I was incredibly surprised that I enjoyed Celeste - traditionally my lowest scores are always aimed at platformers; I'm far too impatient to battle poor controls and continuously miss that rocky platform by a millimetre, again and again.
Luckily Celeste has broken this trend and my drought around enjoying the platformer genre - I couldn't be happier!
Amazingly tight controls and well designed, caringly put together levels makes your fingers sing as you dart about the stage; completely flabbergasted by your own ability - it feels like someone else is playing for you.
Any game that makes you feel like a ridiculous magician is an incredibly empowering experience, and the exact factor that makes video games such a unique art form - it actually makes dying a fun learning experience, completely counter to my historic feelings on this type of game.
The messaging on this game around mental health is also a contemporary joy - a topic on everyone's minds in recent years, and not at all executed in a ham-fisted way; the characters are relatable but don't detract from the raw gameplay with cutscenes or cliffhangers.
My advice on this would be to absolutely play it on the Switch - taking this on the go (despite the loud screeching noise you'll make when you've finally tackled that level) enhances it even further.
The last Pokemon games I played through from start to finish were X and Y, so going in, the controversy around Sword and Shield almost put me off giving them an honest try.
I'm really pleased I did, typing this as the credits roll!
The new QOL features, gym challenges and region all feel great for the new generation; not ground breaking by any means, but definitely an improvement.
The story is serviceable, and has enough of that Pokemon charm to keep you moving between towns to see what comes next.
On the subject of the Pokemon themselves... There's plenty to catch! The current number in the dex (pre expansion) feels tight and gives plenty of creatures to hunt for, without dragging things out.
Overall, definitely an evolution, rather than a revolution, but amazing nonetheless!
A real audio-visual treat - you play an ape who needs to escape a series of different buildings, based in different settings.
The mechanics are simple, push and grab people until they explode into gore; except... all of the action is part of the level you play. The level is also a jazz track - people exploding sound like snare drums, or bass depending on the enemy.
It's pretty unique, but the mechanics were too simple to capture my interest enough to complete all the way through.
My Friend Pedro
Serviceable platform shoot-'em-up; nothing really special about it, got about halfway through and didn't have the care to continue.
The Red Strings Club
A pretty short, but interesting narrative-driven game; set in a cyberpunk world where a sinister corporation is planning to eliminate human emotion for their nefarious needs... or are they?
Moved forward by what are essentially mini-games, the narrative around Red Strings Club is essentially that of clumsy dialogue on morality, mental health and LGBTQ+ topics. Not normally my cup of tea, but it does a good enough job of making you take inventory of some views you hold.
Definitely worth a play, but don't pay more than a few pounds/dollars.
A fantastic, if not oversimplified SRPG.
A shame that they took out a lot of features that made Fire Emblem the series that they are - such as the offspring mechanics, deeper strategy and harder combat; however the rich story and endearing characters more than make up for this entry's shortcomings.
The reason I couldn't score this higher is the pacing - the thing I struggled with the most this series is just how much it felt packed out with sections of "deja vu" in it's academy days (even after the time jump). By the time I finished my first play through, I didn't want to jump back for a while.