If you’re looking for a complex city builder where you need to stress over sewage systems and power grids, Two Point Campus isn’t it. However, if you want to spend some happy hours creatively building the college that you wish you had attended, mission accomplished. Two Point Campus is first and foremost a lot of fun. It doesn’t thumb its nose at higher education so much as use it as a jumping-off point for silliness and a relatively deep building sim. Two Point Campus is a warm-hearted and good-natured take on college life, an engaging sim that’s accessible and entertaining.
Unfamiliar with the franchise, I was genuinely and pleasantly surprised by Sword and Fairy: Together Forever. Although its pacing may frustrate impatient gamers, its story is worth telling. With outstanding art direction, music, and combat mechanics, Sword and Fairy: Together Forever should appeal to fans of sprawling RPGs. While the player can sometimes feel like an observer rather than a participant, Sword and Fairy: Together Forever is welcoming to newcomers. It may still be a niche series, but Sword and Fairy Together Forever cements the franchise’s viability for a larger audience.
Players into the historical origins of the genres they love will find Dark Alliance 2 worth playing. Anyone comfortable with the mechanics and visuals of recent fantasy ARPGs will probably grimace a bit. Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance has enough engaging story and characters to deserve a genuine remake or remaster. For the price, this version just doesn’t go far enough, even for players hoping for a hit of spit-shined nostalgia.
Hohokum’s developers intentionally created a game that was more about vibe than content. It prioritizes meandering and discovery over logic and progress. Some players will connect with Hohokum’s relaxed approach to game design, but others will wish for more direction and sense of accomplishment or mastery. The PC release doesn’t add or subtract anything from the original, but it gives a new audience the chance to experience a unique and sometimes fascinating game.
The Tale of Bistun has an engaging narrative and even stronger ties to Persian mythology and storytelling. Few games are so thoroughly respectful of their source material and culture. As a game, The Tale of Bistun has acceptable but very limited mechanics and a structure that’s a bit repetitive. Still, at only three hours of playtime, it isn’t a huge investment and worth it for the unique window into little known mythology.
As Dusk Falls delivers a tense, dramatic and thoughtful story. Its narrative is always engaging and player choices feel impactful. While some moments can feel rushed or resolve too conveniently, many others are surprising, moving, and hard to forget. Thanks to a compelling story and characters, As Dusk Falls is one of the best interactive dramas in recent memory.
Although I personally love Monster Hunter World just a little bit more, Rise is a thrilling and engrossing game. Sunbreak does what it needs to do. It adds some awesome new monsters, sweetens gameplay, and folds in a new way to hunt with NPCs. It takes a while to get to the really good stuff, but fans of Rise probably won’t mind. Thanks to the Master Rank quests and ultra-challenging hunts, Sunbreak pushes experienced players to take their already impressive skills to a whole new world.
Legends of Kingdom Rush is a lot of fun, but its port to PC is a bit underwhelming. Lack of controller support for such a mechanically simple game is pretty lazy. There’s no new content, either, so players coming from the mobile version will have seen everything already. With such enjoyable gameplay and sense of style, Legends of Kingdom Rush deserves a more thorough makeover for PC and consoles, not just a basic port.
Despite its intriguing, creative premise, playing Of Bird and Cage is a depressing experience. Its humorless, bleak story is coupled with subpar gameplay mechanics and low-quality production values. Whatever thematic chances the game wants to take are undercut by its lackluster presentation. The music alone might be a decent album’s worth of tunes, but it can’t save the pretty terrible game it has to support. It would be hard to recommend Of Bird and Cage to anyone, especially fans of music-based games. Just go listen to your favorite metal band, and make up a story in your head.
If ever there was a mixed bag, Redout 2 is it. When you’re going slow enough to take in the sights, those sights are gorgeous, if a little cluttered and hard to parse. Most of the time, though, you’ll be speeding through levels absurdly fast. You’ll also be crashing into walls and flying off the track, too, because the controls demand absolute precision. There are a lot of absent features on our wish list, like an actual story, better tutorials and a real learning curve. On a continuum from fun to frustration, Redout 2 sometimes edges uncomfortably close to the latter.
