PAC-MAN 99 is another hit for Arika, this time with one of the most iconic arcade games of all time. It’s a bit surprising just how well Pac-Man fits into the 99-player battle royale format, but that’s just a testament to the work done by the developers. PAC-MAN 99 has me excited for whatever the developer’s put out next.
Seeing it through the prism of the old Oregon Trail, I enjoyed Ashwalkers and its myriad of tough, meaningful choices. Its heavy material and its dreary art style doesn't make it a game that I plan to revisit very often. I can appreciate the variety of scenarios, especially the idea that players can select different starting points after multiple playthroughs. In that sense, it's unlike a lot of survival games out today and worth playing through at least once.
Oddworld: Soulstorm is an excellent adventure game and platformer, with cool mechanics that keep gameplay fresh. The environments are stunning, and the 2.9D animation makes the world feel three-dimensional and lived-in. Only held back by a slew of bugs, Oddworld: Soulstorm is a great installment in a classic franchise.
For its weird flaws, bugs, always online issues, obnoxious use of cutscenes, and b-movie attitude, Outriders is still mostly what I wanted it to be in execution and I think it's built for a wealth of future content and improvements that mean it's just going to get better from here. Whether I jump into the game on my solo character or team up with my friends, I know I’m in for a good, visceral, and rewarding time.
Narita Boy is a game that takes such a strong influence from so many past works, it can often feel a bit derivative. However, that doesn’t stop the game from being enjoyable, as there’s plenty of unique challenges to overcome as well as some solid lore-building. It’s gorgeous visual design and soundtrack will be enough to entice anyone familiar with 80s pop culture, and could prove irresistible to those that have a fondness for the era.
Genesis Noir is a very curious game, and mostly in a good way. The cosmic nature of its narrative is tied down interestingly in its humanized elements and the animation and music do a good job of giving every moment life and charm, even if it can sometimes get confusing. It’s not a long game, and some of its stretches are a bit too simplistic for their own good, but Genesis Noir also features a lot of creativity in prominent portions of its puzzles and progression. If you enjoy a good point-and-click adventure and don’t mind a game that just wants a moment to share its bombastic narrative of cosmic creation and love, Genesis Noir might very well be narrative worth your time and interest.
Dandy Ace delivers as challenging roguelike, with difficult enemies and bosses galore. The use of cards allows players the freedom to fine-tune their loadout to be the most efficient for their respective playstyle. Add on top of that the visually pleasing art style and use of color, and you’ve got yourself one magical roguelike.
The finished state of Balan Wonderworld is disappointing to say the least. For all of its style, I was really interested to see how they would expand upon the preview. The aesthetic and characters are there, the music is captivating, the level design made me want to explore and experiment where I could, and the abilities mostly gave me options to do so. However, these things are held down by a lot of contrivances and outright holes in either functionality or context. The final release of Balan Wonderworld felt like a rush job where good ideas, visuals, and sounds were forced to dance among either unfinished or unfun nonsense.
Ultimately, Evil Genius 2 is a Dungeon Keeper clone in a different coat of paint. The surface has been well-prepped and the paint was applied with great expertise, though. If you consider yourself a fan of simulation-strategy games, this has to go on your must-play list for 2021. 9/10 secret boxing glove traps hidden in corridor walls