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.
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.
#IDARB is a game that keeps on giving and the quintessential Xbox One multiplayer experience. Nintendo systems have Mario Kart and Mario Party, many moons ago the SEGA Saturn offered the ultimate multiplayer mayhem in Saturn Bomberman and now we have #IDARB for the Xbox One as one of the best and most inclusive multiplayer havens.
Tembo the Badass Elephant is a platformer that only comes once in a while, making it an experience that no gamer can afford to miss. Game Freak takes a break from their Pokemon duties to show everyone that they're no one trick pony and that Pulseman was no accident.
Heaven’s Vault is one of those extraordinary adventure games that will likely become more legendary in time. Much like the ancient Empire that players must uncover in the game, Heaven’s Vault is rife with intricate details where players are likely to notice something new each time they revisit the immense nebula. While not all of its gameplay ideas are effective, and Aliya as a protagonist can take a while to become likable, the adventure as a whole is staggeringly epic, one that makes you feel like a providential participant in a dynamically evolving narrative.
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.
Morbid: The Seven Acolytes is a challenging game which generally incorporates both the good and annoying elements of a Souls-like experience. Still, it manages to stand out thanks to its strong dark fantasy presentation, rich Lovecraftian lore, and gameplay systems that offer methodical combat and plenty of features to make the adventure satisfying. It’s a difficult game, for sure, but it doesn’t forego quality-of-life features for the sake of being difficult, and so in this sense, many players outside of the Souls fandom can get something out of it.
While The Escapists on the Xbox One may not be the most definitive version of the title, it's still a soundly optimized and immensely original gaming experience that stands out from the crowd in the One's digital library. Unlike anything you'll ever play, The Escapists is among the most thoroughly and thoughtfully designed simulation RPGs.
Mega Coin Squad is a fun, frantic and wholly unique action platformer with all sorts of crazy ideas and mechanics built around a clear and engaging objective of collecting and banking as many coins as possible. It dives right into the basic primal gamer instinct of collecting shiny golden coins, and throws in countless obstacles and useful tools to make things interesting.
While there is no shortage of choice when it comes to adventure games — especially on Steam — Technobabylon is not just another face in the crowd. Whether you're a fan of exceptional adventure games, science fiction, or even its apparent influences, there is a memorable adventure in Technobabylon backed by a believable setting and driven by a strong narrative.
Something that is fueled by subjectivity alone becomes a challenge to evaluate objectively, and perhaps even unfair, but Elegy for a Dead World still presents an experience that is all inclusive and doesn't look down on anyone who doesn't fully comprehend it. The beauty of it is that it will speak to almost anyone, because whether it's part of your education or one of your passions, writing and literature is an integral part of anyone's life, and so Elegy serves as a welcoming platform for anyone who wants to practice writing and polish their craft.
Kalimba is an action-packed platformer that experiments with a lot of puzzles and design gimmicks to consistently provide a genuine challenge. It is devilishly difficult and there are times when the level design and touchy mechanics don't complement this very well, mainly instances that require dumb luck rather than intuitive skill.
Light appears to stick with the bare minimum at first glance, but the slick presentation, stylized visuals and memorable music come together to create a fun and pure stealth action game. While it is a bit on the short and easy side, there's incentive to revisit levels in order to learn more effective and efficient means of completing them.
Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings sits comfortably between being an inviting arcade-style romp and a serious baseball simulator. It's easy enough to get into the swing of things, but there's plenty of depth for those looking for a baseball video game to invest in.
Mad Father is a legitimate survival horror experience that takes after the seminal Sweet Home. The storyline is genuinely intriguing and disturbing, with a captivating narrative complemented by authentic gameplay systems that create a true survival horror challenge. Despite simple pixel graphics, Mad Father manages to use its excellent sound design to create a horrifying atmosphere. It may lack 8K powered zombies, but there are plenty of scares here for even the most seasoned horror game fans.
QV is one of those games that ticks all the right boxes for its particular niche. As an isometric puzzle platformer, there’s little else like it at the moment, and so it manages to have an audience even among so many video game releases. It’s a comfortable and well-designed puzzle romp complemented by some genuinely catchy tunes.
SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium holds up really well as a 2021 release on Switch, and while the other fighting games in the Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection were interesting curiosities at best, this one feels like a legitimately strong fighting game experience in its own right. The game undoubtedly suffers from the basic limitations holding back other games on the handheld. Still, thanks to the diverse roster of characters, game modes, mini-games, and the sheer fanservice detail, this is an excellent retro fighting experience on Switch.
Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown appears to be a test to see if a revival would be feasible for this series to modern consoles. There seems to be a push to get this game in as many hands as possible to gauge interest and show that Virtua Fighter can still put up a fight. Thankfully, the updated systems, balances, and visuals make this a worthy fighter, but a lot rides on the competitive modes.
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.