Where the Heart Leads is a fascinating and heartwarming narrative-driven story. That cannot be disputed, but what can is its pacing and rather lengthy run-time for a game that’s designed to be replayed and experienced multiple times. What you’re left with is a game hindered by its own lofty CYOA ambitions and desire to provide as much context — both necessary and not — to you about Whit’s world. I’m glad I got to experience it for its intriguing portrayal of life, but it may not be a journey worth taking again.
Even with its grueling final boss fight, I absolutely adored every second of Death’s Door. The world developer Acid Nerve has created still feels rife with secrets I’m still yet to uncover after 10 hours with the game. Outside of a minor technical blip and a significant difficulty spike towards the end, Death’s Door is simply sensational. It may not have that AAA budget or cutting-edge super realistic graphics, but it’s jam-packed with charm, style, and challenging, rewarding action that it’s an absolute must-play this year.
The Magnificent Truffle Pigs labels itself as a first-person, romantic, metal-detecting game, but it’s far, far more than that. It’s a reminder that every person’s path through life is wholly different, and that sometimes the best plan is to have no plan at all. It’s a meditative, peaceful experience that I’m sure will resonate with many others as much as it did with me. If you’re a fan of Firewatch and other narrative-driven titles, The Magnificent Truffle Pigs is absolutely worth your time and money.
By simply being an interactive experience, ‘The Longest Road on Earth’ won’t be for everyone, but if you’re a fan of the genre or want some ‘chill out time’, or even just want something to serve as food for reminiscent thoughts, I implore you to find a moment to take a stroll down this road. If nothing else, it’s a reminder to stop and smell the roses every once in a while. Life’s too short not to.
The Colonists is a great game overall. It simplifies the 4X strategy genre down into a charming and chilled experience with adorable little robots that make watching your civilization thrive all the more enchanting. Its problems on the Switch come from a lack of mouse and keyboard inputs and some rather vague (or buggy) mechanics that could do with further explaining for novices and newcomers alike.
When Maskmaker shines, it shines bright to the point I had a beaming smile on my face. It’s just a shame these moments only tend to pop up towards the very end. If you’re looking for a circa five-hour VR adventure with some magical moments, you could do worse. Just don’t expect a groundbreaking VR experience.
If you’ve not yet experienced the game — or just thoroughly enjoyed the original release — then the Judgement PS5 version – and I imagine the Series X|S versions – are the absolute best way to experience Kamurocho through the eyes of a detective. The visuals are better than ever, the 60fps framerate really amplifies the fluidity of Dragon Engine and combat, and load times are near non-existent. It may take a little while to get going, but once it has got its claws in you, it’ll be difficult to put down.
Adios’ fantastic, profound narrative offers an interesting glimpse from a rarely-covered perspective. It’s only elevated by a pair of fantastic performances from its leading cast members, that lend an authentic feel to the tale. While the superficial gameplay may not be to everybody’s tastes, if you’re looking for a short and bittersweet story, Adios is a solid choice.
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town does have that compelling farming gameplay loop that we’ve seen time and time again in different series, but it lacks depth — much like the rest of the game — to keep farming sim veterans coming back. At a time where the likes of Stardew Valley continue to push the genre forward and provide greater longevity, it’s difficult to recommend this rough-around-the-edges excursion to Olive Town.