232 Published Reviews
All the pieces of Olympia Soirée work together seamlessly like the colors of a rainbow naturally drawing together. Just as we all comprise multiple roles, some given to us by family or tradition and others that we seek out ourselves, Olympia Soirée takes its roles of comfortingly traditional and refreshingly modern otome with pride and executes them with great skill.
Final Fantasy IVPC
Its genre-defining story and combat system coupled with the Pixel Remaster’s reorchestrated soundtrack and quality of life updates make this an iconic game you’d be a fool to miss. Much like Cecil struggles with his unwitting role as a killer for his king, I struggle to let go of Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster after spending a few dozen hours wrapping up its main quest. If you have even a modicum of affection for JRPGs, you will too.
OPUS: Echo of StarsongPC
OPUS: Echo of Starsong was a complete surprise to me in several ways. The gameplay was enjoyable without ever becoming too frustrating or boring, the visual presentation was beautiful, and the focus on audio was implemented well. But what ultimately stood out to me most was the creativity and care put into the story. This was an absolutely touching and memorable sci-fi tale with an endearing cast of characters, and it left quite the impression after I finished the game.
Tales of ArisePS5
Tales of Arise is exactly what I want in a Tales of game, but also a JRPG in general. It fulfills the promise of a modern-day Tales of title in a way no other game in the series has managed in over a decade. While Tales of Arise is clearly influenced by previous games in the series, it also takes cues from other long-running series like Xenoblade Chronicles and Star Ocean. However, Tales of Arise is its own beast—a refreshing, smartly designed, and just plain fun monument to its genre. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
I don’t regret my stay in Providence Oaks, but like most vacations, I wish I had gotten to do more in the short time I had with the game. If you’re looking for a slice-of-life experience in a peaceful lake town and you don’t mind some bumps along the road, Lake might just be up your alley. If you want a narrative game with replay value where your choices affect the story, this vacation might leave you a little wanting.
Despite a few quibbles and an endgame that doesn’t hit quite as hard as I hoped, I enjoyed Chicken Police – Paint it RED! The characters are kind of the star of the show, and the fantastic writing and voice acting compliment the noir-style visuals. If you’re looking for a classic detective story with a unique twist, then you might be interested in the adventures of the legendary Chicken Police. Overall, it’s a clucking good time!
Despite some minor flaws, I rather enjoyed Boyfriend Dungeon. At around five to eight hours long, it might be a bit on the short side for those expecting the lengthier content of most dungeon crawlers, but I felt the length was perfect for conveying the story Kitfox Games wanted to tell. Fans of outright challenging games might want to look elsewhere, but those more interested in story and narrative choice with enjoyable-albeit-simple gameplay might want to give this game a look. Getting attached to your weapons takes on a whole new and surprisingly welcome meaning here!
As an inexpensive and relatively short title by a one-person team, it is hard for me to lend much weight to the game’s misses. Garden Story’s characters and world have a magnetism; it’s hard to stop spending time with them once you’ve begun, and once you’ve finished the game, it’s effortless to stop back in. If you are happy to delve into an experience where everything but the gameplay shines, then Garden Story is definitely worth checking out.
Twelve Minutes is an exercise in patience and the thrill of discovery. Many will tap out before discovering all of the endings or the true ending, whatever that is. I tossed in the towel after about six hours because I passed a point-of-no-return that the game alluded to but didn’t make it explicitly clear to me. The idea of having to redo everything I had already done was unthinkable, so I quit.
I could go on and on about all of the other bells and whistles, like the importance of spending multitools wisely at upgrade terminals, the incredible procedural generation of the levels and enemies, the more than a dozen modes to play, all of the in-game achievements to earn, and the plentiful secrets, but those are best discovered when you buy this game. If you’ve got a strategic bone in your body, you have to buy this. Go, buy it now. It’s $25 at full price, which might as well be an act of charity considering the quantity and quality of what you’re getting.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HDSwitch
Like a pizza with all your favorite toppings, plus two that disgust you, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is mostly delicious. But you'll know exactly when it isn't.
The Vale: Shadow of the CrownPC
This is a title that not only allows people sometimes unable to experience gaming a chance to do so, but it also provides an incredibly unique immersion experience and a different perspective to sighted gamers. A solid, engaging RPG lies at the heart of The Vale: Shadow of the Crown, one that proves to be a truly insightful experience for those who can play it.
Ambition: A Minuet in PowerPC
Ambition: A Minuet in Power is a highly interactive visual novel that details love and intrigue during a turbulent historical time not often covered in video games. It was a trip through time to an earlier Paris that proved memorable and engaging, even if the journey wasn’t without flaws. Visual novel fans looking for more romance with political machinations to maneuver through and a bit more interactivity than one usually expects from the genre should give this one a closer look.
