All in all, I’m having a great time with Power Chord. I really like the playable characters, their designs, and how I have to account for multiple synergies. The presentation and attention to detail put it way above most other deck builders, and the dedication to heavy metal aesthetics encompassing every part of the game is truly commendable. With some balancing, especially with how it handles difficulty, I think Power Chord can become an even better title with hours of enjoyment and replayability.
A Little to the Left celebrates tidiness and observation with excellent presentation. Its comforting gameplay loop relaxes and engages your mind with a balanced difficulty curve. The generous hint system doesn’t ruin the fun of figuring things out on your own, and despite minor annoyances with a few puzzles, this is a cozy, beautifully crafted experience that’s hard to come by in the genre.
Cultic is a fantastic shooter that encourages experimentation with how you approach combat. Its vast arsenal and movement mechanics allow for various viable options against many enemy types and bosses. With top-notch presentation and horror aesthetics, Cultic does enough to stand out in the heap of excellent retro-style shooters.
Serial Cleaners is a fun stealth action game that pairs varied gameplay with excellent art direction. It doesn’t have the best enemy AI in the world but makes up for it with its smart level design, great pacing, and engaging narrative. It manages to do a lot with its premise and makes cleaning crime scenes a cleansing experience.
Saints Row is a return to form, and some of the most fun I’ve had in an open world in a while. It manages to strike a good balance between the wackiness of previous entries with grounded combat mechanics, and tone. The Boss is hilarious as ever, and a true murder machine completely loyal to their friends through thick and thin. It’s bogged down by a number of bugs that take you out of the experience and uneven presentation with dated elements and plenty of pop-in. Despite these issues, it manages to remain true to its roots with smart additions to the series’ open-world formula.
Hindsight tells a deeply personal story and explores the relationship between a woman, and her mother with brutal honesty. Its strong storytelling is brought down by bland gameplay, and an uneven presentation, but largely feels well executed. It’s certainly worth going through, and the level of self-reflection serves as one of the better narrative-driven games out there.
Neon White is an exceptional shooter brimming with style and substance in equal measure. The core mechanics are extremely polished and encourage you to get better through repetition, and practice. Despite my early reservations, the characters grew on me as the story progressed, and White is a pretty likable protagonist. Expertly designed levels, Machinae Girl's OST, and the slick presentation make Neon White a worthwhile experience that you won't put down easily.
Trek to Yomi is a stunning game, that goes above and beyond to pay homage to one of cinema’s greatest. It doesn’t shy away from depicting the brutality of war and each frame is full of details to create a grounded, and beautiful world. Despite its impeccable presentation, Trek to Yomi’s combat, and uneven boss fights get in the way of true greatness. It’s still worth experiencing for its visuals, and audio alone, with some caveats attached when it comes to gameplay.
Weird West is an excellent immersive sim that treats players with respect to not only make decisions but live with them. It features an unpredictable world full of danger, mystery, and ultimately, salvation. The overarching narrative with multiple characters ends on a satisfying note leaving possibilities for so much more. It’s brought down by bugs, both big and small that break the illusion of the aforementioned choice, and freedom both in gameplay and narrative.
A Memoir Blue is a memorable narrative adventure that takes players on a very personal journey through time. Its combination of 3D models, with hand-drawn animations, creates a fascinating world rich with dense atmosphere and touching moments. The lack of gameplay variety is disappointing, but enough interactivity keeps you engaged through its short runtime. Miriam’s relationship with her child-self, and mother is explored beautifully without any need for dialogue or exposition.
Project Hel is a great addition to the Ghostrunner universe and gives fans an excuse to jump back in. Hel is a killing machine with a new set of abilities and extended traversal. While the story is the weakest link again, there’s nothing better than playing as a ruthless combat android in the beautifully rendered world of Dharma.
Shadow Warrior 3 is a fantastic shooter that shows a great sense of focus. Its creative enemy designs, excellent progression, tight pacing, and satisfying combat continue to keep the series fresh. Lo Wang is better than ever and managed to make me laugh more than once. It’s held back by occasional bugs in both combat and traversal, but nothing that was too detrimental to the experience.
Pants Quest tells a fairly honest story about anxiety, procrastination, and the feeling of being stuck in your life. It suffers when it comes to gameplay due to some tedium, but manages to provide a worthwhile experience without overstaying its welcome. The pixel-art is gorgeous, and there’s a lot to like when it comes to environmental interaction.
A Juggler’s Tale is a beautiful narrative-driven puzzle platformer that doesn’t overstay its welcome. While its gameplay can be a bit unpolished at times, the environments, storytelling, and visuals carry it through and deliver a memorable tale.
The Artful Escape is a fantastic musical experience with an incredible presentation. It tells a very personal story, full of memorable characters, and performances. The actual gameplay is a bit lacking, but the game makes up for it with its spectacle.
Twelve Minutes is a bold adventure, one with shocking revelations, tense moments, and some very human interactions. It’s a point-and-click title that doesn’t do much to add to the genre, but there are enough encounters to make it worth playing. It’s a visually distinct game, with an excellent cast that truly makes up for an unforgettable experience.
The Ramp is a polished skateboarding experience, with tight controls, deep gameplay, and some chill tunes. It’s easy to get into, but hard to master, and best played in short bursts. A true digital toy, that you can play with, and get better at while having an absolute blast.