Eldest Souls is one of the most beautiful indie games out there but the hurdle to get into it is far too high. The skill points handed out to upgrade your character do little to help while there is no room to learn the mechanics. The notorious Souls difficulty is only amplified in the boss-rush genre, which makes this a near-impossible entry-level game. For anyone who enjoys Dark Souls’ most difficult segments emphatically because of the challenge, Eldest Souls has a lot to love. But that’s just it - Eldest Souls is one for the die-hard fans and no one else.
It would be easy for someone to say that Omno does nothing new, but the reason it’s easy to say that is because it’s completely incorrect. Omno has plenty of imaginative and ingenious ideas - they’re just unfortunately hampered by more established ones that didn’t need to be there.
Playing Cris Tales is like reading an especially lyrical Paulo Coelho novel, except every ten pages or so, someone slaps it out of your hands. Then you realise some pages are out of order, and you need to flick through the seemingly random pattern before you continue. Also, some pages are so smudged and coffee stained you can’t read them, and a few pages haven’t been translated at all. When Cris Tales works, it’s a wonderful experience, and there’s a great game in here somewhere, but it sabotages itself at every turn. I’ll be keeping a close eye on Dreams Uncorporated - but Cris Tales is a near miss that looks to the future, while clinging too hard to the past.
Ultimately, though, The Forgotten City is one of those games that will inspire other games for years to come. It’s absurd to think it was mostly developed by a three-person team, and yet the clear, unanimous focus a team this small permits is evident throughout the entire game. It is clever not just in terms of its story or themes, but in how it packages and delivers those themes through one of the most inspired and tight gameplay loops I’ve seen in a long time.
NEO: The World Ends With You is the sequel we’ve been waiting for. While its new cast of characters have a lofty legacy to live up to, they manage to cement themselves as equally memorable even if their own journey begins to intersect with one we know so well. Combat falls victim to repetition, yet the ideas that surround it are substantial enough that such flaws are easy to forgive. If you’re after a vast JRPG adventure, it’s time to surrender yourself to the underground and never look back. TWEWY is back, and I hope it’s here to stay.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is a Godsend for AA fans, finally compiling and localising two games that the fanbase have been begging for. While the Ace Attorney formula hasn't actually been changed much, what is here is what the fans adore. Interactions with Herlock Sholmes manage to be a highlight, and uncovering mysteries through twisted testimonies is as satisfying as ever.
Microsoft Flight Simulator deserves to be played - but it shouldn't be considered essential. It's a unique experience, one that won't capture everyone in the same way, but you really do owe it to yourself to find your house, your partner's, your parent's, your favourite holiday destination, and just fly over. The world looks very different from thousands of feet in the air, and for now, Microsoft Flight Simulator is the only way I can get that irresistible point of view.
Pokemon Unite is weird. It both feels everything and nothing like Pokemon and nothing and everything like a MOBA. It’s not necessarily a balanced meeting point between these two ostensibly incomparable concepts - instead, it’s its own thing entirely. And, for the most part, this new, strange, messy hybrid works. Its misunderstanding of what makes it special in the first place is an unignorable aspect of an otherwise remarkable effort, and there will be people out there who are turned off by the overbearing presence of microtransactions, even if they don’t technically make the game pay-to-win.
There’s a lot to love in Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed, whether you’re a veteran or newcomer to the series. It looks and plays much like the games of yesteryear, but that’s what gives it much of its charm. You can definitely add Akihabara to my list of spots to visit when I finally make my way back to Japan. I’m no vampire demon, but perhaps I’ll wear an extra layer or two. You know, just in case.