If you’ve been sitting out there, waiting for a take on Mirror’s Edge that features more ninja swords, your day of vindication has finally arrived. Ghostrunner is the finely crafted parkour playground you’ve been waiting for. We liked this game well enough the first time around, but the Complete edition gives you a strong reason to play. With all sorts of cosmetic features and new levels, it’s officially time to move it up your backlog.
The sound design is supported by an old fashioned art design that gets the job done. Sometimes it looks like a very attractive GBA game and sometimes the portraits are distractingly higher res than the character models. Classic game weirdness! And that’s the thing- Symphony of War doesn’t get perfect marks across the board. But it adds up to more than a sum of its parts. Once you start noticing how elegantly all of Symphony of War’s systems interact, you’ll never be able to go back.
There’s been a lot of innovation in strategy games in the last few years, and Galactic Civilizations IV is not a revolution. It’s a sequel, bigger, neater, and smoother. All the things a sequel hopes to be. With so many new, fizzy strategy games, it’s nice to see a long-running series retain its core and its spirit. Galactic Civilizations IV is safe and deeply playable.
Whether or not Terraformers is the game for you depends a lot on what you are looking for. This isn’t a digital garden that you can plant and watch grow. This is a brutal series of tough choices. It’s about resource allocation, long-term planning, and a decent amount of luck. I was hoping Terraformers would help transport me off this dying Earth into a science-fiction fantasy. It did not. Instead, I found a challenging strategy game that distracted me in a whole different way. It made me into someone who needed to play for just one more turn. That is decidedly familiar territory! But a space I enjoy. Terraformers won’t transport you to another world, but it will help you puzzle your way through the hours on this one.
But it’s that homework element that will make or break the game for you. If you have a truly open mind, and you want to look up the source of some weird quote, you will learn a lot, experience a well-realized world, and put away some fictional bad guys. You’ll get to see moody lighting, hear some catchy bleeps, and have the satisfaction of a mystery well solved. This is a genre without a lot of greats, and Chinatown Detective Agency comes pretty close.
I can’t really know what the AAA version of No Place Like Home even looks like. I think I wish the controls felt a little tighter, and that it looked a little bit nicer. It’s great to get all the garbage off the grass, but I wish the grass was a bit more textured. Maybe it would have been nice to see it shine in the sunlight. But that’s not where No Place Like Home places its focus. The developers clearly put time into balance and rhythm. If you are a gamer who peacefully likes carving out a digital home for yourself, there is a peace to be found in No Place Like Home.
There are definitely people out there who could get a lot out of Land of Screens. Maybe they too are struggling with themselves after a breakup. Or maybe they are having a bad time with social media. I get it. I’ve felt those feelings. But nothing about the Land of Screens brought me to a personal catharsis. I can see where the developers are coming from, but they did not convey their message in a way that applied to me. With a more interesting execution, perhaps this could have been an exciting, moving indie narrative. As it stands though, there are better things you can do with your screens than play Land of Screens.