Reverie originally released on the PlayStation Vita and PS4 in 2018. In the year since its launch, Rainbite added a new “nightmare” difficulty, item select wheel, new sprites, updated dialogue and a new mini-game for the Switch's Sweet As Edition. Those extras are nice, but they don't give the world the anomalous personality it needs. There's no part of Reverie I can point to and say, “This is bad,” as nothing it does would warrant such a label. In fact, most of the game is rather pleasant, but it's a type of pleasantry that dissipates the moment I set down the controller.
Could I have done that playing any other fitness game with the same intensity, or just by going outside and jogging every day? Probably. I know I could lose more weight if I paid out $50 a month for a gym membership, but the last thing I want to do after I get home from work is hit up a local 24-Hour Fitness. My life just isn't equipped to handle that right now. Fitness Boxing is a better fit for me and while I may not get the body of my dreams using it, anything is better than what I'm working with now.
As wonderful as the art and soundtrack are, and for as much as I enjoy the story, they can't quite save what is otherwise a pretty standard puzzle-platformer. The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince only ever comes close to meeting its potential in the final stage of the game, and that's not an exaggeration. Every time it flirts with some creative concepts, it quickly retreats to its quotidian comfort zone. I personally love this game because I enjoy a good fairytale, but unlike the titular prince, I'm not so blind I can't see everything that's wrong with it.
Not rocking the boat is actually a great way to sum up Etrian Odyssey Nexus. Atlus didn't set out to create a new, series-defining game with this entry, but rather a recap of the everything that's come before it. Being able to replay my favorite classes from the past is a treat, but it's really that spirit of adventure percolating through the entire package that has me hooked. That excitement, that sense of wonder, is why I gravitated towards the series nearly a decade ago and it's why I'll be there day one when it finally makes the jump to Switch.
It's tough to recommend this release to anyone who already owns the DS version, a game that is still completely playable no matter which member of the 3DS family you own. Everything that was great about the original is still great here. But if you're one of the dwindling number of people still rocking a 3DS and you have yet to take a trip to the bowels of Bowser, it's an unforgettable adventure full of wit, charm, and comedy. Bowser Jr's Journey may not add anything worthwhile in regards to gameplay, but it does reaffirm that the strength of the Mario & Luigi franchise lies in its writing.
Ultimately, the success of Block Quest Maker lies in its community. With the game only readily available on Switch in Japan during my review period, I was greatly limited in the number of levels to choose from. Many of those that were playable were simple, forgettable affairs, which is a nice way of saying not worth the time it took me to complete them. But some creators out there took the tools to heart, crafting complete mini-RPGs with a story, dialogue, secrets, boss battles, and a princess to save.
Reigns: Game of Thrones doesn't reinvent the Reigns formula but it certainly gets more out of it than either of the last two games. With clever writing and a deductive approach to ruling from the Iron Throne, it's a great way to revisit the world of Westeros as we await the final season of the show. Just don't stay around for too long or you might find yourself growing bored fighting against the Dornishmen for the umpteenth time.
There's really nothing left I can write to get across just how much I enjoy Black Bird. In fact, looking at the word count for what is a relatively short game, I've probably written too much. A more succinct version of this review would simply state “Onion Games has done it again.” For fans of the developer, that's pretty much all I'd have to say to convince them it's worth it. For anybody who hasn't had the good fortune of experiencing the studio's previous offerings, well, there are over 1,000 words above to tell you whether or not Black Bird is worth a shot.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas is a good game that's robbed of greatness by a lack of ambition and terrible toys-to-life implementation. Everything it gets right – the clever mix-and-match shipbuilding, the combat, the controls, the imaginative alien worlds, the decent space opera storyline – can't escape the vortex of tedium that comes with pedestrian mission design, planets that are mechanically the same, and the crushing knowledge that people who buy just the Starter Pack are getting an unquestionably inferior experience.
My opinion of The World Ends With You: Final Remix is one of indifference. All the consideration that went into making the original a compound piece of craftsmanship, inseparable from the device on which you played it, is absent.
When I played the game during the first Switch beta test, I said Tencent Games wasn't screwing around. It still isn't. This is the absolute premier way to play the game. Arena of Valor may have been born on mobile, but on Switch is where it feels at home.
In addition to the main mystery, Jake Hunter: Ghost of the Dusk includes four other mini-mysteries that were originally cell-phone games in Japan and a genuinely amusing case file featuring chibi versions of Jake and Yulia. It's a well-rounded package, but I don't think anything here is compelling enough to make this a must buy for people still holding onto their 3DS.
Wandersong is the most emotionally satisfying game I've played in 2018. It's a rollercoaster ride through the spectrum of feelings, all wrapped up in a lovingly crafted construction paper world. I didn't even know this game existed a month ago. Now, it's one I'll never forget.
It took three years for Yo-kai Watch Blasters to make it out of Japan, and I'm not quite sure it was worth the wait. The game looks fantastic and has an excellent localization, but the lackluster and repetitive combat hold it back from being anything more than run-of-the-mill. It's a serviceable spin-off, but with this series struggling as much as it does, it needs to deliver more than serviceable. Especially when it's on a piece of hardware that is on its way out.
Senran Kagura Reflexions is really nothing more than a proof of concept. Honey∞Parade Games set out to make a game where you touch Asuka all over until she's been satisfied and in that respect, it succeeds. Just a damn shame the developer couldn't turn all that touching into something worth playing.
Little Dragons Café is the type of game I walk away from feeling more hopeful in the world. Each chapter ends on such an earnest note that it raises my spirits. Sure, it doesn't have the deepest mechanics, and it's not the most polished title I'll play this year. But it has a soul and a kind heart that uplifts the basic gameplay to a place that makes Little Dragons Café an easy recommendation to anyone looking for a soupcon of positivity in their life.
Code of Princess EX really doesn't take itself seriously, but you should. Though not all of the 50+ characters are worth maxing out, the eight heroes of the campaign and the unlockable bosses are an absolute joy to play, learn, and master. With so many modes and so many quests, this is yet another quality Switch title ready to suck up dozens of hours of your life.
I have a lot of questions for this game, like why is Poseimon one of the last tracks I unlock when it's so dull and why does Dino Juice have a Jurassic Park design motif with a Danny Elfman inspired music track? Or why did I race the same track two different times in a single cup? But I don't want to think about what the answers to those would be because I really don't want to think about All-Star Fruit Racing anymore. If this were on mobile I'd have deleted it after my first trip to Avocado Roller. As it's a PS4 game, I was holding to hope there'd be something, anything, I could grasp on to here that would signify it as a quality kart racer for the platform. There isn't.
It's a beautiful game, but that beauty can't hide the fact Pocket Rumble still needs a bit of work. When playing with friends locally the game is an absolute blast. That's when it's at its best. It's all the other modes that weigh the package down. I'm not too keen to return to any of the single-player options until the AI is fixed nor do I wish to endure the spammy assaults of the same three or four characters I face online. With some fine-tuning, Pocket Rumble can get to where it needs to be, but Cardboard Robot Games should probably hurry because the Switch isn't short on quality fighters and the field will only grow more crowded as we continue the march towards the end of the year.