Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy is a worthy successor to a beloved original that proudly and successfully carries the Ace Attorney torch. Plus, this new release is a great package, jammed full of content, extras, and quality of life features that make it the best way to experience the Apollo Justice trilogy. While I think Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy could have been even better with a stronger commitment to developing its characters and ideas, it’s still great fun and something I can’t imagine an Ace Attorney fan or fan of mystery games in general wouldn’t enjoy.
Katana ZERO offers sharp, satisfying action and a creative and immersive approach to storytelling all served up with style and flair. Though its short length and inconclusive ending may be turn-offs for some, I found Katana ZERO to be one of the most memorable experiences in my past few years of gaming. I highly recommend it.
SYNESTHESIA offers a compelling story with interesting ideas and well-written characters, and I’d recommend it to fans of science fiction and mystery. I can’t help but think it could have been better with more attention to detail, but I still enjoyed my time with SYNESTHESIA.
VIDEOVERSE may seem like a product for a niche audience, and admittedly it probably hits different if you experienced the early internet, but its ideas and themes are relevant today. If you’re at all interested in stories about online communities and relationships, VIDEOVERSE is well worth your time.
Aside from its impressive hand-drawn animation, Curse of the Sea Rats is at its best a mediocre game that does little to stand out from the innumerable alternatives. At its worst, it’s tedious, grating, and unfun. Maybe if you love traditional animation and rats you’ll find something to enjoy here, but I’d wait for a discount before considering Curse of the Sea Rats.
The Future Radio and the Artificial Pigeons has an interesting concept and compelling themes. Unfortunately, it fumbles the execution, too often rushing to hit the next plot point rather than taking the time to build investment in its ideas and characters, and as result, undermines the emotional and thematic impact it aspires to.
While it doesn’t quite reach the heights of its predecessor, Chaos;Child is a strong visual novel in its own right–one that builds on and evolves what came before in interesting ways. It’s a shame this release is so lacking in polish, but Chaos;Child’s poignant thematic heart still shines through.
The current Switch build of No Place for Bravery is so buried under technical problems that you should stay far away. But if and when the problems are fixed? I wasn’t able to see the end of No Place for Bravery, making it difficult to fully evaluate. It certainly has some good pieces: great art, a strong concept, and satisfying combat. Maybe that’s enough for it to be worth a shot. Still, from what I did see, it’s hard not to feel that with a bit more thought and care No Place for Bravery could have been a much better game than it is.
If you enjoy pulp horror, you’ll have a lot of fun with Mothmen 1966. I certainly did. It’s a sharp, well-crafted package that nails the style and aesthetic. Mothmen 1966 doesn’t have a lot of depth or nuance, which may not be to everyone’s taste, but this is very much an intentional choice. And if you’re unfamiliar with pulp, Mothmen 1966 is short and accessible: a great introduction that’s worth giving a shot.
Variable Barricade is at its best when it leans into its inner romcom. Driven by a great protagonist and enjoyably quirky love interests, it has no shortage of sweet and funny moments. Unfortunately, the fun parts come with a generous side of tedious and manufactured melodrama. Overall though I still enjoyed Variable Barricade.
Henchman Story is a hilarious ride with a real heart to it, and its comic book style and full voice acting make it stand out from the crowd of English language visual novels. It’s an easy recommendation, especially if you’re looking for a change of pace from the usual anime-adjacent fare that visual novels are known for.
Bright Memory: Infinite has a nascent vision of what it wants to be. And honestly, that vision is kind of good. With the right elements around it, Bright Memory: Infinite’s combat could have shined. Unfortunately, everything else is an incoherent mishmash of undeveloped ideas, lazy design, sloppiness, and technical problems. Even at the budget price of $9.99 I can’t recommend this mess.