2386 Published Reviews
Super Crush KOPC
Fans of Vertex Pop’s previous efforts will be serviced best with Super Crush KO, and while the execution could have excelled a bit further in regards to level design and pushing players more, that’s not to say that the end product falls completely short.
There’s an unanswered mystery as to the player’s identity, teased at but never revealed in any kind of believable way, but in the end it’s not important. The player is in the right place to fix the lab when it all goes terribly wrong, surviving the puzzles all the way to the final semi-morally-ambiguous end. Whoever the player was at the start, they’re the ones who have to deal with the consequences of Lightmatter.
HAUNTED: Halloween '86Switch
This is a genuinely fun game that would make a great addition to anyone’s 8-bit cartridge collection, though having the more affordable and convenient option to play it on the Switch is great. The levels are satisfyingly long, filled with good combat, challenging platforming and impressive boss battles. Haunted: Halloween ’86 maintains the essences of its predecessor while generally improving all aspects of it. It succeeds in reminding us that video games were still great even with simpler and more limited hardware, but those limitations remind us how far the medium has advanced.
There’s a lot to like about Seven Days. The best aspects are the intriguing storyline which takes the start of a story many people know and turns it on its head. Then there’s the writing which is great at getting players involved with each spirit and her specific plight. Unfortunately, not every spirit gets equal amounts of attention. Some feel like they’re more of a side story than a main plot point. Perhaps the writers felt it was necessary to break things up with lighthearted chapters when other chapters bring readers to tears.
With enough new ideas, consistent world-building and moments that drive home the need for an eye on both the long-term as much the short-term, the game’s scurry to save humanity is one that’s pleasant in its victories and costly in a player’s failings. It’s a shame that the technical side isn’t quite up to scratch and the manner which certain details are laid out aren’t always the easiest to work out.
What Wattam does successfully is reinforce the idea of play, that doing silly things is fun and doing them with friends is even better. Wattam remembers that child-like is very different from childish, and that carefree play should be as important to a grown-up adult as it was back before we all began taking things so seriously.
Indivisible is a rare game that can rise above so many things not coming together, and whether you decide to dive in now with all its faults or wait another year for the ongoing polishing efforts to pay off, it will deliver a fantastic adventure that should easily stay with you long past the final closing credits.
Age of Empires II: Definitive EditionPC
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is the champion of the RTS genre we deserve. The title itself may be twenty years old, but that hasn’t stopped this edition from being the best on the market. With aesthetics being painstakingly remastered and restored for modern systems, Age of Empires II has never looked or sounded better. Brand new, never-before-seen content is introduced to make the title more than just a remaster of an old game. New campaigns, new civilization and new modes make this a brand new experience for all kinds of fans.
Darksiders Genesis easily cements itself as not just a great entry into the franchise, but also as a fine action-packed dungeon crawler in general. While it does have a few setbacks in areas such as its story, the stellar combat, great levels and an extremely likable and welcome main character in the form of Strife easily make this a game worth checking out. Airship Syndicate should be applauded for finding a way to still keep Darksiders fresh and here’s hoping we see future games in a similar vein as well.
MechWarrior 5: MercenariesPC
The hardcore fanbase will appreciate MechWarrior 5 at its core as it feels like a game that wishes it had today’s hardware technology 30 years ago. The combat can be good, but becomes bland and redundant over time. Fan will also appreciate the story lore and how it progresses along with the strategy elements. Unfortunately, though, it feels like a game that could have used more time but had already been delayed. There are spots where it shines and most of this is experienced early on.
Whether it’s the indulgence of its presentation or simply the lack of reason from its players to really care about such a dire portrayal of modern-day life (implying harsher truths or not), Mosaic seldom lands any sort of balance between involvement through gameplay and artistic direction for the journey to feel worth trudging through. For a game all about trying to break out of a cycle and changing one’s perspective, Mosaic seems oddly content in the same drab pretense that in the end, through needless repetition, still arrives at nowhere meaningful or memorable.
STAR OCEAN First Departure RSwitch
Star Ocean First Departure R is the best Star Ocean game in a long time. It features a diverse cast of characters that will make you want to play this twenty-to-thirty hour romp a couple times over, and gameplay that, while at times can feel dated, is still highly engaging. The addition of being able to run faster is one of the best new features, although it feels like a half measure to avoid some unnecessarily lengthy treks and battles.
Audica is a fantastic rhythm-shooter but it does come with a small disclaimer. Playing it at its best took a certain amount of tweaking, adjusting various options until the game felt right. Thankfully those options are all waiting in the Settings screen and difficulty selection, but playing it vanilla/Standard felt kind of bland. Once corrected, though, Audica transformed into an incredibly fun and nicely challenging musical target range, where each new stretch of song brought a note pattern that lit up the sky with the pyrotechnics of its destruction.
