When The Jackbox Party Pack first came out, it revolutionized how multiplayer video games could work at parties. So long as everyone had some kind of smart device, anyone could pick up and play the simple and addictively fun games. As new entries have arrived, there has been a mixed bag of as Jackbox Games has experimented with the formula. Coming off of what was, in my opinion, the best suite of games thus far with The Jackbox Party Pack 3, there was a lot to live up to for The Jackbox Party Pack 4. Some games suffer from overcomplicated rules, but largely this is another fun pack of games that any group can enjoy.
Agonizing over the perfect plan, meticulously prepping all the necessary components and then having it all come apart due to an unseen circumstance. Escaping prison seems like it would be an endeavor that which I would fail miserably to execute with the perfection it requires. If nothing else, The Escapists 2 has only proven this fact as I have spent plenty of time in solitary confinement for my failed schemes. Thankfully, unlike real life, the consequences of these failed jailbreaks are minimal and with enough practice, I was eventually able to spring myself from the joint. It’s this concept that makes The Escapists 2 the perfect action puzzle game for anyone with a lot of patience looking for a real challenge.
Platforming sections in first-person games can be notoriously hard if they’re not done well. Spotting platforms while you’re jumping and nailing targets mid-air is tough as nails, but if the controls are tight enough it can feel really good. DeadCore has you steadily climbing a tower full of deadly traps and giant leaps, but as through the adversity of making it through this gauntlet, you will eventually feel like a first-person god of platforming. Not every section is strong, but what is there is challenging enough to really make you feel like you earned it.
Developing one of the best launch titles for the PS4, Housemarque is back with its latest shooter. Nex Machina is a fast-paced shooter that tasks the player with both saving all the humans and blowing up tons of bad guys. Brighter, more colorful and jam-packed with voxels, Nex Machina is perfect for scratching the itch that Resogun left behind.
Starting up the final episode of season 3 for The Walking Dead, I had a hard time imagining the endgame Telltale had in mind. The main antagonist of the season had already been dealt with and the fate of Richmond seemed pretty set in stone. There were certainly a few surprises in there, I’ll get to that in a bit, but after finishing up Javier’s story, I felt like they didn’t quite make good on what made this season unique: The flashback sequences and your relationship with David. Despite this, the thrills are still there and some difficult decisions still had to be made in Episode 5: From the Gallows, which make this a reasonably good season of Telltale’s breakout adventure series.
Profoundly spooky locations and dark foreboding design are often the landmark for an effective horror game. What could be more terrifying than running for your life in a dark forest or an abandoned insane asylum? Bendy and the Ink Machine takes this idea and flips it on its head by providing an incredibly scary experience, while using graphics straight out of a cartoon from the 1930s. The first two episodes, that have been released thus far, are very short, but they manage to instill a sense of dread even while invoking those classic cartoons and they look damn good while doing it.
Rubbing your stomach and patting your head has always been one of the greatest exercises in multitasking. Getting your brain to process two separate tasks simultaneously is surprisingly difficult. Creative Bytes Studios is looking to put you to the ultimate test with the new platforming adventure Embers of Mirrim. Jumping through the world as two creatures that have been combined into one, you must use the powers of each simultaneously to traverse the dangers as you cure the corruption plaguing the land. Embers of Mirrim is not only a competent and beautiful game, it is challenging and fun in a way that I haven’t seen in quite some time.
Mindlessly blasting baddies is always a good way to wind down when you’re not in the mood for something a little heavier. Demon’s Crystals is a twin stick shooter that’s not looking to break any new ground, but the mechanics are just good enough that it’s suitable for some short bursts of fun. Boasting a simple main campaign and six multiplayer types, Demon’s Crystals doesn’t have a lot of depth, but for the five dollar price tag, you’ll get enough silly fun to last you and your friends a few nights.
Pressure can mean a few different things; It’s either force physically being exerted upon an object or a situation imparting emotional force to a person. Honor Code has expertly combined these two definitions into one game in Narcosis, a new horror game set deep beneath the sea. Not all of the gameplay hooks are executed as well as I’d like, but the care put into the atmosphere and overall sense of dread as you attempt to escape from the ocean floor very successfully makes Narcosis a narrative experience worth trying out.
One of the best things about Telltale’s take on The Walking Dead has always been making difficult decisions. I’ll often find myself struggling with deciding what might be the best choice in these games, even with this third season. Episode 4, titled Thicker Than Water, definitely asks you to make some decisions, but very few of them hold the same weight as earlier ones. The main plot is definitely building to an epic conclusion, but there wasn’t a whole lot of narrative progress across this fourth episode.