In some ways, Arise: A Simple Story is perfectly named because it forgoes traditional dialogue or text-based narration for visual storytelling. However, through the inventive environmental game design that pushes the narrative forward to its well-realized and emotional conclusion, there is a complexity to Arise that left me misty-eyed by its affecting story of love and loss.
What I expected from GRIS was a solid, beautiful, platformer that could occupy a few hours of my time. What I got from GRIS was quite close to that, but somehow more beautiful than I could have ever considered or expected. If you want to see just how artistic games can get, or if you're like me and just need a few hours occupied by beauty and platforming, then it's hard to go wrong with GRIS.
Ultimately, Blair Witch is an intriguing story plagued by unsatisfactory gameplay, with a few neat ideas sprinkled throughout. Your canine companion presents some interesting mechanics, along with altering time through the camcorders, but in the end, even these features aren't enough to save Blair Witch from being a chore to play. There's still some to appreciate like the characters and story, which make Blair Witch almost enjoyable.
Heroland is an excellent “podcast game.” You can take your time with the actual important parts, paying attention to new boss battles and enjoying the story, then zone out with a show or something while you grind older levels to get your party up to speed.
Lost Ember clocks in at about six hours per play, depending on your particular style. That's a pretty decent amount of time for you to experience the story and get to know all the types of wildlife available. Add on a couple more runs to find all of the hidden items and I'd say it is well worth the $29.99 US price tag. If you're a fan of games like Journey and What Remains of Edith Finch, make sure to check out Lost Ember ASAP.
Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts is a sniper's playground. But like any playground, there are some unexpected rough edges that can make playtime a bit less fun. Uninspiring AI combined with numerous technical issues makes for an occasionally frustrating experience. Though the change of scenery and weaponry will be appreciated by some, the ho-hum technical performance and glitchy objective tracking will turn some all the way off. What CI Games has produced isn't bad, but it's also not quite the Sniper Elite 4 contender the genre needs to keep things interesting.
While there were many compelling reasons to take a chance on Golem, there were far too many technical issues marring the overall experience. When consumed in bits-and-pieces, the component parts could all stand on their own with little problem. It's only when these individual parts coalesced that the seams begin to show a bit more prominently. Fortunately for everyone involved, it seems like the team over at Highwire Games are dedicated to fixing these foundational blunders. However, until these overhauls have been completed, I'd recommend taking a cue from Twine and sitting this one out.
But sentimental value only goes so far. Shenmue III should have been the final game in this trilogy, all loose ends tied up and (re)vengeance served. Instead, Suzuki-sama hopes to continue Ryo's story and with little improvement made over the past two decades and I fear that a fourth game will stick to this same stagnant formula. Disappointed as I am with this news, my real hope is that he can pull off a fourth and final game sooner than later. Because as much as I love this series, I'd be lying if I didn't admit to feeling let down with this revival and worry about ever seeing the end of this tale.
All in all, Sparklite is a pretty fun game. It's vibrant and cute and as a fan of pixel art, I admit that I may be a little biased. However, thanks to its rogue-lite elements, you can play in short spurts or sit down for a few hours at a time which is a real plus in my books.