2264 Published Reviews
To the MoonSwitch
Two doctors attempt to fulfill a dying man’s last wish by reconfiguring his memories.
LEGO® Builder's JourneyiOS
Lego Builder’s Journey doesn’t give you the total freedom to build what you want, but it taps into strong feelings – problem solving and the satisfaction that comes with it. The game is a good start to what I hope is an evolving franchise.
SaGa SCARLET GRACE: AMBITIONS™Switch
I love so many of the ideas behind Scarlet Grace and its inventive nature, but it can’t assemble those elements into a consistent experience. Scarlet Grace has its flaws and frustrations, but it also colors outside the lines of the genre. Sometimes that’s good and exciting. Other times, it’s just scribbles.
The charming visuals and messages of compassion and cooperation make Wattam a great game to play with younger members of the family, either in co-op or pass-the-controller sessions. Even if it doesn’t inspire any meaningful conversations about the importance of friendship – which it absolutely could – there’s a good chance that you’ll find plenty of silly fun together.
Shovel Knight ShowdownSwitch
Shovel Knight Showdown is great for short sessions with friends, or a couple playthroughs of the story mode, but simple movesets and repetition limit the enjoyment. You can dig into some good Shovel Knight fun here, but donât expect to strike gold.
Arise: A simple storyXbox One
Even with some stumbles, Arise is a game that knows what it wants to communicate, and does so with delicacy and sensitivity. I’ve found individual scenes coming back to mind frequently since I completed the game, most notably the moving sequence that closes the game. Accept the dilemma of a few bad jumping sequences, and push toward the emotional core, as this simple story has a lot of wisdom to share.
Some games are power fantasies that revel in the thrilling exercise of control. Mosaic doesn’t render you powerless, but by enveloping you in the futility of the protagonist and making you understand it, the game heightens the effect and meaning of the power you do have. Life may indeed be meaningless, but Mosaic is here for your sheer enjoyment.
Life is Strange 2PS4
Episodic games often have gaps of months between installments, but even by those standards, Life is Strange 2 kept fans waiting a long time from one chapter to the next. If you fell off the journey somewhere along the way (or if you were waiting for the tale to conclude, like I was), that is understandable. However, whether you knew it or not, Life is Strange 2 has been quietly weaving a powerful and sincere narrative experience that admirably carries on the seriesâ legacy.
Overall, Darksiders Genesis fails to take advantage of the series' strengths. Since Darksiders’ inception, fans have imagined what it might be like to team up as the different horsemen. Darksiders Genesis finally offers a co-op experience, but its offbeat design and forgettable story don't deliver on the fantasy.
I also enjoyed the journey that Ryo and Shenhua took, even though little progress was made in the overall story. Fans knew this going in, however, as director Yu Suzuki stated Shenmue III only gets us through roughly 40 percent of Ryo’s tale. We’re not even halfway through this epic idea yet. Despite having many issues with Shenmue III, I’m glad I returned to this world. It scratched an itch I didn’t know I had, and periodically showed me why it was an important game back in the day.
On the whole, that’s how I feel about Superliminal. When Superliminal’s mechanics work, I felt like I was participating in a magic trick, but when they didn’t I felt like the developers were playing a trick on me. I was both amused and frustrated while playing Superliminal, but didn’t think much about the game after its credit’s rolled. Like a fading dream, Superliminal is also a bit ephemeral.
STAR WARS Jedi: Fallen OrderXbox One
Despite these numerous little problems, Respawn’s maiden voyage with Star Wars is largely a success. I couldn’t put this game down, both for the thrill of exploring and wanting to see where the story took me next. The inspirations taken from Dark Souls, Uncharted, and Metroid Prime unite to create something unique that just happens to work incredibly well for this beloved license. Like most starships in this universe, Jedi: Fallen Order could use a little polish, but the rust doesn’t hold it back from roaring with excitement.
