The month of Real Thanksgiving (as in, not Canadian) is over! And with it comes a whole new batch of video games that we played! With a new impression every day this month, there's a lot for you take in. Thankfully I'm here with the one thing the rest of you are thankful for this year: our opinions.
Yes, it’s the TechRaptor Game Review Roundup! Here we collect all of our reviews and previews into one easy to digest article. So let’s dive right in and show you what we hit up in the thankful month of November.
Starlink: Battle for AtlasSummary: If you're of a certain age, Starlink: Battle for Atlas is an amazing prospect. It really nails the open world formula that Ubisoft has made famous and tones it down for kids. It's just too bad that the game doesn't hit the mark whenever it tries to achieve beyond that. 7.5/10. You can read our full review here.
The Quiet ManSummary: The Quiet Man is an absolute disaster of ideas that don't work, bad design decisions, boring combat, ugly graphics, and attempting to use a real disability as a gimmick in a way that feels borderline insulting. 1/10. You can read our full review here.
TimespinnerSummary: Timespinner is a fantastic example of an excellent Metroidvania that mixes great character upgrades, a fun and diverse overworld, and a beautiful 16-bit look. The story not only combines the personal tragedy of a chosen one but adds grey to what's normally a black and white debate. 8/10. You can read our full review here.
Thronebreaker: The Witcher TalesSummary: Though tainted by a broken difficulty mode, Thronebreaker stands on the shoulders of The Witcher as a morally complex and often harrowing Macbethian tale of royal revenge and revolt. 7/10. You can read our full review here.
Red Dead Redemption 2Summary: Red Dead Redemption 2 is an incredible achievement in open-world game design. It's dense, massive, and beautiful. People who give this game the time and patience it needs will find Rockstar's most ambitious, best-written, and most well-realized game to date. 9.5/10. You can read our full review here.
Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't DrySummary: Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry is as crude as its title. The awful, lazy writing lets down what is otherwise a solid adventure game. 5.5/10. You can read our full review here.
Marvel's Spider-Man: The HeistSummary: The narrative surrounding Black Cat and Spider-Man is interesting and engaging, but the side stuff is recycled and disappointingly thin. 7/10. You can read our full review here.
Castlevania RequiemSummary: Castlevania Requiem provides good versions of two great games. The trophies and upscaled resolution go a long way to reigniting interest in these games, but the packaging is bad and disappointingly limited. 7.5/10. You can read our full review here.
Battlefield VSummary: Battlefield V is a beautiful game that introduces some interesting new mechanics into an otherwise familiar genre. Combat is lethal but thrilling, and teamwork is more important than ever. The campaign is adequate, but you're not missing much if you skip it. 8/10. You can read our full review here.
Tetris EffectSummary: Tetris Effect is a dazzling display of all aspects of gaming coming together for a singular experience. It's also a fully featured edition of the best puzzle game of all time. Overall, that's a pretty good combo. 9/10. You can read our full review here.
Hitman 2Summary: Hitman 2 offers is more of the same, but that same is sharper, prettier, and more refined. The new additions are great improvements and the maps are some of the series' strongest. 8.5/10. You can read our full review here.
LEGO DC Super-VillainsSummary: While I doubt it will convince those bored of LEGO games otherwise, LEGO DC Super-Villains is a fun entry into the series that embraces its evil side for something a little more interesting than normal. 8/10. You can read our full review here.
Fallout 76Summary: Fallout 76 is a total mess. It's filled with bugs, terrible AI and ugly graphics. Worst of all, it feels like there's a good game deep down in there, but it's limited by technical faults. Still, there's some fun to be had if you like the Fallout setting or progression. 4/10. You can read our full review here.
Underworld AscendantSummary: Even if you can get past the countless technical issues, Underworld Ascendant is a poorly designed abomination that ruins the Underworld series even to those who've never heard of it. This is the final nail in the Immersive Sim™ coffin. Bury it and salt the earth. 1/10. You can read our full review here.
Darksiders IIISummary: Darksiders 3 makes up its lack of depth in satisfying combat and memorable boss fights, making for a solid third entry in the series. 7/10. You can read our full review here.
Spyro Reignited TrilogySummary: Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a faithful recreation of the original three Spyro games for current gen consoles. Toys for Bob was able to get the look and feel of Spyro down while adding a cherry on top bundling it all together and creating a new and improved soundtrack. 8/10. You can read our full review here.
