When browsing through the latest games, a few titles are bound to stand out so here are 8 that I've been looking forward to playing.
QV Review Switch ★★★★☆
Puzzle-based adventures are quite common yet QV is here to offer a delightful easy breezy journey that's sure to brighten your day.
QV has you play as a little cutie named Quby who has a magic paintbrush. The gameplay essentially has you traverse intricate yet smallish stages in an isometric perspective while clearing the path ahead so you can unlock and proceed through the end gate. Along the way, you'll do things like paint portals on monoliths, push blocks onto buttons, and create bridges with paint that you retrieve from certain receptacles. As the adventure progresses, you'll be introduced to more mechanics which offer additional layers of challenge yet nothing is insurmountable so you're left with a generally laidback experience. Considering the visuals and music are so adorable and whimsical, it makes for a perfect game to wind down with after a tough day. Plus, completing each of the many levels on all of the various difficulty settings while trying to collect every fairy adds a lot of replay value so there's a great deal of content to enjoy.
It may be simple and laidback but there's no denying just how magical QV is with its satisfying puzzles and adorable game world.QV gameplay video →
YesterMorrow Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆
Time travelling through a 2D world is definitely a promising premise but does YesterMorrow offer worthwhile platforming gameplay?
YesterMorrow is yet another simple and easy breezy game that's quite typical of a 2D platformer as it doesn't really do anything particularly new and exciting with its core gameplay. With that being said, it gets the basics down wonderfully and the resulting adventure is rather rewarding as you traverse the 4 islands within 2 time periods. The story follows Yui as she attempts to save her home from ceaseless night. Whether you're double-jumping, dashing, and attacking enemies as Yui's older ninja self or carefully avoiding foes as a kid, you'll definitely have a fun time. Plus, the visuals are pixel-perfect and quite lovely to take in. However, the fact that its gameplay is mostly "been there, done that" makes the overall experience feel uninspired despite its otherwise clever premise.
Although YesterMorrow isn't all that challenging or novel, it still does 2D platforming well enough to create a mostly satisfying journey.YesterMorrow gameplay video →
Mad Rat Dead Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆
Here's a 2D platformer that mixes rhythm mechanics and a twisted story so let's see if this is a genre-blender that you'd want to play.
When I first started playing Mad Rat Dead, I didn't really enjoy its premise of having to tap buttons in order to command the rat to dash, jump, stomp, and charge but after giving it a chance, it all started to click and I found myself thoroughly entertained. In fact, I noticed that I became super-focused on the TV as I tried to time my button presses with the currently playing song's beat and after mastering a few levels, I finally understood its appeal. On top of the consistently exciting gameplay where you'll leap up walls, stomp on enemies, and master tricky platforming jumps, you're treated to an excellent upbeat soundtrack, slick artwork, and gratifying effects. For example, watching your heart celebrate whenever you get a large combo is rewarding stuff indeed. My hat's off to this crazy rat!
Mad Rat Dead blends 2D platforming and rhythm elements to create a challenging and unique formula that'll definitely keep you hooked.Mad Rat Dead gameplay video →
Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆
The long-running fish-based Umihara Kawase franchise has a brand new arcade-style spin-off and it's a pretty fun little game.
Although it debuted for Super Famicom back in 1994 and has seen a couple of releases in the west over the decades since, I have yet to play an Umihara Kawase game and BaZooKa marks my first. From what I understand, the series consists of 2D platforming games where you also fish but this game is a single-screen retro-style arcade-like game where you clear screens of enemies in order to earn coins and progress to the next stage. You defeat enemies by attaching balls or small enemies to your lure then drag them towards you which loads your bazooka. Then, you can shoot! A nifty inclusion is its multiplayer component where you can play with up to 4 players which is more fun than going it alone. With that being said, the controls are quite finicky and take a lot of getting used to and even when you do, you'll still stumble during seemingly simple scenarios which can be incredibly frustrating stuff. Other than that, it's a fairly fun game.
If you enjoy classic single-screen arcade games and want to play one with a few friends then you'll dig Umihara Kawase BaZooKa!Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! gameplay video →
Crimzon Clover - World EXplosion Review Switch ★★★★☆
If you're a shoot 'em up fan then Crimzon Clover - World EXplosion is here to blow your mind and blister your thumbs. Let's check it out!
