912 Published Reviews
Nickelodeon All-Star BrawlPC
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is an entertaining platform fighter. It bleeds nostalgia, has a good roster of characters, and plays uniquely enough to stand on its own for casual and competitive players alike. The online portions are great when things are working. There isn’t much to do when they aren't, beyond playing local matches and the lackluster Arcade mode. Thankfully, All-Star Brawl was made with updates in mind.
Hell Let LoosePS5
The experience of playing Hell Let Loose is largely dependent on the player. People new to the genre, especially those playing solo, may be inclined to abandon the game entirely after just a few hours, and I wouldn’t blame them. But Milsim veterans, and players who stick around long enough to learn the ropes and find a squad, will find a deep and rewarding experience in this WWI shooter.
Back 4 BloodXbox Series X
I don't know if it's the underlying tech of different engines or the years apart and likely staff changes that came with them, but I didn't foresee this studio forgetting how to make this sort of game, and the poor pacing says it somehow did. Above all, that's where Back 4 Blood fails to live up to its still standard-bearing predecessor.
Metroid Dread is a fine return to form for the long-running series and welcome addition to the Switch library. While the game as a whole feels absolutely familiar, the new elements are interesting enough to give the sequel a distinct feel. Dread is one of Nintendo’s best Switch exclusives.
I like its atmosphere and the glee it takes in letting you be evil, but if I wasn't reviewing it, I probably would've dropped Rogue Lords after the first hour. There's fun to be had here if you can push through it, but like a lot of Eurojank games, it doesn't feel like it's entirely finished.
Far Cry 6Xbox Series X
Ubisoft has re-imagined several of its biggest series in recent years, and Far Cry's time feels past due. The publisher kneels at the altar of engagement, but I know from some of its other games that something can be intimidatingly huge and still incredibly rewarding. Far Cry 6 doesn't achieve both today, but my hope is quality can usurp quantity in a near-future overthrow.
Astria Ascending wants to be so many things, and perhaps that’s part of the problem. Instead of trying to be mature or recognizable, it should focus on its unique qualities and develop them into something interesting. Whatever the case, it’s difficult to recommend Astria Ascending. There are dozens of other RPGs to give your time and money to, but if you’re curious about this one anyway, I’d strongly suggest waiting for a sale.
Alan Wake RemasteredXbox Series X
Though it shows its age in some places, Alan Wake remains every bit as fascinating today as it was in 2010. Remedy makes games unlike anyone else's, and no game in the studio's history has ever represented its singular strangeness more than Alan Wake. Improved with features like higher resolution and increased frame rate, Alan Wake Remastered actually hides its best feature for the biggest fans to uncover on their own.
Super Monkey Ball Banana ManiaSwitch
Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania is almost exactly what I want from a collection of the series' classics. The familiar party games and mind-bending puzzles are just as fun as ever, and Banana Mania throws in just enough new elements with characters and challenge modes to keep things fresh. However, any future Monkey Ball games need to take a broader look at how to make this fun accessible for more people.
Kena: Bridge of SpiritsPS5
Kena Bridge of Spirits is a magical adventure, even if it doesn't do anything entirely original. Its elements tie together well, and it's jaw-droppingly gorgeous on PS5. It hearkens back to the days of PS2 platformers in all the best ways, and despite a few small issues, it stands out as one of 2021's best titles. [Note: Ember Lab provided the copy of Kena Bridge of Spirits used for this review.]
HOT WHEELS UNLEASHEDXbox Series X
Cars being unlocked randomly is fine. A campaign containing secret events is fine. But the game's insistence that players use specific cars in specific events is where it all falls apart because very often you simply won't have the cars you need, and then that means you can't do anything in the campaign. Should the developers patch this system out, I would fully recommend Hot Wheels Unleashed to fans of the brand or the genre. But for now, the engine that operates this whole vehicle is flooded.
Everyone’s mileage will vary. The amount of time spent in the desert before reaching the end is up to the player. And if all of the ruins and bits of lore are any indication, there is potentially more to see and do. I just wasn’t compelled to prolong Sable’s pilgrimage after roughly seven hours of play, awesome visuals notwithstanding.
