Wulverblade might not be the most innovative of titles, but what it does it does really well. This is everything you ever loved about the beat 'em up genre, put into one stylized little package. It doesn't reinvent the genre, or even really add anything new, but at the same time it doesn't really need to. Fans of the genre will love what this has to offer though, and it might even manage to draw some newcomers in as well. With some slick and enjoyable combat and a unique, interesting visual aesthetic, it is hard to not be immediately drawn in by Wulverblade. It really is a great title, so grab a sword and start slashing your way through medieval Britain.
NHL 19 is somehow both great and a bit disappointing. Sure, this is the best hockey game yet, with an almost impossible amount of depth. This is the kind of game you can play all year and still not feel like having even really scratched the surface. It is good sit down and play for a couple of hours or just jump in for one game and then head out to do something else, but at the same time, this barely feels like an upgrade over last year's version or the year before that. It's the same iteration of game over and over again, each slightly superior to the one before it. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but at the same time this might be a hard purchase to justify for new rosters and a couple different modes. It is still a great title, but one that has definitely been seen before.
Conan Exiles seems to always be flirting with a good idea, before dropping that and doubling down on being terrible. There is a lot of promise when the game starts out, and between the intense mood and solid survival mechanics, it seems like there might actually be a good time in store. However, in the sixty or seventy hours that follow, disappointment slowly builds until the whole adventure ends with a pitiful thud. The combat is dreadfully boring, and there are so many bad ideas that work against its core survival mechanic that it is a wonder the game stays interesting as long as it does. Destined to be exiled to the bargain bin, Conan Exiles is worth little more than a passing glance, and only for the hardcore survival genre enthusiasts.
The only people that shouldn't play The Banner Saga 3 are those that haven't played the first two instalments yet. However, if you have been waiting until now, this is absolutely the time to get on-board The Banner Saga bandwagon. This is one of the best strategy games in years, with engrossing combat and a fantastic story. The difficulty is almost perfect, making the battles rewarding without being trivial and players may find themselves actively seeking out more fights. It is entertaining from top to bottom, and the only real negative is that the adventure has finally come to an end. This is the conclusion the saga has been waiting for, though, so if the saga had to finish, it could have hoped for no better way to do it.
Ultimately, I Hate Running Backwards is a fun, worthwhile experience. At the same time, though, it is largely a fleeting sort of fun. For some reason, it feels eerily reminiscent of those mobile games that people play in brief spurts while waiting for something better to do. It is that same kind of hectic, fast-paced fun that sadly doesn't really last and is forgotten about almost as soon as it gets turned off. It is sort of the videogame equivalent of being chased by a bear. Heart pounding, thrilling, but once you get away, you are just sort of glad it is over. This is just a couple steps shy of greatness, and even with its failings it is probably worth checking out for fans of shmups.
Raiders of the Broken Planet is slowly moving into actual 'good game' territory, but it sadly might be too late by now. Wardog Fury is a nice expansion and the asking price seems well within reason. Unfortunately, the way the game is set up, and the paltry playerbase, makes this hard for someone to jump into. This is a bit of a strange game to review because most of the major issues here are infrastructure-based and the action itself is actually fun. It is a release that a lot of people will want to like, but it doesn't always seem like it wants people to like it. It is hard to say for sure if the entire experience is worth it without playing the other campaigns, but Wardog Fury by itself is enough fun to warrant a look. If you can find someone to play it with, that is.
Future War: Reborn is a failure on just about every level. There is something about the basic concept here that almost sort of works, like if this had been put in the hands of a better development team maybe it could have made it halfway entertaining. As it stands, though, this is just a mess from top to bottom. It is boring, poorly made, extremely repetitive, and honestly just doesn't feel like it has a reason to exist. It's bad in ways games are rarely bad, and this is the sort of title that is going to appeal to just about nobody. Just avoid this at all costs and let the zombies win. It is better than the alternative.
Piczle Lines DX isn't a bad game. In fact, it does what it wants to do almost perfectly. There are a ton of puzzles here to solve, from the small bite-sized ones that can be solved in minutes to big, sprawling challenges that can take hours. Unfortunately, it is simply that the underlying concept here simply is not that interesting. This is a boring kind of puzzler, and feels a bit like putting together an actual puzzle over and over… and over again. There is probably a niche for this, a certain kind of puzzle enthusiast that likes these slower, more plodding experiences. A vast majority of gamers, however, are going to lose interest fast because it only really has one trick that it does repeatedly. Piczle Lines DX is a perfectly adequate experience.
In a sense, 3Souls is amazing because it has the decency to be universally bad. There are no qualifiers that need to be added, no "Well, if someone enjoyed this other game, they might enjoy 3Souls." There is no one that will like this, and 3Souls is one of those rare games that is entirely devoid of any merit. It is a short, pointless, boring chore that doesn't have a single good idea from beginning to end. The only good thing is they waited so long to release the second and third episodes that hopefully everyone else out there forgot this existed and won't have to play it. This isn't a reason to dust off the old Wii U again. If anything, this is a reason to launch it through the window and never look back.
Castles is in a very unfortunate release as it is highly derivative of a very tired formula, yet at the same time does things worse than most of the games that came before it. Having the player control a character that pushes the blocks leads to an enormous amount of undue frustration and makes this somehow even less palatable. Even when they try something kind of new, it just doesn't lead to the kind of pay off that it should. It is just a stale, uninteresting game in a stale, uninteresting genre. Perhaps the most rabid of match-three enthusiasts might get a kick out of this, but this castle is one that should just be torn down.
While Has-Been Heroes can draw someone in really quickly, it will wind up losing them just as fast. It's fast and fun, and the mix of roguelike and pseudo-tower defence elements actually work quite well together. The core concept here is entertaining enough, but the lack of variety winds up souring the experience sooner than it should.
Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas certainly isn't a bad game, but it gives the impression it wanted nothing more to be like Zelda, and because of that, that's all it really is. It feels like Zelda-lite, a sort of homage to the classics that follows the pattern well enough without infusing enough charm on its own to help it stand out.
There is a lot to like about The Magic Circle: Gold Edition. This is a really original story, and a clever way to tell it. It might be a short experience, but there is a lot of charm packed into this tiny little package. Additionally, the basics of the gameplay here are quite clever, and it ties back into the story almost perfectly. It is in the execution, though, that things fall apart, and this is one of those games that is a far better experience than it is a game. They never figure out a way to integrate the gameplay into anything cleaver, and all of the puzzles here are extremely basic and not very interesting. This is one of those games that is very easy to root for, but less easy to actually enjoy. It is still probably worth playing through one time just for the story, but don't expect to get too much else out of it.