I can’t stop playing Pokemon Unite and chain-queuing games because it’s so fun, but these issues are going to drive some people away and need to be addressed. It’s a shame a few of these problems exist with the monetization skeleton because they’re so easily fixable, and while targeting whales is a classic mobile strategy, I don’t think the general audience for Pokemon is going to stand for it long term.
NEO: The World Ends with You is a sequel worth waiting for. It brings together many of the best concepts from the DS original but in a more approachable and accessible experience. It may lack the lightning-in-a-bottle genius of its predecessor, but the 40+ hours I spent exploring Shibuya showed me this world doesn’t have to be complicated to be worthwhile.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles as a unified duology really captures everything that draws players into this series in the first place. It’s got big reveals and turnabouts, clever use of examinations and deductions, and a cast littered with memorable, endearing characters. Naruhodo’s journey through the legal system of London is one that’s been a series highlight. It’s nice to finally have these games in the West, as both a great onboarding point for newcomers and a nice treat for Ace Attorney fans. No objections here.
Cotton Reboot! is a very pretty and highly enjoyable remake of one of the shmup genre’s most pioneering cute ’em ups — as endearing today as it has ever been while featuring surprisingly deep mechanics for score attack fanatics. It’s a shame a threadbare package, a subjectively high price, and distracting visual issues frequently threaten to spoil the party. For dedicated shmup heads, however, Cotton Reboot is an enjoyable blast from the past that comfortably paves the way for the sweet series’ incoming revival.
Most of the time, though, it’s like playing a stripped-down version of Yakuza. You wander a Japanese neighborhood, shop, do side-quests, build up your character, much like in that venerated series. But then the combat sucks and the story is poorly paced. On the other hand, I can’t deny it grew on me. It feels like one of those janky, Japanese, early PS2 titles like Mr. Mosquito or Robot Alchemic Drive. It might not be the most fun to play, but it’s unique enough to captivate.
Zelda: Skyward Sword was a weird game to assess in 2011, much less today. It had a lot of great ideas undercut by some questionable design choices, but to some, it was the best Zelda ever made. I understand that $60 for a remaster of a 2011 game is a big ask, but this is the definitive version of a flawed yet fun adventure that should be part of any Zelda rotation.
Mario Golf: Super Rush is still a fairly solid golf experience, but it will need some of that aforementioned post-launch support to match up with previous sports spinoffs for me. It satisfies a craving for some arcade-style golf multiplayer, and I can see myself having some fun playing an 18-hole trek with friends online a few more times. I’m just hoping for some more reasons to keep me coming back.
Above all, I like the way that Boomerang X sprinkles in combat abilities and just-fussy-enough enemy types. It’s all layered on without needlessly complicating the whole thing. This game starts fun, and it ends fun. There’s no time for your mind to wander, or get twisted up trying to remember the controls, or feel too stressed out. It’s a great flow.
What Monster Hunter Stories as a whole truly offers is an expansive look into the Monster Hunter universe through a more welcoming lens. It’s not as deep (in ways that both hurt and help its case), but that’s by design. Just know what you’re getting into and you should have a fun time with Monster Hunter Stories 2.
I played Secret Agent HD pretty flat out. I ate through the episodes hungrily until I hit the end. For all its flaws, it’s an easy game to get sucked into. The levels are just short enough that I fell into the “just one more level” trap. The inclusion of leaderboards, additional difficulties, and a level editor help extend the game’s lifespan and breathe new life into it.