Pam K. Ferdinand
It probably won’t appeal to those who have a hunkering for a more action-oriented experience. But for a relaxing evening on the couch, without much thinking required, the adventure title definitely delivers. It’s simply a beautiful game, both in terms of graphics and the story that it tells, and will leave players with a pleasant sense of wonder, curiosity, and vague nostalgia.
Ultimately, Land of Screens may serve as a helpful reminder for a few players, but most people already know that it’s important to look up from their devices sometimes. As a non-developer, it’s difficult to see how Serenity Forge could have relayed its message in a more engaging manner, but there are developers who have successfully sneaked a societal call to action into their games. This is usually accomplished by focusing on gameplay first and sprinkling the message throughout for people to uncover themselves. Instead, Serenity Forge has made the entirety of Land of Screens about the message and only marginally concentrated on anything else. This has resulted in a flat experience that lacks the ability to inspire.
Overall, Nobody Saves the World could have been exceptional, but there are certain aspects that are lacking. The expected Drinkbox Studios humor isn’t pervasive enough to keep people playing to see what’s next, the story is negligible and seems like something tossed in to give players a half-hearted sense of purpose, and the repetitiveness of quests gets tiresome very quickly. The positives of the game – the appealing art style, variety of skills and dungeons, and perhaps multiplayer — might not be enough to keep players interested either. That being said, the gameplay and presentation of Nobody Saves the World will undoubtedly win over many people, and it may capture the attention of others for a solid chunk of time.
These issues are unfortunate because Sable is a remarkable game that would normally warrant a higher rating. But the problems, although minor for the most part, were encountered with such regularity that they can’t be overlooked. Hopefully, Raw Fury will fix these hiccups quickly because, without those flaws, Sable truly is a beautiful and minimalist journey through an open world that is a joy to explore.
Flightless has also released a game called Element, which the developers describe as a “real-time strategy space game for people who don’t have time to play real-time strategy space games.” That same premise seems to be the purpose of Doomsday Vault. It’s a puzzle game for people who don’t have the time or energy to challenge themselves with a puzzle game. It’s an enjoyable experience, just not a memorable one.
Pathway overall feels like a lite version of a turn-based game, and the monotony sets in fairly quickly. There are no plot twists to keep the story engaging, because there really is no story but rather the shallow foundation of one. Although the game can be beaten in 10 to 20 hours, it's questionable whether many gamers will see it through to the end. It may suck players in for a while, but the game simply is not dynamic enough to maintain interest long term. In the end, Pathway feels all the more dissatisfying because it had such potential. Robotality’s creation can be compared to an itch under the skin that can almost be scratched, but not quite.
In developing Subnautica: Below Zero, Unknown Worlds heeded the lessons learned from Subnautica and the feedback received from players about both games over the years. Below Zero has taken no steps backward and instead offers an even more polished experience than its predecessor. As for gameplay and story, it’s not necessarily a better game, but it is certainly just as good.
NieR Replicant overall is a successful remaster, with a bit of spit and polish improving many facets of the original game, but with some of the negatives unfortunately carrying over as well. The end result is an action RPG that will keep most players entertained for many hours, as the story, combat, and characters outweigh the boredom of Replicant’s sometimes repetitive gameplay.