The title of this article says it all. Rad custom art by @Alex_Connolly!
May Total: 29
1 – Marvel Puzzle Quest, Android
My one and only mobile jam. PLAYING DAILY.
2 – Monster Hunter Rise, Switch my review
Still way deep in the MonHun. Doing quests with the wife daily, and spending tons of time tweaking my skills and armor. Rolled credits on the story mode and did every quest in the game. Just polished off the latest DLC with Valstrax and now eagerly awaiting the next drop. World didn’t grab me too much, but hunting is BACK, baby! STILL PLAYING. RECOMMENDED!
3 – Terminator: Resistance ENHANCED, PS5
I had barely started this on XBX when I found out an improved version was coming with new DLC that lets you play as a T-800 terminator. Since the DLC is apparently a timed exclusive that won’t come to Xbox for 6 months (apparently?) I switched consoles and restarted the campaign. As for the “enhancements”, it just looks like there’s a lot more lighting, but not really in a good way — it’s kind of overdone, and beyond that it’s hard to tell any real difference, so BFD. I put it on hold for the moment because review responsibilities are piling up, but I’ll come back to it. PAUSED.
4 – Fortnite, PS5
My son roped me in to play the “no building allowed” mode which was pretty cool since I’m not much of a builder, but this season is still the suck. I don’t like the crafting and the skins are super boring… I’ll check in again next season. PLAYING ONLY WHEN MY KID ASKS.
5 – Second Extinction, XBX
Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Teaming up with friends to kill super-dinosaurs sounds like a great time but the character designs are awful, the graphics are muted and muddy, traversal is too limited, the controls don’t feel good, the powers are dull and the game failed to tell me much or get me fired up about playing. I couldn’t get out of this fast enough. DELETED.
6- The Longing, Switch
I’m checking in to this for maybe 10 minutes a night. On the plus side, I’m not sure whether it was always this way or if it got patched in, but the game now recognizes when players tell the character to do something long-term (walk to X location or perform Y task) and they’ll finish it while the game is shut down. This makes it way, way, way more playable since you don’t need to stick around and watch things happen in slow motion. Give an order, bounce, and check back the next day… voila, task is done! Great choice by the devs here. STILL PLAYING.
7 – The Colonists, XBX
A basic townbuilder/resource gatherer that features cute robots but some puzzling decisions — they follow human-oriented tasks (harvesting wood, fishing, etc.) and a crucial aspect of play (building roads) is BIZARRELY fussy. Roads must be between 4-6 squares, no more, no less. Because… reasons??? I like the aesthetics but it was a pain in the ass to play thanks to super-annoying roadbuilding that made connecting my town and the resources far, far more difficult than it needed to be. DELETED.
8 – Legend of Keepers, Switch my review
This roguelite has players defending a dungeon from incoming heroes. The pixel art is great, the plays are fast and light, and the systems are well-done. My only issue with it is that the text is WAY too small on Switch. We’re talking eyestrain, painful-small here. Otherwise, I think it’s great and had a lot of fun with it. FINISHED.
9 – Buildings Have Feelings Too, XBX review by Damiano Gerli
It looks like a city sim, but it’s actually a fairly rigorous puzzle game with multiple levels of conditions to satisfy and several menus to parse through. The tutorial is woefully insufficient and it punishes mistakes too harshly, but I still kinda liked it. Unfortunately, it just gets way too complicated for its own good. A player shouldn’t have to review multiple tabs to figure out key aspects of each move, and adding a realtime countdown when the player makes an error was a HORRIBLE idea. DELETED.
10 – Resident Evil Village, PS5 review by Dan Weissenberger
I didn’t plan on playing this but the FOMO was too strong and I ended up surprising myself by having a lot of fun with it. It’s a great bend of scares and action (mostly action), and the overall design is really smart. For my in-depth thoughts, give a listen to Episode 233 of So Videogames. Former co-host Corey Motley and I deep-dive and go into detail about why we loved it. FINISHED. RECOMMENDED!
11 – Talisman: Digital Edition, PS5
This is one of those digital board game conversions that simply puts the board game into an electronic format without doing much else. It looks like a board game (as in, you’re looking at a replica of an actual game board on the screen) but there are no bells and whistles or any neat effects. I might be into this if I was already familiar with Talisman (I’m not) but there’s not much here to draw in a newcomer. DELETED.
12 – Death Crown, XBX my review
This micro-scale RTS brings intense action and a striking aesthetic. I had such a great time with it, I immediately replayed the whole game right after finishing it, which is something I never do. My review (link above) has all the details. Real talk, tho — it’s way too small on Switch. Get it on PC or the other consoles instead. FINISHED. RECOMMENDED!
