December holds a peculiar taste of games to sink your teeth into.
This December features a collection of video games weird, wonderful and a bit silly. Have fun with this assortment of experiences that will get your fingertips buzzing with excitement.
Due to a large number of neurons, octopus’ arms can work independently from their brains. Godly Corp shows why although it’s impressive, it’s not necessarily a good thing.
In Godly Corp you take control of an octopus arm, and by association to one of Cthulu’s favourite creatures, making their way through a nine-to-five job like any good octopus would be doing – when it’s not predicting sports outcomes, that is.
The main challenge with this peculiar experience revolves around completing a variety of office-based tasks with this erratic limb. Starting off slowly it quickly begins to feel like threading a needle while simultaneously patting your head and rubbing your tummy.
However – although weird to say – plenty of games have given us a taste of controlling a finicky tentacle. What Godly Corp delivers, then, is an unpredictable experience which keeps you guessing as it plays around with the simulator genre it’s found itself wedged in.
[Reviewed on PC]
Mana Spark (Nintendo Switch)
If there’s a genre which is drowning in exceptional entries and doesn’t need another gem in its catalogues, it’s roguelites. Unfortunately for fans of them with too many games to get through, add another to that ever-expanding list.
Mana Spark captures you immediately with its wonderfully delicate and expressive pixel art style. In a world where humans are bereft of mana and therefore often slaves to other creatures, you’ll dungeon crawl your way around killing monsters, purloining treasures and pocketing the valuable resource, mana. You can then use this mana to improve your campsite and upgrade your weapons for the next run.
In what feels like the love-child between Titan Souls and Enter The Gungeon, your main way of killing is through your bow and arrows. For the most part the combat is decent, allowing you to dash around and fire with the reticle. Although, sometimes the aim can be a bit loose and an immediate, unnecessary difficulty jump does little to quell the issue. If you want a fun roguelite, though, look no further (once you get through that long list, that is.)
[Reviewed on Switch]
Aaero Complete Edition
For an on-rails, music rhythm game you need to handle two things well: the first is its selection of music – which is obviously subjective – and second, it needs to be intuitive. Unfortunately, Aaero Complete Edition failed to capture me on either front.
With techno beats pulsating throughout this experience, Aaero never had the chance of winning me over personally, which is a shame. It’s a risk a game revolving around music runs. So my opinion on the music tracks is null and void, having no understanding of the genre. If you like techno, you definitely have a greater chance of enjoying this game.
In Aaero you control a ship speeding through fantastical, futuristic planets, trying to move the ship around the screen to either avoid obstacles or straddle a rail which hums as you glide along it, all the while looking beautiful. Aaero has nailed its unique feel with mechanical tunnels and dusty, alien planets; the art style is exceptional.
As you progress through the levels, however, the game throws more and more obstacles your way – particularly barriers, which are difficult to telegraph and avoid, adding an unnecessary difficulty. Rather than keep the rhythm going, it frequently halts it, hindering the experience.
Combined with Switch controls that make it hard to line up your ship properly, Aaero fails to impress.
[Reviewed on Switch]
Battle Royale Tycoon
Without being unnecessarily cruel, there are some games which feel like they don’t have the right to be good. Battle Royale Tycoon is one of those.
Unsubtly capitalising on the battle royale fad, Battle Royale Tycoon puts you in charge of running a battle royale-themed park. As park designer you’ll place shooting ranges, warehouses and arenas for the visitors to shoot all manner of guns.
In spite of the fact Battle Royale Tycoon mimics the management simulator genre with little originality (even its art style reeks of a budget Prison Architect), there’s something in Battle Royale Tycoon which makes it pop.
Although the management part of the game is barely adequate, with menus which feel dated and a horrifically brown UI, one mechanic in the game stands out. In order for it to call itself a battle royale game it tasks you with building arenas, rooms which encourage park visitors to shoot at each other. It’s basic but does allow for an interesting premise as you design these arenas knowing tiny people will duck and dive for cover. However, in spite of its fun premise, there’s an overall aspect of the game being underbaked which is hard to get away from.
[Reviewed on PC]
Ancient Frontier: Steel Shadows
Last on this month’s list is Ancient Frontier: Steel Shadows, a sci-fi hex-based strategy game which at first look is nothing special. However, even though it starts off with a fairly generic interspace, sci-fi storyline (the art style does nothing to dissuade you from this viewpoint) Ancient Frontier: Steel Shadows has a nice bit of meat to it.
It wastes no time in plopping you in a fight with the emptiness of space as your background and asteroids as obstacles for you to manoeuvre around, or hide behind, depending on your tact. Ancient Frontier’s hex-based combat system is fun, as you swarm enemies or try and use the ship’s individual abilities to gain the upper hand.
While the actual setting and storyline could do with a bit of colour (particularly the characters), if you want a decent strategy game to fill the emptiness between Christmas and New Years, Ancient Frontier: Steel Shadows may be the thing for you.
[Reviewed on PC]