With elements and features that allow players to truly take their time playing, Garden Story is an excellent choice for those looking for an easygoing game. Although some core activities can get tedious due to the system design, and gardening and building could have been more fun or at least more purposeful, it has been a wonderfully pleasant journey on the whole. From the melodious music to the pleasing pixel art and cute characters, there is plenty to savor in this game.
Besides its stylish cutscenes and bold color palette, Fire Tonight has little to offer. The gameplay is simplistic while the characters and story have no chance to develop over the game’s paltry one-hour runtime. Even at the budget price of $5.99, I don’t think Fire Tonight is worth it.
Lost Judgment feels like a worthy successor to the original. While I feel it’s a great story, perhaps it doesn’t live up to Judgment as a crime thriller. In its place, it makes notable improvements in gameplay and brings in some new elements. I really enjoyed it, but certainly recommend that you go and play the first title, then come back and play this one.
While I have my complaints about the Eternal Cylinder, I'm ultimately glad I played it. It takes a bit to get going, can meander at times, and the storytelling often frustrated me. It also consistently nails the most important moments, and by the time the credits rolled, I realized The Eternal Cylinder had been something special that I’ll remember for a long time. Maybe The Eternal Cylinder isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s an experience unlike anything else--one well worth having despite its flaws.
Metroid Dread is one of the finest games to release this year. It not only encapsulates everything that makes Metroid, Metroid, but it does so in a way that feels new and fresh. Dread stands on its own two feet and demands to be played. The genre has been missing its namesake for far too long now, so I am happy to say that Dread is a worthy crown-bearer. I hope to see more from Samus, Nintendo, and Mercury Stream in the future.
Chernobylite is a great game that has suffered through the porting process. While held back by some ideas that were only partially baked, it still offers a good ol' Chernobyl time. I would just suggest playing it on a PC and using mods to tidy up aspects, along with hopefully much better performance.
Xuan Yuan Sword 7’s biggest sin is that it’s boring. Really boring. It might look nice, sound great, and be steeped in culture, but actually playing is closer to a chore than anything else. It’s also really long, coming in at 20+ hours. The gameplay on offer here can barely sustain a game half – or even a quarter – of that length. This is scratching at the heels of mediocrity, and it’s not with the time.
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is a roaring success and a fitting anniversary title for a mostly forgotten series. When it comes to fun, challenge, and charm, Banana Mania delivers in spades. It’s a crying shame about a lack of online, even if the leaderboards were a neat inclusion. I don’t think I have smiled, raged, paddied, and cheered this much in any other game this year. It’s a good time to monkey around, and I am excited to see what the future holds for the series.
Harem Kingdom is a laugh-out-loud comedy. I’d not say to come here for the story, but you get to know some rather interesting characters and have fun along the way. It’s a fantasy where you get whisked away to another world, but instead of fighting and adventuring like most isekai stories, you get to relax and enjoy yourself.
Overall, The Medium left me with feelings of general frustration. Not at the quality of the game, or the mechanics themselves, but the length of the ride. The game is simply too long and the vast majority of my issues are a result of the core game growing stale, or the story being broken up by long stretches of nothing. All that being said, I had a good time with The Medium. It’s not something I’d recommend people rush out and buy at full price, but it’s certainly a game worth experiencing.