Alas, if you're coming to Age of Wonders: Planetfall for a brand new angle on games you've played before, then you've come to the wrong place. It's novel to see several different recognizable mechanics blended into one genre soup. The final product isn't better than the sum of its parts, though. It makes the 4X a faster game to play, but not a better one, ultimately.
Metal Wolf Chaos XD does show its age on PS4, but with an overblown and strangely topical narrative, absurdist humor, unaltered so-bad-it-is-good dialogue, and enough destruction to initiate impeachment proceedings, it is no wonder that this third-person relic has earned enough attention over the past decade (and a half) to get this remaster made; further solidifying Metal Wolf Chaos' cult status.
Solo: Islands of the Heart is perhaps the most introspective game to release this year. The gameplay may not have much to do with the story, but the puzzles are decent roadblocks on the journey. The whole adventure will only take most gamers 4-6 hours to complete, and while that may feel like enough for the price ($19.99) for some, just as the puzzles start to get more challenging, the game is over. Fans of puzzle games may want to check out Solo: Islands of the Heart, but those who are expecting a major challenge will probably want to look elsewhere.
It's a shame that Labyrinth Life didn't choose to go the route of Criminal Girls 2, where it released with mini-games in tact but had artwork that was redrawn by the original Japanese team to be a bit less smutty. Releasing the game without many of the naughty mini-games means that you see it for what it truly is; an uninspiring dungeon crawler that, apart from the challenge dungeons, is a bit of a dull slog to play through.
That said, The Church in the Darkness is a smart stealth game that impressively warps to reflect your actions. It lets you get in and break out as you see fit. While failure still feels like failure, success is sweet and varied. Once it gets a hold of you, you may not want to break out, at all.
There's a lot going on in The Blackout Club, and while I haven't seen what the endgame is yet, I am looking forward to playing more of this with my friends. I'm not sold on sacrificing my character to a Voice and starting over just to see my name on the Leaderboards, though. I think I'll stick to offering small tributes when I find myself in possession of them. If you're an avid of Dead by Daylight or Friday the 13th player looking for a new challenge, you might want to spend the $30 and take this game for a spin yourself.
Now let's get down to the nitty gritty. Is Songbird Symphony worth adding to your collection? If you're a fan of these genres and enjoy niche little games, my answer is yes. The story is cute yet predictable, the puzzle solving fun, and the rhythm challenging. You can finish the game, discover all of the secrets, and claim that platinum trophy in under six hours if you're purely looking to add to your trophy count. Either way, for a game under $20, that's really not a bad deal.
In many respects, this entry feels more akin to an Arkane game and not enough like the Wolfenstein experiences we've come to know and love. At the very least, the future is bright, especially if Soph and Jess come along for the ride. Their brilliantly written and performed sisterly banter somewhat makes up for this largely disjointed and underwhelming venture into the franchise's broader horizons.
Much like the anime that came before it, Kill la Kill: the Game is weird, wild, and loud, but also a bit shallow. But unlike the anime, the Game doesn’t have the same feeling of scale to it, the same feeling of unrestrained creators working with a healthy budget and top-tier industry names.
I really love Penn & Teller VR for what it was willing to do differently with a VR headset, something that no ordinary video game can replicate. The headset becomes a magician’s prop, and you the performer. But its welcome wears thin too quickly, its traps, tricks, and inner workings too easily revealed, and gimmicks too often expected. It’s just not the magic of video games that I was hoping for from two of magic’s greatest.
That said, there's really something here to enjoy in They Are Billions. Taken as a whole, it is an entirely new and interesting take on genres that are as old as gaming. Billions has such great moments at times that it's rather surprising that these genres hadn't been smashed together already. Billions leaves plenty to be desired everywhere else though—in visual fidelity, art direction, sound design, and even game balance. Clearly, this is a first step on a new and mysterious frontier. Hopefully, not the last.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is a pretty cool game. Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers is an awesome extension of it, adding features that further distills the game's core appeal and adds an entire new game of shockingly excellent storytelling in terms of scale and quality. I don't really know what happens between those two points yet, and I have a long road of Final Fantasy XIV ahead of me yet. But after my experiences so far in learning the game, experiencing its latest expansion, and seeing just how much I have left to see and do, well, I'm in it for the long haul.
Sea of Solitude is an interactive story that has bits of a game peppered into it. Like gamey meat, it's not for everyone. Some players may want more to do than run around looking for seagulls and messages in bottles in between story moments and the occasional "fight" sequence. The story (which we have not spoiled here) is likely to resonate with many people, but for some it won't be enough to overcome a lack of fun gameplay to take players in between exposition. It is a worthy attempt, but just falls a bit short.
BonusXP has taken the hit Netflix series and crafted a fun, yet at times frustrating, pixelated adventure game. Some of the boss battles can really try your patience, and limits on recovery items (medkits and Coke) certainly don’t help matters as you push toward the final episode. On the flip side, there are all kinds of hidden areas to return to and explore further; even if I haven’t seen a percentage log, there’s just something about knowing you’ve 100% cleared a game.