Of course, other aspects of those goals fall short. The mini-games are not too exciting and a lot of the other life sim aspects feel like an afterthought because it takes so long to unlock them. Not to mention the bugs you’ll run into along the way that also bring down the experience. It’s hard to deny that the ideas behind Potion Permit are great, but it doesn’t quite reach the level where the gameplay becomes truly captivating.
Trails from Zero is kind of a miracle in its own right, the fact that we got a Western release after so many years, and that Trails from Azure is right around the corner, still feels surreal. But, for all its strengths, this is still a game from more than a decade ago, that was originally designed for the PSP. If you can get past that, then Trails from Zero won’t disappoint, and whether you are a series veteran or a newcomer, it provides a wonderful world in which you can truly lose yourself for hours at a stretch.
Ultimately, there is a great MMO somewhere here. The main takeaway for Bethesda here is that most players don’t just stick around for dailies, they stick around for everything surrounding the dailies. Fallout 76 still has so much potential left to explore, and while The Pitt does take a baby step forward, there’s still a long way to go.
As a stealth-action experience, Serial Cleaners is most certainly a breath of fresh air, continuing to build on the foundations set by the series’ first outing in 2017. Between the added uniqueness of the rest of the crew, the diverse and interesting level designs, the non-linear story with freedom of choice, and just good old cleaning action to be had, Serial Cleaners is everything you would want in a sequel; just be wary that some polishing is still needed for the perfect finish.
Still, for those seeking an authentic simulation, NBA 2K23 delivers. For those who couldn’t be bothered to invest into either MyTeam or MyCareer, you will find plenty else to occupy your time. At the end of the day, it’s all about what you’re willing to check at the door. There will always be things players take or leave. On the whole, it very much feels like a big step in the right direction. Underneath, I continue to let myself imagine ‘What if…’ which is why personally, it’s difficult to look past the ever-present elephant in the room.
Ultimately, The DioField Chronicle surprised me with just how much depth its combat system offered, and powering my way through its levels proved to be a joy, despite its narrative and characterization shortcomings. The real-time strategy battles are an innovative aspect of the game that I’d love to see adapted in more RPGs, and while I do wish the protagonists weren’t as cookie-cutter as they come, I’ll take bland stories and pretty art over boring gameplay any day.
When all is said and done, Wayward Strand is a great narrative experience but not a game for everybody. The lack of clear direction and rewards can make its simple gameplay loop feel overwhelming, and the grounded themes it tackles aren’t always easy to get through. For those willing to give it a look, though, it’s a game that offers characters who players won’t be able to keep from falling in love with, and the experience it offers will stick with whoever plays it long after the credits roll.
Having JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle-R as an updated remaster of a classic in 2022 is a good thing, with the refined combat and huge roster being huge pluses. Still, it could have been a much more satisfying product if the online components were given the same attention to detail. While it may not match up against the best of modern fighting games out there, fans will get much more out of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle-R, and nothing else quite matters when you are having a good time.
You Suck At Parking is a quirky take on hardcore arcade games and platformers like Super Meat Boy that are built on frustration, but are addicting enough for one more run. The controls are somewhat satisfying and the challenge is enjoyable, but your skill level and dedication determines how deep into the game you get. Otherwise, it is fun for a few afternoons or an occasional session.
When all is said and done, Temtem is far more than its inspirations. Though it stumbles occasionally, the game offers an experience that even the most grizzled Pokémon fan will enjoy while also building up a new world for fresh players to marvel at. It’s a must-play and a strong showing of what could be a major series moving forward.
Metal: Hellsinger is exactly as in-your-face and easy to pick up as a rhythm FPS featuring death metal should be. If you’re even remotely a fan of metal music and first-person shooters, you’ll have a great time with the six or so hours that it takes to reach the game’s credits. By the same token, if you’re not a fan of the two elements, there probably isn’t going to be much here to change your mind. It’s a bespoke marriage of concepts that work together perfectly, and all core elements are finely crafted to create an experience that’s difficult to put down once you really get going.
I do hope that going forward, BKOM Studios can expand the world and concepts of Sunday Gold. Posthumously, I can say that I am definitely craving more of that funky-synth sound and unique charm and style that has been brought to the table here, and I will say that if you are interested in the unique aesthetic of this game or just craving something entirely different, then Sunday Gold has you covered.
The overall experience of Disney Dreamlight Valley is one that is great and unforgettable for those who love both Disney and gaming. The possibilities of the game almost seem endless because there are many stories to expand upon and a variety of activities to do. Since there will undoubtedly be more updates in the future, I can’t wait to see what characters will show up next and what other mysteries will unfold in this magical game.
To be clear, Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness is not an irredeemable game. It has its high points, and the core experience is one that even non-anime fans could find enjoyable and worthwhile. It’s held back by needing to adapt material from the anime, though, and as a result, the full product is so much less enjoyable than it otherwise could have been.
At first glance, Tinykin might appear overwhelming with its various tinykin mechanics and the collectibles to find, but somehow, the game keeps you moving at a steady but still entertaining pace. At its bare minimum, you will still get at least six hours of fun trying to get Milo home. However, decide to go full completionist, and you can add a couple of hours to the total playtime and more satisfaction from solving tougher puzzles. And while it may not necessarily have that strategic component of Pikmin, Tinykin makes the most of its take on the genre while adding its own adorable mascots for one of the best 3D platformers in recent years, especially on Game Pass.
My time with Ooblets started off rocky, and while it did take a while for me to get into the groove of things and finally settle into the comfy farm life that I so desperately crave from these games, I’m glad I stuck with it. And just like Stardew Valley, Ooblets 1.0 definitely has the potential to keep growing and expanding beyond its current scope. It’s a fantastic farming sim as is, but the real excitement comes from what it could eventually become in the future.
As a remake, Pac-Man World Re-Pac definitely ticks plenty of boxes when it comes to transforming an older game into one that fits into the present gaming landscape. The platforming is solid, the presentation is up to snuff, and there is no beating nostalgia sometimes. The game is unlikely to garner a new following save for a curious bunch, and is purely aimed at hardcore Pac-Man fans who are looking for something new yet old to enjoy, yet, that is not such a bad thing after all.