As recommendations go, Steel Assault is certainly fun for an hour or so, but the price at launch seems high for the amount of content provided. If money isn’t a factor and you’re simply looking for a short and sweet side-scroller with fun combat and nice graphics, then this may be up your alley.
Normally my competitive nature would compel me to work towards becoming first in as many levels as possible, but the lack of variety of level design left me feeling like I had played enough. The mechanics of movement driving the platforming and the lovely pixel graphics deserve praise, but the short shelf life of speedrunning left me wanting something more.
With its beautiful visuals and solid combat mechanics, Star Renegades provides a solid strategic combat focused roguelite experience. With any roguelite, mileage will depend on the satisfaction gained from restarting each new loop. With story progression being minimal at best, figuring out how best to stagger an opponent is the main fuel that determines whether it’s worth sending that robot back in time, or just taking the first win and letting the rest of the multiverse deal with the Imperium threat on their own.
Gnosia on Nintendo Switch successfully creates a single player experience from the elements of the Werewolf style, social deduction genre that typically requires a group of people to play. The need for other human beings is made irrelevant by utilizing layers of randomly generated mechanics to control the actions of each individual character. A focus on an overall narrative and character development helps to keep the experience fresh during each subsequent playthrough, so long as the minimal variety of responses don’t grate on your nerves.
Enjoyment of Fallen Legion largely comes down to whether fighting battle after battle continues to feel fresh and if the prospect of panic inducing boss fights elevates your heart rate in a good way. The story is interesting and learning the fate of both Rowena and Lucien provides a degree of motivation to continue but certainly isn’t enough if combat becomes to feel like a slog.
In the case of Ys IX: Monstrum Nox, this joy originates from the complete freedom of exploring the beautiful and fascinating city of Balduq, and from the never ending optimism and sense of wonderment from the main protagonist, Adol Christin. Mix in a well paced story filled with twists and turns and a combat system that perfectly straddles the line between precision and chaos, and you have an experience as carefully crafted as the seemingly endless prison that is the focal point of the story.
Most fall short of this lofty goal, but every so often a game like Cyber Shadow manages to capture that special feeling of 8-bit gaming so perfectly. Made by a single developer, Aarne Hunziker, and with the help of a publisher who also managed to capture the NES magic in a bottle in Yacht Club Games, Cyber Shadow is just as enjoyable as any of the legendary titles in two-button gaming.
Unfortunately the timing of its release couldn’t be worse. With the runaway success of Hades still fresh on the minds of Switch owners, the classic mystery dungeon crawling of Shiren comes off feeling much more older than it actually is.
Enjoyment of Cloudpunk is really going to boil down to whether or not you enjoy the story. As well developed as the characters are, the story doesn’t necessarily provide anything revolutionary or unique. The back and forth between Raina and her AI dog are often entertaining, and a few interesting personalities are met along the way, but unfortunately Cloudpunk just doesn’t quite do enough to maintain my interest.