Neon White is a video game vision executed with the kind of immense creativity and skill the industry needs more of. Intensely satisfying gameplay combines with a well-executed story, engaging characters and a crisp art style. Every facet compliments another area of the title with a serene cohesion which culminates in an adrenaline pumping, high-octane blockbuster of a game. Neon White is a very strong contender for my game of the year, and if you own a Switch or PC you owe it to yourself to experience this incredible title. Failure is common in Hell, but only through trial can you reach the salvation of Neon Heaven.
Guild of Dungeoneering: Ultimate Edition is a remaster done right. All new animations, effects, bug fixes and nice surprises are stuffed in alongside all of the DLC content to make a complete package. The handcrafted art style is lovely, the card-based exploration and combat mostly satisfying and easy to get into. While it may lack a bit of depth to keep the dungeon raiding at full throttle, it has enough in the tank for a good few hours of monster slaying.
Built on mobile game design, Robo Wars has gameplay a toddler could master and a slide-show of boring “levels”, if you’re generous enough to call them that. The use of time-gated loot box structure for progression (with no actual microtransactions) only sullies the experience further. There are apps with far more interesting countdown timers available basically everywhere, which are probably much more worthy of your time… and money.
In Nightmare is a pale competitor to other titles of the horror-adventure genre. Stealth that’s preferable to charge through, puzzles that are the blandest of time-wasters and a narrative of dark themes burdened with typos and poor delivery. Real nightmares threaten your sleep with terror and fear, whereas In Nightmare only threatens to bore or frustrate you to death.
Weird West sadly just isn’t as unique, strange or compelling as its setting and ideas suggest it should be. A decent twin-stick shooter with solid but repetitive combat, a limited sandbox and inconsequential decision making undermine the potential for an awesome gun slinging adventure. Sometimes, declaring yourself weird just ain’t enough, you’ve got to have the stones to commit to the best duels of the wild west.
The Ascent has the kind of graphical and audio design prowess that many games can only dream of. While some technical and mechanical issues disrupt the immersion, there’s no denying the sheer sadistic joy that comes from shredding through the neon glazed tiers of Veles. A critique of the Cyberpunk genre this isn’t, but damn is it a blast to play.
A smaller, more condensed open world hides the ethereal reality of a game which has a touching narrative, beautifully conceptualised neon Tokyo to explore and a wealth of folklore tales to weave your way through. Ghostwire: Tokyo stays true to the well-worn formula of open-world games, but the genuineness of its ideals make it a compelling and at times, other-worldly experience. Find the time for this next 2022 gem. It deserves it.
Music Racer: Ultimate looks awesome and sounds great, but it flatters to deceive with mind-numbingly bland, unengaging gameplay mixed with some shockingly bad level design and poorly thought out structure as an overall package. When the solution to making your game more fun is to only listen and look, but not play, it becomes the video game form of “should have been an email”.
A cosy, relaxed afternoon kind of game, Time Loader is a short, unchallenging but easy going little game. The soundtrack is lush and the gameplay, graphics and story are all decent enough to keep you engaged. While not memorable or worth screwing up the space-time continuum for, Time Loader is a dependable little earth JCB.
A wonderfully unique concept, FAR: Changing Tides had me attending to a virtual vessel with the kind of love and focus usually only devoted to the most valued things in life. Its beautiful, handcrafted art direction, stellar soundtrack, approachable yet unapologetic gameplay and phenomenal world will draw you in and refuse to let you go. This is a voyage worth taking, no matter the stormy conditions.
A wonderfully written story, combined with some dark, depressing and ultimately great side discoveries and accessible yet engaging platform-puzzling prove to be another fantastic addition to Untold Tales’ portfolio. It may not be perfect, but we can rejoice that What Lies In The Multiverse exists within our dimension to experience.
Elex II is a prime example of great potential being suffocated by poor execution. A large world filled with quests, unique factions and interesting lore can only carry you so far when the combat is floaty, the progression is stifling, the graphics bland and its performance breaks so visibly, so often. Instead of slaying raptors with lasers, you’ll be waiting for the game to pop-in the fun while it chugs out another texture it missed.
Edge of Eternity is a passion project with a hell of a lot of heart. The art direction is phenomenal, the combat satisfying and the content positively bursting with hours of enjoyment. Poor performance, less interesting side content and a mediocre story keep it from greatness, but the heart of this package deserves its praise and to be revered into the future.
Even for a series renowned for reusing material and rehashing a tired formula of mindless yet oddly satisfying gameplay, Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires is a hollow package. If this is all the series has left to offer, it may be time to let the Three Kingdoms war themselves into oblivion. A bland, shallow title with little to offer even those who enjoy the repetition of Musou gameplay, Empires is as regurgitated as a game can be.
Mr. Prepper doesn’t turn out to be the nuclear catastrophe it initially convinces you it will be. It survives the radioactive onslaught by the skin of it’s dank, burrowed out teeth. There’s something strange in this that can be recommended, but only to those who have a penchant for the suvivalist, resource-management genre. For everyone else, the threat of impending destruction on the surface is likely more preferable to the solitude and depression of the bunker.
A turn-based strategy game with remarkably solid, pretty and entertaining foundations, Reverie Knights Tactics is a good if unspectacular entry into the genre. Its gameplay and design could have benefitted from additional depth, but this compact package offers a pleasantly enjoyable romp with even more hope for future entries. Completely usurp other tactics games it likely won’t, but there’s enough here to have you entering your own reverie in this tale.
Failing to stack up anywhere near it’s contemporaries, Blackwind is a hollow exosuit complete with unengaging combat, mind-numbing exploration and puzzle elements, repetitious presentation, poor story and baffling design choices. There are plenty of potentially great ingredients to this package, but unlike the age-old adage, the sum is certainly no greater than the parts. A meek gust of breeze as opposed to the promise of a gale-force wind.
Nestling nicely among the raft of indie gems, Aspire: Ina’s Tale excels with a gorgeous art style, subtle yet engaging story-telling and excellent musical score. While you can largely solve the puzzles without much effort, your journey with Ina will be a compelling and rich adventure. It may not hold the loftiest aspirations, but Ina’s dreams are worth embracing.
Unfortunately falling victim to the giants of rogue-likes it provided the shoulders for, Collapsed is an entertaining if poorly balanced rogue-like. Solid action and gunplay can only carry you so far when repetition slowly wears away your enthusiasm, and you know that other games in the genre offer so much more in comparison. Collapsed is despairingly trapped under the rubble of those who have surpassed it.