2928 Published Reviews
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2Switch
Inti Creates could've done "more of the same" and called it a day, but the new characters lend Curse of the Moon 2 a ton of flexibility, the co-op support is commendable, and the subtle refinements can be found far and wide if you go back to play the original game after spending a weekend with the sequel.
Ninjala definitely has the look of something I should be in love with. It's bright and colorful, and the world-building happening here is genuinely fun. What's not fun are the poorly implemented mechanics that can ruin the fast and fluid combat. There is a solid template for something great here, and if GungHo can iron out all its wrinkles, it might have a genuine blockbuster on its hands.
Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in DisguiseSwitch
It's a weird game to review because so many people are going to expect drastically different things. How many games force you to shave and send your clothes up for dry cleaning? How many times can you say that you hexed an old widow so that you could go bowling in the past...oh say decade or so? Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise is another trip. You've been warned.
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral TownSwitch
Despite its age, simplicity, and lack of embellishments, Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town proves the Bokujō Monogatari franchise has been on the money since the very beginning. Its content may feel a little sparse compared to its successors and competitors, but I can see myself returning to these lands long after the next harvest moon.
Pokémon Café MixiOS
Pokémon Café Mix is currently in that sweet spot where it's mostly harmless with only a few bits of frustration. The puzzle formula is entertaining enough to bring me back two or three times a day to try and get past those roadblocks, but really, I'm firing the app up far more often than that just to get a look at those delectable Pokémon dishes.
Marvel's Iron Man VRPS4
For every few moments in Iron Man VR that gave me an absolute rush, there were several that felt comfortably sterile. That's not the best ratio, but I'd definitely play more and I hope that Camouflaj gets their hands on Iron Man again: if only to see how they can top themselves and mend their mistakes.
The Almost GoneiOS
Like many recent indie games, The Almost Gone isn't afraid to tackle difficult subject matter. And like a lot of its fellow developers, Happy Volcano opts not to get too far into the weeds of the topics it covers. Certainly, there will be players who take the narrative to heart more passionately than I did, but I do find it a curious enough of an experience to recommend to mobile gamers looking for something more melancholy than the newest match-3 puzzler.
Borderlands 3: Bounty of Blood - A Fistful of RedemptionPC
It's not like Bounty of Blood is bad though, per se, as it contains a number of great knockout fights with several sprawling arenas. It's still a hell of a lot of fun to stomp through any environment in Borderlands 3, and there's a few fun sidequests afoot: one of which tasks players with looking for clues to suss out buried treasure. The town itself is also full of personality, serving as one of the more built-out hubs in recent Borderlands memory.
Goosebumps Dead of NightXbox One
That final act lasts around half an hour like the others and then you're done: Slappy's head pops off (not really a spoiler!) and then the credits abruptly roll. If you spent $40 bucks on it, it'll feel more chilling than most of Stine's actual tales. It's such a disappointment.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - RehydratedSwitch
With a remake, all of this, along with the often questionable level design, could have been corrected. But with SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated aiming to be as faithful to the original as possible, these issues only serve as a reminder of how much better the industry has become at making 3D platformers.
West of DeadPC
The aesthetic beauty of the game helps keep me going as well as the music but I only wish some more tweaking had been done to some of the shootout mechanics. If you pumped hours upon hours into Enter the Gungeon then chances are you'll find a similar grab in West of Dead, but be fair warned that there isn't as much polish here. If it helps, it is launching day one on Xbox Game Pass so if you have that you can try it as soon as it launches.
The Isle of ArmorSwitch
Surprise: Isle of Armor does not completely shake up the Pokemon formula. You're getting a very small narrative and another big interconnected Wild Area: that's pretty much the gist of it. With those expectations in check, you'll have a blast if you've been looking for an excuse to get back into the swing of chilling out with Sword and Shield.
