All in all, Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway isn’t the worst kart racer I’ve ever played, but again, it’s also not the best especially when compared to previous entries in the series. As previously mentioned, Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway is a middle of the road racer in almost every aspect save for its character roster, graphics, and elements like picking three characters to be part of your pit crew.
Between removing the movement grid, adding more strategic options, new characters, new abilities, and expanding and revising the roster in an enjoyable story, Sparks of Hope feels like another exceptional collaboration between Ubisoft and Nintendo.
Asobo Studio has done well to continue the story of Amicia and her brother Hugo in A Plague Tale: Requiem. The narrative excels at exploring Amicia’s internal strife balanced against the need to protect and help her brother. Unfortunately, while the puzzles, lighting, and rat swarming systems are neat, they are weighed down by the tedious stealth sections and clunky controls. Those who enjoyed the first game will likely want to see it through to the end, but those who are new may find the experience lacking.
If you love H.R. Giger, unsettling body horror such as those seen in the works of Junji Ito, or creepy alien experimentation scenes from films like Fire in the Sky, you’ll undoubtedly appreciate Scorn’s overarching concept. Sadly the execution leaves much to be desired, which is a shame as I feel like Scorn could have been a real standout as far as atmospheric horror games go.
As an online service game, I can’t wait to see what comes next, whether it new levels, ghosts, or cosmetics to name a few. If you’re a Ghostbusters fan, you’ve probably pre-ordered this already. If you're a fan of asymmetrical games like Evil Dead the Game, Dead by Daylight, or others, this is a must-buy. This is IllFonic’s best game they’ve ever made and everyone on the team should feel incredibly proud of the work they put into it. It’s no easy task to create a Ghostbusters game, but they did it. Grab your particle thrower and remember the wise words of Louis Tully: "Stay fit. Keep sharp. Make good decisions."
As harsh as this may sound, I’ve lost faith in the NHL franchise. My first game was NHL 93, and although they haven’t all been good, it’s clear that this franchise has settled into an annual loop of delivering the bare minimum. There is zero justification for a full-game price tag when you consider that other games offer free updates larger than what’s on offer as new in the entirety of NHL 23. It’s mind boggling.
I really like the overall style of Gundam Evolution. The maps are neat and the mobile suits are a decent starting lineup, even if I don’t like some of the omissions from throughout the franchise in both the roster and cosmetic options. There’s also the fact that some of these mobile suits just feel straight-up overpowered compared to certain other niche options in team comp. That said, as a live-service free-to-play game, I’ve never had an issue finding a match in Gundam Evolution and it looks like the groundwork is here for some good improvements, additions, and balancing over time.
Return to Monkey Island is an enjoyable game that I will definitely be telling my nephews and niece to play. It left me wanting more and now that the introduction is over, the next installment should provide the story progression that I was hoping for with this one. If nothing else this game will serve as a reminder to never say never. Ordinarily when a small company is bought out by a multibillion dollar conglomerate it usually goes quietly into the night never to be heard from again. The fact that this game was made at all is a truly remarkable accomplishment. Terrible Toybox and Devolver Digital have overcome the impossible and opened the door for more. Until then might I suggest playing through the entire original series as well as befriending the three headed monkey that’s behind you.
Ultimately, Overwatch 2 feels less like a sequel and more like a refresh, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The new Heroes are neat, as are the refreshed looks of previous Heroes. The new Push mode and other new maps are fun as well. That said, the game pretty much plays the same. If you loved Overwatch, there’s really no reason why you won’t enjoy continuing this journey. If you weren’t a fan, this isn’t going to change your mind. That said, if the first batch of heroes, modes, and maps were any indication, it at least looks like Overwatch 2’s new free-to-play seasonal content rotation is going to keep things interesting for a long time to come.
