The fact that this charming game was created by a single person is astounding. Tunic delightfully combines what we loved about games from our childhood with modern day influences. With tons of challenging enemies to encounter, cryptic puzzles to solve, and secrets to uncover, this game will ensure you won't regret embarking on the adventure of this cute little fox. There's simply no better way to play this game than on the PlayStation 5, with the intuitive Game Help feature and flawless performance.
If there's one game that I would go back and play over again as if it were the first time, it would be Outer Wilds. It's a fantastic space exploration experience that rewards your curiosity to explore and desire for knowledge. The Echoes of the Eye expansion further enhances your journey by introducing horror twists to the classic formula. Now that Mobius Digital has released a 4K60FPS patch on next-gen consoles, there's no reason not to blast off on your spaceship and start your adventure.
Soulstice is a solid, albeit unnecessarily dragged out, hack-and-slash action role playing game that features a great cast of characters and an engaging narrative. There's a ton of replayability and a high skill ceiling to achieve, but the lack of variety in gameplay elements and wonky camera angles keep it from being truly amazing.
Metal Hellsinger is a refreshing take on traditional demon killing, Doom shooting, and rhythm based heavy death metal music. It features some truly immersive and satisfying gameplay mechanics, especially when you click with the beat and blow off demon heads while rocking out to the beat of System of a Down. However, the game's difficult learning curve and lack of variety may be off putting to some.
Isonzo is an honorable attempt at creating the historical events of the battles between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian armies. The multiplayer-only component with concern for long-term player base sustainability, alongside a multitude of user experience gripes make it an unremarkable experience.
Steelrising is a beginner friendly entry into the Soulsborne genre with its fairly easy learning curve and enticing alternate history French Revolution premise. The art and visual direction are unparalleled with Spiders' amazing depiction and design of steampunk automata, but the game is ultimately bottled down by unpolished combat, inconsistent performance, and too many quality of life issues.
White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is a great experience for those looking for nostalgic old school survival horror. What it lacks in modern day graphics and mechanics it makes up for with a plethora of lore and swimsuit DLCs. Still, many questionable and outdated design choices hold it back from being truly amazing.
Naughty Dog delivers again with its timeless masterclass narrative experience, this time rebuilt from the ground up following contemporary gaming standards. With modern graphics and unparalleled performance, The Last of Us Part I is the definitive way to enjoy the multilayered and complex story of Joel and Ellie. It remains a genre-bending action survival game that challenges the status-quo by weaving together multiple elements. An expanded array of accessibility options, gameplay modifiers, and extra modes allows this remake to be experienced by anyone from any background and that's not an easy feat.
Soul Hackers 2 feels like a culmination of everything Atlus learned from previous iterations of its games. It's beginner friendly enough for newcomers to join but also brings just enough challenge to entice veterans of the series. It leaves a unique mark with some genuinely creative mechanics while retaining core elements of Persona and Shin Megami Tensei, but is bogged down by some poor design choices. Painted in a fresh neon coat of cyberpunk and drenched in a deeply wrapped narrative, Soul Hackers 2 still deserves the attention of any JRPG fan.
Thymesia is a game that I expected to flop so hard given my initial impressions of the demo. But I am happy to say that the full release is much more polished and fleshed out thanks to OverBorder Studio diligently taking in the feedback of the players. Out of a sea of Soulsborne clones, it exudes just enough flavor to stand out thanks to the aggressive combat loop, robust plague weapon system, and dual health mechanic. Still, the two parry options, which require near perfect timing yet give little to no reward, need a complete rework. But hey, it's a janky and clunky love letter to its big brother Bloodborne.
South of the Circle presents an evocative narrative that will have you thinking about it long after you finish it. A unique minimalist art style paired with an excellent voice cast and soundtrack are the cherry on top of a heartfelt story. Unfortunately, the lack of impact from any of your decisions in addition to a relatively short run time hinder what otherwise is a flawless experience.
