NBA Playgrounds is not the new NBA Jam replacement. It adds just enough complication to the basic mechanics so it isn't a game that anyone can pick up and play without experiencing one or two matches. The game is fun once you get used to the quirks, and even if the roster unlocking process isn't optimal, it ensures you'll have a reason to keep coming back. For arcade sports fans, NBA Playgrounds is worth a look.
Even if all of the platform-specific flourishes weren't there, Bayonetta would remain a superb action title. The familiar story is buoyed by the absurd cut scenes, the action amplifies that ridiculousness, and the gameplay is still considered tight after the introduction of numerous fast action games in recent years. It's also a lengthy title by today's standards, and the constant grading of every fight will get perfectionists going. The PC version enhances everything and makes this the definitive version of the title, as long as you don't mind losing the Nintendo-themed costumes from the Wii U version. Unless you hate fast action games, you absolutely have to pick up Bayonetta.
In the end, Styx: Shards of Darkness is a solid stealth title. The lack of real combat puts your ability to go undetected to the test, and the breadth of each level means that your solutions to each problem are wide open, giving you some flexibility to your approach. While your abilities are fun to use, it would've been nice to see them make a difference, especially since the game reuses some environments instead of going for new ones. Shards of Darkness is an improvement over the first game, and it's worth checking out if you're a stealth fan.
Overall, Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom isn't that bad. The story is good enough, if a tad generic, while the characters are likeable if you can get past their odd dialogue and exaggerated reactions. Outside of a pretty finicky magic and parry system, the combat is done well for those who crave real-time action over menus, and some of the other systems bring some depth to that. Presentation is decent, but the camera can be enough to put off some people. If you're craving a game that sticks to some JRPG standards, Shiness isn't a bad one to check out once you're done with the heavy-hitters on the system.
Neko Navy is a fine shooter, so long as you're fine with it bringing nothing new to the table. It has an inviting aesthetic for those who are looking for something cute, and it comes in at a decent length for the genre. It may be tough, but the whole thing feels fair, and the game gives you enough to beat it if you're willing to invest some time into it. This may not be the ultimate cute-'em-up, but for genre fans, it's still worth checking out.
Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island is not that bad. The game mechanics are good, and the platforming is fun, especially on a short game where things don't feel like they drag on for the sake of matching game length with monetary cost. At the same time, it is far from being good. The story feels like an afterthought, and the bad characters, dialogue, and technical and design issues sap away at the game's fun. If you're a young platforming fan, you may dig it, but veterans of the genre may come away feeling disappointed that the game doesn't realize its full potential.
Your enjoyment of Cooking Mama: Sweet Shop is going to heavily depend on a number of factors. The recipes are vast, even if the minigame mechanics are simple, and the other minigame options are enough to keep you busy for some time. The lack of difficulty can make the title feel tedious for series veterans, while the shop feature is too undercooked to eke out any fun. As a title for casual gamers or those just starting out, Sweet Shop is fine. Everyone else should wait for it to go on sale.
Embers of Mirrim is a solid puzzle platformer. The parts that involve individual thumbstick coordination can be tricky and frustrating at times, but the platforming and twin-stick puzzles provide just the right amount of challenge. It's also forgiving enough for all skill levels, so everyone can enjoy it without getting too hung up on certain parts. Platforming fans, Embers of Mirrim deserves your attention.
Even with the game's increased emphasis on multiplayer over single-player content, Tekken 7 remains a fun fighting game experience. The core mechanics are as tight as they've always been, and the new material adds some flair to rope in new players. The character roster is balanced between old and new fighters, with just about everyone getting some improvement to their skills. A good number of people are only interested in getting the fighters into ridiculous outfits. The PC iteration boasts a very healthy community and some nice graphical improvements over the console versions, so any gamer on the PC will be happy to have this fighting game in their grasp.
Provided you're not short on empathy, Blackwood Crossing has a good tale to tell. The various forms of loss and growing up are dealt with quite well, while the fanciful setting gives you the impetus to keep going even if you know exactly how the tale will end. It does need some work on the puzzle mechanics, as a fiddly detection system and slow walking can be frustrating once the solution is known. Overall, this is a good first effort from the development team, and it's worth a look if you're a genre fan.
In the end, The Sexy Brutale is a fascinating murder mystery game. The indirect methods that are used to obtain clues and solve each murder are different from other games in the genre. Though you may be able to stumble upon the solution for a murder or two via dumb luck, the game rewards you for careful observation to the audio and visuals. If you can overcome the keyboard/mouse controls in lieu of a control pad, you'll find The Sexy Brutale to be a game that genre fans need to check out.
