Guardian's Scores

  • Games
For 768 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 41% higher than the average critic
  • 4% same as the average critic
  • 55% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 1.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Game review score: 76
Highest review score: 100 Super Mario 3D Land
Lowest review score: 20 Shaun White Skateboarding
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 55 out of 768
777 game reviews
    • 61 Metascore
    • 20 Critic Score
    This version of Vertigo portrays women in a way that is seriously difficult to stomach in a post-#MeToo era. Here, women prey on an unsuspecting man using, for instance, sex and hypnosis to lure him in and do him harm. Male trauma is of course absolutely real, but this game doesn’t have the tools to examine it with the required care, and ends up essentially saying #MenToo – and doing a significant disservice to the body of cinematic work that inspires it.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Now it feels like the physics, AI and animation have come together in a way that makes even these ridiculous moments feel naturalistic and pleasurable. The first Fifa on the Mega Drive billed itself as an authentic experience of real sport, real drama, real spectacle. It wasn’t then, but perhaps, in this final iteration … it is now.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Critic Score
    With a little more time in the oven, Food Truck Simulator could have been something really tasty. Unfortunately, in its current form, it will surely leave players feeling a little sick instead.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The result of the old team getting together again is a tale that retreads old paths but also clearly wants to be more than just an ode to a bygone era of video games. When Threepwood goes to an oracle, Voodoo Lady, for advice, she summarises the paradox this game faces: “You must walk the path, yet you have already walked the path.” Return to Monkey Island pulls off the trick of looking backwards and forwards at the same time, reminding us that the point-and-click adventure will never really die: it’s a zombie pirate that won’t stay in the ground for long.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Somewhere out there is a bigger, more vivid version of Metal: Hellsinger that could truly rock it with the FPS greats. Yet while Hellsinger’s art isn’t good enough to grace the black cotton T-shirts of an avid metal fan, its music certainly wouldn’t feel out of place in their record collection – and the way Hellsinger weaves this soundtrack into an infernal action experience makes it a thoroughly enjoyable twist on shooter convention.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    I’ve been playing versions of this game on and off for seven years now, but the fun doesn’t wear off. Splatoon 3 doesn’t offer something different, it offers more: more fashions, more modes, more ways to spend time in its messy, chaotic universe, alone or together. It is delightful to be back.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Cowabunga Collection is a nunchuck-twirling, shuriken-hurling jaunt through a glorious five-year stretch of Konami’s rich history, a perfect complement to the recent indie brawler Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Two Point Campus isn’t entirely toothless: it pokes gentle fun at university life through a range of lightly cynical announcements about paying tuition fees and assignment extensions. Mainly, though, it is content to focus on the journey of learning and discovery that university is intended to provide, which it achieves in inventive, knockabout style. For all the game’s wry declarations, the one truest to its spirit is also the simplest: “Students are reminded to have the time of their lives.”
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Despite its 90s origins, Live a Live feels novel, revitalising a genre that often feels too conservative. It’s a constantly shifting, time-travelling bonanza that foreshadows what Takita would perfect in 1995’s Chrono Trigger; 90s role-playing fans are now praying that it receives the same lavish remake treatment, alongside other classics of the time such as Final Fantasy VI. Live a Live is not without its faults, but in an age of fast-food entertainment that satiates without leaving a taste, this compendium is a curio that’s certainly worth your time.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    It is populated with characters reminiscent of Jhonen Vasquez’s illustrations, combined with a gothic and botanical bestiary that calls Hollow Knight to mind. The writing, though, is sparse and unsettling, not quite void of humour but nor silly in the way one might expect. The overall effect is darkly, fascinatingly cute: mall-goth meets folk horror, and the perfect set dressing for elegant, sharp gameplay. Cult of the Lamb has already amassed over a million sales in the first week of its crusade, for good reason. There’s little doubt that the flock will only continue to grow.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    I have never seen – or played – anything like it. It’s not a game that everyone will love, but I do think it’s one that everyone should play.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    While Saints Row is messy, buggy, silly and often derivative, it also recalls a time in the early 2000s when the open world genre was a haphazard, joyful space with none of the codified, dopamine-fracking precision of modern titles. There are, in this frisky reboot, the ghosts of titles such as True Crime: Streets of LA, State of Emergency, The Getaway and Runabout – patchy, imperfect but gripping experiments in player agency that didn’t quite understand the conventions, but had a bash anyway. To me that is a far more interesting set of stablemates than the last couple of Saints Row titles. To me, this is a preposterously fun video game, despite its many faults, or more accurately, because of them.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Rollerdrome is about getting lost in a giddy gameplay trance. As the hypnotic electro pulsed with each turn of the half-pipe and slow-mo bullets tapered out of a well-timed flip, I was grinning like a goon. Yet where OlliOlli World offered a bountiful buffet of levels to grind across, Rollerdrome’s stingy stage selection left me hungry. Much like a lockdown fad, Rollerdrome offers a thrilling way to pass an afternoon or few, but once you’ve got your kicks, only the dedicated will still be donning their skates.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Arcade Paradise comes across as a little confused, sometimes: if the premise of the game is that you’re running an arcade in your father’s laundromat in secret, for instance, then why is your dad the one paying you bonuses for those daily gaming challenges? It has the feel of a game that changed shape a few times over the course of its development. Nonetheless, it is more than a collection of average arcade game tributes. Intentionally or not, it captures something of the ennui of young adulthood and 90s Gen X disillusionment with menial work – and how video games have always been a colourful escape from the boredom of everyday life.