Not much to say about this given it’s only 10-15 minutes, but decently excited for the real thing. Great to see so many horror games coming out this year

4/4 💜
✅ It’s amazing how much more vast and full of content the game feels due to its verticality, essentially tripling the map size as you can now seamlessly transition from the surface, the sky and its floating islands, and deep underground in the Depths. There are full sized caves now, far more to explore and more enjoyable ways to get around with the addition of Zonai devices, more quests and lively areas, etc
✅ The new powers (Ultrahand/Recall/Ascend/Fuse) are brilliant and more interesting to use in general, going hand in hand with immensely impressive physics that I’m honestly unsure how they pulled off. Even enjoyed the shrines a lot here compared to what I remember in BotW
✅ Solid story (keeping a similar structure to BotW pretty much). I adored the ending moments especially, much improved over its predecessor there
✅ Towers shooting you into the air to scan instead of making you climb them is an excellent change and makes getting around the map much faster
✅ Actual dungeons (if fairly short and easy by the time I got to them)
✅ Fantastic music from start to finish
❌ While visually TotK is held up by its art direction, the hardware unsurprisingly lets it down. Image quality is frankly poor, and there are numerous times where the frame rate drops from being decently stable to the 20s if not lower (mainly in denser areas). Load times are fairly quick though
❌ Combat is basically the same and just alright, Fuse makes it better but I’m still not a fan of durability and constantly scrolling through menus for items much
❌ Koroks and that guy holding the same Hudson sign everywhere

✅ Cute little game where you explore a small island trying to collect signatures to save a nature reserve, while taking photos of any animals you find (mostly birds) and cleaning the environment. It’s very short but an enjoyable time for what it is
✅ Good art style
✅ Liked Alba’s skip animation
❌ Missing a jump button

4/4 💜
✅ Inspired by classic JRPGs, Chained Echoes is a fairly dense game that stands out as a well executed and highly memorable RPG in its own right. Given the amount of content this has and how much effort it must have taken to make, it’s genuinely mind-blowing that it’s mostly done by a single person
✅ Combat is interesting in that it focuses on an “Overdrive” bar, where you need to manage skills used to balance how effective your attacks are. You also regain all your HP/TP after a fight, which encourages you to always use all your moves since enemies are pretty aggressive to compensate
✅ I liked that instead of standard leveling, you don’t have XP to gather when fighting normal enemies. You get shards that are used to unlock new skills but only after beating bosses, which means there’s little need to grind in this
✅ For the most part the early hours are linear, but once you reach Act 2 it opens up in a really cool way. Getting access to Sky Armors as a faster way to travel around (which made revisiting areas more enjoyable), unlocking meaningful side quests, a bigger party, etc
✅ Great music and pixel artwork!
❌ While the difficulty is manageable with buffs/debuffs, I did feel the balancing was kinda off. On default there were many times where I hit a wall for standard enemies who hit really hard yet I had an easier time with the boss that followed. On the other hand, lowering settings makes it too easy imo, especially as you get stronger abilities
❌ Crystals felt kinda pointless as a system. Most of the time you can’t combine the ones you actually want, and the ones you did have felt like they made a negligible difference at best
❌ Feel there’s too many party members to manage by the end, though most are useful (Mikah for instance)
❌ The lack of a glossary for a world this fleshed out seems like an odd oversight. There is a bestiary though
❌ Varied expressions for portraits would’ve been appreciated, but that’s a minor gripe
❌ Kept rearranging my party formation every so often

4/4 💜
✅ Superb puzzles and entertaining writing, with one of the best co-op campaigns there is added in as well
✅ Visually hasn’t aged at all and runs perfectly (replayed to try on Steam Deck)
❌ Quite a lot more loading screens than I remember, with one after every test chamber and entering new areas

✅ Cool concept where you control a claustrophobic submarine to take pictures in a blood ocean
✅ Short but effective atmosphere
❌ The gameplay’s centered on not being able to see outside, so you need to avoid obstacles with the controls as you drive through the map. But I feel I was mostly focused on trying not to smash into walls the whole time than actually being unnerved by anything
❌ Aside for the creepy noises not much happens, and the end was underwhelming. It’s only an hour long or so though

4/4 💜
✅ Well written dialogue with good characters who develop as they age alongside your character
✅ Great sci-fi worldbuilding, much of my enjoyment was just learning more about the alien planet and its ecosystems as you build up the colony
✅ Large variety of choices to really personalize your character and their traits from age 10 to 20, as well as letting you adjust your appearance and gender/pronouns whenever you like which was much appreciated
✅ The game’s deck card system is simple but makes for an interesting alternative to standard skill checks, and can adjust its difficulty to your liking
✅ Calming OST that doesn’t get in the way but greatly adds to the game’s atmosphere
✅ Incentive to replay due to the mechanic of remembering events from your past playthrough, which can open up even more choices (though I only did two full runs)
❌ As the game nears age 20, it can start to feel a bit aimless as you exhaust most unique events and kinda go through the motions til it ends a bit anticlimactically. But this probably depends on your story choices since there’s quite a few different endings

