Definitely rough around the edges, particularly in the level design, but the combat here is surprisingly robust and highly fluid. Being able to switch between an enormous variety of classes from across this sprawling franchise is a treat for any fan. Your mileage will vary with regard to the character writing and plot, but there's heart to be found here.

A very tight (and fairly tough!) horizontal shooter with an ultra-vibrant coat of paint that especially pops on the 3DS hardware. An obvious labor of love, and worth the time of anyone with an appreciation for arcade shooting games. Of particular note is the endless "Link Loop Land" variant, which scratches the NiGHTS into Dreams itch that I didn't realize I had. Delightful.

As a complete package, FataMoru didn't hit for me in the same way that it's so clearly lit a fire in other readers. However, I can certainly appreciate why a tale like Michel and Giselle's strikes a chord in so many — and I came away from the base game glad that its narrative exists for people to resonate with. There are some truly brilliant points of presentation in this story, and for better or for worse, it never shies away from saying the quiet parts out loud.
I'm a bit more lukewarm on the fandisc's main plotline — and the necessity of the story it's telling, retreads and all. There are bits of that sharp presentation that are still very much on display here (a scene at the lake house from the main game, now from a second point of view, proves particularly wicked) but there's not much here to justify the length that one couldn't already glean from the main title. Inevitably, where your feelings fall on Another Episode will depend on how you, as a reader, feel about Jacopo's character.
I'm not crazy about him, myself.

"...I thought with certainty, This is a masterpiece. But it’d probably be impossible to explain how amazing it is to ten people and have all ten of them understand. ... Once you’ve been shown something like this, you can’t ignore it. It felt like peeping on someone’s secrets, like I’d seen something I shouldn’t have."
"I had the casual goal of 'finding some time to write a novel,' and I didn't notice my dream was slowly being buried, while I lived idly, day after day. Neon Genesis Evangelion was what gave me a big push in the back...or should I say, kicked me and sent me flying. ... I supposed Eva had the charm and enthusiasm that makes people think, I have to do something. Instead of idly saying 'when I have time next time,' I thought I should at least write something. And so, the result of this sudden momentum was Mahoutsukai no Yoru."
"Make yourself comfortable. We've kept you waiting long enough. Without further ado..."
Brilliant. A story that shines, like the brightest star in the night sky.

The mission-based campaign sports plenty of mindless stages that one can generally blitz through in less than three minutes, and none of its bosses require any particular ingenuity to clear. However, some of the puzzles actually take a bit of exploration or trial-and-error to crack. When the level's gimmick removes or limits your options, you're often strapped in for a tedious ride — but several missions require you to gain ground by taking advantage of a weapon's unique characteristics, and these "eureka" moments feel more rewarding to reach.

I know writers who use subtext and they're all cowards.

Maybe games truly are silly little things, after all.

While it leads to a few pacing hiccups that can impact the immersion, the audio drama/game hybrid model is an interesting concept, opening up several opportunities to muck around Link to the Past's overworld and hunt for time-based events. Perhaps the biggest perk comes in the form of its high-quality soundtrack: the remade music here is killer, even if the tracks can't sync to your location. None of the hour-long four episodes are especially challenging - there's nothing that will keep anyone stumped for very long, for the sake of ensuring that the main quest is completed within the time limit. It's a nifty piece of Zelda history, though, especially if you're a fan of LttP.


The "rogue-lite" structure feels like a solid fit for Supergiant, a clean shift off the heels of Bastion and Transistor. It's a neat little game with a menagerie of kooky characters, and the gameplay loop is enjoyable enough that it'll usually squeeze one more run out of you, just when you think you're about to put it down.

Dread is an astoundingly tight package, sporting snappy movement options (in a map that allows you to take full advantage of them) and a dynamic combat system that builds well upon the mechanics of the previous entry, Samus Returns. While the survival-horror element creates an interesting cat-and-mouse between Samus and the E.M.M.I. units, the structure of the zones encourages a response that's more reactionary than tactical, which often makes these encounters more tedious than tense.

Keeping the experience more compact gives the game a tighter level of focus with far less busy work. The quality of life improvements and new powers help the stealth along and make the combat feel more robust, but the writing falls into the same hokey pitfalls as its predecessor.

Despite being the sole playable character, venturing with the rambunctious Yuffie feels both rich and satisfying, thanks to her unique ninjutsu and her synergy — to say nothing of her chemistry — with the newly introduced Sonon. It's a fairly short romp, especially if you're not going out of your way to play Fort Condor, but it has all of the bits and bobs that made the base game so exhilarating: a spectacular soundtrack, dynamic cutscenes with clean gameplay transitions, and truly remarkable character writing.

Thanks to its slick traversal when you're slinging around Manhattan, Spider-Man feels best to play in short bursts to do in-game "busy work," whether it's finding a tower, nabbing a backpack, spotting black cats, or stopping a crime-in-progress. While the gameplay loop begins to show its seams in the back half of the main story, where encounters are at their most tedious, it's fine to play mindlessly.

While the 2011 version's tight gameplay is mostly intact (with a new Remix Mode for old-timers looking for a twist), each narrative change here deliberately throws a wrench into the base game's structure, intentionally pulling back from its narrow focus. In the process, it does a disservice to what was once a fairly earnest narrative, undermining its cast as the scope of the new content expands. A third romance option was always going to be a bold decision when the original game was so deeply rooted in binaries -- unfortunately, like most of the Full Body-exclusive content, the new character is implemented in a way that lacks the finesse needed to make that decision work. There's still a lot to love in Full Body, particularly in the work that went into the Ideal Voice set, but the game is a shell of its former self, and it sports only a fraction of the punch.