Centipede: Recharged is a welcome modernization of a timeless arcade shooter. The classic ’80s gameplay is fully intact, and the new power-ups and challenges spice up what was already a fine-tuned experience. Some of the best games in the world are ones that instantly wire into your reflexes, and Centipede: Recharged is definitely one you’ll want to keep around for pure shooting bliss.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a remarkable and magical adventure, and it’s honestly still hard to believe this is an indie title. This is the kind of game that simply needs to be part of every gamer’s library and one that raises the bar for the adventure genre in this generation. With emotional story beats, a compelling game world, engaging level design, challenging boss battles, and surprising combat versatility, Kena: Bridge of Spirits is an experience far greater than the sum of its many interconnected parts.
Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions is one for the movie fans, but it’s also a fun arcade boxing game for anyone who happens to be looking for one. The core boxing action is entertaining, with a wide cast of characters to try out. While the game falls short in its presentation and gameplay modes, there is still enough here to provide a satisfying boxing challenge as you unlock new content and relive your favorite moments from the movies.
The story is filled with emotional and meaningful moments, even if they interrupt the pace a fair bit. While the combat and world design can get repetitive, there are plenty of cool moments in terms of boss encounters and learning new abilities. So if you’re after a comfortably paced and unique Zelda-style adventure, then Arietta of Spirits certainly won’t disappoint.
Spelunker HD Deluxe doesn’t quite live up to its namesake, given how it is largely based on a release from over a decade ago, where the core game itself lacks the charm of the series by design. The awkward mechanics haven’t aged very well, but the premise of the level design and progression can be interesting and even rewarding at times. Unfortunately, the experience as a whole feels needlessly frustrating and dated, especially when you’re fighting against the controls for the most part.
For a video game to demand the player derive their own meaning from it is asking a lot. This makes Sky: Children of the Light a challenging proposition even as a free release on Switch. For many, it may be a few hours of wandering about before they are put off by the aimlessness of it all. Still, at least for its niche audience, they will likely self-select into this unique gaming community. Sky is a pointless online video game experience driven by the player’s own subjective interpretation, but that’s perhaps the entire point.
Cotton Reboot! is one for the diehard shmup historian. The core experience is largely based on a dated shmup design, which will be noticeable to newcomers and genre veterans. It’s a welcomed preservation of a rare and oft-forgotten Japanese cult classic. Still, some of the choices in the visual presentation make the reboot experience far more uncomfortable than it needs to be. Nevertheless, better shooters are available and even better Cotton games are on the horizon, making Cotton Reboot! one for the connoisseurs and collectors.
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: The Official Video Game is a functional and serviceable sports video game at best. While it features various events, the play mechanics and controls are too basic, so there isn’t much long-term replay value. The biggest problem here is that the experience sits somewhere between a sports simulator and an arcade game, and it doesn’t succeed with either approach. If you own a Nintendo Switch, pick up Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 instead.
Mushihimesama is a long overdue and welcome release on Nintendo Switch, serving as an exemplar of its developer’s signature shmup style. The Switch version comes with all modes and features intact, and so whether you are a returning veteran or a complete newcomer, players can approach the experience however they like. However, regardless of who you are, Mushihimesama is the quintessential bullet-hell shooter that is especially a blast to play in handheld mode.
Guilty Gear -Strive- is the premier fighting game for the next generation of gaming. At launch, the experience feels complete with an in-depth single-player, robust multiplayer, and plenty of great extras. It has, without a doubt, the best 2.5D graphics featuring unreal fluidity in its animation. The gameplay is superbly refined and engaging, featuring a roster of imaginative characters with uniquely contrasting fighting styles. What once was an obscure fighting game has now become a genre leader, like a small-town rock band selling out stadiums.