While Tokyo 42 could be deeper, and it has issues with being frustrating at times, this is the rare game that becomes less problematic the more you play it. It is for brutal combat what Katamari was for puzzle games: A new way of looking at things, quite literally, and one that chooses bright joyfulness as its medium and lives up to it through its play. For less than half of what a AAA game will run you, this title is absolutely worth the time and the money, and if you find it frustrating, I encourage you to give it another few hours. Just about anyone who does will be charmed by the supersaturated, gloriously isometric, high octane, quirkily funny cyberpunk blowout that is Tokyo 42.
RiME is a wonderful experience filled with both light-hearted excitement and touching emotional moments. It invokes the old cliché, “I laughed, I cried,” but, of course, that doesn’t do justice to the amount of effort it took to coordinate the vivid yet dreamlike artwork, the fun and easygoing gameplay, and the dramatic musical score. It’s unfortunate that the graphics can be choppy and the movement can be finicky. Otherwise — especially if you value aesthetics over fun — this is an incredibly satisfying title.
Starpoint Gemini Warlords is a fine title, though it’s not without the occasional rough edge. Solid gameplay, with smooth controls, is hampered by a frustrating camera, but an interesting (albeit sometimes compromising) mix of single-ship combat and 4X civilization management, and great graphics, seal the deal.
With Prey,the developer Arkane Studios has built on the proven success of its stealth shooters. The gameplay discourages a head-on approach, slowing down the pace of the action. However, the frustration of having to hide instead of fighting enemies is remedied by excellent graphic and sound design, a strong RPG element, and the possibility to gather resources and build useful devices. An additional perk is the inventive writing, which manages an immersive, haunting atmosphere.
P.A.M.E.L.A. is one of the most visually solid games on Steam today, in the indie market — and possibly including AAA as well. There was a rash of bad reviews for crashing and loading issues, but the issues were fixed very quickly thereafter. Even with a small development team, NVYVE Studios has produced one of the most polished Early Access games I’ve seen, and it bodes well for the future of the title and the studio.