Cruis’n Blast shoves players kicking and screaming to the time when the Dreamcast was king, racing was purely about things blowing up for no reason, and unicorns had great engine noises. And I love it for that.
Gamedec is trying to do something interesting and mostly pulls it off, but its pace is strange, its tone is all over the place, and it's got a few significant mechanical and pacing issues. I'd argue that what it's doing with narrative design and interactivity is worth checking out, but I can't give it an unqualified recommendation for being fun.
Tails of IronPC
Tails of Iron is proof innovation can, and should, come in numerous forms. On paper, it does little new. It’s an action-RPG with fairly standard side quests and what should be a simple combat system. In practice, it’s an enchanting world with a surprisingly dark and gripping story that turns that simplicity into its biggest advantage. Odd Bug teased it has more in store for Redgi’s world, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
WarioWare: Get It Together!Switch
If you've got a Nintendo Switch and friend, or four friends, to play Wario's latest foray into madness with, you're in for a whole lot of confusion and fun as the game peels open like a bulb of garlic. There is almost no one I would not recommend WarioWare: Get It Together! to, except maybe my grandmother. And your grandmother, too, probably. Everyone else? It's a heck of a lot of fun, and well-worth adding to and multiplayer Switch library.
The game runs at a stable framerate, and there aren’t really any performance issues on the PlayStation 5 version. There are still some small load times when going to different locations, but it’s nothing bad. It can be argued that Lost Judgment is too similar to its predecessor, just with some new mechanics tacked on. However, the game once again delivers a decent narrative and cast of characters. With the core gameplay and side quests remaining delightful, Lost Judgment is a good follow-up.
I want to recommend Aragami 2 to anybody looking for a new co-op game, but the caveat is that they don't mind putting up with jank (at least right out of the gate). As a single-player experience, or just to those who get annoyed by goofy glitches, this probably isn't worth the stress.
Every aspect of Deathloop, from its style to its story, to the gameplay, is brilliantly crafted. To say this is reminiscent of titles like Bioshock, Majora’s Mask, or Hades doesn’t do this game justice. It takes what those titles have done and builds upon them masterfully and imaginatively. While it remains to be seen if the multiplayer mode remains compelling after release, Deathloop is, quite simply, the best game this new console generation has produced. Full stop. It is a must-play game, and we give it our highest recommendation.
Lost in RandomXbox Series X
Lost in Random is driven by its story above all else, and in that way, it's really delightful. While early districts are almost ghost towns, the hustle and bustle of Random reveals itself in later hubs and gives the project an air of outperforming its budget. Zoink! Games has made a lot of games that have their own fandoms, but none have ever shot for the moon as much as this one. Even if it doesn't achieve all it sets out to do, its ambition is obvious, and its world is memorable.
Life is Strange: True ColorsPS5
Life is Strange: True Colors might feature grown-up characters, but it's evident the franchise itself still has a bit of growing to do. Deck Nine tries and ultimately fails to tell a story of emotional healing at best. At worst, it treats difficult topics with a flippant callousness that suggests it doesn't quite understand how to deal with these emotions to begin with, let alone tell a meaningful story about healing and moving on.
WRC 10 FIA World Rally ChampionshipPS5
At its core, WRC 10 is to the race track what Football Manager is to the pitch. It's a racer made not just for the Rally Championship, but genre fans seeking a strategic simulation experience.
Sure, the game does try to extend its replay value by offering different starting conditions and rule restrictions to try to get you to play it again, but it's the same meta every time with no real variation. There's no shortage of good roguelikes out there. Crack those open instead. You'll have a lot more fun that way.
Clid the SnailPS5
There’s a lot to like in Clid the Snail. The world itself is the main draw. It’s a wonderfully grim and strange apocalyptic setting full of interesting characters, history, and sights. When it works, the gunplay is strategic and entertaining, but too often it just never gels right leading to frustrating difficulty spikes and control issues.
The issue is that those baseline mechanics from the farming sim genre lack the depth and nuance you'd want to see for Monster Harvest to really be found among the greats, while also failing to capitalize on the new mechanics by making them lackluster and borderline boring. For those just itching for another farming sim, you could do worse than Monster Harvest, but for all the potential that this one had, it's unfortunate that the only areas it excelled were in its visuals and soundtrack.