As a platformer, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake doesn’t reinvent the wheel (few games have). It’s a fairly standard platformer, but has all the ingredients that make a fan go “jumping jellyfish!”. A fun story and the signature humour, combined with varied, good-looking levels and a campaign that doesn’t overstay its welcome, do help in negating some of its glaring flaws such as the lacklustre combat and unrewarding exploration. If you’re not familiar with SpongeBob and want just want to buy in for the platforming experience, there are better games out there. But if you’re in for SpongeBob, The Cosmic Shake won’t disappoint.
Whether you’re a fan of the OG or a newcomer, Dead Space is the first great AAA offering of this year. Hopefully it means more great things in the pipeline for the series. They have largely succeeded in breathing new life into the long-dormant IP with such a quality remake. Sure, it’s not a 1:1 remake like most purists wanted but, Dead Space will surely impress newcomers and fans (at least most of them anyway) with excellent audiovisual design, an even brutal combat system, reworked lore and an immersive campaign that’ll last you anywhere from 12 to 14 hoursMaybe we’ll finally get the definitive Dead Space 3 experience at the hands of Motive. But that’s food for thought.
Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is a good action-platformer and an even better retro throwback. Amidst a sea of retro-inspired games, Moonrider does enough things to make itself stand out. The controls could have been smoother and a game bit longer. But, as it stands, the satisfying gameplay loop and the excellent aesthetics make it a must-have for folks like you and me.
If you don’t mind the boring story, dated level design and buy in for the explosive combat alone, then Evil West will come across as a cathartic experience. Although the combat experience, too, is riddled with difficulty spikes and some repetition, the sheer chaotic satisfaction the game offers is worth experiencing. Even with all of these drawbacks, I did have a great time shutting off my brain and slaying vampires left and right. That says a lot about the current state of the industry. If you aren’t sure about shelling out 2k INR for such an experience, there will always be a sale down the line.
CULTIC: Chapter One, with its horror themes, retro art design, beefy gunplay and well-designed levels is hands down the best old-school inspired shooter released this year. There is so little to complain about the game that are not on a technical level. It’s crafted with so much love and care that it’s easy to envision CULTIC becoming one of the, if not, the best throwback FPS ever made by the time all the chapters are released. Kudos also goes to the publisher for launching the game with a fair regional pricing.
Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered is great on PS4, PS5 and it’s greater on PC. If you have a decent RTX-friendly setup, this is how the game should be experienced. The lack of regional pricing and non-inclusion of Miles Morales did end up a sour taste in my mouth. The perks of living in an uber-captialist world I suppose. As for the game, it’s pure superhero bliss.
Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition has managed to ruin the unique aesthetic and feel of the original largely thanks to an inaccurate AI-upscaling method and some questionable design choices. To be honest, the only ‘upgrade’ in the remaster over the original is the addition of cutscenes and controller support. The decision to de-list the original from GOG was also a crappy move. But, as an apology, Nightdive is giving away the original, titled Blade Runner Classic when you purchase the Enhanced Edition on Steam (it was limited to GOG at launch). Both of these classic versions are powered by the ScummVM project and there is even an option to play a version with cut content. If you ask me, you’re better off playing the original than this so-called “Enhanced Edition”. But, if the only selling point of your remaster is the ability to play the unaltered version, then what’s the point of remastering it in the first place? That being said, Nightdive has a good record of patching their remasters until they’re in an acceptable state (reference: Blood: Fresh Supply). I do not know how much they can salvage from this messy launch but until then, it’s better to stay away from Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition. But if you’re desperately itching to revisit the classic, you can buy it for a reasonable $9.99 and play the original with ScummVM.
TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge is both a celebration of the long-running franchise as well as a bold attempt to revive the video game series. As a fan of both the IP and retro gaming, Shredder’s Revenge offered me everything I wanted in a TMNT game. While I believe that more could have been introduced to the classic formula, the game at its present state is more than enough to satisfy fans and new players alike. The attention to detail in the levels, satisfying combat loop, the smooth controls, sexy pixel art and bombastic music make Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge an easy recommendation. Now, let’s kick some shell!
Salt & Sacrifice is a very challenging game and that may put off a lot of people. But these games are made with a very specific audience in mind. For fan, the sequel is a bigger and better version of the first game with a satisfying kill-die-repeat gameplay loop. It doesn’t make any compromises in quality and that is quite evident from the look of the game to how it play. If you’re someone who’s not put off by the challenge (that’s sometimes needless) and “immersive” Souls features, definitely give Salt & Sacrifice a try. It’s definitely worth one’s salt….hahaha…I’ll see myself out.
$40 might be too much of an asking price for Weird West. But thankfully, the game is on Xbox Gamepass from day one. If you’re looking for something new to try out, There’s only a cheap subscription in your way of enjoying the game over a weekend. But if you want to enjoy the game in all its glory, I suggest waiting for an update or tw
Shadow Warrior 3 is a well-paced, well-polished first-person shooter. The gunplay is fast, brutal and beefy with lots of blood, guts and gore. It may not break any new ground but the formula established here is a solid framework for future entries. That being said, the short campaign, limited exploration, and lack of replayability factor make Shadow Warrior 3 a one-and-done kind of experience. The inclusion of story DLCs, an endless mode, NG+ as well as more difficulty settings will make it a better game for sure.
In short, Siberian Mayhem is a better version of Serious Sam 4 with tight pacing, well-thought-out combat arenas and some old-school touches. While the performance issues are a bummer, for ₹ 699/$ 19.99, there’s loads of fun to be had here. Devolver Digital should think of giving Timelock Studios more work in the future.