Merchants and Marauders: Broadsides won’t be for everyone, it’s direct PvP, it's very draw dependent, and anyone coming from Merchants and Marauders hoping to find the same open-world won’t find much similar except the setting. Broadsides is fun, it’s incredibly thematic and has some fantastic tense and epic moments if you can stick through the bad draws.
Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory is a pleasant, nostalgia-packed experience providing a plot recap which fans of the series probably need right about now
In Celebration of Violence provides a deeply rewarding but incredibly difficult and obtuse roguelike experience.
Oak & Iron is a very easy to learn and teach game, with straight-forward mechanics for movement and combat. This, combined with the ability to play straight out of the box with the miniatures make it a fantastic entry-level wargame or gateway game. The deeper level of tactics and strategy then make it an incredibly rewarding experience for veteran gamers. The 6 different ships and 5 factions playable out of the Core Box give it a huge amount of replayability, but also make it an incredible experience to expand from.
A disappointment in almost all areas besides combat and graphics, Godfall feels more like a next-generation showcase than anything else. A boatload of stats and unsubstantial loot are just some of Godfall's major problems.
The Pathless offers players a beautifully heartbreaking way to revive a dead world by forging a bond between you and an eagle alone. Every so often, you come across the corpses of the fallen and you can see their final thoughts moments before death, which elevates the tragedy and sadness of the world around you. Even then, you never really feel lost, both literally and figuratively, mainly because you’ll feel like as long as you have your eagle by your side, you’re going to be just fine.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s still a fun romp through New York City, with likeable characters and electrifying Venom powers.
Merchants and Marauders is an incredible open-world adventure. Every game feels unique. The core rules are straight-forward, but there are some intricacies that might put off anyone looking for a simple game. The multiple ways to win are all great, and all have their own difficulties. The game has a large element of PvP, that rewards the bold and can be an issue for any players who don’t want that element to the game, but those who don’t mind will have an incredible experience and plenty of stories to tell.
Victory at Sea Battle for the Pacific is a great starter-set. The ships are very easy to build and if offers a great insight into Victory at Sea, with expansion beyond the set without buying the core rules. The fleets contained aren't points balanced, and some work is required on the side of the players to build out the scenarios and fleets for use. It feels like it's missing some scenarios with fixed starter-set ships, or a linked campaign, but it's easy to get into and very enjoyable. You will find a lot of the time that 6s are required to hit, and a lot of shots will miss, but games feel very thematic, and each ship feels like a grand warrior, with its own traits, rather than faceless stats.
Cyberpunk Red has been worth the wait. For veteran Cyberpunk players, it’s the system you know and love, ramped up with added detail for the time of the Red. For experienced roleplayers, it’s a simple system that encourages you to build the characters you want and create the stories you enjoy. For video gamers looking for anything to do with Cyberpunk 2077, there’s a lot here, and it’s a great read cover to cover to get you ready for 2077. For brand new roleplayers, welcome, get the Jumpstart Kit, play the adventure, and then come back, and join us in the Red.
U-Boot requires preparation, dedication, and time, but it rewards it. All players need to know the rules and their roles and be in for the duration, but what you'll get in return is one of the most immersive and thematic experiences ever. Submarine and nautical enthusiasts will get the most out of this, but anyone wanting realism and teamwork will find it extremely enjoyable. All of the components are thematically great and work very well for the product as a whole. Not all the roles are equal in terms of excitement, but some players will naturally gravitate towards the support roles and others the command tasks. If you don't want a huge in-depth game or have to use an app, then this is not for you. But if you want a truly unique nautical experience and favor realism then prepare to deep dive, because U-Boot is incredible.
Sails of Glory is a straight-forward and very accessible miniatures wargame. The pre-painted miniatures, basic movement, and combat rules make learning the game and introducing new players simple, and the scaling rules make it great for finding the balance of rules and complexity that you want. The starter set is an awesome experience for 2 to 4 players. There is a solo scenario in the game, along with some great community-produced solo rules. Sails of Glory is perfect for new wargamers, or if you're looking to introduce someone to wargames, and scales well beyond the beginner game to keep their interest, which also makes it a great game for veteran wargamers.
Xuan-Yuan Sword VII suffers from a weak story, and a poor translation. Despite this, there is a lot to love for ARPG enthusiasts.
Bugsnax is a very cute game that features a diverse cast of characters, but suffers from very repetitive gameplay.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla streamlines the best parts of Origins and Odyssey while trimming the fat, though is hampered consistently by bugs and technical problems. Still, it's a journey well worth taking.
Strobophagia starts strong by establishing a cool, neon-lit atmosphere, but does not reach its full potential due to pacing issues and a lack of memorable music
Pan Am offers style and class in a route-building nostalgic game
The Falconeer is an interesting take on the aerial combat genre putting players in the saddle of large birds and setting off across a flooded world in search of balance between warring factions. While the story and world do feel incomplete the flight combat does a good job of staying entertaining.
I enjoyed my time with Watch Dogs: Legion but the whole time I played it, I was phishing for more.
Forgotten Waters is a truly awesome experience. It’s wacky and takes a while, so if you want a quick game with a serious nature, then this might not be for you. But those who want an awesome narrative with fast-flowing simple mechanics will find a lot to love. The first game set up can feel like there is a lot going on, but after a turn or 2, everything will flow extremely well and you will be able to simply enjoy the experience. It’s great with every player count, from 1 to 7 and while there is a limited number of story scenarios to play through, each one will take a while and give a huge return for the investment.
Kosmokrats pulls off charming dark comedy, engaging puzzle gameplay, and excellent repercussions for player actions.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon refreshes the action with a turn-based JRPG that retains its charming identity, but it falls into some pitfalls that are emblematic of the genre.
Black Seas is a fantastic system. It has incredible detail, but it doesn't get bogged down in it. There's some complexity in working out how ships move each turn, that might not be for everyone if you just want a rules-light skirmish game, but anyone after a solid system, full of straight-forward realistic detail will find it here. The Black Seas Master and Commander set is incredible value for money. The rulebook and the ships alone exceed the RRP, so the addition of the map, scenery, and tokens make it a great starting point. The ships themselves also offer a perfect foundation for building up a force. The scaling up of detail of the ships is also perfect, and you really get a return for the effort you put in, and a fully painted and rigged ship really pops on the tabletop, and Warlord has done an amazing job of giving players the knowledge and tools in which to begin. The rulebook itself is extremely well presented and full of a crazy amount of detail for the small page count.
The Jackbox Party Pack 7 samples some of the past with Quiplash 3 while managing to revolutionize previous concepts with new twists breathing fresh air into their games. This more diverse collection might not have everything you want, but it likely has something for everyone.