Nintendo

Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch)

Armed with a mallet equal to the size of his head, Kirby marches through the “forgotten” land wailing on wolves and circus seals, the brand’s distinctive, morbidly hilarious lullaby horror intact. Kirby can suck up whole cars though – that’s new – running over the non-threatening enemies at full speed. Or, commandeering a vending machine,… Continue reading Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch)

Sony

Horizon: Forbidden West (PS5)

It’s difficult to take Horizon seriously – this is dopey sci-fi fiction, filled with robot dinosaurs, flying people, and an allegory that’s insufferably on point. Even its heroine Aloy represents a confluence of the modern liberally-inclined generation, accepting other cultures, if arrogantly rolling her eyes at their conservative religious beliefs, all while saving Earth from… Continue reading Horizon: Forbidden West (PS5)

Nintendo

River City Girls Zero (Switch)

Ignore the loose, campy dressing that brings this distinctly Japanese brawler Stateside. Connections to River City Girls, characters aside, are tenuous. Instead, the clumsy and awkward, anime-amplified core story finds root in social rebellion, a fantasy amid a country dominated by obedience. High school student protagonist Kunio is out to do right, clear his name… Continue reading River City Girls Zero (Switch)

Microsoft

Psychonauts 2 (Xbox Series X)

A notable Roger Ebert quote states it’s not what a movie is about, but how it is about it. Pscychonauts 2 summarizes that statement by distilling mental health down to a young adult, Tim Burton-esque world that, in execution, betters Pixar’s Inside Out, which attempted a similar concept. Psychonauts 2 deals in multiple personality orders,… Continue reading Psychonauts 2 (Xbox Series X)

Microsoft

Madden NFL 22 (Xbox Series X)

Madden has become soulless. Routine. Flaccid. It’s to a point where the minor, niggling issues that remain each subsequent year – even with leniency allowed for pandemic-era development – pile on. There’s the listless, indifferent career “story” that’s a distressing waste of time. There’s an identity crisis where Madden cannot decide between arcade flourishes and… Continue reading Madden NFL 22 (Xbox Series X)

Nintendo

Mayhem Brawler (Switch)

For a moment, Mayhem Brawler seems to mock Streets of Rage, which concerned three cops who walked the streets, punching suspected criminals without due process. Alongside Mayhem Brawler’s comic book interludes, a faux social media feed scrolls. Users question why the “heroes” needed to use force against the villains. They shout complaints about excessive force,… Continue reading Mayhem Brawler (Switch)

Microsoft

The Ascent (Xbox Series X)

A mission late in The Ascent sends the protagonist into a nightclub, fully armed, ready to slaughter rivals in a traditional cyberpunk corporate espionage act. The nightclub is not empty – it’s the business’ prime hour. Opening fire, people scatter. They stumble, they fall. Some shout about having family. Many die in the crossfire. The… Continue reading The Ascent (Xbox Series X)

Sony

Ratchet & Clank: A Rift Apart (PS5)

A rousing, smart distillation of western society over the past few years, Ratchet & Clank’s return fits complicated world events into a comfortable platform/my-first-shooter frame. Rebellion against a bumbling authoritarian leader, multiverse traveling akin to Marvel, and genuinely nuanced approach to character drama allow A Rift Apart to eclipse the seemingly perfect predecessor. Where that… Continue reading Ratchet & Clank: A Rift Apart (PS5)