Sword and Fairy: Together Forever is a gorgeous and engaging Chinese high fantasy role-playing game that deserves more attention from the West. Localization and technical optimizations have been implemented since the game's original release on PC, making this console port the best way to experience this game. The vast number of cutscenes and depth of lore may be off-putting for some, but those willing to give this title a chance will not be disappointed. Sword and Fairy is a game that should be viewed through its own lens, without the comparisons to Japanese role playing games, and only so will this franchise truly be appreciated.
AI: The Somnium Files - Nirvana Initiative is a masterfully crafted murder mystery visual novel that smoothly blends in detective gameplay elements and puzzle sequences. It features an outstanding cast of characters and a competently crafted narrative that will keep you on your toes until the end. Even though the game has a smaller flowchart in terms of diverging narrative paths than the first game and may feel drawn out at times, it remains well worth checking out if you are into games of this genre.
Stray is more than just a cat simulator; it's a love letter to cats and cat owners alike. It is an absolute spectacle from beginning to end, with a heart wrenching narrative and enough cat-centric puzzles to have you meowing for more. BlueTwelve Studio did an immaculate job bringing this project to life, immersing you in a dystopian world filled to the brim with mystery, all the while making you truly feel like an adorable feline. We need more games like this in the industry, ones that stand tall on their own and don't bank on the success of their inspirations.
Outriders is a game that launched with an array of bugs, glitches, and crashes during its initial launch. It's probably the best time to jump in and play Outriders right now, especially after the free New Horizons update along with this massive Worldslayer DLC. The new expansion comes at a steep price point, but shines with its polished endgame content and loot pool. Sure, it can get repetitive, grindy, and tedious, but that shouldn't be a problem if you're into this type of game. Just make sure you have two buddies who are down to play with you because playing solo just isn't that fun.
Bloodious Games has been developing MADiSON since 2016, and it's incredible to see a project of this magnitude come to fruition from a team of only two people. MADiSON creates a harrowing experience for fans to feast on, with its outstanding atmospheric tension, eccentric camera mechanic, and psychedelic puzzles. Apart from being a horror game, it also showcases some truly artistic stages and mythos. There are some beautiful landscapes to explore and investigate as you plunge into a spiral of insanity. After all, you are the Mad Son.
If you enjoy modern Resident Evil titles such as Resident Evil 7 and Village, then you will feel right at home with Fobia - St. Dinfna Hotel. It's an obvious love letter to the franchise that contains plenty of lore, mystery, horror, and puzzles. Unfortunately, the janky controls take away from what otherwise is an indie game with lots of heart and promise.
Redout 2 is a game that looks amazingly sleek and fun through pictures, descriptions, and videos. The facade is dropped when you actually play the game for yourself, and find a slew of poor design choices, unnecessary difficulty curves, incomplete features, and repetitive gameplay. This doesn't even include the atrociously implemented HDR that burned my eyes and gave me a headache. Even if you're a fan of the genre, I recommend sticking with the first Redout until this sequel is heavily patched or discounted.
Salt and Sacrifice to Salt and Sanctuary is like Dark Souls 2 to Dark Souls 1. It diverges a lot from the original, with some ideas that work well and some that don't. All in all, it's still an excellent 2-D Souls-like Metroidvania that brilliantly infuses Monster Hunter elements with challenging combat. Despite some poor design choices and questionable difficulty spikes, it's still astonishing to think this game was created by a team of just two people.
Evil Dead: The Game brings a lot to the table within the realm of asymmetrical multiplayer horror experiences, with its cast of iconic characters, locations, and dialogue. It is an absolute blast to play as Ash Williams - voiced by Bruce Campbell himself - against the Forces of Darkness. There's even a solo mission mode that pays homage to famous scenes from the movies and tv series. Unfortunately, there's a slight lack of content due to repetitive objectives, and many quality of life concerns that the developers need to address if they want to prolong the longevity of their passion project.