1738 Published Reviews
Where The Water Tastes Like WinePS4
As an interesting intellectual exploration of the role that word-of-mouth plays in storytelling, Where the Water Tastes Like Wine plays like a proof of concept that never graduated beyond an initial prototyping stage. Sure, it has plenty of narratives to uncover, but ultimately the repetitive, shallow mechanics prevent the experience from meeting its full potential. Despite the best efforts of the excellent visual presentation and voice acting, the net product is a hollow shell of what it couldâve been.
Ancestors: the Humankind OdysseyPS4
While the idea of being able to influence the evolution of your clan of apes seems novel and exciting the reality is that it’s a bit of a repetitive slog. Through bad decisions or sheer bad luck, it’s far too easy to wipe out your whole clan which means that you’ll have to start all over again from the beginning. It’s an interesting experience but one that’s tough to recommend to anyone but the most patient of gamers.
Refreshingly light-hearted, brief, and full of good vibes, Wattam is the kind of game that everyone can easily settle down with. It’s a magical experience centered on friendships and connection, finding out how each unique skill can help everybody out, despite all being different sizes, shapes, and colors. There’s a simple joy that comes from playing Wattam, a feeling that many other games just can’t match. Wattam is a delightful, fun, and uplifting game filled with laughter, teamwork, and all the things that make your heart feel warm and fuzzy.
AVICII Invector is a music game where the spaceship theme makes it feel more like a rhythmic adventure. It’s a bit of a truncated one, to be sure. There are only three difficulty levels, where many of its contemporaries have four, and its song list is limited due to only championing the one artist and only offering 25 tracks. It’s an adjustment, to be sure, but fans of AVICII and the genre will likely be pleased to have this option for their libraries.
What I expected from GRIS was a solid, beautiful, platformer that could occupy a few hours of my time. What I got from GRIS was quite close to that, but somehow more beautiful than I could have ever considered or expected. If you want to see just how artistic games can get, or if you’re like me and just need a few hours occupied by beauty and platforming, then it’s hard to go wrong with GRIS.
Arise: A simple storyPS4
In some ways, Arise: A Simple Story is perfectly named because it forgoes traditional dialogue or text-based narration for visual storytelling. However, through the inventive environmental game design that pushes the narrative forward to its well-realized and emotional conclusion, there is a complexity to Arise that left me misty-eyed by its affecting story of love and loss.
Ultimately, Blair Witch is an intriguing story plagued by unsatisfactory gameplay, with a few neat ideas sprinkled throughout. Your canine companion presents some interesting mechanics, along with altering time through the camcorders, but in the end, even these features aren’t enough to save Blair Witch from being a chore to play. There’s still some to appreciate like the characters and story, which make Blair Witch almost enjoyable.
No Way Out - A Dead Realm TalePS4
No Way Out – A Dead Realm Tale is a game you play for others to enjoy watching your reaction to. The haunted house theme is fun, but it could have done better without tacked-on gamification. Simply pushing the player back a few feet when they veered off the intended path would have done much to relieve frustration. At $19.99, it’s also not an impulse buy. So, unless you absolutely love the horror genre, or really enjoy watching others jump as a VR game scares them, perhaps catching the game during a holiday sale might make it an easier purchase.
Heroland is an excellent “podcast game.” You can take your time with the actual important parts, paying attention to new boss battles and enjoying the story, then zone out with a show or something while you grind older levels to get your party up to speed. You never feel rushed or burdened by Heroland, even though the actual situation is kind of terrifying by real-world standards. It isn’t the most active or deep RPG to come from Japan, but it is well-made, deliberately designed, and full of cute and funny writing.
Lost Ember clocks in at about six hours per play, depending on your particular style. That’s a pretty decent amount of time for you to experience the story and get to know all the types of wildlife available. Add on a couple more runs to find all of the hidden items and I’d say it is well worth the $29.99 US price tag. If you’re a fan of games like Journey and What Remains of Edith Finch, make sure to check out Lost Ember ASAP.
Sniper Ghost Warrior ContractsPS4
Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts is a sniper’s playground. But like any playground, there are some unexpected rough edges that can make playtime a bit less fun. Uninspiring AI combined with numerous technical issues makes for an occasionally frustrating experience. Though the change of scenery and weaponry will be appreciated by some, the ho-hum technical performance and glitchy objective tracking will turn some all the way off. What CI Games has produced isn’t bad, but it’s also not quite the Sniper Elite 4 contender the genre needs to keep things interesting.
While there were many compelling reasons to take a chance on Golem, there were far too many technical issues marring the overall experience. When consumed in bits-and-pieces, the component parts could all stand on their own with little problem. It’s only when these individual parts coalesced that the seams begin to show a bit more prominently. Fortunately for everyone involved, it seems like the team over at Highwire Games are dedicated to fixing these foundational blunders. However, until these overhauls have been completed, I’d recommend taking a cue from Twine and sitting this one out.
