Neon White is the best feeling game of 2022. I've only ever taken the most baby of steps into speedrunning. But Neon White is able to condense that joy into a digestible package.
The dialogue and characters are something I'm mixed on but the style is a perfect match for the gameplay. The environments aren't too cluttered to keep them readable. And the music helps elevate your own tempo to match that which the game requires to ace each level.
The final set of levels, titled Thousand Pound Butterfly is one of the best culminations of a platformers mechanics in the genre. Taking all of the movement abilities and lessons from the journey to that point. Flipping them on their head with the final card and movement mechanic led to the apex of its many levels.
A Plague Tale: Requiem takes a bunch of big swings. This is what leads to some of its strongest parts, both as a sequel and existing on its own. But as a result of its compensatory misses, this game is a lot messier than its predecceor, Innocence.
Once again Plague Tale is visually stunning, from the nature scenes to the busy cities to the deep dark caves. Music is solid. Voice acting is great. Although I had hoped the lip syncing would be improved since Innocence, its still just as bad. They've also renovated some of the characters faces from Innocence, I never fully got used to this.
The new characters don't match the heights of those in the first, but one stands out as being almost at that level. But most importantly, the journey of Amicia and Hugo is what is most successful. I had my ups and downs with the story. The beginning chapters felt like a rehash of Innocence. As did the use of the main villain, although it is much weaker here. The very end had me emotional, feeling the weight of the journey but it wasn't tied together seamlessly. And lots of the steps along with way were messy or otherwise unsatisfactory. At the end of the day, story is still the strongest element of the game.
The other elements being exploration, puzzle solving, stealth and combat. They completely redid the equipment, putting the special alchemies as universal powerups on the different action types, the sling, free throw, pots and the new addition, the crossbow. Giving the player more freedom and options of course appears like a welcome change but the game is still far to linear in its puzzles that the few times I felt like I could get creative, I would be shut out without logic. Other times I was left confused as I would say, try to extinguish fire to move past it, get stuck, check a guide only to realize, 'no you have to extinguish with a different action type'. Not a great feeling.
The combat is given a few more inches of depth, along with embracing killing in whatever quantity you wish. Unfortunately, the combat, for lack of a better word, sucks. the lack of a proper hit point system makes it feel unfair. Limited movement options and no dodge makes it feel sluggish. And boring enemy types make the sling and crossbow feel alright, but more of a foundation than a properly fleshed out combat system.
Stealth and navigating rats have no substantive changes since Innocence. They are good enough but nothing special.
My favorite section of the game is when you are let out on the island. While it isn't an open world (and shouldn't be), it is the largest open area in either of the games. It was a breathe of fresh air. A long break from stealth, combat and set pieces to let you just take in this wonderfully crafted world, admire the sights and sounds. This becomes a hub of sorts and you crisscross through it many times, backtracking I was happy to do.
I had a rocky time with A Plague Tale: Requiem. It is a game that suffers from both not making enough changes from its predecessor and wrongly choosing which elements to double down on. Still its beauty, tragedy and adventure compelled me to blast through it in just a few days. Amicia and Hugo are all time great video game characters as far as I'm concerned and with what is teased towards the end of the game, I cannot wait to see what lies over the next wave.
Serial Cleaners is an intriguing branch within the stealth tree. Instead of taking out targets and hiding the bodies. You instead are sent in after the dirty work has happened. Tasked with cleaning up the crime scene.
I loved the level design, and the art establishes the setting effectively. Mechanics like vacuuming up blood and getting rid of bodies/evidence is fun. And while the voice acting can be dodgy, the story worked for me as well.
This game feels like it is made for me in so many ways. However, it is a greatly janky game. A fair share of bugs and glitches. Intentionally dumb AI that was overtuned on the stupidity. And some levels are way too grindy with how much backtracking you have to do with slow moving characters.
Some of the levels here though, Rykers, the yacht, the office, the police station and more are so well designed. The game is its strongest when you can swap between characters or when you can get really creative to speed up the cleaning process.
Overall I'm impressed with the scope of the game, but that feels like it was at the cost of a tight and finely tuned experience. I really enjoyed my time, and will keep my eye on what this studio makes next, whether that's a sequel or something fresh.
I can't recommend this game to everyone, its setting and gameplay are targeted to a specific audience. I'm glad that I happened to fall within it.
