3762 Published Reviews
Super Meat Boy ForeverPC
Like Meat Boy himself, the fun, frustration, and motivation never really stop. It builds and pushes you through until you press every button perfectly. You just keep playing and trying and dying until you've had enough. And when you're finally finished, if you've really put everything you had into the game, you might even feel a little runner's high.
My eight-year-old self would have absolutely loved Calico to bits, I'm sure. Unfortunately, I am no longer a wide-eyed, curious 8-year-old girl--I'm a game reviewer whose tolerance for bugs and simplistic gameplay has worn thin over the decades. As much as I wish I could view Calico through the eyes of an imaginative youngster, I can't.
Medal of Honor: Above and BeyondPC
Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond is a disappointing return to the classic series. While its gunplay is satisfying, the moments where it shines are all too brief, stunted by cutscenes that force you to stand in place and spectate a story that rarely includes you or your character.
The side quests and the characters they showcase are the shining beacon through the neon-soaked bleakness of Night City, and they give you room to explore the best the core RPG mechanics have to offer. These are what carried me through an otherwise disappointing experience.
Destroy All Humans!Xbox One
Destroy All Humans certainly shows its age in places. The stealth missions are rudimentary, the boss fights are tedious, and some poor audio work won't let you forget that this is a game from 15 years ago. However, its core loop of causing destruction and mayhem, laying waste to humans and cities, still feels satisfying.
While giving you numerous tools to wreak havoc, it also uses them in smart ways to find a good balance between its gory combat and problem-solving. Carrion falters when it requires too much fine precision from you with a control scheme that doesn't allow for it, and is at its lowest when you're not playing as its headlining monster at all. These are disappointing distractions, but Carrion's main event is still a bloody great time.
Rock of Ages 3: Make & BreakPC
Together, Make and Break showcase the strengths and weaknesses of Rock of Ages 3 overall. At its best, it's a thrilling and often hilarious ride through an imaginative and surreal landscape. At its worst, its formula is too rigid, its challenges too rote, and it can feel like your frustration with its idiosyncrasies could boil over at any moment. Thankfully, in such times, the bite-size structure comes to the rescue, and you can roll into something new.
Rocket Arena's approach to being a more approachable shooter, from its colorful, whimsical characters to its forgiving rocket launcher mechanics, makes it easy to appreciate at first glance. Its frenetic mix of explosive-based shooting and easy-to-understand character abilities let you start having fun fast, but its lack of depth and uninteresting modes don't maintain the momentum.
The actual gameplay aspects of Necrobarista aren't all that satisfying, but the game more than makes up for that by leaning into the "novel" part of the visual novel genre and crafting a bittersweet story about accepting death, learning to grieve, and moving on.
Beneath A Steel Sky remains a genre classic in 2020, an enjoyable, gorgeous game with smart puzzles and a lot on its mind. This sequel might have modernized the series' visuals and mechanics, but it's nowhere near as satisfying or exciting. Those with fond memories of Beneath A Steel Sky will enjoy being able to revisit Robert and Joey's friendship, but little else of what made the original such a classic remains in the sequel.
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2Switch
That Easter egg owes both its story justification and its level of meta weirdness to Hachi, which is really what sets Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 apart. It's still a classic Castlevania homage at heart, but it has an eccentricity that feels right at home alongside the giant kitty-cats of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. When a game seems to be having this much fun at its own expense, it's hard not to join in.
Superliminal is a great puzzle experience, full of smart ideas that are richly realized. The game's playful use of the first-person camera and clever perspective manipulation puzzles take video game tropes and mechanics most players will be familiar with and wring something truly fresh out of them. Superliminal achieves its clear central aim--it offers up some genuinely fresh perspectives on what first-person puzzle games can do.
Paper Mario: The Origami KingSwitch
Its world and characters might not be the series' best, but it's still able to consistently throw left turns, good gags, and smart surprises at you. Each piece of The Origami King elegantly fits into its whole, taking its irreverent flair to new heights. The Paper Mario series has recently shown that being clever and being smart are two different things, but thankfully, it's once again managed to be both.
SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETEPS4
The fundamental flaw of Mind Control Delete is that it's adding complication to a game premise that works largely because of its simplicity. That complexity hasn't ruined Mind Control Delete. There's still a ton of enjoyment to be had, and there's still nothing else quite like it out there. But without a doubt, it's fun that expires a lot faster than the original.
Ghost of TsushimaPS4
Ghost of Tsushima is at its best when you're riding your horse and taking in the beautiful world on your own terms, armed with a sword and a screenshot button, allowing the environmental cues and your own curiosity to guide you. It's not quite a Criterion classic, but a lot of the time it sure looks like one.
Desperados 3 is a superb package. It's a clever, cunning game of stealth and tactical thinking that, thanks to a generous quick-save system and wealth of informative visual cues, entices you to tinker with all the toys it has on offer and fully explore the possibility spaces of its elaborate levels. There's no need for a do-over here; Desperados 3 is a dead-eye shot on the very first try.
Like Owlboy and Iconoclasts before it, CrossCode is the latest in a long line of longer-gestating labors of love that emerge with varying degrees of cohesion. The best thing that can be said about CrossCode is it doesn't feel at all dated or clunky on the other end of a prolonged development time. The biggest knock against it is that CrossCode can and often does wind up feeling both bloated and inspired simultaneously.
Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in DisguiseSwitch
If you can get past its performance, there are glimpses of a good story here, and moments that make it a worthy installment in the Francis Zach Morgan saga. But, ultimately, Deadly Premonition 2 lacks the emotional resonance found in the first game. It's a different brew of coffee from your favorite roaster, but one that's more bitter than you probably hoped for.
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral TownSwitch
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town feels closer to a remaster than a remake, with the majority of in-game mechanics feeling antiquated by modern standards. Shallow systems combined with inflated upgrade prices makes progress a slow trudge, with the rewards rarely feeling worth it. Interacting with the people of Mineral Town offers a nice, romantic look at small-town farm life, but the rest of the game fails to sell it.
Death Come TrueSwitch
Death Come True is an enjoyable but all-too-brief trip into a disturbing live-action mystery world that is a blast while it lasts. Unfortunately, when everything ends and the credits roll, you're left longing to spend more time with the characters and world you just experienced. Death Come True's throwback gameplay definitely scratches an itch, but it ultimately leaves you wanting for more.
Marvel's Iron Man VRPS4
It’s clear that the act of flying is Iron Man VR's driving force. Every story mission ends with a score and ranking, pushing you to replay and improve, and each map has multiple types of optional time trials for anyone who just wants to spend more time in the armor. Unfortunately, there aren't that many ways to take advantage of those unique controls.
Those limitations mean there isn't much to do in Ninjala, and what content is present almost requires a battle pass to be fully enjoyed. But what we have so far is a solid foundation. The battle fundamentals are well-designed and unique, and the visual flair is absolutely bursting with personality.
Mr. DRILLER DrillLandSwitch
Mr. Driller Drill Land is the kind of game you can play for 10 minutes on a lunch break or for an entire afternoon. It's the sort of game where you'll be in a groove… only to screw up a section catastrophically and ruin a run. But you'll only be bitter about it for a minute before eagerly diving back in to try again. If you've never played Mr. Driller--or if it's been a while since you and Susumu went excavating together--Mr. Driller Drill Land is one relic that deserves a spot in your gaming museum.
West of DeadPC
The game's NPCs say the same exact lines at the start of every run. It becomes a drag to re-run facsimiles of the same levels again and again: They're similar enough that it feels like you have them memorized, even if the details change. When you spend too long in Purgatory, it starts to look a lot like hell.
The Isle of ArmorSwitch
DLC is new to the main-series Pokemon games, and it's certainly a great alternative to replaying the same game a year or two later when the souped-up rerelease comes out. But like the traditional third or "Ultra" version, The Isle of Armor does refine much of the experience we had in vanilla Sword and Shield, with a more interesting Wild Area to explore and some small quality-of-life tweaks that further the progress Gen 8 has made in that regard.