The Magic Circle is a largely successful commentary on big-budget game development and the factors that conspire against making a good game: unattainable perfection, unrealistic fan expectations, business realities to name a few. Though it is not a perfect game by any means, arguable the take-home message of The Magic Circle is that it never could be. The mid-game spilt of free-form creativity versus a more linear guided narrative perhaps means that it'll be disappointing to players looking for either one, but The Magic Circle balances the two nicely, reflecting the game's message of how difficult it can be to build a balanced game.
Overall, Adventure Lamp is an excellent puzzle platformer. It is a charming experience, and its short length does not detract from the fact that the game is well-crafted. Each level feels unique, and there is a good variety in the 150 or so in the game. Though I would have liked to see some more challenging levels, and there are occasional technical hiccups, it is easy to recommend Adventure Lamp as the core ideas are strong and well implemented.
The Park is an interesting experience, and one I feel glad to have had. Somewhere within it, there is an extremely good horror experience, and with some narrative changes it could be a truly excellent game. However, The Park fails to reach these expectations, which is a shame given how good some aspects of it are.
Overall, Ninja Pizza Girl is a mechanically solid platformer that tackles difficult themes reasonably well. I want to applaud the developers for addressing these issues, but must also point out that gameplay occasionally suffers as a result. I am still happy to recommend the game, though the problems mentioned above mean it is a far from flawless experience.
Fragments of Him is a rare example of a game that is made worse by being interactive, and features a narrative likely better told as a short film. A strong core concept is stretched too thin; clunky mechanics and terrible pacing make the game's two-hour length feel far too long, and ultimately removes any emotional impact the game may otherwise have. It's a shame, as the game is tackling difficult concepts - the death and mourning of a loved one - that are not frequently addressed in video games.
Overall, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is an easy game to recommend, and is a well-crafted experience. Despite some minor flaws and repetition of content, the game as a whole is an excellent package, both for new players and fans of the original PS2 release.
Zero Time Dilemma is a hugely flawed game that, despite moments of brilliance (such as the coin toss at the start of the game), fails to come together. A game that can hold my attention for twelve hours in a single day should review well, but sadly too many of those hours were spent silently cursing at the ludicrous nature of the story, and basically begging for it to all pay off and it never did. At least Virtue's Last Reward, which I previously criticised for leaving so much up in the air, was asking interesting questions. Zero Time Dilemma failed to do even that.
The technical shortcomings do not overshadow the fact that the game is gorgeous, a fact that should be obvious even in screenshots. Though the landing is somewhat fumbled, the story wraps up in a meaningful way and achieves its intended effect. Coupled with excellent characterisation, it is a beautiful and painful look at how people try to hide from their problems, and the way people isolate themselves to hide their guilt and personal failings. Despite its issues, it is certainly an excellent game.
Cibele is a flawed game with a well-told story and certainly worth a playthrough. It didn't have any lasting impact on me, as the basis premise is well-worn territory, but that doesn't detract from the fact that this is both well-written and performed. I don't hesitate to recommend the game on a narrative level, but have some issues regarding the gameplay and presentation. Tightening up the controls, or tweaking how the game is presented, wouldn't have gone amiss.