Persona Dancing: Endless Nights CollectionSummary: Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection offers a solid dose of Persona that fans off the series are sure to love, but the content is a bit thin and the rhythm game is mediocre at best. 6/10. You can read our full review here.
Marvel's Spider-Man: Turf WarsSummary: Turf Wars feels like an unfortunate filler chapter in Spider-Man's DLC trilogy. It's too short and uneven to make any lasting impact on its own, putting a lot of pressure on its final chapter to deliver something worthwhile. 5.5/10. You can read our full review here.
Where Shadows SlumberSummary: Where Shadows Slumber combines intriguing puzzle gameplay with a compelling (albeit strange) story backed by beautifully clean art. 8/10. You can read our full review here.
Remothered: Tormented FathersSummary: Despite its flaws, Remothered: Tormented Fathers is a step in the right direction for survival horror. Horror fans should give the game a serious look. 7.5/10. You can read our full review here.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to EdenSummary: Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is probably not a good enough fix for XCOM aficionados, but it just might carve its own niche. It’s one that openly borrows from post-apocalyptic games and tropes, whether S.T.A.L.K.E.R. or Fallout, while still remaining its own beast. If it manages to stand out for its world and characters, most players will be willing to overlook the simple gameplay. There is just enough in the way of inventory and character management to keep RPG buffs engaged, and just enough of exploration and narrative to keep adventure gamers intrigued. You can read our full preview here.
AztezSummary: Aztez‘s one trick is worthy of your attention. Indie developer Team Colorblind’s first major title showcases how well-refined gameplay mechanics can succeed in making an impression on the player. This is a deserving addition to any indie gaming library on that alone, even if it may not have the long-lasting impact to be a mainstay. You can read our full impressions here.
StaySummary: When it comes to survival horror games, it really takes something unique to stand out from the crowd. Thankfully, Stay has that unique element. Bonding with Quinn is currently a fantastic experience, even if the game’s puzzles bring it down. In fact, I have to get back to it right now. I’m pretty sure I’ve left Quinn alone for too long writing this, and I’m not sure he hasn’t done anything stupid while I was gone. You can read our full impressions here.
Age of Gladiators II: RomeSummary: Ultimately, Age of Gladiators II: Rome is just a re-skinned version of Creative Storm’s sci-fi title. There are only some minor improvements to make it fit its Roman theme. If you liked Death League, this is certainly up your alley. However, the same problems in my original review apply, right down to the byline that summed up Death League. “Age of Gladiators II is certainly not for everyone, but it will soothe the simulation itch by being a well-made, stat-heavy game with a strong thematic backdrop.” You can read our full impressions here.
DepravedSummary: Depraved has an awful lot of potential and feels more complete than most Early Access games I’ve played. If you’re a fan of stuff like Banished and the like, I believe you could pick it up right now and have a heck of a lot of fun. After four or so hours, I know I did, even in spite of the handful of bugs and lack of information on how the game works in some areas. I’ll be eagerly looking forward to seeing what’s to come in the future. You can read our full impressions here.
HaimrikSummary: Ultimately, Haimrik is a unique puzzle game that oozes style and charm. The surprisingly engaging narrative, eye-catching art style, and clever blending of puzzles with the environment make a game that never fails to surprise. Haimrik is full of cool ideas and concepts with solid execution. If you’re looking for something a bit different, or with a ton of imagination and personality, then this is a game you might want to check out. You can read our full impressions here.
Seers IsleSummary: Characters are the most important part of these kinds of games. I recommend Seers Isle to you because I became invested with its cast and want to see each one’s story. Keep in mind I hardly ever play visual novels, so even if you’re not into them you may like this game similarly as I did. Additionally, check out the promotional work for the game, and if the art interests you, you’ll enjoy that piece of the experience for certain. You can read our full impressions here.
The UniversimSummary: However, in the game’s current state, I’m struggling to find much to do at only two-and-a-half hours in. While my village is doing well, I’m merely watching my nuggets go about their days. The quality-of-life adjustments make it so there’s too little to manage, at least for now. Other management sims still have me making small tweaks and adjustments no matter how successful my subjects are doing. You can read our full impressions here.
