Renai X Royale - Love's a Battle had me laughing from start to finish. It won’t be for everyone with its fourth-wall breaking and focus on comedic characters over romance routes, but it’s a ton of fun. I really appreciated how even side characters had their moments to shine too.
Metal: Hellsinger was an adrenaline-fuelled experience that left me with a smile and a sore neck each time I turned the game on. It managed to not only present me with a visceral and focused First Person Shooter, but also my current musical obsession. The gameplay gave me no middle ground in the best way and pushed me to play better with each trial and difficulty setting. Initially, if I couldn’t catch the beat I’d play very poorly, but once it clicked with me I’d find myself headbanging, foot stomping, and playing with all the ferocity of Slayer possessed by Lucifer Morningstar himself. Metal: Hellsinger is quite possibly the game I’ve needed ever since Doom Eternal’s curtains closed and I for one throw the devil horns into the heavens at the prospect of more to come.
Radiant Silvergun is a legendary title for a reason. It's addictive, it rewards your time, and it offers players an experience that initially would seem quite routine at first, but it isn't long until the depth shines through and it has its hooks in you. Treasure is an iconic developer, and with titles like this under their belt, you can see why. It's a perfect blend of home and arcade experience that deserves to stand next to the better-known Ikaruga as an all-time great. It shouldn't just be famous for its price tag.
Splatoon 3 is an incredible game that further evolves an awesome twist on the competitive shooter genre. Unfortunately, it’s let down by what is perhaps its most important component, the terrible and limiting online functionality. Luckily, the game is fun enough that I think legging through the exhausting online problems is worth it, and it has an excellent single-player mode to keep you occupied as well. Expressive, vibrant, and endlessly indulgent in its uniqueness, Splatoon 3 is very much a worthy follow-up to its predecessors.
SD Gundam Battle Alliance is a good action RPG wrapped in even better Gundam fanservice wrapping paper and served up in a way that makes sharing the treat the best way to experience it. It can be a little grindy, a little cute, and displays some practices that I just can't get behind. Despite that, the core gameplay and fan service are just too good for me to refuse that itch of "one more go".
The current Switch build of No Place for Bravery is so buried under technical problems that you should stay far away. But if and when the problems are fixed? I wasn’t able to see the end of No Place for Bravery, making it difficult to fully evaluate. It certainly has some good pieces: great art, a strong concept, and satisfying combat. Maybe that’s enough for it to be worth a shot. Still, from what I did see, it’s hard not to feel that with a bit more thought and care No Place for Bravery could have been a much better game than it is.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero is yet another solid game in Falcom’s rich legacy of RPGs. Issues like the lack of an English dub, slow game speed, and the strange sidequest system add up and do bring the experience down somewhat. Despite these issues, Trails from Zero is a game that manages to successfully and smartly craft an experience that stands out from its contemporaries.
Dyschronia: Chronos Alternate – Episode 1 has a fascinating world and engaging mysteries to solve. It hooked me from the start and just kept getting better. While the other games in the wider franchise use time looping, it does it here in a much more interesting way. While I did bring up a few issues, Dyschronia: Chronos Alternate – Episode 1 is a story worth experiencing. I’m looking forward to seeing what Episodes 2 and 3 bring.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R is a much better fighting game than it was on its original release. The various gameplay tweaks and the increase to 60fps on current-gen and PC bring this underrated title to life. Unfortunately lackluster online multiplayer and lack of new characters do knock this down somewhat, but if you haven't already owned the original and are newly into JoJo you'd be downright bizarre to sit this title out.
The simple things here are just okay, though they’re fairly standard. On the whole, and whilst I can’t quite put my finger on it, something feels stale with Aeterna Noctis — “Limp” even. What makes metroidvania’s so fun is not merely the challenge but the pace, reward, and sense of impact your upgrades give you. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, Aeterna Noctis tipped the scales heavily in favor of repetitive challenge that rarely feels rewarding to overcome.
