Umurangi Generation's vibrant ambience validates the rebellion of its doomed youth culture. It also renders the player a transient witness to a surging tragedy. Umurangi Generation's key is its camera, as it allows its protagonist and its player the agency to access and capture a world beyond their control. It creates a vantage point untended since Jet Set Radio, and Umurangi Generation didn't even need skates or spray paint to get there.
Volume One of Tales From Off-Peak City is an escalating procession of existential crises staged through instances of gentrification, corporatism, and pizza delivery. It's a kitschy nightmare laundered through eccentric characters and their bizarre conditions and the product is a surreal but eloquent presentation on preventable social decay. A single city block and a couple of hours is all Tales From Off-Peak City needs to tell a grotesque, distinctive story.
80's Overdrive asserts that Out Run's combination of breakneck racing and frantic traffic negotiation will fit neatly inside the progression-focused model of a modern game. It doesn't, and 80's Overdrive almost runs out of gas before it reaches a comfortable destination. All the lavish neon and thumping synthwave in the world can't help 80's Overdrive make twenty minutes last six hours.
Pattern's blossoming world and ethereal music, forever trapped in a constant state of flux, are pathways to understanding the ambiguous complexion of the creative process. It suggests that ideas can be transitory as it explores the rivalry between indecision and confidence. The limitations are clear, by Pattern's own admission it's a fleeing experience, but with it comes the power to articulate one of the more abstruse processes of the imagination.
DOOM Eternal is one of the most exhilarating first-person shooters in recent years. Hesitation is punished but fleet-footed and aggressive players who love a challenge are rewarded with the viscera of a demon bloodbath and spectacularly hellish worlds.
Spongebob: Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated doesn't reinvent the wheel when it comes to platforming, and much of its gameplay feels every bit as old as its 2003 counterpart. But what Rehydrated gets right is preserving what made the original so special, while also bringing the visuals up to date in dazzling fashion.
Paper Beast allows players to lose themselves inside pastel daydreams of soft shapes and delicate zoology. They could also lose patience with some tedious mechanics and suspicious tests of logic. Paper Beast is full of gratifying ingenuity, beautiful optimism, and elegant communication. And maybe an overabundance of zealous whimsy.