242 Published Reviews
The Jackbox Party Pack 8PC
All in all, Jackbox Party Pack 8 is a great entry in the Jackbox series, propped up by Job Job and Drawful Animate. The Wheel of Enormous Proportions is one of the better trivia games when it’s not trying to be funny, and less punishing than Trivia Murder Mystery Party. The Poll Mine and Weapons Drawn are both new ideas for the series, but only Weapons Drawn really lands, and even then if you have the collective works of Jackbox, I don't think it'll come up in the rotation much.
Nickelodeon All-Star BrawlPS4
Basically, don’t come here because the recent Battle for Bikini Bottom remaster got you in the mood for some SpongeBob humour. Come here because you want to see SpongeBob beat the crap out of Nigel Thornberry, and find your own humour in that.
Metroid Dread suffers from some minor grievances, but overall it is a remarkable achievement in not just resurrecting a dormant and beloved series, proving its authority in the genre it inhabits, or exhibiting the kind of airtight design we’d expect from a title of this calibre. It is a remarkable achievement because it is one of those few rare games that sets itself an atmospheric goal and launches it towards and through the stratosphere.
This is a game that understands the importance of fighting back against fascism and taking a stand as part of your own personal revolution, yet it’s often held back by gameplay that wants to distance itself from that idea as you fawn over cute puppies and fire off outlandish grenade launchers. Yet it’s still a start, and a bold step forward for a company that has long sat on the fence of political discussion. If you’re after more Far Cry, this delivers and pushes the formula forward into exciting new territory.
Super Monkey Ball Banana ManiaPS4
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania is a roll down retro memory lane with its charming classic arcade format. However, the game soon loses its shine with the sudden difficulty spike that makes it incredibly hard to enjoy in the later levels, despite the inclusion of accessibility options. This is a great choice for a party game when you want a local co-op title, but the lack of online multiplayer means the game begins to feel a little stale when playing alone, despite the wealth of levels, modes, and unlockables.
FIFA 22Xbox Series X
FIFA 22 is just like any other FIFA game. It’s a very, very good football game, and with NBA 2K taking its eyes off the prize in favour of the State Farm drip, it’s left with a tap-in to be 2021’s best sports sim. HyperMotion makes a difference, create-a-club adds some personality, and everything else is the same. What more were you expecting?
Death Stranding: Director's CutPS5
Death Stranding remains a bizarre masterpiece on PS5, and the director’s cut only further cements that reputation with a number of worthwhile new ideas that enhance the act of delivering packages across a picturesque landscape of nothingness. The story of Sam Porter Bridges is overblown and wondrous, taking hold of you and refusing to let go as you’re dragged into an adventure that takes the medium to places it has never been before.
When everything clicks, Sable is a great game. Once you've got your head around a quest, especially a longer one with a few moving parts, you can get lost in the world climbing buildings, finding secrets, unlocking puzzles, and gathering knick-knacks. Unfortunately, the game leaves you to your own devices far too often, and doesn't present an interesting enough world for you to want to get lost in it.
Kena: Bridge of SpiritsPS5
Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a very good game that feels like it’s already been left behind by modern genre conventions. There’s nothing all that frustrating in that - we shouldn’t expect games, especially those made by studios the size of Ember Labs, to be constantly groundbreaking, but so much of Kena feels borrowed from elsewhere that it’s difficult to call it great.
Tails of IronPC
From milking bugs to slaying frogs with jetpacks, Tails of Iron is an off-the-walls, brilliantly intuitive sidescroller, but it has a heart and keeps you gripped from start to finish as you slaughter a conveyor belt of would-be challengers. It’s not about avenging your father, not entirely - it’s about family and community. Vin Diesel would be proud. Sadly, it’ll probably get lost in the busy end-of-year shuffle among the triple-A powerhouses. But in the downtime between releases, make some room for Tails of Iron - it’s one of 2021’s best.
Severed Steel feels like playing the Deathloop trailer. Not the actual game, specifically the trailer. Specifically the run shoot kick montage that comes in right at the end. Slick, stylised, and never slowing down for a second, Severed Steel looks set to launch without much fanfare, but if you want a game that gives you a great time and then leaves you alone, give it a try. KILL. THEM. ALL.
I do truly wish I could call this a diamond in the rough or some classic in the making, but that’s just not the case. Aragami 2 is fine and while I am likely to revisit it one day, I wouldn’t say you need to rush out and play it right now.
