Malicious Fallen may not be developed by Platinum Games, but it sure does look the part. This may have something to do with the fact that developer Alvion supported Platinum Games during the development of such titles as Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Bayonetta 2, and Anarchy Reigns to name a few.
After the first few hours of Mass Effect: Andromeda, I was discouraged--maybe even a little distraught. Within that short span of time, I'd already encountered unconvincing animations, bog standard missions, clunky user interface, stilted dialogue--basically every red flag you hope to avoid when approaching a lengthy shooter-RPG powered equally by action and story.
Shovel Knight is defined by its likeness to games from the era of 8-bit consoles. It takes inspiration from games like Mega Man and Ducktales not only in its pixel- and pitch-perfect audiovisual aesthetic, but also in its mechanics--Shovel Knight is a resolutely unforgiving 2D platformer.
As you sit atop a wooden beam observing patrol patterns, you plot a series of moves: fire a bolt at the overseeing guard right when another walks into your acid trap, swoop in to snatch the loot and run off before anyone else notices. If it doesn’t go according to plan, you’ll cloak, hide in a closet, and slip out as the investigating party turns its backs to your exit. Styx: Shards of Darkness attempts to deliver such thrills, and at times it succeeds. However, these moments are sparse since you’re rarely put in a position where cunning is required.
Since both Nintendo and Sony seem intent on not continuing their line of revered hovercraft racers (F-Zero and WipeOut), it’s good to know other developers are happy to pick up the slack. Witness Fast RMX, a digital-only launch title for the Switch, that fills this niche nicely. Astute racings fans may recognize this as the semi-sequel to the excellent if boringly named Wii U racer, Fast Racing Neo (itself the sequel to the Wii game, Fast Racing).
Ghost Recon: Wildlands is a squad based Tom Clancy game that plays by the numbers. It stays true to the series' Rainbow Six-inspired roots, emulating the cold and calculated nature of organized infiltration and coordinated stealth kills. Whether you're syncing shots with friends or an AI companion, there's gratification in taking down targets efficiently. Unfortunately, the adherence to this specific kind of gameplay gets lost and diluted in Wildlands’ vast expanse of Bolivia.
As a Switch launch title, Snipperclips does little to sell the unique features of Nintendo's new console. Playing the game on the go isn't ideal, since the Switch's small screen and the bumpy nature of playing it in cars (or buses, trains, or planes) derails some of the accuracy needed to complete its puzzles. The game also doesn’t make use of the Joy-Cons' advanced haptic capabilities, meaning there's no real benefit to playing with the minuscule controllers--even though you're forced to do so.
Dungeons & Dragons has a long, storied history in gaming. The classic pen and paper game has had several successful digital counterparts,and its approach to role playing has influenced and been repackaged as everything from Final Fantasy to Skyrim. If you’re only familiar with modern role-playing games, you could be forgiven for assuming that they’re all about crafting and loot, leveling and growing stronger. In truth, D&D’s many progeny have simply sidestepped what makes role-playing games one of the most powerful, affecting genres.
The opening cutscene of Loot Rascals, largely narrated by a teapot-headed British spaceman, establishes the game’s strange tone well. Instead of arriving at a holiday-resort planet to restore a medical unit's antenna as intended, you crash on an alien moon and find yourself battling against the game’s eponymous “rascals” that have stolen the medical unit. To get it back, you’ll need to trek through five randomly generated levels, battling or avoiding the moon’s many aggressors.
It’s been several years since we last saw Bomberman, but if ever there were a perfect time for the bizarre little bomb-crazy robot to make a comeback, the Nintendo Switch launch is it. Long beloved as one of the greatest multiplayer party games, Bomberman’s classic, simple premise is a perfect match for the Switch’s focus on social play.