Short and sweet romp through a cute city and cute kitty. I'm always down for a 3D platforming collect-a-thon. Movement feels good although the jump can be a little sluggish sometimes. Fun 100% with the exception of a couple luck based activities that took a bit too long. Randomly waaayyy too much text that can only be skipped by spamming instead of a one button skip.

Hats are good.

Open Roads is a fairly mid-tier experience within the Walking Sim genre. Although, given the size of the genre and that its one I'm a fan of, that means I still had a fun ride with Open Roads.

The 2D character art alongside the highly detailed 3D environments was a welcome change from its peers. The characters being given few frames that are exaggerated is a cool style, thought I found the lack of frames during speech a bit jarring. The voice performances on the other hand are great and helped patch that hole. Kaitlyn Dever in particular is phenomenal and brings so much life and youthfulness to Tess.

The primary mystery of the story is... okay. It functioned better as the carrot on the stick rather than being a mind shattering plot twist with the final reveals. Instead the story bits I found more engaging were the little details and sub-conversations. Themes of divorce, loss of loved ones, growing up with only one parent, cycles within families. There is surprisingly a lot packed into the short run time, thinking back on the experience once its done.

Overall I can't call this a must play relative to the other Walking Sims but while this can be a tropey genre in its themes, settings and even specific plot details, I think Open Roads takes the road less travelled and explores some new ideas.

From what I've seen, this game experienced a rocky development, but I am left excited to see what this team does next. Hopefully its a smoother ride where the potential for an even greater game is just a ways down the road.

The only thing more annoying that the Goose (or Geese since I played co-op) is the finicky controls. Otherwise a fun romp given the short runtime.

This game is very cute and fun. I love a good city builder but these days it is hard to find the time to learn and play them. So to take those ideas and boil them down into a simple, short and sweet game is exactly what I needed. After completing the 5 levels, I went back to get the rest of the achievements just because I didn't want to put it down.

Brilliant little game, can't wait to see what this team does next!

I had a great time playing through Amnesia: The Bunker. It is a solid horror game with a well established setting but the most compelling element is that this game plays like an immersive sim.

For most problems, there are a handful of solutions, which will be solved differently player to player and circumstantially based on the gear you've stockpiled. This alongside weighing the amount of noise and destruction you will create to solve these problems feed back brilliantly into the horror element. Busting through a door loudly will no doubt bring the beast out of its hiding place to hunt you down.

The Bunker has a perfect run time for a horror game, between 4-6 hours. A fair amount of variety for its length. Beyond the immersive sim elements, I found the at-first awkward controls, once mastered to be greatly immersive. There is a precision and freedom to every action in the game.

The system of connecting lights provides a great sense of progression and the resource gathering elements I found to be tuned perfectly. Fueling up the generator, and having the thought constantly in the back of your head that every step forward puts you further away from the generator and safety is a great push and pull.

As I've only dabbled slightly in the series before, this game sold me to go back and check out the previous entries. Great pick up on Game Pass but definitely worth the asking price as well.

Beautifully designed puzzle game. The perfect mix of simple intuitive player input and complex layered solutions that gave me that satisfying mini-celebration after completing every single puzzle.

I can't imagine the amount of fine tuning that must have gone into the design to never feel that tedium that some puzzle games get in endlessly trying different solutions to the current puzzle. Especially since the game is one long sequence rather than being split into separate levels. You never have that feeling of "shit, I forgot an orb way back there, better go back and get it" because the game seamlessly removes all those pain points for you. Eliminated back tracking and constantly dropping you into the next puzzle.

I think it was a good choice to go for a simplistic art style and UI, especially since the game has essentially two controls, move and interact. It also has no need for story, yet somehow ends up telling one anyway if you take time to consider the ending.

My only complaint with the game is that I didn't care for the boss fights. There aren't many of them but I found that they took too long, weren't interesting and the moments when I got hit by the boss were usually because my attention was drifting in the long slow movements of the boss rather than it being a good battle. I would prefer if they were either way shorter, such as being a one puzzle solution or removed entirely. They are used sparingly at least, so it only detracts from a perfect score slightly.

I can't recommend this game enough to anyone looking for a novel puzzle game. This has instantly jumped near the top of my list for game of the year contenders and will no doubt go down as one of my favourite puzzles games of all time.

"Miss the sound of my voice, huh?" - Marika

A nice sequel that I liked just a bit less than the first game. Most importantly, the vibes are still there. The chill lo-fi beats, the cute pixel art and simply gameplay form a trio that is ever so serene and peaceful. It makes for the perfect ritual; Complete one in-game day, every day before bed.

