Fear Effect Sedna

Fear Effect and it’s sequel were breakthrough hits at the turn of the millennium. Releasing late in the life of the original Playstation, they stood out with their stylish cel shaded graphics and sexy bisexual lead character, which was a big deal at the time. And then the series died. 15 years later Square Enix, who inherited the property after buying out Eidos Interactive, put out an open call for expressions of interest in bringing Fear Effect back. A (barely) successful kickstarter followed and last year French developer Sushee shat Fear Effect Sedna out.

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Travis Strikes Again – No More Perfect Heroes

Videogame quality can be measured in a lot of arbitrary ways. Graphics, gameplay, content, and length can all be judged objectively, but what if a game can deliver all these without being fun to play? Is it still a good game? There’s something else, and while trying to describe to myself and others why I like Travis Strikes Again so much, I’ve pinpointed one of my favourite aspects of videogames; their personality.

Travis Strikes Again is a mediocre game by many measurements and made with a low budget, but it is absolutely exploding with charm and wit. The gameplay or graphics aren’t bad by any means but this game is carried hard by great direction and writing. The structure propels the serviceable gameplay to a new exciting level, while the art direction excites the imagination. I was unsure I would like this game, or even the aesthetic because it’s been so long since the first two No More Heroes games came out. I forgot what a game like this felt like. The moment I sat at the title screen it all came flooding back. The immense attitude of No More Heroes with a brand new setting and story. To be clear, this is not No More Heroes 3 but still bares the soul of the series in a big way.

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SteamWorld Dig 2 – Going Deeper

It’s been 89 days since Rusty went missing. From the small desert town of Tumbleton I’ve found myself in a brand new mining town, El Machino. This place is huge. It’s quite high up on a hill, full of houses, buildings and machines, has a population in the triple digits (so the sign says), and there’s even a rocket! The people here are quite simple minded and they are all trying to make a living, but still they are quite welcoming. Everyone wants to do business and The Mayor is happy to stand around and brag. The overall feeling is that there’s a lot more going on here than Tumbleton. Even the music is on a new level with a very funky baseline and more elements than I’ve heard before. Wait, what music? Must be in my head. I’ve come a long way to get here.

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Ys Origin – Comfy Action RPG

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It all starts with an oof. When the first humans walked the Earth and saw each other they said oof. When they rolled out of bed for the first time they said oof. Then again the second time. When cowboys got trod on by their horse they said oof. Or was that hoof? We’ll never know. Like those great moments in history, it’s also how the Ys series started.

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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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