Warriors Orochi 3: Ultimate Definitive Edition is a strong remastering effort of what is one of the Musou franchise’s best entries. I was overwhelmed by the addictive and plentiful amounts of content on offer, as well as some frantic and varied gameplay. The few cracks that display the game’s age are small potatoes when stacked up to how much of a blast it all is. If you want a quintessential Musou game that is practically never-ending, you’ve come to the right place.
Idol Manager is an enjoyable management simulator with a unique subject matter that hasn’t been seen in the genre before. The story has its moments, and any fan of idols will likely have a chuckle or make a grim nod at least once or twice. Additionally, it has some thoughtful difficulty and gameplay options in its free play mode that adds multiple ways for folks to enjoy a second or third playthrough. It does have some faults, most notably in its UI, but only so far as to be inconvenient. For fans of management sims and/or idol culture, Idol Manager is recommended.
Put together with some suspense here and much humor there, Enigmarella is a mature otome OELVN featuring a peculiar mystery, an angel and devil pair of love interests, and many memorable moments. Whether you walk down the aisle with the angelic fiancé or play with fire with the devilish suitor, there is no lack of differently flavored romance to relish. Characters are also full of life by virtue of their realistic characterizations, animated movements, and excellent voice artists, so much so they brighten up the otherwise uninspiring nautical steampunk world. Barring some minor annoyances with certain aspects of the game system and UI, a rich tale regarding friends and foes, adoration, and animosity nevertheless awaits anyone who is willing to plunge into the world of Enigmarella.
Arcade Paradise is a fantastic attempt at producing a simulation slash compilation title, but unfortunately has a few failings which stop it from being a World Warrior. The lack of punishment should you choose to neglect the Laundromat gives the game a real half-baked feel. Beyond that, the fact there isn't any representation for key arcade genres such as Fighting Games and Rail Shooters puts a downer on anyone whose arcade experience wasn't dominated by Match 3 puzzle games and Missile Command. Arcade Paradise is still a fun title and is an excellent stepping stone to what could be a true arcade gamer's paradise. It's part simulation, part retro, and full neon-soaked good time. Sadly, it just doesn't simulate the arcade experience I had and at times feels as deep as the shallow end of the shower.
Chenso Club comes with the highest of recommendations! Seriously, if you like retro games with a modern flare, get this game! The overwhelming sense of youthful glee that Chenso Club filled me with from the moment things kicked off is something I can’t see being surpassed any time soon. From start to finish, this game was a joy to have experienced.
Cult of the Lamb was one of those games that I just couldn’t put down. I completed it in about seventeen hours, but each time I played it started as intending to play for an hour and then not realizing that hours had passed. The combat is fun and always feels fresh. The base-building aspects give tons of choices in how you grow. More important, Cult of the Lamb ties these together in a way that kept me wanting that next improvement or to defeat the next stage.
If you enjoyed the original Making Lovers, you’ll enjoy Making Lovers After Stories. While it often focuses even more than the original on the comedy, there are still romantic moments here. In the end, it’s just a short collection of follow-up scenes and as long as you go in expecting that, you won’t be disappointed.
Featuring a decent number of cities and nice combinations of challenges, Mini Motorways is great when you are craving short bursts of puzzles as dynamic as the road traffic. This strategy simulation game is addicting and a half-an-hour session can easily stretch to a few hours as you attempt to “beat the traffic” and inch closer to yet another high score with “just one more try”. Its soundscape, like the vrooms and ticking of the changing traffic lights, is surprisingly relaxing and adds much intriguing flavor to the sleek minimalistic menu screens. While I do not feel particularly compelled to return to the game regularly for its daily or weekly challenges, my trips to the 14 cities were certainly fun while they lasted.
Kirby’s Dream Buffet was a pleasant surprise. It's budget-priced, and a lot of fun. It’s certainly no epic adventure like Kirby and the Forgotten Land, but it’s a great party game that’s kept casual and competitive enough for all ages to play.