13 – Space Commander: War and Trade, Switch
This is one of those ‘buy low, sell high AND ALSO shoot enemy ships‘ sort of games — the last one I tried (I think?) was Rebel Galaxy 2, which was actually not bad. This one apparently got its start on mobile, and it shows. It’s pretty enough, but it feels a bit vapid and there’s not much to it. Fine enough if you’re into this specific genre and need a lightweight entry, I guess. Deleted.
14 – Nongunz: Doppelganger Edition, Switch
A 2D sidescrolling roguelike (I think?) with a lot of gunplay. It explained absolutely nothing about itself at the beginning and the difficulty felt unpleasantly steep from the get-go. DELETED.
15 – Biomutant, XBX review by Dan Weissenberger
This third-person open-worlder features a furry main character set in a post-apocalypse where the planet has started to reclaim itself. There’s a surprising amount of emphasis on making choices and more overt storytelling than expected — it comes complete with a narrator and frequent playable flashbacks to the protagonist’s days as a child. It all feels like a bit much at the start, tbh… lots of things to upgrade, crafting, various body and combat styles, different powers and so on. I’m also not a super fan of anthropomorphized animals and there’s a vague Kung Fu theme running through it, as well. It kinda feels like the devs took a handful of everything and threw it all into the pot. It’s cute and interesting, but the combat doesn’t feel great and It’s not quite my vibe, but I’m guessing a fair number of folks (Fable fans, especially) would find it to be pretty cool. DELETED.
16 – It Takes Two, XBX review by CJ Salcedo
Josef Fares does not know how to write dialogue or tell a story. This mandatory co-op title (impossible to play it alone) features some neat and fun teamwork mechanics, but the script is awful. This on-the-verge-of-divorce couple get zapped into being tiny action figures and instead of effectively bonding or learning to rely on each other, the game spends more than half of its running time with the two grousing and sniping at each other. It also features one of the most wrongheaded and horrific scenes in recent memory (the elephant) and I’m just dumbfounded at how poorly the narrative side was handled. If this game removed all dialogue and went wordless (as Brothers was) it would be a far, far better experience. FINISHED.
17 – Rising Hell, Switch (demo)
This 2D roguelike has players climbing a tower floor by floor. An interesting idea, but the main character has a bizarre system of attacking where he has to cycle through three animations, even if the player stops attacking before pressing the button three times. Remembering which attack animation is coming up next is a layer of nonsense that was not needed, and it made me worried that more poor choices might be in store. DELETED.
18 – Wanna Survive, Switch
This is a turn-based strategy title that also has a fair amount of puzzle DNA in it. Take a group of survivors and try to reach safety while avoiding zombies and not running out of food. It looks cute and the concept is solid, but it’s also HARD. Too hard, honestly. The game isn’t great about teaching the tricks needed to survive and characters are permanently dead if they ever go down. Of course this means you’ll be restarting every level until you get it right. There are some partial restart options, but they rely on in-game resources (limited) and finding food is tough since it means that you need to search while fending enemies off, and time limits are usually tight. I’m near the end but it’s been a rough ride… if it was just a bit easier, it would be an easy recommend. STILL PLAYING.
19 – Scarlet Nexus, XBX (demo)
Generic anime aesthetics, generic anime chatter, and combat that wants players to focus on combos and pyschokinesis. The level design was dull and I got tired of it before the demo ended. DELETED.
20 – No Man’s Sky, PS5
I had no real plan to come back to this after finishing it a while ago, but when I saw that you could unlock the Normandy from Mass Effect and add it to your fleet, I was suckered in. Ironically, I’ve forgotten basically everything about the game, so I had to ask my son to jump in and unlock it for me — I promised him $10 if he’d burn through the special mission that awarded the ship. Sadly, the cash wasn’t enough to get him properly motivated and he bailed halfway. No Normandy for me! Had My Son Play It.
21 – Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, XBX
I was inspired to pick this up after finishing Village and having a blast, but the two games are quite different. This one suffers from ‘classic’ RE design — tons of backtracking, finding different keys, running back and forth to item boxes, and so on. Also, the story was not great. It borrows tired elements from F.E.A.R. (apparently they share the same writer?) and some of the sections felt like filler. It’s a shame because the core of something great is here, but it doesn’t land for me. I’ve heard people say that playing it in VR makes all the difference, and I would guess that’s true. As a ‘flat’ experience, it was pretty ho-hum. Village was better in every respect, in my view. THAT SAID, the two bigger chunks of 7‘s DLC — Not a Hero and End of Zoe –are both kinda great? A bite-sized combat mission with Chris Redfield and punching zombies in the swamp with Joe Baker are both superfun romps. I enjoyed both of those much more than the main event. FINISHED.
