I expected to like Riders Republic, but I was pleasantly surprised by the extent to which I loved it, even as I feel like I've only scratched the surface of its open world and other offerings. The gameplay is a near-perfect approximation of several genuinely fun, but accessible extreme sports, all wrapped up in an immersive and oddly comforting open world. While its wackiness and some elements of its experience might not be for everyone, Riders Republic is a uniquely robust take on the very idea of a sports video game, and I have a feeling that it'll only improve from here.
Skatebird is the kind of game that the world can never have enough of -- complex but accessible gameplay, unique gimmicks, and a clear sense of style. While there are a few kinks that need to be ironed out or settings that can be modified, they're largely outweighed by the unabashedly silly and enjoyable experience of playing the game. Skatebird is the perfect low-stakes, high-reward game to dive into right now, and hopefully other players will soon agree.
Knockout City feels like the video game equivalent of drinking a new soda — it's sweet, stings ever-so-slightly, and will leave you feeling just satisfied enough. By no means is the game currently perfect in its current state, but it still does an impressive amount of things right out of the gate, while creating a universe that can easily be modified and evolved to fix players' qualms. While Knockout City might not be the next Fortnite just yet, it does feel like a perfect fit for fans who love franchises like Overwatch or Rocket League — or anyone who is looking for a good, but chaotic time.
Twin Mirror has some elements of it that can't help but be admirable; its concept is intriguing, its voice cast is compelling, and it could have easily been the next buzzworthy photorealistic video game. But, in execution, it comes across as a dated, surface-level experience, one that isn't sure whether to be a complex character study or an open-world mystery, and is nowhere near as rewarding as the time and effort it asks you to put into it. Twin Mirror will undoubtedly find an audience of some who want to dive into its ambiguous mystery, but it's far from the most engrossing or well-executed title that video game fans could pick up right now.
From the jump, Bugsnax caught the gaming world's attention for how genuinely weird it is -- and honestly, that weirdness is a comfort when you dive into the game itself. At its core, Bugsnax is a game that's both about the joy of curiosity and the importance of a found family, all wrapped up in an adorable and addictive package that's going to inspire a wealth of fanworks and merchandise. Whether you're cataloging different types of Bugsnax, coming up with a new trap combination, or interviewing the townspeople of Snaxburg (by the way, props to Young Horses for helping teach players good interview etiquette), Bugsnax is a gaming experience that just works really well -- and it feels like the kind of game that's going to stick around.
The Battletoads reboot has a little something for everyone. It's accessible, well-executed, and largely rewarding. It captures the energy and spirit of the franchise for diehard fans while also providing the best possible entry point for new fans. Sure, it might be a little simpler compared to some of the more expansive titles available today, but it does a stellar job of bringing Battletoads into the modern era while also harkening back to the days of playing the game on NES. It's the kind of game you'll want to spend hours in... even if you want to rage quit here and there.
Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales isn't here to revolutionize the iOS gaming landscape, but that's totally OK. Once players get past the occasionally-clunky mechanics and the slight learning curve, it's an enjoyable experience in a lot of ways. For a price of $10 (half of what the game costs on platforms like Steam), it might not be the most feasible for purely casual fans. But if you want to lose yourself in the world of The Witcher in one way or another, and aren't afraid to put in some work, you will definitely get your money's worth. Plus, any game that unironically lets you play cards against a giant monster is something worth celebrating.