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.
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 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.
No coins are necessary when taking on the difficult challenge that is Battle Axe. It’s visually and audibly stellar, likely to please anyone looking for a hit of nostalgia. However, the promised features and improvements of the PS5 version are missing and half the game doesn’t work as intended. With that said, the core gameplay is adrenaline fuelled and satisfying, hacking up the overall fun factor.
Goat Simulator 3 nails the ridiculousness in a bigger, more intuitive way. The humour hits in every corner of the huge open world you’ll be exploring, culminating in hours of fun. The controls not feeling as modern as its peers, alongside small performance issues dampen the overall package, but if you’re looking for something truly off the wall and friendly for all ages, this game is one to check out.
This nautical roguelike is chaotic, frantic and sometimes frustrating if you’re on your own. There’re too many variables in the trinkets/weaponry via RNG to squander your enjoyment and an AI that can feel unfair at times. But with a co-captain, there’s some treasure to be had, and a presentation that could cure scurvy.
The presentation and the fear factor of Yomawari: Lost in the Dark leave a great first impression. The beautifully crafted visuals and moment-to-moment potential horror you face makes it an unnerving experience that’s hard to shake. However, the more you play, the less you’re rewarded with actual reasoning from the story. It’s a gut punch to persevere in the final act. This may be appealing to fans of the series but it didn’t make a new one of me by the end.
Being a step beyond inspiration and dated in its mechanics, Airoheart is an obtuse yet magical game to delve into. Pixel Heart Studio’s debut is great but often hindered by its imitation. Though the unique aspects are what kept me playing, I just wish there was more originality.
Alfred Hitchcock Veritgo takes some steps to tell a mature story that has an incredible mystery behind it. Certain parts are difficult to play through due to the subject matter, but if you’re after a narrative adventure that shares thematic depth of cinema, then you’re in for a treat. The gameplay doesn’t compliment the story telling too often and a few performance issues hold it back. However, if you can look past those flaws there’s a unique story to unravel.
The Ascent: Cyber Heist is unbalanced in its offering. Some much welcome additions like the melee combat are bogged down by the lacklustre length of the story. However, if you liked The Ascent enough, you’ll get some enjoyment if you do revisit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Akane’s break-neck pace and cyberpunk setting is not one to overlook. The lack of variety isn’t a huge issue when everything it presents is impeccable and you get as much as you put in with the game. The arcade elements make for an addictive game play loop that’ll keep you repeatedly fighting through the night.