Horizon Chase Turbo – Arcade Racing Isn’t Dead

Punk’s not dead and neither is speed. Horizon Chase Turbo delivers colourful thrills at over 300kph and has crashed into the Nintendo eShop at full speed. If you’ve recently found yourself enjoying the 12th port of Outrun and reminiscing the good old days, this could be the game that makes you feel alive again.

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OPUS – Loneliness and hope

From independent Taiwanese developer Sigono, the pair of games OPUS are linked by their common themes and aesthetic rather than their gameplay or story. Both games share themes of loneliness and hope, with characters isolated in the distant future, determined to complete a seemingly impossible task that was thrust upon them. Despite these similarities, both games can stand alone, they don’t refer to each other, and are a testament to the diversity of unique gaming experiences we’re so lucky to enjoy today.

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GRIS – Comfortable Discomfort

You’ve lost yourself. Material objects lay scattered under a decorated tree, endless plates of food are spread across a table, but the holiday spirit has drained the life out of you. There’s no reason for any of this when you just want to lie down. You open the eShop in a desperate search for salvation, but it paralyses you further. So many meaningless titles. Pages and pages of sales. Now you are falling perpetually with no landing in sight, as the bottom of the screen never fills. Suddenly one name stands out, GRIS? The gameplay is a bit unclear but it’s a game about loss with some very high quality art. This might just do it. This might fill the emptiness within your soul.

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1979 Revolution: Black Friday

Forty years ago, revolution swept Iran. The western backed autocrat, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi was ousted from power by a popular coalition of forces and an Islamic republic, led by Allah’s apparent representative Ruhollah Khomeini, was established. 1979 Revolution: Black Friday tells the story of Black Friday, a turning point of the revolution, through the lens of fictional photo journalist Reza Shirazi. It’s less a traditional video game and more a kind of edutainment interactive historical drama, with developer iNK Stories borrowing heavily from the Telltale Games formula to immerse the player in the chaos of revolution.

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Chasm – Comfyvania

In the depths of the Nintendo eShop lies a treasure. Navigating through randomly generated sales offers, new releases and upcoming titles, you’ll find this gem buried somewhere a few pages back. Chasm is an ambitious game that takes the modern procedural approach and applies it to the classic handheld Castlevania formula. Groan, another randomly generated game? I know, I know. I am sick of them too, but I picked this game up because I wanted a new GBAvania experience so badly. There’s a lot of action games and loot games in the formula, but nothing based on exploration quite like this. It’s a very specific itch that needed scratching.

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Rise of the Tomb Raider – Press A to Rise

This game starts off in the most disorienting way possible, with a dramatic climbing sequence in the snowy mountains full of quick-time button prompts. Press A. Press X. Twirl the stick and mash Y. It’s a great way to not learn how this game plays at all. It’s not too hard, just confusing. You’ll be holding up on the analog stick most of the time, watching Lara jump perfectly across gaps and grab her wall of choice. You are left guessing which direction Lara is going to jump as the camera swings wildly on its own. Just press A and hope for the best. Press X to grab the wall. Oh, okay. I did that I guess? Oh no, I fell. Wait, I’m meant to fall. Really got me there, game. The whole scene is just overly stressful despite barely any button inputs happening at all. It gave me a horrible first impression as the game felt very phony and I hadn’t even played a Tomb Raider game before and didn’t know any backstory to this game. I was ready to delete the game after this and move on.

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Project Highrise – A Vertical Empire

Project Highrise, by Somasim Games is an unabashed homage to Yutaka “Yoot” Saito’s 1994 hit SimTower. The two games share the same premise and aesthetic, with Project Highrise’s art style firmly planted in the early 1990s. It’s a game where you’re tasked with constructing and managing a building, leasing out space to offices, shops, hotels, restaurants and apartments, with the revenue going into services for the tenants and further construction. It’s a sandbox management sim and I think it’s a really good one, but there’s a lot to talk about and the comparisons to SimTower have to be made. Continue reading “Project Highrise – A Vertical Empire”