A good ol' fashioned 3D platformer collectathon. Tinykin carves it's own initials in the genre in that it is forgiving, easy and playful. There aren't lives or combat. What seems like a puzzle on the surface, isn't something that stops your momentum to try and figure it out. And the world, characters, sound effects and in game objectives give it that lighthearted texture.
I was completely fine with the game having a flatline of difficulty, because it was just so fun to romp around in these environments. I love the small character in a big world setting. Between the glider, soap slide and line riding, movement is slicky and responsive.
Just a completely joyous experience from start to finish, big recommendation from me.
Two Point Campus isn't doing anything new or revolutionary within its genre. With that said, it is still a lot of fun, and has some interesting mechanics that have kept me coming back to play through multiple levels.
Really though, I want to say that this game has an absolutely bangin' soundtrack, do yourself a favour and listen through it even if you aren't interested in the game. A diversity of genres and feels that somehow all come together in a unified mix of great songs.
Rollerdrome asks you to perfect its gameplay. You have to maintain momentum, while both dodging a myriad of enemy attacks and endlessly executing tricks to keep your ammo topped up.
You need to blend that momentum with the combat. Switching between weapons on the fly to best suite your next enemy. Timing your attacks and rationing your ammo before your next big trick.
It's the arcade-y combo game of Tony Hawk mixed with the frantic arena combat of Doom although it is not as deep as either of those series' focus. But blending them together elevates Rollerdrome to be something special.
Art style is fantastic, reminiscent of Sable but with its own spin. There is some issues with clarity of the line work which made the fidelity fall short on occasion and made text hard to read (even on maximum size).
On the side of story and characters, Rollerdrome makes an attempt but it is a half-assed one and therefore doesn't give the game the rounded edges to be an all around stellar experience.
I had a ton of fun mastering this games systems but I felt that as soon as I had done that, it was over! I could have used another round of the tournament but then I'm sure there would have been the need of more enemies and another weapon. I applaud the game for staying focused with its vision and tight design, but its use of a pseudo-new-game-plus and additional challenges isn't enough to keep me engaged past rolling credits.
This review contains spoilers
I'm feeling conflicted on this one. The first 75% of Cult of the Lamb is some of the best gaming I've had this year. It has a completely addictive gameplay loop between visiting dungeons for resources and then bringing those back to bolster your base. While doing this, the game unfolds and adds layer to make that loop more and more compelling.
It is unfortunate then, that Cult of the Lamb loses itself in the end game. It could be a playstyle thing, but I had almost everything maxed out in terms of cult progression, combat skills and side stories and was stuck with the crusades.
The crusades aren't bad, but they also aren't anything special. Combat and movement are okay but since the game progress blocks you, you are forced to replay each area at least four times. By the time I was diving into the third and fourth areas, my character was so overpowered that I could mindlessly make my way through with very little risk. Roguelike build variety is also lacking.
Speaking to the game's strengths, its right there in the title, cult. Accruing followers who each have their little quirks and unique look is always a joy. And building up your home base around them is lots of fun. With a good mix of purposeful buildings to work on in the short and long term and tons of decorations to personalize your space. This part of the game greatly succeeds for me but it is worth saying that I feel the progression isn't well balanced. The later levels of the cult are mostly left to upgraded versions of buildings you already have, making those later levels not as exciting as they should be as you aren't seeing anything new at that point.
Similarly, managing followers is enjoyable but flawed. Keeping their meters in the right spots and customizing how your cult operates is engaging. You get attached to certain followers and feel bad when you have to do something nefarious to them either as a punishment or by having to make a tough choice for the good of the pack. Again though, the final boss requires 20 members to enter, and it seems like any number above or even around that was not considered even though it is well possible. After 20 or so, you become maxed out on what they can do, and it only makes it harder to maintain those meters for no gain. You are also limited to 6 specific and random members during sermons, taking away lots of control. And not having a way to quickly view how many members are assigned to what jobs makes it hard to plan the perfect sim.
I wish all of my above positives didn't need to be lathered with a compensatory negative but naturally that will happen when a game overstays its welcome. Simply tweaking the number of mandatory combat encounters could have helped this, alternatively there would need to be many more features added to the cult aspect of the game to give it more depth.
