There are some rough edges to be found, and one person’s relaxation will be another’s repetition. However, Grow: Song of the Evertree succeeds in its attempts at presenting a wholesome, laid-back experience. Its successes are admirable, and its missteps are negligible. It lives up to its philosophy and presents something that has all the satisfying progression of a typical game experience, but without all the violence. There’s still room to grow, but the roots are firmly planted.
However, it’s a fun time if you know what you’re getting into. It’s Date Night Bowling, and it does what it says on the box. There’s bowling and there’s dating. It’s a fun time if you can wrangle a partner, romantic or otherwise, but it doesn’t really have lasting appeal. A few times through, then you can take your balls elsewhere.
It’s not a soulless game or one without a spark — there’s definitely a lot of love in the final product. It just seriously needed a few more sets of eyes on it to draw out its flaws. A lot of the things that vexed me most severely could be fixed with a few more passes of the floor buffer. Yet here we are, and Demon Turf doesn’t strike me as territory worth conquering.
With all that said, I can clearly see why Corpse Party is a cult classic. It’s a dismal, oppressive horror game that sinks you into the hell it has constructed. It presents a thick, sticky mystery to wade through and presents it with panache. It’s maybe not the most essential remaster of a game, but the same spooky tale of hopelessness is still present. I just wish it would keep its obvious fascination with human excrement to itself.
Otherwise, Toy Soldiers HD is probably how you remember it. There are some noticeable changes, but nothing revitalizing. Unlike Toy Soldiers Complete’s tendency to just shoehorn new mechanics into the old game where they didn’t necessarily fit, Toy Soldiers HD feels true to the original experience. It’s a bizarrely lighthearted take on a nightmarish war, but not one that feels like it wholesale throws away the history.
With that said, I did enjoy Inscryption. Part of me is tempted to dive back in to see if I can scrape any more secrets out of its cracks. Really, that’s where it excels: not the misdirection, but the hidden crawlspaces where it hides all the bodies. At its best, it feels like you’re actually uncovering a deeper plot. At its worst, it feels like you’re watching a magician pull handkerchiefs out of their sleeve. It’s cool, I guess, but you know they’re just screwing with you.
Mon Amour, as seen on the box, is fine. It even has that sometimes annoying “one more turn” addictiveness. That doesn’t last long, and beneath that, there’s nothing to sink your teeth into. It’s the Taco Bell of Onion Games. It’s tastes like food, it’s inoffensive, but once you dig in, you won’t find any real meat.
Hot Wheels Unleashed impressed me on basically every marker. It looks terrific, it feels great, and the track design is extremely well done. I kind of hate the blind box approach of unlocking cars, but that’s a small complaint when getting my wheels on the track is always a delight.
Not everyone is going to think that way, clearly. Each individual has their own expectations for a remake, and Actraiser Renaissance may have put hands on facets that were once sacred. Some will find the changes intrusive. It would have been nice if there was a classic mode included that strips out the tower defense to make everyone happy, but that’s not in the cards. In my eyes, however, Acraiser Renaissance was one of the biggest surprises and the most enjoyable gaming experiences I’ve had this year.