On the narrative side of things, I didn't feel like any arc matched the quality of some from the original. But there is still some nice stories, whether that is new characters or furthering development of returning characters.

Mechanics are pretty much the same, and this is something I would like to see overhauled for (hopefully) a third game. There is too much guess work without much ability to test things before committing. Feels like you if you don't blast through it in a few days, you will forget some detail that a character will ask you to remember. It feels bad when you get an order wrong but some orders feel impossible to figure out without a guide, in most games I wouldn't have a problem with this, but it goes against the core feelings that the rest of the game elicits. There are incentives to replay the game through different endings, but this isn't the kind of game I would care to do another playthrough for minor changes in the ending slides.

Looking forward to episode 3, whenever that might happen!

This game has major balance issues which has made it a frustrating slog to get through the later chapters. It must be hard to balance a game that has so much day 1/early post-launch DLC that not everyone is going to have access to like myself.

I don't feel like sharing what I actually do like about the game because the balance is such a mess that its hard to look at it objectively. Put on the shelf, not sure if I'll ever spend the time to pick it back up.

Such a disappointment, first 15 hours or so were slingshotting this thing near the top of my Fire Emblem rankings but that was surprisingly short-lived.

John Wick Hex has a lot going for it but it also misses the mark in a few categories. Immediately one flawless element is the aesthetics. The fantastic music and solid visuals establish a powerful tone. Combined with the shadows that fill in on the fly based on line of sight and the colour palettes of the various unique levels, every set piece was brought to life.

In terms of the strategy and tactics, there are a lot of well thought out elements. The hex grid, represented by dots provides the amount of options in each action that you need when playing a tactics game that only has one controllable character. The timeline as a turn based/real time hybrid is a great idea. Straight forward at first but requires a deeper understanding on the harder levels. The balancing of resources between ammo, focus and time is a captivating trio.

Narratively, John Wick Hex isn't doing anything special, but neither do the the movies so this didn't bother me. Having two actors from the movie was a nice touch and Troy Baker kills it as Hex. It's clear the scope was kept small but the use of smaller voice roles or dialogue from Wick (Keanu or otherwise) could have been nice additions to flesh it out.

I had a good time with this game but there were a few things that kept it from reaching that next level for me.
1. Difficulty curve is way off, second half of the game is way too easy.
2. There were multiple times that it bugged out and I had to restart a level, losing my progress. This is years after release on PC, still these issues remain.
3. There is a lack of layering. After the tutorial, the only new things are weapons and enemy types. No new mechanics beyond I guess elevators, not that that has a major effect on gameplay.
4. The cinematic replay is cool but the janky movement kind of ruins its potential. I wasn't compelled to use it after the first 2 or 3 levels.
5. The cutscenes are also bugged. Spoken dialogue not lining up with the subtitles, making the visual novel cutscenes hard to read and get invested in.

Ultimately I would love to see some of the concepts here refined in either a sequel or a spiritual successor, or even another indie dev inspired by it. Still this was an enjoyable playthrough with a nice runtime. I'll take this any day over any of the movies and is a cool addition to the world of John Wick.



Finally played through this game since it was added to NSO.

What a weird Mario game. I liked the Megaman inspired structure where you can go to the different worlds in the order of your choosing. Since it doesn't have the power ups like Megaman, it makes the difficulty flat line, but since the run time is so short, I didn't mind.

The zones feel fresh where Mario games have become stale in the same zones being used over and over. The Halloween inspired zone, Mario zone, Space zone, all really cool. With these weird zones comes a bunch of weirdo enemies, I loved having a bunch of freaks instead of the usual Goomba's and Koopa's (though those still exist).

Not a game I see myself revisiting very often, but it feels like a bizarre time capsule experimental game for Mario, which are few and far between within the long history of the series.

2023

Blanc is very cute, the visuals are simplistic but effective and the music pleasant. I'm always on the lookout for low commitment co-op games and this seems to hit that niche.

Unfortunately performance on Nintendo Switch is quite poor. I could push through that but it also has weak checkpointing. Me and my partner played through about half the game in a sitting, but when we booted the game up the next day, we lost progress on the last section. Which normally I would be fine to replay but it was the worst sequence in the game, a dreaded escort mission with some dumb (albeit cute) ducklings.

Wasn't grabbed enough by the first half to want to trudge through that sequence again, especially with the performance issues.

A cute, one screen, card based builder. The simple presentation hides a surprising amount of depth.