Overall, I enjoyed my time with Beacon Pines. Its eye-catching storybook art style catches your attention which is then held by the game's fast-moving and suspenseful plot. There were times when this story felt too convoluted in some areas whilst a little lacking in explanation in others, but it's still an easy recommendation. Just don't trust its cutesy appearance too much — Beacon Pines might start out at the beginning of Summer, but that eerie undertone makes it a great contender to play in the run-up to Halloween.
I played this game during a heatwave, and it was wonderful to find a distraction from the heat in the investigative shenanigans of these well-spoken animals. Lord Winklebottom was full of unexpected surprises, and kept me laughing throughout. If you’re a fan of point-and-click games, detective stories, or are looking for something that’ll get a few chuckles out of you, you might want to consider stepping into the shoes of Lord Winklebottom. I spent around nine hours in the game, and aside from a few frustrations, I really enjoyed my time with it. Here’s hoping for more Lord Winklebottom cases in the future!
Bright Memory: Infinite is a promising new entry from a small studio, with visuals and a gameplay loop that give it the opportunity to sit alongside some of the heavy hitters in the genre. While it's lacking in a few elements that could carry it through to greatness, it's also dripping with potential and could be the start of a successful franchise if FYQD-Studio polishes some of the game's foibles. All-in-all, it's a short romp through action-focused levels that's sure to offer any FPS fan a burst of fun and have them feeling like a killing machine in the process.
For the most part, As Dusk Falls excels as an 'interactive drama.' With wonderfully crafted and relatable characters, superb voice acting, and unique art direction and animation style that lends itself to the story. The first few chapters alone are excellent, and they’ll have you gripping onto your controller when things are tense and utterly deflated when you’re forced into making a tough decision. The game is only let down by a weaker second act and a rushed final chapter, but overall, it’s still a great narrative adventure filled with dramatic moments, tension, and tough choices.
The solid and gratifying combat system is perhaps not fully explored, but any mistake in Trek to Yomi is whisked away by its brisk pace complemented by a great artistic vision. Trek to Yomi is a katana-sharp experience that impresses with its flashy skills — use the joyous time it gives you well.
There's a strong case to be made for Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga being the best Lego game to date, with a massive variety of gameplay styles, oodles of additional content, and that perfectly pitched playfulness that evens out the highs and lows of the Star Wars main series into a uniformly entertaining experience. The whistle-stop nature of the translation from silver screen to video game means that die-hard fans could find that some of their favourite scenes don't make the cut, but it's generally a rock-solid playable summary of all nine movies, all wrapped up in that typical Lego charm.
With a fantastic roster of stories to play through and characters to interact with, Weird West is sure to please any fan of the Old West. Its mix of fantasy and spaghetti western tropes blends beautifully to create a memorable experience that twists and turns around the believable and magical. While there are a few niggles here and there, the overall experience feels polished throughout and WolfEye's attention to detail is noticeable in all aspects.
Tiny Tina's Wonderlands expands on Borderlands 2's Assault on Dragon Keep DLC in some interesting and meaningful ways, but feels like it struggles to stretch out what was a fantastic gimmick for a shorter expansion to fill a full-length campaign without falling back on repeating its material. Gunplay is typically great and the numbers-go-up power fantasy as gratifying as ever, but even though it's notably less aggressive than Borderlands 3 in its attempts to make you laugh, there are still plenty of limp pop culture references and cringeworthy 'topical' gags that are likely to grate on even fans of the series' brash humour.
Grid Legends is one of the cheesiest games I've ever played, thanks to its Drive to Glory story mode. Putting that to one side, there is a good racing game here with an excellent AI system (that can go a bit awry), some beautiful and well-designed tracks, and cars that feel great to drive. However, Grid Legends is dragged down a bit by the easily-forgettable story mode, and the game is just far too easy even on the highest difficulty. Still, there is a competent racer here that offers plenty of thrilling moments and enough cars and modes to keep fans of the genre happy.
OlliOlli World takes the tight, rewarding gameplay of its simple predecessors, dresses it up in a beautifully colourful and quirky new art style, and layers on a bunch of new systems that make it even more satisfying to master. It's a masterclass in how to make score attack games that can have players attack the same spot for hours at a time in search of those vital few points that would give them the lead over a rival, with dozens of awesome hand-crafted levels and countless procedural ones on which to chase those big numbers.
As much as I enjoy the moment-to-moment gameplay of Rainbow Six Extraction and have had a blast with it both solo and in co-op, it's impossible to overlook the glaring balance issues and lack of any kind of appealing endgame it has at the moment.
Overall, The Gunk feels like a weighty, enjoyable adventure that goes to some surprising places with its story. I had a great time clearing up the gunk and living my best adventurer life, and the length of the game seemed just right, ensuring that the gunk didn’t overstay its welcome. To make things even better, The Gunk launches straight into Xbox Game Pass today — so you can’t not give it a go.
Right now, Battlefield 2042 is offering plenty of new features and gameplay elements that will benefit the series’ veteran players, although I’m not sure if there is enough there to hold the attention of players that don’t already have a vested interest in it, at least while they wait for the various problems to be fixed. That really is a shame because even though the persistent issues are frustrating, unnecessary, and annoying, underneath it all is a game that is brimming with potential, and one that I’m enjoying much of my time with — combat is tense, challenging, and unpredictable, and it offers the very best Battlefield experience in recent years... when it hits right.
Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One deviates little from the established Frogwares detective game template, but that doesn't stop it from being a compelling adventure and perhaps one of the studio's stronger games overall. It's got a meaty and intriguing core story, loads to see and do off the main path, and some swerving cases that will take some serious sleuthing to come to the right conclusions — I'm not sure what more you could really ask for from a game like this besides that tried-and-tested trifecta, except maybe a little more polish. The lack thereof doesn't hurt the game too much, mind, so if you enjoy solving crimes while being really, really, really ridiculously good-looking, this mid-price mystery should definitely find its way onto your wishlist.