I'm only going to say this once, just to experience what typing these words feels like:
There's something of the palate cleanser to the faithful hack and slash game. When elsewhere the worlds are getting bigger, the narratives more urgent and the collectables more numerous, games such as Darksiders generally have only one goal: hitting monsters on the noggin. In Darksiders 3, you get to do that once again - and little else besides.
Unlike some other games based on enduring animes from the 90s, Fist of the North Star might not be immediately familiar. Initially conceived as a collaboration between writer Sho "Buronson" Fumimura and illustrator Tetsuo Hara, Fist of the North Star was definitely the kind of thing that made my parents associate anime with violence and over-sexualisation long before Ghibli's "My Neighbour Totoro" could smooth things over.
To talk about Yakuza Kiwami 2 is to look at the game through three lenses. For some, it's a remake of a game made in the mid-2000s. For others, it's a continuation of a tale they got hooked on thanks to the release of Yakuza 0. Perhaps most importantly, it's a game that has the uncanny ability to draw from both what came before it and after it.
Management simulations have been one of the most enduring video game genres. Whether you like to manage cities, zoos, hospitals or sports teams, there are plenty of riffs on the concept. With the current renaissance of the farming sim however, it's enough to loudly say "Stardew Valley" three times to summon interest - mine included. Graveyard Keeper, then, sounded like the kind of game I didn't know I wanted, something that combines the cute style of a game made in RPG Maker with a truly interesting management idea. It's graveyards. You manage graveyards.
While the world outside beckons with summer sunshine, I have decided to return to the cold, faraway lands of Stoic Studio's The Banner Saga instead.
Yes, I know, I'm selling sticks, but these sticks fell off of something that nearly killed me in a deep, dark dungeon just a few minutes ago. I risked my hide for that limestone over there, too. This particular starter cable is most certainly a priceless relic, and if you want me to get more treasure like it, you're going to have to pay the price I've set for it. Or at least a price we can agree on.
We will never know how my life could have gone had I never been introduced to mobile puzzle games. Over the persistent draw of just one more round, assignments were left unfinished, books unread and emails unanswered. I spent endless hours of procrastination determined to prove that I had the smarts it took to solve games that wanted me for my brain and not my reflexes. Even though I've since moved to YouTube as my favourite method of procrastination, Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle makes it clear that deep down I haven't changed.