Justin Van Huyssteen
Tails: The Backbone Preludes is a great prequel that stands on its own perfectly well, and it will probably make someone more interested to see what the first game had in store for players. It’s a beautifully crafted game that deals with heavy themes and issues, and it does them well by alternating between various perspectives with wildly different worldviews
A fun, energetic, and densely packed mascot platformer with all the SpongeBob Squarepants references you could ever need. It’s entertaining for adults, especially adults with some familiarity with the source material, but it also isn’t hard enough to make it a game solely for adults. This would be perfect for a kid still learning their way around games.
SEASON: A letter to the future is just a beautiful game. It’s a game that comes highly recommended to anyone who enjoys narrative games with a strong focus on exploration. A narrative-oriented exploration game where it’s just you, the desolate world, and your ever-present, trusty bicycle.
ATONE: Heart of the Elder Tree is highly recommended and a fantastic narrative experience that went far too underappreciated in its original mobile home. A gorgeous exploration puzzle game with a fantastic rhythm combat system that presents a cinematically told and presented narrative and world.
Children of Silentown is highly recommendable to anyone who enjoys point-and-click games and narrative-heavy games, but doesn’t go in expecting moon logic puzzles or a funny experience. You won’t get either of those things, but if you want a dark experience set in a quiet town, then Children of Silentown is exactly what you will enjoy.
Chained Echoes is a great throwback to the old JRPGs of the SNES era, and for those who loved those sorts of games, this one is definitely worth your time. This game is also for those who are not looking for a nostalgia trip though. This comes from someone who does not ordinarily enjoy JRPGs, but Chained Echoes is chockful of content, systems, and loads of great characters and complex mechanics. You’ll probably love it if you do or don’t love those old-school JRPG classics.
Lil Gator Game isn’t a very long game, and will take 3-4 hours for standard completion, but those few hours are a good time that should make you smile. The game perfectly captures the way kids play and how quickly they’ll become your friends, such as by humoring a child who claims they’re invisible or helping someone get their mom off their phone so they can have the tea party they planned. It’s cute, it’s wholesome, and it’s highly recommendable.
Impaler is a boomer shooter that’s a ton of fun to play; it has an interesting mechanic in the gun and spike dual system, the movement is fluid and engaging, the ability to stomp and deal damage by jumping, and the occasional, somewhat random, activation of bullet time that, to be honest, doesn’t add much but does give the game something extra, all make this game engaging to play.
The Knight Witch is a fantastic freeform flying, bullet hell metroidvania with a fun, if unsubtle, narrative that should last about eight to ten hours. Although, that very aggravating water level may be a bit of a turn-off to many, but if you can get through that one irritating level, this is definitely a game worth recommending.
Ship of Fools is not built for single-player gamers, but if you’re interested in a fun, frantic experience that’ll keep you occupied for quite some time, then this is the game for you. Just don’t expect some major narrative or anything like that. So, be like one of the fools and be willing to be fool enough to brave the infested waters!
If you need a game that’s fun, has fast, enjoyable combat, good variety, and replayability, then look no further than Bravery and Greed. It may not be a visceral, narrative-oriented game, but sometimes you just want to do some looting, some slashing, and some boss bashing. And Bravery and Greed has you covered on that front.
Jennifer Wilde: Unlikely Revolutionaries is a great game for those who want some point-and-click adventuring inside a gorgeously realized art style with characters who often speak as if they’ve read too much Shakespeare at times. It also isn’t too long, at about four hours, but for the price tag, it’s quite easy to recommend it.
ASTLIBRA Revision does not revolutionize anything, but it does offer a world and gameplay that will keep you occupied for a lengthy amount of time. Just don’t expect the best dialogue or narrative pacing, such as how the game’s introductory section feels miserably long, even though it’s only about twenty minutes.
Asterigos: Curse of the Stars is not the most stable game. It’s generally fine, but on occasion, the game stutters to the point where it becomes unplayable, and this happened several times while playing it. During those moments, you just need to run away from enemies because you will not be able to fight them when the frame rate drops to single digits, but luckily, it does stabilize soon enough. So, should you play Asterigos: Curse of the Stars? It’s a solid action RPG with a good set of upgrades and combat capabilities that are rather generic, but it should keep you entertained for some time.
If you are interested in a tough soulslike game where you do, very gradually, become stronger, a soulslike where you really don’t want to be hit because you’ll be pummeled within seconds, and that healing ability also makes you weaker! Then Moonscars is a game for you. It’s tough, it’s bleak, but don’t expect it to be nice to you.
Beacon Pines is a game worth recommending to anyone who enjoys narrative games, especially ones that aren’t too long, as this one is about 5-6 hours. Do not expect to be challenged in any real way because this game isn’t about that, but instead explore a town filled with charming anthropomorphic animal characters while relishing in the dramatic irony inherent in altering time and trying out new paths. It's a narrative, time-bending adventure with the cutest little characters ever.
Sunday Gold is a fun, if occasionally frustrating, point-and-click adventure game with a visceral and effective, if simple, turn-based combat system and a working-class narrative about the corporations being the bad guys. It’s not Disco Elysium, but it also wasn’t trying to be. So, go into Sunday Gold for what it is, not what it may seem like on the surface.
Gerda: A Flame in Winter is a great experience that simply isn’t usually told. The game isn’t particularly long, at about 5-6 hours, but it is intended to be played more than once to see the alternate possibilities. It also shows a side of the War that isn’t shown very often because it isn’t glitzy and glamorous. But real civilians lived through World War 2, and their stories should also be told.
Like No Other: The Legend of the Twin Books is a fun little game worth playing if you enjoy these kinds of games. It isn’t amazing, but it offers a charming world, some entertaining voice acting, a few enjoyable puzzles, and a great hand-drawn aesthetic to treat your eyes.