The concept of JCB Pioneer: Mars, in isolation, is potentially interesting. The Switch version, however, presents so many obstacles to gameplay that I feel comfortable calling it unplayable. The release of games like this and ARK: Survival Evolved draw into question the existence of Nintendo's quality control. Products like this are an embarrassment to Nintendo's digital offerings.
Only in one song did I have trouble separating obstacles from the background, and after a couple attempts things clicked. As I've said you're mileage with the music will vary but it fits the visual design very well, and the whole thing feels very polished. Whether you never left the rhythm genre or are looking for a way back in, Aaero is a thrilling title that's likely even better if you enjoy the music.
Is a Switch game that can realistically only be played in docked mode actually playable? The entire point of this system is to be able to take your games with you, but ARK can't really offer that. It draws into question the sanctity of the Nintendo seal of quality. The fact that it is not only available to the public, but costs money is an insult. Don't buy ARK on Switch.
The segmented, sector-by-sector gameplay is perfect for on-the-go play. It employs its genre better than most and manages not to feel too repetitive even as you die over and over again. This is a game that will be at the top of my Switch home screen for a long time to come.
Trailblazers is has well defined visuals and plays great, with an interesting mechanic that unfortunately doesn't support the weight of a full game. Had the paint mechanic been merely one element in a grander design, things may have turned out differently. As it is, Trailblazers stands as a great proof of concept for what may hopefully evolve into a deeper title in later releases down the road.
This is an experience built for VR and while it would certainly be possible to adapt simple elements like the HUD to a standard display, the work simply hasn't been done. If you can get used to the weird VR workaround in place, Battlezone is still a fun game, especially with friends online. However, the fact remains that this is a merely okay version of a really fun game. Enough of its core fun shines through to make it enjoyable, but a better experience awaits if you happen to own a Playstation VR.
Starlink is a fascinating experiment that feels unlike anything Ubisoft or anyone else is currently making. As a new IP, this premiere entry certainly has room for improvement. However I sincerely hope Ubisoft continues the franchise. Of course I'd love to see Fox make the long trip back to Atlas again for a sequel, but I'd be just as happy playing as any other member of Starlink.
The story and gameplay all hold their own well against the Xenoblade series reputation for excellence, and will likely leave you wanting more.
Stealth segments do drag down the experience somewhat but are the exception not the rule in otherwise compelling gameplay. From a technical standpoint, the Switch may not be the best way to play, but the core experience shines through. Planet Alpha was the refreshing breath of air that I never realized the genre needed.
It attempts to develop its gameplay into something more, and while honorable, this effort is mostly fruitless. The unlockable upgrade system does add some mild drive to push the player forward, but odds are it won't be enough to keep you playing throughout the entire story. If you are looking for a retro, arcade shooter, there is a reasonably solid experience here, but don't expect anything more.
Battle Supremacy is a usually functional, though consistently clunky, third-person shooter. The occasional forays into non-tank vehicles offer momentary reprieve, but that feeling is quickly overshadowed by their own unique shortcomings. While it may half-heartedly scratch an itch for the most hardcore of tank fans, most others will just be left frustrated.
Burnstar takes the underlying concepts behind the Bomberman franchise and develops them into something much more interesting than the source material. Some balancing issues aside, Burnstar is an engaging puzzle experience whether playing alone or with a friend. For those, like me, who were disappointed by the official Bomberman game on Switch, Burnstar might be just what you're looking for.
Mushroom Wars is a fun take on the real-time strategy genre that would be perfect for portable play if it weren't for some technical issues. Pacing can be a real annoyance, especially early on, but gradually fades as you progress further into the game. On the bright side, it is simple to learn, and its bite-sized levels are very addicting once you get going.
Its story, with few exceptions, is excellently written and performed. A reliance on long, pre-rendered cutscenes may bog down the pacing now and then, but even in those moments the story was compelling enough to keep me going. The Switch is clearly pushed to the breaking point by some of the more intense moments, but it manages to pull through with only a few, albeit substantial issues. Wolfenstein II is another strong addition to Bethesda's growing Switch library and another praiseworthy effort from Panic Button.
Zooming in on your world and seeing little cities sprouting up with modern humans somehow managing to coexist alongside dinosaurs is certainly charming. It is not that Happy Birthdays is a bad game as its premise is certainly interesting. Unfortunately it is ultimately too shallow, an experience that requires little intervention from the player. If you can entertain yourself the monotony of raising and lowering land to perfectly facilitate your perfect breed of mouse, then perhaps you'll find something to enjoy in Happy Birthdays.
The large variety of aircraft and weapons also help to keep the player engaged. Topping things off with excellent optional motion controls makes this a great Switch port from the original PC version. If you like arcade flight-sims, rogue-lites, or just sublime low-poly graphics, Sky Rogue is worth checking out.
Every time I loaded it up I thought to myself, maybe I'll find something really fun this time that will make it all worth it. I wanted to like it. Unfortunately two minutes later when the game finally loaded, I'd generally lost this feeling of optimism.
Manticore - Galaxy on Fire is a simple but very satisfying romp through 3D space. For those like me who were waiting eagerly for this genre to arrive on Switch, Manticore makes a great premiere showing. While its origins on smart phones show through in spots, it still holds up remarkably well on console. Manticore is an easy pick for fans of the genre, and a great premier space shooter on Switch.
The story, though somewhat predictable, is still fun and well executed. It's an attractive game with a solid hook, that plays well regardless of your Switch playstyle preferences. It's an easy recommendation for anyone who loves dungeon crawlers, or fast-paced strategic combat.