On the surface, World Championship Boxing Manager 2 lets you get into the minutiae of managing fighters time, training and career. However, even the 32-bit pixel art can’t quell any shallow grind that’s persistent making it an unfulfilling, rewardless management sim.
Live A Live makes an impressive case as to why classic RPGs are not to be forgotten in time. The vignette style of storytelling brings an epic scale to an otherwise modest and sometimes unevenly paced narrative. The HD-2D visuals and recomposed soundtrack are standouts in what is already a stellar package that all RPG fans need to play.
With a bit more to say The Last Worker could’ve been a great game, but the paper thin plot and clunky controls hold back what is otherwise a stylish and unique time with or without VR. Hopefully there’ll be more to come from this world as it’s an interesting premise, but for right now it’s a decent couple of evenings spent.
NotGames have commandeered the airwaves with Not For Broadcast. An immensely funny satirical romp through the lens of news broadcasting that really hasn’t been done before. Its specifically British tone might not click, but the surreal and poignant narrative is one to admire. The gameplay is overwhelming and it doesn’t develop, leaving me wanting more. However, if you like your FMVs and branching narratives, this one has it in spades.
On the surface, Pupperazzi is a pleasant way to relax and have puppy photoshoots. The audio and visuals further extended that pleasantry by being distinctively designed and colourful, making it a soothing game to explore. Though the game’s performance on Switch is less than stellar, hampering the overall enjoyment of the game.
Mile 0 is a new and exciting avenue for Road 96. The rhythm sections are euphoric and the world-building is complex and fulfilling. Zoe and Kaito’s story is a great entry point but it does feel like it’s just getting started as it ends, falling under the traps of being a prequel.
Curse of the Sea Rats takes some good ideas for gameplay systems but fumbles them in the execution. As a Metroidvania, it could be a good entry point and if it is, it can only go up from here. However, the animation that is in the game and the music does make a pirate life one for me, just not an overall great one.
Mayhem in Single Valley’s components themselves don’t stand out. However the culmination of all the over-the-top apocalyptic retro inspired elements makes a game about saving the world a decent time. The levels are fun to explore, the comedy is bashful and the music a true highlight; there just maybe not enough mayhem.
DREDGE’s numerous gameplay systems that don’t overwhelm but invite players are a cloak and dagger for the true horrors that’ll keep you lost at sea. Phenomenal in its art direction and engrossing to play, it’s clear that Black Salt Games have dredged up a mystifying debut.
This is one of the most accessible Metroidvanias to embark on. Pronty’s underwater excavation in a city, crawling with well-designed bosses is one for both newcomers and seasoned players of the genre. Combat is lacklustre and it doesn’t reinvent in any game-changing capacity, but it sure is a world worth diving deep in.
A dented chassis for what otherwise has a solid engine, Monster Energy Supercross 6 makes some adjustments to accommodate newcomers, but if you played others before, you’ve most likely already played this one. There’s a decent physics-based racer here, just the presentation doesn’t cross the finish line.
Grim Guardians: Demon Purge is flawed in a lot of the ways it sells itself on. As a Metroidvania, it’s a really weak attempt, but as an Arcade Action Platformer it’s astounding. It just didn’t lean into one or the other enough. If you’re not a fan of Gal*Gun, most of it will go over your head, but fans may love this. Though as an entire package it just does okay.
A Space for the Unbound shoots for the stars and lands in the Milky Way, making it a 2023 stand out already. Whilst the gameplay wanes in the final hours, the story, characters and plot conclude in an immensely satisfying and emotional way.
A little rough around the edges, even for the lo-fi approach – Chasing Static is a decent time if you’re looking for a short sci-fi horror story. The PSX art style lends itself into being an aesthetically memorable experience that might please fans of that era of horror games. Despite the game’s title I wasn’t necessarily guided by the static, resulting in a missing trick. However, the decent albeit a little vague story made me want to stay in the game till the end.
Hello Neighbor 2 is a mixed bag when compared to the rest of the franchise. The AI still needs to show more intelligence and the performance isn’t spectacular – even on PS5. The story may put off newcomers but fans of the series will hopefully enjoy what it has to offer in its mystery. Puzzles have been greatly improved which makes a good chunk of your playtime more accessible and enjoyable, but the counterparts keep it down from being great.
Sable’s ability to make the player feel so involved in such a hands-off approach to its open world is one that should be celebrated. The gameplay is a little one-note and the framerate can buckle under pressure, but it’s a game full of intrigue and wonderment that captivates you immensely. Not to mention exceptional cel shaded visuals and a zen like soundtrack that makes Sable enrapturing to explore.
Railbound is a quaint, confident and colourful puzzle game that’ll charm your socks off if you let it. The presentation is welcoming, while the puzzles are challenging, all chocking up to a well-designed puzzler that’ll keep your brain boggling for hours.