4/4 💜
✅ Story has a lot of heart in how it handles its themes on mental health (if a bit sappy at times), with a particularly wonderful ending
✅ Lovely pixel style and very pleasant soundtrack
✅ Strong lead characters (Atma and Raya)
✅ Surreal fantasy in 90s Indonesia made for an interesting setting
✅ Multitude of small mini-games and (admittedly simple) puzzles helped add some variety to the gameplay
✅ You can pet and name a bunch of cats
❌ Much of the game is spent running back and forth through the same few areas looking for items to collect, which got a bit repetitive and slowed the pacing down

A short but very pleasant game about biking through a small valley, documenting its history and people to preserve for the future before the season ends and everything is swept away in a coming flood. The art style is lovely, and I was really into the meditative atmosphere with its focus on simply taking in the moment with photos and drawings. Tieng Valley is an interesting setting to explore for the time you spend in it, and I enjoyed that you’re free to go wherever you like once you arrive
If there’s one notable flaw it’d be performance since there’s quite a few FPS drops throughout that took me out of it a bit. Hopefully this can be patched but otherwise I really enjoyed it

4/4 💜
It’s been a while since I’ve played through the original Dead Space so may need to go through it again for better comparison here (and thinking of replaying 2 and 3 also), but I will say the remake certainly does an exceptional job living up to it, keeping most of the experience intact from what I can tell and greatly polishing on its strongest aspects, while also making some welcome changes throughout that further amplify this modernized revisit to the Ishimura
On a technical level it’s mostly superb with stunning detail and lighting, greatly enhancing the game’s unsettling atmosphere while revamping the ship to expand on its areas and connect them more seamlessly without load screens. And I don’t recall the original being too scary, but the increased focus on sound design in the remake definitely made me more on edge too
Another big difference from the original is that Isaac actually speaks like he does in the sequels. Initially I was unsure about this as his silence had some appeal given how isolating it made the first game feel, but for the most part that’s still maintained since he only talks when directly spoken to and doesn’t make any quips when alone. Personally I still don’t think the story in Dead Space is especially great, but having Isaac actually engage with the characters is a change for the better in my opinion
In regard to issues, I had a problem where the game would briefly stutter whenever opening a door even with VRR on, and some other launch bugs that occasionally came up. Also I can’t remember exactly if I felt the same with the original, but the back half of the game got weaker as it started to lose its tension and locks you in rooms with waves of the same necromorphs more often. Overall though it’s a really well made remake that, while not being a big departure, more than justifies itself and succeeds in faithfully updating this horror classic

Persona 3 FES is a game I’m really fond of even if it’s a bit dated next to its successors. The mechanics of course aren’t as refined, there’s too much time spent with nothing to do in the last few months, and most of it is focused on grinding through a tower with the same looking floors for dozens of hours… but despite that it still manages to be a great JRPG with its highly memorable story, music, and atmosphere even if P4 and P5 have improved on the gameplay since. FES was also the first Atlus title I’ve played and what really drew me into these kind of games in general, so I have much nostalgia for it too
Now its Portable version is quite different, and I guess what Atlus decided was best to give a modern release. I’ve played a bit of it in the past but not really enough to have much opinion, so figured I’d go through it now that it’s widely available and see how it fares. Unfortunately though, the big compromises it has as a PSP game were left untouched here. And since this is also a pretty lazy port on their part, I finished with mixed feelings and am admittedly disappointed that this was what was pushed to consoles instead of FES (or just doing a new version that P3 really deserved…)
First I’m gonna get my gripes out of the way. It’s immediately clear that Portable cuts out the overworld exploration and anime cutscenes from FES, which is honestly a huge blow especially if playing as male MC since there’s no changes there outside battles. It doesn’t make a good first impression with the intro hours being a notable downgrade in presentation, and sadly this is the case for most of the game’s major story moments all the way up to the end, either using jarring stills of the cutscenes to show what’s going on or just having underwhelming execution compared to how it was done with full 3D models. For this alone I wouldn’t say this is the best way to experience P3’s story, especially if it’s your first time playing. Also worth noting this doesn’t include The Answer (FES’s extended epilogue) if anyone’s interested in that too
Instead what Portable attempts is basically a visual novel with a cursor to move around between areas, using the sprites with more descriptive text in scenes to make up for its limitations. I didn’t dislike this in itself, to its credit the cursor with the addition of fast travel did make the game feel snappier to the point of cutting down playtime quite a bit more than I remember from FES, even if it’s essentially the same volume of content. And it still has the addictive loop these games always have so I didn’t mind it after a while, but the general sense of place just wasn’t the same this way
The console port itself isn’t good either, where notably compressed audio and blowing up these badly upscaled backgrounds for TV really doesn’t do it any favors. On Series X the higher resolution cleans it up a bit I guess, and you can switch to JP voices now which is nice, but Atlus clearly didn’t give this much attention beyond the bare minimum which is a shame, especially since this is the first time P3’s on all platforms
So I wasn’t a fan of those aspects much, but Portable does still have its own advantages. The best thing about it being you can play as FeMC, with her route and significant changes to the game making for a great addition. In comparison to FES, I’d actually say her new social links with the side characters felt more fulfilling while also doing a better job directly fleshing out the main cast (whereas half of them are ignored as male MC for some reason outside of story events). I also was into the contrasting vibe with the pink UI, the changes in dialogue options, and the different music (though I prefer Mass Destruction to Wiping All Out myself)
And as mentioned Tartarus is still the worst thing about P3 and that’s not much different with Portable, but the gameplay additions compared to FES are welcome. Such as full party control, guarding, skill cards (but no manual inheritance which really could’ve been added to this), quick saving, floor retries, adjusting the fatigue system so you can actually stay in Tartarus without getting tired, etc, which does help in making it feel less tedious. Along with custom difficulty options to further limit grinding if you choose, in this regard it’s an improvement
Ultimately though, why P3 grabs me as much as it does takes too big a hit with Portable to say I prefer it. It’s still worth checking out given it’s what’s widely available now (especially for the FeMC route), but if you do have the option to play FES I’d personally go for that instead

