Sometimes things don’t work out the way we want them to. In all of its glorious indifference, the universe can seem to lie in wait for opportunities to twist our meandering paths forward in unexpected directions. Where the Heart Leads is gentle and empathetic in its lesson that adulthood isn’t a place where one arrives…While we all may strive not to live in the past, we all have moments we wish we could do-over. That’s what makes the gift of this game all the more special: it offers an invitation to try again, with the tender reminder that life will never be perfect.
Despite a couple of light typos and some choppy wording that may be more the result of losses in translation than writer error, Dull Grey is a visual novel well worth your time. It successfully delivers what every visual novel strives for—transcending words to pull the reader into its world and rewarding players who are curious and patient enough to see beneath its surface.
While The Longing isn’t for everyone, it’s an excellent exercise in expanding our definition of what video games can be. You can explore and get to know your Shade, filling its home with warmth and making it happy as it longs for its king to awaken. Or you could put the game down, turn it off, and never open it again until the 400 days have passed. The choice is entirely yours. The Longing rewards your curiosity, invites you to sit with your feelings, and reminds us of the importance (sometimes) of being alone. And, if anything, it’ll teach you that patience is a virtue.
A great game for a weekend or even just an afternoon, DARQ: Complete Edition packs in about 4-6 hours of spooky puzzles. Best enjoyed with headphones, its strengths are its immersive and chilling sound design provided by Cyberpunk 2077 and Hitman’s Bjørn Jacobsen, and its creative, perspective-shifting platforming within a vividly realized world. While it leans more unsettling than scary and at times relies too heavily on cheap scares, it’s a satisfying, imaginative game that is well-deserving of an afternoon. I wouldn’t recommend it to cure any sleep issues, though.
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is a promising start of a new chapter in the long-running farm/life simulator’s history. All the pieces are in place for an unforgettable experience, with its peaceful and serene location, endlessly customizable landscape, and an unprecedented abundance of crafts and projects to pursue. While at times unwieldy, there’s something for everyone here, especially those who are interested in the organization and production management aspect of running a farm.