Tell Me Why is a well-executed and heartfelt tale about the importance of growing up and moving on, whatever your circumstances might be. Not once did I fail to recognise either Alyson or Tyler as three-dimensional characters and it’s impossible not to be invested in their family’s story, even if some circumstances they’re placed in are overtly melodramatic. Most importantly, the trans experience is expertly handled here, as a stellar example of how video games can sensitively handle a complex character that few get right.
There’s no doubt that Microsoft Flight Simulator is as outstandingly beautiful as it is realistic. Flying through this digital world offers wonderfully zen experiential tours that’ll last for hours, providing one of gaming’s most remarkable experiences. While as a simulator, it undoubtedly won’t be to everyone’s tastes, if you’ve been craving some socially responsible global tourism and some of the best vistas gaming has to offer, then Microsoft Flight Simulator has you covered.
Battletoads could have survived by doing a lot less, yet Dlala has gone above and beyond what would have been required to grab the attention of hardcore fans. The result is a challenging, yet accessible, ‘90s inspired beat-em-up that doesn’t rely on nostalgia to be charming, fun and engaging. Sure, there’s some aspects of the game that feel a bit lacklustre or frustrating, but at its core, Battletoads is full of heart. This revival has put the toads back in the spotlight, giving them more of a chance to shine than ever before. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rash, Zitz, and Pimple end up with their own TV show.
Although the game is far from perfect, Peaky Blinders: Mastermind is the title Peaky Blinders fans have been waiting for. While the rather disappointing campaign length and slightly underwhelming form of storytelling may leave players desiring more, the expertly designed puzzles offer a satisfying time manipulation system that few games ever master. We just crave more.
Destroy All Humans serves as yet another example of how to recreate a beloved classic, without destroying what made it special. If you loved the original game, then everything that captured your originally his here and accounted for. Hopefully, this remake will mark a triumphant return for the series, which in turn would ensure that this weird little freak of a game can maintain its presence within game libraries for years to come. In any case, we welcome more Destroy All Humans.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom was a masterclass in how to handle a licenced game, so it comes as no surprise that Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated is a complete joy. In recreating this cartoon cult classic, THQ and Purple Lamp Studios have facilitated access to an important part of SpongeBob’s history to old fans and a new generation alike. It’s great to see interest in light-hearted platforming experiences make a comeback, especially when considering the market is overwhelmingly filled with adult experiences, much to the frustration of parents.
There’s a good game inside of Crucible but at the moment, it’s buried. Marred by some baffling gameplay decisions and technical difficulties that patches are slowly ironing out, it’s difficult to recommend in its current state, but it definitely shows promise for the future.
While Those Who Remain has an engrossing narrative, its overplayed stealth mechanics sadly prevent it from bringing anything new to the psychological horror genre. It's still definitely worth a try for those who enjoy horror games - especially games like Layers of Fear and Alan Wake - but just don't expect anything revolutionary.
Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl makes for a tremendous NES game, which might make it a great addition to your retro collection, but might come across as more of a novelty when played on modern hardware. Enjoying this game is a matter of context – if you’re playing on original NES hardware, then you’re likely going to be more forgiving of any inherited clunky mechanics. Regardless of how you play, there’s a lot of heart in this mall brawler, with lots on offer to enjoy for retro enthusiasts and Kevin Smith fans alike.
Tactics is a fantastic conversion of Xbox’s iconic franchise into a more thoughtful gameplay setting. It’s a spin-off that takes everything Gears is known for and masterfully retools it for an engrossing strategy game that we’ll likely be playing for years to come. With a Locust enemy that’s finally more imposing than General RAAM and a lovable cast of characters, it’s also a game that continues to tell an epic, cinematic story that strategy games have never had the budget to do before. This is everything you love about Gears, you just have to think a bit more.
If you want a smaller, condensed narrative within a unique cyberpunk world, Cloudpunk is an amiable adventure with a cast of creative, memorable characters. It could do with a proper map to allow players to fully discover everything throughout Nivalis’ varied districts, but as it stands, this distinctive sci-fi adventure is an awesome adventure on a budget.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake is not flawless. In fact, it’s a game that proactively attempts to guide you past its flaws every step of the way, but it is still a game I’m glad I played. It’s likely to bring the ire of hardcore fans: as someone who only has a passing knowledge of original I know for a fact where this story has massively altered. However, if you play FF7R, you will fall in love. Not with the game, and not necessarily its museum-exhibit world, but with its cast. In that sense, Final Fantasy 7 Remake is pretty darn great.
Despite some awful balancing, repetitive environments and other niggling issues, Resident Evil Resistance is a game I keep coming back to, when the arduously long wait times to find a match allow me to. It’s not an amazing game – its inclusion as a pack-in multiplayer mode for the underwhelming Resident Evil 3 speaks volumes – but goddamn is it unique. Well, it’s Fable Legends, but then Fable Legends doesn’t exist.
Bleeding Edge may be free for Game Pass subscribers but in no way is that an incentive to play it. I genuinely can’t express how irate and bored it made me feel. Cool character designs and a nifty loadout feature are not enough to keep me hanging onto this game. It’s infuriating to play, provides very little gratification and there are far better options.
Doom Eternal is the true return of id Software’s iconic first-person shooter series. If you thought that Doom 2016 was the ultimate return of classic FPS gameplay, look again. Compared to Eternal, 2016’s hardcore combat was just baby steps. This is the return of Doom: Long Live Doom Eternal!
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is one of the finest platformers available on consoles, let alone on just Xbox One and PC. Moon Studios has crafted a sequel that truly evolves from the original game and that will keep your attention from start to finish.
Overpass isn’t a great looker; it’s only an adequate player – if that’s an accurate descriptive. Playing it for more than half an hour at most still leave you craving for something more nuanced, interesting, and far more polished. However, this is likely to be the only experience like it for quite a while.
If you’re an Xbox gamer who has yet to experience the Kingdom Hearts story, this collection is the best way to jump in. If you’re a fan of the recent third entry that was a little confused by jumping into the deep end – trust me, no one can blame you for being confused – then you have to get this compilation.