The best way to sum up Post Void in any meaningful way would be ‘if Quentin Tarantino had somehow developed Doom instead of directing films’. The game has all the hallmarks of the director’s early works; it’s ultra-violent, hyper visceral and littered with barefoot baddies in sharp suits. The arcade style of short, sweet and brutal gameplay, rather than producing a lengthy campaign is a bold choice, and while your mileage may vary, I felt Post Void was the perfect bite-sized shooter that offered up a lot of fun despite its short runtime. The gameplay is engaging and snappy enough to the point I didn’t care about the game only being an hour long, or the repetitive soundtrack pumping in my ears like a German discotech. All I wanted to do was run through the myriad of creatures with a shotgun and make it as far as possible before being sent back to the beginning. Even now I can feel myself being drawn back for just one more hop through Post Void’s grotesque world…
Pocket Bravery charges into an arena full of heavyweights and manages to land a few convincing blows, proving there is room for the little guy in the land of the giants. The Neo Geo-inspired visuals sock you in the mouth as soon as the bell rings, and the soundtrack and character design land as a flurry of blows throughout too. There’s an impressive number of modes to entertain a single player, including a wonderful tutorial and training mode, but sadly, you may be hard pressed to find any folks to play with online, which severely hampers the long term appeal and hurts my willingness to recommend it, in spite of all positives. Ultimately, Pocket Bravery can’t lift the championship belt, but boy, does it land a few haymakers along the way.
I would strongly recommend Dave the Diver to anyone who enjoys adventure/explorer games – especially if they are fans of retro graphics and some really daft, but excellent, comedy. Having already sunk a good 25-hours into the game, I still feel like I have so much more to do and am really looking forward to seeing what other surprises I can unearth. So come on, jump in! The water is warm… and there’s only a few sharks.
Thanks to its focus on the new powers, rather than progressing the story in any meaningful way, Lightfall ends up being a flat experience that leaves you wanting more. It doesn’t help that the Light vs Dark story, which has been building for the best part of a decade, is in its endgame. It also doesn’t help that the expansion has to live up to the incredible add-on that was released the year prior. There are good points to be found in Lightfall like the setting and the new Strand ability but as far as it being essential to the story, I’m not so sure.
Throughout my time with Bayonetta 3, it felt that the game was always on the cusp of setting my Switch on fire, but thankfully my house is still standing and the slick performance was intact. The story is as bonkers as the rest of the series, raising the stakes to a level that’s on par with the latest Marvel movies and while I do think that it is a little try-hard in some areas, we still have another great hack ‘n’ slash from Platinum Games. Bayonetta 3 might have taken a thousand years to arrive, but thankfully it's bloody good fun and is a fitting addition to the franchise.
The Pale Reach DLC adds another solid level to an already excellent game, bulking up the playtime of Dredge by another couple of hours and offering some great new equipment options for captains exploring the Eldritch seas. The content loses some impact if you’ve already completed the rest of the game, as you won’t really enjoy the longer term benefits of the new gear, but if you loved the original game (like I did), The Pale Reach offers the opportunity to enjoy more wonderfully grisly storytelling from Black Salt Games. For players yet to pick up Dredge, I’ll fly the flag for buying The Pale Reach alongside the main title, as this icy tale and additional kit will add plenty to your experience.
Makis Adventure is the inaugural project from a young solo-developer and honestly, it plays as such. The love for the project pours from every pixel, but from a pure gaming perspective, it’s a little all over the map. Essentially, this is a small collection of mini-games held together by a rudimentary story and basic cast of characters, created by a passionate dev looking to test a variety of skills for the first time. Makis Adventure is limited in what it offers to a player, but can act as a stepping stone for Zoroarts to create bigger, more polished projects in the future, and we wish Matteo Covic all the best as he continues his journey through game development!
The rest of the game is full of profanity to the point Limp Bizkit would have to call their mums to apologise, and at points, the excellent story pivoted into pure juvenility. I’m not sure if this was a mistranslation or if Suda51 intentionally tried to cause outrage, but in any case, it just feels like it’s trying too hard, which in my eyes is more offensive than actually offending the player by including boob jokes, or multiple F-bombs. It would have been more impactful if the game’s jokes landed in any way, or if there was a reason behind what was being said, but that certainly wasn’t the case. The 25th Ward: The Silver Case is a tale of two halves: the first being a well-written murder mystery that dives head-first into the surreal and is a joy to watch, and the second half is like a petulant teenager who is trying to cause a ruckus because they didn’t get enough attention growing up. The plot though saves the game and managed to captivate me enough to explore every single ending. Even though I had no idea what was going on half the time, I still had to play until it was complete to get closure on the story. The visual novel playstyle isn’t for everyone but if you can put that, and the crass humour to one side, The 25th Ward: The Silver Case is one hell of a strange game to behold.
