Every year, I gather the most miscellaneous of games for a big bash of console fun so here are 5 titles that I'd like to discuss this year.
Torchlight III Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆
Last year, I played and thoroughly enjoyed Torchlight II so let's check out this promising-looking sequel and see how it compares.
Torchlight III carries on the tradition of its predecessor in that it's a colourful and action-packed RPG that's even more fun to play with a party of chums. However, whereas I found the second game to offer tight gameplay with some elements of strategy in thinning out its hordes of monsters, Torchlight III feels much more sterile in its gameplay. You'll end up merely going through the same motions as you progress via defeating monsters, taking down bosses, swapping your equipment out, and assigning skill points and I didn't feel compelled to use any sort of strategy. It's the kind of game that you put your brain on autopilot to play. On top of that, I found there to be plenty of bugs throughout the journey such as my progress being forgotten and having to fill out maps even after fully exploring areas which is nothing short of annoying. Until there's a substantial update, I'd stick to re-playing the previous game for a more fun experience.
In its current state, Torchlight III is a step down from its predecessor with its less rewarding gameplay and odd mishaps.Torchlight III gameplay video → Torchlight II Review
Ikenfell Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆
As a lover of old-school RPGs, I was looking forward to playing Ikenfell and now that I have, I'm happy to say that it's great.
Ikenfell has you play as a girl who wishes to visit the magical titular city and she soon discovers her own inert magical abilities shortly into the adventure. At its core, Ikenfell is a simple retro RPG yet it accomplishes many newfangled mechanics that really make it shine. For example, confrontations are played out like mini SRPG battles where you command your party to move across a thin grid-based battlefield. Whenever you attack, you can time a button press to do more damage and the same works when enemies attack as you can lessen the damage that they inflict. When you combine the enjoyable battles with the adorable pixel-perfect world, fantastic soundtrack, familiar Zelda-style exploration, and wonderful cast of quirky characters; you're left with one memorable and delightful RPG. So, if you enjoy retro games and SRPGs as much as I do then you're sure to get a kick out of Ikenfell. I highly recommend it.
As far as RPGs go, Ikenfell is one impressive adventure with unconventional yet rewarding combat set in a lighthearted world.Ikenfell gameplay video →
Tears of Avia Review Xbox One ★★☆☆☆
As a huge fan of grid-based SRPGs, I can be quite critical of them and unfortunately, Tears of Avia isn't a good addition to the genre.
After playing Tears of Avia for hours upon hours, I still don't fully understand what its developers were intending. It features so many discordant systems that are all thrown together in a hodgepodge of nonsense that it's a tough game to grasp. For starters, you can donate your money to various gods and I maxed out the god of attack power right off the bat which made me decimate my foes to a ridiculous degree; even damaging them 10 times their max HP with 1 hit. So, I tinkered with other gods to balance things out and it all became much more challenging. Heck, it was even impossible with one combination that I experimented with. Anyway, the gameplay is incredibly typical of the genre and things start out extremely easy yet about a handful of hours in, you'll enter a battle that literally has dozens of powerful monsters surrounding you. The thing is; you're supposed to win this battle. Yeah, screw that noise.
Although Tears of Avia features lovely art, serviceable gameplay, and fun skills, it's such a mess of a game that it's difficult to thoroughly enjoy, especially when you reach its insane difficulty spikes.Tears of Avia gameplay video → More turn-based strategy RPGs
Projection: First Light Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆
2D platformers with clever premises are always welcome in my gaming library so here's the very cool Projection: First Light.
Projection: First Light has you play as a puppet who can walk on shadows and its main gameplay gimmick is that you control a light with the right stick. Doing so casts shadows when you place it behind obstructions so the resulting gameplay has you run and jump as the puppet only to stop so you can position the light to create a ramp so you can progress. All of this works quite well and there are hidden butterflies to collect as you progress which adds some replay value. However, I found that the physics are rather sensitive and there are plenty of glitchy moments that can be quite frustrating to deal with. For example, if you have the light near the bottom of the screen, it can move when you jump thus accidentally erase a platform. It's a clever and rewarding game but definitely rough around the edges.
Even though I enjoyed my time with Projection: First Light's clever 2D platforming, there's no denying just how flimsy it can be at times.Projection: First Light gameplay video → Similar game: Shadow Puppeteer
Budget Cuts Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆
Here we have a PlayStation VR game where you try to escape an office building that's populated with relentless robot guards.
Budget Cuts is a funny game that's full of so many Matrix references that it's ridiculous. Even though it'll have you laughing, its gameplay is tense and will keep you on the edge of your seat as you work your way to each checkpoint. The core gameplay has you use 2 PlayStation Move controllers with one allowing you to set up and utilize warps while the other is used to interact with your surroundings. It's primarily a stealth game in that you must explore the office without being seen and whenever you are, guards will chase you and shoot you and as soon as you're shot, you have to start at the previous checkpoint after a long loading screen which can be annoying. However, you can throw sharp objects at robots which makes their oil spill all over the place before they shut down which is satisfying stuff. Figuring out how to progress makes for a rewarding experience and I highly recommend Budget Cuts for any PSVR owner.
There aren't many VR stealth games so game devs can learn a lot from Budget Cuts' thrilling gameplay. Plus, its humour is a treat.Budget Cuts gameplay video → More PlayStation VR games