4/4 💜
Probably the best out of nowhere surprise release ever?
With something completely out of left field from their other titles, Tango decided to reveal and shadow drop a new game on the same day, with no indication on what it was beforehand aside for some misleading leaked concept art. As it turns out, they were quietly making a charming action platformer that stands out with a rhythm style where everything moves and syncs to the beat of the music. And it’s absolutely phenomenal!
The cues of the animations, the environments, enemies, bosses, etc, all serve as the basis for the addicting combat where timing with the songs amplify your attacks, giving this a really uniquely executed system that gradually opens up with more mechanics and skills as you progress. The further you get, the more it clicks all the way up to its excellent final levels
And the cel-shaded art style looks amazing! Very well polished and the dynamic animations paired with the clean image quality makes it extremely impressive to look at. I’m honestly shocked Tango was able to make something like this cause I remember The Evil Within 1 and 2 being pretty rough technical wise. In comparison this ran like a dream with not a single slowdown or bug during my playthrough
I even liked the story and characters more than expected. It’s simple and while the dialogue initially didn’t inspire confidence, it’s paced well and the characters quickly become endearing, proving to be an over the top but joyful time
Honestly I don’t have much gripes, I suppose the platforming could be a bit tighter and fighting multiple enemies can get pretty chaotic to follow without lock on. Also this is actually a fairly sizable game and some of the levels can stretch a bit long, but those are minor to me. I really loved it, and for something that’s just $30 or on Game Pass it’s a complete steal for how much effort was clearly poured into it. Awesome start to the year!

4/4 💜
Much like TMNT (which I played first) this excels as a modern follow up that captures the spirit of the old school beat ’em up, and I’d say I was even more into SoR cause of its great art and music. Stages were short and sweet with fun boss fights, and I can definitely see myself coming back to it for the additional modes. Ton of fun especially in co-op

The memes made this seem like a “so bad it’s good” kind of game, but honestly it was pretty enjoyable to me. The story‘s initially all over the place with really bizarre pacing and poor cutscene quality, but it actually gets fairly interesting by the end. Though general dialogue is a mess with much of it reminding me of those edgy PS3 era JRPGs, but it’s clearly self aware so there’s a charm to it
Unfortunately it also looks the part of a PS3/360 game, with blurry visuals, weak lighting, and lackluster environments so it definitely isn’t a technical showcase. Performance is also questionable, as I still noticed occasional drops on Series X with VRR on
That said, since it’s made by Team Ninja what mainly holds the game together is the combat. It’s actually really fun, with plenty of room to experiment with different weapons and skills through its job system and a good parry mechanic with Soul Shield. The level design quickly gets repetitive with their dull corridors to run through, but they’re short enough at least. There are side quests too, but they’re nothing special since they just consist of going backwards through these same levels to kill a random enemy or find an item

Nothing special but solid fun, has your standard summer camp horror premise but it looks good and the characters are decent enough (as you try to keep them alive or otherwise). If you liked Until Dawn you’ll probably like this too