Lonely In The Winter is a turn-based JPRG that falls a bit short of where it could be. With poorly optimized moments which cause frame rates to tank and a story that feels inconclusive, it feels like an Early Access title more than a completed project. That being said, the story does have some potential if it were fleshed out more. If you are looking for a JRPG, but want to be limitedly invested, Lonely In The Winter is not a bad evening distraction.
OlliOlli: Switch Stance is a 2D skateboarding simulator that refuses to lie to its players. You will struggle and you will experience pain. It is going to be difficult, but if you can pull it off, it can be incredibly satisfying… even if the execution of such tricks involved a healthy heaping of dumb luck and/or divine intervention.
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.
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.
RIOT: Civil Unrest seeks to share both sides of global events of upheaval. While it is presented in masterfully crafter low fidelity pixel art, the controls on the Nintendo Switch are simply lacking in the care and finesse the rest of the game shows. If you are going to check it out, we would highly recommend the PC platform over the Switch.
Bladed Fury attempts to tell a tale from Chinese legend, but exiles itself into the realm of the unremarkable with several missteps. Combat is not terribly deep and the precision strike system is no implemented well, though the Soul Sliver system adds a unique touch to it. While the sound design encapsulates eastern inspiration, the art design struggles to find footing in one place.
Garage: Bad Trip is every 1980s action horror flick power fantasy wrapped up in a bloody retroware wrapper. It tries to balance it's graphic gore with classic tropes and it's suspense with moments of the ridiculous, but leans heavily into its Splatterpunk influences. While its controls are tight for a twin stick shooter, Garage: Bad Trip has some mechanical bugs which diminish the overall experience.
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.
If you enjoy the Final Fantasy series and are looking for a team-based brawler for some competitive play or just want to kick back with some decently intelligent AI team mates, DISSIDIA Final Fantasy is worth checking out after the $60 USD price drops a bit. Even if you aren’t big into fighting games, there isn’t a steep learning curve to it and there is something satisfying about building your best Final Fantasy draft and letting them rumble in glorious combat.
If you like strategy games and are really into ancient Japanese legends, Haunted Dungeon: Hyakki Castle takes art and story from the Edo period to create a unique strategy game. While it was not entirely my speed (it does put the crawl in "dungeon crawl"), it is a break from the frantic pacing of many dungeon crawlers with a central mechanic adds creative possibilities to puzzle solving and combat.
If you like highly challenging rogue-like games with unique role-playing elements, Soulblight may be a game that scratches that masochistic itch that few games do. Its Taints system is different than any other roleplaying system that I have seen used before.
Summer in Mara reminds me of a mash-up between The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and My Time In Portia. It has a charming mixture of bright colors and whimsical music that encapsulates the world you are immersed within, in all of its child-like wonder.
At its core, At Sundown is an entertaining indie game that is fast-paced and fun without requiring a hefty system to run it. Its main game mechanic of using light and shadows is interesting, but the lack of ability to see where your player is can stifle the enjoyment of the game itself.
Bubsy is a cat-out-of-time trying to find his fit in a world that’s memories of him haven’t been too endearing. Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back is a moderately enjoyable game, but it just out of place within it’s current price bracket. Aside from the price, there are moments where Bubsy’s commentary feels rather forced (occasionally annoying), but other times he delivers one-liners that made me chuckle. It feels like Bubsy is trying too hard to be Deadpool-esque in relevancy and self-awareness.
Since its release, Minecraft has been inspiring generations to use their imagination in order to create and to harness the collaborative possibilities that the game’s universe presents to the player. In the vacuum of story or purpose, Telltale Games seeks to draw our curiosities back into the pixelated world of blockheads once more to discover the hero that lies within, the calamity to defeat, and a pig that’s people, too.