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South of the Circle definitely looks and feels like it was made by a BAFTA-winning team, which means that players should know they’re walking into an artistic endeavor instead of an action-packed adventure. Sure, there’s action, and there’s adventure, but it’s more of a passive movie than an active experience. As long as you set your expectations accordingly, South of the Circle will thrill (and chill!) anyone looking for a unique setting and exciting story.
NOEL The Mortal Fate tries to do a lot all at once, and for the most part, it succeeds. It’s a seriously scintillating visual novel with interesting gameplay mechanics that really pushed the limits of what RPG Maker could do. Unfortunately, some of those gameplay mechanics handled strangely at times, but that can mostly be forgiven considering the gripping story that unfolds on-screen. If you’re a visual novel fan and want to curl up with a good story on your Switch, NOEL The Mortal Fate is a deal you don’t want to pass up.
RimWorld Console Edition is a fantastic addition to anyone’s game library, regardless of whether or not they’ve played the PC version. When the only criticism of the game is that it doesn’t go on sale very often, you know you have an absolute winner on your hands. I wish I could have seen all the text better without having to scoot so close to my TV, but the fact that it’s my only complaint in an otherwise addicting and enjoyable experience speaks volumes. If you’re looking for a game that breaks expectations in terms of depth and discovery, RimWorld Console Edition will sate that storytelling hunger.
Godlike Burger is not for everyone. If you love roguelikes, have a controller handy, and possess a morbid sense of curiosity, Godlike Burger could easily entertain for hours on end. If you want a clear sense of continued progression and are loyal to the ol’ mouse and keyboard, I can’t recommend Godlike Burger to you. Like a Portobello mushroom burger, this one’s a bit of an acquired taste, so your first bite is only going to be enjoyable if you know what you’re getting into. Godlike Burger may be every health inspector’s worst nightmare, but for the roguelike fan seeking a fresh batch of novelty, a nibble of the forbidden meat may be too tantalizing to resist.
I was really hoping for more from Sofiya and the Ancient Clan. While it wasn’t all bad, it’s still a disappointing platformer with boring combat to boot. Sure, the artwork is fine, even Sofiya’s amorous journal entries. It just doesn’t do enough to make this a better game, despite the surprisingly enjoyable music. If you like platformers and want something inexpensive, you might enjoy this. If nothing else, it’s a very short burn that can be completed in a lazy afternoon. For everyone else, stay away from this absurd little witch.
River City Saga: Three Kingdoms offers solid brawler gameplay and an open world that you can get around conveniently. Combat feels impactful, and the story even has its moments. Unnecessary complexity, slippery platforming, and a tone that never quite hits make this a game primarily for the series’ faithful and big-time brawler fans who have played most of the genre’s more successful recent releases.
The Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass Wave 2 may not be filled with classics, but there are no truly weak maps here, and there are several that sit comfortably among the upper echelon of the game’s track list. Waluigi Pinball alone would make this a worthy set of levels, but Mushroom Gorge, Kalamari Desert, and Sydney Sprint will all be maps I’ll frequently vote to race on in the future. I’m glad to see these releases getting stronger and can’t wait to see what Nintendo has in store for Wave 3.
Bright Memory: Infinite is a shining example of the power of development tools when placed in the hands of someone who truly knows how to get the most out of them. With its AAA production values and polished gameplay, it provides an evening’s worth of action that entertained me in a way that the genre has struggled to do since Respawn’s underappreciated Titanfall 2. If you’re comfortable with dropping twenty dollars on an experience that you know will be over in a couple of hours and are willing to overlook the messy narrative in favour of the excellent gameplay loops, then Bright Memory: Infinite is absolutely worth supporting.
At the end of the game, I really felt like there could’ve been a lot more Quintus and the Absent Truth. The acting felt flat, the themes weren’t as fleshed out as they should’ve been, and the only truly scary thing here is how short the whole experience was. I really wanted to see this succeed, as the art style brought some unique potential, but sadly the experience needs a lot more refinement to be as interesting in execution as it was in premise.
I truly hope that Sword and Fairy: Together Forever finally releasing on consoles gives the series the boost it needs towards more widespread recognition globally. It’s a fantastic title with some of the deepest lore to grace the genre in a while, which also manages to back up its compelling narrative with combat that is a joy to engage with. In a summer that has sorely been lacking in epic RPGs for genre enthusiasts to get stuck into, Sword and Fairy: Together Forever not only helps fill that void but does so with a level of style and heart that begs to be experienced.
