Hollow Knight

Scrabbling desperately through narrow tunnels gives way incrementally to empowered exploration and secret-sweeping in Team Cherry’s excellent Hollow Knight, re-released to fanfare on Switch. This is a medtroidvania dungeon-crawler that stands alongside greats of the genre. In a subterranean world of insects, players play a diminutive knight armed only with a rusted nail, who awakens … Continue reading Hollow Knight

Bayonetta & Bayonetta 2

Gameplay excellence and narrative madness have been comfortable bedfellows for videogames over the decades. As the form found its feet, expectations of competent storytelling grew only slowly, and are still remarkably forgiving. Bayonetta and its sequel, re-released this year for Nintendo’s Switch, exemplify this divide. Their combo-chaining fighting gameplay is responsive and accessible, scaling to … Continue reading Bayonetta & Bayonetta 2

Subsurface Circular

Subsurface Circular is a curious and promising artefact (now followed by Quarantine Circular) that layers simple visuals and effective sound onto what is essentially a nicely crafted linear text adventure. Circular’s world is one of ubiquitous automation; an underclass of variously sentient robots and AIs run manufacturing and processing functions for society, while only ‘management’ is left … Continue reading Subsurface Circular

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Has a British country village ever been so lovingly constructed in virtual form? Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a paean to community values, viewed through the lens of a John Wyndham-esque science fiction yarn. Dropped into the Shropshire, players find themselves exploring an entirely abandoned town in the 1980s. Guided by cryptic radio messages, they are … Continue reading Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Killcams to streaming – the changing face of defeat

In the early days of online multiplayer gaming, being able to re-examine one's failures was nonexistent gameplay factor. In your Quakes and Unreal Tournaments, death was a momentary break, and the manner in which one died was relegated to a verbal description – fragged, sniped, you name it, because the games did. With the advent of widely-played shooters … Continue reading Killcams to streaming – the changing face of defeat

Super Mario Odyssey – 2017’s Game of the Year

Nintendo's year has been a wildly successful one - their mobile presence, though increasingly derided, has been significant; they have won back the adulation of the press and the wallets of the many with their latest console, the impeccable Switch; and their roster of exclusive releases was jaw-droppingly impressive. The masterful Legend of Zelda: Breath … Continue reading Super Mario Odyssey – 2017’s Game of the Year