Thumb Culture's Reviews
Slay the Princess reminds us that within every fairy tale lies complexity and depths to be explored. Defying expectations and offering players a truly memorable gaming experience. It’s a testament to the power of visual novels as a medium for storytelling, and Black Tabby Games has proved their mastery in captivating players with their enchanting tale. Slay the Princess is undoubtedly a must-play for fans of the genre and those seeking an immersive journey through a beautifully crafted thought-provoking world, offering a captivating narrative journey that demands introspection and emotional investment.
In an increasingly cluttered world of chess-inspired gaming, Chessarama by Minimol Games is a standout release. An XP system that might be a bit clunkily implemented doesn’t detract from what the game does well – A fun and thoughtful presentation combined with engaging and novel concepts to hook players, even those who (like me) aren’t normally fans of Chess.
While I absolutely enjoy Cities: Skylines and have seen the features that really make Cities: Skylines II a more enhanced version in terms of game mechanics, it is severely let down in my opinion with its graphics. I found myself getting frustrated that I could not have a smooth experience if I had the graphics even on medium. Against the previous game, graphically Cities: Skylines wins. I started to question why this second iteration was needed. Could they have not just upgraded the game mechanics in the first one and carried on building on what they had? I guess maybe it was not possible and perhaps the changes were too much for any existing cities to handle. It’s a shame as my experience has not been a massively positive one and despite having some better features and ways of doing things, it feels like a backward step in user experience at the moment. Let’s hope for some serious optimization to happen! For now, I would hold off from buying and maybe play it through the Xbox game pass library if you want to have a dabble.
Spirittea has been an absolutely delightful experience. Though it may take inspiration from Stardew Valley, it has a very different feel to it. It is a well-paced game with an enjoyable gameplay loop. The art and music are wonderful additions to the game that help to immerse you in the game. For these reasons, I’m awarding Spirittea Thumb Culture’s Gold Award. This is a very cozy game, and if that is a genre that you’re interested in, definitely give this game a shot. If you enjoyed this review, why not check out this article about Moonstone Island, another cozy game.
Gangs of Sherwood is okay, but it lacks any real reason to play after the story. You can play the entire game without buying new moves or changing your abilities. I didn’t need to play another character after for different dialogue since the game has them all speak anyway during cutscenes. The bosses are boring and lack any real challenge, and it was odd for them to give an extra mode dedicated to a single small boss. Right now, Gangs of Sherwood struggles to justify the £34.99 price point with how short and lack of content the game has. The game runs okay but struggles to handle a few enemies fighting all at once, and the final fight really shows this.
SteamWorld Build is an excellent addition to the franchise. The management isn’t too hard for you to learn and doesn’t go out of its way to become challenging. This is thanks to SteamWorld Build not punishing the player with endless tabs, unlike other management sims. The cast of characters’ voices and designs are delightful and well-made for the game. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. The story isn’t complex, which makes a nice change as I find too many games are trying to make their story too philosophical or so complicated that I end up looking at a wiki to grasp some understanding. The mining aspect of SteamWorld Build is where I spent most of my time, as it felt more engaging than the city-building. Building up small teams to drill and explore the depth below was great, and it reminded me of the Dungeon franchise.
The management side of the game can seem complex at first. Though it warns you that you can’t return to the area beforehand, I wish you could backtrack to previous stations to get anything you missed. The only bug I suffered was when I was proceeding to the next area of the story, and the game informed me I’d left two men behind and abandoned side quests. I reloaded the game several times and checked that I had no active side quests. The men were also happy and not actively working. It was frustrating as they were two of my best men. The voice acting and visuals in the game were phenomenal and did a fantastic job of drawing you into the story. Overall, the game is great, and I would recommend it to any RTS fan.
Roots of Pacha is a cozy farming simulator that you can sit back and lose hours in with. It’s impossible to not compare it to games like Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon but it stands on its own two feet with an interesting story, unique minigames, and quality-of-life updates. While it can be a bit clunky in certain aspects, the vibes are unmatched and leave me reaching for my Switch throughout the day to check on my animals, decorate my home, and talk to my favourite NPCs – looking at you, Garrek. If you’re a fan of cozy farming simulators then Roots of Pacha is definitely one that needs adding to your library.
The real question is; is MW3 worth the price? I would say no. Although multiplayer is insanely fun, there seems to be more in store with the addition of the new maps. The campaign and zombie mode let down the game as a whole. The campaign in Call of Duty has always been one of my favourite story-driven games, especially with the heights of MW2 and MW3. But yet, this campaign has left me wanting more. Especially in the longevity of the mode itself. And while I commend Call of Duty for trying something different in regard to zombies. It unfortunately does not hit the mark. And it is with this in mind, I am awarding Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 the bronze award.
