Simply put Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards is your typical action adventure RPG. Zones are fun and unique enough to satisfy. But the frame rate dips so low at times that it's easy to become frustrated. There's nothing eccentric here, and that's ok, not every game about saving the world has to be, I guess.
By making puzzle mechanics feel immediate and dangerous, Boxed In elevates the genre. While the edges feel a bit rough, the core gameplay mechanic is pure gold, giving Boxed In that much desired one-more-try factor. Highly recommended for immediate purchase.
While the cheerful island graphics and pirate themes are fun, King of Seas' over reliance on grinding quickly stifles the enjoyment. Exploration is highly enjoyable, but after you've seen everything, the story is the only thing left to pursue. Artificial barriers to extend the experience frustrate, as there is little satisfaction in grinding to victory.
Biomutant attempts to channel many inspirations into a compelling package. It does much of that extremely well, excelling at world building and creating a fluid combat system to drive the experience. The one area it falls short is in tying it all together with an engrossing narrative. It not only fails at the narrative, but even worse, fails at the very mechanics of delivering the story. Wander the world on your own initiative and experience a great game; follow the path of the main quest and suffer the letdown of a mediocre tale, told poorly.
Knockout City is a rollicking good time, restructuring dodgeball into a competitive team sport that anyone can enjoy. Appropriate for all audiences, there is plenty of fun here for casuals and the hardcore crowd alike. Knockout City leaves plenty of room for the game to grow and expand, making it a solid platform for success as a living game. Bright, cheery, inclusive fun.
Puzzle Bobble VR: Vacation Odyssey translates the franchise's beloved gameplay successfully into the VR space. With a ton of devious puzzles and a few different modes to play around with, there is plenty of content here to keep bubble poppers busy for a while. The slightly twitchy aiming can be difficult at times, but overall the game is exactly what fans might expect.
Hood: Outlaws and Legends brings players into an alternate universe where Robin Hood and his Merry Men are a gang of murderous thieves. While the core heist gameplay loop offers some fun for committed players, the structure around those heists doesn't give much reason (beyond getting better) to keep playing. The thematic darkness doesn't help; when the Sherriff of Nottingham drops f-bombs and smashes people's heads like pumpkins, I kinda tap out.
Space Commander: War and Trade makes the transition from mobile to console without considering what changes would make the game more palatable for console players. A very basic trading system, a fiddly map, and super simple space combat all add up to an experience that underwhelms. There is a lot going on in Space Commander, but not very much of it is fun.
Resident Evil Village earns a spot right up there as one of the very best Resident Evil games in the franchise's 25 year run. Village is an amalgamation of what made Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 7 fan-favourite entries. Though it also delivers on it's own ambition with new breeds of terrifying enemies never seen before in Resident Evil. The Village is a desolate, decrepit, dolorous setting but undeniably beautiful thanks to some of the best art direction ever seen in the series. In an age of day one patches and bugs, Resident Evil looks and runs flawlessly on the PlayStation 5 version used in this review. Resident Evil Village is a Game of the Year contender.