NBA 2K22 is an almost impossible game to rate, because it’s a damn good basketball game at its core. The biggest problem is how it tries to be anything but a basketball game, and while that doesn’t damage the overall quality on the court, it makes it hard to root for it. It’s the ‘03 Lakers, and I hate the ‘03 Lakers.
I’m not going to say “buyer beware” in regards to the Switch version of Skatebird. By all means, if you have younger gamers or Switch is your primary gaming device, then playing Skatebird on Switch will probably be just fine for you. However, if you have the option, go with the PC version of the game, especially considering that the game is coming to Xbox Game Pass next month. Even though many of its tropes are a bit played out within the genre, Skatebird is a game that knows it’s silly, and embraces it in a way that makes it fun to play (on PC).
Surgeon Simulator 2: Access All AreasXbox Series X
When Surgeon Simulator 2 focuses on the surgeries and your own skill as a player, it’s a lot of fun, but it feels like it often avoids that in an effort to become an entirely different type of game. Less vent exploration, more intricate teeth surgeries next time.
All of that said, denouncing Eastward’s strengths and successes for any of the above would be disingenuous. It is a remarkable game that, while retro in ambition, will paradoxically go on to inspire the drive and uniqueness of future projects. It is clever, vibrant, and unapologetically original, and unless some magnificent twist of fate occurs over the next three months, it will undoubtedly go down as one of the best games of the year.
When you play and write about games for a living, there’s a tendency to move on to the next thing as soon as the credits roll. With Deathloop, I’m back on the beach of black sand and volcanic rock, cocking my pistol in preparation for my next run-in with Julianna. Sure, I have been here before, and the bullet is the same, but the kill is always new.
Pathfinder: Wrath of the RighteousPC
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is exactly what I’ve been looking for in terms of a video game version of a traditional D&D campaign. I haven’t been able to play D&D with my group in over a year and a half, but Wrath of the Righteous scratches that itch, and then some. This is easy for me to say as a more casual tabletop RPG player. However, I’m confident in saying that Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is rich and robust enough that even the most battle-hardened tabletop RPG veterans can have a blast while saving Golarion.
Lost in RandomPC
If it had continued to innovate with new battle mechanics and more cards to collect throughout the entire game, it would be an easy contender for game of the year for me. Unfortunately, it rests on its laurels too early, and the game as a whole suffers for it. I would be eager to return to Random were there ever a sequel, but I don’t think I’ll be revisiting Lost in Random again anytime soon.
Life is Strange Remastered CollectionPS5
I had that chance here, and I can’t describe how much that means to me. Without being overly poetic or needlessly saccharine, I’m glad more games are engaging with how we can learn, grow, and love as human beings, and the rewards that come with accepting such hardships along the way. Life is Strange: True Colors truly is something special.
The Artful EscapeXbox Series X
Annapurna Interactive has a staggering back catalogue, but 2021 has frankly not been great for the publisher. Last Stop failed to leave any kind of impact, Maquette is a game with Bryce Dallas Howard in it and not much else, and Twelve Minutes, despite being loaded with star-power, wastes its time loop mechanic in service of a ridiculous twist ending that derails the entire game.
WarioWare: Get It Together!Switch
I love WarioWare: Get it Together for bringing this charming series back into the limelight. It introduces a bunch of excellent new microgames and a huge selection of returning characters I was so happy to see, yet the short campaign and lacking amount of extras can make the overall package feel underwhelming. Unless you’ve loved the series for decades, this one might be hard to recommend until the game is subject to a discount or two.
Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions is a pretty good game, that much I can confirm. As for what game it's trying to be exactly, your guess is as good as mine. If you want to help Rocky beat his meat though, this is the game for you.
Sonic Colors: UltimatePS4
Sega aims to please Sonic fans during the Blue Blur's 30th anniversary, trying to learn from the mistakes of Sonic games that launched this past decade and improve on them. From the enhanced graphics and extra customization, to the addition of the Tails Save mechanic, Rival Rush, and a brand new and elusive Wisp, Sonic Colors: Ultimate has proven to be the most colorful remaster in Sonic's history.
No More Heroes 3Switch
With that said, I'm glad we have No More Heroes 3. This is Suda51 to a tee: a wonderful and utterly ridiculous celebration of otaku culture and the series he's built up over the years. Travis' fourth-wall-breaking smart mouth makes me smile incessantly, despite how stupid it can be - and it can be very stupid indeed.