In closing, I love the aesthetics of the game, visually great and the music is sublime. I had my fair share of bugs and frame drops but can't say that hindered the experience much.
A game on the cusp of excellence. I will certainly be following this developer's future work because I'm sure their next project will be even bigger and better.
Late to the party on playing A Plague Tale but I'm so glad I did, and right in time for the sequel. This has got to be the best looking non-AAA game I've ever played, at least in terms of fidelity, the lighting and style bring the world to life.
Gameplay I'm generally positive on. No individual part is particularly amazing (the stealth, the puzzles), but the game is often switching things up, throwing new tools at you and moving onto the next thing before you have the chance to get tired of it.
It is with the story that A Plague Tale comes to life. Performances are all great, and the writing between the characters is endearing. Hopefully the sequel has better facial animation to make what are some emotion scenes have some more punch. Still though, this is one of the best adventure games I've played in recent times.
Absolutely worth playing through, especially since it has an easy breezy run time.
Golfing and roguelike, mashed together. As a golf game, Cursed to Golf is totally fine. As a roguelike, it is at least a double bogey.
There are some cool ideas here but its clear the game lacks balance as it throws shots at you and the lack of interesting choices means that this is a one and done. After finishing one run, I don't see myself picking up the clubs again.
Love the pixel art and music!
Cool concept with the controllable terrain in the form of tetris-like blocks. Unfortunately, I feel that almost everything surrounding that doesn't do much to elevate the concept.
You can utilize the system to do some cool tricks in combat but it never feels quite right. The feel of movement and combat is decent but once again the game feel isn't quite there.
I love the visuals, from the pixel art and environments to the UI. Characters and world are a combination of dark and silly that works for me.
What is stopping me from coming back is that it lacks the gripping replayability that roguelikes desperately need. I hope to see this game get a sequel or for another developer to take the general idea and further it in another project in the future.
After having not touched any of the previous games in the series, Sniper Elite 5 being on Gamepass has been my entry point. And I'm wishing that someone had convinced me to check it out sooner!
Sniper Elite has just enough in common with the recent Hitman trilogy in terms of large sandbox level design, multiple objects, stealth, different ways to play and more. But it sets itself apart in ways such as the setting and better action.
This game has a lot going for it, but above all for me is the level design. I've had so much fun exploring all of the hiddens corners of these elegantly designed levels. I've not gone through them all including the DLC map and will be going right back to the game to complete them in different ways.
A hidden gem as far as I'm concerned, and this entry easily sold me to go back and check out the previous games in the series.
I'm a big fan of the Mario Strikers games. And Battle League is a welcome addition. It takes a different approach by increasing the skill cap, and changing up how you build your team (both character wise and gear). I like that Battle League doesn't make the old games obsolete, but you could also say that occurs because this game lacks content.
The addition of several mechanics makes this game have a lot more depth, visuals and music are strong as well. Online is also a focus point for this new entry but its limited.
My biggest complaint with this game is the amount of content. 10 characters is not enough, especially when all characters are on the same tier, instead of having a a captain and side kicks. 5 maps that are visual only is also disappointingly low.
I do love this game, and hopefully I can revisit this review after the free updates and can commend the game for its new additions but I'm keeping my expectations low on that front.
Pixel art and music are top notch. I'm not a TMNT guy whatsoever, I couldn't even match which name goes for which turtle. I'm also not a fan of the beat-em-up genre.
But it was the top notch aesthetic that brought me in and I'm so happy I played through this game. My favourite game in the genre, with an expansive moveset, solid level design, character variety and not overstaying its welcome. The frantic online adds an extra layer to this game that while making it easier, made the experience that much more fun. Big recommend
Weird West is fantastic. I have been in love with everything Arkane has made and it's amazing to feel that love follow some Arkane vets over into this game.
The level of freedom and player choice, the layers of interaction between systems. It made the game fun through out its runtime, even if some locations were duplicated or certain encounters were on paper repetitive, I just loved the minute to minute gameplay that I wasn't bothered.
I wish the game had full voice acting as I felt it hard to connect to certain characters and it made what was otherwise an immersive world feel too quiet at time. With that being said, going on 5 adventures as separate characters and the way it's all tied together into one package is impressive and had me captivated from start to finish.
I cannot wait to see what WolfEye does next because Weird West is the exact kind of game I want to play.