Lowell Bell


Favorite Games:
  • Pokemon Red
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Morrowind
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

22 games reviewed
68.0 average score
70 median score
54.5% of games recommended

Lowell Bell's Reviews

Critic based out of Japan. よろしく。
Jan 18, 2023

Despite the runtime being padded out by some meandering requests, A Space For The Unbound is a perfect little adventure title to curl up with on a rainy day. The myriad puzzles, while never overtly challenging, switch things up often enough to keep from growing tedious. At the same time, we wholeheartedly recommend it for its bittersweet, sombre narrative alone. It never veers too far into melancholic territory yet handles some heavy topics with grace. We didn't come away gloomy from the potentially depressing themes depicted via the wonderful inhabitants of this beautifully rendered snapshot of Indonesia. Rather, we came away genuinely touched and inspired.

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Dec 21, 2022

Much like a shimmering ghost seen for just a fleeting moment, The Outbound Ghost flirts with taking the corporeal form of a great Paper Mario-style game but it never fully materialises. The heart is definitely there, with some great music and environments to go along with adorable little ghost characters, but a shallow battle system, a meandering narrative, and fuzzy presentation left us wanting in just about every ghostly regard.

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7 / 10 - Ship Of Fools
Nov 29, 2022

How much you'll enjoy Ship of Fools comes down to whether or not you have someone to play with. If you do have a friend that enjoys roguelikes and/or tower defence - and has a penchant for sea shanties - then we can guarantee Ship of Fools will give you a handful of hours of frantic fun. And if you have few friends but enjoy this addictive genre, you might eke out enough nautical miles whacking giant crab bosses with your paddle while enjoying the endearing presentation to warrant jumping onboard. Co-op is where it's at, though, so make sure you enlist a mate for this voyage.

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We love the first Jurassic Park film, and the other five to varying degrees. Luckily for us, then, that despite its name, Jurassic World Aftermath generally takes after the original rather than any of the sequels, although the Switch version simply isn't the best way to play it. If you have an Oculus headset, do yourself a favour and play the way it was meant to be – fully immersed in the soundscape of a ruined Jurassic World theme park while velociraptors stalk you. If you don't have one, Aftermath on Switch certainly does enough for fans of the series to take a look, but the short experience grows a little too tedious by the time the credits roll without the immersion of VR to keep you on your toes.

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Oct 26, 2022

We like the Oddworld series, and we wish Soulstorm were better. The ingredients are there: the world itself and Abe's story have a uniquely grimy charm. No section of Soulstorm's 15-hour adventure feels quite like the last, with enough new enemies and mechanics introduced to keep things both interesting and challenging. Yet at the same time, technical issues mar the experience much like the dirt and rust that covers Oddworld, and small inconveniences add up to make completing the game much more trying than it should be. We hope one day an Oddworld game will be a must-play adventure worthy of the series' late-'90s prestige, but Soulstorm on Switch hasn't quite freed Abe and the Mudokons from the fetters of poor performance and archaic design.

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We like the Oddworld series, and we wish Soulstorm were better. The ingredients are there: the world itself and Abe's story have a uniquely grimy charm. No section of Soulstorm's 15-hour adventure feels quite like the last, with enough new enemies and mechanics introduced to keep things both interesting and challenging. Yet at the same time, technical issues mar the experience much like the dirt and rust that covers Oddworld, and small inconveniences add up to make completing the game much more trying than it should be. We hope one day an Oddworld game will be a must-play adventure worthy of the series' late-'90s prestige, but Soulstorm on Switch hasn't quite freed Abe and the Mudokons from the fetters of poor performance and archaic design.

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Oct 17, 2022

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope's battles suffer from an imbalance between the vast array of options available and the difficulty – a stark contrast to Kingdom Battle's challenging, curated fights. This doesn't mean it isn't an enjoyable strategy game in its own right; the battles are less an evolution of what came before and more an impressive shift toward freedom and creativity that, unfortunately, can sometimes trivialise Cursa's attempts to take over the galaxy. An extra couple of notches on the difficulty meter might have forced us to experiment and dig deeper to find winning strategies. However, Sparks of Hope shines in most aspects outside of these Darkmess bouts. Delightful little puzzles, quests, and memorable locales abound, which yet make this Rabbid-themed adventure a must-play for Mario and strategy game enthusiasts alike.

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8 / 10 - Tunic
Sep 27, 2022

You'd be wrong to assume the cute fox-like protagonist and colourful world implies Tunic is a relaxing little adventure for all ages – it's anything but. Tunic requires a lot of intuitive thinking and patience to navigate its beautiful world with its brilliant in-game instruction manual. Coupled with an unforgiving combat system that punishes impatience and rewards measured study of opponents, Tunic is a game designed for those versed in old-school adventuring and experienced in difficult, sometimes frustrating swordplay. Given all this and its evident Hylian inspirations, and even with some unfortunate performance hitches and obvious downgrades from the versions on other platforms, Tunic feels right at home on a Nintendo console and we recommend it as a creative and concise adventure that both draws and expands upon some prestigious inspirations.

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9 / 10 - OneShot
Sep 21, 2022

Still, these aren't major issues. In fact, we can’t think of a legitimate reason not to recommend OneShot: World Machine Edition to anyone with a passing interest in point-and-click adventures. There are, after all, much worse ways to spend an afternoon or two than guiding Niko through one of the most endearing and creative indie titles available on the Switch.

