While Tandem: A Tale of Shadows does feel like it runs out of a bit of steam by the end, overall this is still a fairly entertaining little puzzle adventure. There are plenty of places for improvement, and both the story and the gameplay really could have used a bit more refinement if this was to become something truly special. But even if it is a little rough around the edges, the biggest impression the game is going to leave behind is just how clever its puzzles are. It is the core gameplay that saves the game, even if the stuff around it might not be all that impressive. Even when the game starts to drag and become a bit more predictable, the puzzle platforming is fun enough to warrant seeing everything through until the end.
Embr is, in a way, a lot like its namesake. It burns bright while it lasts, sure, and it is initially a lot of fun to run around putting out fires and dealing with the general chaos of the game. Unfortunately, it burns out quickly, and soon all that is left is the faint glow of the once bright fire. At this point, this just doesn't have any sort of staying power, and the novelty of the whole experience wears off very quickly. This isn't a bad title, and even with its shortcomings it is worth the time for a quick play-through. Perhaps it might even warrant a second one some time down the line, but this is the sort of game that could've been much better with a few more ideas, and maybe if improvements come in the future this could truly be a great experience. For now, it doesn't quite generate the heat it was hoping to.
The first two Shenmue games are undeniably very important, but they fall just short of being great. They are undeniably unique, even all these years after their release, and the best thing that can be said about them is that they are interesting. It is a really fun world the games put forward, and it is great to explore and figure out where to go and what to do next. At the same time, though, they don't necessarily play that well, and they show their age in a lot of unfortunate ways. This is definitely more of an acquired taste, and it is probably best to say that these are better experiences than they are video games. They're worth checking out, particularly for someone that has fond memories of them on the Dreamcast, but be warned that there are some warts that need to be looked past before you dive in headfirst.
This isn't quite Portal 2 levels of co-op bliss, but it comes somewhat close, and manages to be a decent way to kill a weekend with a friend. The puzzles aren't quite as good as the previous two titles in the series, and they would occasionally vacillate between being too easy or too vague. That winds up hampering what was otherwise a perfectly enjoyable experience. Still, if a fan of co-op gameplay and puzzle-solving, this is a borderline must-buy, because there are so few titles out there that satisfy this particular niche. We Were Here Together falls just short of the snowy peaks it was aiming for, but it is fun and interesting, and really stands out for emphasizing co-op puzzle-solving in a way few games have. So, go out and have some fun. Together.
EQQO is a really charming, interesting game that unfortunately all comes apart when you get around to actually playing it. The presentation is great, the story is wonderful, and it feels like this interesting little storybook is unfolding right in front of your eyes. It was a game that one will desperately try to like, but it keeps getting in its own way with awkward controls and boring gameplay. It is like sitting down and hearing a beautiful story that the storyteller keeps interrupting to burp every ten seconds, and it becomes harder and harder to focus on the story the longer things go on. It might be good enough for people that play video games primary for their story, or for those looking for a charming presentation, but those that actually want to play a solid game will have to look elsewhere.
It is usually easy to make comparisons with other games. Something along the lines of "if you liked this or this, then you'll like this as well." That isn't so easy for Superliminal, because there are simply no others like this. That's what makes this such an easy recommendation.
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.