Release roundup: Monster Energy Supercross 6, Romancelvania & Tricky Thief

With Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Videogame 6, Romancelvania and Tricky Thief we are checking out three very diverse recent console releases – here are closer looks at all three of them.

Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Videogame 6 review (PS5)

When we reviewed Monster Energy Supercross 5 almost exactly one year ago, we were curious to see what a possible sixth game in the series would bring to the table. And lo and behold, one year later it’s here, and developer Milestone has added a brand new open area to race around in as one of the major new features – bringing it close to the likes of MX vs ATV. Is it worth picking up though? We checked out the PlayStation 5 version.

Although it’s not a new element, it’s worth pointing out that Monster Energy Supercross is one of the best showcases for Sony’s DualSense controllers on the PS5. This latest entry is no exception, as the controls and handling are excellent, with lots of tactile response coming from the gamepad that translates into a challenging but fair learning curve where you slowly but surely develop a feel for the bike and the different surfaces you race on.


This definitely isn’t an arcade type of racer, so it helps that it has an extensive tutorial in the shape of the Supercross Academy – and hopefully with time you’ll be able to take on the harder difficulty levels with fewer assists enabled. The academy also has its own quests and collectibles, perhaps making it just as worthwhile as the career mode, which is nearly identical to last year’s one. New is the Rhythm Attack mode, though it’s not as exciting it sounds. As a one on one skill-based race to the finish line it has potential to feel like Ubisoft’s Trials games, but it doesn’t deliver on that promise just yet with a lack of content.

The new open area to play in, Supercross Park, is a lot of fun – both for newcomers and experienced riders. It allows you to experiment and learn, but also have a good time applying what you’ve learned and have some fun with that. It’s also a nice break from the usual arena-style races that tend to blend together after a while, providing a lot more visual diversity and eyecandy that does the game engine justice. The jump up from last year’s version is rather marginal, but if you’re looking to get into this series it’s the best entry thus far, even though some of its best features have unrealized potential.

Romancelvania review (PS4)

Romancelvania, by The Deep End Games and publisher 2124 Publishing, is one the most unexpected genre crossovers we’ve ever seen. Mixing romance-driven visual novel gameplay with metroidvania mechanics isn’t something we were expecting, but depending on how you go into this one they manage to pull it off.

Perhaps it’s the visual novel premise that’s ultimately the game’s strongest suit – putting you in a position where you can fall in love with all kinds of scary friends in a dating show hosted by the Grim Reaper himself. You’re not too scared of him though, as you’re Dracula – and that means you’re also not that put off by the thought of dating someone like Medusa, an undead mummy or even a pumpkin.


The dating show format is handled well – with Dracula being pulled in as he’s spent about a century mourning the loss of his last love and the show following all of the regular dating show staples – voting off candidates, handing out roses, it’s all here, and often very tongue-in-cheek. The developer ties this into metroidvania gameplay by giving you challenges to complete and abilities to unlock as well, very much pushing the game show element and making for a hugely entertaining visual novel – aided by the fact that there’s full voice acting here.

Come into this thinking it’ll be the next great metroidvania, however, and you might be disappointed. It gets progressively better later on, but the early game’s combat is too basic to be engaging and captivate you outright. It improves after that initial impression though, but if you’re looking for a metroidvania that’ll grab you right from the start, this might not be it – for that, Romancelvania has its visual novel narrative, which is going to be a blast if you enjoy that genre, especially the subgenre that embraces the comedic approach.

Tricky Thief review (PS4)

While quite a few of Eastasiasoft’s releases are games that PC/Steam gamers are already familiar with, Tricky Thief (which was developed with YeTa Games) is a brand new release for the publisher. It’s out now for PlayStation, Xbox and Switch, with current and previous gen versions bundled for Xbox and PlayStation.

Gameplay-wise, Tricky Thief builds on an old puzzle/arcade game staple that started out about forty years ago – for us it was with the arcade classic Pengo by Sega. We’re talking about a sliding mechanic of course, and although Pengo had you sliding blocks of ice around a level to trap enemies we’ve seen plenty of variations on the theme in the last few decades – many of which had the main character sliding rather than blocks of ice. The idea is the same – you keep going until you hit an object, wall or enemy, and Tricky Thief puts its own spin on the formula.


Thematically, you’re a thief who has to get out of each level by picking up all the loot therein before heading to the exit. The twist with that is that the game introduced stealth, as you’ll want to time your moves so that you slide by without guards or security devices noticing you – their lines of sight clearly shown by vision cones that move or pulse to give you openings. All of the game’s fifty levels work this way, though new mechanics get introduced gradually.

For trophy hunters, this is something they might never see, as you get the platinum trophy about halfway through the game. That’s a shame though, because where the first half of the game is mostly just about timing your moves right there’s more of a puzzle element to the later stages – for instance with blocks that disappear after touching them, changing your possible routes mid-level and requiring you to plan ahead. This is where Tricky Thief is at its best, and why casual arcade puzzlers should keep it and its budget friendly price tag in mind.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: