I can’t stress enough how much fun Friday the 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition is. Each round you play online is unique from the last one, offering hours of replayability and exciting experiences. I don’t know how many times I would sit down to play the game and find myself saying “Ok, just one more round” multiple times as my wife would yell at me to go to bed – “Oh, I’m sorry dear, I’m just decapitating counsellors because they suck!!”. The Nintendo Switch version of the game is great as it has all the DLC and you can play it on the go.
Despite a few minor issues and annoyances I had with the controls, Ancestors Legacy is one of the best RTS games I’ve played on any console with its interesting narratives, satisfying combat and accessible nature. Working your way through all eight campaigns should take you at least fifty hours if you play on the correct difficulty for your skill level; with the skirmish and multiplayer boosting your playtime even more, should you wish to play solo or with friends. Although some aspects of the game may not be historically accurate, the developers have done a great job at transporting you to the various time periods with visually stunning locations.
Although it has a few key-mechanics missing, Bear with Me: The Complete Collection is a well designed and presented noir-based Point-and-Click Adventure game. I can overlook the omitted mechanics due to both the story and the art direction keeping me hooked right until the final credit roll, despite the fact that there were no trophies to obtain whilst playing out the final act. I personally thought the story and gameplay was more fun and solid within the prequel, as it was the final element created in the collection, but the original trio of chapters delivered a very interesting story which took a rather strange turn towards the final conclusion. My final thoughts and the outcome I got from playing through this series was that I want more Ted E. Bear – I really hope we get to see more of him in the future via a sequel or maybe a spin-off title.
Rise of Insanity is so confusing, I couldn’t stop playing until I finished it but I can’t say that it’s because I really enjoyed it. There are some really good scares in the game but there’s not enough tension or atmosphere. The story is gripping and the files you find are really interesting, but it eventually disappoints. There are better horror games out there but this is overall a pretty solid offering and I can see the talent the studio has.
Despite not being the most original horror game out there, Silver Chains is a nice combination of tropes from various influences. It may not the most inspiring story in a game, but what it lacks in that, it makes up with decent visuals and some good jump scares. Normally most jump scares don’t get me, but there are a few in Silver Chains that got me to jump and say words I shouldn’t say in front of my innocent children! I personally want to give kudos to Cracked Heads Games – I encountered some issues whilst playing the game pre-release yet they were able to fix them immediately, ensuring the final version which went live today runs great for everyone with no progress-blocking occurrences.
Solo: Islands of the Heart stands out as one of the only games I can think of which alters it’s narrative towards your own personal experiences. As such, it was really interesting to play through and receive a personalised story at the end which was built around my past situations and feelings towards an old relationship. If this was it, I would be happy with it, but it’s not – there’s also a lot of clever puzzles which require you to think and perform a lot of trial and error in order to solve. I love how each puzzle can be resolved in a number of ways, just like how our feelings aren’t always black and white as well, things can be moved about and adapted in various ways in order to proceed both in the game and in life. This really is a delightful title which everyone should play.
Whilst Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a terrific game and will keep you entertained for a number of hours, I don’t think the game is worth the £34.99 price tag and I would recommend waiting for a price drop before you buy. When you think that you can purchase Hollow Knight for half that price, it’s more impressive visually and you can easily plough 60+ hours into the game, then I feel that Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, with its lack of polish, should have therefore been priced much more reasonably at no more than £25. I’m minded to say that you are paying more for the fact that the game is produced by Igarashi than its true worth. I’ll conclude by saying that, quite simply, for fans of the Castlevania series or classic Metroidvania games, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is an essential purchase.
FIA European Truck Racing Championship is a rather unique and time-consuming racing game. With the settings all set to default, a single race weekend will take you approximately three hours to complete, three hours of driving around the same racetrack in hopes of catching up to the parallel-running CPU who hardly ever slow down to give you an advantage. Not to mention the large number of penalties you can incur by breaking the official rules, thus further increasing your time and making restarting the race your only chance of success. However, despite the brutal nature, the unforgiving punishments, the long-winded racing (which I turned down) and the credit system not currently working, I quickly became addicted to this game and couldn’t stop playing.
Automachef is the gaming equivalent of Marmite, you’ll either love it or hate it. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys micromanaging all the various aspects of your creation in order to get the most out of it (such as Theme Park, Railway Empire, Tropico, etc), then you’ll most likely appreciate the depth and complexity of this rather simple-looking resource management game. However, if you’re not a fan of games which require a lot of planning with many trial and error attempts, you probably won’t get the level of satisfaction I got. There’s a whole host of machines and recipes to work with, as well as the endless Contract mode and Mods/Custom Scenarios (if you’re on PC), so you’ll never get bored or run out of things to do within this game.
Despite changing a number of mechanics and aspects of the game, I thoroughly enjoyed playing Wolfenstein: Youngblood. If you’ve got a friend to play with, or don’t mind jumping in with a stranger, then the enjoyment you’ll get out of the title will be a lot more than playing solo, not because it’s bad if you play on your own, it’s just a bit harder as your AI companion can be a bit unpredictable. There are tonnes of side missions, collectables and secrets to uncover, but the game does begin to get a little repetitive and annoying with the respawning enemies and level-based bullet sponges. However, I don’t mind monotony and repetitive games as it means I can play them without being 100% focused all the time, so I personally found the experience enjoyable and entertaining, especially the narrative later on into the game.
Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot was a fun experience despite its short length and questionable controls. I've always enjoyed burning Nazis, I can't think of anything better to do on a hot Summer's day, so being able to do it in virtual reality just further enhanced my enjoyment which I had within this mini-Wolfenstein title. I had a few issues with the controls, in terms of the available space required, but it never really impacted my overall experience as I simply readjusted myself IRL. Personally, this should have been an added companion to Wolfenstein: Youngblood but that doesn't make it a bad game, it just didn't feel as involved or content-rich as I'd expected when I first heard about it.
Pawarumi is an extremely fun and smartly unique shmup with a mechanic that makes the game both tactical and exciting. There is an element of luck at first but it’s very satisfying when you start mixing the weapons correctly for what you want to do. Although I struggled with the difficulty for way too long, once I got a grip of the Trinity mechanic I had an absolute blast and I wanted to keep improving my score for the leaderboard. There’s not a lot of game here, with the high score system really the only thing to keep you coming back, but what is here is very solid, fun and very, very pretty.
Despite the technical issues and lack of prior knowledge, I enjoyed playing We. The Revolution. I wasn’t enjoying it to start with, I will admit, as the language is very of that time so it takes a while to get used to and understand what’s really happening in the cases. The bugs were particularly frustrating as they stopped me progressing just as I was really getting into the story. Yet, I did still keep coming back for more and once it’s patched I will absolutely give it another play to see the different results you get based on your choices and to get more of the trophies.
If you’re looking for something different and enjoy platforming, puzzles and rhythm games, SongBird Symphony is for you! Each new area and species of bird you meet has its own soundtrack as well as fun and entertaining song-battle for you to take part within. I couldn’t help myself from singing along, cheering for our small protagonist’s achievements, becoming heartbroken when bad things happen, and cheering him on when all hope was lost. I’ve not been this emotionally attached to a video game for a while, I wanted to step into the game and give Birb a massive hug and never let go. I did find some of the song battles a bit overwhelming and borderline unfair, but it didn’t stop progression and there’s no requirement to achieve an S-rank on them for trophies or the in-game narrative.
Although the world of Moss is small in scale, Quill has a huge heart which makes the adventure even more magical. Polyarc has simply made the first game built specifically for (PS)VR that makes it an absolute must-buy piece of hardware. This game shows just how immersive the device can be, without having to make sacrifices in gameplay or visual quality but instead adding to the feelings that the game encourages with the interactivity that is only possible when you step into Virtual Reality. Sure, it doesn’t make use of absolutely everything the device can offer, but when the game is this good and still has a few ways to improve, to me that can only be a positive thing when looking forward to Book Two in the world of Moss.
Personally, I believe Cytus Alpha is the best rhythm-based game out on the Nintendo Switch, despite its little-known soundtrack. With over 200 songs to unlock, an intriguing story to uncover, and an online leaderboard to climb, there are literally hours upon hours worth of content awaiting your twitchy fingers! Launching with support for both touch and Joycon gameplay, the developers learnt from their previous release (VOEZ) and made the game accessible to all from the get-go (even though I strongly urge everyone to play with touch and not the Joycons if possible). The artwork is glorious, the music is amazing, and the gameplay is as smooth as you can get – I’m really struggling to find anything negative about this incredible game.
Despite not having any interest in cars whatsoever, Car Mechanic Simulator blew me away with its realism and fun factor. Sure, some people may see this game as a boring, mundane job-like experience where all you do is repair cars for the various clients who contact your shop, but others will find relaxation, satisfaction, and interesting educational aspects to the same concept. As someone who loves to take things apart to find the fault in them, then put them back together and witness the once-dead device come to life, this game was perfect for me. Progression is, unfortunately, a long and tedious journey which will take you many hours until you begin to unlock the more advanced tools and abilities which makes the game much more entertaining and enjoyable. My advice – stick with it as it’s worth it.
After all these years of not playing any of the SAMURAI SHODOWN games, it was really neat to finally get my hands on one. At first, I was playing the game all wrong and didn’t really enjoy playing it. However, after realising the error of my ways, I re-approached the game and had a much better experience. I love that they took the game in a different direction with the cel-shaded graphics and I truly feel like it will do a service to the game’s longevity down the line. I personally didn’t get too much out of the story of the game, but that’s fine for me considering I don’t go to fighting games for epic stories.
Sea of Solitude is an emotional journey in which we help giant creatures come to terms with their issues and resolve them. Whereas the game feels like it’s taken great inspiration from silent indie titles, such as RiME, this game provides spoken narrative in order to tell its story, a story which a lot of us can relate to. For a game encased within symbolism, metaphors, hidden meanings, and the personification of emotions, the whole aesthetic and art style of the game are beyond stunning – thanks to the simplist nature of the visuals combined with the complexity of the design. Taking around four to five hours to complete, even longer if you wish to find all of the collectables, I feel this is the perfect length as it tells its story with great pacing.