Children, if you are somehow reading this, make sure that your parents do not get Nickelodeon Kart Racers for you. This game is a cruel punishment, and while I don't know you, I'm sure you do not deserve it. If you are gifted this game, tell whoever gave it to you to return it—that itself is a gift to them. If you cannot get rid of it, then get rid of it. Bury the game case in your backyard. Give it to your local Pagan to use it for their next Wiccan burning ritual. Go on a profound journey across the land and toss it into the nearest volcano. Nickelodeon Kart Racers is a sin masquerading as a video game, and now we must all wish for forgiveness.
On paper, the concepts of Morphies Law sound original and creative, but once you dive into the game, you'll find a more shallow experience than you were expecting. And that's disappointing—while it may sound like I'm harping on the game for copying others, I love all of the games that inspired it and was hoping that this would be another unexpected indie darling for my beloved Nintendo Switch. But ultimately, Morphies Law ended up being less like Splatoon, and more like the game's namesake, Murphy's Law—a lot of things could have gone wrong with this game, and they did.
Regardless, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl serves as an example of how surgical marketing can be, feeding competitive players with specific bullet points while trying to cast a wide net with its popular IP. Playing it may certainly make you smile, and moments of hype can follow. But in the end, it’s an extended meme at best and a monument to capitalistic cynicism at worst.
While there was fun to be had with the absolute bonkers nature of Slam Land, the fun ran out very quickly. It soon became evident that the mechanics were half-baked, and the disorientation that the game depends on for fun eventually turns into annoyance. At $7.99, the game is at least at a decent price—but with so many four-player action party games out there, the only reason to choose this over the rest would be to check out its weirdness, and even that would only last an hour at most. There are more coherent, if but less flamboyant, games of its ilk out there, ultimately making Slam Land a difficult sell.
Despite its mechanical flaws, in depicting a story of flawed characters, it’s hard to pass up on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. This title feels free of franchise-building and shady business practices. While it tries to ape on your familiarity with the property, it somehow all stands on its own. The visuals, lovable characters, and the promise of hijinx in space are inviting, but within this off-beat exterior is a solid emotional core.
I had the feeling while playing through The World Ends With You: Final Remix that with some more time, Square Enix might have made a combat system that utilized those darn buttons that the Switch has while still fitting everything on a single screen, which is wider and clearer than the DS button screen. Final Remix eventually became a physically exhausting chore to play—just try to find a comfortable position for long, extended sessions. The graphics and sound made the hassle all worth it, but by not taking full advantage of the Switch, the beauty of Final Remix runs the risk of only being viewed through YouTube walkthroughs.
With that, it could be time for Jackbox Games to slow down, just a little. I question the need for a new Pack every year, because the more games you throw at players, the more creative concepts go underplayed, because people will just keep going back to something like Drawful. I still think that every Jackbox compilation is a treat, especially now that the studio has perfected the visuals and presentation for their games—but they run the risk of turning their annual treat into a chore.
The Shrouded Isle did not feel like a game for beginners to the genre. The premise, the world-building, and sound all made the game into a wonderful sensory experience. But for some time, it also felt like a beast to wrestle with, and an experience that felt more Sisyphean than Lovecraftian. Perhaps that’s just on me to “git gud” in managing my damn cult.