Hotshot Racing is an unapologetic return to arcade action, and it's brilliant fun. This game's charming retro aesthetic, sweeping powerslides, and glorious handling are a constant joy, and a perfect antithesis to the myriad simulators on PS4. Some might find the courses don't provide much of a challenge, and we'd gladly have taken a little more content, but you'll be hard pushed to find a better example of straight-up arcade racing this generation.
Vicarious Visions has produced another excellent remake with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2. It brings those PS1 classics to the modern era with a wonderful visual upgrade, rock solid performance, and all the features you'd expect of a game released in 2020. Most importantly, though, it retains the specific feel of the franchise at its best, delivering an addictive, fast-paced, arcade-like experience. Old fans can rest easy knowing that the Tony Hawk games are back on form, while new players can dive into the skateboarding world for the first time. This game is sick, bro.
Spiritfarer is a game with a lot of moving parts, but most of its elements are well handled. Progression comes at a good pace as you upgrade Stella's ship, her abilities, and build relationships with a colourful crew. The crafting minigames are a weak spot, and the writing doesn't always land, but there's a lot to like about this maritime management title.
Cuphead might be a tough cookie, but it charms with superlative art and music. For every time you might be frustrated by a tough section, you'll be delighted by some wonderful animation or new attack. It isn't perfect; the Run and Gun levels don't live up to the bosses, and a lack of feedback can make fights feel futile. Overall, though, the game succeeds in what it sets out to do -- just be prepared for a real challenge.
Gameplay might be much the same, but the Cores and Hacks make the action far more varied. The random nature of the level order and the Hacks offered to you mean there's almost a rogue-like flavour to it, though this is still very much a linear game. It's just a little wider, and that meta-storyline and clinical creepiness is absolutely still part of the experience. Endless and Infinite modes mean you'll never run short of baddies to break, a task that's just as satisfying here -- if not more so with the added power-ups.