This is most egregious and content light trophy bait clicker to hit the PS4 to date. Stroke The Dog is an abomination, preying upon trophy hunters and dog lovers with the cheapest of cheap asset flips. This is little more than a single stock image of a dog, some royalty-free music and, inexplicably, a cat sound effect. Easily the worst ‘game’ I’ve played in my lifetime, and I hesitate to call it a ‘game’ at all.
While the opening 30 minutes might convince you otherwise, The Fridge is Red is an uninspired walking simulator with little actual game to engage with. A cool retro art style and sense of atmosphere dissipate out of this open fridge into the ether of a bland, empty and lukewarm room. This fridge is sadly more grey than red.
A fantasy adventure with tough-but-fair combat, a well crafted story and a punchy pixel art aesthetic, No Place For Bravery is the next ‘must play’ game in the 2D/dungeon-crawler renaissance. While it’s still not perfect, the game is much more stable now that it has received a patch and despite a few spotty frame rates, this is an easy title to recommend.
With better game design choices and no hard crashes – Moonscars would be a great addition to the 2D Soulstroidvania genre. It’s hard to enjoy the bleak aesthetics and the rich lore of the world when the game doesn’t let you finish it however. The combat is fresh yet familiar but every mechanic outside of that isn’t really needed. But this may be one to perserve with, if you need that Souls itch scratched.
Hokko Life fits the bill for a simple, yet charming experience. For seasoned players, be mindful there is a slow burn to start and may be more suited to those who are newer to the genre. Whilst some mechanics are not intuitive for console play, Hokko Life on console still captures the creativity and calmness of the farming sim genre.
Alfred Hitchcock Veritgo takes some steps to tell a mature story that has an incredible mystery behind it. Certain parts are difficult to play through due to the subject matter, but if you’re after a narrative adventure that shares thematic depth of cinema, then you’re in for a treat. The gameplay doesn’t compliment the story telling too often and a few performance issues hold it back. However, if you can look past those flaws there’s a unique story to unravel.
Family Man is a gritty story-driven RPG with a bleak but compelling undertone. The mechanics can feel repetitive but considering the endless peril you find yourself in, there’s comfort in the familiar the further you get. Keep the plates spinning, keep everyone happy and you may just get out of this alive. Maybe.
Unlike the French Revolution, you’re most probably going to fail at subduing this rebellious town a number of times. Deep and challenging gameplay systems are unfortunately undermined by an authoritarian difficulty curve, lack of variety in presentation and a bland story. For would-be dictators however, there’s a city worth pulling up kicking and screaming from the dirt.
Crea-ture Studios have achieved a great feat by making the most authentic skateboarding game to date, seconded only by going out and practicing kickflips yourself. The physics-based controls are incredibly intuitive and satisfying to learn. There’s a steep learning curve that may put players off but if you stick with it, there’s no other game that does skateboarding as well as this. It’s not without its minor flaws, but look past them and you’ll find a game with endless replayability.
A glorious pulp style mixed with engaging stealth gameplay makes Serial Cleaners a compelling 90s narcotic to sink your time into. The trip may be a little bumpy on account of the bugs and inconsistent AI, but you’ll be left feeling fulfilled and ultimately satisfied, which is more than Scarface or Vincent from Pulp Fiction can attest.
As a straight story of Stranger Things meets Sylvanians, Beacon Pines is written beautifully, drawn evocatively, and compelling to play. But as a deconstruction of narrative that lets you rebuild your own story from the pieces, it’s stellar, captivating stuff. An unfettered joy from start to finish.
Soulstice is a melting pot of things Devil May Cry does well and adds interesting demanding combat with two characters and situational countering. However, its predictable somber story and uninteresting world work hard to drain the fun out of things and its camera wants to be more enemy than friend.
Akane’s break-neck pace and cyberpunk setting is not one to overlook. The lack of variety isn’t a huge issue when everything it presents is impeccable and you get as much as you put in with the game. The arcade elements make for an addictive game play loop that’ll keep you repeatedly fighting through the night.
You likely won’t want to replay it to see the multiple endings, but for a single play through, Whateverland is a charming, charismatic if rough around the edges point and click adventure. It stumbles a number of times before the credits roll but with multiple solutions to puzzles and quirky characters to get to know, this game is a perfectly fine way to spend a few evenings.
An absolute blast of a rhythm-based shooter, Metal: Hellsinger is a love letter to all those that throw their horns to the sky. Packed with challenge, chugging tunes and a cavalcade of the genre’s finest vocalists, there’s a lot to enjoy. Riff and tear.
A card-based choose your own adventure game that emulates your favourite board games, Foretales has a novel gameplay idea that sadly gets a little too repetitive to hold your attention for the multiple playthroughs its story options offer. It’ll make for a warm and comforting couple of sessions play and there’s a lot of scope for an expanded sequel, but what’s here may leave you wanting even after just one playthrough.
Expedition Zero hooks you in with its first hour of tense atmosphere and excellent world design, only to fling you away with horrendous combat, counter-intuitive survival & exploration mechanics, and a barebones story. This expedition simply isn’t worth embarking on, but maybe one day there’ll be an adventure worth going on.
This is an easy recommendation to anyone who loves a unique and interesting story and yearns for a casual platforming experience. An adventure to be discovered by many. Little Orpheus has creativity, beautiful visuals and smart witty characterisation. With a run time of three hours split into nine small episodes, it certainly will not disrespect your time.