Ghost Song is an aesthetic descent into sadness that could've been much more, yet stumbles on the final lap. The game explores interesting characters while filling out the game world with melancholia, acting as a love letter to the Metroidvania and Souls genres. The soundtrack brings a resounding presence to the game that really cements that overall vibe for the player, enticing them in for more. There is enjoyment to be had here, but players might find that wonder and mystery replaced with frustration when coming up against bullet sponge enemies and a game narrative that never quite resolves in a satisfying way.
It's hard not to love the adorable Dusty's capers in Justice Sucks. It's a fun arcade game that isn't afraid to tell a story as well. Each new area brings its own obstacles to face, but in the end, Dusty has all the tools to rise above the bad guys in this sentient robot action romp. Being so replayable works heavily in the game's favour. It's a great time for anyone keen to jump into a challenge-orientated arcade game packed full of chaos.
If you're after a simulation game that's a bit different than the usual genre mainstays, then chuck Arcade Paradise on the spin cycle. But be warned, despite packing in 35+ arcade games, it's not going to give you as much depth as other simulators. The early game suffers from a repetitive game loop that is only rescued by the happy grind to unlock new games in the arcade area. A worthy way to spend some coins and kill some time, Arcade Paradise at the very least lives up to half of its name.
Loot River is certainly a roguelike unafraid to explore new waters, but what it lacks is a refined loop. Constantly repeating the run, even in different dungeons, isn’t an easy concept to float. However, the game’s unique movement mechanics and visuals do a lot of work to sell the experience. If you’re looking for a roguelike that’s going to punish you, then check this one out, but try not to be too shocked when you realise there are no life jackets provided.
If you’re after a bell-bashing good time with all the style, boss battles, and even cooking, then this game is going to sing the tune you’ll want to hear. Anuchard is a hearty indie game with much to give to those who are looking for an appropriate mix of dungeon donging and puzzle-solving chaos. It might not be a genre cornerstone with some notable shortfalls, but it will still keep you ring-a-ding-dinging as you solve puzzles and traverse its dungeons.
As a puzzle game, Kombinera understands the assignment with ease. Conceptually, it feels familiar, easy to pick up, and perfect for handheld play, but it holds its own on a console as well. Where it falters is in its desperation to be something it isn’t. The game’s story is over the top and if anything takes away from the soul of the game. Similarly, the repetitive music can make the game feel underdone, which is a weird statement considering how polished the puzzles are.
Martha is Dead isn’t for the faint-hearted, though sadly that’s not for the right reasons. There are too many moving parts in this game that weigh the already poorly-paced story down. If this was a spooky investigative adventure that required you to take photos to unlock the brooding mystery hidden within, I’d be all for it, because that’s one part that actually works. But alas it’s instead left as an over-exerted mess that is more focused on a couple of key shock-value moments than anything substantial. This game needs a swift autopsy to dissect out the crimes before a merciful cremation.
Windjammers 2 is a great update to a nostalgic arcade wonder that many will welcome with open arms, just like they would a frisbee. Definitely take this one for a spin if you love air hockey-style games but crave that bit of extra button mashing. The characters, arenas, and soundtrack all hit the mark brilliantly. It’s not an easy game to master, allowing dedicated fans to hone their skills and improve. There’s a missed opportunity for better tutorialisation and a lack of a structured tournament/career mode is disappointing, though the game overall still feels like a nostalgic romp.
Farming Simulator 22 is a beefy farming game that brings realism at the expense of inexperienced player enjoyment. It’s a machine built on the agricultural industry that forgoes any story in favour of hard work. It’s a simulator game that understands the assignment but isn’t at all intuitive in how it allows players to begin new farms. With proper tutorials and allowances, this game would appeal to players beyond its dedicated niche. Once players are able to tackle the learning curve, they’ll discover enjoyment can be found through persistence.
The Lightbringer definitely brings some platforming joy to the surface but stumbles with uneven boss encounters. The game is easy to pick up with a gradual increase in platforming difficulty, though the lack of a checkpoint system may be a drawback for those less tried and tested to the ways of platformers. There is depth here if you’re after a challenge but The Lightbringer may end up leaving you a bit wanting.
There’s a lot of potential to Monster Harvest, but it falls short on delivering a farming sim game that comes close to rivalling others in the genre. Hopefully, with time, Monster Harvest continues to grow, but until then it feels like it’s missing what makes the hard work worthwhile. Honestly, this feels like an Early Access title that still needs more time before it’s ready for full release. It seems the phrase ‘third time’s the charm’ does not apply to game delays.
Come with the tribe and stay for the grind if that’s your thing though this isn’t for everyone. Much of the game is spent either gathering or fighting until your weapons break as you beg for more souls to make the necessary upgrades and repairs to the camp. While it does offer a battle pass that’s free I’d still proceed with caution. There is a real challenge here that requires strategy but it falls short with the settings available in Survival mode for those either looking for a more brutal challenge or an easy go instead. Tribes of Midgard is best played with friends but if you’re after a game that rewards persistence then maybe you’ll find the value in solo-play too. It’s got lofty ambitions, but it doesn’t quite manage to meet them – at least not yet.
As far as time loop games go, The Forgotten City has the Midas touch. It’s easy to see just how much care has gone into the story of the game so that it not only pulls the player in, but dares them to test the possible realities. The characters all feel real and they drive the player to find the truth before the Golden Rule is broken and the loop must reset. The developers have been careful to create a narrative that, while repetitive in practice, still keeps the player engaged in the wider narrative of the world through exploration and discovery. Combat in the game remains questionable, but the gold bow is its saving grace. If you’re after a game that will keep you guessing as you move closer to the truth, then The Forgotten City is fittingly worthy of your gold.
Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is good for a short time, not a long time. What could have been a glorious game full of compelling contracts and challenging assassinations gets muddied by boring regions that are just begging to be filled with objectives to make them seem worthwhile. Instead, you’ll spend more time walking around than actually sniping the baddies. Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 feels unsure of whether it can truly be a strong sniper simulator so instead it tries to outgun other FPS and assassination games – unfortunately, despite it’s fun sniping gunplay, it misses the mark on both.
If you need a hit of nostalgia from a sci-fi shooter, then jump in the cockpit for this one. It packs the challenge but may feel a little too stuck in the arcades of old. This release is a testament to the power of a loyal fanbase. As far as side-scrollers go, it’s definitely on the money
With realism being the focus of MotoGP 21, the enjoyment here comes from the mastery of racing at high speeds. Although unless you’re a returning player to the series or a natural on the virtual bike, you won’t be treated kindly by the game’s difficulty. New players could comfortably get away with trying MotoGP 20 instead as a way of easing themselves into the series with a smaller entry fee. Returning players, conversely, will no doubt feel at home with an updated game featuring stunningly detailed environments and racing options. As for me? The plethora of crashes I experienced in-game may now put me off real-world motorbikes altogether.
Godstrike is, at its crunchy centre, a boss rush game built around a somewhat interesting mechanic that, no matter how flawed, certainly gets the adrenaline pumping. Each of the encounters feels well designed but immovable to the average player. There are only so many times the player can try at an encounter before they feel disheartened at the difficulty. Not feeling like one can sacrifice time for abilities is disappointing too. The game also refuses to acknowledge that not allowing the player any way to recoup lost health disadvantages players unfairly. It’s a game that means well with a new challenge for high-skilled players of twin-stick shooters, but casual players won’t need much time to realise just how tedious learning these controls can be.