The ever-expanding gaming keyboard market becomes broader with every passing month, and while there are some clear winners at the upper end of the spectrum, when it comes to budget keyboards you can practically fill a pool with all of the options and swim through them. The trouble with budget keyboards is that in a lot of cases you can’t be sure of the quality, and the average buyer may not see the difference (or care to) between your lesser-known Amazon Special brand and a $50 option from a reputable gaming hardware company. ROCCAT is clearly looking to make that easier on potential buyers with the introduction of its Magma Mini, a new feature-rich board aimed at delivering lots of functionality and durability at a price nearly anybody can be comfortable spending. Plus with its small form factor, it’s not quite the same commitment in terms of desk space as some of its larger-footprint competitors. Looking closer at the hardware, the Magma Mini makes some smart trade-offs to create an option that will be very compelling to those in the market for a budget-friendly keyboard.
EA once told IGN in an interview from 2015 that they “don’t know where we find the time to do remakes”. Well a lot has happened since then, and it’s good that the leadership at Electronic Arts has changed their mind on this. The remake of Dead Space from Motive is a familiar yet surprisingly foreign trek through the acclaimed survival horror game set in space. Everything you remember about the 2008 original has been completely remade, expanded, or even rearranged. It transforms the places you explored into more believable atmospheric environments that are unsettling. Dead Space remains my favorite survival horror game, and is the definitive way to play it.
The world of gaming keyboards is flush with a variety of choices, with a range of sizes, key counts, switch types, keycap styles, color schemes, lighting options, extra keys, connectivity types, degrees of programmability, and all kinds of other extra features. It can be a dizzying proposition to find the right keyboard for your tastes, but chances are there’s something out there exactly for you; I’ve got three different ones on my desk at the moment. Expanding upon that range of choices is The Shrimp, a 25-key ultra compact 20% mechanical gaming keyboard from Nordic Game Supply created to save on space and focus on the parts of your keyboard you actually use.
The Mavix M4 Gaming Chair; maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe you haven’t, though you’re likely here because you want to know more about it one way or another. Truth is, it’s really good, and only has a few downsides. This is a gaming chair that looks like an office chair that feels like we’ve turned a corner on what gaming chairs should be. It’s an accomplished hybrid of two ideals that’s not new, but it is catching on. Mavix are already mavens in this field, and the M4 makes a great first impression that turns into a long-lasting one to validate the purchase.
The Maonocaster AME2 is an integrated audio production studio designed specifically for podcasters and streamers. It offers a comprehensive set of features that make it an ideal choice for those looking to produce high-quality audio content for their streams or gameplay footage.
The Maono DM30 USB Condenser Microphone is a budget-friendly option for gamers, streamers, and podcasters alike. Even if you’re looking for a good, budget-friendly mic to chat with the group on Discord, Maono has an excellent little package.
Turtle Beach has been investing heavily into simulation hardware, and the result is some high-quality gear. Turtle Beach said the VelocityOne Flightstick is “built for flight sims and space games” in their trailer, and it’s true as it feels like a composite of flight and space technology. This flightstick is a standalone, yet all-in-one stick that’s the most expensive of its kind, yet the most impressive in its class. This highly compatible stick is not a stepping stone to something better, it is the start and endgame with the Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flightstick.
JoyMasher takes great care in creating new experiences out of retro game design, and does so wonderfully. Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is the next 16-bit mash-up from this small studio, and delivers big. This is a challenging game full of memorable bosses, hazardous levels, and a customizable character that matches your play style. JoyMasher cuts to the core of what makes these games so great, and Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is one to remember.
Cuddle Monster Games is back with another action roguelike bullet hell shooter, but instead of it being a platformer, it’s arena-style combat from the top-down perspective. LONE RUIN stands out visually, as the developers chose voxels over sprites, and has a striking and vivid art style that really compliments it all. Leaderboards play a vital role in its replayability, creating incentive to start another run to do better and achieve that top spot. Cuddle Monster Games makes highly replayable games with simple concepts, but LONE RUIN just needed a little bit more to keep me for the long term.
Relationships are important to have and maintain. They take a lot of work from all parties for it to be successful, whether it’s between friends or something romantic. Which is the exact reason I don’t want to have to cultivate and juggle all of them in Marvel’s Midnight Suns in order to maximize party potency. It’s a game that I wholeheartedly enjoy the combat for, but everything that exists outside of it feels like a chore. Firaxis is back with Marvel’s Midnight Suns, a turn-based tactics game where they can flex different muscles that isn’t about aliens and permadeath. It’s a surprisingly deep, complex, and varied game that is part RPG, part deck-builder, part tactics, and part relationship sim. The confluence of all these parts is actually what makes Marvel’s Midnight Suns so great, it’s a brilliant and fully realized game that goes beyond anything else in the genre.
When Monster Hunter Rise was released on the switch in 2021, it proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the new model of Monster Hunter following World’s footsteps could work (and fit) on a handheld platform. This wasn’t necessarily a huge surprise given the series long running string of releases on Nintendo’s various handheld devices over the years, but it was an incredibly successful refinement of the formula that leant itself well to shorter play sessions, and it took yet another big step toward making the onramp for new players even more approachable than ever before. Really the only potential issue with Rise was its length, and the fact that it left fans wanting more when the campaign ended on a fairly obvious open note.
Need for Speed Unbound is a high-octane street racing game offering players the thrill of pushing cars to their limits while outrunning the local PD. With a wide selection of vehicles to choose from and an expansive Chicago-like city to race in, Unbound is a wonderful follow-up to Need for Speed Heat, but it has some flaws.
There’s a familiar old saying you’ve probably heard; “You can’t go home again.” Sure, you can always go back to a familiar place and see the familiar sights, but things won’t be quite as you remembered them, and that feeling of everything being just as it was will elude you. It’s an experience familiar to any of us who have lived long enough to venture out into the world and come back to a place where we spent any important formative time at, and it’s one Guybrush Threepwood is having to face in Return to Monkey Island. Not so subtly, there’s a reflection of this in the very proposition of making yet another Monkey Island game in 2022, and that clearly is not lost on Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert, who along with the other writers is delicately balancing what it means to retread territory they’ve not touched since the glory days of adventure gaming in 1991.
Comedy legend John Cleese has said “Sense of humor is so much more subjective than anyone believes”, and High On Life had me laughing for what has to equate to hours. I’m not caught up on Rick and Morty, but the brand of humor that comes Justin Roiland just results in hearty chortles. This is a game I’ve been looking forward to since it was announced, and it didn’t disappoint from the moment I picked up a talking gun with a face on it. HIgh On Life is a first-person intergalactic comedy with unique shooting, exciting traversal, and ejaculation jokes to be the perfect end-cap for the year.