower and think “I could fix that up”? Well now, you can! All thanks to Castle Flipper, a quaint little simulation game that lets you live out your wildest medieval home makeover dreams.
The fantasy genre is one we’re all familiar with. Whether it be The Lord of The Rings or shows like Netflix’s The Witcher, the genre has found a dedicated spot in modern pop culture. But it’s Dungeons and Dragons that really brought the fantasy genre to the fore, finding favour among the nerdiest of youths and the most famous of Hollywood actors. For a franchise as massive as D&D, you’d think that its adaptations and spinoffs into modern media would hold up pretty well. It’s why I got quite excited about the recently released D&D: Dark Alliance, which seeks to throw players into an epic campaign littered with all the trimmings of D&D’s vast universe. It accomplishes this to some degree, but as a whole, it feels closer to a critical fail than booming success.
Space Engineers is a game that has grown exponentially since its 2013 Steam early access release. What started out as a budding open-world survival sandbox has quickly become one of the most intricate and detailed sandbox titles out there. Successive updates and DLC have added new maps, scenarios, and building pieces to the game that offer more opportunities for players to let their imagination run wild. But how does it hold up after all these years?
Mountain climbing is no joke. On an average climb, you’ll have to come well-prepared with the right equipment and a solid level of fitness. But for much grander adventures, an unshakeable will and strong constitution will be needed to see you all the way to the mountain’s peak. It sounds exciting, but who can be bothered with all the effort? let alone the potential risk of death at greater, more dangerous heights. Thankfully, Insurmountable brings the mountaineering experience to you, where you can reach the highest peaks from the safety of your own home. But while it tries to emulate the excitement and intensity of a treacherous mountain climb, Insurmountable stumbles a little too often for it to succeed.
Ashwalkers feels like several games in one, incorporating various unique gameplay elements pulled from the survival and choose-your-own-adventure genres. But where this may seem like cause for concern, it expertly brings them together to create a special experience unlike anything else. My time with Ashwalkers was brief, but enough to leave a lasting impression that has me yearning to go back and play it all again.
What one item would you take with you to a desert island? It’s a question frequently asked and one with many answers. Some say they would bring their mobile phone or their favourite book. But in The Survivalists, the question is as irrelevant as these items would be on a remote island. You will start the game stranded, starving and scared on a beach with no connection to civilization; you know, just like in real life. In this sense, The Survivalists is fairly realistic in its setting. However, the morbidity of being stranded on a desert island is whisked away by a cool breeze, sun-soaked beaches, and a wealth of resources to help you survive in the middle of paradise.
In a world where live-service games are becoming all the rage, Outriders feels like a much-needed breath of fresh air. Even more interesting is the fact it arrives in the form of a looter-shooter, not too dissimilar from other games of its genre. But where the likes of Destiny and The Division pride themselves on being an ongoing gig, Outriders sets itself apart as a fairly linear third-person looter shooter with everything available at launch. So for the most part, what you see is what you get, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Outriders has set out to be something different in a genre that is becoming increasingly popular, but does it succeed? Absolutely.
Do you ever wonder if there is life out in the vast expanse of space? It’s a question that has been asked time and time again, and one that lies at the heart of new psychological horror game, Sanity of Morris. Yet it doesn’t ask you to believe if anything is up there but down here, walking among us. To some, that’s a scary prospect, especially if extraterrestrial life doesn’t want to be our friend. But where I expected Sanity of Morris to tap into this fear, I instead found a genuinely fascinating story that had me hooked from start to finish.