The hugely anticipated Hogwarts Legacy does not disappoint. An early GOTY contender offers interesting storytelling parallels with the Harry Potter franchise, beautiful and glorious fan favourite locations, and an array of exciting combat and collectibles for hours of entertainment.
The core structure feels a tad dated while the reimagined game play elements don’t quite go far enough to match modern day standards. Below the eccentricities of Colossal Cave is an adventure packed with character and charm that’s still worth taking however. Even for newcomers.
SEASON: A letter to the future is a soothing and immersive world of exploration and atmosphere. It’s an easy recommendation for indie lovers with an appetite for adventure and discovery. The game revels in beautiful fidelity and a wonderful art style, containing a journey of memory, storytelling and community.
Forspoken is a fun action RPG when it gets out of its own way. Its linear narrative and heavy-handed first few hours sap the player’s goodwill, before letting you free and realising its true potential. Strong combat and traversal mechanics really shine, and by the end, even the story manages to rise, like Frey herself, to the challenge.
A solid sequel to compliment a wonderful franchise, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake offers a much more coherent adventure platformer than its predecessor. With each world feeling like it’s own TV episode, and a fun story throughout, there is a lot of fun to be had within this entry.
It manages to strike a unique tone by blending Arthurian legends with the mystery of the Jack The Ripper murders, but Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey struggles to stand out due to a lack of thought provoking puzzles, painfully slow movement speed and a lack of polish.
Wildboy Studios’ Norse-inspired rhythm combat RPG is captivating thanks to a bright art style juxtoposed against a dark, deep and loss-filled narrative. While fun, the combat, puzzling and exploration don’t quite reach the same levels, but have more than enough to be worthy of your time. No atonement required, Estra’s journey needs no redemption to be recommended.
Compared to many other “games as toys”, The Block feels limited. It’s an interesting, tiny city builder that challenges you to make use of finite space, but it fails to capitalise on its unique hook in any meaningful way. That said, if you’re looking for something to play after a rough day to work, there’s a satisfying vibe to the game that’ll fill an hour.
A Space for the Unbound shoots for the stars and lands in the Milky Way, making it a 2023 stand out already. Whilst the gameplay wanes in the final hours, the story, characters and plot conclude in an immensely satisfying and emotional way.
A little rough around the edges, even for the lo-fi approach – Chasing Static is a decent time if you’re looking for a short sci-fi horror story. The PSX art style lends itself into being an aesthetically memorable experience that might please fans of that era of horror games. Despite the game’s title I wasn’t necessarily guided by the static, resulting in a missing trick. However, the decent albeit a little vague story made me want to stay in the game till the end.
Whilst it may be pleasing to the visual and audio senses, Lone Ruin balances out that pleasant feeling with fair challenge. A roguelike in the traditional sense, it offers that “one more run” gameplay for anyone that feels like they can do it better next time.
An outstanding package in its own right and the new standard by which all future retro compilations should be measured, Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration serves as a love letter to a bygone era, a reminder of the power the name once held and a tantalising glimpse at how some of gaming’s most storied franchises can be revitalised in the right hands. Highly recommended for anyone remotely interested in gaming history. A particular affinity for Atari? Utterly essential.
A short, oddball FMV game that’s like a time capsule full of dead memes and forgotten pop culture, There Is A Genie In My Szechuan Sauce Remastered sure is something. Behind the rough editing, shoddy camerawork and cringeworthy acting however, there’s a few snippets of hilarity that some might find entertaining.
A welcome update, The Witcher 3 is just as magnificent and engrossing as it was seven years ago. It looks beautiful, but still retains that rusty charm that sometimes creeps into a game so massive. Given that it’s a free upgrade, there’s no better time to get back into the world of Geralt and the Wild Hunt.
The PS5 version of Warp Drive is much better than the original version of this game that launched back in 2020 – but it’s still lacking in places. While it comes in second place to the games it’s inspired by, Warp Drive can fill that WipEout shaped hole in your heart, if only for a few hours. There’s certainly potential for more from this concept, should the developers want to make a sequel.
Crisis Core -Final Fantasy 7- Reunion is a prime example of how remasters should be handled. A massive graphical overhaul, streamlined and satisfying gameplay mechanics and wonderfully remastered soundtrack outweigh the 2007 originals flaws in bloated side-content and repetitive structure. Square Enix have kept their honour and given Zack Fair the hero treatment he deserves.
Potion Craft is yet another addition to the simulation genre but manages to set itself out from the crowd by blending relaxing vibes with engaging strategy. It’s visually appealing and has the potential to steal an evening without you noticing, but it can get repetitive and frustrating at times.
Broken Lines is a decent amalgamation of XCOM and Peaky Blinders: Mastermind. Despite its multitude of flaws and unappealing visuals, there’s a bit of fun to be had navigating this squad through this alternate WWII universe. While it’s trapped behind enemy lines, there’s hope the squad can mend the broken to ultimately survive.
What could have been an interesting premise about religion, murder and cults, soon devolves into a bland and uninspired point-and-click. Saint Kotar has some originality with its faith-testing plot, but ultimately will only really appeal to die-hard fans of the genre.