Expeditions: A MudRunner Game is an excellent addition to the MudRunner series that retains the core experience of trekking through hazardous terrain while adding new tools that push you to become creative with how you maneuver around all sorts of obstacles. Its scientific research backdrop lends to greater mission variety, and deeper customization allows you to make each truck your own. It's a great place for newcomers to the series, and a fantastic new adventure for veterans alike.
Slave Zero X is a fantastic character action game that's rewarding, challenging, and has clear focus. Its deep combat mechanics, paired with an excellent biopunk presentation, elevate it above many similar releases while offering a fairly replayable campaign. It's brought down by a lack of movelist section in-game or in practice, and some gameplay quirks keep it from reaching the heights of the titans in the genre.
Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden is a heartfelt love story, and both Red and Antea are incredibly memorable leads. The detailed haunting cases, difficult choices, and dense atmosphere add up to one of DON'T NOD's best narrative titles in years. Banishers gracefully improves upon the foundation laid by Vampyr in more ways than one, but it's often bogged down by repetitive combat that takes too long to get going. Despite that, it's an adventure worth embarking on, that's refined and respectful of your time.
Persona 3 Reload is a fantastic remake that cleverly integrates mechanics from subsequent entries to provide an experience that's polished, expertly paced, and full of heart. Its fast-paced combat, quality-of-life additions, and host of activities always keep you engaged no matter where you are in the story. The darker tone lends to an overall narrative that feels more consequential, and Tatsumi Port Island is a joy to explore. It's an excellent place for newcomers to the series and a must-buy for RPG fans.
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is a return to form for the franchise, and an excellent game that takes the series back to its 2D roots wrapped in a polished Metroidvania experience that's clever, engaging, and full of meaningful content to explore. The fast-paced combat rewards skillful play and the gorgeous art direction brings Mount Qaf to life. I just hope we don't have to wait another 13 years for another Prince of Persia title.
Ultimately, The Cub is a fun, if not a bit safe, 2D platformer. The desolate world created by Demagog Studio is a joy to traverse again, and while the gameplay doesn't evolve meaningfully in its short run time, The Cub manages to pull you in with its excellent visuals, and catchy soundtrack.
Outer Wilds is a masterpiece, and it's still a masterpiece on the Nintendo Switch. The unmatched sense of exploration and discovery is preserved on the platform. The superb soundtrack and excellent art direction persist despite some aliasing concerns. There are some minor performance issues in complex scenes, but none of those detract from the overall experience.
House Flipper 2 is another great addition to the simulation genre that turns mundane busywork into relaxing and engaging gameplay. There's enough variety in tasks to keep things fresh, and the sandbox mode takes things even further with limitless freedom. The PC version has some performance issues, and you'll run into a few bugs here and there, but it's still an enjoyable experience that's both addictive and cathartic.
Jusant is a celebration of climbing that makes full use of its premise. It offers a relaxed experience that allows you to go at your own pace while offering enough challenge that rewards mastery of its mechanics. Its excellent art direction, paired with a soothing soundtrack elevates the climbing adventure even if the worldbuilding suffers from excessive use of text to tell stories. Jusant is a hike worth taking, that's rewarding, memorable, and full of heart.
Ghostrunner 2 is a must-play action game that expertly blends fast-paced action with smooth parkour gameplay. Its stunning art direction, memorable antagonists, and engaging upgrade system add up to an experience that meaningfully builds on the original. The undercooked semi-open world sections and stuttering issues on PC get in the way of perfection, but this is a worthy sequel that never loses steam throughout its thoroughly entertaining campaign.
Hellboy Web of Wyrd is a faithful recreation of Mike Mignola's world, and Lance Reddick does an incredible job voicing everyone's favorite cambion. Despite its excellent presentation and world-building, Web of Wyrd has numerous issues with its combat design which feels basic and dull, never evolving throughout its campaign. The roguelite elements aren't fully realized and feel unrewarding with bonuses that feel largely passive. It's clear that there is a lot of love for comics here, and it's certainly worth checking out if you want another Hellboy adventure, but the combat annoyances and camera issues make it a bit hard to recommend.
Gunbrella is a beautifully animated, focused, and satisfying 2D-action title that delivers on its premise in spades. Gliding around with your Gunbrella as you blast away enemies never gets old, and while the game does suffer from a lack of challenge and minor readability issues, it's one of the most memorable and often funny titles of the year.
Lies of P does enough to stand out in a sea of soulslike imitators, and its weapon assembly system adds a layer of customization that is a lot of fun to play around with. Its solid presentation, rewarding exploration, and twisted world-building make it an easy game to recommend if you can ignore some caveats tied to its parrying and lack of poise.
Armored Core 6 is a fantastic action title that is demanding and rewarding in equal parts. It encourages players to get creative with their builds by offering endless customization, and an accessible economy system where nothing is really lost. With stunning art direction, and memorable voice acting, FromSoftware has revived its action franchise with an uncompromising entry that feels modern and offers a feature-rich experience with tons of replayability.
Shadow Gambit The Cursed Crew is an exceptional stealth strategy game with a staggering amount of depth, variety, and creativity. Each crew member can radically change how you tackle different objectives and the increasing sandbox challenges force you think outside the box. It's Mimimi Games' best title yet, and there is a lot to love here with dozens of hours of meaningful content to sink your teeth into.
En Garde! is a really fun action game full of heart that rewards skillful play, and mastery of its mechanics. Adalia is a charming protagonist, and her unmatched wit cripples her opponents as she kicks, parries, and dodges her way through a series of hilarious episodes. The beautiful presentation, varied levels, and excellent pacing add up to a solid adventure worth taking. The boss fights are a bit disappointing due to the reliance on mobs, but En Garde! does way more right than wrong.
Remnant 2 is one of the best co-op experiences you can have right now, and it improves on the original in every single way. Its satisfying mix of melee and ranged combat, memorable boss fights full of creativity, tons of enemy variety scattered in each biome and excellent presentation make it Gunfire Games' best title to date.
My Friendly Neighborhood pays a fitting homage to classic and modern Resident Evil titles with a polished, well-paced experience and plenty of creativity on display. The solid voice acting, coupled with a believable setting, strategic combat, and some fun puzzles result in an extremely memorable survival horror experience that doesn't always deliver on the scares.
Crime O'Clock is a fun hidden object game with an engaging time-traveling twist. The ability to visit different ticks in a timeline is well-realized, and the attention to detail in each level is quite impressive. It's bogged down by frequent mini-games that feel tacked on, and excessive dialogue that hurt the pacing by inducing boredom.
Trepang2 has some of the best gunplay since the original F.E.A.R, with devastating destruction routinely on display. It often eclipses its inspiration during combat encounters, but almost every other aspect doesn't reach the same heights. With the inclusion of an unnecessary HUB area, cheap horror elements, and a predictable plot, Trepang2 is worth it for its thoroughly enjoyable gunplay, but not much else.