EarthNight has limited scope, but does what it does very well. Its fast-paced platforming meshes in nicely with a soundtrack that doesn’t stop delivering satisfying music. It has some of the best gameplay/soundtrack integration out there and is a must for anyone who loves endless runners. It’s challenging and unlike a lot of runners, tests your platforming skills early and often with a blend of perilous jumps and tricky enemy placement. It looks gorgeous with a painted art style that works well still and in motion.
Blacksad: Under the SkinPC
While Blacksad: Under the Skin shows a lot of promise in its story, world and a couple of neat gameplay mechanics that help put you right in Blacksad’s shoes, it unfortunately suffers when it comes to the execution. Be it clunky pixel hunts, an awkward interface or a myriad of potential glitches, the end result comes off as a bit of a janky, unpolished mess. Pendulo isn’t exactly a perfect developer, but this may end up being their weakest work yet, at least until future patches can improve things. For now, though, best to just turn down this case.
This is not advised. For one, there’s actually not very much new story information to glean during a playthrough. Secondly, doing so would make the more annoying aspects of the game all the more glaring. It’s much better to savor Shenmue III at a leisurely pace. There’s tons of enjoyment to be had simply taking in the scenery, wasting hours fulfilling weird requests for NPCs or even just fishing. It may not be perfect, but it is undoubtedly a Shenmue title. Even after all these years, there are no other games quite like it out there.
Romancing SaGa 3Switch
Romancing SaGa 3 is a game that is easier to respect for some of its design choices that were better realized in some later games than simply for being fun. There are a lot of things to like about it, but what passes for ambition and pushing the genre forward in 1995 comes across like an experimental convoluted mess in 2019. Removing the nostalgia filter, a lot of the gameplay elements of Romancing SaGa 3 simply won’t be that enjoyable for people who are die hard RPG fans of that era.
Players still have half the total to mix and match for their teams and the new Pokémon in the Galar are all incredible. Pokémon Sword and Shield truly live up to the Pokémon name by creating an enjoyable experience filled with so many unique creatures. Those who have played through previous generations can come into these games with all their knowledge and still be surprised and blown away at the creativity and strategy. Sword and Shield are amazing as is and truly define the term quality over quantity.
Sparklite is a wonderful adventure that may be a bit short for those who have played lots of roguelikes before, but has wonderfully unique mechanics that make it well worth trying out. It’s an absolute wonderful romp through a creatively built world that allows for players to really pick and choose how they want to take on each challenge. The loading times can drag things down a bit for extended periods of player, but the satisfaction of overcoming each challenge is rewarding every step of the way.
Black Future '88Switch
Black Future ’88 is almost a quintessential throwback to ’80s arcade games, with rock-solid gameplay taken straight from the era and mixed in with several interesting and unique gameplay twists. You may only get eighteen minutes at a time to take everything in, but what you’ll be hit with is a heavy dose of fast-paced action, a killer soundtrack, and and a ton of weapons and gameplay features to work with that reward you for experimenting and exploring every bit of Skymelt. You may be trapped in the ’80s here, but at least you’re trapped alongside some of the best parts of it.
The point of the game is to feel like techno-fantasy gun action and it succeeds incredibly well at that, with the pumping soundtrack driving the action in a way that’s impossible to resist. The rhythm and shooting fuse together to the point where you can feel when a shot is off, and that just because it hit doesn’t mean it was good. Pistol Whip is a music/action VR shooter built from recognizable elements that combine into a unique whole, and when it all comes together as planned it leaves the player feeling like an invincible gun-god dancing through the bullets.
Superliminal has a unique concept for a puzzle game and nice and trippy visuals to accompany it, but alas, that’s the majority of what it has going for it. The short length combined with the lack of difficulty and any interesting story means that the game will barely leave an impact on you, and there really isn’t any reason to revisit it. And it’s a shame, because it starts out impressive, but then the novelty wears off quickly. While it may still be an okay game overall, there are many other first-person puzzlers worth checking out instead which do a better job of thinking outside the box.
The garden may have seen better days but chasing away the darkness is just the excuse needed to take it all in, solving its mysteries and coming to grips with a creation that only follows the rules of 3D space when it feels like it.
Luigi's Mansion 3Switch
While the 3DS title may have received mixed reception, Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a wonderful return to form from the first title that does the series justice. It’s on par, if not better, than the original simply because of the great atmosphere and wonderful puzzling challenge it brings. While fighting enemies isn’t the most difficult thing ever, especially for older players, it’s still fun and never overstays its welcome between exploring each and every floor in the haunted hotel. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is an absolutely wonderful time that makes it easy to want to jump in and keep exploring the hotel to find every last secret it has to offer.
The music is arguably the best part of Death Stranding, and the visuals, while fluctuating in quality depending on the area, have some of the best-looking character models seen in any game. If Death Stranding wasn’t so padded out it could have been something special; instead, we’re left with a repetitive letdown that’s far more enjoyable to watch than play.