While it is a short game, I think the phrase “short and sweet” applies rather well to this title. While it might not have the most to offer in terms of campaign, it well makes up for in couch co-op-ability, and yes that’s now a word. If you’re looking for something to do with a few friends, if you have those, go check out Assault Android Cactus, available on pretty much any system you can shake a stick at.
Legitimately, throughout the entire last three or so areas, I kept having to repeat to myself “Why in the name of all that is even remotely holy would you even CONSIDER designing something this way”. Extremely poor design/engineering practices aside, I did have fun going through the last few areas, despite my dwindling sanity, and the game as a whole just felt really good to run, jump, climb, explore, and swing through.
While The Princess Guide has an interesting concept, and the systems meshed rather nicely when I got used to them, there are some points that need a more in-depth tutorial, or at least an accessible tutorial after you’ve seen it, instead of having to start a new game to re-read something you missed. It may not be anything that’s redefining the genre, but I certainly wasn’t disappointed either.
Overall, I have to say I really loved how “relatable” or “real” the characters in Caligula Effect Overdose felt. A lot of good improvements were made on the original, and there were a lot of new and innovative gameplay ideas. While the game may get a little repetitive at times, if you intersperse with trauma resolution, it becomes significantly more manageable. I’m really hoping the team that made this continues on to do future work.
Overall, Tokyo School Life felt less like a dating sim and more like an interactive guide/tour, which I found to be rather refreshing. While full of tropes, they're mostly played off of or deconstructed, which is great to see them not being relied upon.
I haven't been this disappointed in the first ending I got since…geez, I don't even remember the last time I was as disappointed as I was with the ending I got. Ultimately, Song of Memories had some pretty solid potential, but ultimately squandered a bunch of it with generic characters and poor rhythm gimmick. If a little more though was put into explaining unanswered questions and making the characters a little more unique, this could've been a real gem.
Overall, I really enjoyed what Compile Heart had to offer with Death End Re;Quest. The battle system brings a fresh change up to the more traditional style, and the customization of skills, and how you can alter the battlefield with the “hacking” command was really fun. The “Dead End” choices made me feel like a moron, but in a way that had me coming back to say “I’ll get the next one right!”. If you’re any kind of JRPG fan, you definitely want to consider giving Death End Re;Quest a try.
On the plus side, the spacing of the storytelling to gameplay hit a real sweet spot, where neither feels like it’s dragging on or getting tedious enough for you to get fed up. As much as I truly like Liar Princess, as a game, it’s about average. It hits the standard puzzle platformer details as it should, but doesn’t truly soar to what COULD be done with it. On the other hand, the art style, story, and music make up for that setback splendidly. Although it may not reach its full potential as a game, as a story, Liar Princess and the Blind Prince certainly meets its goal. Eight super sweet cotton-candies out of ten.
While Senran Kagura: Burst Re:Newal probably isn’t winning any “publicly playable” awards, it definitely isn’t something to cross off your list just for that. So why not give it a try, or at least listen to the awesome soundtrack, and sacrifice yourself to the will of the dance.
I had a lot of fun playing Battle Princess Madelyn, and if you want that retro feel of Ghouls and Ghosts without the mounting blood pressure, or at least not as a fast increase as Ghouls and Ghosts, definitely give Battle Princess Madelyn a shot.
Ultimately, Gensokyo Defenders feels like something that would be more at home as a tablet or phone game, just with higher specs. If you plan on using your Switch more as a mobile style device, rather than a console, Gensokyo Defenders feels a lot more “right”. That being said, there isn’t any issue with it as a short and sweet time waster for a console. You can pick up a mission or two, and complete them in 10-15 minutes without too much hassle. Gensokyo Defenders would definitely appeal to those looking to make their Switch more of a mobile handheld, or those who enjoy a good tower defense style game.