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8 / 10 - Temtem
Sep 14, 2022

Even without the endgame content, Temtem is worth a look for anyone who has enjoyed a Pokémon game in the last two-and-a-half decades, especially those who have wanted a steeper challenge to go along with their critter collecting. It's a familiar, imitative experience in so many ways, yet we came away satisfied with just about every tweak made to the well-established formula. Sure, the main quest becomes a bit of a slog, and yes, the Nintendo Switch does struggle to keep up at times. Despite these qualms, Temtem's engaging battles enshrine it as one of the most innovative additions to the genre in recent memory.

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Sep 12, 2022

As much as we adored the charming back-and-forth between Ivan and the General, we also began to lose interest in Ivan’s predicament near the end. There’s no narrative payoff here, no greater meaning or memorable conclusion that sticks with you. In Little Orpheus, The Chinese Room flirts with providing a more engaging experience that never quite materialises, made all the more apparent by the lack of puzzles intuitive enough to give us the barest hint of a dopamine-laced ‘aha!’ moment or a chase sequence or two with enough challenge to make us sit up on our sofa. That aside, the richly detailed worlds and superb presentation provide just enough reason to see Ivan's tall tale through to the end, but we ended up wishing there was more on both the puzzling and narrative fronts.

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Aug 11, 2022

We wholly recommend Arcade Paradise if you enjoy either simulation-style games or spent the '90s with a pocketful of quarters down at the local arcade. The narrative centred on a lazy young adult proving to their father they can run a successful business will never really grip you, and – believe it or not – laundering clothes and peeling gum off the machines becomes a bit tiresome. Yet the arcade games themselves and the sheer creativity and charm Nosebleed Interactive has packed into them more than makes up for the monotony. If we stumbled upon these games in the back of our local laundromat, we'd spend actual money there. But since that seems rather unlikely, we're sure to boot up Arcade Paradise to try for some global rankings long after we're done with laundering clothes.

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Despite our relative indifference toward the shmup sections and our frustration with some of the puzzles, by the time we cleared each team's attraction and really got to know the eccentric cast before the intense final chapters, Yurukill: The Calumniation Games had thoroughly hooked us. Individually, the puzzle-solving and shooter elements aren't anything particularly special, but they come together with some ridiculous characters to form a game greater than the sum of its parts. We'd go so far as to say we like pickles on ice cream now, and – while you might think us as crazy as Binko – we think you might, too.

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Jun 4, 2022

Biomotor Unitron seems like an awesome mecha-building RPG that draws inspiration from some of our favourite classic games, but in reality it's a shallow curiosity with a fair share of charm to sink an afternoon or two into and not much more. The pieces are here – in fact, we'd love to see a Biomotor Unitron-like game made with modern sensibilities – but the motivation to motor on through the monotonous random battles to rank up in the arena depends wholly on how much you'll enjoy some vivid sprites and catchy retro tunes.

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The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story is more like watching a campy murder-mystery drama than playing a video game, and what gameplay there is often kills the story's pace. While we enjoyed our time with it all the same, you'll have to ask yourself how interested you are in watching what amounts to a decent Japanese TV series with mediocre interactivity. For us, we won't let another FMV murder-mystery developed by Square Enix escape our notice again, though we certainly hope they rework how we uncover the culprits.

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May 13, 2022

In its launch state on Switch, much of As Far As The Eye is unplayable. For us, neither Quick Game or Custom Matches would last long before we got booted to the Switch's dashboard. We waited several days for some kind of update to fix both the UI and the egregious crashes and get a better idea of a game that is not without promise, but a patch still hasn't arrived at the time of writing. If or when one does come, As Far As The Eye has the potential to become an intriguing little strategy game with that Civilization-style 'just one more turn' effect. But for now, do not get sucked in by its soothing mood and the cute little Pupils.

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May 10, 2022

Do you enjoy waiting for public transit in the rain? Could you bear sitting next to a screaming toddler on a transatlantic flight? Do you think you'd derive pleasure from chopping down trees in the Great Forest over and over again until you had enough light lumber to fulfil three or four requests? If so, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising has a delightful little adventure hidden beneath a lot of tedium just for you. If not, we wouldn't begrudge you for staying clear and hoping Hundred Heroes doesn't follow too closely in its predecessor's footsteps. This game certainly has charm, but it makes you work too hard for it.

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It's a shame that, with the release of Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition, we likely won't see a comprehensive remaster or even a full remake of this underrated gem for a long while, leaving us with a somewhat underwhelming version on Switch that isn't much beyond a port. Regardless, the portability of the Nintendo's console and the inclusion of Radical Dreamers still makes this the best and most convenient way for fans and newcomers alike to play the 22-year-old classic and its pseudo-prequel. It's a good game and having easy access to it is a boon - just don't go in with more than modest expectations when it comes to the remaster effort.

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Mar 10, 2016

Super Galaxy Squadron EX succeeds most where it holds back. While in a couple places it holds back too much, namely in the short Arcade campaign and lack of the second Endless mode, I’m resistant to booting up the game again for another bout with the Tau-Ceti aliens on a higher, more punishing difficulty.

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Feb 17, 2014

With Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Retro Studios has shown once again it could take just about any beloved Nintendo property and turn it into a unique, nostalgia inducing machine of pure fun.

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