Was everything perfect? Not at all. The biggest frustration came from the gamepad controls. I started playing with my preferred d-pad input but found that aiming the water hose was nearly impossible until I swapped to the control stick. The adventure also ends just as things were really getting heated up. Nuclear Blaze understands the value of not wearing out a welcome. Just when I had decided that I was smitten with the game, I reached its narrative conclusion. If the idea was to leave me wanting more, then the mission was successful. Because this is still a small indie project based on a game jam submission, potential buyers should understand that Nuclear Blaze does not burn for long, but it does, in fact, burn twice as bright.
I was admittedly surprised with how thoroughly I enjoyed my time with New World. From the freeform character and weapon progression to the resource gathering and faction dynamics, there’s a lot to explore and experience. That said, New World very much feels like an MMO in a very early state. There’s not a ton of Expeditions, there’s no mounts, and there’s an obvious need for balancing with features like Siege. Luckily, MMOs often get better as they age, and if Amazon Games can build upon this great foundation, they’ll have a surefire hit on their hands.
Likewise, if you are burning to play a Left 4 Dead-style game but you only have a newer console, Back 4 Blood should fit the bill, though there are several more interesting options out there if you look. At the end of the day, this is an inferior version of Left 4 Dead 2 that lacks the style, charm, gore, and engaging characters it tries to reproduce. That said, there is a decent foundation here and there are worse ways you could spend a weekend with some buddies.
Not having every fighter out of the box is going to be really frustrating for some players, but if nothing else, experiencing the Demon Slayer story is a pretty fun ride.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl simply feels like a barebones platform fighter. Combat is pretty decent, but there’s just so little surrounding it. The game’s greatest sin is how little it leans into the over-the-top zaniness that is Nickelodeon and its extensive history of memorable characters and moments. It lacks identity while being based on some of the most unique entertainment properties of the past few decades.
I really appreciate how much Lone Echo 2 takes a mostly don’t-fix-what’s-not-broken approach to the original game’s formula. So much of it is simply a continuation of Lone Echo 1 in both narrative and form, and that’s fine. It does just enough to make things different by introducing a few new tools and increased threats to go along with them, and with only a handful of control or visual bugs that stood out as a result. Jack and Rhodes’ efforts to survive continued to make for a compelling story throughout and this is definitely an adventure fans of the first will want to see through. Ultimately, Lone Echo 2 is just as much a solid blend of narrative and puzzle solving in the VR space as the first one was and continues to show Ready at Dawn has a winning formula for VR players of all styles and comfort levels.
The Quiet Apocalypse isn't without problems, but Hinterland's commitment to adding new content, while refining the experience over the years, has positioned The Long Dark at the top of the survival genre's pecking order. The Long Dark is a must-play for anyone who is even remotely intrigued by it.