Road 96 offers a unique style and storytelling that the gaming industry desperately needs right now. I worry that this one will float under many people’s radar as it’s by no means an edge-of-your-seat story with larger-than-life actors. This is a chill game with cozy vibes mixed with a little bit of social unrest to shake things up a bit. Conflict! At any rate, if you have the need for this sort of title in your life, Road 96 scratches the itch well.
Fuga: Melodies of SteelSwitch
I have very mixed feelings about Fuga: Melodies of Steel. On the one hand, I’m glad to see that the Little Tail Bronx series still has life in it. On the other hand, this latest entry is largely unimpressive and doesn’t hold a candle to the rollicking good times that Tail Concerto and Solatorobo were. If you are already a Little Tail Bronx die-hard, then you’ve already decided to buy Fuga: Melodies of Steel. If you’re a newcomer, I think you’d have a more enjoyable time with Tail Concerto or Solatorobo.
There’s a moment just as the wave breaks, as it all comes crashing down, where the sea spray lingers in the air and a rainbow appears against the blue sky. From where you stand, you only see its upper arc, but there’s comfort in knowing it’s a complete circle somewhere, the rest of Bustafellows that had built up to this moment. And it’s fleeting, perhaps even quickly forgotten, but it’s beautiful.
Compile Heart, and the Neptunia series in particular, have the kind of negative reputation that begs you to push through and find the treasure that keeps these games releasing a full decade later. Sadly, if there is a diamond in all this rough, it’s not to be found in Neptunia ReVerse. The repetitiveness of the core experience is unlikely to win over non-fans, and longtime fans will feel disappointed, if not insulted, by the lack of changes from Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1, and PlayStation 5 exclusivity proves the final nail in the coffin for this remaster in search of an audience.
Dreamscaper has been in early access for about a year, and based on my time with it, I can say that time was well spent by Afterburner. They’ve created a well-balanced and engaging roguelike Action RPG that perfectly pairs with its social simulator mechanics. I continued to play long after I conquered Cassidy’s dreams and enjoyed every run, whether it was all the way to the end of the game or stupidly dying in the first level.
Episode 2 continues on in much the same manner as Episode 1. It has consistently high-quality writing, which makes for an engaging experience all the way through. Barring occasional hiccups with some of the new cast members, Episode 2 manages to improve upon its predecessor in every way, from the expanded range of choices to the overall narrative structure of the unfolding plot. The months-long wait till Episode 3 will be a painful one, but if the quality continues in this manner, I’m more than happy to wait.
Eldest Souls has a New Game+ mode where the bosses hit harder, players heal for less, and the enemies have significantly more health — as well as new moves — but who wants to go through that? If you’re hungry for a fresh Souls-like experience, this isn’t it. If you’re the type of player who craves a challenge and loves memorizing boss patterns, then this could be for you. Just don’t expect to have meaningful options.
There is a lot to like in the game, but it feels like it’s laser-targeted at the crowd who enjoys wandering around dungeons in a masochistic rage. As someone who isn’t the biggest fan of dungeon RPGs, Osteoblasts didn’t quite click with me. That said, despite being a game about skeletons, it certainly has a lot of heart.
ENDER LILIES: Quietus of the KnightsPC
ENDER LILLIES manages to mitigate my issues with the Metroidvania subgenre while surpassing any expectations I had thanks to its story, art, and gameplay. My time with it was so overwhelmingly positive that I found myself struggling to pinpoint things I didn’t like. To those (like myself) who found themselves enamored with Valkyrie Profile’s theater-of-tragedy style of storytelling, I highly recommend giving Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights a look.
Final Fantasy IIIPC
Ultimately, if I was going to recommend one NES-era Final Fantasy to anyone, it would be Final Fantasy III. You can feel the sheer genre-pushing joy on screen as you play. This version of Final Fantasy III removes many of the original’s frustrating elements, but it still feels like an RPG of its era, for good or ill. The job system might not be that complex, the story might not be that engaging, and the exploration might be frustrating.
Final Fantasy IIPC
Overall, I’m glad I gave the Pixel Remaster version of Final Fantasy II a shot. Finding some interesting ways to quickly strengthen my party this time around made traversing the annoying dungeons that much more tolerable, and so I enjoyed finally experiencing this portion of FF history to its completion. FFII is a divisive game, and given my experiences with the title I can see where those who enjoy it and those who dislike it are coming from.
Overall, between the game’s story and gameplay, nothing sticks out as individually exceptional. Still, Final Fantasy comes together as an experience that is better than the sum of its parts. The Pixel Remaster does an excellent job of keeping the surprisingly well-aged gameplay that started the series intact while updating it with more modern pixel art and a beautiful soundtrack.