Candleman is a platformer puzzler that puts a strong emphasis on atmosphere to sell its story. That atmosphere is whimsical at times and haunting at others. Walking through the darkness with limited light in search of a greater purpose, Candleman beautifully illustrates the point that some times the bravest thing of all is to hope. And with each step forward, though the darkness may come, it cannot hide the light.
While gameplay on the Switch is poorly optimized, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is (to steal a Symphony of the Night meme) more than a "miserable pile of secrets." In its purest form, it is worthy of Koji Igarashi's legacy and will live on as a strong representation of the genre he helped birth. With matured mechanics with the shards system, options for varied play styles, and the edition of quests, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night will join the ranks of high quality Metroidvania titles worth replaying over and over again.
Gato Roboto is a delightful Metroidvania title that favors the classics enough to feel a sense of connection to them while forging is own path forward. Filled with plenty of humor, challenge, and healthy heap of cattitude, Gato Roboto is a purr-fectly satisfy title.
If you are looking for a stroll down Mega Man-memory lane, Venture Kid offers a solid nostalgia trip down the side streets of the genre's general neighborhood. Platforming feels tuned to the best examples of the era. Taking heavy influence from classic NES titles, Venture Kid captures the 8-bit age with pitch perfection, even if it misses the mark in other places.
While the creation of Dig Dog is a true underdog tale, the game stands on its own four feet - wagging tail and all. It's highly accessible to players of all skill ranges, but offers a challenging sandbox to play in. Overall, if you are looking for a classic arcade-style digger with a fun ambiance, Dig Dog is a very, very good boy.
If you are looking for an interesting top-down shooter with some fresh mechanics, something with a pen-and-paper art aesthetic, or you just have a soft spot for a good, old-fashioned western, 12 Is Better Than 6 is a good title to consider. It's mix of face reaction with stealth setup can turn the tides from calculating to chaotic at any moment, keeping you on your toes.
Claybook puts the players into a world of clay creation and imagination to solve puzzles while getting your hands dirty. Its vibrant, whimsical colors and designs evoke a child-like wonder for creation over the course of its twenty levels, but it falls short by gating content behind an ambiguous rating system.
Capturing the essence of the 1991 classic, HumaNature Studios hits all of the right notes with ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove. With nine playable characters, light RPG progression, online co-operative gameplay, and a whole lot of funk, the latest entry into the ToeJam & Earl franchise rests solidly in the pocket where it is meant to be.