If you're fine with the game's limited scope in a few areas, Dystoria can be a fun experience. There's some brief disorientation due to the ability to stick to all surfaces and the camera closely following you, but it nicely complements the puzzle aspect of the game. The enemy count is very limited, but combat is fine once you start using the environment and angles to your advantage. The game's short nature is fine, as it ensures that the '80s-style presentation doesn't wear thin, but the game certainly could have used more variety in the end-level goals. Dystoria may not be extraordinary, but it is worth checking out if you want something that's a little different.
There's no argument that the gameplay in Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is timeless. It strikes the right balance between technical flash and grounded mechanics to provide an experience that captivates all types of fans, whether they're jumping into fighting games for the first time, stopped playing from Street Fighter III onward, or never stopped playing fighting games. The various extras, however, feel half-heartedly done. From the Buddy Battle mode to the abysmal Way of the Hado, few things feel fully fleshed out, while parts of the presentation fare worse than the work Backbone Entertainment did almost 10 years ago. At least the online works fine this time around, which may be enough to entice some players. With a price tag of $40, the game represents a very steep cash grab, so unless you're adamant about getting Street Fighter II on the Switch, it's best to wait for a sale or a price drop.
In the end, theHunter: Call of the Wild is a more defined niche game in what is already a niche category. There isn't much appeal for hunting games to begin with, and an even smaller group wants a hunting simulator, especially when there is already a free-to-play version. However, this is a game that requires patience for both the hunting process and the bugs that come along with it. If you can live with that, and you're lucky enough to get a friend or two to join in, then you'll find the game to be a good time. Otherwise, try out the free-to-play version to see if this pacing is right for you.
Senran Kagura: Estival Versus is extremely cheesy and loads of fun. Beneath the layers of fan service is a solid take on the Dynasty Warriors gameplay formula, with some parts being streamlined and others explored further to add some depth. It has some good modes, all of which have loads of content to rifle through. With a solid presentation in tow, this is a great game for fans and newcomers who aren't squeamish about over-the-top fan service.
Compared to the earlier entries, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier wasn't the best season. There were more than enough characters who were unsympathetic, and some of the recycled plot devices didn't do anything to wipe away that sense of déjà vu. The final episode, From the Gallows, brought a satisfying emotional resolution to earlier actions and events, and the end report listing the overall relationship outcomes between Javi and all of the major characters made you feel like there was actually some agency in a Telltale title, even if that doesn't really occur. Though uneven, this turned out to be a good season if you were willing to stick with it.
Toukiden 2 does so many things right not only when compared to its predecessor but also when compared to the sub-genre as a whole. The addition of new weapons is welcome, but the Demon Hand makes combat and traversal feel much faster than before, making up for the lack of a deep combo system. The open world makes the experience feel more epic, since you don't always have to rely on missions to get some action, a fact that's strengthened by the lessened reliance on the mission board mechanic. The story remains engaging, and although the presentation could be better, it is better than most other games on the platform. Toukiden 2 is certainly one of the better monster-hunting games, and fans of the genre would do well to check it out.
Puyo Puyo Tetris is a chaotic puzzle masterpiece. The mechanics of each of the core games remains untouched, so veterans of either one can jump in quickly. The interaction of the two games throughout the various modes blends in so well that the mash-up feels right instead of strange. The modes gives the player plenty to do, and the multiplayer is so expansive that there's bound to be at least one mode that someone will grow fond of. Fusion is where the challenge lies, and the blending of both core experiences into one hybrid mode is done so well that it's bound to get just as much playtime as the vanilla versions of the games it was inspired by. Though it is the only puzzle game on the system now, it is still the gold standard to which future puzzle games on the Switch can aspire. Unless you absolutely hate puzzle games, pick up Puyo Puyo Tetris.
Perhaps the only good thing that can be said about Dying: Reborn is that you can easily get a Platinum trophy from it, provided you only backtrack after finishing the game. It's faster if you use a guide for the more obtuse puzzles, but the whole endeavor takes only a few hours to accomplish. If you aren't into Trophy hunting, however, there's nothing of value in this title. Poor puzzles that repeat often, dodgy presentation with worse audio, and a story with too many plot holes are all wrapped up with a price tag that's too expensive for what you're getting. On a system that already has plenty of good horror games, there should be no reason for anyone to pick up Dying: Reborn.
Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is an excellent example of the right kind of remastering for a sprite-based game. Everything from the original is kept intact, with only a few changes that make the game more bearable in the modern era without affecting the difficulty at all. The presentation is what everyone will be talking about, however, as this game surpasses expectations, which is a bigger feat for an indie developer than a larger studio. The game length may be short initially, but the many secrets will keep you coming back, making this title a must-have for platforming fans of all types.