1314 Published Reviews
SableXbox Series X
Playing it is like going on a Gliding. It offers an otherworldly break from the busyness of life, and, when you do return to Earth, you will do so with a smooth landing, and without stress. In fact, as you prepare to leave the game the game will have already left you—a warning and a reassurance, all in one.
In an odd way, then, Glass Bottom Games has captured the truth of the situation; contrary to its mission of cuteness, it has made a game that feels hollow-boned, caged by unflattering mechanics.
More than felling each Visionary, however, and piecing together the history of Blackreef, I relished uncovering more about Colt.
Life is Strange Remastered CollectionPS5
Still, these aren’t deal breakers. True Colors is the best game in the series since Before the Storm, and it will satisfy your narrative craving for a time. The drama is as earnest and irony-free as it gets, and, after the credits rolled, I was left with the same sense of impermanence that has attended all but the first of these games—the impression of a slightly insubstantial pageant, something of a L.A.R.P.
The Artful EscapeXbox Series X
The lack of challenge in The Artful Escape, not just in its play but in its emotional texture, somewhat shreds the odyssey.
No More Heroes 3Switch
“If it’s serious shit, more reason to say screw it,” says Travis, and whether you find the lack of gravitas—or, for that matter, of emotional texture—a problem, No More Heroes III should be played, if for no other reason than it could have been made by nobody else. If you are undecided on the matter, take the leap. It’s hardly serious shit, but I urge you to say screw it.
Twelve MinutesXbox Series X
Its end reaching, choice by choice, back to the beginning—that if you sliced a twelve-minute chunk from someone’s time on Earth it would, if probed and replayed often enough, tell their whole story. Twelve Minutes isn’t so much a story as a study; Antonio is testing us on what we know, and on what we can glean from his tightly wound puzzle. Your time starts now.
Psychonauts 2Xbox Series X
The surprise of Psychonauts was its mechanical competence; it felt like a short hop from one kind of brainy game to another. The sequel, by definition, cannot pack the same shock, but it arrives bearing new gifts.
Aliens: Fireteam EliteXbox Series X
Its objectives rarely stray beyond holding off waves of horrors as the timer ticks down, or fetching doodads to slot into low-ebbing power drives. There is nothing here that will annihilate your sleep, just an uncreative assembly of cherished images, and nothing new to glean from one of cinema’s most celebrated monsters. For better and for worse, you only need to know one thing: where they are.
art of rallySwitch
Art of Rally is that rarest of things: the video game as essay. Now and then, the medium throws up chewy cogitations on the nature of choice and of play—usually so inward-gazing as to cause neck ache—and you feel like saying, “Would you kindly shut up, and let me get back to it.” But the developers have instead filed a report on something they love, taking the delicious murk of their favoured sport, scouring it clean, and schooling us lightly in its history.
Burroughs and Holland do hit on a fine idea: that, if we could peer into the other lives sharing the pavement, like idle channel surfers, we would surely register a jarring shift of genres.
The AscentXbox Series X
We get the standard stream of skill points, to feed into our preferred areas: aim, balance, movement speed, etc. And you can upgrade your cyberdeck, the better to melt the circuits of enemies and locked doors. But it all comes back to open-plan gunning, and it takes more than ballistics to persuade us of real freedom.
The Great Ace Attorney ChroniclesPS4
At any rate, it sounds pretty dubious to me, and it takes a Russian—a blonde, burly sailor by the name of Strogenov—to cut through the clutter. Onboard the S.S. Burya, on its voyage from Japan to London, Strogenov listens to Sholmes’s deductions and delivers his own verdict, rich with impeccable Russianness. “You have talked long time and said many things. What is point?”
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HDSwitch
It’s not quite that I had forgotten how good it was—more that I needed the intervening years to realise it. To take us to a place inhabited by past and present all at once: such is the task of the remaster.
Where the Heart IsPS4
We begin to see our hero’s life as a line—darting and looping instead of living. He becomes less than human. I would much rather have followed the Andersons on a fixed path, free of swerves and second-guesses, but seeing them clearly, even if it ends in a sinkhole.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of RuinSwitch
I wonder how many people will hop from this to Rise, and how many will hang on to that game after the jump, as it bucks and jolts them to the floor. Then again, it matters not. Wings of Ruin may not make a hardened hunter of you, but nor does it want to. It would rather bring you along for its own wondrous ride.
Chicory: A Colorful Tale is bound to the template set forth by The Legend of Zelda, but, rather than offering reflexive glibness, or inking the affair with irony, its critique wraps warmly around its subject, like a scarf.
It’s to Flight School Studio’s credit that, though the clashes at the game’s core left me underwhelmed, the whole thing didn’t feel hollowed-out. This is down to Annika, who sits at its heart and drives it on.
Alba: A Wildlife AdventureSwitch
If I didn’t feel the sugary twinge of sentiment in Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, it is down to this pastel starkness. In the same way that Untitled Goose Game presented us with an English village with the enamelling of context raked and smoothed away, and bid us to etch the detail of our memories onto the place, Pina del Mar revels in the specificity of blankness.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift ApartPS5
Quite how the Ratchet & Clank die-hards will react to the Marvellousness of Rift Apart I don’t know. They may well be soothed by the similarities and irked by the differences. Witness Ratchet revving up his Hoverboots, as though they were rollerblades, and scalding through the scenery like Tony Stark, and you might lament the lessening of traditional, grounded platforming.
Wonder Boy Asha in Monster WorldSwitch
It’s a creepy image, but it doesn’t creep into the rest of the game; its gloom is gone in a blink. What we need, I think, is an ailing landscape, dimming and doomed, against which Asha—whose hair is as supernaturally green as apple Kool-Aid—would stand out. Then again, maybe that is what we got.
We need more of this strangeness in our AAA open worlds, and, if the DNA of Biomutant sparks a re-evolution of some of the genre’s dull spots, perhaps we can forgive the dull spots present here. The story? KLICK! The combat? DING! The world? KAAA-POW!
Moments like these are where Mundaun succeeds, and where Ziegler’s visual technique is most potent. Its frights are rooted in a place that is drawn in fine detail, and those that live there are smeared by darkness.
New Pokemon SnapSwitch
Though it comes with a crop of upgrades, and its graphics have been brushed to a smooth shine, what it offers, despite its title, is the joy of the old.
Resident Evil VillagePS5
Still, reaching the credits, I sat back, exhausted and disappointed at where the series had ended up. In Kamiya’s final journal entry, he reflected on the change brought about by Mikami—whose services we really could have used here—saying, “I easily went into the world of devils…” Indeed, I wonder if we can so easily make our way back.