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Whether your guests’ stay is pleasant or not rarely makes a difference, so the management elements feel like stepping stones to the story Bear and Breakfast actually wants to tell. Hank is a sweet Bear and his friends are memorable enough, but in its storytelling the game seems to introduce and abandon characters for long periods of time. It is a simulation that requires patience in a genre that usually gives players loads to do – it’s a management game that’s obsessed with managing its players, rather than letting them exercise control.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    As Dusk Falls comfortably exceeds the standard of its genre when it comes to plotting, characterisation, performance and the impressive malleability of the story. It’s a story about trauma and what it takes to overcome it, really; reluctant teen criminal Jay Holt stayed with me, particularly, touchingly innocent despite what he’s been exposed to in his life. Narrative games exist outside of gaming’s old technological arms race, now, and because we’re not focusing so much on how realistic they look, they’re free to tell much better stories.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    This is a stunning-looking game, whether witnessed from the ground or the rooftops – I won’t spoil the cat’s journey, but the developer wrings copious novelty and some impressively creepy moments from this shut-off city in the seven-ish hours it takes to play through. It’s certainly far from twee, with the possible exception of the bucket-lifts that you can ride down from rooftops, paws and ears all poking out over the top – and those are so cute that they’re instantly forgivable.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    From the stop-motion, claymation backgrounds that dress some tucked-away areas, to mind-bending stage transitions, and the commanding full orchestral score from composer Kristofer Maddigan, there’s not one aspect of The Delicious Last Course that feels undercooked.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Neon White’s chaotic presentation and somewhat puerile script conceals a game of taut design and striking imagination – a delicious test of skills that generously rewards commitment with exhilaration.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    F1 22 is technically stunning, and that, combined with the chance to drive this year’s cars on this year’s tracks, should make it irresistible to Formula One fans. As long as they manage to ignore the egregious F1 Life.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes gives the series the whirlwind combat that its fantastical story deserves, while still allowing you to lovingly gaze at your favourite anime boy or girl at a picnic. It’s really the best of both worlds.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Stylish and minimalistic, this gentle, quietly demanding game offering escape and satisfaction will entertain for hours.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    The Quarry’s charming writing and cinematic presentation make it an engrossing horror caper – even if this is, paradoxically, a game that’s often at its best when you’re not actively playing it.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    Designed by Amanda Warner, who has collaborated on interactive projects for the WHO and the Gates Foundation, Influence, Inc feels like fiction, but it’s based on hard research and includes a bibliography of works such as Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century and The Death of Truth by Michiko Kakutani. Your work soon becomes overwhelming (the interface struggles to communicate the minutiae of your projects as they grow in complexity), but this is a mesmerising window into the murky world made famous by Cambridge Analytica, and inhabited by countless others all working for clandestine clients, towards clandestine ends.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    All this is beautifully brought to life with scribbly, expressive character portraits, wine-coloured backdrops and a cosy, mock-serious score that suggests a chamber-music troupe lurking just across the salon. Card Shark isn’t always this charming, however. Building the story around perfecting tricks makes for plenty of repetition, whether practising in the coach or restarting a scenario with little more than the shirt on your back. Nerial does its best to avoid a traditional game-over – you can actually cheat death – but it’s easy to imagine a better-resourced version of the game in which every loss sends you along a wholly different story branch. Still, mastering a new con is always worth the trial and error – as is the thrill of taking a duke to the cleaners.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Critic Score
    This is a short game, one that can easily be finished over a couple of evenings, but the haunting underwater caverns and enduring strangeness of it all will linger long in the memory – and possibly your nightmares.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Like Ash’s “improvised surgery” with a chainsaw, the multiplayer is surprisingly deep. Unlocking new powers and abilities for Survivors and the three varieties of Demon continually opens up fresh horror possibilities, and the player community is already making the most of the nefariousness on offer. It’s fittingly rough around the edges, but Evil Dead: The Game is a surprisingly worthwhile cabin retreat.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Moral murkiness helps preserve the tension across Swansong’s duration. There’s always something at stake – your life, the masquerade, your integrity – and that does a lot to infuse some meaning into all the talking and scouring rooms for notes. I doubt that Swansong is set to become a vampire RPG of legend, like 2004’s Bloodlines, but it nonetheless makes vampires scary again.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Habitat destruction is something we’re surely all aware of – we’ve all seen the heartbreaking footage of animals left stranded in tiny patches of forest, surrounded by roads and industry. Beyond the Trees reinforces its ecological message through its visuals and through play, and though this might not be many players’ introduction to this pressing real-world issue, it is a new way to look at it, and a new way to engender sympathy. Developer Broken Rules has done its research here, both on the creatures themselves and the places they call home. No matter how many people feel moved to donate to conservation charities after playing, this game will have made a difference through its advocacy.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Critic Score
    Despite its repetition and frustrations, I warmed to this grainy, gore-soaked journey after the tedious early hours. Thanks to a smattering of player choices, the game offers just enough of a hint at player agency to make you feel involved in the narrative, too, giving Trek to Yomi’s surrealist slaughter a sense of purpose. There’s a strong argument that a Japanese-made attempt at this genre would come closer to doing the samurai fantasy justice, but as with the many Japanese takes on virtual America, there’s a schlocky charm to Yomi’s tropey inauthenticity nonetheless.

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