Source of Madness is one game that stands out from the ever-growing roguelike crowd. The very nature of the genre means that there is a long grind in front of players but the team at Carry Castle has done an excellent job at making sure the gameplay is as engaging as it can be. Restarting over, over, over and over again never feels like a chore, rather it sets a target for you to beat. Sure, Source of Madness has its flaws, particularly the odd enemy design and vague story, but if you are in the market for something that is super accessible, easygoing and looks as gothy as a Tim Burton film, then Source of Madness is a game I’d recommend.
For anyone yet to pick up this great title by COWCAT, I highly recommend not sitting on it. It may not be the most multifaceted of games, nor the most strenuous, but it has plenty of heart and a ton of character, the story is solid and the investigations are fun to solve. At roughly 14+ hours to complete, it doesn’t require a large commitment, so you can continue to grind those Battlepasses (looking at you, Overwatch!) and then wind down at the end of the day with our resident reptilian, BROK the InvestiGator!
The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is a faithful port of a PSP classic. It ticks all of the boxes for a typical noughties JRPG that offers a tonne of nostalgia for fans of the genre, but with an arcade action-adventure style that brings a fun pick-up-and-play vibe for a broader audience. That said, it’s a game that shows its considerable age; with few modern improvements added, players may well grow tired of the formulaic gameplay long before the heavily padded content is complete.
Overall I’d say I am on the fence with Crowns and Pawns: Kingdom of Deceit. For a seasoned Point-n-Click gamer, this is one that I’d skip, as you’d likely get more enjoyment elsewhere. But if you are someone new to the genre or newer to gaming in general, it will be a good introductory game to learn the mechanics and the relative pathway these games usually take. (Once you get past some of the less engaging parts and the corny dialogue anyway.)
Terminator Resistance: Complete Edition ticks a lot of boxes, the story of what happens post-Judgement Day fills in some of the gaps left by James Cameron’s original works and the first few levels where you are stalked by the machines are absolutely brilliant. It’s unfortunate that the game quickly becomes a by-the-numbers shooter with its baffling AI, bland environments and dull gameplay. The included DLC does help matters a little, with the Infiltrator Mode being a short-lived highlight, but unless you’re a diehard Terminator fan, it’s probably not for you.
After all these years, Another World still tells a great tale and is chock full of exciting moments - I had a tonne of fun with it, but it’s such a product of its era that I fear it’s unlikely to endear itself to modern audiences especially well. The original pixel art visuals may shine in the retro-renaissance we’re living through, but the 3D cinematics look thoroughly ancient and the entire runtime is shorter than a modern tutorial once you know what to do. If you’re a fan of old school experiences and want to play a shining example of adventure from a bygone era then give Another World a try, just be prepared for endless trial and error and more “gotcha” moments than an M. Night Shyamalan marathon.
Everspace 2 then is overall a competent space-combat based looter-shooter in the sheepskin of a space-combat sim. Come to it knowing what to expect and there’s a good few dozen hours of simple fun to be had, but I’m not convinced it has the systemic depth to truly rival either the looter-shooter or space-sim heavyweights on their own turf.
I can’t stress how satisfying Rayland 2 was while I was playing it, especially in the later levels, when multiple lasers of different colours were introduced and the difficulty became challenging. The trouble is that the game leaves you wanting more and not in a great way. The minimalist features are a little too bare bones, and the number of puzzles is simply not enough as the game can be beaten quickly. That being said, while it lasts, Rayland 2 has a simple concept that excels at testing the abilities of all players, and those looking for a tough-but-not-taxing puzzle game will definitely find it here.
Oxenfree II: Lost Signals is a wonderful advertisement for games absolutely competing with movies -and even books- at telling a meaningful and engaging story. With a tremendous voice-cast, a heartfelt script and impactful dialogue options, Oxenfree II puts you firmly in the position of ‘captivated audience member’ and ‘engaged player’ at the same time. Fans of the original game will be treated to equally lovely visuals and atmospheric soundtrack as those boasted by the first Oxenfree, but I did get the feeling that the similarities are perhaps a little too strong, with the unique gameplay elements that made the original so memorable not quite having the same impact the second time around.