If you’re looking for a unique take on the ‘found footage/phone’ horror genre, SIMULACRA is perfect for you. The puzzles you need to complete, in order to descramble and reveal messages and photos, are fun to solve and interesting to read/look at. Although I wish there were more FMV sequences and meaningful choices which changed the narrative more dramatically as the story progressed, the quality of the videos and writing were both top-shelf.
New Super Lucky’s Tale is one of the best 3D platforming games on the Switch today – the quality and presentation is Nintendo first-party level. If you’ve played the game previously on PC and/or the Xbox One, there’s so much more than simply ‘New’ added to the title as there are adjusted visuals, new skills, re-designed levels and hub areas, new cinematics, a rotatable camera, and even more precise controls. As a Switch owner, I’m glad this game was able to branch outside of the Xbox console exclusivity and I’m hoping, considering the game is so different to its initial release, that we’ll also get it on other platforms too. It may be quite easy for seasoned gamers but it’s just so much fun to play, everyone should buy it.
Headspun has a very interesting concept and narrative, but it’s let down by the technical side due to the bugs and glitches. As of version 1.09, I’ve been able to complete the game and achieve the platinum, but I have played the game seven times in total, unlocking a few trophies with each playthrough until prior versions hit a wall and glitched out on me. The use of FMV was, in my opinion, a really smart thing to do as it perfectly depicts the human viewpoint (FMV) as real life and the cartoon-like ‘Brain control people’ as a much more fantastical concept. The narrative itself is well written and acted, delivering a story which was very interesting and fun to play through.
Other than the dungeons, one of the main features needing a good polishing, Conception PLUS: Maidens of the Twelve Stars was a rather unique and fun game to play. Sure, the difficulty spikes and lacklustre dungeon design left much to be desired, but everything else was so entertaining that you can easily look past those! It’s worth picking up the game simply for the strategy and battles alone as the depth and originality on display greatly enhance the overall experience. Though, with 15 endings, collecting EVERYTHING and getting 100% will take serious dedication if you’re aiming for the platinum.
A clever puzzle mechanic makes WILL: A Wonderful World stand out from similar multi-story visual novels. Become a God and help out those in need by, amusingly, swapping out aspects of one person’s life with another or simply alternating the order in which certain events occur. Despite the game being rather linear with its main narrative and triggers for progression, there are numerous outcomes to each and every letter you interfere with, temporarily changing the writer’s life until you opt for the best possible outcome. The writing is brilliant, the characters are interesting, and the overall concept of the game is fascinating – what more could you want from a fifteen-hour puzzle-based visual novel?
If you’re looking for a modernised classic which doesn’t stray too far from the original concept, Bubble Bobble 4 Friends is fun to play both solo and with friends or family. Although the first fifty levels are rather easy and family-friendly, the proceeding fifty within the hard mode will certainly challenge you if you decide to face the evil Bonner alone! The various powerups and abilities you gain throughout your adventure are sure to help out in the trickier levels, with the game offering a safety net via the activation of invincibility to ensure everyone of any skill level can play the game and have fun. This game was my introduction to the franchise, an introduction which made a really good first impression.
If you’re looking for a Tactical RPG game which stands out with unique features, Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is for you. Having the ability to only move one unit at a time both increases the difficulty and strategic element of the game, forcing you to think ahead and plan your moves effectively if you don’t want to permanently lose the units you’ve been training up. Similarly, the manual Overwatch ability ensures that if you miss during a crucial pre-emptive attack, it’s most likely down to you and your ability at being accurate and fast. The game will clearly appeal to fans of the show, but newcomers are also welcomed and kept well informed as you proceed through the story. It’s certainly a game which all TRPG fans should try out.
Despite not technically being a ‘simulation’ game, Bee Simulator is a fun edutainment title which was enjoyable to play through. Although there are many side-quests to complete once you’ve finished the main story, there are only a few mini-game formats included, meaning you’ll quickly grow tired of them unless you really like the games they offer. Visually I thought the game looked okay, for a ‘simulator’, but some of the assets are a little basic and the game is deprived of life – it’s like you’re within a theme park full of models or animatronics. If you have a few kids, the multiplayer mode will entertain them for a while as up to four players can play at the same time – which is a welcomed addition.
Woven is a game which wants you to take your time and explore the bright, colourful environments whilst solving puzzles. The combination of standard puzzles and environmental ones, which requires you to build your own FrankenStuffy, are a great balance and really get you thinking about your appearance as well as your inherited abilities. Woven doesn’t hold your hand and point you in the right direction like almost every other exploration-based game today, you must explore and uncover the secrets with little to no help. Although looking very child-friendly, especially with the brilliantly rhyming narration, I feel some younger kids may require support and guidance from an adult with certain puzzles due to the hands-off approach the game delivers.
Root Letter: Last Answer is clearly the definitive edition of this mysterious and captivating story about a murder and a missing girl. I love how the game has eight chapters which are identical and then, based on how you talked to Aya in the past, the final two chapters are very diverse and offer completely different endings to the game. This is further enhanced with the new epilogues that offer more story after the credits roll on a particular ending. Although light on the ‘interaction’ side, the narrative itself keeps you hooked and entertained throughout, with an Ace Attorney-like segment which breaks up the reading every now and again.