Astroneer is a wonderfully scrappy game that's been polished up since initial release in 2016 to become the best version of itself yet on the Nintendo Switch. It will, at times, frustrate you with its genial jank, and wrestling with its unpredictable physics and easily-distracted camera might suck some of the joy out of it, but if you love Minecraft, Terraria, No Man's Sky, and Subnautica, you'll surely love this, too.
The House in Fata Morgana is over 40 hours long, and in those 40 hours, you'll maybe get to make about three decisions. It is a visual novel in the strictest sense of the word, and you must be prepared for that going in. But with a fantastic, original, slow-burn story about love, loss, hurt, forgiveness, and recovery, it's one of the best visual novels out there - and your patience will be paid off in the end.
With split-screen co-op, and incredibly gentle expectations as far as the gameplay is concerned, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is a fantastic, low-stakes game for parents and kids to play together, but also for adults who are looking for something that pleasantly whiles away the hours without beating you over the head with difficulty. Excelsior!
Gang Beasts' charm has always been its janky, unpredictable, chaotic physics brawling, and you'll either be pleased or disappointed to know that it hasn't changed too much since 2014. On Switch, it runs well in Local and Online mode, although the Switch's voice chat options make the latter a less appealing choice. If you're a fan of portable party games, though, this is a classic not to be missed.
The Forgotten City is a brilliant piece of narrative work that feels like a time capsule of Skyrim's jank, revitalised with a gripping story that's just long enough that it never loses momentum. It is, as always, hard to fully recommend a Cloud Version of a game that's available elsewhere in a more concrete form, but if you're accepting of the associated 'risks', this is a well-presented and brilliant time loop game and well worth a play.
A fantastic tribute to Fantasy Life that nails the kind of grindy combat that many people love, Kitaria Fables is genuinely sweet and impressively well-made for a three-person team in under three years. If Fantasy Life is a Wagyu beef steak, Kitaria Fables is a really, REALLY good burger. If you're jonesing for a tasty action-farming-adventure, Kitaria Fables has you covered.
Overall, Trufflepigs is a little too short, a little too slow, and a lot too much of the unlikeable Beth. As a proof-of-concept of what Thunkd can do, it's promising, but limited graphics, poor accessibility options (although text size is changeable), and unskippable dialogue that grinds the entire game to a halt make it hard to recommend.
As one of the surprise drops of the Nintendo Indie World showcase, we couldn't wait to get our hands on Garden Story, one of the most hyped "wholesome" games of the past few months. What we were expecting was perhaps not what we received - and it certainly has its flaws - but nevertheless, we couldn't help being won over by Garden Story's charm as well as its systems.
It's hard to quantify whether The Silver Case 2425 is a good game. Certainly, we didn't enjoy it in the slightest. But it's extremely purposeful with its Suda51-ness - his work might be an acquired taste, but for those who've already acquired it, this may well fill in the gaps in his back catalogue that you've been waiting for. In the case of anyone new to Suda's work, this visual novel is just too hard to recommend.
It may be short, and it may not quite deliver with its puzzles, but Fire Tonight is a rather lovely ode to the '90s that pulls off a lyrically-inspired narrative with panache. Maya and Devin's retro-styled love story is something we'd like to see more of in future, and if you're looking for a game you can tick off the list in an evening, and if you've got affection for the time era it depicts, you'd do well to spend your time in their world for a bit.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is two brilliant games for the price of one, and it not only gives us more of what we love, but gives us something that is visually, narratively, and historically deeper than ever before. There's a bit of a learning curve that you'll have to get on top of to meet the game where it's at, but honestly, we couldn't have asked for a better version of the game we've been wanting for years.
Don't discount Doki Doki Literature Club because it's cute, because it's pink, or because it's an anime dating game - this is one of the most unnerving, effective horror games on the Nintendo Switch to date. The extra content adds nicely to the creeping anxiety and the heartbreaking story, but the Switch version does end up feeling slightly inferior to the PC version, despite fantastic effort on the port. You won't lose anything by playing this version, though - if it's the one you want, go for it!
Throughout LEGO Builder's Journey, we found that the aim of the game was to make you feel like a kid - whether or not you are one. Getting back in touch with the pre-manual-following version of yourself is a delight, and having the story be about a parent and a child connecting through child's play is as touching as it is smart. Despite occasional misfires and what can feel like padding, this is a LEGO game which plays with the fundamental philosophy of creativity far more than the average LEGO-branded title, and we hope this is an indication of new games to come.
Where 80 Days was about the broad implications of travelling the entire globe, Overboard! focuses instead on the minutiae of a single day, and the intricacies of interaction. It's a glorious study in how to create a delicate Rube Goldberg machine of dialogue and dependencies, as a cast of mostly terrible people waltz around each other with ulterior motives and pre-existing feelings about everything, including our Veronica and dear, departed Malcolm. It's excellent: play it.
Rise of the Slime has some accessibility issues, mostly because of its occasionally iffy controls and the ridiculously small text, but if you can look past those, then you'll find a pleasantly bitesized little roguelite deckbuilder. It's no Slay the Spire, but it doesn't need to be; it keeps to its small scope well enough.
Deiland: Pocket Planet Edition is a good-enough-for-now game to tide over Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon fans, but its insistence on drip-feeding you content on its own schedule misses the "self-sufficiency" angle that its predecessors nailed.
The Girl Who Stands Behind is just as appealing and upgraded as The Missing Heir, and we really can't recommend one without the other, although you can play either separately. The story in The Girl Who Stands Behind is creepier, and the characters are more likeable, though they're also a little more forgettable at the same time. This double-bill of murder mystery games is a must-play for anyone who loves the genre.
The Famicom Detective Club remakes are living history, and a chance to catch up on what you missed out on, either by being too young, or not being able to speak Japanese. Though The Missing Heir has its faults, those faults are largely down to "that's just how games used to be", and it's held up remarkably well all the same.
Castaway Paradise is hardly the first game to take inspiration from Animal Crossing, and it certainly won't be the last - but its unoriginal adherence to the Animal Crossing formula is bad enough, without the added veneer of in-app purchases, hastily reskinned and demonetised for a full-price release. It began life as a Facebook game back in 2014, and it still feels like one seven years later.