The Lord of the Rings: Gollum had a rough start prior to launch but despite its followup patches, it’s still not a good game. It plays with some interesting concepts but they are so often overshadowed by its poor controls, loose movement, and overly slow story where everyone feels like a bit part except the titular lead. There is a certain charm that ever so often seeps through, to make it a partly enjoyable platforming and even stealth experience, but just as it builds any kind of momentum the game swiftly reminds you of its drawbacks and frustrations.
Tin Hearts is a joyful puzzler with heart and style. It creates a soothing, engaging atmosphere with charming music, encourages discovery of your surroundings with mechanics that are gradually, smartly implemented and introduced. As a VR first title, playing in flat can be a bit jarring with controls and interactivity feeling a bit on the clunky side, but regardless of how or where you play, this is an adventure you should experience.
Ravenlok is a game full of surprises and felt incredibly satisfying to play, tapping into a genre I actually need a whole lot more of. Its lack of real combat strategy, button mashing and frustrating camera, as well as the speed you can blaze through with no returning hook do, unfortunately, limit the game’s potential. But what’s here with story, characters, setting, and style will, ultimately, make sure you have an enjoyable time while you’re playing.
Teslagrad 2 is a short, mostly well engineered puzzler that never really emerges from its predecessor’s shadow. It looks great, mostly handles decently with some platforming frustrations and interesting sections that mix things up just enough, but that also has a lot to do with a rapid run time.
Sherlock Holmes The Awakened is an enjoyable re-imagining of one of Frogwares best takes on the great detective. Stunningly recreated with Unreal Engine, this story has new puzzles, a wealth of side missions, quirky mechanics, and an intriguing plot that keeps itself interesting throughout. A remarkable accomplishment considering the horrendous circumstances the studio has had to overcome.
Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is one of the most unexpected, unusual releases of all time. It completely goes at odds against the original source material, it has no obvious audience base as a result, but it remains an enjoyable, creative, bold take on a character we felt we knew inside and out. A stagnating second half and a steep price tag let this one down from an outright recommendation, but there’s still enough in here that deserves your attention, embossed with a trademark signature style and quality that could only come from the Umbran Witch herself.
Deliver Us Mars is a sequel that doesn’t quite hit all the highs of its predecessor and never really pushes the genre forward in any new ways. Mechnical gripes aside, though, it has a meaningful, memorable story with a good, relevant message, enjoyable dialogue and a beautiful soundtrack that all compliment each other very nicely.