GRISSummary: GRIS‘s planned release will hit in December of 2018. It’s well worth playing if you’re the sort who can appreciate a Journey-esque experience: short with moderately challenging gameplay but a masterfully crafted world and narrative that can bring tears to your eyes. It certainly did to mine. You can read our full preview here.
Ninja TycoonSummary: It’s a fun little casual title, but I completely played through the campaign in just under four hours. A sort of survival mode exists and there’s Steam Workshop support, but maybe the game could have done with more. I just can’t shake this feeling that the lack of new enemies or special map conditions seems like a missed opportunity to really mix things up. Instead, you get three levels with slightly more challenging gameplay as you move on. It’s over in a flash, and the blow only softens by the game’s relatively low asking price. I had my fun with Ninja Tycoon; I just wish there was a bit more to it in the end. You can read our full impressions here.
Hakoniwa Explorer PlusSummary: Although Hakoniwa Explorer Plus is filled to the brim with lewd jokes, foul language, and occasionally questionable game mechanics, I found it a completely engaging and entertaining experience. I played for four hours in a single sitting with mostly-serviceable keyboard controls. After finishing up here, I’m likely to hop back in just to enjoy it some more. I’m looking forward to seeing what indie developer suxamethonium will come up with next. You can read our full impressions here.
Balthazar's DreamSummary: Balthazar’s Dream may be a pretty basic game, but it’s a fun and surprisingly uplifting experience well-worth the low price of admission. The core gameplay is tight and effective, whilst the game’s premise is surprisingly heart-wrenching and its soundtrack quite gorgeous. If you love dogs or just a pleasant time, you should check out this sweet and endearing game. You can read our full impressions here.
Radiant OneSummary: All of this puts Radiant One into a really weird spot. It’s a pretty good choice if you’re looking to quickly play through something quickly. I’d almost say the best idea is to grab the iOS version and play it between classes or on your way somewhere. In that situation, Radiant One is a good way to kill time. Outside of that, it’s a harder sell. The game is a little too short and a little too basic to be worth much, but I think some people will still get a kick out of this short story. You can read our full impressions here.
Colina: LegacySummary: It’s great that indie studios like Chance6 are still working in this mold of horror game. More than a question of first-or-third-person perspective, the difference between a game like Colina and a game like Outlast is the legacy from those classic survival horror games. It’s not so much about the heart-stopping jump scares that Outlast excels at, but about instilling in the player a sense of existential dread. With cleverly designed puzzles and perplexing narrative design, Colina delivers a true vintage survival horror experience. You can read our full impressions here.
Lust for DarknessSummary: Ultimately, however, Lust for Darkness is a dark and unsettling experience that wears its influences proudly and respects them well enough. It’s hardly amazing, but there’s a solid sense of atmosphere and an effective score. The mystery that the game sets up is engaging enough to propel you through the narrative. Furthermore, there’s some interesting visual design to keep things disturbing and interesting. If you like a quick horror thrill ride, then Lust for Darkness is worth checking out. You can read our full impressions here.
Jack B. NimbleSummary: What Jack B. Nimble does that many indie games fail to do is play to their strengths. It doesn’t try to innovate for the sake of innovation; it just tries to be fun. As much fun as jumping and whipping candles can be. You can read our full impressions here.
Legrand LegacySummary: Ultimately, Legrand Legacy is a game that pretty much says all it needs to in its mission statement. The developers obviously have a huge adoration for the giants of the genre. Their respect for their inspirations has helped them deliver an experience that is both familiar and unique. You’ll probably know if you’re interested in this game after looking at a single screenshot. Still, it’s a quality and effective homage that makes for an engaging and rewarding game. You can read our full impressions here.
Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition HDSummary: Look, if you own a Nintendo Switch then I can sort of understand why Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition HD would appeal to you. Bluntly, it’s the only version of the game that will be on that console. If you have a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, however, I just don’t get it. Final Fantasy XV does everything that Pocket Edition HD does but better, so just get that instead. Not that Pocket Edition HD is bad, it’s just unnecessary. You can read our full impressions here.
Scythe DigitalSummary: I’ve really enjoyed my first few weeks with Scythe. The game is challengingly complex and the Digital version offsets any of the issues that may put players off purchasing a physical copy in terms of price and time investment. The current pool of players mars the digital experience slightly. It still feels like you need to organize games as you would with the physical version. To be able to fill a multiplayer game whenever you wanted at any time of day would make the experience incredible and would really push the digital over the physical version. You can read our full impressions here.
