During the moments when things run smoothly, there's the semblance of a good game, and we'd be lying if we didn't admit to having fun quite often throughout our playthrough, but it's all far too buggy and rushed to recommend with a clear conscience.
You could refer to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan as the best TMNT game in years, but that really doesn't mean much. While there's a moderately entertaining co-op experience underneath the lazy level design, short game length, bland missions, occasional bugs, and minor kinks in the combat system, the quality and value most certainly aren't in line with what we expect from a $50 game. Sure, it could be worse (look at the last three TMNT games, for example), but it's especially heartbreaking considering Platinum's history of delivering fantastic action games. This is not Bayonetta. It's not even Transformers: Devastation. Don't shell out your hard-earned cash when you could spend it on delicious pizza instead.
The biggest problem with Yoshi’s New Island is that it feels stripped of the style, substance, and ingenuity that once made the series such treasured property. By watering down the game design and failing to incorporate new ideas that enhance the established mechanics in any meaningful way, you're left with an egg that's not necessarily bad, just dull and unimpressive. It’s completely functional and could serve as filler while waiting for the next big 3DS or Wii U release, but there’s little denying that it’s an underwhelming outing for Yoshi.
Fighting back against nature and surviving utterly dire circumstances makes The Flame in the Flood a gripping experience... for a while. It's the unambitious campaign, the repetitious rogue-lite structure, and a number of bugs and technical issues that get in the way and keep the game from reaching its full potential. But even though The Flame in the Flood is somewhat of a disappointment, that doesn't mean there's not enough tinder to sustain the flame for at least a weekend outing. You just have to decide whether or not you want to risk dealing with the pesky bugs hiding in the foundation.
While Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations doesn't commit any felonies, a series of misdemeanors suggest you should approach with some caution. Exploring the Land of Ooo, seeing familiar locations in three dimensions, and interacting with the whimsical cast of characters will delight the most-invested fans of the series. Sadly, the effort that went into ensuring the license was handled with care wasn't applied to the entirety of the game, and the result is an experience that's often enjoyable but ultimately a bit flat.
We can still easily slap on a stamp of approval for seasoned fans of the genre – especially with no other alternatives on Xbox One – though anyone that has yet to attend flight school likely won't find this to be the most welcoming place to get started.
Age of Ultron is safer and more predictable than Pinball FX2's best tables, and therefore it doesn't sell itself as being essential. There's still a solid game of pinball here for the diehards that simply want something new, but casual players should instead look to more memorable options, like the accessible Guardians of the Galaxy or the dynamic The Walking Dead. Then again, if you have kids that haven't been introduced to pinball yet, this might be one to consider. Just know that it can be a bit too aggressive for its own good.
Instead of evolving, Yo-kai Watch 2 plays it safe by fusing new content – some good, some trivial, and some bad – onto a recycled frame, and the result is what we refer to as a sophomore slump. There's still a lot here to like, but we can't help but feel that this is an entry only diehard Yo-kai fans will be comfortable purchasing at full price. Some players will love it despite its issues, while others will feel cheated by the flagrant and numerous similarities to its predecessor, as well as become frustrated by its traversal-related blunders. Whichever is the case, it's obvious that this sequel could have been so much more. Now we wait and hope that Yo-kai Watch 3, which is already out in Japan and looks to feature drastic changes, gets localized and steers this incredibly promising series back on track.
Even with the misfires and shortcomings plaguing the game boards, we believe Mario Party: Island Tour may still be a sound purchase for kids, families or anyone looking to play with friends. Those seeking a long-lasting single-player experience may want to steer clear though, as there isn't enough depth to the solo-focused modes to keep you engaged for very long. Island Tour doesn't do much different from it predecessors, and the throwaway boards — coupled with some forgettable game modes — definitely hurt the overall experience in a big way. Thankfully, the great collection of mini-games ensures that there may be enough reason for many people to roll the dice.
LEGO Jurassic World has been birthed from the same DNA that the LEGO series has been reliant on for quite some time, and it's doubtful that anyone will be truly awestruck by its attractions. But that doesn't necessarily mean the adventure's not worth embarking upon. Reliving the Jurassic Park films in such a playful manner helps to offset the gameplay and technical disappointments, and the trip down memory lane will likely be enough to keep the biggest dinosaur fans entertained from start to finish. The park can be amusing, but it lacks its usual bite.
Puzzle platformers are a dime a dozen in the modern era of gaming, but there's nothing that feels quite like A Boy and His Blob. Taking advantage of blob's shape-shifting abilities to solve environmental puzzles, while seeking hidden treasures that unlock challenge stages, is mentally stimulating and very rewarding. Even though a handful of issues do frequently nag at you throughout the course of the adventure, they don't weigh the game down enough to keep it from a recommendation.
While the combat is undoubtedly satisfying and rewarding, the sense of repetition, the last-gen visuals, and the brevity of the adventure feel more matched for a budget price. We suggest waiting for a sale and a nostalgic craving for Saturday morning cartoons. That's when you have our full permission to transform and roll out!
The Division doesn't have many ideas of its own, but the way it unites traditional open-world design with online multiplayer makes it an addictive social shooter. The repetition does wear thin after a while, and the end-game content isn't as robust as it needs to be, so there's a legitimate concern as to whether the game will remain engrossing in the long run. Still, Ubisoft has erected a solid foundation, one that can easily be bettered by impending content updates and expansions.
While it doesn't quite reach its full potential, Star Wars: Battlefront harnesses the power of the Force to make for a multiplayer experience that's more concerned with fun and authenticity than deep mechanics and impeccable balance. DICE has absolutely knocked the presentation out of the park, making you feel like you're smack dab in the middle of your favorite action scenes from the classic Star Wars film trilogy. For many Star Wars enthusiasts, that's going to be more than enough to justify the price of admission. For everyone else, however, a limited amount of content and a few missteps will potentially diminish long-term appeal. This is a strong return for the Battlefront moniker, but there's much room for improvement.
D4 is a wacky and weird adventure game that takes a familiar core premise and spices it up with quirky characters, trippy plot developments, and time travel. Motion controls have been integrated in an intuitive way, which helps to invest the player in their role, but occasional recognition issues and arm fatigue might have you reaching for a controller instead. Either way you play, D4 is a solid start to the series, and it offers up enough offbeat humor and intrigue to satisfy the Deadly Premonition fans. There are gameplay elements that miss their mark, and the pacing isn't perfect, but it's not enough to kill these dark dreams dead. Someone tell SWERY that we're ready for more.
Pneuma: Breath of Life didn't completely rock our world, but it did make for a captivating and satisfying afternoon in front of the television. If puzzle adventures are your thing and you don't mind linear progression, there's a lot to like here.