Orcs Must Die! 3 isn’t much of a step (let alone, a leap) forward from the last installment, but after eight years maybe it’s just enough to remind people that hey, this fun fantasy franchise is still alive and kicking. It has modest ambitions but it’s certainly not a disappointing installment, and Orc Must Die! 3’s blend of action, tower defense and puzzle-solving remains unique and entertaining.
Whether or not it’s worth it for your new system, is probably up to whether or not you’ve played it before. The additions to the main game include some extra playtime, and the graphical upgrades make it a smoother running experience, but I don’t know if it’s worth a brand new purchase of the game. However, if you haven’t played Observer: System Redux yet, this new version is the PERFECT way to get your hands dirty in this cyberpunk murder mystery.
It’s hard to believe this game was released originally five years ago. However, the sentiments about loneliness, love, and what it means to be alive and human are still incredibly prevalent today. For those who want a more narrative-focused experience with a bit of gameplay set amongst a romantic Sci-fi theme, I would certainly recommend this game to you. It’s an incredibly endearing adventure, and with two different endings and multiple love interests, I would say doing more than one play-through is absolutely worth it.
Setting aside it coming from such a small team, I think The Ascent is miraculous in a couple of ways. First, the detailed world-building, environmental storytelling, and atmosphere are maybe the best expression of the cyberpunk aesthetic I’ve ever seen in a game. Second, the developers have seemingly cataloged every annoying mechanic in RPGs and action games — from death to rapid travel to inventory management — and found a way to make them less onerous or disappear altogether. The Ascent is not an easy game, either mechanically or thematically, but it is completely engaging if for no other reason than to see into a very convincingly realized future.
Hell Let Loose is built for hardcore multiplayer shooter fans with a desire to move away from the casual and sometimes irrelevant teamwork that makes easier games well, easier. Hell Let Loose demands commitment, cooperation, and enough patience to learn the game through several hours of painful, frequent death and have a genuine willingness to contribute to a squad instead of being a lone hero. Meet these requirements and you’re in for a singular and memorable battlefield simulation.
It’s difficult to know who Ayo the Clown was made for. The game’s visuals and story were clearly made with a younger audience in mind. Yet, the gameplay can get so frustratingly difficult, especially during boss fights, that I can’t imagine any kids wanting to play it. My oldest played a couple of levels but got bored. My middle child played a couple of levels and got frustrated because he couldn’t get the jump ability. I played the first half of the game on medium, but the boss fights were just so poorly designed, I ended up turning the difficulty down to easy to finish the game. If you’re desperate for a platformer, you might find some redeeming qualities here. Overall, the game took me under 5 hours to beat, but completionists might need an extra few hours. This game could have been something exceptional, and hopefully, the devs take this criticism as an opportunity to add more polish to the game with future updates.
Chernobylite certainly has ambitions beyond being a rote shooter and although not everything meshes and the gears of its systems sometimes grind, the setting feels authentically haunted and foreboding. There’s a lot going on in Chernobylite, and sometimes the melancholic love story at the center gets buried under unnecessary game play complications, tepid combat or shifts of tone. In other words, it’s all still a bit messy but interesting and worth playing for shooter, RPG or horror fans, especially those fascinated by this particular moment in modern history.
Unbound: Worlds Apart is an excellent Metroidvania that is a must for fans of the genre. The imaginative use of the ever-evolving portals ensures that each area feels unique, helping to create a great sense of pace. Although there are some performance issues, they don’t spoil the beautiful adventure through this grand, fantasy world.
It is not often that a game attempts to fuse elements from so many genres. Usually, the result weakens the overall experience but Tribes of Midgard is that rare exception, a game in which all the disparate parts resonate and reinforce each other. The early levels can grow a bit repetitive but exploration, crafting, and combat continue to engage throughout. Tribes of Midgard should appeal to fans of action RPGs, survival games, co-op PvE and of course, the rich tapestry of Viking combat, lore, and culture.
Grinding is a pretty delicate balance in games. If you include too much, or not enough, or the wrong kind, you can really throw people for a loop. Blightbound upsets that careful balance, but only slightly. But that’s all it takes! If the pacing, or the difficulty, or the drop rate fall out of sync, you can end up in a nasty slog. All the separate pieces are present, they just don’t hang together quite right, at least not for me.