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Video Game Of The Month September 2023

video game of the month - snowrunner

Why hello there my friends, family, and the faceless epitaphs of my adoring fans. Where was August’s VGotM feature? Where have I been in recent times? Is that creaking I hear at night just the old wooden house foundations or is it the rat swarm slowly gnawing its way into my personal space? All questions nobody knows the answers to. Or ever wants to!

But I am back baby! Here to deliver your new monthly guide to games that you absolutely must purchase after reading this feature. Reading this is a binding, legal contract that obligates you to open your wallet and let it rain! It's not really. Or am I sitting here with my pinkie finger to my lips and twirling my clearly evil Mustache? Another question we will never know the answer to.

Here are your games:

SnowrunnerMatthew Thomasson

Slowly transporting large pieces of cargo across miles of tarmac muddy and snow and getting stuck in muddy ditches, does not sound like a captivating game. But let me tell you Snowrunner is one of the most addictive games I have played in a long while.

On the surface Snowrunner sounds dull, I am not going to lie to you. Driving a truck along a road, to collect some logs, to drive somewhere else, to drop them off, is not what I would call an action-packed excitement. Add in some mud, getting stuck and having to slowly winch yourself free did not elevate my interest. You will be doing a lot of this in Snowrunner and yet there is something captivating, something satisfying and some strange addictive quality about it that keeps me coming back time and time again.

I picked up Snowrunner for the Switch after seeing many people recommend it and I am pleased I did. There is no deep story here, there is, however, an element of progression as you can unlock new upgrades and purchase new trucks. With each and every arduous delivery you get more money and experience to get big and better upgrades. Deliveries can be hard. You will have to travel long distances, manage your fuel reserves, navigate tight and twisting roads and treacherous terrain to make the delivery, but when you do it feels well deserved. You are awarded with a bit of cash and some experience and repeat the process again with a different delivery. This core gameplay loop has just hooked me.

The starting location is pretty huge, there are a ton of upgrades, challenges and tasks to perform. You can travel to watchtowers to reveal the “fog of war” ala Assassins Creed which is essential for plotting out your route. There are other locations to visit, each offering their own challenges. I have spent the vast majority of my time on the starting map and after dozens of hours I am just feeling ready to venture to other parts of the game. With a plethora of trucks to purchase, upgrades to unlock and things to do, Snowrunner has pulled me in and does not show any signs of letting go soon.

Aliens: Dark Descent - Paul Blyth

Aliens: Dark Descent is a fantastic mash-up of survival horror, real-time strategy and tactical action all set in the iconic world of my all-time favourite film - Aliens. With a focus on stealth, resource management, and squad-based tactics, the game captures the essence of the Aliens film better than any recent title (note I said Aliens, not Alien. If you want a gaming experience that matches Ridley Scott’s Alien then get yourself Alien: Isolation, which is also excellent).

You’ll have to monitor resources, hive activity (get spotted and a bar ticks along that can trigger either a hive onslaught, tougher xenos or increased xenos on the map) and, most importantly, squad stress, which will hamper individual marines in a number of ways and, if you allow stress levels to peak it will give your team permanent debuffs that will carry over from mission to mission... or until that team member dies, as the game includes lovely, lovely permadeath.

There’s also a compelling storyline, a great cast, movie-accurate sound effects and incredibly atmospheric environments to explore. Sure, it has a few sketchy voice lines, especially from the cultists whose final words continue way after your squad has brought them down. But all-in-all this is an excellent title for fans of the Aliens universe that shouldn’t be missed!

Dredge - Sophie Jones

Dredge is a cosmic horror fishing game and its brilliant! What more do you need to know? When I first bought Dredge, I didn’t know what to expect, it was an amalgamation of genres. I didn’t know how fishing could be scary or why it would keep me hooked. Dredge invites you in with addictive cosy fishing mechanics and then flips everything on its head as the sun goes down.

In this game you will be completing quests, collecting fish, upgrading your boat and battling sea monsters. It has a great wealth of mechanics that keep you engaged, and I enjoyed scouring the map for boat upgrades. The different fishing spots will have you using a variety of methods to catch all the fish on offer. You can then use these to complete quests or feed the town for a nice income. The story is interesting and will have you scratching your head as you uncover the Fisherman's past and what it all means. It's dark, gritty and plays into Dredge’s overall gothic atmosphere.

What makes Dredge such a great game is its ease of play. Due to familiar mechanics and intuitive key mapping it's easy for anyone to give Dredge a try. I showed this game to my mum and within the next hour she had loaded it up and was out on the high sea. It has something for everyone and I for one could not put it down.

I’ve enjoyed my time so much with Dredge that I do not want it to come to an end. I have the last mission waiting and I just can’t bring myself to complete it as then it will all be over! Well, until I start it all again, I suppose.

Baldur's Gate 3

Baldur’s Gate 3 – Dan Hilton

I mean, it was inevitable that this game will see highlights in this feature. It is being regarded as one of the best games of all time. A genre definer. A masterpiece. And I am sure you know me by now, I am not the kind of person to be swept up by hype. I was the first person to say Hogwarts Legacy was boring. I was the only person saying the gameplay in the Callisto Protocol gameplay trailer looked awful. And I can honestly say, Baldur’s Gate 3 is simply fantastic.

The one thing that keeps me engaged in a game is the writing. And that is what is at the core of BG3. Everything from the individual character stories and personalities to the intricate goings-on of the locals in the game, to the broader scope of the over-arching story: all the writing is simply divine. And that is only paralleled by the exceptional gameplay, eye-catching visuals, outstanding sound design, perfect voice acting etc.

I suppose I should actually tell you what you do in the game instead of just singing its praises. Not that I need to. BG3 is everywhere at the moment. You know what it is. You assemble a ragtag group of people, you go on adventures, you solve puzzles, you save the world. You know, the basic tropes of any other RPG game force upon you. Unlike other games however, BG3 keeps you engaged at all times. From exploring a random basement to taking on one of the bosses, from talking to the locals to talking to animals and dead people; there is literally always something interesting to do. BG3 has quickly become one of my favourite games of all time. I am already thinking of interesting character builds (and stupid ones) to try in my second, third and forty-seventh playthrough.

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Well, we might be 1 entry short again this month, but these are another 4 great games that we think you should check out. Whatever game you are playing at the moment, we hope you are enjoying it. Happy gaming!