Curious Expedition 2's gorgeous backgrounds and good-looking characters improve on the first title, but don't do enough to make the management part of the game sparkle. Expeditions become a trudge, especially when your party robs you of all your alcohol; and combat can be fun, but not much fun to look at.
They say to shoot for the moon and if you miss you'll be among the stars. Gallic Wars: Battle Simulator shoots for the moon but you quickly realize you're not in a rocket ship but a bicycle with training wheels. Trying to fly a bicycle to the moon has a lot of issues, in this case it's the gameplay elements, the obscure camera angles, and the repetitiveness that has Gallic Wars landing in the grass five feet from takeoff.
A touch of paint was added to Star Wars: Republic Commando, but the brush was small. Gameplay feels just like it did in 2005, which is great because of the solid foundation, but this enhanced port can feel like it runs slow at the worst times. By not changing much players might be better off remembering the past with rose colored glasses.
Skjoldur Story doesn't have a long tale to tell, but it is packed full of puzzles galore, and put into a colorful world that is fun to explore. It can be frustrating when you have to repeat yourself when you die. Skjoldur Story can feel like a nostalgic trip, so fill up the tank, grab some snacks, and buckle up for the journey.
Simply put Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards is your typical action adventure RPG. Zones are fun and unique enough to satisfy. But the frame rate dips so low at times that it's easy to become frustrated. There's nothing eccentric here, and that's ok, not every game about saving the world has to be, I guess.
Iron Harvest: Operation Eagle is a challenging DLC to a fun RTS game. Even though it can be played as a stand alone title Iron Harvest: Operation Eagle works best when accompanied by the main title Iron Harvest. The introduction of Ursonia and their campaign is a solid addition, even if adding aerial units to the game hurts its overall gameplay. The campaign story alone is worth the price of entry.
Call of the Sea has plenty to offer puzzle and walking sim fans alike. The story kept me going even when the puzzles felt difficult and excessive. The puzzles can be tough and seem unfair at times, but overall feel very solid in how they were crafted. The conclusion to the story of Nora, her illness, the previous expedition, and the true nature of the island left a satisfying feeling once I had completed it.
Chivalry 2 shines in the combat department. Combat is fast, and the high ceiling of learning it all helps keep players invested. There may not be a ton of maps, but they are full, the movement of gameplay is refreshingly fun, and the promise of more post-launch content keeps me hopeful.
Story is a little generic, and combat is mediocre and frustrating at times. But Weaving Tides is about puzzles, and they have it in spades. Most of the issues, like linear gameplay, can easily be overlooked when thinking about this relaxing puzzler.
Good, not great. Fun yet frustrating. Scratching the itch while giving me athlete's foot. The new modes feel rushed and not completely thought out to be much more than a stunt. The game feels balanced when choosing which character to play, and the adventure mode will easily fill in the void of playing by yourself, just don't go looking for a gripping story. Mario Golf: Super Rush tees it off, but has the ball landing in the rough.
The developers of Cris Tales set out to make a love letter to the genre. When writing a love letter it's easy to cloud your judgement at times. You're after all so head over heels into it. Do you really care what others think? The load times, basic story, and unsatisfying ending are easy to overlook when you're in love with the genre. Cris Tales is too pretty to pass up if you want a taste of a nostalgic JRPG.
Tribes of Midgard struggles with an outside force it has no control over that prevents it from being near perfect; it requires friends to play with. Alone, or with strangers who don't work together there is just too much going on at once, making the game feel like an endless assault of chores that need done right away. But if you can get a regular group, taking down the seasonal boss is totally worth the effort.
Fort Triumph might not be the biggest victory for the genre, but there is plenty of fun combat to be had. While not genre defining, it's easy to get wrapped up in combat, and suddenly have a couple of hours fly by. The UI is hard to read at times, in both docked and handheld mode, but that was about my only complaint. I enjoyed Fort Triumph, but didn't fall in love.
Garden Story is not the apple of my eye, nor is it rotten. I enjoyed my time helping Concord clear the rot, especially with the boss fights, but by the third town (out of four) I felt I had picked more apples than I could eat in a week. Dungeons were exciting, but the other mechanics left a sour taste as they were introduced too late to matter and became another mechanic I could easily ignore. Garden Story simply was not my jam.
Bus Simulator 21 is for everyone. Being able to cater to your playstyle from the most basic of set ups to as realistic as they can make it, the game gets its hooks in you after a few hours. I always wanted to run one more route before getting up from a play session. The vehicle AI leaves something to be desired, but we can all think of a few drivers that give us road rage.
Monster Harvest is retro in how it looks, which is great, but also in how it plays, which isn't as great. The gameplay doesn't feel addictive enough for a farming simulator, and the monster battle portion feels tacked on. I had fun with the game, but I never felt drawn into the world.
While the combat system of the Bravely Default 2 is unique and offers a high risk, high reward style of gameplay not seen elsewhere, the overall experience plays out in classic JRPG fashion. Luckily it does an excellent job of being a classic JRPG. I had fun grinding out XP for the jobs I wanted, with it never feeling like a chore, the true sign of a well made JRPG. The lack of mouse support for the PC version though is next to unacceptable with all the menus you work in. Classic JRPG style, not necessarily a modern day classic. No true innovations keep it from perfection.
Moonshades drops you into its world and expects you to know what's going on, which is fine. Dungeon crawling is fun, combat can be as well. But Moonshades is being held back due to its controls and use of screen space, an unfortunate product of its mobile phone origins. Controls are confusing, and half the screen is taken up by spells and menu buttons. If you can work through the issues there is a fun dungeon crawler to play. Moonshades doesn't shine bright-it's more like a low glow from a campfire left unattended.
While Super Arcade Football puts you into the action instantly, it would have been nice if it would have shown me the ropes before expecting me to win my first match. The retro look and simple controls make picking up and playing with friends who haven't played before easy and welcoming. For a short, fun party game without much on the line, you can't go wrong. But for the single-player experience, while not terrible by any means, it wears out its welcome long before you actually finish it.