Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Review Round-Up - May 2021

One of the most engaging recent co-op adventures I've had the pleasure of playing,
It Takes Two took my older brother and I on a wild and entertaining journey.

Between new streaming pursuits on Twitch and other obligations this past month, I did not get the opportunity to cover as many games as I would have liked to for May on SuperPhillip Central. That said, we did get through three games together on the site, and that's where the Review Round-Up for May 2021 comes in to review the reviews--so to speak--from the past month!

We started things strong with Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker, a gorgeous and enjoyable diorama-style action-adventure game exclusively on the Apple Arcade service. The game had the perfect building blocks for a satisfying B grade. Moving on from a stellar game to a less than excellent tennis game, we looked at Instant Sports Tennis, double faulting with a D+ grade, despite the obvious love and attention put into the game.

Finally, we turned to our Game of the Month, by far the game with the highest quality and entertainment factor for May: It Takes Two. This co-operative game rests on top of the pile as one of the most enjoyable I've played in a long time, really earning its A- grade.

The momentum continues to the 1,000th review, which will most likely occur THIS month on SuperPhillip Central, during the site's month-long celebration of our 13th anniversary! Fancy that! Until then, check out some excerpts from each review published this month (and perhaps look at the reviews themselves with these helpful accompanying links), and finally, check out the SPC Review Archive for every review ever published on SPC! See you in July, Review Round-Up!

Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker (iOS) - B

Thus, if you put a great deal of work into your own created adventure, you'll discover plenty of players and flattering compliments (though all of these will be generic ones from a list of choices instead of player-created ones) to make all of it worth it. And overall, it IS worth it. Wonderbox is simply put, an enjoyable creation tool to make fun and quite complex adventures. It helps that the base gameplay is rather enjoyable as well, pending you can either get a handle of the sometimes clunky touch controls or opt for a Bluetooth controller instead. With more adventures planned from the developers themselves and a seemingly endless amount of created adventures from the player base, Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker seems like a great game and creation tool to keep your Apple Arcade subscription running. 

Instant Sports Tennis (NSW) - D+

[Instant Sports Tennis is] too basic for veterans of tennis video games, and from what I played with my non-gaming family, it's too frustrating and hard for beginners because of how stupidly easy it is to hit a ball out of bounds. While I very much appreciate the obvious strong effort put into this tennis title by the small team behind the game, what you're left with is a tennis game that "serves" a very niche audience. My family promptly decided to return to Mario Tennis Aces for our tennis fun, at least on the Nintendo Switch, and perhaps yours will, too. 

It Takes Two (PS5, XBS, PS4, XB1, PC) - A-

By the end of our 15 hours with It Takes Two, my brother and I found ourselves pretty much of the same opinion. We both enjoyed the excellent gameplay variety and how Hazelight Studio nailed each and every one of the gameplay mechanics and ideas presented throughout the game. We felt we had been on a massive and rewarding adventure, but also agreed that the tone of the game was all over the place--and to a detriment to the overall feel of It Takes Two.....Ultimately, It Takes Two is a brilliantly and exceedingly creative adventure with myriad well executed gameplay styles, occasional tonal whiplash and frame-rate issues, but at the end of the day is one of the absolute best and most fun co-op gaming experiences I have ever had.
Meanwhile, Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker made a strong case for itself as a great action-adventure game reminiscent of games like Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Zelda, and Super Mario Maker all rolled into one!

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