Endling – Extinction is Forever is a powerful game. It deftly highlights human greed, corruption, and our unique knack for environmental devastation. At the same time, it offers glimmers of hope and redemption, tiny bright spots that manage to shine through the encroaching darkness. The trials and tribulations of the traumatized fox at the heart of the game will leave your heart aching and bruised, and you’ll be left somehow simultaneously saddened and enraged. Such sorrowful fury is meant to be a powerful motivator: use it.
It’s hard for me to fault Live A Live too harshly for its ending, though. I’d have been perfectly satisfied if it had simply been seven separate stories, and each of these is well worth playing through even after all these years. There’s so much creativity and joy present that anyone interested in class RPGs owes it to themselves to give it a try.
Mothmen 1966 is one of those games where it’s really hard to find anything concretely wrong with it. Really my only complaints are that the game feels perhaps too short (which is a selfish complaint, let’s be honest), and that maybe the narrative could have branched a bit more with the choices you made. Still, overall, these are pretty minor complaints. Mothmen 1966 is a game that truly lives up to its own advertising and hype, providing a unique pixelated pulp-fiction approach to the visual novel formula, while focusing on a delightfully creepy, bizarre bit of American folklore. If this is the first in the series, I can’t wait for more.
It’s clear that Coromon was worth the wait, even if it didn’t quite live up to my hype as the game that dethroned Pokémon. That said, this is a beautiful and creative adventure full of heart, with hours of gameplay to keep you going and plenty of reasons for hardcore players to pay attention. Sure, I might have wanted more optional content, but what’s here is hard to dismiss. If you’re a fan of monster-hunting games and want a new portable adventure on Switch, look no further.
Best Month Ever! is truly unique in its premise and setting. Stepping into the shoes of a terminally ill single mother was gut-wrenching, and navigating 1969 through the eyes of her biracial son gave me anxiety. Although I do wish my choices had a bigger impact and that more focus was given to preparing Mitch for the future instead of hanging on by my fingernails to what felt like Louise’s wild last ride, Best Month Ever! was different enough to keep me going. If you love narrative-driven games and have plenty of patience, Best Month Ever! is worth the road trip.
Anyone who has played a Story of Seasons or Harvest Moon game will feel right at home with Pioneers of Olive Town. It doesn’t break any new ground for the series, and is perhaps a bit too slow paced for its own good, but it proves that the series’ core loop is still engaging and addicting even after so many years. If you have an itch for a charming game that will take you back to a simpler time, it’s definitely worth your time.
I really enjoyed Azure Striker Gunvolt 3. While it doesn’t quite manage to give fans a perfect experience, it’s definitely one of the best in recent history. It’s a game with an ambitious story, gorgeous art and sound design, and frenetic and exciting combat. If you’re a fan of the series, you’ll find some especially exciting elements to enjoy. But even if you aren’t, this is a game any fan of the platformer genre needs to own. It’s well worth the price of admission.
Hell Pages is hardly a groundbreaking game, but it’s also not all bad. Though decidedly old school and occasionally primitive, it still has a solid core loop, outstanding tunes and hideous demonic boss battles. If you can get past the lack of weapon variety and the ho hum upgrades, you might find something to enjoy in this festival of monsters. For everybody else, get your Evil Dead fix from the source material.
Trolley Problem, Inc. is a cleverly crafted thought experiment that takes familiar moral quandaries and weaves them together into one increasingly over the top storyline. Clocking in at around 2 hours, Trolley Problem, Inc. may be on the shorter side, but the material presented makes for an intellectual deep dive that will amuse, then exhaust players agonizing over each impossible situation. Although the overarching message may get a bit lost in the weeds, Trolley Problem, Inc. is a brilliant title eloquently executed, a must-play for content creators, novelty-seekers, and those wanting more food for thought alike.
I think there’s a solid game here under all the technical issues, but it’s hard to say. XEL’s combat and time-based puzzles are satisfying, the setting and narrative are engaging, and its aesthetically charming. But until those issues are addressed, XEL is largely unplayable. I’ve spent way more time dealing with those issues than I have playing the game. I’d like to revisit it in the future, assuming it gets fixed.