5) Yoku’s Island Express – Metacritic Score: 84
Yoku’s Island Express is a very unique combination of genres. It seamlessly blends classic pinball mechanics with open-world and metroidvania level design. Each area acts like a small pinball table, where you need to collect items and move onto the next section to progress.
Critics have praised the vibrant art style, the wonderfully designed open-world that’s full of secrets to find, and the cleverly interwoven metroidvania elements. You might think that this combination of polar opposite genres is strange, but the result is actually one of the most entertaining and charming platformers of the year.
4) Dark Souls Remastered – Metacritic Score: 86
The original Dark Souls may not be that old, having released less than seven years ago, but the recent success of the series has led to it being released on current generation consoles, including Nintendo’s hybrid system. It features the same journey into a dark, mysterious world full of secrets and menacing bosses you’re used to from the series. The benefit of the the remaster, however, is that it fixes some of the problems of the original release.
The resolution and frame rate have been improved significantly, and the action and atmosphere still stand out. You’ll need fast fingers to take on the collection of unique bosses, but it’s worth sticking with to experience such an influential video game. It’s the definitive version of Dark Souls.
3) Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Switch) – Metacritic Score: 86
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze initially only released four years ago, but it was for the Wii U so not many people played it. Now, it is available for the Nintendo Switch so that more people can play what is a great platformer.
Yes it’s a punishingly tough experience at times, requiring immaculate timing and platforming precision, but the Switch re-release makes some changes that make it more accessible. On top of the graphical upgrade, Tropical Freeze lets you play as Funky Kong in Funky Mode, which gives you more lives and makes the platforming easier. It allows more players to play through the excellently designed levels, without throwing their Switch at a wall.
2) Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire – Metacritic Score: 88
Like the original Pillars of Eternity, Deadfire was a successful crowdfunding campaign, hitting its goal in less than one day. That development process seems to have worked well once again, as Obsidian’s game has been lauded as one of the best RPGs of recent years.
It’s a direct sequel to the first game, and takes place in the fictional world of Eora. Once again, you play as a ‘Watcher’, a character with the ability to look into peoples’ souls. Critics have praised the setting, compelling story, well written characters, and the engaging combat. There’s also plenty of post-launch content planned to keep players returning to the magical world.
1) Ikaruga (Nintendo Switch) – Metacritic Score: 89
Another classic game that re-released this month is Ikaruga, which came to Nintendo Switch. If you didn’t play it when it was on the likes of the Xbox 360 or Dreamcast after it launched in 2001, it is a top-down shoot-em-up game, and a spiritual successor to Radiant Silvergun. As a rebel pilot, you must take on the enemies in the titular fighter jet, the Ikaruga.
As it was nearly two decades ago, Ikaruga is a phenomenal shooter. The gameplay is easy to get to grips with, but offers a challenge as you go, but it’s the Switch specific functions that make it a joy to return to. The ability to toss a joy-con to a friend for co-op adds an additional layer of fun to the gameplay, especially when you’re on the go. It’s a classic shooter that’s just begging to be replayed.