HEVNSummary: As my initial impressions, this piece is not as final as a review would be. However, I don’t know if I could do a proper review of HEVN, anyway. The game has annoying technical hindrances and an uninspiring story and can get clunky in its performance. One frustration after another quickly swallows up whatever potential it has. The pieces of an immersive first-person, space-based sim are here, but they stand alone lifelessly. As is, HEVN is a sci-fi immersive sim that has fallen from glory. You can read our full impressions here.
MugstersSummary: Mugsters is not for those that give up easily. Sometimes intentionally and sometimes due to bugs, the game will shut you down more than it won’t. But, those who stick through the loss will find a unique and rewarding experience that’s unlike any game I’ve played in a long while. You can read our full impressions here.
HoPiKoSummary: Once you get this down then there’s not much more to HoPiKo. It’s very focused on one thing, and that thing is going fast. There are fifty levels that can take you a couple of hours to get through, plus some bonus modes like a speed run or one life mode. However, HoPiKo absolutely nails this one thing. It speeds past Sonic, leaves Meat Boy in the dust, and… well I guess Mario was never really that fast, but you get the idea. This is a platformer that manages to combine speed and precision into one hell of a sweet treat. You can read our full impressions here.
Heat SignatureSummary: One shouldn’t go into Heat Signature expecting handcrafted story and characters. It’s more about the stories you make yourself, with the close calls, last stands, and ridiculous deaths. The game’s mechanics and skill-based combat are a pure joy to play around with, and the seamless transition between different locations keep it from being a purely arcade-like experience. Unfortunately, the lack of any sort of end goal made me feel like I was on a treadmill grind earlier than I otherwise would have. You can read our full impressions here.
Game Dev StudioSummary: Game Dev Studio succeeds thanks to its depth. With all the different branches to manage, those who plan ahead will go far. That said, the game also rewards players who throw ideas at the wall to see what sticks. There’s something here for everyone involved as long as they can sit through the complex presentation. You can read our full impressions here.
The Lost Legends of Redwall: The ScoutSummary: Despite this, I honestly came away quite surprised by The Lost Legends of Redwall: The Scout. It’s a surprisingly fantastic entry into the world of its source material. Fans should love just how much it cares about emulating the books. Even if you’re not a fan of Redwall, there’s still some fun stealth and adventure gameplay to be had here. This is a legend well worth digging up. You can read our full impressions here.
Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged ExemplarSummary: Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar is a passion project by a lone developer first, a curious piece of gaming history second, and finally, a game third. I can’t necessarily recommend it to just anyone, but those interested in seeing a bit of gaming history come alive, or simply those grognard’s seeking their next dungeon crawl, will appreciate Grimoire for what it is. Sometimes, that’s all a game needs to do to find success. You can read our full impressions here.
NeverliriaSummary: If you like to know how all of the moving parts of a game work before going in, Neverliria probably isn’t for you. If you prefer a strategy survival game that can throw you a curveball and challenge you to figure things out on your own, you should pick up this game right now. You can read our full impressions here.
DistortionsSummary: Somehow Distortions managed to become this odd mix of modes and perspectives. As mentioned earlier, it feels more like an audiovisual experience with some gameplay rather than a game. The soundtrack by a post-rock Brazilian band called Labirinto is excellent on its own, but it complements the atmosphere very well. This is definitely something you want to experience on a large display with a controller. While Distortions might be disappointing for those looking for a mainstream game, it stands out as a conjunction of peculiar artistic visions and influences, full of outlandish dreamscapes. You can read our full impressions here.
It Lurks BelowSummary: While It Lurks Below does have a few issues with its flagship Survival mode, the meat of the game is still very solid. The rapidity of updates ensures that problems tend to get fixed sooner rather than later – there’s already an update that should address hunger issues – and the foundation is there for an excellent game. It makes for a fine title in the vein of stuff like Terraria and Starbound. Pick it up if you like those kind of games and want a bit more of a challenge. You can read our full impressions here.
She Remembered CaterpillarsSummary: Overall, She Remembered Caterpillars is a fun puzzle game, with a very interesting premise. If you’d told me I would be having a good time playing a relaxing game about fungus, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But Caterpillars goes to show that hidden gems can be found in the unlikeliest of places. You can read our full impressions here.