Despite a short run time and relatively straightforward golf mechanics, Golf Club Wasteland wows with its world, vibrant graphical direction and amusingly sarcastic and critical story notes. I haven’t played anything quite like it this year, but I’m absolutely thrilled that I gave it a go as it’s cemented its place as one of my favourite little titles. If the idea of a beautifully desolate round of golf on a decimated Earth appeals to you, grab your 9-iron and get hitting, you won’t regret it.
The Medium surprised me with its psychologically twisted, complex and intricate story that had me enthralled from the moment the intrigue turned into something more sinister and personable. Even with its simplistic gameplay design and clunky encounter mechanics, the atmosphere of the world and enjoyable tale should carry you through even its darkest corners. In the real world, The Medium would be basic, but in the spirit realm, it comes to life and will show you the disturbing but enchanting fabric of its reality.
With a bit more time and budget, King’s Bounty II could have been one of the pinnacles of the fantasy medieval genre. The turn-based combat is deep, rewarding and challenging (though sometimes unfairly balanced), while the world of Nostria is artistically interesting and well-realised. If only the developers had been afforded the time and money to actually get the title running properly to overcome all the technical problems. The story is lacklustre with shamefully bad dialogue and voice acting, with everything other than the core combat system feeling under-developed and lacking the quality of life elements that have become the norm. King’s Bounty II ends up a decent prize, but a rather hollow haul of treasure that had so much more potential – a bounty more fit for a nobleman than a king.
As a regular game, this title would likely have underwhelmed me somewhat with its basic gameplay and simplistic puzzle-exploration nature. The story is intriguing and hits its stride in the second half, but follows some usual tropes, doesn’t land all of its more complex themes and is relatively predictable. As a VR title though, the atmosphere of the forest, the foreboding sense of dread and the feeling of unease is ever present and amplified from the immersion of the headset and excellent audio design. It’s a great experience in VR and worth having a go with if you love all things horror or psychological thriller, just don’t expect to be scared to death or for anything deep gameplay-wise.
Despite appearing as a knock-off of other popular dance-rhythm action games, Synth Riders earns its place alongside the cream of the VR crop as an essential PSVR experience. With a wealth of varied and pulsating tunes, hugely enjoyable gameplay mechanics and a stunning visual art direction, it overcomes its minor flaw of a lack of challenge or campaign mode. If you own a PSVR and don’t mind embarrassing yourself as you throw shapes, you absolutely need this in your library.
Little Witch Academia: VR Broom Racing is a game I shouldn’t have liked nor should recommend, but it has a certain honest appeal that’s hard to knock it for. For wannabe broom racing witches, this game was made for you, and probably only you.
Orcs Must Die! 3 is an intrinsically enjoyable and fun game. With deep mechanics, a wealth of content offerings, rewarding progression and impressive level of scale, it’ll delight those of the strategy and action background. It’s narrative is harmless and its technical capacity teeters under the weight of its ambition, but these do little to detract from the brilliant fun you’ll undoubtedly have playing it. Orcs Must Die! 3 is more than worth your time and will be a game I’ll be playing a lot more of.
Sniper Elite VR is a commendable attempt to bring bone-crushing, organ-splitting violence to your eyeballs. Its attention to detail, authenticity and amount of content make it a solid package. Unfortunately, a lacklustre story, inconsistent movement tracking, wonky physics and poor AI knock this scope off target. There’s indisputable fun wrapped up in nailing that perfect headshot, especially in VR. It’s just a shame the technology holds it back from landing a clean shot.
Despotism 3k has a solid strategy resource management core and some excellent, creative text dialogue events oozing with humour. It also has one of the most punishing and demotivating RNG event simulators that can break each of your runs without mercy and will happily kick your progress to the curb. It’s a decent game, but just like its real life despot counterparts, holding onto ultimate power will always be impossible to enjoy when a Cthulu monster decides it doesn’t appreciate your delusion of grandeur.
Curved Space is a decent twin stick shooter which has a variety of weapons, striking level backdrops, satisfying upgrade systems and a cool leash mechanic. Sadly, it’s significantly let down by repetitive objectives, technical issues and level design which is aesthetically, but not practically, interesting. While not a bad game by any means, Curved Space sadly fails to capitalise on its promise despite its solid offering of modes.