Ultimately, Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker marked the end of an era. Plot threads from A Realm Reborn onward come to a close. The story is rife with fanfare, paying homage to past expansions in ways that sometimes feel overmuch or hit in just the right way.
Oink Games’ line of analog titles is all about packing value into an attractive, portable package. It makes sense, then, that Let’s Play! Oink Games is similarly slick. The collection, out now, includes four of the studio’s most popular releases, packaged up for both local and online play.
Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon ticks all sorts of boxes. It is absolutely a puzzle game. You need to deal with falling “blocks” in a timely fashion. It also feels like an action-RPG. You need to consider your health, your equipment, and the amount of damage you’ll take. Roguelike elements come up too, due to being kicked back to camp when you die and opportunities to unlock relics for future runs.
Fortunately for fans of the genre who might look to review potential new games for their libraries, Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani is a game with exceptional characters. It’s handled well, with great interactions and lore. The result is a visual novel that’s is a blast to play.
But of all the ones I’ve played, and consider that includes every localized Otomate game so far, Cupid Parasite is the one that best embraces the absurdity of the situation. It gets absolutely bonkers, which makes it all the more amusing and appealing.
Galdra Studio’s Arcadia Fallen is that sort. It attempts to take people on an adventure while challenging them with some puzzles and offering opportunities to bond with (and romance) allies. However, it also provides a chance to shape a protagonist’s personality with answers, have multiple “correct” answers, and shape a story while letting someone be themselves. While it might not be entirely revolutionary, it accomplishes its goals and tells an interesting story.
This has been the year of me playing games I’d usually never pick up and going, “Wow, this is a good game!” So let me begin this review with this — Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi is a good game that fell completely under my radar. From developer Experience, Undernauts is your typical dungeon RPG, but that doesn’t mean it’s your average DRPG.
lue Reflection: Second Light, which is essentially Blue Reflection 2, is a game of many mysteries. Why did Ao and a number of other girls wake up to find themselves in a deserted school? Where are they? What caused them to lose their memories? How is it that some young women can turn into magical girls called Reflectors? While the players possess as little insight as them (unless they played or watched previous Blue Reflection stories), Gust’s latest is good at doling things out in a surprisingly relaxed way.
Shin Megami Tensei V is an incredible and memorable experience. It does some extraordinary things, both in terms of gameplay and its story. I’d even say the experience could be daunting, but in the most positive way. It is going to test you and make you think.
A lot of puzzle games involve finding the right place for things. In Tetris, you try to organize tetrominos to create perfect rows. In Puyo Puyo, you want the puyos to fall into the right places to trigger combos. Upon closer review, Unpacking is a game that is sort of similar, though the item placement involves no competition, no stress, and almost no worries about doing things “wrong.”
Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars, the new game from NieR creator Yoko Taro, is a peculiar little game. It knows what it wants to be! And its aesthetics definitely come first. But if you’re at home in its slower pace and tavern feel, you’ll have a good time.
Impostor Factory is a surprisingly beautiful game that questions what it means to have a meaningful life. It tells a cyclical narrative that still manages to feel honest and emotionally raw. It works best if you go into it with as little information as possible, so I won’t say much more than that on how the story unfolds.
There’s so much to Dungeon Encounters. People might not even notice at a first glance. But the systems at play are so compelling and rewarding. Finding a new item. Beating a party of foes that stumped you before. Managing to track down a wandering adventure. Saving a party of fallen allies that died earlier because you overestimated your abilities. It’s enthralling.
Like its predecessor, The Caligula Effect 2’s greatest sin is that it is entirely average. The soundtrack is incredible, to be certain. Progress is clear, given that the dungeons work so much better. The general story feels stronger as well. But the supplemental elements, generic enemies, and need to only take advantage of the tactical parts of battle when facing bosses leave it feeling a bit lackluster.
Metroid Dread is constantly offering a player a challenge, then providing an appropriate reward for their efforts. It forces you to be better. You’re put in situations where it will be difficult, but paying attention and trying usually means you can get through it.