The experience provided in Triangle Strategy is one you should not miss. Its grand story with excellent writing that changes the spelling of words like “jail” to “gaol” and domain to “demesne” left me wanting to replay it immediately after experiencing the ending I got. The brutal yet satisfying combat with so many unique characters fundamentally changes how an encounter plays out. As well as the gorgeous sights and sounds of the game with wonderful voice acting that suck me in and keep me in the realm of Norzelia. This game is worth every penny and the thirty hours and more of its wonderful experience.
Chorus is an absolutely excellent experience. Its story never felt dull. I loved watching Nara and Forsa mend their broken relationship and breathe in the excellently built zones and its deep lore. Despite not playing many games like it, the gameplay was accessible and enjoyable. The game is visually stunning with a soundtrack that meshes excellently with the setting of the game. If it were not for the one imbalanced boss, and the minor bugs I experienced, this would have been a perfect experience. Still, these are minor quibbles. Chorus is a game that should be on everyone’s radar heading into Game of the Year discussions. As only in Chorus will you be surprised and amazed by what the developers crafted.
As such, Unpacking is a surprise all on its own. It can be a short 3-5 hour adventure but has so much to appreciate in it. Opening up boxes and sorting the items into a house never sounded fun or engaging to me at first. But it prevailed by having such a unique way of telling its story, finding a simple way to be compelling. While the gameplay, while simple as well, always remained fun and engaging. It’s a niche experience, that is easily recommendable, especially at its price.
Astria Ascending is a fantastic throwback to classic JRPGs. Its story may not be remarkable, but the overall gameplay experience makes the game memorable. The deep combat with the customization and unique boss battles with excellent enemy variety is what kept me playing. In fact, knowing how the game works now, I have been hungry to start a new playthrough with different character class combinations as I progress. It will be hard for players to pick up if they are not used to turn-based gameplay. However, fans of this style of game will be in for a fantastic treat. But if you are on Xbox I cannot recommend playing this game in its current state. When it is patched and you can get past the main menu, then feel compelled to pick it up.
Lost in Random is another example of genuine uniqueness coming from the “EA Originals” program which brought us It Takes Two earlier this year. It excels in creating a nightmarish setting filled with charming characters and dry humor to indulge in its wonderous writing. From a gripping narrative and lovable protagonist to the friends found in the twisted streets. With engaging enemy encounters, intricate combat, and interesting but disappointing bosses. Zoink Games excellently delivers a fun experience that will leave you wanting to dive back in after the credits roll. It will be hard to not want to get lost in Random again.
Ultra Age executes a very fun and engaging combat system with bosses that were unique and great to fight. However, introducing so many combat mechanics with its many swords and never using them during boss fights is a major letdown. The story was basic and the dynamic of Age and Helvis never grew over the journey in the many boxed-in levels. Thus, I can not recommend this game since the only enjoyment to be found is in its combat. But the game never felt boring, and it shows the clear ambitions that weren’t executed well by two indie studios. While I won’t remember the journey Age and Helvis went through in the years to come, I will remember the fun I had with its combat.
Scarlet Nexus, while disappointing in the story overall, is saved by its relentlessly enjoyable combat. The Japanese voice cast did a superb job, even if the English voice acting was not particularly impressive. The levels, while offering stellar visuals, were too linear and never offered any interesting reason to return to explore. It feels like for every great part of this game, another lacks to a noticeable degree. Even so, Scarlet Nexus is worth the money if you are looking for a decent 25+ hour experience.
Overall, Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! is an excellent re-release that handled its console versions well from a design standpoint. The value and time you find inside will far outweigh its asking price. Just be prepared for some of the moments in the main game as some will shock or make you uncomfortable. It is not advised for children or anyone experiencing mental issues to play this game, so be forewarned.