Sonic Origins is the Sonic anthology that Sonic the Hedgehog fans, including myself, have been waiting for years to play. Being able to play the classic Sonic titles in their original glory AND in an updated fashion thanks to Anniversary Mode should make newer players' journeys less perilous than the journeys we had on our Sega Genesis in the 90s. Sonic is more forgiving than ever. You'll be hit with all the nostalgia from Sonic 1, 2, 3, and CD, although some of the content has been changed. I only wish that this content was taken one step further: More playable content and animations, please!
NEO: The World Ends with You was absolutely worth the fourteen year wait. Its unique battle system, beautiful art, and accessibility for multiple audiences make it worthwhile. Beyond that, the lack of a grind and ability to play as you want make this JRPG worthy of being added to your collection. Although the menus can contribute to information overload and the game itself is fairly linear, NEO: TWEWY succeeds in telling a unique and engaging story without the slog of other games in the JRPG genre. In short: NEO: TWEWY is outstanding; be warned: you will become addicted.
Aeterna Noctis is a delightfully difficult Metroidvania that pushes the boundaries of difficult platforming and combat in a way that keeps the game fun and exhilarating. This hand-drawn action platformer is perfect for those who wanted just a bit more from similar games in the Metroidvania genre, albeit less charming. If you're looking for a solid indie GOTY that effectively utilizes your PS5, look no further than Aeterna Noctis. Good luck, you'll most definitely need it.
Flynn: Son of Crimson is an excellent indie specimen of what makes action platformers great. The refreshing combat system and beautiful yet increasingly complex level design will remind you of what you loved the most from your childhood platforming classics. Aside from Flynn's unfortunately short length, I am quite excited to see more from Studio Thunderhorse, as they created a fantastic game. And they let me pet a gigantic dog.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Switch) is a faithful port of an already outstanding RPG. Barring small graphical artifacts, an oversized text box, and multiple loading screens, KOTOR is an easy recommendation for Switch owners that RPGs should strive to emulate: Your character's stats matter, your character's actions have consequences, and the worlds you visit are lively. Even more: If this port doesn't make you excited for the upcoming KOTOR remaster, I don't know what will. If you're not the biggest Star Wars fan, I can assure you that you just might be after playing this game. If you're currently a Star Wars fan and have yet to play this game...what are you doing? Drop what you're doing and pick up KOTOR.
Weird Beluga attempted to merge two distinct genres of game with Clid the Snail: top-down shooter and narrative. Although they succeeded on the worldbuilding and narrative front, the gunplay feels unforgiving, repetitive, and frustrating. I can't sleight them for trying something new, as I generally enjoyed Clid's grimy world, but I really did want more. I can't wait to see where Weird Beluga go, as Clid is a good start for hopefully something better in the future.
Cult of the Lamb is perfect example of an innovative indie that proclaims to be one genre, but assumes multiple identities and delivers. The game's charming yet disturbing theme lends you freedom to play as you want, and have your actions make sense on the lore-front. Yes, this roguelite is most likely the easiest and most accessible compared to its competitors, but that accessibility comes at a cost of some gameplay, like combat, lacking depth and complexity for genre veterans. Knowing all of this, should you sacrifice your time to the altar of The One Who Waits? To this, we say yes.
Serious Sam 4's PS5 port is disappointing. For a one-year-old game, it would have been nice for some PS5-specific features to be added to this port and give us a reason to try it out on the PS5, but...there seem to not be many reasons to try Serious Sam 4 on the PS5. It does not feel like many changes were made to this port, and the experience is reminiscent of a PS3 game. If you're looking for a fun and demon-filled FPS for your new PS5 this holiday season, then you might like Serious Sam 4. Otherwise, perhaps you should consider waiting until the experienced is more polished.
To say that Warp Frontier is a letdown would be mostly glossing over how it succeeds as a point-and-click, but saying that it's an indie gem would be overlook some of the more critical issues that exist in-game. The world and story of Warp Frontier are well developed, yes. The voice acting and soundtrack are icing on the imaginary cake. But, this sci-fi cop drama of a point-and-click is best saved for a PC-playthrough, as the Switch's hardware and controller limitations make some of the game's annoying puzzles into frustrations. I would highly recommend you play this on PC, as your experience will be marred by the Switch.
Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX is a remaster of two classic games that I am very glad to see in 2021, it just kills me that Koei Tecmo waited so long to bring this series to international audiences. The UI needs some work, but the games play really well on PC. In terms of remaster quality, these remastered games check all the right boxes for adding game mechanics that we take for granted in present-day games in older games that weren't so lucky to have these features. While Monster Rancher 1 deserved additional graphical and audio updates, playing the remastered Monster Rancher 2 is nothing short of fun. The new music-lookup monster creation system is a much needed modernization for the series, the FF Mode is a great way to quickly grind out your monster's stats, but I fear that multiplayer may be a letdown. I sincerely hope that these remasters pave the way for a modern Monster Rancher installment, because if these remasters are any indication, Koei Tecmo are on the right track.
