Zed Blade might not be the most famous of Neo Geo shooters but with three craft to pick from and a number of customisation options, it has variety and point-scoring options aplenty. Of course, none of that would matter if the game wasn't entertaining, but luckily NMK has crafted a fun shooter.
It looks basic but Blue's Journey can still entertain with some fun moments and precision platforming. Other times developer Alpha Denshi favours an increase in enemy numbers rather than cunning level design to provide the challenge, and it's at these points that the game can get really repetitive. There remains enough charm to prevent boredom setting in, but there's not much content to keep players coming back. The standard ACA Hi-Score and Caravan modes add replayability, but Blue's Journey is one players will be unlikely to take often.
Great visual design, varied levels and a number of different enemies make Spin Master an enjoyable game to play through. It can be cleared very quickly, but limiting your credits is a good way to ensure the challenge remains. Those uninterested in highscore chasing will find less replayablity in the game, but it's a fun way to spend half an hour whenever you do boot it up; it offers quick arcade thrills when playing with a friend, whether on a big screen or undocked with a Joy-Con each.
Art of Fighting was certainly visually impressive when it arrived in 1992 with large sprites, a good camera system and a (simple) story that works well. Unfortunately the game is quite limited, with only two of the ten characters available in the single player mode. The strong attacks are awkwardly implemented and whilst the spirit gauge could provide an interesting way of playing, it is quickly forgotten about as you move to fight against the CPU's repetitive attacks. There are some good ideas here and a two-player fight can provide a little entertainment, but SNK would produce more successful fighting games after this. Some of them are available on the Switch (for the same price) and would be a better choice than Art of Fighting.
It's not the best looking or most original game, but this would be somewhat forgivable if it was at least fun to play. It isn't. There's very little variety in the way the gang members attack and in a scrolling beat 'em up that greatly reduces the enjoyment provided. Playthroughs can be tedious as a result and the biggest challenge becomes trying not to quit the game early. There's very little replay value in the game but you could always get a friend to join you for some two-player co-operative fighting so you can at least share the suffering. Burning Fight is one to avoid.
Völgarr the Viking is a tough game that will see you die a lot. Many sections will be replayed often as you try to get through, but the game is always fair and whilst the solution to your problem may be tricky, it is at least obvious what needs to be done. A range of enemies and varied level design keeps the action enjoyable and even when you are struggling there are moments to make you smile, whether that's the way a charged spear sends the impaled foe flying off the screen or a Stan Bush-referencing achievement. The limited checkpoints in worlds are not ideal when trying to learn the levels, and there's the odd moment where the stylishly retro visuals just look basic, but there's little else to fault. For those seeking a stern old-school challenge on their Switch, Völgarr the Viking is an excellent choice.
Visually unspectacular, Zombie Gold Rush is saddled with very repetitive action. The game is not devoid of entertainment as there's some fun in figuring out how best to take out as many zombies as possible for a bigger score, and trying to move up the online leaderboards adds some genuine replayability to the package. Ultimately though, while Zombie Gold Rush could be seen as a quick gaming fix, you'd probably be better off doing a Picross puzzle instead.
A larger character choice would be good, but there's a solid range of enemy attackers to deal with during your playthrough. A number of moves (including the sometimes tactical use of specials) keeps the fighting entertaining whether playing alone or with a friend. There are some decent character designs for the mutants and robots, with some nice touches in their animations such as a transformation or the way a seemingly human foe's face is punched off to reveal the robot inside. Once cleared there's not a lot of immediate replay value, but you can always try and improve in the Hi Score and Caravan modes; whenever you do boot it up, Mutation Nation provides a great scrolling beat 'em up fix.
Characters would continue to turn up in the King of Fighters games, but this was the final instalment of the Art of Fighting series - and it goes out on a high. Despite the limited three attack button setup there's a lot of enjoyable and fluid fighting provided thanks to the rush attacks combining well with special moves. Juggling and dodging attacks adds to the fun and the animated look of the game works well. The low number of fighters included is disappointing, but trying to set a new fast time is addictive, particularly with the standard ACA online leaderboards. The first game may have been one to skip, but Art of Fighting 3: Path of the Warrior is a welcome fighting option for the eShop.
Lumo provides a modern isometric platformer, offering (as you'd expect) improved audio-visual presentation over the classics of the genre, whilst still providing the same kind of entertainment. There's fun from spotting the references to old and obscure games (like Jack the Nipper) and other things ("Take your brain to another dimension. Pay close attention"), but it's the gameplay that's the biggest source of entertainment here. Many rooms serve as mini challenges as you attempt to clear obstacles and avoid dangers, flick a switch to activate something somewhere else or perhaps stop for something that requires a bit more thought, such as pushing mirrors about to redirect some laser beams. Occasionally the fixed camera makes progress through a room more difficult than it should be, and there are moments in the ice zone where the game moves from "tough-but-fair" to "ruddy annoying". There's also the old school mode for those seeking a stern challenge, or there's fun to be had replaying the regular mode as you go seeking out more hidden items and bonus games.For retro kicks with a modern feel, or for those curious about this genre and the experience it offers, this is certainly an enjoyable adventure.
Ultimately, more accomplished fighters are available on the Neo Geo (any entry from Fatal Fury, Samurai Shodown or King of Fighters series will do), and a number of these can be downloaded on Switch. Pick one of those over this rather limp and uninspired title.
It could benefit from some more tracks (as well as more environments), but Mantis Burn Racing offers simple-to-play racing entertainment across a range of events. With plenty of ways to upgrade your vehicles, they can be customised to your liking as you take on the various challenges the game throws at you. Regular racing is fun, but so are the other events, particularly the battle ones as you race around trying to outrun the hail of bullets or perhaps purposely drop behind to take out your tormentor. As enjoyable as these modes are in single player, they work even better against other people and on Switch there are a number of ways to get your multiplayer fix. Online competition is a welcome inclusion, but the local modes add immensely to the appeal. It's not quite "Game Boy and Tetris", but "Switch and Mantis Burn Racing" fit together well thanks to quick racing thrills and the options provided by an undocked console. If you're looking for some more multiplayer racing action then Mantis Burn Racing is an excellent choice, and yet another must-have title for Nintendo's hybrid console.
It's a short game, but Caveman Warriors still entertains as you work through the levels figuring out how best to deal with the threats encountered and then how to defeat the bosses. There's some good character designs in the game and fun moments - like the way scared foes flee in panic only to knock themselves out by running into a wall. It's not without fault however, with the over-the-top knock-backs from hits being the biggest irritant. There's some replayability in trying to track down all the fuses and then tackle the harder versions of the levels and the co-op play works well. If you've got some friends around and are looking to pass the time with some platforming action, then Caveman Warriors is a good pick.