Landing on the PlayStation at long last, Fights In Tight Spaces retains its first-in-class deck-building, roguelike gameplay and a stellar addictive quality. If you’re even a passing fan of martial arts or action movies, you owe it to yourself to jump in and release your inner roundhouse kicks. A game of the year contender in 2021 that stands right up there in 2023.
Transmogrify is a Portal gun that’s been remodelled to transform your expectations of a typical puzzle-platformer. It has the occasional issue with bugs (literally and metaphorically) and the usual frustration that comes hand-in-hand with the genre, but its an earnest and delightful little game that’ll keep enthusiasts hooked for a good while.
OTXO comes alive when you hit the Zen-like moment of blowing apart enemies, dodging out of fire, booting in doors and stressfully defeating that encroaching foe with your last round of the magazine. It suffers from some repetitive procedural design and relies a little too much on its slo-mo mechanic to get by, but its as close to a Crank movie you’re ever likely to get, and what a time that is.
A short but sweet experiential title, Strayed Lights shines bright above its station to deliver an atmospheric tale of self-discovery, rewarding combat and a fantastic graphical and audio treat. This light may not burn long, but it’ll leave quite the impression despite the odd minor issue.
God of Rock has flashy, entertaining visuals with a thematic flair. While its style and level editor excel, the rhythm gameplay and fighting mechanics feel shoe-horned together, creating a clunky and messy whole. The music is great and the idea could work, but this isn’t the rock-charged moshpit that it promised to be.
Meet your Maker is a solid new adventure for Behaviour Interactive, boasting a strong community-driven set of systems and mechanics that encourage creativity and ruthlessness in their design. The lack of available options, a poor progression system and grid-locked currencies dull the excitement of raiding somewhat, but the core structure of this outpost should allow it to harvest for some time yet.
Another barebones dinosaur expansion which only brings 4 new variants of reptile, the Feathered Species Pack has a lot of furry cuteness but not a whole lot else to make it worth investing in. Thankfully, Frontier Developments continue to support the game with free updates which softens the blow and keeps Jurassic World Evolution 2 on track to be the greatest dinosaur museum ever.
Troublemaker is another Deadly Premonition, in that it’s a game that’s objectively flawed, broken and messy. Even so, the ridiculousness and sheer enjoyment it’ll bring to your face as you continue to play will make you love it for what it is – an immature, hilariously enjoyable beat-em-up with a non-sensical story and repetitive gameplay. One of the best worst games you’ll ever play.
A twin-stick shooter with simplistic and accessible design, there’s a certain catharsis to blasting your way through various locations as tiny soldiers. It’s hampered by repetitious gameplay and a couple of frustrating issues, but if you’d like an afternoon of running-and-gunning through comically undersized enemies, this might just be the immature cartoon game for you.
The King’s Dilemma: Chronicles is a wonderfully adept video game adaption of the 2019 board game. Excellent writing, buttery presentation and with ethical dilemmas galore, it offers a huge amount of potential replayability. Aside from minor mechanical issues that don’t translate quite as smoothly and the fact this is for a niche audience, this is a realm well worth setting out to save or doom.
Atomic Heart is a solid yet over-indulgent first entry from a developer that maybe had more ideas than it could manage at once. The individual atoms and particles have wonderful potential, but their quantum connection to each other feels wholly missing thanks to their competing directions. I have hope a sequel could deliver on the fantastic premise and stellar world-building, but just like nuclear fusion, it’s an optimistic dream rather than an exciting current reality.
Like the Necromorphs themselves, Dead Space has been reanimated from death thanks to a superb remake treatment courtesy of Motive Studio. The USG Ishimura feels alive with terror once more thanks to fleshed out narrative stakes, an engaging exploration overhaul and a wonderful attention to detail. The Marker beckons, won’t you make us whole again?
Wildboy Studios’ Norse-inspired rhythm combat RPG is captivating thanks to a bright art style juxtoposed against a dark, deep and loss-filled narrative. While fun, the combat, puzzling and exploration don’t quite reach the same levels, but have more than enough to be worthy of your time. No atonement required, Estra’s journey needs no redemption to be recommended.
Crisis Core -Final Fantasy 7- Reunion is a prime example of how remasters should be handled. A massive graphical overhaul, streamlined and satisfying gameplay mechanics and wonderfully remastered soundtrack outweigh the 2007 originals flaws in bloated side-content and repetitive structure. Square Enix have kept their honour and given Zack Fair the hero treatment he deserves.
Broken Lines is a decent amalgamation of XCOM and Peaky Blinders: Mastermind. Despite its multitude of flaws and unappealing visuals, there’s a bit of fun to be had navigating this squad through this alternate WWII universe. While it’s trapped behind enemy lines, there’s hope the squad can mend the broken to ultimately survive.
Mirror Forge will creep you out and make you uncomfortable with its superb Silent Hill inspired environments. The gameplay is unthreatening and the story is predictable, but there’s something about this indie horror game that’ll have you soaking in its grim and disgusting dimension-hopping universe.
Back 4 Blood Expansion 3: Rivers of Blood finally delivers some of the potential we’ve been waiting on. A much more appealing act of missions, wonderfully integrated new mode and some engaging new content means Turtle Rock Studios are, at long last, confidently realising Back 4 Blood’s ambition. Here’s to more Ridden-slaying in future.
Crossfire: Legion is an accessible RTS with a decent foundation to become a great game, but it’s held back by a lackluster campaign, poor pathfinding and shallow strategic systems. A stellar voice cast, excellent graphical performance and primitively fun gameplay can carry you quite a way, but not enough to reach the best of the genre. Hopefully, there’s more to come.
The Callisto Protocol is a good game that falls short in almost every department of being a great one. Predictable story, gratifying-yet clunky combat mechanics and a lack of variety hold back what is an otherwise visual and audible spectacle. Dead Space has cast a long shadow since its release in 2008 and The Callisto Protocol can’t emerge from the depth of its superb darkness.