In short, Bravely Default II gives you reasons to grind, reasons to explore, reasons to learn, and reasons to listen. Square Enix and Claytechworks have ported an already fantastic Switch JRPG to PC (Steam), albeit with mostly graphical improvements. Bravely Default II (PC) is an excellent JRPG for those new to the series and want to relive the strategy found in Final Fantasy V OR for those familiar with the Bravely series who have yet to play BDII on the Nintendo Switch. The improvements that exist in the PC (Steam) version elevate BDII's quality, but there is little reason to purchase this game if you're already playing it on the Switch.
It has taken me longer than I would have imagined to come to this conclusion, but hear me out: The Bear & The Admiral is a diamond in the rough. I was pleasantly surprised by Jack Boylan's hand-drawn labor of love, as it managed to capture my attention and keep me hooked until the VERY END of the game. Barring the graphical noise on some levels and some level design quirks, this indie platformer is incredibly fun and charming. Once you get the hang of the levels and powerups, you will assuredly lose track of time clearing each level. Give this game a chance, you won't regret it.
Paint the Town Red (PTTR) is a decent action sandbox game that can appeal to multiple kinds of players. For those of you who wanted a gorier version of Minecraft, this game is for you! However, the controls/mechanics are difficult to deal with. The roguelike mode Beneath is an interesting step in the right direction, but it pales in comparison to other modes. If you want this game, it's because you literally want to paint the town red in a sandbox environment, and paint the town red you shall.
When I've been presented with DLC for action/arcade/adventure games in the past, I've often faced a concern of whether or not the DLC itself is a "New Game +" or an actual expansion to the game. Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods Part 1 (TAG1) walks a very fine line between crafting a new narrative versus providing players with more to do beyond KILL ALL THE DEMONS!!1 There will be moments where you find yourself in brand new environments and in an entirely different story, but there will also be moments where you'll think you're playing a "New Game +" kind of scenario, where you're immersed in end-game encounters comprised of waves of demons that you would also find at the end of Doom Eternal. The difficulty feels harder, to boot. You should expect TAG1 to take you around 6 hours or so (more if you like to be a completionist and find all of the secrets). You will enjoy this if you played Doom Eternal, but you'll be left with a cliffhanger at the end that prepares you for what's to come...
Mushihimesama (Switch) is a great replayable shmup to play on your Switch console. For Switch owners new to the bullet hell genre, Mushihimesama is a fantastic place to get your feet wet. For Switch owners itching to replay a classic bullet hell, look no further than Mushihimesama! Either way, you will have a great time navigating the seemingly endless waves of bullets in beautiful bug-filled arenas.
To say that Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods - Part 2 is better than Part 1 in every way would be glossing over the strengths and weaknesses of both expansions. In some ways, TAG2 is the DLC I wished Doom Eternal had released much earlier; most of the new enemies, the platforming sections, and the Sentinel Hammer refreshed my interest in becoming engulfed by waves of demons Doom Eternal had prepared me to slay. In other times, I felt that TAG2 seemed shorter and more linear than TAG1, and was utterly disappointed by how quickly the game ended. Be prepared to have a helluva good time, but not for a bloody long time.
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! is a great addition to the Doki Doki Literature Club! franchise, but I do wish there was just a bit more in the game. For those of you who have already played through DDLC!, you'll have a great time playing through it once again to learn more about our characters' prologues and other secrets embedded in the game itself. You might not be as surprised as you were during your first playthrough of DDLC! back in 2017 (or whenever you played it), but you will be quite intrigued and puzzled as you try and unlock the additional content. Just do your best to avoid spoilers that will be posted online. If you haven't played DDLC! before, DDLCP! is worth your time and an excellent way to get into the franchise. Just know this: This game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed. You've been warned.
I want to have faith that Ion Driver is a proof of concept for something bigger and better from Gammera Nest, but what currently exists is less of a test of racing skill and more of a test of patience for a futuristic racing enthusiast. The lack of content, inconsistent hit detection, and buggy racing experience will leave you disappointed. You will see everything Ion Driver has to offer within a few minutes of playing the game, so don't expect an experience of progression, futuristic and high-speed racing, nor skill.
Grapple Dog is an excellent proof of concept for a 2D action platformer that requires you to swing through levels and traverse through the air as an adorable pup. While I did enjoy the gameplay despite the quirky movement, I couldn't help but wish there was more, as Medallion Games are onto something fun, charming, groovy, and unique with Pablo. I hope to see this game optimized and updated for the Switch, as the gameplay issues I encountered slightly detracted from this short but sweet indie platforming gem. Need I remind you to pet Pablo every time you complete a level? Please give him all the pets; he deserves it.
Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan is a good entry into the RPG and 2.5D platforming genres that will give newer and younger players a taste of what similar games of this genre should look like. Its charm, simplicity, and accessibility can become overshadowed by the amount of conversation, but those who love reading will have a good time with this game. It's beautifully charming, and it was clearly made with love. Just be sure to temper your expectations.