Need for Speed HeatPS4
Need for Speed has meant different things over the years, but Heat is a good all-around representation of the franchise. The police could be a little more prominent, and the world – while well stocked – isn’t as interesting as Forza Horizon’s, for instance, but NFS Heat is the best iteration since Ghost Games’ reboot in 2015.
Pokémon Sword & Shield are strong first attempts for the series’ full transition to consoles. While some frustrations hold it back from true legendary status, this new generation proves the Pokémon franchise is still great more than two decades after its debut.
A few moments of frustration aren’t enough to dim the surreal glow of Disco Elysium. Trying to contain your glorious catastrophe of a “hero” can be simultaneously amusing and horrifying, and that’s before you even consider the events of the case surrounding him. I won’t spoil any of the major story beats, but the central mystery has immaculate pacing, with new layers and complications folding in at just the right moments. Plus, the payoff is satisfying and surprising.
Planet Zoo put up a lot of obstacles to my enjoyment, but once I broke through the majority of them, I found that engaging loop of mastery and success that makes simulation games fun. I enjoyed trying to one-up my last creation and surpass my previous revenue and years in business. Unfortunately, Planet Zoo requires an unreasonable level of patience that creates a barrier around its best qualities.
Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for NeighborvilleXbox One
Those looking for zany multiplayer fun can find it here, but that also comes with an unnecessarily complicated economy and inconsistent PvE components. Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville lets dedicated soldiers dive back into this long-running conflict, even if everyone else has moved on to other battles.
Try as it might, Death Stranding’s story doesn’t shore up its faults. It’s the normal Kojima mix of twists-and-turns, tropes, and overbearing themes, but at least I like that it explores real-world topics like the theory of multiple dimensions and key events in the history of the planet’s biodiversity. Like Sam himself, I often wasn’t sure why I kept going in Death Stranding. Maybe there was a little bit of pride in another task checked off the list, another job done. Unfortunately, this added up to little reward in the end.
Lonely Mountains: DownhillPC
This mountain biking game blends an idyllic nature aesthetic with tight arcade action to create a surprisingly thrilling adventure.
Luigi's Mansion 3Switch
With unique puzzles, diverse floor themes, and exciting boss battles, Luigi's Mansion 3 is a spooky delight for players of all experience levels. Seasoned ghostbusters and rookie paranormal enthusiasts alike would do well to look into Luigi's latest eerie adventure.
Afterparty poses questions you don’t expect it to ask, and that’s what ultimately made me satisfied with it – just don’t expect a non-stop rager. As with most parties, there are high points combined with lulls. At the very least, the conversations, locale, and attendees make it a good party to attend, even if sometimes you get a little bored.
MediEvil still deserves to be heralded as a classic for its time and place in gaming, and I love how it looks in revitalized form on PlayStation 4. However, its gameplay is a relic of yesteryear, and an example that shows us just how far games have come over the years. Rest in peace, Sir Dan.
Call of Duty: Modern WarfarePS4
All told, Modern Warfare should have received a new Call of Duty subhead given just how different its avenues of play are. Not every one of Infinity Ward’s ideas works, but a few are successful enough that I could see them as series staples. Modern Warfare’s accomplishments may not be as pronounced as Black Ops 4’s (Blackout being one of them), but it still delivers a hell of a multiplayer experience. Gunfight alone is worth the price of admission.
The Outer WorldsPS4
Even if the larger beats don’t always land, The Outer Worlds shines with a constant stream of small, bright moments. An amusing interaction with a clueless guard. A sugary corporate jingle. A brutal sneak attack. A solution to a problem you are sure won’t work, but it does. The team at Obsidian excels at encouraging creative experimentation within its responsive and absurd setting, ensuring that every visit to Halcyon is full of delightful surprises.
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible LairPS4
With rock-solid controls and imaginative level design, I couldn’t wait to see what awaited the chameleon/bat duo each time I entered a new area. Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is a superb 2D platformer with plenty to love for fans of the genre both new and old.