The title of this article says it all. Rad custom art by @Alex_Connolly!
1 – Marvel Puzzle Quest, Android
My one and only daily mobile jam. Playing daily.
2 – Fortnite, PS5
The last season was pretty rad with the new changes and the insane amount of triple-A cameo skins. Super, super impressive. However, I find that i go back and forth on Fortnite… for every awesome season, the next one is usually meh. The skins this season aren’t great and the new theme — “primal” — isn’t very exciting, IMO. And to top it off, crafting was nowhere on the list of things I wanted added to the game. Finding it tough to get into this season… My son’s already 25 levels ahead of me, so I might just call this one a wash. Playing Weekly (at best.)
3 – Days Gone, PS5
This game killed my productivity this month! After putting about 85 hours into it, I finished Days Gone and honestly had the best time with it — it strikes a perfect balance by telling a more compelling story than State of Decay, but offers more freeform, player-driven adventure than The Last of Us. The writing is top-notch and the characters are great. Deacon and Boozer will go down as two of my all-time favorites, and Sarah’s role is incredibly interesting. Working on a retro review right now so I won’t go on and on here, so look for that here at GC and Carlos and I also did an A-to-Z spoilercast on So Videogames as well for those who want further thoughts. Finished. RECOMMENDED (on PS5).
4 – Glyph, Switch my review
This one started really strong but it’s much longer than it needs to be and the difficulty spikes about 3/4 of the way through. It went from being fun and chill to annoying and irritating. A real shame since there was a lot to like about it, but I think the dev got a little carried away with the challenge level. Deleted.
UPDATE: The dev just emailed me to let me know that he’s rebalanced the game to reduce the need to interact with some of the more difficult areas… This is potentially really good news. I’ll dip back in later and re-evaluate.
5 – Aground, Switch review by Mitch Zehe
This is a 2D Minecraft-ish sort of thing, but the hook is that it goes places. The trailer shows a game scope that grows in size from a small island to spanning continents, and then eventually going into space along with all sorts of technology like lasers, cyborg implants and spacecraft. i didn’t get too far before I had to put it on hold for review obligations, but I was liking what I was seeing. On pause.
6 – Sir Lovelot, Switch
It’s a 2D platformer that has players rescuing Rapunzel-like damsels in distress. it’s fine enough, I suppose, but it just didn’t click with me and I moved on after a few levels. Deleted.
7 – Battle Brothers, Switch
The perfect example of why tutorials are important. I’m all for turn-based strategy titles (even ones with janky, low-rent presentation like this) but having tons of details and deep systems doesn’t mean jack shit if you don’t tell the player how to interact with them, or how they work. I am 100% not going to look up an FAQ and put in a lot of extra effort to *start* playing a game, and the tutorial included here is a fucking joke. I bounced after my first session. Deleted.
8 – Steampunk Tower 2, Switch
This 2D Tower Defense game offers a neat twist — there’s only one tower! Defend it from all comers with a series of upgradeable turrets as you engage in a campaign that spans all of Europe. It’s busy but not too busy, and passive but not too passive… the gameplay strikes just the right balance and I had a great time with it until the end. Finished. RECOMMENDED!
9 – Warframe, PS5 my review from 2017
I put more than 200 hours into Warframe when I finally got into it a few years ago and had a marvelous time. I wanted to pop back in now, but I’ve forgotten everything about it and the re-learning curve feels just as steep as the original learning curve. I wish the devs would include a quick “get reacquainted” mode for people who’ve fallen away, but no such thing exists. It was more effort than I was ready to put out at the moment, but I will come back to it. Paused.
10 – Black Legend, XBX my review
What if Bloodborne, but turn-based strategy? A wonderful idea, but this game falls down on every level and delivers a fairly miserable experience. Deleted.
11 – Katana Kata, XBX
A little indie action game featuring super-simplified sword combat. Unfortunately, the combat does not feel great, and that’s really the only thing it has to offer. Deleted.
12 – Cyber Shadow, XBX Game Pass review by Brian Theisen
What if 1989’s Ninja Gaiden on NES, but modern? I had enough of this platforming punishment back in the day, and I’m good on it now, thanks. Deleted.
13 – Wind Peaks, Switch
This spot-the-item title has a neat art style and cites Gravity Falls as an influence (rad!) but the screens are too large and some of the items are pretty tough find. There’s a hint feature, but it makes you wait three realtime minutes before it gives you the answer when you need one, and like… NO. Seriously, if the hints just popped I would have finished this and had a fine time, but that arbitrary forced wait was like nails on chalkboard. Deleted.
14 – Signs of the Sojourner, Switch
Building a deckbuilder roguelike on a premise of conversations instead of combat is awesome, but actually playing the game left me pretty cold. The number of cards a player can hold is too small and their interactions are too limited. It was also fairly frustrating to want to reply to someone a certain way, but not be able to because I didn’t have the right card? There’s a core of something really genius here , but I don’t feel like it’s fully captured yet. Deleted.
15 – Bishoujo Battle Cyber Panic!, Switch
What if 1989’s Qix, but with girls wearing armor and weapons? It’s fine mechanically, but as far as I can tell there’s no actual nudity, which seems like a missed opportunity considering that games are starting to show some skin on the Switch. Paused.
16 – Leap of Fate, PS5
I picked this up as research on developer Clever Plays since they’re releasing a new title called Operation Tango soon, and I was blown away by how awesome it is. It’s a twin-stick realtime action roguelike with four very different characters and a neat tarot-cards-on-a-table mission progression structure. The unlocks come regularly (some permanent, some per-run), the mechanics are awesome and the runs are fast, yet satisfying. I love this game, and it’s an excellent study in smart design, especially for the roguelike genre. Still playing. RECOMMENDED!
17 – Monster Hunter Rise, Switch
MonHun is back! I know World was the breakthrough for a lot of people and that’s great, but I wasn’t sold on the too-bland, too-serious Westernized aesthetics and I fell off after rolling credits. Now that Capcom has brought the series back to handheld, I’m all-in. The art style is much closer to the series standard — a huge plus — and the humor is back, as well. Monster design is strong, there are tons of quality-of-life fixes, and getting a new kind of buddy (a dog you can ride and dress up!) is just ace. Early days for me right now, but so far it’s an excellent return to form. Still playing. RECOMMENDED… if you’re a fan. If you already know you don’t like MH, this one won’t win you over.
18 – Samurai Shodown, Xbox X review by Darren Forman
It’s been a while since I played a fighter, and I have fond memories of Samurai Shodown II from my arcade days. I’m not super sold on the chunky art style that seems to be taking more than a few cues from recent Street Fighter incarnations, but it seems solid enough. There aren’t a ton of modes or extras and half the cast is DLC, but having an alright time so far. Still playing.
19 – Picross S2, Switch
Still chipping away at the final puzzle… Progress is slow, but I’m inching forward between other games. Still playing.
20 – Starbase Startopia, XBX
My son loves sims and space-themed games, so this seemed like a win… but no. This game has strong PC sensibilities, and despite being ported to the Xbox, it doesn’t feel well-suited to console or that it’s been adapted with console players in mind. The tutorials are poor and after getting a few facefuls of spreadsheets and data overload, we both noped out. Deleted.
21 – Kosmokrats, Switch
I barely had time to squeeze this one in at the end of the month, but it seems really interesting so far. the player is a potato peeler on a Soviet space station who’s thrust into the role of drone pilot when the real pilot is killed. They must then operate a zero-G drone and assemble various structures in space while geopolitical chaos ensues back on Earth, as seen from the perspective of someone who’s basically kept in the dark. Early days, but this one’s got me quite interested. Still playing.