I can’t be too upset, though, as Finding the Flowzone is OlliOlli World at its absolute peak, something I thought it had already hit way back in March. If this is the end of OlliOlli World, at least it went out like it lived - radically.
In terms of difficulty, it felt well-balanced. For someone smarter than me - and with good reflexes - aspects of it may feel too easy, but I found it well pitched. I struggled in a couple of areas but was able to overcome the challenges with a little practice and time. My only real complaint was that a couple of the puzzles were a little difficult due to me struggling to spot the colour differences in some beams that indicated if the power was too low, too high, or just right. However, this is a very minor thing, and I played a beta version, so there’s still a chance for things to change.
Even though the two new elements were a bit of a let down, I'd still thoroughly recommend new players try out Bugsnax as it comes to its new platforms, as it’s a delightfully whimsical take on the catch-'em-up, and the narrative goes to strange, dark places - although it perhaps doesn't commit to the bit as much as it should. Bugsnax is a great game for newcomers, no doubt. For returning players? Well, don't expect much from the new customisation of your house, and while the Bigsnax are just Bugsnax by a slightly different name, if you liked Bugsnax and you want to catch more tasty critters, the DLC has some creative new creatures for you to sink your teeth into.
End of Dragons might not have changed Guild Wars 2 as we long-time fans know it. That can be a really disappointing feeling, especially after the highs of the last two expansions. However, End of Dragons does take the time to improve on all the reasons that I consider Guild Wars 2 to be one of the best MMORPGs available today.
Truthfully, the only kind of person I can recommend this game to is a diehard Sword Art Online superfan who has never played a JRPG (or honestly, any other video game) in their life and therefore has no basis to compare the trainwreck that is Alicization Lycoris to anything else that has substance. Otherwise, just watch the anime. Or play a different game.
Little Witch Nobeta is not for me, but then I’m not certain who it is for. It is a catastrophic fumbling of the bag with a narrative that makes no sense, combat that feels far too basic, puzzles that don’t even warrant a mention, and a distinctly unappealing target demographic. The only magic I want from Nobeta is a disappearing act.
Even with PlatinumGames’ signature combat and some mechanics brought in from its past work, Babylon’s Fall babylon-falls short in every department. Any hopes I had were quickly dragged down by wonky combat mechanics, a below-average narrative, poor graphics, and even worse aesthetic choices that only make the whole experience even more unenjoyable and frustrating. Babylon’s Fall is a poor attempt at a cash grab that doesn’t even get that right - no one is going to want to spend money on it.
It’s disappointing to see a project that had potential come up short, but if like me you were anticipating the launch of Untamed Tactics, it turned out to be far from what we were hoping for. The game’s biggest selling point could have been a dynamic Parley System with witty banter and opportunities for hidden characters and plotlines, but like the rest of the title it falls disappointingly flat.
Fashion Dreamer was never going to be a Game of the Year candidate, however it did have the tools to be a favourite game for many. On a purely technical level it runs smoothly (as smoothly as games ever do on Switch), but with its aimless story, lack of depth, oddly colourless world, and misguided focus on influencer culture means it finds itself as one of 2023's worst dressed instead.
If you love Crash Bandicoot and you've been waiting years for what once was Wumpa League, there's probably just enough there to convince you that this is a good game. But it's not. It's a bad game. They shouldn't have made Crash Bandicoot into this thing, and deep down all of us know it.
Redfall isn’t a total disaster, and there’s fun to be had in slaying vampires, especially with a couple of friends. But to call Redfall a shallow experience would be an understatement. I’m happy to loot and shoot and make my own fun, but there still needs to be something there to pull me through it. Nothing in Redfall, from the loot to the characters to the exploration to the power climb, ever made me want to keep playing, or feel like there was something more to achieve. No amount of bug fixes or updates will be able to improve Redfall’s fundamental gameplay flaws. It’s not just rough around the edges, it’s rutted all the way through.
Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is a disappointing remaster that fails to hide its age under the pretty mask of shiny new character models. While the concept and story are intriguing, they’re impossible to enjoy when you have to wade through the awkward, clunky gameplay at such a snail’s pace. This one was better left on the Wii.
For everything Digimon World: Next Order offers, there is something better. If you want monster-taming, Pokemon and Monster Rancher are right there. If you want specifically Digimon, Cyber Sleuth and Survive are more than enough to have your fill. If you want anything other than wonky pacing, shallow combat, and frequently cringeworthy writing, Next Order probably isn’t for you.
Perish could’ve brought Hexen and Heretic’s medieval boomer shooter vibes kicking and screaming into the 21st century to the tune of howling metal riffs, topped off with a roguelite twist. However, it offers little to incentivise you to go back for replays. Every death feels like starting the whole game over from scratch, with so little changing that each run turns into a chore. The striking set-pieces, like the twisted Herculean monster, with a cage of heads for a, well… head, crumbling the moon just to beat you, are fantastic, but they’re too few and far between to justify Perish making you start from scratch and slogging through shallow mechanics to reach those exciting moments.
High on Life just isn’t very good, and there’s not much more to say. I think a lot of people are taking the route of ‘well, if you love this humour you might enjoy it’, but I already do love this humour and I did not enjoy it. It’s the ghost of video games past, with boring shooting and a bafflingly slim progression loop propped up by bad jokes that feel like some bros on a podcast writing their own Interdimensional Cable skits. It’s free on Game Pass, but your time on this planet is precious. Give this one a miss.
Shadows of Rose is a shorter, worse version of Resident Evil Village. It’s so committed to recreating a micro-version of Village and following it beat-for-beat that it even copies its major flaws. It concludes in the same location with the same info-dump of lore that quickly wraps up all the loose threads. It ends with the same boss fight (somehow even clunkier and more frustrating this time), and unbelievably, also ends with the exact same cutscene. The scene where Rose visits her father’s grave at the end of Village isn’t the start of Shadows of Rose - it’s the end of it. There’s no new context that makes this scene more meaningful, and in fact, that weird line where the driver calls her Eveline is an even more bizarre thing to say after these events. Capcom is quickly running out of Resident Evil games to remake, and this expansion didn’t give me a lot of hope for the future.