A large monstrous creature that resembles something like a machine from the Matrix crossed with an evil porcupine, clutches down at a much smaller figure in a dimly lit corridor. This is a still from Ska Studios game, Salt and Sanctuary

Salt and Sanctuary: A ‘Souls’-Like That Gets it Right

The Souls series by From Software has become something of a guidepost for difficulty in games. It’s become common to use the series as a reference when discussing a particularly tough game, with quotes like “It’s as hard as Dark Souls” now serving as a selling point. It can be eye-rolling when tossed around too much. The problem with this kind of labeling is that the Souls series is so much more than combat. It’s lore, level design, atmosphere–things that most clones of the series forget. Yes, the games punish careless play, but the reason they have become so beloved is because

cover art from the deckbuilding board game Ascension

Disassembling the Deckbuilder

In high school, much of your reputation rides on the groups you choose to associate yourself with. It says a lot about who I am as a person, then, that I spent lunch hours playing Magic: The Gathering with a small group of friends rather than in the cafeteria mingling with the rest of the “cool” population. Looking back on it, those lunch periods are probably responsible for a wide swath of my most cherished memories of the four years spent at that school. To this day, Magic holds a special, and permanent, place in my heart. However, as I grew

A brown haired man looks up as if in an expectation. Behind him is a green wallpapered room with framed pictures of bugs and a door. Above his left shoulder is a title card that reads The Franz Kafka VideoGame

The Franz Kafka Videogame Isn’t As Absurd As It Thinks

In the absurdist play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, the feuding couple, Martha and George, skirts the thin line between illusion and reality in their marriage. One eventful evening, Martha invited a young couple to their place for some drinks on a whim. The hosts—probably one of the worst pair in the history of theater—then pummel one other verbally in front of their guests, trading increasingly vindictive insults as the couple squirmed at the spectacle. After bickering over a series of incidents involving their son, the evening culminated with George gleefully telling Martha that their child had just died in

A man in a white suit is kicking another man in a brown bomber jacket in front of a crowd of people. This is a still from the game Yakuza

The Road to Hell is Paved in Remasters

“This makes me want to set myself on fire,” Stu Horvath immediately replied after I sent him a 9-minute video of the LocoRoco remaster. That might have been a smidge of an overreaction but there is one specific aspect of the news that makes me want to vomit: the “remaster” part. There’s no reason that the (excellent) 2006 PSP exclusive needed to be “remastered.” Yes, this underplayed gem should be made available for more people to play. However, what about this game needed to be “remastered” for 4K? No part. In fact, as more and more games from the early 2000s

A small child in a yellow rain coat stands on a piece of luggage amid a sea of shoes. This is a still from the game Little Nightmares.

Little Nightmares is Rage-Inducing For All the Wrong Reasons

Little Nightmares is incandescently lovely. It has the kind of look that feels like a showroom model for how good the Unreal Engine is. At the same time, Little Nightmares might be one of the worst games I’ve played, mechanically, in a long time. In short, this is the prettiest game I never want to play again. In Little Nightmares you play a yellow rain coated creature/child, trying to escape from the bowels of some sort of nightmare ship. Everything wants to eat you as if you are the finest of delicacies, every corner is dripping wet and affected –

Link climbing up the side of a mountain, a cotton candy sky lit behind him. This is a still from Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Nostalgia is a Weight Around Breath of the Wild’s Neck

From gameplay to art direction, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an unabashed triumph. In many ways, it has set a new standard for open-world games in terms of both freedom and exploration. Sound design is also a high point; the sound of Link’s feet on stone and the little cooking tune are fantastic touches in a tremendous work of sound. At the time of this writing, I have sunk thirty or so hours into BotW, and no doubt will play many, many more. For all the good that Breath of the Wild brings to the table, however, I