While playing Stray you can’t help but feeling if some things went differently during the development process then it could have been a great game. Unfortunately, while Stray captures the cat experience very well, it doesn’t score well on any of its core gameplay loops. While fine for a casual experience and not long enough to become annoyingly repetitive, Stray ultimately doesn’t stand on its own four paws as an engaging video game experience.
Barring these minor user interface issues, Bear and Breakfast was a joy to play. It doesn’t do anything revolutionary for the genre, but it successfully carves out a niche by perfectly matching its tone, gameplay and narrative. Bear and Breakfast accomplishes exactly what it set out to do, it’s a charming little management sim that doesn’t take itself seriously. It might not be for everyone, but I think a lot of people will find joy in this wholesome project.
Overall, the survival genre is very saturated. Grounded is a unique take on a tired formula and is genuinely a breath of fresh air in the space. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel but it doesn’t have to, it’s chosen a premise and has adapted it beautifully and skillfully. While some improvements can be made in combat and other areas, the game is a well-made experience that survival fans will love. I personally can’t wait to jump in with three friends following the full launch. It can get lonely out there all alone in suburbia.
And so what? I’m not a huge fan of how bulky the environment feels at times, and the walking sections can become tiresome, but the truth is, Requiem had me engaged from start to finish. Sure, the game has its flaws, and it’s not a very malleable experience, but that doesn’t stop it from being a good time all the same. At its heart, A Plague Tale is a narrative-driven atmospheric experience. Everything else is just icing on the cake.
Pentiment is a shining example of committing fully to an idea without worrying about where it fits in today's gaming market. The result? One of the best games of the year, narrative and otherwise.
While it does have some good moments, Scars Above is ultimately an unimaginative experience devoid of any cutting edge.