MX vs ATV Legends has a solid core. The arcade-style racing with motocross bikes and four-wheelers is fun, though repetitive over the course of the years-long career mode. Even allowing that Legends does not aspire to shiny, triple-A brilliance, the game’s performance, audio and up-close visuals can be pretty lackluster. The nicely varied tracks and huge natural environments compete with stuttering framerates and canned animations. With Legends, the franchise has moved closer to the finish line in many ways. In others, it still seems stalled at the starting line.
Spellforce 3: Reforced is a rare example of a genre mashup that makes sense. The two genres actually complement each other and come together to create a unique and enjoyable hybrid. Its story and setting are pretty over-reliant on well-worn high fantasy elements, but there’s more to the game than the main campaign. Controls on console work about as well as possible, given all the moving pieces inherited from the PC version. Fans of strategy and roleplaying games should find common ground in Spellforce 3: Reforced.
MMORPGs continue to come and go, but only a handful remain really vital and appealing to a broad range of new and faithful players. While not every expansion of Elder Scrolls Online has been equally amazing, each one has deepened and broadened the core experience. With High Isle, ZeniMax and Bethesda tone down the melodrama. In its place are political upheavals, scheming anarchists and an addictive new card game. The Elder Scrolls Online continues to be a dream MMO for both solo players and groups.
Let’s face it. Summer is a pretty thin period for game releases. If you’re in the market for a decent, robust and generally engaging turn-based RPG for the Switch, Blackguards 2 fits the bill. It isn’t the most original fantasy RPG ever made, but the story, meaningful choices, and mercenary mechanics elevate the game quite a bit. There’s a good amount of replayability built in, even if the battles grow repetitive. Blackguards 2 left me hoping for a sequel with better graphics and even more flexible combat and characters.
I really enjoyed Frozenheim back when I previewed it in 2021, and much of what I liked is even better. Most of what I disliked is still there, too. Frozenheim is a well-made city builder that focuses on one historical period and culture. Its story and RTS elements still feel undercooked, not bad but not as fully realized as the construction sim aspects. With a short campaign, no scenario editor, and sandbox experiences that always play out sort of the same, a long term relationship with Frozenheim is difficult.
Starship Troopers: Terran Command does a pretty good job of paying homage to the films, at least in terms of design and presentation. As a real time strategy game, it feels defined by limitations and absent features like multiplayer, map editor, skirmishes and the ability to turn off the omnipresent commander. Gameplay can be challenging and fun, but here, too, dumb unit AI and lack of variety inhibit next-level enjoyment. Both fans of the film and squad-based RTS games will find something to appreciate, provided they don’t come to the experience with super-high expectations.
Hardspace: Shipbreaker does a great job of reminding us that, no matter how marvelous our futures might be, we’ll still be working for the Man in one form or another. Aside from maybe being too long for its own good, the game is simultaneously relaxing and challenging to play. It drills down on relatively few ideas, but makes them engaging. Hardspace: Shipbreaker has developed into an outstanding sim and puzzle game.
The Quarry is a significant evolution of the formula established with Until Dawn. This time around the performance capture, cinematography and complex branching story are even more impressive. The game’s biggest achievement, though, are its setting, narrative and characters. While they don’t entirely transcend the stock tropes of genre fiction, they are far and away some of the best in any videogame and absolutely the equal of big-budget horror films. The Quarry is a must-play for horror fans. Gamers who enjoy great narratives, memorable characters and intriguing choice-driven mechanics will love it too.
Warhammer 40K: Chaos Gate Daemonhunters is not only an engaging turn-based strategy game, but one of the best translations of the 40K universe to the PC. With a great story and wealth of options in combat, Daemonhunters also captures the visual aesthetics of the Space Marines and infectious Nurgle. While the interface and some systems could benefit from a bit more elegance and simplicity, Daemonhunters is dramatic, over-the-top, amusing and deeply satisfying. Learning its systems and sticking with the lengthy campaign is a commitment to be sure, but one that fans of 40K should be happy to make.
All this adds up to a game that isn’t strong when it comes polish and creative ambition. Deadcraft is not without its charms, however, and fans of post-apocalyptic survival games will probably find it fun, if familiar. The half-zombie main character is a cool little twist to an otherwise predictable collection of mechanics and ideas. The game is more substantial than the budget price would suggest, and there’s no dearth of stuff to do, which doesn’t necessarily equate to interesting stuff to do. Lack of polish and some misguided systems get in the way, but Deadcraft manages to mostly rise above its many influences and find its own identity.