Half-bald and wholly irreverent, Chiara is a content writer armed with black coffee (i.e., mana) and a library full of games that she might never finish— mostly because she gets distracted by side quests and lore. Her favorite place in this world is Thailand, where she taught English and studied Muay Thai for eight months, and her favorite place in not-this-world is Tamriel, where she’s logged an unmentionable number of hours. When she’s not leveling up in-game or in real life, she’s wondering why the Fade not.
Too Kind Studios set out with very specific goals and they hit every wicket. Pankapu is an action-platformer successfully fused with roleplay elements. Sidescrolling collides with thoughtful storytelling, while carefully curated levels coalesce with nonlinear exploration; Pankapu the Dreamkeeper is an artful balance between retro favorites and contemporary design.
Dreamy yet disturbing, Cherrymochi’s Tokyo Dark keeps its crosshair leveled at a sweet spot between Japanese visual novel and point-and-click adventure. Backed by beautifully illustrated environments and an eclectic soundtrack, Tokyo Dark gives the impression of having been carefully crafted; the creators were thoughtful in how they integrated different elements to evoke a striking ambiance. Featuring supernatural cults, dark family secrets, kawaii cat maids that wax existential and a protagonist who speaks primarily in ellipses, the game nails narrative but misses the mark on a pointless stat system.
We play games for all kinds of reasons—primarily for that dizzying, juicy hit of dopamine. But, a surprising side effect of staring at boxes and hitting buttons is the cultivation of quick and efficient decision-making abilities, particularly for those players partial to rapid-fire and high-pressure genres, like RTS. Thus saith science.