The fifth game in the "Layton" franchise uses the same formula as the others: puzzle solving that puts your brain to the test, with the answer to the riddle usually right in front of your face. Professor Layton and his apprentice, Luke, are asked to visit the town of Monte d'Or to meet an old friend of Layton's, but they quickly find themselves having to save the town from a man known as the Masked Gentleman who is terrorizing it. (E10 )
All "Paper Mario" games feature a unique mechanic, and the fourth installment is no different. Players will have to collect stickers for their scrapbook, which they can then use in battle at the cost of a one-time use. Thankfully, through searching, players should never run out of stickers. The papercraft art style looks gorgeous, and the game utilizes 3D beautifully. (E)
(Available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC)
When I reviewed this game in the fall, I called it a memorable experience, and indeed it is. My bottom line summary from the review: "With 30-60 hours of content, two player split screen co-op, four player online co-op and four packs of downloadable content on the way, "Borderlands 2" is a game with great bang for your buck." (M)
Players take on the role of supernatural assassin Corvo, who's been framed for the murder of an empress. Utilizing a wide variety of powers, including possession and teleportation, players will find interesting ways to take down their targets in this gorgeous, steampunk-esque world. In my recent review of the game, I said, "The mechanics, the story, the setting, the art style -- they all work together smoothly and provide a gaming experience that nears perfection." (M)
A remake of the 1994 cult classic "UFO: Enemy Unknown," this turn-based strategy game will get players easily addicted. Manage your funding and development of XCOM (a group formed by the world after an alien invasion) wisely, and be extra careful when entering battle as character deaths are permanent.
Remember the days of the survival horror genre where survival was actually a gameplay mechanic? Ubisoft Montpellier remembers. "ZombiU" takes the gameplay mechanics of games like "Demon's Souls" and "Dark Souls" and places you in London after a zombie apocalypse. You've only got one life, and if you die, you lose all your items and restart with a new character. You'll have to backtrack and make your way to your previous, now zombie virus infected character and kill them in order to get your loot. Be warned that this game is extremely difficult, and most gamers (myself included) have died during the tutorial due to lack of attention. (M)
Another Nintendo console, another excellent Mario platformer. As always, Peach sets the feminist rights movement back another 50 years and is kidnapped by Bowser, which means she needs to be saved once more by Mario (and up to four friends). Excellent platforming is found here, and the new power-ups, such as the flying squirrel suit, make this a must buy for your Wii U system. (E)