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For all its faults, the game is still full of charm, hope, and a narrative worth telling. I finished Don’t Give Up similar to how I’ve personally persevered through my own bouts of depression: even though some things could have gone better, in the end I feel more positive and hopeful than when I started. And I think that’s the story the game really wants to tell.
With its beautiful visuals and solid combat mechanics, Star Renegades provides a solid strategic combat focused roguelite experience. With any roguelite, mileage will depend on the satisfaction gained from restarting each new loop. With story progression being minimal at best, figuring out how best to stagger an opponent is the main fuel that determines whether it’s worth sending that robot back in time, or just taking the first win and letting the rest of the multiverse deal with the Imperium threat on their own.
Gnosia on Nintendo Switch successfully creates a single player experience from the elements of the Werewolf style, social deduction genre that typically requires a group of people to play. The need for other human beings is made irrelevant by utilizing layers of randomly generated mechanics to control the actions of each individual character. A focus on an overall narrative and character development helps to keep the experience fresh during each subsequent playthrough, so long as the minimal variety of responses don’t grate on your nerves.
I am looking forward to spending many seasons in my own village of Littlewood. The ease of play and streamlined mechanics make it a near-perfect fantasy world to escape into a hectic day. It is Stardew Valley without the stress of time; Animal Crossing: New Horizon, without the byzantine limits to work through; Ultima Online without the threat of being killed by, well, everything.
Enjoyment of Fallen Legion largely comes down to whether fighting battle after battle continues to feel fresh and if the prospect of panic inducing boss fights elevates your heart rate in a good way. The story is interesting and learning the fate of both Rowena and Lucien provides a degree of motivation to continue but certainly isn’t enough if combat becomes to feel like a slog.
Undermine is an excellent and challenging rogue-like that fans of the genre will enjoy. While it is more approachable than some of its counterparts, it still demands time and effort from the player and may not be for everyone. The 16-bit aesthetic may be alluring to novices of the genre, but be aware that the game is deep and challenging and depends on the player’s commitment in order to achieve maximum enjoyment.
In the case of Ys IX: Monstrum Nox, this joy originates from the complete freedom of exploring the beautiful and fascinating city of Balduq, and from the never ending optimism and sense of wonderment from the main protagonist, Adol Christin. Mix in a well paced story filled with twists and turns and a combat system that perfectly straddles the line between precision and chaos, and you have an experience as carefully crafted as the seemingly endless prison that is the focal point of the story.
Most fall short of this lofty goal, but every so often a game like Cyber Shadow manages to capture that special feeling of 8-bit gaming so perfectly. Made by a single developer, Aarne Hunziker, and with the help of a publisher who also managed to capture the NES magic in a bottle in Yacht Club Games, Cyber Shadow is just as enjoyable as any of the legendary titles in two-button gaming.
If you’ve yet to experience the joys of playing a game that’s not afraid to be fun then this port to the Switch is a must have for any action fan especially at this price. Even with some minor drawbacks of the mediocre mini games and pointless driving, the style and combat keep you shaking your beam katana all night long.