Shadowrun Returns

Shadowrun Returns

The Shadowrun license lends itself perfectly to an in-depth and complex role-playing experience, but unfortunately, it feels like Shadowrun Returns just skims the surface. The story is interesting enough and there’s a handful of great characters to interact with, but at times it does feel like the game was dumbed down a little too much for casual audiences. The 2D artwork looks great and the soundtrack is very atmospheric, but by the end of the 12-hour campaign, we were left wanting more.

Gameplay: A lot of fun, but not as in-depth as we had hoped.

Graphics: The 2D artwork looks great, but the 3D character models could have been better.

Sound: No voice acting, but the soundtrack fits the game perfectly

Pokémon Sword

Pokémon Sword

While Pokemon Sword doesn’t quite live up to the expectations of Pokemon fans, it is still a very enjoyable title. It does lack half of the Pokemon in the National Pokedex but features plenty of new ones as well as some interesting features, such as Dynamaxing. The story is a little weak, but the Pokemon battles are as enjoyable as always and the gym battles are some of the best in the series. As long as you don’t mind the fact that not all the Pokemon are present in this outing and that the game is maybe a little too easy you will have fun with this title.

Gameplay: It is still a lot of fun as a Pokemon title, but doesn’t quite live up to its high expectations.

Graphics: The game looks great but not as great as some of the other Nintendo Switch titles.

Sound: The lack of voice acting is disappointing, but the music and sound effects are good

Puzzle Quest: Galactrix

Puzzle Quest: Galactrix

Galactrix tries to improve on the classic Puzzle Quest gameplay, but falls far short in a lot of areas. The story mode is not very engaging and the game squanders a lot of its potential. At every turn, we encountered something that could have been good if it was implemented properly, which is a pity. The core gameplay is still addictive but becomes tiresome far sooner than the original ever did. Add to this some technical issues and you have a game that is hard to recommend.

Gameplay: The basic elements are addictive, but you have to put up with a lot of tedium.

Graphics: Not bad, but nothing stands out as great.

Sound: The soundtrack is decent, but everything else is pretty forgettable

A Plague Tale: Innocence

A Plague Tale: Innocence

A Plague Tale: Innocence is not only a great looking game with a unique setting, but the strong narrative focus makes it very engrossing too. The combination of stealth and puzzle-solving could easily have been very annoying, but barring a few frustrating sections the game is actually quite entertaining. It is also unrelentingly grim, which might deter some players, but between all the horror there’s also some heartwarming moments. Single-player narrative focussed games such as A Plague Tale: Innocence is becoming rarer, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to play this one.

Gameplay: A nice mixture of stealth and puzzles that never really veers too far in either direction.

Graphics: The visuals are extremely detailed and the environments surprisingly varied.

Sound: Good voice acting and some soaring tunes

Tetris Effect

Tetris Effect

Tetris Effect is not just one of the best looking versions of the classic game, but also the most addictive. In addition to the stylish “Journey” mode, there are a host of other variations on the Tetris theme to keep you coming back for more. The audio and visual style of the game is superb and it is only the lack of direct multi-player modes that dampens the fun a bit. Even if you already own some version of Tetris this is one that you should not miss.

Gameplay: Still a timeless classic.

Graphics: Very trippy and hypnotic.

Sound: Complements the puzzle action nicely

Flying Red Barrel – The Diary of a Little Aviator

Flying Red Barrel – The Diary of a Little Aviator

Flying Red Barrel makes its long-overdue debut on Steam with this update on the classic bullet hell shooter. It features five challenging levels, multiple bosses, and a scoring system that is a lot more advanced than it looks. The addition of modern resolution and controller options is a welcome touch, but the gameplay is still the same as what purists fell in love with when the game was first released back in 2007.

Gameplay: Very challenging, but also very addictive when you get the hang of it.

Graphics: Not exactly cutting-edge, but still charming.

Sound: No voice-overs, but the music and sound effects are good

Fury Unleashed

Fury Unleashed

Fury Unleashed doesn’t do anything radically different for a platform shooter, but the rogue-lite elements and combo heavy gameplay makes it a blast to play. It’s also very addictive and offers a lot more replay value than typical 2D platform shooters. We would have liked to see more variety when it came to the environments, but the impressive amount of bosses and enemies make up for this. All in all, this is a great game that shouldn’t be missed if you are a fan of the genre.

Gameplay: Fast-paced and very addictive.

Graphics: The comic book art style looks great.

Sound: The music and soundtrack are awesome

DOOM

DOOM

Doom is an action-packed experience from start to finish and manages to pay tribute to the original games while still feeling fresh and modern. The combat is extremely satisfying and forces players to stay on the move and killing instead of cowering behind cover. The campaign is somewhat short but has plenty of replay value and the whole package is rounded out by a multi-player mode as well as SnapMap level editor. It’s not perfect, but as big fans of the original game we played through this one with a huge smile.

Gameplay: It’s fast, it’s frantic and it’s over the top in the best possible way.

Graphics: The game doesn’t just look great, but it’s well-optimized too.

Sound: The soundtrack is great, but it tends to drown out everything else

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is as close as one can get to the original Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. For some fans, this will be exactly what they wanted, but the game can also feel a little too familiar at times. However, it’s an entertaining title that is packed with content, and exploring the twists and turns of the castle is certainly an enjoyable experience. The game isn’t perfect, but delivers on its promises and definitely scratches that Castlevania itch.

Gameplay: Plays almost exactly like previous Igavania titles.

Graphics: Good overall, but some things feel very out of place.

Sound: The audio is good, but the music is not quite as memorable as SoTN

HYPERCHARGE: Unboxed

HYPERCHARGE: Unboxed

Hypercharge: Unboxed is a fun first-person shooter where the emphasis is squarely on co-op. Running around huge environments as an action figurine while blasting all manner of toy enemies is immensely enjoyable and there’s enough content here to keep players coming back for more. The visuals are exceptionally detailed and the design of the levels shows how much care has gone into the game. Some things could be improved, especially for solo players, but overall this is a must-have for co-op fans.

Gameplay: The game has a slight learning curve, but it is a lot of fun with friends.

Graphics: The scale of the levels is impressive and the game is crammed with small details.

Sound: Good sound effects and music, but the announcer can become a little annoying