Pacific Drive is a unique RPG and survival crafting game in a landscape choked with unimaginative copycats and clones. That alone makes it worth checking out. Its story, atmosphere and basic loop are engaging and satisfying. At the default difficulty though, its design and mechanics can frustrate in ways that neither skill or time can overcome. Pacific Drive offers a refreshing RPG experience but the ride is sometimes bumpier than intended.
The original 2009 Solium Infernum was a unique take on turn-based strategy. League of Geeks’ 2024 update preserves and polishes what should have been a familiar classic. Solium Infernum is a complex game more about politics, double dealing and uneasy alliances than fights on the battlefield, though there are those, too. This is a game that might be too dense for more casual players, but patient strategy gamers are in for a treat and a good, long season in hell.
Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story is a much more ambitious game than most crafting RPGs. It’s accessible to most patient gamers, too, whether they’ve played League or not. The crafting elements are good, if occasionally opaque. Unfortunately, the game’s unvaried tone and extended length padded out by some dull quests takes away some of the fun.
Ultros is a game with a very strong visual identity, trippy theme and a few unique mechanics, like its gardening system for upgrades and abilities. Strip away the psychedelic art and gauzy narrative, however, and you’re left with a somewhat familiar-playing 2D Metroidvania. That isn’t necessarily bad, but I wish the game’s combat and exploration matched the imagination of its art.
Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior shakes up the action RPG formula with a genuinely creative mechanic. Simple to understand but often deviously challenging to execute, Lysfanga’s clone-based combat is addictive and clever. Maybe best of all, Lysfanga: The Time Shift Warrior doesn’t overreach, instead focusing on polish and the best possible execution of its original, core concept.
If all you’re looking for is fan service, I guess Jujutsu Kaisen: Cursed Clash provides it, though it adds almost nothing to the established lore or characters. If you’re primarily interested in Jujutsu Kaisen: Cursed Clash as an anime-inspired fighting game, look elsewhere. A very short story mode, no 1v1 matches, poor design choices, and an overall lack of polish more often than not overshadow some occasionally fun combat.
Time-machine nostalgia and a pixel-perfect retro vibe can only carry Graven so far. Combat, exploration, and level design have to ferry the player to the end. Unfortunately, Graven has enough issues in these areas that its very promising premise isn’t quite fulfilled. Players who grew up with mid-90s shooters will appreciate what Graven has to offer, at least for a while. Ultimately, it might make them appreciate how far we’ve come.
The Lost Crown is a fun and engaging 2.5D action platformer. It borrows a number of mechanics from several years’ worth of recent Metroidvanias, but adds a few ideas and quality of life features of its own, too. Maybe best of all, it’s a game for both newcomers and Metroidvania veterans
If you’re looking for another way to learn chess, Chessarama will definitely give you a unique insight into each piece and its moves. Just like chess itself, the game’s small but challenging puzzles will test your ability to think ahead and plan your strategy. While I might call Chessarama a puzzle game first and a chess simulation second, either way, it’s a refreshing and fun bit of puzzle strategy fun.
Asgard’s Wrath 2 is one of the most impressive open world RPGs I’ve played in any format. That it’s in VR and on a wireless headset is sort of astounding. Asgard’s Wrath 2 is simply a must-play for new Quest 3 owners and a compelling reason to pick up the hardware. It’s hands down VR’s Game of the Year.
Like every compelling puzzle/strategy game, Howl’s basic mechanics are easy to grasp, but using them effectively is the challenge. Its seemingly bite-sized puzzles are deceptive and require real thought and planning. I wish there was a little more variety in a few key areas, but Howl is a unique game that will appeal to tactical RPG fans, puzzle lovers, and medieval werewolf aficionados alike.
CRPG fans heavily invested in Warhammer 40K will thoroughly enjoy Rogue Trader, but there’s enough backstory and written lore to bring newcomers up to speed and into the fold. Rogue Trader is generous to a fault with combat and sometimes the momentum stalls in the naval combat or over-lengthy tactical battles. Overall, Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader is an engaging turn-based RPG and another reminder of how rich the Warhammer universe can be.
Racket Club offers a pretty spare experience that only really works with a community of online players. The sport itself feels pretty familiar but I wasn’t crazy about the restricted, walled-in court design and lack of single-player options. The game certainly doesn’t make use of PC-VR or the Quest 3’s increased power and fidelity but it’s still a moderately successful iteration of a brand new sport.
For gamers with a current gen console or powerful PC, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is an incredible-looking open world experience. It is a seamless extension of the films, which will appeal to many fans. But underneath all that flash, flora, and fauna is a lack of imagination and unsatisfying FPS combat. Pandora’s lovingly recreated beauty contains mystery, power and a fair amount of disappointment.
LEGO Bricktales was one of the best and purest versions of the brick building experience. On the Meta Quest 3, and especially in the AR mode, the game takes on a whole new life that comes very close to the real thing. The puzzles are challenging and the tone is lighthearted. Aside from some fiddly controls, LEGO Bricktales is more proof that the Meta Quest 3 is the VR headset to have.
For the King II is a happy synthesis of accessibility and depth, though some of the mechanics can be a bit opaque. It’s ideally a game for four friends but works well enough for a solo player. There’s a bit of a learning curve and it might take time to click, but overall For the King II is colorful, appealing and a lot of turn-based fun.
If you’re a fan of Age of Sigmar and can accept the game’s scaled back, slower approach to real time strategy, Realms of Ruin hits the mark. It’s a faithful and vibrant recreation of the Orruks, Nighthaunt, Tzeentch and grandly insufferable Stormcast Eternals. Some RTS fans will note the lack of tactical depth, but there’s a place for Realms’ streamlined approach that is welcoming to newcomers and veterans alike.
Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR is probably the best action game available for the Meta Quest 3 system and I’d go so far as to call it a hardware-seller. It’s certainly an impressive proof-of-concept for the standalone headset. As an Assassin’s Creed game, it nails the series’ classic stealth and parkour moves, all the more impressive in virtual reality. It isn’t an open world game, but all the better for it. I’d say it’s a must-buy for new Quest 3 owners.
With an appealing visual style, timely themes and excellent puzzle platform mechanics, American Arcadia confidently checks a lot of boxes. While a few of the puzzles can be head-scratchers or frustrating to complete, the majority of my experience was extremely positive. American Arcadia is genuinely something fresh and stands out in a crowded genre.
The Awakened King adds a substantial amount of excellent content, combat, and loot to the moody, gothic-inspired Losomn world of Remnant 2. Everything that was great about Remnant 2 remains in place. The new, handcrafted environments and deliberately-paced narrative blend pretty seamlessly into the base game. Remnant 2 remains a not-impossible challenge for solo players, but a near-perfect one for a small squad of action-loving friends.