Shenmue III should have been the final game in this trilogy, all loose ends tied up and (re)vengeance served. Instead, Suzuki-sama hopes to continue Ryo’s story and with little improvement made over the past two decades and I fear that a fourth game will stick to this same stagnant formula. Disappointed as I am with this news, my real hope is that he can pull off a fourth and final game sooner than later. Because as much as I love this series, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling let down with this revival and worry about ever seeing the end of this tale.
STAR WARS Jedi: Fallen OrderPS4
At its core, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order feels like the bastard lovechild of the Uncharted and “Souls” franchises, raised by George Lucas as one of his own. The overall experience could’ve easily stood on its own merits as an entirely new action-packed adventure IP, featuring combat and exploration mechanics that meld together seamlessly. It also goes without saying that existing within the Star Wars canon is absolutely an added benefit, not to mention the consistent through-line that forms the backbone of the narrative.
All in all, Sparklite is a pretty fun game. It’s vibrant and cute and as a fan of pixel art, I admit that I may be a little biased. However, thanks to its rogue-lite elements, you can play in short spurts or sit down for a few hours at a time which is a real plus in my books. Read more at https://www.playstationlifestyle.net/2019/11/14/sparklite-review/#yEC0szvrCxPuOi5L.99
Need for Speed HeatPS4
Need for Speed Heat is a solid arcade racer, in a landscape that continues to suffer from a drought of them. It is also, surprisingly, a solid arcade racer that is not plagued by the scourge that can be microtransactions, in a landscape (and from a publisher) that continues to practically drown in them. The story may be as generic as a Miami cop show from the ‘80s, but the cars are numerous and varied, the map is expansive and full of events, and most importantly, the racing is fast and furiously fun.
Citadel: Forged with FirePS4
Citadel: Forged With Fire has an interesting, even fun, premise lurking through some of the rough edges. A game like this is most fun when played with others, especially when you consider that on most servers, the things you build will be available for all players on that server to see. The lack of much in the way of content, though, means players are left to their own devices and imagination when it comes to interesting things to see and do.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IIIPS4
It’s easy to say a sequel like Cold Steel III is “more of that thing before,” but as true as it is, that betrays just how much more that is here. These games are enormous, and the developers and writers consistently delivering on the scale they do is impressive every time. While the mechanical and technical changes are small and iterative, there’s really no need for anything more. This is another massive story to dig into, that’s just as fruitful and compelling as the stories before it.
It’s brilliantly unique in its design and implementation of online elements. Even if it’s got a few places where it stumbles, Death Stranding firmly holds down R2 and L2 to regain its balance and deliver an unmatched experience.
Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and the Lion KingPS4
I had just as much fun playing through Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King in my thirties as I did 25 years ago as my eight-year-old self. And yes, I finally completed The Lion King; albeit with some assistance from the rewind function! Hakuna Matata. It means “no worries.”
Cat Quest IIPS4
Cat Quest II is a delightful game with easy controls and a lot of content to play through. They stuck to its roots, which this fan is thankful for. Any time I am itching for something to put a goofy smile on my face, the game I’ll be reaching for will be curled up and happy to see me.
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HDPS4
Despite faint glimpses of the greatness that could’ve been, you’d be better served waiting for the proper reboot that this franchise absolutely deserves.
Ice Age Scrat's Nutty Adventure!PS4
It took me about three hours to finish Scrat’s Nutty Adventure, which honestly feels about three hours too long. If you really hate yourself, you can replay earlier levels with the context-sensitive abilities you’ve unlocked, letting yourself access new places to find collectibles. If this was a fun platformer I would find it a delightful addition that adds replay value to the game. However, in a game as absolutely terrible as this one, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to spend time doing this.
Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers TimePS4
Sometimes when I’m playing a game, I don’t necessarily want to be challenged. But I’d still like to stay in my wheelhouse at the same time, you know? That’s tough for me, since my default stomping grounds involve experience points, menus, and skill points. And at this point in my life I’m kind of out of Dragon Quests. But just in my time of need, NIS has stepped out of its comfort zone and made Destiny Connect, a whimsical romp that doesn’t try too hard or overstay its welcome. It’s a light snack in a genre full of hearty feasts.
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes Complete EditionPS4
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes is an appetizer for the main course that is sure to be No More Heroes III. Indeed, it is best served in short, bite-sized chunks, which its short levels are perfect for consuming in such a way. As a whole, this isnât the strongest entry in the series, but then it doesnât feel like it was intended that way. Sitting down with a buddy in local co-op is a fun first for Travis, and a decent smattering of extra game modes helps to stretch play time a bit.