There are a few small ways the developers could make great strides – full fast-travel, please! – and many more improvements that aren't quick fixes. I hope it gets there, though. As a farming simulation, Summer in Mara falls short, but dang if its sunny world and characters aren't pleasant to be around.
Command & Conquer RemasteredPC
Command & Conquer Remastered Collection is a masterclass in how to re-energise a classic title. There's no denying that the 25-year-old gameplay doesn't quite hold up to its modern contemporaries, but with over 100 missions, progressive options, revamped multiplayer, and full mod support, C&C Remastered is both a solid package and a proud testament to Westwood Studios' genre-defining work. Now, about Red Alert 2...
The Last of Us: Part IIPS4
Impressive effort with a few noticeable problems holding it back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.
If Beyond Blue didn't try its best to tell a personal narrative with a cast of characters, I still would've enjoyed it despite its simplicity as a game. Even though the aquatic simulation feels too surface-level at times, I can't deny the game's beautiful imagery, education-minded ambition, or tranquil appeal. I appreciate that the story gave me plenty of reasons to care about Mirai and enough quiet space to shake off some stress among the waves. It's a contemplative journey, one I can't help but recommend.
Disintegration is highly ambitious, and I think that over time a combination of free and paid DLC could shore up some of its weaknesses. Either way, I'm already looking forward to a potential Disintegration 2: this world is worth lingering in.
Shantae and the Seven SirensPS4
Shantae and the Seven Sirens is a compact, attractive, and agreeable adventure, but its muddled design lacks variety, innovation, and vital story engagement. As such, Seven Sirens feels like a sequel on auto-pilot, one that doesn't seize the opportunities offered by its exciting world and lively new cast, ultimately resulting in an entry that's good enough, but had the capacity to be truly magical.
As a hardcore shooter fan since the '90s, Valorant feels very well designed, and provides me with a rush I haven't gotten out of so many other big genre games in the past five years. But Valorant feels like it was meticulously designed in a laboratory to a fault. It's fitting given that Riot has over a decade of data and esports experience, but the sterile feel of it does impact my decision to play it more regularly.
Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide ClassicsSwitch
It's a testament to Nintendo's design chops that a 51-game collection with roots in ancient history (as well as its own 130-year-old corporate history) can feel so fresh, approachable, and cohesive. Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics might sound generic at first blush, but it's secretly one of the best Nintendo Switch games of 2020. It's the right game at the right time with the right temperament.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive EditionSwitch
Even if it didn't have an extra chapter to conquer, Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition deserves a third release. The Switch version has united this modern classic with the TV mode of the Wii original and the fully portable nature of the New 3DS edition. It's truly definitive.
Signs of the SojournerPC
Signs of the Sojourner is one of the most cohesive narrative games I have ever played. The interplay between mechanics and storytelling is absolutely brilliant, which makes it a shame that it misses the mark in terms of actually being enjoyable to play. The inclusion of a frustrating "fatigue" mechanic is at odds with the general laid-back design approach to deckbuilding.
Maneater squanders some of its potential, but it's perfect for a rainy weekend when you're craving something original. With some tweaks and patches, it'll have an even brighter legacy; or at the very least, become a cult classic alongside more out-there projects in gaming history like Stubbs the Zombie.
Although Minecraft Dungeons might not have the depth that a lot of hardcore dungeon crawler fans are looking for, it's an easy game to pick up and play at pretty much any point: solo or otherwise. Minecraft has proven itself to be quite the enduring and endearing IP over the past decade, and Dungeons is now partially responsible for that legacy.
Mafia II: Definitive EditionPC
Maybe it's because I knew to expect a flawed experience, maybe it's because I'm getting more lenient in my old age. Whatever it is, I relished blowing through a thrilling mobster drama over the course of a weekend, knowing I wouldn't have to dedicated the better part of the next month to finish it. In a lot of respects, Mafia II hasn't aged all that well; strangely, that's why I think it's a better game than it was 10 years ago.