Overall, Crashlands is a solid choice if you’re looking for a little less hectic, more role-playing experience than some of the other “survival crafting” games out there. These types of games do tend to be a lot of the same thing over and over again though, so make sure you know you may be in for the long haul if you really get into the game.
All in all, I came away pleased with the experience. While I did know all the plot twists from the anime, the game was still fun and short enough to pick up a chapter here and there. While Punch Line really feels more like a handheld or mobile experience, it’s still a lot of gags, fun, and good music. If you haven’t seen the anime, now you can play it, so get out there and don’t stare at the panties!
Essentially, Deep Sky Derelicts suffers from what is essentially a pacing whiplash, alternating between being rather bland and being rather addicting. If anything, I’d suggest trying to get some more variety in battles, whether that be on your own part or from the devs, and increasing the encounter rate, or at least providing an option to adjust it, to help make the game not feel like a purely exploration game instead of a turn-based strategy style. While certainly not for everyone, it does have the draw for those who enjoy turn-based, strategy, and deckbuilding style games. Those coming from Darkest Dungeon would also probably find Deep Sky Derelicts a good next step in their game list.
Shadows: Awakening has a lot of promise, but is held back by some clunky controls and awkward combat situations. While the realm swapping gimmick and multiple characters to switch between on the fly are certainly nice, there isn’t really anything else that truly sets it apart. If you’re up for something a little easier or different than Diablo, or you want an introduction to the genre, Shadows: Awakening would definitely interest you, although you may want to wait for it to go on sale.
With a timer and handy teleportation gates strewn about areas, Dead Cells certainly feels a lot faster paced than most of the other rogue-like games I’ve played. Even the combat, with liberal use of the dodge roll, feels a lot more fluid and technical. With a fresh soundtrack that I felt really captured the ambiance of each zone inside the castle, and some pretty dang nostalgia inducing pixel style graphics that aren’t grossly overdone or under-styled, Dead Cells is certainly a game I’d recommend for any fans of the rogue-like genre who are looking for a challenge, especially since there is such a wide array of platforms to choose from.
Mary Skelter: Nightmares is definitely one of my favorite dungeon crawlers, whether it be characters, music, battle system, or tone/theme, I just had so much fun playing it the entire way through. With some seriously messed up looking bosses, handy warp points, and Hameln, Mary Skelter just had so much I enjoyed. I can tell you for certain that I'm eagerly anticipating the sequel that's been announced, and I hope you'll enjoy this game as much as I did.
To be perfectly honest, Scarlet Curiosity may not really appeal to you if you aren’t a big Touhou fan like I am, but on the plus side, it also isn’t the cost of a full game either, so if you get it on sale, you probably won’t feel too let down if you don’t end up enjoying it. Despite the occasional frame rate drop here and there, which I attribute to my old computer, Scarlet Curiosity actually ran smoother than I expected, and the control set-up felt really natural to play on a keyboard. As far as Touhou fan games go, Scarlet Curiosity is pretty looking and sounding, and while not as long or in-depth as a standard game, is also simple enough to pick up or ease back into, and low cost enough to at least give it a chance. So get ready to head into Gensokyō to help a vampire and her best meido out!
Overall, I’d say Hakoniwa Explorer Plus is a quirky little adventure game with a lot of interesting gags, a solid base mechanic, although it may need some slight tweaking, and enough big boobed/butted large bosses to easily identify the improbably female boss cast. While there are a lot of aspects that need a little touching up, such as the supped speedy rate at which your weapons deteriorate, the gags, simple gameplay, and school swimsuits will probably have you coming back for more.
Overall, Touhou Azure Reflections is a really great spin-off with its own fresh gimmicks and playstyles, with enough of a challenge for veteran players, while easy enough for new players to get into. With a solid soundtrack and interesting characters, a great beginner tutorial and some nice variation with accessories, Azure Reflections is a fine game if you’re looking for more Touhou in your gaming diet, or if you’ve been interested in getting into the bullet hell type games but have never known where to start.