Dreams is unlike anything else out there. Of course, this also makes reviewing the title incredibly tricky too – do you review this as a game? Or as a game creation software? The answer is, I guess, a bit of both. Mileage will vary from person to person but it’s a very specific game that itches a very specific scratch, one that you’ll either pick up and love or pick up, play for 2 or 3 hours and never come back to again.
Kakarot is ultimately a game of two halves. On the one hand, this is the quintessential way to experience the entire Dragon Ball Z story beyond watching the anime, with some gorgeous aesthetics, faithful boss fights and some really iconic moments along the way. Unfortunately this is let down by a disappointing and barren open-world structure with little incentive to explore, especially give the long loading times and miniscule experience gains. It’s a game that could have been great, with all the ingredients to produce a spectacular RPG effort but unfortunately fails to hit Super Saiyan status.
Conceptually at least, Close To The Sun is actually a really intriguing game. Combining elements of Bioshock, Sherlock Holmes and first person horrors, Close To The Sun attempts to capture the same wonder found in those titles but fails to really capitalize on that as well as it perhaps should. Admittedly, the opening few chapters are pretty good at building up the tension but soon after the game devolves frustratingly into a series of chase sequences and puzzle-platform sections that don’t always work well with the narrative.
SuperEpic: The Entertainment War may not be the best Metroidvania-style game, but it is the first I’ve played that manages to turn the topic of microtransactions into a positive gameplay mechanic. When it comes down to it, SuperEpic is a satirical, surprisingly balanced 16-bit platformer that juggles its simplistic premise with enough visual flair and charm to make it well worth the cost to play. While the actual gameplay loop remains unchanged through much of the play-time, the changing aesthetic and added enemy variety is a welcome sign and a clear conscious effort to inject the game with some excitement to prevent it stagnating.
While it may be simple in concept, Arise: A Simple Story delivers a real showstopper when it comes to its gameplay, offering up an innovative blend of aesthetic splendour and strong themes. It’s a beautiful, poignant journey not to be missed and one of the best games of the year.
Hideo Kojima reminds me a lot of George R.R. Martin and George Lucas. With a bit of restraint, these men have managed to achieve greatness in their respective fields. Without that overarching influence to keep them on the straight and narrow, and with free reign to conjure up something wholly self-published and original, these artists have struggled to reign themselves in and rekindle that early career magic, producing lacklustre and ever-so-slightly egotistical pieces of fiction. Death Stranding then, is Hideo Kojima following in that same vein.
The simulation aspects are a big step-up from Planet Coaster and Frontier have been pretty quick to resolve some of the biggest problems with the game during its launch. While the online marketplace and steep learning curve may put some people off, Planet Zoo is a beautiful zoo tycoon game nonetheless, chock full of educational content mixed in with realistic animal behaviour. It’s not perfect but it’ll almost certainly serve as a worthy replacement for Zoo Tycoon for the time being.
Concrete Genie is quite simply a classic example of quality over quantity and aside from a few gripes with the final hour of the game, this is easily one of the best games of 2019. Not bad for a title that clocks in at around 5 hours. It’s a great showcase for how games can break free from conventional norms and illustrate an idea in a polished and clever manner. This is a game that personally resonated with me right the way through to the final scenes and one that’s absolutely worth its weight in gold. If you’re on the fence about this one, do yourself a favour and take the plunge. You’ll be thankful you did.
Having said all this, Medievil is a remake that'll almost certainly split opinion. On the one hand, the game perfectly captures everything the original did right, with faithful level design and updated visuals, whilst consequently carrying over all the baggage too, including the questionable camera and dated controls. As a fan of the franchise, I loved playing through this 6+ hour adventure again and the waves of nostalgia hit at every turn. As an introduction for newcomers in 2019 though, Medievil is a game that shows its age at almost every turn, groaning and bemoaning its luck much like our plucky hero Sir Dan.