Circus Electrique is unlike any other RPG. Genre fans who like deep stat management will find a lot to like here. The mix of circus management and combat makes for a unique experience, although the management aspect does disrupt the flow. The game's strength is in its storytelling and how well the voice acting and art compliment the narrative. The preferred way to play this game is on the TV, as in handheld mode, it's difficult to read the text or see the different icons for the characters.
I enjoyed my time with Dreamlight Valley. There is plenty to do, and I never felt rushed to complete any quests. The fact that I can complete the quests in any order I'd like also played a big part in the leisure gameplay that Dreamlight Valley is going for it. The cast of characters and the amount you can do is impressive, and I can't wait to see what else is planned for the future. If you're a massive fan of Disney and looking for a game similar to Animal Crossing, but with a bit more direction in story, Dreamlight Valley is certainly for you.
Kokoro Clover: Season 1 is a good game for younger players that may be new to the platforming genre. The storytelling is the best feature of the game, and the presentation is unique, making it unlike anything else I've played before. The game ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, opening the door for a second season, which I hope happens.
Spidersaurs is a beautiful homage to a bygone era of over-the-top '90s cartoons and challenging platformers. The game does enough to make it feel distinct from similar games, adding in special abilities and beautiful art and voice acting. The game is a challenging yet short experience. If you are a fan of Contra, you won't be disappointed.
APICO might start off slow, but it becomes intriguing pretty quickly. It's a chilled experience that allows you to complete the game at your own pace. The crafting and building features are easy to pick up on and enjoy, allowing you to design the island to your liking. But what makes APICO stand out is the beekeeping aspect, breeding different bees to get desired traits and ultimately discovering new bees. The game sneaks a bit of science in the fun, and I'm all for it.
The Big Con is a coming-of-age story set in the '90s. Its strength is in the storytelling, the relatable characters, and the homage to that moment in time. The puzzles provide some challenge, and while the pickpocketing mechanic is a bit overdone, it's something you can turn off. For those who didn't grow up during the '90s, you might not connect with some of the story, but you'll still get enjoyment nonetheless. However, for people like me, who are old enough to remember growing up during this time, I think there's a lot you can connect with in this game.
Galacticon pays homage to games like Joust, Asteroids, and Defender, but adds its own elements to make it feel fresh. The strategy around how to get the best score for each run certainly makes for a challenging and addictive game. My only complaint is that you don't get information about how points are earned until you beat the first level. But for only $4.99 and the amount of enjoyment I've gotten out of Galacticon, this game is worth picking up, especially if you are a fan of arcade-style games.
The strength of Silt is in the atmosphere it creates. The art and the sound provide a horror-like vibe to this adventure puzzle game. And both of those aspects will pull you into the weird and mysterious world that Silt creates. The game doesn't hold your hand in any of the puzzles. And while most times this isn't an issue, as the puzzles are reasonably short and contained, it's the lengthier ones where this can cause some frustration. Overall, Silt provides a unique experience, just not a perfect one.
Get Packed: Couch Chaos doesn't add anything new to the puzzle/party genre. It's a quirky game that focuses on the chaos aspect instead of strategy. It could be a bit more polished, but perhaps that's part of the appeal and identity of the game. You can play this one solo, but the real beauty of the game is found in the multiplayer mode. If you have young kids who get frustrated with other games in this genre because they don't understand the strategy, this might be a good pick-up. There's a lot of silly fun to be had.
Kraken Academy!! is a well-crafted adventure story. With endearing characters, intriguing time-travel mechanics, and a retro-style look, Kraken Academy!! will undoubtedly appeal to those looking for a game reminiscent of the adventure games of the '90s.
What Big Bang Pro Wrestling does well, it does very well. The detail in each character and animation is impressive, especially for a game that was initially released on a handheld system over twenty years ago. More options for wrestlers would have been an excellent addition. In addition, the button timing mechanic is frustrating.
Dawn of the Monsters should be on your list if you're looking for a great co-op kaiju beat 'em up. The beautiful artwork and range of different characters and abilities will have you changing up who you pick until you find the one that fits your play style. Boss battles are tough but manageable, but they will require you to customize your character with the different augments best suited to the fight. I've been playing solo and with my kids, who absolutely love playing as a giant beast, smashing through the landscape, and taking out the monsters. And frankly, who wouldn't love that?
As a concept, Ashwalkers is fascinating, mixing the survival genre with a visual novel. The world created in Ashwalkers is one of hope surrounded by despair, but the execution lacks the polish to make this one a game that I could suggest. The technical issues alone should have been caught before the release. But even with that aside, the lack of character development and a risk and reward system makes for a very dull experience.
Young Souls combines two genres, beat 'em ups and RPGs, beautifully. The story is intriguing, and the artwork is stunning. Mix in a bunch of equipment that you can upgrade and explore, and you have a well-built game. It takes a lot for a game to break into my all-time favorite list for this genre, but Young Souls did just that.
Hundred Days – Winemaking Simulator offers quite a bit. With the different modes, there is plenty here to keep you busy. While the story is certainly the primary focus of the game, I found I learned more by playing the endless mode. That being said, I wish there was more to the tutorial to help you understand what you need to do to grow your winery. If you enjoy in-depth simulators, Hundred Days – Winemaking Simulator will not disappoint.
Splotches feels like a game geared towards a younger audience. Mixing colors to cause explosions and solve puzzles is appealing to kids. However, I found the puzzles to be one-sided, just figuring out what the designer wanted you to do to solve them. A good puzzle game should allow me to be creative and feel like I solved the board because of my ingenuity. Unfortunately, I never got that with Splotches.
Retro Bowl certainly gets close to scratching that itch for a retro-style football game. The game is addictive, and you can play many games in one sitting. Including scenarios between games requiring you to choose options that affect the players' morale is fun. There is a bit of smoke and mirrors when you start to look under the hood, though. You can only play offense, and the defense is played out via text messages on the screen. Player career stats are only tracked as long as you coach that team. And the scenarios tend to repeat themselves after a while. However, the game is affordable. And with the amount of time I spent playing Retro Bowl, I certainly got my money's worth and then some.
Action Arcade Wrestling is a beautiful and smooth game that's very attractively priced. Easy to pick up and play, it boasts a deep (but separate) creator's tool with plenty of community-created wrestlers to download. What it does, it does well. But it's missing features to make it a great game, specifically a career or federation mode. The framework is there, so hopefully, we will see that in the future.
I want to like Egglia. The writing and characters are fun, the village building aspect is an enjoyable twist, and the art is beautiful. Unfortunately, the game feels too stripped down to be enjoyable. Grinding and not knowing what level you need to challenge a boss is frustrating. I think this works as a mobile game where you might play in short bursts, but for a console game, it just feels off.
The Company Man is a competent platformer with beautifully hand-drawn artwork. The character designs are impressive. The boss battles are genuine, and each boss is unique in its design. However, the game suffers from some design flaws, mainly around the inability to aim projectiles and duck. This will require you to rethink how you may handle some of the more challenging bosses. In addition, the story isn't intriguing, and it's disappointing that the story didn't match the beauty of the game's art.