I’d say Ultima Underworld was wildly ahead of its time, but it’s not like there are dungeon crawlers with half this depth and care flooding the market even thirty years later. Damn near perfect game once you get past—or patch your way past—the byzantine control scheme and hardware-limited UI. Pure exploratory joy with fresh and clever surprises waiting on every level.

Great example of how something truly seminal and historically significant can be hopelessly timebound. Today Druaga plays like dogshit and represents the worst kind of design obscurity on top of being deeply unpleasant just to move around and press buttons in.

"Is it finished, Yuri?"
"No, Comrade Premier. It has only begun."

I finished and enjoyed Deltarune Chapter 2. As usual it goes without saying that if I finished any narrative game longer than a couple hours that means I was having a good time and heartily endorse it.
That said, even more than with Chapter 1 I question the extent to which Deltarune just exists to give Undertale fans “more” of the vibe without ever doing anything as interesting or flat-out awesome as Undertale in its best moments. All of it feels like echoes. I laugh a little, feel the feels a little, but can’t shake the feeling we’ve been here before with these character beats and these endless aughtie internet gags. None of it’s bad, none of it’s even tired, but none of it’s particularly fresh either.
That said Queen is instantly one of my favorite foils in the series and an excellent take on the wacky Kefka-esque JRPG villain sans the edge. Had me chuckling more often than any other part of the game.

Can confirm Metroid Prime still a remarkably cool game. You could release this thing as an indie team effort on Steam today and it would still feel fresh and interesting, so few things have imitated it. “What if Myst and System Shock were folded into Super Metroid with Nintendo-like elegance and approachability” FUCK you nailed it, perfect thing, make at least two more please.
The world design is just, goddamn, knocked-it-out-of-the-park environmental, puzzle, and narrative delivery work (even if that last part feels the most dated in its straightforward anonymous data log delivery format). It cannot be overstated how good this game still looks, feels, and sounds.
Timeless 3D modeling, emphasizing simple shapes that feel simple for stylistic purposes rather than the technical limitations they represent. chilling music, evocative pulp scifi sound design. Elegant, attractive UI that's actually big enough to read on handheld and detailed without ever getting in the way. the way the camera tilts down to track the ground below you when you're platforming. Close to zero loading times anywhere because Nintendo and Retro have always known how much that shit matters.
Y'all I think metroid prime might be a bona fide masterpiece. Shocking news, I know. I appreciate it even more now than I did as a teen. 5/5 3D metroidvania. Where are all the other 3D metroidvanias???
Bless you Dark Souls and Outer Wilds for carrying on the torch in two very different forms.
Oh honorable mention Arkham Asylum.
I should probably try Prey.

I'm now wrapping up my fourth playthrough. With an asterisk for King of Dragon Pass, I cannot say that I have ever played another strategy game with a more engrossing narrative structure, or a narrative game with a more compelling (if very light) story-driving strategy layer.
Suzerain is as close to a one-of-a-kind experience as video games get, even as it flirts with grand strategy and VNs. I wouldn't hesitate to call it a must-play.
The biggest criticism I can bring against it, besides some copywriting and translation issues, is the almost criminal lack of a rewind or reload system—particularly for subsequent playthroughs. You can get around this with some manual save file manipulation, but these in-game tools really are long-standard for the visual novel genre and any of its subgenres at this point.

The Eternal Cylinder is very much worth checking out while it’s in free beta (just head to their website and enter your email to claim a code). All the weird and wonderful worldbuilding and sense of humor you’d expect from the makers of Zeno Clash and Rock of Ages combined with an exploratory adventure platformer reminiscent of EVO and Spore, where you eat stuff to gain new mutations and change the shape and nature of your creatures. Some light Pikmin puzzle-solving in there too. It’s a real hoot, the ever-evolving mechanics sold by the storybook-esque narration and the wonder of what oddity you might encounter next.
Excellent Sunday afternoon experience. Haven’t encountered any bugs yet despite the beta state.
I will say the actual platforming mechanics in this game are not very good—not very good at all—but thankfully you’re only actually required to use them like once or twice an hour.

A shallow, slow, repetitive, and largely RNG-driven grind. It's a strangely addictive grind, for a while—largely carried by the throwback DOS-era aesthetic and the hints of an interesting story. But eventually you realize how much the game rewards cautious, conservative, and fundamentally boring odds-based play over experimentation or strategy, and at that point the grind really starts to grind on you. I would only recommend it as something to occupy about 10% of your brain while watching TV or half-listening to a pointless conference call.

The most damning thing I can say about Ghost of Tsushima is that every time a cutscene or dialogue sequence starts I pull my phone out to scroll twitter. Just incredibly dull writing and characters. A lifeless weeaboo reenactment of clichés from samurai movie classics this game has no business trying to associate itself with.
That said, I’m still playing thirty-odd hours later. So something is really working for me here on a mechanical level. The core exploratory/combat/base-capture loop might be the most successful execution I’ve seen of the Ubisoft sandbox formula.

A lovely game with lovely characters that's unfortunately a massive drag to play. Spiritfarer is a grindy busywork simulator masquerading as a town-building sim or platformer. In reality it's a clicker game where, unlike other click games, you have to spend enormous amounts of time traveling between the things you click on. There's no challenge to any of it, just tedium and a continual test of patience.
I stuck with it for >5 hours expecting it to get better as I unlocked more features. Instead it only got worse as I uncovered more of the world and was forced to spend more and more time on mindless errands which in turn only unlock more mindless errands. The game occasionally rewards you with cute bits of character dialogue, but those are a few and far between compared to the amount of time you'll spend operating click-to-complete chore machines and engaging with possibly the most annoying fishing minigame I've ever encountered.
I've heard there's a beautiful ending, and it saddens me to say I won't stick around to see it. When I saw the average time to main story completion on How Long to Beat was 24 hours, I nearly died.

Hey this is a pretty damn good metroidvania! Well, it is until we get to the unfinished mess of the Inverted Castle, anyway.

Weird game to rate because I have a lot of complaints and don't love it. But it's also clearly the best fitness game ever made, and the only one I've stuck with for months. If you want a pretty decent video game that is also a pretty decent daily exercise routine there's really no competition.

Cute but unchallenging and insubstantial. Levels are too short, meaning about half your time is spent on the interstitials between them. The simplicity of the central hole mechanic doesn't scale in the same satisfying ways as that of Katamari Damacy, Donut County's most obvious source of inspiration. You're always doing the same thing in the same way with little additional challenge. So despite the game's extremely brief length, it gets old quickly.
The soundtrack's got some great stuff going on though — especially that post-level recap beat.

I kept waiting for the “real” game to start, because it was pitched to me as one of those “I wouldn’t want to spoil what this game really is” titles in the vein of Frog Fractions or something. It’s not. What you get in the first village is more or less what you can expect the rest of it to be: a not particularly challenging platform adventurer with an ultraminimalist aesthetic and affectation you’ll either find cutesy or grating (I was somewhere in between).
I appreciate the anti-capitalist themes and some of the humor, but there wasn’t enough weight to this world or its characters to keep me invested in the mechanics, which put me off pretty early. I felt like I spent most of my time wandering around looking for objects I’d missed, hopping consequence-free (except for the consequence of missing a high jump and having to make a long walk back) from cloud to cloud around largely empty environments. Ultimately there’s not a lot of “there” there.

A richly detailed and fascinating world whose exploration is marred by a lot more horrendously dated and tedious combat than I'd remembered.
Reading, looking at, and listening to this game are all wonderful experiences. Unfortunately the worst part about Planescape: Torment is playing it.