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Blasphemous is brilliant. Between its slick combat mechanics, its finely crafted world, and the showdowns with its ferocious monstrosities of bosses, there really is a lot to love here. There’s a level of finesse to just about everything you do in the game, and it’s that need for precision and strategy that helps Blasphemous stand above similar titles in the genre. It does have its imperfections and I have no doubts that it won’t be for everyone, but those who enjoy themselves a challenging metroidvania-style 2D adventure that wears its inspirations like a badge of honour will NOT want to miss out on Blasphemous.
All in all, what Vambrace: Cold Soul tries to do, it does well. It’s a beautifully crafted game, both visually and through its lore-rich story. What it lacks is the challenge and depth that is so clearly prevalent in the other dungeon-crawling rogue-likes that it has heavily drawn its influences from. It’s a good game, but the fact that it is so heavily inspired by Darkest Dungeon but doesn’t fully embraces the mechanics or quality that made that game so great, is what stops Vambrace: Cold Soul from being a real heavy hitter of the rogue-like genre.
Headliner: NoviNews’ take on news outlets and the influence they have on the world is both intriguing and frightening, with the many outcomes of the actions you take in the game proving that the world is ultimately shaped by the things that people see in the news. It makes for a unique and enjoyable gameplay experience too, though it is one that’s hampered by a lack of depth over repeated playthroughs. There’s no denying that I enjoyed my time with the game though and seeing the many different outcomes of the actions I made was pretty eye-opening. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself tiring of the repeated gameplay formula by the time you get to your third or fourth playthrough.
There’s a reason that Final Fantasy VIII was remastered, and that’s because it was a masterpiece in its own time that many people loved. You can add me to that list of people too, as I firmly believe that this is one of Square Enix’s finer outings in a long history of RPG excellence. With its updated and beautifully rendered new character models and environments, its enhanced FMVs, and added game features, you can be sure that whether this a return to a classic or a new beginning in the world of Final Fantasy VIII, it’ll be a defining experience that will stick with you for years to come.
Creature in the Well is an undeniably slick and unique experience that blends together action with pinball-like puzzling in a very satisfying way. Whilst the concept is simple, there’s a fair amount of skill and strategy required to progress – it’ll definitely take a bit of time to master its mechanics, but who cares when the action itself is so much fun? The only real downside is that the game can feel repetitive at times, with some of the rooms you encounter utilising the same ideas over and over again. It’s not too much of a bad thing since the core mechanics of the game work so well, but I couldn’t help but to feel a little bored during the more repetitive moments. Still, there’s a heck of a lot more good than bad in Creature in the Well and it certainly stands tall as one of the more unique titles I’ve played so far in 2019. It might not be perfect, but it’s SUPER COOL and will offer plenty of satisfying action to anyone who decides to play it.
Remedy are undoubtedly masters of their craft, and Control is another fantastic title to add to their repertoire of fine releases that focus on bold action and deep dives into the unknown. It kept me captivated from start to end with its mysterious yet rich narrative, its solid combat mechanics that blend together satisfying gunplay with fun telekinetic abilities, and its peculiar allure and sense that just about ANYTHING could be around the corner of The Oldest House’s mysterious hallways. Control’s weird yet wonderful approach may not be for everyone and some of the performance issues could be disappointing. Overall though, they are minor hitches in what is otherwise an amazing experience; Control is simply a must-own title for action fans or those who appreciate games that aren’t afraid to be a little different.
There’s no doubting that Catherine: Full Body is wacky and bizarre, but those qualities are embraced in a mighty enjoyable way. It is as stylish as it is thought-provoking with an extra layer of childlike hilarity that ensures you’re kept entertained, whether that’s when divulging in the game’s narrative or during Vincent’s nightmarish climbs. Is it mainstream? No. Will everyone enjoy it if they give it a chance? Yes. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but Catherine: Full Body explores the more mature aspects of human intimacy and the many, many pitfalls that come with love and growing up in ways that not many other games manage. Add to that a solid story, enjoyable block-based puzzling, and some fresh additions built entirely for the new release, and you’ll quickly find that Atlus are onto another winner here.
With its blend of satisfyingly designed enigmas and its slick Bond-like presentation, Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise will tick plenty of boxes for puzzle-solving sleuths. It does have a few flaws thanks to its emphasis on repeatedly traveling across the environment, whilst the controls can be a little sketchy when playing outside of the Switch’s handheld mode too. However, neither of these issues prevent Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise from being a tantalising little puzzler that will totally grip players in during its five-hour runtime.
Heave Ho is an utter delight to play, with its co-operative and outright zany take on being a trapeze artist making (kind of?) for a uniquely fun escapade. It’s a bit tough to recommend as a single player experience as it loses a lot of its charm when playing solo, so it’s definitely a case of ‘the more, the merrier’. If you can get some friends to join you though, you’re in for heck of a good time (and maybe the occasional argument if one of you gets slippery fingers…)
Whipseey and the Lost Atlas is a decent platformer that has some genuinely fun moments, but the lack of variety in its gameplay mechanics and a quick runtime see it fall short when compared to similar titles in the genre. It’s not that anything it does is ever bad per se, but rather that it doesn’t do enough to really capture the imagination. With its low price-point it might be worth checking out if you’re a platforming fan, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting more from this pink hero’s little adventure.