Life Goes On: Done to Death


Death has always been used a core mechanic in gaming, typically as punishment and a definitive indication that yes, you sure did miss that jump. This is not always a Game Over scenario; upon death in platformers like Super Meat Boy, you quickly spawn back in and try again. The entire survival horror genre, and the rise of the Dark Souls series, are based on nigh-inevitable death. A small group of Canadian indie devs have taken another approach, and used the deaths of a battalion’s worth of adorable, misled and forsaken knights as the sole tool in the toolbox for players to solve their puzzler, Life Goes On: Done to Death. This irreverent release is light on story and far from morbid, and proposes some interesting puzzling situations. It’s somehow both simple, and not.

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From a tumbling ball of cotton yarn a hero is birthed. Yarny is the aptly and unimaginatively named embodiment of Unravel’s central themes; bravery, persistence, and a desire to connect. While these aren’t very directly communicated through the game, they do lend some weight and meaning to this puzzler, in case that’s what you’re after. Traverse beautiful landscapes, listen to stunning music and piece together a story of memories and the passing of time. And lots of drowning.

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Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders

 abc murders

Designing any interactive media that pits the player as an ingenious and brilliant detective while retaining a sense of free will would be, I’d expect, rather difficult. To suggest the player should commandeer this genius agent of deduction and carry out an investigation in any credible way without holding their hand would be to assume they already possess genius skills of deduction. To take that hand and lead them through a string of scenes to marvel at this character’s glorious intellect would be to create a lifeless work ill suited to the medium. Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders (2016) does very well to include the player on a linear tale of murder by designing a loophole of a game mechanic; the flesh of the game is not in possessing Agatha Christie’s famous detective Hercule Poirot, but in directing his subconscious in pursuit of a serial killer.

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Persona 4: Dancing All Night


I hate dancing. I can respect dance as an art form and admire those who do it well. I can enjoy and be moved by a dance as a spectator. But I am bad at dancing. I almost never find dancing fun and I am far too gangly and self-conscious to be able to express myself through dance. I lack rhythm, which is why I am not often one to get involved in rhythm games as a general rule. But when one of my favourite Japanese RPGs gets a spin-off rhythm game called Persona 4: Dancing All Night, I can’t help but be reminded of how fantastic the music is in the Persona games and become curious to play it. Will Persona 4: Dancing All Night (P4D) be good enough to tide fans over whilst they wait for the long-anticipated Persona 5? Or will it only serve to fuel their insatiable hunger?

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Minecraft: Story Mode

mc story mode

(Lucky you have a short name, Jess.)

When I first heard about Minecraft: Story Mode, I (like many others) had so, so many questions. Most of them were variations of “why” and “how”, with a whole bunch of “what” thrown in there, just for good measure. Telltale, however, are masters of what they do, and so I approached this new addition to their growing oeuvre with cautious optimism that they would make good use of Minecraft’s signature design and unique feel. As it turns out, the expansive and immersive world of Minecraft was just crying out for someone to throw a proper plot into it – and Telltale seem to have found the perfect one.

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Ninja Pizza Girl


‘Ninja Pizza Girl’ isn’t a title that immediately evokes the kind of image I would associate with a game that tackles serious issues. Well, unless you’re really serious about pizzas and their timely delivery (which, to be fair, we all are at heart). So when I heard that this was a game about ‘self-esteem, bullying and resilience’, I had to know how the hell that was possible – and the result was better than I expected.

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The Talos Principle (Deluxe Edition)


The Talos Principle is a fantastic presentation of art, thought and design. While the narrative is far-reaching and rather ambitious, it works because the delivery is straightforward and logical, and is a complementary fit for the logic-puzzle gameplay and exploration. There are no ground-breaking gameplay mechanics akin to Portal’s gun, but The Talos Principle perfectly utilises what mechanics are offered. Within the recent landscape of rather disappointing attempts at innovation and immersion in video games, I’m proud to claim that The Talos Principle is the best game I’ve played in recent memory, and it ticks all my boxes. There’s no jokes or jabs right here, it’s just straight-up good.

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