Wildfire is a game of actions, reactions, and consequences. One full of emergent from moments messing with enemies by using your magic to turn the environment against them in order to complete your objectives. As easy as it is for things to go well, they can just as quickly go bad. With a raging fire propagation system, Wildfire lives up to its name as fires can cascade out of control and ruin your plans in hilarious, unexpected ways. Sneaky Bastards have crafted a mischievous stealth game that I’ve not been able to stop playing.
Picking out a chair for your desk setup is no small challenge, and with the playing field getting wider and wider each year, making a decision about the right choice for where you’re going to be sitting for long stretches of time carries a lot of weight. A cursory web search for “best chair” recommendations or reviews will net you a lot of different suggestions from a variety of perspectives, and parsing that into something meaningful for you personally is tricky. The one thing most of the reviews can agree on is that a good chair is well worth the money spent in terms of the comfort and benefits on offer.
Sunsets, neon, and synthwave; these are the characteristics oft-recalled from the 1980s. Insane Code draws inspiration from that decade to include the culture, the pixel art, and the games with 80’s OVERDRIVE. The developers took some liberties with the art style as it recalls the 16-bit era, making it a bit anachronistic, but it absolutely works. While later races are frustrating at times, it’s gorgeous to look at it, fun to play, and offers a solid challenge. 80’s OVERDRIVE is very fitting for the Switch, and if you have nostalgia for this style of game and era, you’ll be right at home.
Void Bastards is an exciting spin on the rogue like formula, blending elements of FTL, System Shock, and run-based game play, dressed up in a fantastically realized art style inspired by graphic novels. The world is detailed, saturated in creepy desolate sci-fi atmosphere sprinkled with healthy amounts of dark humor, and sports loads of smart design choices that give the game a unique feel in a crowded genre. Scott loved Void Bastards when it debuted last year, and I’m personally very excited to see it make its way onto the Switch, as its game play feels extremely well-suited for shorter sessions on the go. I also shared in that enthusiasm for the game at launch, and have been curious to see how it would fare when brought to a portable platform. After all, this is a game where immersion is essential to the experience and any compromise to its critical components will break that experience, and undermine a lot of what makes Void Bastards such a fun game to play.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered is a mouthful to say, but is pinpoint accurate in what you’re getting. This is a remaster of just the campaign for the 2009 sequel to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Every texture has been retouched, updated, and modernized for today’s consoles and PCs that makes it feel anything but eleven years old. While its pacing is breakneck, and the story is overkill, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered is still an incredible ride, even if it isn’t as fully featured as the original.
Corsair’s DARK CORE RGB PRO Wireless Gaming Mouse is the closest thing to being actual magic. It’s wireless, it’s got more RGB zones than I can count, it’s virtually lag-free, and it has amazing battery life. You usually get one or two things from that kind of list, but not all of them. So there must be some kind of sorcery going on for Corsair to have it in one device. The DARK CORE RGB PRO is an absolute delight that is the best of what Corsair has to offer today.
Streets of Rage returns in tremendous fashion with Streets of Rage 4. The wizards at LizardCube, Guard Crush, and Dotemu have made something special here. The series has been dormant for over 20 years, and the first sequel in that time does not disappoint – in fact, it bridges the gap of time with such satisfaction. With a striking hand-drawn art style and liquid animations, Streets of Rage 4 is everything you want out of this arcade brawler series, and more.
At last, 22 years after its original debut on the Nintendo 64, DOOM 64 comes back home with its release on Nintendo Switch, and it has truly never looked better. While this isn’t the first time this curious deviation from the mainline series continuity has been remastered, it’s the first official re-release of the game, and the first time the game has graced a Nintendo system (or any console, for that matter) since its modernization. And truly, it’s an excellent way to experience what is truthfully a classic DOOM game that so many fans have had few opportunities to play before, and arguably the most faithful way to play it on a modern system.
MotoGP 20 comes early this year, and ahead of the real-life season for once, but only because of these extreme circumstances. There’s some omissions from last year’s entry that I can’t say are big losses, but there was some emphasis on them that makes it feel odd they’re no longer there. Instead, Milestone has tuned last year’s strongest elements into being even stronger this time around. MotoGP 20 is another solid entry in the series with vast improvements to the visuals and career, though some parts feel a bit samey.
To say that Saints Row IV is bombastic would be a drastic understatement. This game is literally exploding with energy, creativity, and all-out adrenaline from its opening moments and never lets off the gas until the credits roll. It is the embodiment of a big budget action film, heavily inspired by blockbusters from the 90’s and early 2000’s both in spirit and in many of its concepts. It wears these influences proudly, and loves to show off how far it can push the ideas upon which it’s based, demonstrating that it can in fact outdo the things that shaped it at every step. It’s a big, loud, weird, thrilling package, and it was one of the highlights of the previous console generation for me. At a time when most games were becoming increasingly self-serious, the Saints Row series wielded levity and parody as its most powerful weapons alongside strong design and well-tuned game play. And now, you can take that experience anywhere, because it’s available for the Nintendo Switch, and I have good news: this game is still really good.
Operencia: The Stolen Sun is a dungeon crawler that looks modern, but acts like a classic. Zen Studios does something new for the studio, emulating games like Legend of Grimlock or Wizardry before it, but have given it a fresh spin using Central European folktales as the backdrop for its story. Operencia: The Stolen Sun is hampered only by design decisions that don’t give you the freedom of choice that you’re inclined to believe. It is however, a fantastic adventure start to finish with excellent gameplay to back it up.
A director’s job is never done. In the first expansion DLC: The Foundation, it aims to explore the depths of The Oldest House with the Bureau’s newest Director, Jesse Faden. CONTROL blew me away last year, and became my Game of the Year for 2019; which set high expectations for the expansions to follow, and The Foundation does not disappoint. Remedy’s weird, occult narrative-driven shooter is still very much present and accounted for here. It falls short in a few areas, but continues investing in and inventing bizarre problems for Jesse to solve. CONTROL – The Foundation in a lot of ways feels like the second season of a television show: some of the mystery is gone, but you know the characters, and now there’s a rhythm to it that keeps you interested.
HyperParasite is a twin-stick rogue-lite adventure. This might be all you need to know to cement your purchase. It has an 80s esthetic that’s full of pixels, neon, and catchphrases that are totally radical. It has a really unique hook that separates itself from the other roguelikes out there, and requires a lot more skill from you as well. As quickly as you’ll die, you’ll just as quickly want to get back into the action.
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” – Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace.
Iron Danger from Action Squad Studios and Daedalic Entertainment embraces time with a idiosyncratic gameplay mechanic that makes it unlike anything else out there. Though the patience to get through some encounters has been sometimes draining. Iron Danger offers a ton of possibilities under the banner of tactical combat where you can erase failure and write success at-will to great triumph. While I think there’s something special to be found here, this is a game undercut by an overall lack of polish.
You’ve Entered the Gungeon, now it’s time to Exit the Gungeon. Exit the Gungeon is admittedly a bite-sized game in size and scope, and this self-proclaimed ‘dungeon climber’ has finally left the exclusivity on Apple Arcade for PC and Switch. The shift from an overhead to a side perspective has its ups and downs, mostly ups. Exit the Gungeon is a tightly packed adventure that’s better enjoyed in short bursts, and captures what worked well in Enter the Gungeon, but on a smaller scale.