Pocket Dungeon grabbed me immediately and hasn't let go. Everything in this puzzle game works; the aesthetic, controls, modes, bosses, replayability. A puzzle game that has this level of polish will stand the test of time with the likes of Tetris.
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.
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.
The first handful of gameplay hours are working against Triangle Strategy. Not a lot of combat, characters that you don't care about yet doing things that are not very interesting. However, there is an excellent game, with a fascinating story to experience, hiding behind all of that initial content. You have to learn about the world you are dropped into before you can have the ride of your life, if that's not of interest then look elsewhere. It's hard to say just play the first four hours, if you're not hooked by then you'll never be, but it's the truth.
Sitting down for even ten minutes with Neon White makes me feel like I've gotten a lot of playing time in. Stages are fast, and replaying them when things don't go your way doesn't feel like a drag. The addictive nature of Neon White meant I was going back to the same stages again and again until I was able to ace them. The story isn't for me, and feels predictable, but I can see how it might hit the right crowd. The easy to learn gameplay, with the unique weapon cards made for an experience I couldn't get enough of.
Since solving Lego-based puzzles is at the forefront, Bricktales doesn't feel like it's aimed directly at the younger crowd; the sometimes difficult-to-solve conundrums might turn kids off. There is plenty for them to get into, like collecting in-game items or the Lego player customization. The physics-based puzzles to solve were excellent; some were easy, and others were a challenge, but all were rewarding. Even with the challenge, Lego Bricktales is the closest I've come to feeling like I was playing with physical Lego bricks. Playing Lego Bricktales is not the same as sitting on your bedroom floor and letting your imagination run wild, but it's close.
Harvestella is a fresh coat of paint on a familiar wall. It's a good wall, solid foundation, level, able to withstand the elements, and damn good paint. But it's still a wall. If you want to play the newest, most innovative farm sim to date, it's not going to be Harvestella. If you want to play the best version of the farm sim for the modern era, look no further. While it does some odd things, like invisible walls to areas you can clearly see, or not being able to jump on a rock, in the end, those don't matter. Farming is fun, dungeon crawling is fun. The visuals and soundtrack help make Harvestella one of the best possible versions of the farm sim.
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.
It's easy to look back with rose tinted glasses when it comes to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. But after spending a week back in this world I can easily say there are no tinted glasses here. It's as good as I recalled it back in the day. If you've never played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic this is a great way to jump in. I couldn't believe a game that came out in 2003 could still hold my attention, even on the fifth or sixth playthrough that I had while reviewing the game. The atmosphere created by the game is second to none when it comes to Star Wars games. Playing on the Nintendo Switch might be the best way to experience, load screens were fast, and the game looks great in handheld mode. The Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic story is one every Star Wars fan should experience.
Lost Ark is light on the MMO, and heavy on the action- RPG, taking all the elements from MMOs that make them great, and a few that make them a bit dull to fans of the genre. It's easy to get lost in the customization before you even set foot in the fleshed out world. The five main classes are the big star, each feels and plays differently enough making me want to replay the game just to try them out. Being able to tackle this game with friends will make for a better overall time with the game, but it isn't required to have a good time. Lost Ark warrants a look if you like action-RPGs, MMOs, or both.
With Cultic, the nostalgia hits hard. So hard that it was easy to overlook some of the lighter features of the game. Enemies are mindless cult fanatics, sometimes with a gun, other times with an ax, and on occasion dressed in more than just robes. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that Cultic made me feel like I was sitting on a kitchen chair in my friend's house, taking turns trying to clear levels like I was ten years old. When I find something that gives me that goosebump feeling of nostalgia, I eat it up. Cultic made it feel like Thanksgiving; I can't wait to see what the solo developer, Jason Smith, cooks up for chapter two.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: the Sith Lords expands upon the ground-breaking original. Story choices change depending on who you put into your party at the time. Conversations that take place between party NPCs can also get spicy, depending on who you bring along. Sith Lords does lean on some traditional Star Wars tropes a little harder than I would like, and the menus and UI are a bit dusty. Though I was afraid my rose colored glasses wouldn't hold up, I fell in love with these unique characters once again.
What's my final piece of advice for Long Live the Queen? Shake it off and try again. Is it worth the challenge? Yes. Being successful is gratifying. But having said that, this is a menu game; navigating menus is the core mechanic. There's also plenty of reading that is required, skipping over it makes playing this game almost pointless. The soundtrack is beyond repetitive, nearing an annoyance, but it isn't required to play. Touch controls are fantastic, elevating this to being a great game to sit on the couch and play.