813 Published Reviews
To the MoonSwitch
To the Moon has its quirks, but is still remembered fondly as one of the standout indie titles from the early 2010s. The core experience still holds up and has visually been recreated well by X.D. Network, and I hope they end up giving other RPG Maker classics like Yume Nikki a similar treatment. The jump to Unity did cause some unfortunate niggles, like the more noticeable loading times and control issues, and some of the slight visual alterations made me uneasy at first, but I still enjoyed playing To the Moon on Nintendo Switch almost as much as I did on PC 8 years ago.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE EncoreSwitch
For those who I’ve spoken with that have heard of Tokyo Mirage Sessions before, they usually say something along the lines of, “Oh, it’s Persona with Fire Emblem characters,” which is a simplification that does the game a disservice. The aesthetic, charm and gameplay Tokyo Mirage Sessions brings make it worthy to stand on its own and I hope that those who end up playing the game see it this way as well.
While Sean and Daniel’s journey wasn’t perfect in some places, Life is Strange 2 managed to cap off a profound road trip with a unique, heartfelt ending, and another worthy entry in the Life is Strange series as a whole. While it was a calculated risk to depart from fan-favorite characters like the original’s Max and Chloe, Life is Strange 2 found not only a unique voice with the debut of Sean and Daniel, but an important one that feels all too relatable in the social issues and events that continue to shape the modern-day United States.
Showdown is a great first effort into multiplayer madness beyond co-op for Yacht Club Games that I am sure will carry lessons into their next project. Showdown is a compliment to the entire Treasure Trove package that does not encroach on the core experience. Some people will love Showdown's addition and others will brush it off to the side. It's like a cherry on top of an ice cream sundae; a sweet inclusion, but not essential to the overall enjoyment of the package.
Assassin’s Creed: The Rebel CollectionSwitch
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Shovel Knight: King of CardsSwitch
King of Cards has reinforced that age-old saying of not judging a shiny knight by his armor, even a Joustus Judge. Years of development, five total games, and countless hours of work shine through every pixel. Yacht Club Games has taken what could have been a palette swap far beyond what anyone imagined. King of Cards may be a narrative prequel to Shovel Knight, but it is truly a sequel in every way. Yacht Club Games has raised the bar for what Kickstarter stretch goals mean to their communities and the video game industry at large.
Wattam is not a great video game by any definition. However, it is a great, zero-stress experience that wants to show how great friendship can be. If you’re looking for a game to test your skills or provide you with a mature narrative that makes you think, Wattam ain’t it. However, if you’re having a bad day and just want to unwind by kabooming golden poops all over your screen, Wattam is more than happy to take you under its bowler.
Still, this is the beauty of Mosaic; it’s not just another tale made up for storytelling impact. These are feelings and situations I felt empathy with and that are a current problem within our world today. It’s great to see more developers wanting to go down this route when creating games and wanting to make a difference. I’d be surprised that when the end credits roll on Mosaic, you wouldn’t want to change even the smallest details of your own life for the better.
Disney TSUM TSUM FESTIVALSwitch
The best part about Disney Tsum Tsum Festival is the match-three puzzle game that’s been out for years on iOS and Android. None of the other games are worth your time and considering the match-three game on mobile devices is completely free, there’s absolutely no reason to pick up this overpriced game. You’re even worse off if you play on the Switch Lite, as at that point you’re essentially paying $50 for a single game that’s free on mobile phones. Disney Tsum Tsum Festival is, at best, absolutely boring, and at worst, a complete and utter ripoff.
Espire 1: VR OperativePS4
It contains replayability through its Challenges mode, but what it offers in terms of main story is a bit short – roughly four hours of story, padded to five or six hours via gates that force you to finish a certain number of Challenges to continue to the next mission. Of course, the main draw of Espire 1 is that it takes place in VR, and it uses that to its benefit. Sneaking around and using the bevy of Espire gadgets and traversal options available to do so feels great, but is overshadowed by a combat system and AI that is so exploitable that sneaking around quickly loses its purpose in the first place.
STAR OCEAN First Departure RPS4
As the JRPG has become more mainstream in the west over the past couple of years, now is the best time for Star Ocean to try and capture a bigger audience. Re-releases like Star Ocean: The Last Hope – 4K & Full HD Remaster and Star Ocean First Departure R are the series’ best chance at doing so sans an entirely new entry. One can only hope that Square Enix will continue on this path and re-release Star Ocean: Second Evolution as well so the entire series will be playable on PS4.
Arise: A simple storyPS4
Arise: A Simple Story mixes its narrative-driven adventure with puzzle-platforming in some ways that can be deemed successful. The time-altering mechanic gives the game some variety throughout its four to six-hour runtime, never overstaying its welcome. Paired with its beautiful art direction and well-told story, there is definitely a reason to pick up Piccolo Studio’s new game. However, there isn’t any facet of Arise: A Simple Story that strikes deeper emotional chords; it just lacks any personality.
