Danganronpa 1-2 Reload – Metacritic Score: 82
Originally only playable on portable systems, the first two Danganronpa games were well respected but criminally underplayed. With the third core game, Killing Harmony, coming to the west later this year, Spike Chunsoft wanted to introduce the series to a greater number of players. 1-2 Reload is a collection of the first two games, and this is the first time the series has been playable on the PlayStation 4.
Critics unsurprisingly praised the two games themselves, with some saying that they are two of the best visual novels you could hope to find. However, they add that the collection adds nothing to the games and simply acts as a collection to introduce new people to the series in time for V3 in September. It is recommended for newcomers but there is no reason for long term fans to return. You can read our review here.
Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment – Metacritic Score: 84
Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment is the prequel to popular and critically acclaimed Shovel Knight that sees you take control of Specter Knight. It was one of the few games playable at the launch of the Nintendo Switch, and is an excellent choice if you fancy something different from Breath of the Wild.
According to critics, although playing as Spectre Knight makes it feel so different, Spectre of Torment is an excellent companion to the main Shovel Knight game. Releasing it as a standalone game on the Switch will increase its popularity and it is worth playing for anyone who has played the original game, as well as anyone that hasn’t.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix – Metacritic Score: 85
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix includes the first six Kingdom Hearts games, all of which have been remastered for the PlayStation 4. With Kingdom Hearts 3 coming… well, sometime… this collection is a great excuse to either revisit the series or become familiar with it for the first time.
The collection being a perfect place for newcomers is one of the main points of praise from many critics. It is the best way to experience some of the games in the series, with the improved visuals making the Disney-inspired worlds even more beautiful. It is even a great place for long time fans to re-familiarize themselves for the games that are still to come. However, it is not the definitive Kingdom Hearts collection because it does not include everything you need to play in order to be fully caught up with the story. You can read out review here.
Thimbleweed Park – Metacritic Score: 85
Thimbleweed Park is a point and click adventure game in the style of the LucasArts games of old. It tells the story of two federal agents who are called in to investigate a dead body found in the river in their town.
It has been widely praised for capturing the magic of classic adventure games, with humor being key throughout. The puzzles are challenging, the cast of characters are interesting, the story is intriguing, and it is funny at all the right moments. It is one of the best point and click games available now, and some higher profile games could learn something from Thimbleweed Park about how to tell a compelling story.
Bye-Bye BoxBoy! – Metacritic Score: 85
Even with Nintendo’s Switch console coming out this month, impressive titles are still coming to the 3DS eShop. Bye-Bye Box Boy! is a puzzle game that is available from the eShop. Nintendo’s older handheld has been home to many excellent puzzle games over the years and this new release is another that fans of the genre should play.
Reviews say that the third title in the series features creative and addictive puzzles, all of which are presented in a minimalist but effective art style. It keeps introducing new mechanics, then taking them away again, to keep the puzzles fresh and interesting. Bye-Bye Box Boy! is a must-play for portable puzzle game fans.
MLB The Show 17 – Metacritic Score: 86
The MLB The Show series has been the only baseball game for fans of the sport to care about over the past few years and this year’s release may even be the best yet. ’17 bolstered the online multiplayer offerings, added new missions for single player, and made the game react to real world results.
Many reviews say that The Show 17 is the best game to ever release in the franchise. They praise the additions that improve the offline modes, and the ones that make the online offerings more appealing. There are modes that both veterans and newcomers will enjoy, but connectivity issues can be frustrating at times.
Zero Escape: The Nonary Games – Metacritic Score: 88
Zero Escape: The Nonary Games in another title from the developers of the Danganronpa series. It includes two games, each of which are visual novels that tell mature and engaging stories that have been praised across the board by critics.
The in-game puzzles are challenging and rewarding but the main draw of The Nonary Games is how it tells a deep and engaging story that look at human behavior and the reason behind it that will stay with you. If you didn’t play the two titles on handheld, then now is a great place to jump in. As was the case with Danganronpa 1-2 Reload, there isn’t much new to entice series veterans.
NieR: Automata – Metacritic Score: 88
The original NieR, released in 2010, while somewhat well received, was largely overlooked. Automata, however, was in the limelight long before its release. The demo that was made available late in 2016 was excellent and only increased excitement. The full game came out last month and was praised across the board.
The gameplay, in whichever form it takes, is fantastic throughout. The seamless switching on styles and perspectives keeps the action fresh and challenging. Critics lauded the game for its detailed story, beautiful design, and powerful soundtrack. NieR: Automata is one of 2017’s must-play games. You can read our review here.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove – Metacritic Score: 90
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is the definitive version of Shovel Knight. Not only does it see the wonderful original game make its way to Nintendo Switch, it includes all the excellent add-ons that have been released since. Even Spectre of Torment, the standalone prequel that also launched this month, is included in the collection.
Critics praised Treasure Trove for many of the same reasons as they did when the base game first released. It perfectly captures the essence of old platformers, the visuals are pixel-perfect, and the gameplay is precise and challenging. They also added that the add-ons flesh out the story and that Treasure Trove is an excellent supplement to Breath of the Wild as a Switch launch title.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Metacritic Score: 97
Nintendo’s new console finally released this year and there is one game in particular that stands out in the admittedly shallow launch line-up – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. In a quarter that has seen the release of some wonderful open-world games, Breath of the Wild is still an undeniable masterpiece in game design. On Metacritic, it currently stands at 97 out of 100, which makes it the joint-fifth highest rated game of all time. That rating puts it alongside GTA V, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and Perfect Dark.
The freedom the player is awarded, with the ability to climb anything, makes other games feel restrictive in comparison. The world is beautiful and crammed with secrets and wonders to see. Some critics even say that it is the best Zelda game of all time, topping even Ocarina of Time. What is without doubt, however, is that Breath of the Wild will be many people’s pick for Game of the Year come December.