Star Ocean First Departure R is an absolutely fantastic JRPG and should be included in any fans collection. For the price tag, it’s tough to argue with buying it. Even though I received a code by Square Enix to review this game, I plan to get it on the Nintendo Switch. This is only because I prefer to have my JRPGs mobile these days. I’m giving Star Ocean First Departure R the Thumb Culture Gold Award! It’s a very excellent game, but if you’re not into JRPGs it’s probably not going to be a good game for you.
Arise: A Simple Story is a special game and it deserves your attention. The narrative, although like the title suggests is ‘simple’, how it’s told is not, and the game deserves to be lauded for this. The puzzles are fun with suitable challenge allowing you to progress through the game and experience the unique chapters with a smile on your face. If you’re a fan of artistic indie titles such as Brothers: A Tale of two Sons, Rime and Limbo then do yourself a favour, and check out this game. Not only does this game get the rare Thumb Culture Platinum Award, it’s also a game of the year contender!
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a great game to grace the Star Wars Universe and to be honest all through the gameplay I just had a smile right across my face. Its pure Star Wars fun and you won’t be disappointed. It’s actually great to have some good news coming to games based on Star Wars. With great characters, especially BD-1, you feel like you are playing through an epic story, and you are constantly reminded that this is Star Wars Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order receives the Thumb Culture Platinum Award
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes is without a shadow of a doubt a good game. But, it doesn’t try and push the boundaries of game making though. Without the Travis factor, this game would be fairly average. So the non Travis fans will not have as much of a good time as the fanatics. As much as it pains me to say this, I am having to judge this based on how good it is, rather than how much I liked it. Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes has been awarded a Thumb Culture Silver Award.
So, here we answer my questions from the start of this review… Shenmue 3 couldn’t possibly have lived up to the hype and expectation surrounding it. This doesn’t mean the game is bad, it’s just people wanting perfection. It’s very much a game as I thought it would be, something given to the fans by a developer who clearly wants this story told as much as the fans want to be a part of it. This was clearly based on the speed at which the Kickstarter fund reached $1 million. Anyone thinking of starting out with Shenmue 3 because perhaps they aren’t old enough to have played the originals, go back and get the HD remaster, DO NOT start the story here. I promise you will not enjoy the game if you do. Shenmue 3 is a game out of times, it feels like a game created 15 years ago and locked up inside a time capsule until today. But as someone who has spent the best part of 30 years enjoying games, I say welcome back old friend! I give Shenmue 3 a Thumb Culture Silver Award as there is no doubt this game is going to be loved by the fans, but is most definitely not a game for everyone.
Bee Simulator is a massive disappointment. I was charmed and intrigued by the trailer but the gameplay is extremely repetitive. As nice as the world is the developers haven’t managed to make traversing it feel fun. A child might find some wonder and limited educational value but otherwise I would strongly recommend you steer clear. I give Bee Simulator the Thumb Culture Bronze award.
Bubble Bobble 4 Friends is a great game to sit on the couch and play with some friends while having some drinks. Unfortunately due to its limited replay value for those who don’t care about high scores, I’m going to have to score this a Silver award. If trying to beat your own high scores is your thing, then you’ll definitely want to pick this up. Bubble Bobble is one of those classic franchises that’s difficult to build on without losing what the game was meant to be. Bubble Bobble 4 Friends does a good job of what it’s supposed to do, without adding too much to take away from the core gameplay.
Even with all of its faults, it really is hard not to love this game, Every time the UI bugs me, or a keeper gets stuck, I just head to a habitat, sit and watch the baby Panda’s walking around with their parents, or head to the chimpanzees to watch them play and socialize and all of sudden I’m reminded of why this game is so great. Planet Zoo is so close to getting a platinum thumb, If only the UI was a little easier on the eye and the path-building wasn’t so frustrating. Planet Zoo more than deserves the Gold Thumb!
Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is a very playable game, there is a desire to get to the next level with as minimal casualties as possible and it does turn what should be a deadly shoot out into a bit of a sneak around to avoid dying. The unrealistic nature of the gameplay was a real downer for me, Narcos: Rise of the Cartels should have been right up my street, but it falls short of my expectations on so many levels it was disappointing. Without the Narcos endorsement, Narcos: Rise of the Cartels should probably retail for less than the £29.99 that is being asked. I have awarded Narcos: Rise of the Cartels a Thumb culture Silver Award.