If you are already angered at the fact that your favorite Pokemon didn’t make it into Sword and Shield, then the poor visuals, shoddy online infrastructure, and underwhelming Dynamax mechanic won’t do much to win you back over. Still, many aspects of Pokemon Sword and Shield show promise, and if a future game in the series can feature this title’s best elements while having better graphics and every Pokemon, we may have the best game in the series on our hands. That’s why the middle evolution metaphor is very apt.
Shenmue 3 is filled with antiquated design choices, a whole lot of charm, and is ultimately a promise fulfilled. Fans got a legitimate Shenmue title in every way possible, warts and all. Nobody else is making 2019 games in the (hilariously named) “full reactive eyes entertainment” genre, but Yu Suzuki is. That’s a beautiful testament to the stubbornness that made this unlikely revival possible.
Death Stranding might not go down as my favorite game ever made by Hideo Kojima, but it’s very likely his most inventive and unique to date, which says a lot. If video games as a medium are ever going to progress past where they are right now, we need more games like Death Stranding that are going to take chances and try out new ideas. Not everything that Death Stranding sets out to accomplish works, but it stands firm in its vision all the same and as such, is worthy of admiration.
STAR WARS Jedi: Fallen OrderPS4
So it wouldn’t be radical to declare that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the best Star Wars game in years, but in a macro standpoint, it only wins the title by default, which probably says something about the sparse number of games under EA’s management of the IP. It isn’t essential Star Wars, but its issues on the storytelling and technical fronts aren’t enough to ignore it. Fallen Order is there for the taking if you need some extra lightsaber action, and that, it does well.
While Google’s current exclusive pipeline of Gylt, Get Packed, and Orcs Must Die! 3 can be looked at as somewhat malnourished, it also shows a bit more variation than other first-party lineups. And if Google Stadia’s future exclusives are just as good, if not better, than Gylt, that is a good sign.
Need for Speed HeatPS4
It really is sad how far this franchise has fallen. Heat might not be as outwardly terrible as Payback was in 2017; however, it is far, far from a return to former glory. With a new console generation on the horizon, my only hope is that Need for Speed: Heat was a holdover while Ghost Games works on something dazzling for their next-gen release. At the very least, the studio needs to finally settle on a direction for what will make their racing game stand out as something different than a second rate Forza Horizon.
Planet Zoo is impressive and at the core of this immersive gameplay lays the developers’ passion for wanting to make the animal kingdom a better place. The game does this by not only tackling important educational and conservation topics but by also pulling the player into this kind of gameplay too and making them feel like they could make a difference. Planet Zoo is arguably the best zoo management game to date with enough soul and purpose to shake a stick at.
Blacksad: Under the SkinPC
Personally, I’m willing to put up with a lot of jank, meaning Under the Skin was mostly worth it for me. However, I fully recognize I’m likely in the minority. Blacksad: Under the Skin will probably only appeal to fans of the comic or anyone looking to jump into them. This is too bad because the developers had a chance to bring a whole new audience to Juan Diz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido’s excellent series about a street-tough cat detective and his universe of interesting animal pals.
DORAEMON STORY OF SEASONSSwitch
Doraemon Story of Seasons is definitely the worst Story of Seasons game I have ever played. If you want your farming fix, you should get the Story of Seasons Friends of Mineral Town remake on Switch. Or grab Rune Factory 4 Special if you’d like well-implemented action RPG elements in your farming life.
LAYTON’S MYSTERY JOURNEY: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy - Deluxe EditionSwitch
All around, Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy – Deluxe Edition is an easy recommendation for those new to either the series or game as the new puzzles, added content, upgraded visuals, and improved UI make this an excellent buy. For those who may have already purchased it, however, it’s much harder to recommend a repurchase due to a lack of compelling new features that would better differentiate between versions.
The Stretchers is an entertaining party game for friends and family and a great title for children — although later levels can become more challenging. It’s the type of game that can be played multiple times to get better scores and offers different experiences with different players, but the limitations you have when playing it alone and the sudden drop in fun makes the title unappealing and a chore.
Luigi's Mansion 3Switch
This full-fledged sequel delivers on just about every aspect from gameplay, to visuals, and especially to giving players a well-crafted, spooky adventure of puzzle-solving and exploration. Though I hope we get a return trip to the series sometime sooner rather than later, Luigi’s Mansion 3 shows better than ever that Luigi is more than capable of carrying his own game, even one that’s meant to give us happiness at his expense.
New Super Lucky's TaleSwitch
Though the game’s bite-sized levels and colorful visuals make it ideal to play while on-the-go on the Switch (where I spent the most time with it), New Super Lucky’s Tale is better suited to a younger audience than those looking for more challenging endeavors. It’s easy to admire Lucky and his endless enthusiasm, but he’s not quite ready just yet to hang with Mario, Crash, Spyro, Rayman, or the other platforming icons before him.