Probably not a game for everyone, but stupidly fun for the right audience.
It feels like a PS2 game in the best possible way - it takes me back to a time when AAA studios would fund unique and interesting games with bold aesthetic identities instead of churning out "safe" games year after year. I hope hi-fi rush sells a billion copies so we can get more games like this.

A charmingly goofy game with a strong sense of style and ingenious motion controls. Not the smartest nor the most revolutionary title, but one with a true mastery over "fun". I had a total blast flailing joycons around in my living room.


The combat in Tunic is solid, and its puzzles are incredible. I'd even argue that Tunic's puzzles stand among the very best in the medium. It's an expert melding of genres - Tunic is, fundamentally, Dark Souls + FEZ + The Legend of Zelda for NES.
And yet... I think that's why I'm feeling a little let down. Those are all good games, and Tunic copies their homework expertly, but I've played them before. There's nothing in Tunic that feels truly "new".
The manual is definitely a unique flourish, but I feel like it's functionally identical to the artifact cube in FEZ (especially in regards to decoding Tunic's language). The orthographic camera's clever hiding of pathways and secrets also calls FEZ's world rotation to mind.
Some late-game revelations about straight lines at right angles are really exciting, but immediately reminded me of a similar moment in The Witness.
The combat is fun, and twists around Dark Souls' stamina bar in some smart ways, but there have been so many other indie takes on the soulslike this past decade (Hollow Knight, Titan Souls, etc) that Tunic's gameplay largely blends into the noise.
I'm not saying this makes Tunic bad. In fact, if you've never played those games, it means you should really really really play Tunic! It's just that, for me, a lot of the surprise and excitement of discovering a new world was undercut by thoughts of "oh. This is like that One Game I've played."
All that aside - Tunic is great, it's worth playing, and I'm very excited to see what this team makes next.

The writing is hokey, boring, and lacks narrative stakes. The structure of the game is repetetive and occasionally irritating. The track list is a little anemic. The soundtrack is bland and unexciting.
But the driving? The actual moment-to-moment gameplay?
Top-of-its-class. Among the best arcade racers of all time.

Visually incredible, but narratively and mechanically lackluster. A future SodaRaptor title in collaboration with a more skilled writer and/or game designer could be incredible.

A remarkable game for its time, held together by charming characters and exciting dramatic swings. However, the narrative suffers heavily if the player deduces a little further ahead than Phoenix and gets out-of-step with the state of the case.

Solar Ash is built on a strong mechanical foundation, but lacks depth - both in gameplay and narrative.
The story is Not That Good, and I found myself watching apathetically through each narrative beat. (Admittedly: there is one scene near the very end of the game that had me turning to my partner and exclaiming "Woah!! That was SICK!! That was hardcore!!")
A decent game overall, but very dissapointing when compared to Heart Machine's previous work.

The Information Game subgenre has really been blooming over the past few years, and The Case of the Golden Idol is, I think, the tightest design I've seen in this space.
Every puzzle is incredibly well-crafted, and I was riveted by its mechanics for the entire runtime - I played the whole thing in one sitting!
However - the narrative didn't quite work for me. Certain eureka moments involved revelations about character relationships, but I found it difficult to care. I immediately think of "The Return of the Obra Dinn", or "Outer Wilds", which managed to elevate its discoveries with strong emotional stakes.
If the team behind Golden Idol can iterate upon this formula via a new game with stronger narrative footing, I think the result could be among the best games ever made. As-is, though, The Case of Golden Idol falls just short of that all-time-great status.

A charming story and an interesting set of puzzle mechanics, ultimately let down by obtuse and inconsistent cursor controls (at least on gamepad).

This is more of an art gallery than a "game", but it's an enjoyable space to walk through.
Very much worth checking out if you're interested in the rest of Cosmo D's ludography.

While this game's level and quest design are both less ambitious (and less interesting) than the Norwood Suite, I found its narrative to be more captivating and better-paced.

At first glance, Nuclear Blaze appears to be a 2D action platformer, with slick pixel-art graphics and a soundtrack laden with distorted guitars.
But that's a little misleading. It's a laid-back, 2-hour 2D puzzle game with some light platforming and a little cat-hunting side content.
Were this a longer game, that might not work, but a snack-sized bite of a game, it's charming and well-polished.

Rollerdrome's gameplay loop is incredibly Tight. The Tony-Hawk-Meets-Max-Payne core with a splash of Doom Eternal and Jet Set Radio is a genuine stroke of genius.
That said, I was left feeling a little empty by the end.
The lack of a strong narrative to contextualize the action and the absence of any quiet time to chill dulls some of the game's impact. There's a reason why Doom Eternal and Jet Set Radio take the time to include those things.
In addition, the repetition of environments along with the reuse of the game's single bossfight left me wondering how much better Rollerdrome could be with a little more time and budget to expand the breadth of its content.
The core loop is so good that I still think this is a game worth playing, but I'm hopeful for a more fleshed-out Rollerdrome 2.

Frog detective for grownups

I enjoyed Resident Evil, and I appreciate its contributions to the medium, but some elements of the design have aged so poorly they've become outright offensive.
This is made more egregious in the wake of an ongoing survival horror renaissance, with titles like Signalis and the Resident Evil 2-3 remakes polishing off the sharpest edges of the original Resident Evil's formula.
That said - the game is still fundamentally good, just occasionally infuriating.