Gato Roboto

Beginning with its pint-sized feline protagonist, Gato Roboto is a compact take on genre conventions. After astronaut Gary crashlands on an alien planet, players take control of his action hero cat, Kiki, armoring up in a pet-sized mech and fending off a wily, seemingly unkillable rat. Doinksoft’s Metroidvania condenses the 2D action-adventure down to its essence, delivering familiar tools — like missiles and a screw attack — and satisfyingly challenging boss fights in a4–6 hour package. Unlike recent genre entries Dandara, Yoku’s Island Express and Hollow Knight, Gato Roboto doesn’t offer much that’s novel. But, it’s a purrrfectly compawtent catformer nonetheless.

A Plague Tale: Innocence

A Plague Tale: Innocence, Asobo Studio’s medieval France-set stealth-action game, is unbelievably tense from the start and rarely lets up across its 10-hour runtime. An excellent, level-based structure keeps the setting fresh, and new tools are often introduced just as interest is beginning to flag. A grounded tale of friendship and family eventually gives way to wonderfully weird fantasy, and, for the most part, APT:I is gripping in both iterations. While the Assassin’s Creed games have long looked to history for inspiration, APT:I breaks new ground by showing us that some eras were beautiful, yes, but also terrifying.

Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy

Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy is a cult classic that stretches the definition of “cult classic.” Not because it isn’t excellent, but because a cult has to have somebody in it. The Egypt-set forgotten gem combines mythology and history for two equally compelling, intertwining halves. Sphinx is an action-platform hero while the Mummy is adept at solving puzzles, with an unfeeling body you’ll burn, shock and flatten along the way. This rezzed up Switch version smooths out the textures, but leaves the core intact, which is an expertly paced action platformer unfortunately lost among the sands of time.