Valkyrie Elysium is a disappointing, befuddled, and mistimed return for the Valkyrie series. Its Einherjar-supported combat system only takes the game so far when it’s saddled by an underwhelming story and artificially extended by crude level design. It falls into the trap of chasing trends, turning classic JRPGs into action games and copying other successful titles like Dark Souls without adding much new to the genre, when many fans would have been more than satisfied with an updated version of a standard Valkyrie game.
In particular, it’d be nice if the game did more in the way of teaching you the ropes, offered different control schemes, and provided a wider array of accessibility options. In general as well, it’d be nice if the game offered more in the way of incentives, excitement, and action to keep you coming back for more, regardless of its punishing difficulty.
Priced at under $20, Dome Keeper will keep you on your toes for several mining sessions. Its cyclical design is simple and executed fairly well, keeping the tension consistent throughout a run. However, upgrades quickly become restrictive in terms of effective builds, and both mining and defense become predictable in subsequent playthroughs. That said, the game has plenty of room for future updates that could help balance things out. Dome Keeper, without taking too many risks, fits simply and innocuously inside the world of the iterative survival genre.
Of all the survival games I’ve played, Grounded is easily one of the coolest. The very theme of it is fun and the execution is pretty on target too. Playing as micro-sized kids in a vast yard full of pests and threats is really interesting, the story keeps exploration intriguing, and the progression, whether alone or with friends, feels satisfying. I’m not fond of how hard it is on normal difficulty alone, or the lack of variety among nearly required gear, but it really gets all the more delightful with friends helping. Even then, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy Grounded solo, too. Between Creative Modes, multiple difficulties, and a nice set of accessibility options, Grounded feels like one of the strongest entries to the survival genre in a long time.
I had hoped that Dig would be an adventure on par with the original Shovel Knight, but instead, it feels like every bit the spin-off and side story that it is. It's certainly not a bad game, but fans for hoping for a more substantial adventure will have to dig a little deeper.
I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a softy when it comes to good stories, but I’ve still played quite a few games and seen enough narratives of all kinds to think it’s hard to floor me these days. Or so I thought, anyway. I’m not sure if I was caught off guard or if Beacon Pines really is just that good. It’s pretty easy to see that its art and music are both top notch. Ultimately, this is also a story good enough that I’d love more people to see it so I can talk to them about it. It might not be the longest game, and the thrill of the exploration may bottleneck a bit at the end, but the changing course, different routes, and ultimate ending of Beacon Pines are still more than worth exploring for any fan of narrative adventure.
Doom comparisons aside in style and tone, Metal: Hellsinger is one of the most unique, refreshing video game offerings I’ve seen in a while thanks to how it caters to fans of metal music, and its approach to rhythm mechanics. We could use more heavy metal-focused rhythm games, and I hope to not only see more games like Metal: Hellsinger in the future, but to see more from the talented developers of Metal: Hellsinger, The Outsiders, as well.
SD Gundam Battle Alliance has me at odds because there’s a lot of things I like about it and a lot of things I don’t, both as a Gundam fan and just a general player. The mobile suits and pilots are fun to collect and explore. The story and missions are also fairly well-done and I like the look of the super deformed versions of a lot of my favorite mobile suits from across the series. My big miff is that the difficulty spike between series of missions makes repeatedly playing the same scenarios to level up your pilots and mobile suits a near-mandatory chore. I also just don’t think it makes good use of the SD spinoff formula. Mix in some annoying inconveniences in camera and other gameplay design and while SD Gundam Battle Alliance may be fun at first, the luster will likely fade for many after a few hours.
Ooblets is a peculiarly enjoyable jack-of-all-trades adventure that stumbles near the finish line. The slice-of-life farming sim and town interaction are more developed than the card battling, and the leveling system feels unfinished. That said, the game may expand with additional content or balance patches as the developer continues to update it. Priced at half the cost of a typical full-fledged game, Ooblets is still worth playing for a few hours or so every once in a while, but there are better farming sims, monster battlers, and card-based games out there.