So where's that leave us? I mean, overall, I had a really good time with Crown Trick! It's a classic style roguelike with some solid modernizations. I love the art style, and while its permanent upgrades are all pretty standard stuff (go in with more healing elixirs! Keep some of your currency across runs!), they do a lot to make the genre feel more... achievable by mere mortal man.
So where's that leave the whole package? That's the tricky part. As a set of games, these are great, right? If it's your first time playing these, or just your first time in like 20 years, you're gonna have a great time. The emulation is solid, I never had anything truly go wrong, and the stylization means these games hold up way better than a lot of their contemporaries. Sunshine's water effects still look absolutely gorgeous to this day, for instance, and even 64 has a bold, stylish charm that holds together.
It's clean and crisp and plays like a dream. I can't remember a single time where I actually saw a framerate drop, or a resolution fall, or any of the usual performance thieving tricks...And while I'm not the most sensitive to these things, I can usually at least see it if I'm looking for it. Does it get there by seemingly pushing the Switch to its absolute limits? Sure. Does it sometimes leave things a bit at the ragged edge, just barely keeping from having to drop performance somehow? Sure thing. Does it matter? No! The only reason not to play this game is if you want to start with the first one. Which I can't speak to the Switch port of that one, but if it's even half as well done as this one, it's gonna be a plenty good experience.
I kept running into little things like this, where the game's interface kept fighting me and making it difficult to actually experience and enjoy the core gameplay loop. It was a layer of...Friction, is the only way I can describe it. And it meant every time I went to go roll my fun-ball down the track, it would stop way soonerthan expected. I'd quit having fun, and then I'd have to walk away for a bit so I didn't keep getting frustrated with the game and come back later.
What really seals the deal, when I boil it down, is charm. Charm and vision. Trying to do something interesting, different, and with your own spin on it goes a long way for me. And Steam Tactics is doing that left and right. From the positioning-focused dog-fighting tactics, to the delightful animal people, to the puzzle-like way you have to untangle the enemy formations at times to get a target in position, it just...It's trying something really cool, and I have to respect that.
So where's that leave us? Is it good, is it bad? I mean, for me, here's the thing. The funny replays and the odd fit of the graphical style don't take away from the core fun of the gameplay. Gameplay is always the thing. And the gameplay here works. The timeline based system, while not the first time I've ever seen it, is a real rarity in the tactics space. And the specific touches done in this game, really make it sing when all the pieces come together.
So now we gotta talk the bananas part. Bananas in a good way. Gal Fighters originally did 2P via link cable. You both had to have a Neo Geo Pocket Color, and a copy of Gal Fighters on you, plus the cable. Yeah that's not happening. And in the modern day, it's made the game tragically difficult to enjoy properly. So how does the Switch port handle things?