22 – Crossroads Inn, XBX
I’ve had my eye on this one for a while after spotting it on Steam, and I was 100% in the mood for something like this — a nice, chill sim focused on running a pub and expanding the business. Unfortunately, the tutorial section of the game is bugged and I wasn’t able to progress. I told the devs about it and they say they’re working on nailing it down, so I’ll come back when it’s functioning. PAUSED.
23 – Fighting EX Layer: Another Dash, Switch
Tried to play this free-to-download 2D fighter since it seems somehow related to Street Fighter EX (the same devs behind it — Arika — along with some of the same characters) but it immediately glitched up and wouldn’t recognize my Joy-Cons in either docked or handheld mode. Couldn’t even get it to run. Deleted.
24 – Just Die Already, XBX
Apparently this comes from some of the same people who created Goat Simulator, which my son loved to bits. He went in on day one and begged me to co-op with him, but we both fell off almost immediately. It’s not nearly as crazy or random, and some of it just doesn’t make sense, even in an absurd way. It just comes off as half-baked design. I don’t think either of us has touched it since our first (and last) session. DELETED.
25 – Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries, XBX
As a BattleTech tabletop player waaaaaaaay back in the day, I was pretty stoked to see this hit Xbox. I still remember a lot of these ‘bots from the sets of minis I had, or from the books and materials. This adaptation is pretty cool, at least at first. The mechs look great, and the idea of managing them and building a freelance business out of it is super cool. At the moment I have six different units in my garage and four AI pilots that come with me on missions. It’s all realtime, third-person action too. While all of this is great, the text is really small, the devs don’t do a great job with tutorials, and honestly, it’s starting to get a bit repetitive. I believe the missions are all procedurally generated which is okay as supplementary content, but I wish they’d hand-crafted the campaign missions to make things a bit more exciting. I’m eager to try new mechs as well, but they’re expensive AF and the whole process is a bit laborious… In this case, I don’t think much is gained by taking a semi-sim approach and I’d rather have quick access to gear and tech so I can get back to the battles and building my empire quicker. On the plus side, it’s co-op in campaign or quickmatch, and playing with my son makes the whole thing that much more enjoyable. I like the idea of this game, but I’m guessing it’s going to turn into a slog soon. STILL PLAYING (for now…)
26 – Stonefly, XBX
This is a tough one to describe. You play a girl who’s having adventures in a tiny mech shaped like a bug. (The girl is also tiny.) The art style is fantastic and the music is great, too. The gameplay is… weird? There are a series of arenas where the girl is battling real bugs and trying to knock them off the edge of a platform while also trying to gather resources used to upgrade her mech. The thing is a piece of crap at first, so you die a ton and that dying ‘teaches’ the girl new ideas for upgrades, so you go back and re-do the battles and try to gain more resources. It’s not a roguelike, but it is pretty grindy — an odd choice! — and the controls are unorthodox as well. The mech hops and glides, and when it attacks, it ‘puffs’ air which makes it hop in the air again. I wish it didn’t, because it’s tough to get the hang of it and it just feels a bit wrong. It’s unconventional in every aspect, and I’m still chewing on it. STILL PLAYING.
27 – The Solitaire Conspiracy, Switch (demo)
It’s solitaire, but some of the cards are spies with special powers! The presentation is kinda putting me off, tho — the art is good but there are FMV briefings with Greg Miller which I could absolutely do without. I could see myself playing a couple rounds of this a night. WILL LOOK INTO IT FURTHER.
28 – World’s End Club, Switch (demo)
Apparently staff from both Danganronpa and 999 are on this, but the demo left me super cold. It’s a visual novel with really garbage platforming elements, and the art style did not click with me. Also, the antagonist looks like a recycled version of Monokuma, which is super weak. The basic premise didn’t make a lot of sense, and it kinda just feels like a misfire from developers who should probably try a new kind of project at this point. DELETED.
29 – Crossbow Crusade, Switch
In this 2D action-platformer, the hero fires his crossbow at enemies, but the arrows are also used as temporary platforms. I’ve played a few games with the exact same concept and none of them have got it right, so I’m curious to see how this goes. The physics here don’t feel great — the jumping doesn’t have enough float and the weight of things is off, but it’s ohhkay so far. Hanging in there for now. STILL PLAYING.