New Pokémon Snap is pretty magical as well. It takes the unique formula of the 1999 original and expands on it just enough to feel like a completely new adventure, without diluting the simple joy of riding and snapping photos of impossible creatures.
For those with cleaner children than mine, Sackboy: A Big Adventure is exactly the sort of non-threatening video game that’s perfect for family game night. It’s charming, with a kid-friendly story and forgiving gameplay that won’t result in ugly tears. It might even inspire someone to one day work at a Michael’s or Joanne’s.
Don’t let the lush, colorful graphics and whimsical, xylophone-heavy soundtrack fool you. Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time’s fun and frivolous facade hides a game that feels like it’s actively trying to murder mischievous marsupials. It’s about snatching victory from the jaws, bombs, fast-moving vehicles, spinning blades, laser grids, and fire spouts of death. I failed much more often than I succeeded during my run thanks to Ray West and his lackeys, but I had a great time doing it.
Marvel’s Avengers isn’t the best comic book game out there, but it’s certainly the best team-based comic book game I’ve played. It’s not simply that it gathers iconic heroes together and lets me become them, but that each one of them is equally enjoyable.
If an animated rehash of 10 years’ worth of movies and television is the framing needed to get me an action role-playing game as rich, challenging and satisfying as Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, then so be it.
The Longest Five Minutes presents its basic fantasy tale as a series of flashbacks experienced by its amnesiac main character during the game's final battle. It takes an otherwise generic retro turn-based RPG and turns it into something special—but it could have been so much more.
Arc System Works has created the most approachable Dragon Ball game ever, and one of the most accessible fighting games. Fans of either should be overjoyed to welcome newcomers to their ranks, and those newcomers get to experience two of the most accepting and supportive communities in fandom. Everybody wins.
Were Hob a tightly-scripted action adventure that guided the player from point to point and told them exactly what was expected of them, it wouldn't be nearly as magical an experience, and certainly not as personal. Making my own decisions (and my own mistakes) makes the impressive, world-changing moments feel like something I did.
Agents of Mayhem is many things, but mostly it's what happens when the development studio responsible for one of the raunchiest game series dials back the dildos and gives its heroes a little more maturity and humanity. It's something special. Like Uranus.