The genius of Spelunky 2 is that it somehow adds new possibilities to a game that already had endless possibilities. That's legitimately impressive. And that's why I'm sure I'll be playing this for as long as I've played the original, both games coexisting blissfully together as one of the absolute best parent-child pairs in gaming.
Four generations in, I felt it was time to retire and did so with a smile on my face. Crusader Kings III forces you to play as a human capable of only human feats, and constantly reminds you of that fact. But it is this limitation that gives every action you take a real sense of weight, and makes even the most mundane of decisions feel like life and death.
The burning rage that creeps from the embers of the oceanic volcano. Each of these spaces left me emotionally entranced and affected. That isn't something games evoke in a visceral manner for me anymore and I am not sure it's something I will experience again in the near future.
It endears itself to the player and just asks us to have fun. If you fall over and mess up a line, it is okay. Just give it another shot! Vicarious Visions has done something special and I am so happy to say that The (virtual) Birdman is back and better than ever.
It's not a terribly long game, but neither should it be. Kill It With Fire's short gameplay matches its light tone, and keeps the premise from wearing out its welcome. Despite its low stakes, it is high spirited, and about as complicated and deep as it needs to be. If you've ever wanted to upend furniture and mow down a hedge maze just to get a spider, you'll feel personally targeted by this one. It's revenge fantasy chicken soup for the arachnophobic soul.
While on the surface the core gameplay loop may seem repetitive, it manages to be anything but. With each new technology unlocked, the level of complexity and resources required in creating new items increases, demanding the player create larger and larger factories to keep up with their own self-imposed demand.
Skateboarding in the time of COVID has been easier than ever due to so many public places being devoid of people, but having a digital analog to an artform that is often best experienced with others has made this time all the more easier. Skater XL is one of the rare "find your own fun" games that trusts players to do just that. So, hop on your board and see where the wheels take you.
With Carrion, I wondered how Phobia Game Studio would be able to keep me interested without that dynamic. They managed it through the careful balance of giving you enough agency to feel powerful, while still requiring you to plan and act with precision to use that power effectively. The result is a razor-sharp campaign that fully put me in the amorphous shoes of its terrifying beast.