Though largely surface-level, a lack of depth isn't necessarily a detriment for a release intended to be this lighthearted. It's a game where players can steal thousands of dollars as a turnip in a ten-gallon hat using a gun fashioned from a frog, and that's enough in its own right. The series' foray into the roguelite and shooter genres is a largely triumphant one, and Turnip Boy Robs a Bank is a more than worthwhile way to spend an afternoon.
The world of Tomarang is beautiful, and there are several meaningful cultural inclusions like recipes and furniture that will undoubtedly help some players better reflect their own life experiences in-game and tell more meaningful stories. The EP may not add as many impactful features as a release like Growing Together, but the renting mechanics will help bring creativity into entirely new places both in terms of building and gameplay. The Sims 4 For Rent is by no means perfect, but it nails its titular feature and adds more overall creative potential to the game than many other recent releases for the franchise.
Despite these missing quality of life features, SteamWorld Build still manages to be fairly addicting. Sense of progress is consistent enough even with occasional moments of waiting, and making discoveries feels rewarding enough to keep things engaging. The varied environments found throughout the game all feel uniquely designed, and accompanied by the blend of ambient sounds and satisfying soundtrack, the world as a whole comes off as intriguingly charming. Though it may not feel absolutely complete in its systems, SteamWorld Build is still a worthwhile venture for players looking for a creative new management sim.
Roots of Pacha doesn't entirely reinvent the wheel when it comes to the simulation genre, but it puts an interesting enough spin on things that it still manages to feel like a breath of fresh air compared to a typical farming title. The style is charming and the emphasis it puts on community truly makes progress feel more rewarding than usual, and creative use of the prehistoric setting makes for a world that's easy to want to keep coming back to. Roots of Pacha is equal parts engaging and relaxing, and is a great option for any players looking to experience a new twist on a well-trodden formula.
At its core, this latest entry in the Just Dance franchise is essentially exactly what players have come to expect. The always-online and subscription components, coupled with a focus on the future at the expense of the present makes this particular title not stand out from its peers. However, a solid song collection and creative routines still makes Just Dance 2024 something probably worth picking up for fans of the series who look forward to a new lineup each year.
As a whole, Party Pack 10 presents a diverse showing of minigames that can appeal to a wide audience of players. The weaker links like Hypnotorious are easier to overlook thanks to its cohorts like FixyText and Tee K.O. 2, and even the titles that don't quite stick the landing bring some interesting ideas to the table. This is a worthy pickup for party game fans in general, and for longtime fans of the series The Jackbox Party Pack 10 presents a fun blend of new ideas alongside improved-upon old ones.
Paleo Pines is by no means a bad game - it presents creative new mechanics and is a clear winner for any players who are big fans of dinosaurs. The experience just feels like it could've used a bit more time in the oven to perfect things like its graphics, direction, and the depth of its characters. It may not be perfect, but Paleo Pines offers a laid back and lighthearted adventure across a dinosaur-covered world that's well-suited for any player looking for a relaxing Jurassic adventure.
This title's gorgeous visuals, great sense of humor, and creative crafting make it much easier to overlook the areas in which it falls short. The game weaves a delightful tale full of feline-centric magical realism that's truly delightful, and it's possibly one of the best releases for cat lovers since Stray. Despite its flaws, Mineko's Night Market is perfect for any player looking for a creative and relaxing world to get lost in.
Depending on the path players take and if they utilize the scene-skipping function, a run through of The Isle Tide Hotel will generally last about one and a half to two hours. The many ideas introduced in the game could've been explored more with a longer run time, but it's fairly satisfying to go back through multiple times to discover new endings and not have it take a huge amount of time. While it's not quite as creepy or deep as it intends to be, The Isle Tide Hotel offers an inspired environment to explore and engaging acting that make the title mostly worthwhile for the price.
One playthrough of Stray Gods takes about five hours, but one of the most impressive things about the game is its immense replayability. Different dialogue choices coupled with the huge amount of musical permutations mean that no two runs are the same, and it's hard to resist going back for more even after the mystery is solved. The title certainly isn't for everyone - those who completely abhor anything even adjacent to musical theater are certainly not the target audience. However, Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical presents an engaging story and song mechanics that feel beautifully personal, making it worth looking into even for players who don't consider themselves musical lovers.
This latest Sims 4 DLC delivers exactly what it claims to and little more. Were this a Game Pack there would be nothing wrong with that, but with the steeper price tag of an Expansion Pack the areas that barely scratch the surface of what they could be or remain unexplored entirely are more glaring. That being said, Chestnut Ridge is beautiful and several elements of the EP are legitimately fun despite these flaws, and players who have long been clamoring for horses in the game will certainly want to pick up The Sims 4 Horse Ranch - it just may be worth waiting for a sale.
Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life manages to toe the line between the core features that made the original great while adding and improving upon aspects that needed a little love. If all the systems had been completely modernized, it wouldn't maintain the charm that made the game so beloved in the first place. The differences between Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life and most other modern farming games will likely be somewhat jarring and divisive among players, but it's a unique journey unlike any other, and one worth going on for veterans of the genre especially.
Centering around simple minigames and slice-of-life stories, Fall of Porcupine isn't an incredibly complex title at its core, but it still manages to feel meaningful. This year is full of games billed as cozy and wholesome, but this one manages to set itself apart through an interesting healthcare focus, quaint aesthetics, and impactful characters. Although it's not perfect, Fall of Porcupine is a great option for players looking to have a unique and emotional journey that may very well make them shed a few tears.
At first, the balancing act of Do Not Feed The Monkeys 2099 can feel quite overwhelming. Health decays at a faster rate than in the original, much to player detriment, and managing to keep it at a viable level while also paying the Council, buying new cages, and viewing feeds at their active times is quite the challenge. However, similarly to games like Papers, Please, it's very doable to make incremental progress each run, and the payoff that comes from things like the title's both hilarious and thought-provoking dialogue and the payoff from either helping or hindering primates makes Do Not Feed the Monkeys 2099 a worthwhile experience.
Homestead Arcana's world is creative and the lore that unravels about the player's family history is interesting, particularly when it comes to Huck, who's voiced by the impeccable Yuri Lowenthal. It's clearly designed to be a slow-paced game, which in its own right isn't a bad thing, but some of the ways it goes about achieving this can feel frustrating. However, for those willing to sink the time in, Homestead Arcana could be a good fit for players looking to journey through a magical story alongside an adorable companion.
Just as with the original, Coffee Talk Episode 2 can be played through a second time to unearth new secrets and earn new achievements, offering a great deal of value for its small price tag. At its core, this title is more of an experience than a game, with small bursts of brewing peppered throughout a visual novel. Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly won't satisfy all styles of player, but it's perfect for those who enjoyed the original and any fan of cozy games looking for a rich new narrative.
At a $129.99 price point - or $149.99 for the Deluxe edition - Hot Wheels: Rift Rally may not be worth the investment for those without ample course space, particularly because making varied track layouts is a big component of keeping the game interesting long-term. However, the title's incredibly varied campaign and diverse environments pull a lot of weight in this regard as well, and the way it manages to transform a room is truly impressive. For any long-time fans of the toy brand or players looking for a new kind of racing experience, Hot Wheels: Rift Rally is a perfect fit.
Because so much of Growing Together centers around expanding existing in-game mechanics and interpersonal minutiae instead of entirely new experiences, it's easy for the EP to come off as shallow at first glance. This DLC will undoubtedly be divisive simply due to the many different ways fans of the franchise like to play. However, the boundless narrative potential and amount of new content and depth for all age ranges makes The Sims 4 Growing Together a perfect fit for family-oriented Simmers.