Citizens of Earth feels like a tribute to the SNES classic (and tragically underplayed) Earthbound. I am a huge fan of that game for its irreverence, setting and gameplay, and Citizens of Earth takes liberally from its best elements. It’s genuinely funny and strategically deeper than it first appears, while leveraging its characters and setting well. Its attempts to reclaim the magic of its source material are largely successful, but most of all, it’s just a lot of fun to play. READ MORE
The original Blackguards had some problems, but the combat system wasn’t one of them. Blackguards 2 retains the same deep, satisfying hex-based combat as its predecessor, and layered on top of that combat is the story of Cassia of Tenos, a noblewoman betrayed by her husband and wrongfully imprisoned. She needs to escape, raise an army and reclaim her kingdom. READ MORE
When playing the The Talos Principle, I simultaneously feel clever and philosophical. Its unique mix of mind-melting puzzles and thought-provoking conversations have caused me to think deeply about both the challenges I’m facing and the true nature of human consciousness. The various puzzle mechanics are easy to learn, hard to master and interesting in their interactions. The true greatness of this game, however, lies in the sheer fact that I wanted to press forward with uncovering the mysteries that surrounded me regardless of the puzzles presented. The Talos Principle is a triumph of game design, and an experience that absolutely shouldn’t be missed. READ MORE
Geometry Wars was an arcade game for the modern generation. It got people chasing high scores, it legitimized achievements and it was controller-shakingly hard while being completely fair. Geometry Wars 2 managed to improve on the original by introducing new enemies and tying multipliers to geom collection instead of number of kills, making your second life just as valuable as your first. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions continues a lot of the good from Geometry Wars 2, but it isn’t an arcade game anymore. There are still scores to chase, and there are still smart bombs to clear the screen when you get into trouble, but whatever nugget made Geometry Wars special died a little when the playfields became three-dimensional. READ MORE
This medium is capable of incredible things, allowing us to not only tell a story, but also give us a chance to interact with and potentially shape it. On the other hand, games can also provide us an interactive means of learning about a specific topic, time in history or, in the case of Never Alone, a culture we rarely see represented. Based on the culture and folktales of Alaska’s Iñupiaq culture, Never Alone attempts to bridge the gap between a gameplay experience and an educational look at a society often forgotten about.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light was a real surprise when it came out. That’s partly because it happened just as the series was being rebooted and used the old Lara and not the new one, but partly because it was a well-designed cooperative puzzle game that seemingly came out of nowhere. Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is a direct sequel to Guardian, expanding the potential player count to four from the original’s two. READ MORE
Life as an outlaw in the Wild West must have been rough. Secret Ponchos focuses on the romantic notion of the Western shootout, and allows up to eight players to simultaneously enter an arena and duel to the death in a variety of score-based modes. Occasionally I would feel completely untouchable, a dead-eyed outlaw taking no prisoners and gunning down my opponents while ducking in and out of cover and evading the bullets that could end it all.
Much more often, however, I felt like a clunky joke that was constantly out of bullets and missing point-blank shots. When everything clicks just right, Secret Ponchos is a lot of fun, but things never seem to do that often enough. READ MORE
When you think of Western RPGs, the name BioWare is bound to pop up. It has created some of the finest and most well-regarded titles in that genre, turning a once-modest studio into one of the foremost RPG experts. Despite BioWare’s rich history, many fans have been disappointed in its recent efforts, especially 2011’s Dragon Age II. The expectations for the third game in its large-scale fantasy series, Dragon Age: Inquisition, were cautiously optimistic.
No matter how you feel about BioWare’s modern titles, it’s safe to say Inquisition is a return to form for the team and a shining example of what it does best.
Borderlands is a quick-moving game. You’re always running around, shooting spider ants in the butt and then hopping into a car and taking it off a ramp. Contrast that to something like The Wolf Among Us, where you are, for the most part, traveling to a location and having a conversation. Telltale is best known, at least lately, for slower-paced games, and Borderlands really doesn’t fit that mold. If you liked Telltale’s Jurassic Park, however, then Tales from the Borderlands will be right up your alley. READ MORE
The last release from Jackbox Games, Fibbage, was definitely a fun game, but it was also an experiment in using tablets and phones to control games on your TV. The Jackbox Party Pack represents the next logical step in that exploration, though the release itself was definitely a surprise. The compilation includes five games, including a new You Don’t Know Jack and a version of Fibbage with more questions, and it’s angling for a spot at your next game night. READ MORE