Mirror Forge will creep you out and make you uncomfortable with its superb Silent Hill inspired environments. The gameplay is unthreatening and the story is predictable, but there’s something about this indie horror game that’ll have you soaking in its grim and disgusting dimension-hopping universe.
Chained Echoes is an incredibly passionate love letter to 16-32 bit era JRPGs, but it also knows when to try new things and add modern conveniences. Its battle system is one of the best in the genre, and feels genuinely revolutionary. I was slightly underwhelmed by the game’s rushed final act and a couple of party members but Chained Echoes is a great game and is absolutely worth your time if you’re a fan of the genre.
Hello Neighbor 2 is a mixed bag when compared to the rest of the franchise. The AI still needs to show more intelligence and the performance isn’t spectacular – even on PS5. The story may put off newcomers but fans of the series will hopefully enjoy what it has to offer in its mystery. Puzzles have been greatly improved which makes a good chunk of your playtime more accessible and enjoyable, but the counterparts keep it down from being great.
Midnight Suns is a revelation in tactics gameplay, ditching movement constraints in service of its superhero cast. Its story is well told and voiced, and in between combat there’s a wonderful hub to explore. Structured like a daily tasks Persona-type experience, it won me over with oodles of character and design smarts throughout, keeping me coming back day after day.
Back 4 Blood Expansion 3: Rivers of Blood finally delivers some of the potential we’ve been waiting on. A much more appealing act of missions, wonderfully integrated new mode and some engaging new content means Turtle Rock Studios are, at long last, confidently realising Back 4 Blood’s ambition. Here’s to more Ridden-slaying in future.
Crossfire: Legion is an accessible RTS with a decent foundation to become a great game, but it’s held back by a lackluster campaign, poor pathfinding and shallow strategic systems. A stellar voice cast, excellent graphical performance and primitively fun gameplay can carry you quite a way, but not enough to reach the best of the genre. Hopefully, there’s more to come.
A succinct, poignant and personal narrative puzzle game, The Forest Quartet is an excellent way to spend an evening. Its intimate story is brought to life through an art style packed with symbolism and gorgeous music. There are a few foibles with the game, but they account for just a fraction of the overall experience.
There is a lot to like about Ixion – it is an atmospheric tale of humanity dealing with the odds and overcoming any obstacle in its path, one way or another. That same difficulty is often too oppressive however, and I feel that it will be a bit of an obstacle for some; in addition, there are a few foibles elsewhere which can make for a frustrating experience and have marked down my enthusiasm. For those who want a challenge though, Ixion will be an excellent and immersive choice.
Overall then, Warhammer 40,000: Darktide has the makings of an incredible Warhammer 40k game – the gameplay loop is excellent, with the visual and sound design to match. Unfortunately, a lot of other aspects of the game do mar the experience somewhat, and it does feel unfinished in some areas. That being said, if Fatshark can build and improve upon the existing content, there is potentially a very special game here in future.
Sable’s ability to make the player feel so involved in such a hands-off approach to its open world is one that should be celebrated. The gameplay is a little one-note and the framerate can buckle under pressure, but it’s a game full of intrigue and wonderment that captivates you immensely. Not to mention exceptional cel shaded visuals and a zen like soundtrack that makes Sable enrapturing to explore.
The Callisto Protocol is a good game that falls short in almost every department of being a great one. Predictable story, gratifying-yet clunky combat mechanics and a lack of variety hold back what is an otherwise visual and audible spectacle. Dead Space has cast a long shadow since its release in 2008 and The Callisto Protocol can’t emerge from the depth of its superb darkness.
Overall, Knights of Honor 2: Sovereign is a fun and well made addition to the grand strategy market. It was always going to be tough to stand up to the leaders in that genre, but the game makes a good case for itself, and I enjoyed my time playing it overall. With a few additional quality of life features over time, and hopefully more content moving forward, it can live up to its full potential and maybe even rise to the throne itself.
While there are positives, EDENGATE: The Edge of Life feels either poorly planned out or unfinished. The narrative is disjointed and confused, the puzzles are simplistic and there are a few too many frustrations with the game play. There was potential here, but it feels unfulfilled in most facets of the game.
Railbound is a quaint, confident and colourful puzzle game that’ll charm your socks off if you let it. The presentation is welcoming, while the puzzles are challenging, all chocking up to a well-designed puzzler that’ll keep your brain boggling for hours.
No coins are necessary when taking on the difficult challenge that is Battle Axe. It’s visually and audibly stellar, likely to please anyone looking for a hit of nostalgia. However, the promised features and improvements of the PS5 version are missing and half the game doesn’t work as intended. With that said, the core gameplay is adrenaline fuelled and satisfying, hacking up the overall fun factor.
Goat Simulator 3 nails the ridiculousness in a bigger, more intuitive way. The humour hits in every corner of the huge open world you’ll be exploring, culminating in hours of fun. The controls not feeling as modern as its peers, alongside small performance issues dampen the overall package, but if you’re looking for something truly off the wall and friendly for all ages, this game is one to check out.
Negatives aside, Gungrave G.O.R.E is a blast when it gets going. The cutscenes are over the top, as are the bosses and the main baddies of the piece. If you can put up with the archaic rust that comes with old-fashioned games, there is fun to be had in here.
Supermassive Games’ The Devil in Me lays some new ideas for the Dark Pictures franchise’s future. While well-intentioned, the implementation of these new gameplay ideas isn’t quite there yet. Lacklustre new mechanics and a bloated runtime do more harm than good. The Devil in Me would’ve been better off as a shorter, more refined experience. Great visuals, a solid cast, and a fun slasher premise can only take it so far.
Smashing your way through hordes of vampires in a style reminiscent of Gears of War and Godhand, Evil West is a limb-tearing, frenetically great time. It's a ridiculously over-the-top title with intentionally garish dialogue, balance issues and some questionable decision choices, but when you're mashing a 10-punch combo into a bloodsucker's deservingly battered face, you'll forget all about logic in favour of a rip-roaring good time.