With an emphasis on replayability featuring many different endings Three Minutes to Eight is no casual game. A serious amount of time is needed to just get one ending completed. This may deter many gamers who may want a quick and simple puzzle game. Having said that, the game does boast beautiful graphics, animations, FX, and voice acting and is worth a shot for that alone. This alone wasn’t enough to keep my interest as the feeling of too much repetition set in and soon it became a chore. I enjoyed the time I spent with it however and that first ending was worthwhile. Give it a go if you like games such as Twelve Minutes, The Stanley Parable, and such.
If you like a game that is full of a little of everything, then My Time at Sandrock could well be for you. Pathea has done an amazing job of combining elements into a fun overall package. There truly isn’t anything to not like about moving to Sandrock. I have never felt such a sense of satisfaction after playing a game before and will continue playing long into the future. There are a few things that could be added, but everything My Time at Sandrock does it does well. I am truly looking forward to expanding my workshop and having ranks and ranks of machines all humming away to make everyone’s lives a little better.
The Invincible is an excellent sci-fi adventure game telling a fresh and intriguing story while still faithful to the novel. A slow burn and ambiguous narrative makes exploring the on-rails environment a delight. Speaking of, the environment and setting look fantastic and are complimented by the great score and the sound effects & voice acting. The multiple trophies and achievements are a good excuse to revisit the game not you will need an excuse.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time with RoboCop: Rogue City. Sure, it doesn’t really innovate on the genre and the gunplay feels, I dunno a little dated. But it’s also exactly what I want to see more of. Games like Cyberpunk have that anti-corporate one-man army vibe that is present here, but it just doesn’t have the same feel. RoboCop: Rogue City is the best the 80’s had to offer in a modern-day packaging. Fantastical over-the-top violence and overtly cheesy one-liners, with polish. Brilliant.
Cuisineer is an amazing game that you can really sink your teeth into and feel satisfied when playing, no matter how you play. This game was in the oven cooking for who knows how long and it came out spectacular. I didn’t allow any cat to try to take my tongue from letting people know to pick this up. This game gave me similar vibes to Moonlighter and Battle Chef Brigade and I love every minute of it. I’ve run out of cat puns, but I know this game has all nine lives left.
Overall, Hello Kitty and Friends: Happiness Parade is a delightful rhythm game that offers seasoned players a new challenge, but it can also cater to those who may need that extra help. The game would do well to include more branches of difficulty to suit more players and give them a more enjoyable, customized experience. The music and visuals are fun, especially the photo shoot mode, and really With the ESRB rating being Everyone, gamers across all ages will enjoy Hello Kitty and Friends: Happiness Parade but it will mostly appeal to younger audiences or people who cherish the Sanrio world. Happiness Parade is not an essential buy but it’s a fun game to pick up that’s reasonably priced, without any micro-transactions, fun characters and challenging premise. Prepare to have Jawberry’s “So Nice to Meet Ya” stuck in your head, it’s a great bop.
Whilst I’ve listed a few nit-picks during this review, I thoroughly enjoyed playing Laika. Within the first few hours, I was already telling fans of the genre that they had to check this out, and that’s still the case now. I feel like the lack of a general buzz around this game is only down to the fact that it has launched during such a busy period of big-budget titles.
I was surprised when I played Midnight Heist, as I thought it was just another game taking a whack at the ghost-hunting style like so many others. The puzzles on the computers offer enough to be an obstacle but not too hard as to be a challenge. The lack of maps is disheartening since the two maps are more different entrances to the same building. I blame myself for playing Midnight Heist solo rather than with friends because it makes heists even more challenging. The game could offer better ways of surviving the ghost. For example, hiding in closets or behind desks to break the line of sight. The player could run away until it gives up the chase or some safe zone.
If you’re looking for a short, relaxing exploration game to wind down from a difficult day or week, or a palette cleanser between more intense games, I can wholeheartedly recommend Jusant. If you’re generally a fan of Don’t Nod’s work, you also can’t go wrong picking this up. It’s a short and sweet experience that can be taken at whatever pace you’d like. I do wish there was a bit more of it as I was sad for it to come to an end, but I will be going back in soon to finish up the collectibles anyway.
Silent Hope has become a game that I would highly recommend to people wanting to experience Hack and Slash. The simplicity of the skill tree makes it friendly for beginners. Even veteran players of the genre can just enjoy the game and not stress over the perfect build for the heroes. Getting to relax while exploring the abyss felt great and allowed me to focus on the plot. The need to discover all the secrets the abyss has is the big motivator in my case when playing this game.