Crimzon Clover originally released in Japan back in 2011 and it saw a PC release in the west in 2014 which was subtitled World Ignition. Thankfully, it's finally available for console in the form of World EXplosion and it's a great shmup. The amount of firepower that you're capable of is absurd and it makes navigating through the enemy-filled stages a treat only for you to have an epic showdown with its collection of hulking bosses. The basic controls are akin to Taito's classic RayForce as you can shoot your projectile stream as well as lock onto enemies and fire homing lasers. On top of that, your break gauge increases as you play which allows you to unleash bombs and enter a more powerful form. Plus, you can enter double break mode if 2 gauges fill completely which makes everything bananas.
Whether you're new to Crimzon Clover or not, if you're a shmup fan then you'll love everything that World EXplosion has to offer.Crimzon Clover - World EXplosion gameplay video → More shoot 'em ups
Disc Room Review Switch ★★★☆☆
Sometimes, being a pacifist is fun but trying to dodge a variety of dangerous saws can be quite a tough endeavour so here's Disc Room.
Disc Room is what I like to call a dodge 'em up as all you do is run and dash around single-screen arenas while avoiding a barrage of rotating saws. When I first started playing it, I was impressed with its cartoonish albeit gory visuals and its top-notch music that actually adapts to the gameplay. Running around while merely passing the levels by surviving a certain amount of time is somewhat easy to do but beating the developers' times is where the true challenge lies. After completing a stage, you can choose another one via a dungeon-like map and as you advance, you'll encounter new disc types that you'll have to deal with. Although all of this works, I found that the tougher stages relied more on luck than skill with a lot of randomness in play and the difficulty balance is all over the map.
Even though Disc Room is a fun game, its design suffers from difficulty that ultimately relies on randomness more than anything else.Disc Room gameplay video → More dodge 'em ups
Cube Raiders Review Xbox One ★★☆☆☆
Rolling dice around grid-based stages has been fun since 1998's Devil Dice but does Cube Raiders offer anything unique? Let's roll to it.
Ever since I played the demo for Devil Dice, I've been a huge fan. In fact, the original PS1 game ranked #1 on my Top 10 Obscure PlayStation Puzzle Games list and its PS2 sequel Bombastic is featured in my Top 10 Unique Japanese PlayStation 2 Games and PlayStation 2 Hidden Gems (Part 1) articles. So, I was excited to try an indie interpretation of the classic formula. For the unfamiliar, you basically roll dice then match their top numbers in order to solve puzzles or earn points depending on the mode that you're playing. With that in mind, Devil Dice and Bombastic completely nailed this formula while Cube Raiders just feels off. For example, its rules for arcade mode are looser and less satisfying and its controls are downright maddening, especially when you accidentally fall off the sides of the stage. It's a solid effort but when the game that inspired it is much higher quality, it makes it tough to recommend Cube Raiders.
It may be inspired by a top-notch niche PS1 puzzler but Cube Raiders doesn't quite hit the mark with its awkward controls and rules.Cube Raiders gameplay video →
Pacer Review PlayStation 4 ★★★☆☆
Seeing as WipEout doesn't seem to be making a comeback any time soon, some indie games tried to fill the void so here's another one.
Pacer is a fast-paced anti-gravity futuristic racer that's unashamedly inspired by Psygnosis' signature racing franchise WipEout. Everything from its vehicle designs to its environmental features look like they belong in a WipEout game and the soundtrack was even created by Tim Wright (AKA CoLD SToRAGE) who composed the original PS1 WipEout's music. You'd think that because of all these reasons, it would feel like a genuine WipEout game and it does a bit although its gameplay isn't quite as satisfying as the vehicles don't feel like they're floating. Considering you can play WipEout Omega Collection on PS4 which is bursting with tons of satisfying challenges and oodles of variety, I can only recommend Pacer to those who have completely mastered it and are looking for more futuristic racing.
I wish that Pacer tried to forge its own identity instead of being another WipEout clone because it's simply not as good of a game.Pacer gameplay video → Similar game: WipEout Omega Collection