All in all, I say this is a great game to pick up if you're a fan of the genre. It's endlessly charming, and a real breath of fresh air in terms of its style and gameplay loop. On Spry Fox's website, they claim they "want to make the world a happier place" with games, and I say they have more than achieved that goal.
The 1.02 patch just went live, but console players are still reporting that it's not fixing a majority of the problems, especially progression blockers. Unfortunately it seems like a situation we'll have to wait out, and just hope that ZA/UM is able to fix the issues. This game really is a must-play for anyone who loves storytelling or the RPG genre - that is if you're on PC, or if you can wait for subsequent patches for console versions. In spite of everything though, Disco Elysium's twisting, tumbling adventure is one worth waiting for.
That's not to say Spacebase Startopia is a bad game, it's just something of a disappointment. At best, it feels like a remake that makes a few missteps. It's a forgery at worst. If you really want more Startopia but can't stand to look at its dated graphics, there's definitely something for you here. Otherwise, you're better off docking with a different donut.
There are some cobwebs to shake out of Oddworld: Soulstorm, and some that will remain even after a hot shower, but you'd be hard-pressed to name very many games that are doing what this series is doing in 2021. I'm glad that Oddworld Inhabitants is still around, doing their weird and interesting thing.
It's a lower bar to clear to be sure, but People Can Fly delivered what Bungie and other studios can't seem to do these days: a complete $60 game. Outriders is a flawed looter shooter that can fall into a rut with its core looting loop, but the gunplay is fun, and that's a decent-sized win. If you can grab two other people to recruit via Game Pass, it's a great way to spend some time.
Simply put, it's a title that knows what it is and seems to hit all its targets with deadly precision. This results in a game that isn't exactly transcendental, but is as solid as bedrock. Even if you're not a fan of the Record of Lodoss War source material, it is worth a look. At the very least, it took me back to my days of binging on Castlevania's Game Boy and DS titles, which I mean as a compliment. It may not be the freshest meal in the cafeteria, but it's still a tasty dish at the right price.
Like I said at the top of this review, your enjoyment of Balan Wonderworld is going to depend on your tolerance for primitive 3D level design. Strip away the unnecessary costumes and their poorly implemented management system - and fire those Balan's Bouts into the sun - and you might have a nice throwback to a more experimental time of platform gaming, one that would be easier to recommend. But sadly, you can't just strip those elements away. They're here, and they're ruining what is otherwise an enjoyable rewind to the golden era of the mascot platformer.
It comes across as a diabolical labor of love. The game is obviously made by people who cared for the property, as it conserves everything that was great about the original title while tightening the screws on the old doomsday device. Even without the multiple campaigns, it's a ridiculously long game. But the fact that I was rarely annoyed or bored, while continuously finding new elements to love, is a testament to how well-executed the sequel is. If the first game wasn't diabolical enough for you, this one should scratch that evil itch a bit better.
By zipping through the creation of life itself, you might just find answers to why someone has been shot and how to stop it. Though some puzzles and controls can get pretty frustrating, the adventure itself is the draw, and with Genesis Noir, it's a beautiful trip through primordial creation worth taking. If you're eager to see what kind of stylish, inventive ways developers are finding to tell stories in games, this hard-boiled trip is worth the ticket.