Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is an excellent game in so many ways. It delivers on its promises and sets the stage for what I hope is more content to come in this new incarnation of Igarashi’s masterpiece formula. There has been a lot of outcry about the Switch version of the game, and it definitely isn’t perfect, but it’s playable for the most part. Would I recommend it over other platforms? Probably not, unless being able to play on the go is a priority for you. If Switch is your only system, then you should still absolutely play Bloodstained, but set your expectations accordingly. If anything, Bloodstained is a strong enough game that it is still worthwhile despite the technical issues it has on Switch, which is a testament to the highs it can achieve.
It’s hard to say much else about the game without giving away some fun story beats, but overall Mainlining is a fun game with great, consistent art direction and some very clever (and mostly faithful) old style hacking mechanics. While it almost certainly plays best elsewhere, the Switch version is impressively competent and it’s a great themed adventure that is both challenging and satisfying.
Overall, Rock of Ages 2 is a solid strategy game wrapped in a lighthearted package with a well-tuned sense of humor and some very well thought-out ideas. Whether you played the first game and are hungry for more, or are just getting into the series for the first time, Rock of Ages 2 will keep both your brain and your funny bone tickled.
If there is one primary take-away you should have, it’s that Image & Form’s attention to detail in their game design is exquisite, as it is hugely evident that they set out to create an RPG that focuses on the fun aspects of the genre and thoroughly eliminates the tedium which can so easily bog it down. Your time spent with SteamWorld Quest is time actually playing the game; doing battles, collecting loot, and advancing the story. The fun is all there, easy to access and unhindered in its execution. You have only to pick up your Switch and press start to experience it.
It’s such a rare thing for that perfect package of art, presentation, music and gameplay to come together and create something not just great, but truly special and imminently memorable. Cuphead is without a doubt a contemporary classic, sure to be heralded for decades to come, and it feels right at home on Switch. Make no mistake, this is the full-fat Cuphead experience, with no compromises or corners cut. It’s an incredibly impressive release of an already amazing game, and it’s a fantastic addition to your Switch library.
This is possibly the greatest trick X-Morph: Defense has up it’s sleeve; it can be very challenging at times, but it gives you all of the tools you need to exert utter dominance over the incoming threat if you can pay the time and attention to plan correctly, and to adapt to the changes that each wave brings. Flexibility and change are the big elements that set X-Morph’s brand of tower defense apart from the rest, requiring you to always be on your toes and to be equally skilled in being proactive and reactive.
There is no shortage of puzzle platformers in this day and age, but there is certainly a shortage of games in this genre which are actually good. The advent of lower barriers to entry on various game marketplaces has allowed for many indie success stories, but also for a greatly increased amount of shovelware to wade through. Octahedron: Transfixed Edition is luckily a solid game with a strong, consistent visual style and a thumping soundtrack that helps to complete the sense of “being there” as well as any other component of the game. If you’re looking for a new platformer on the Switch to fill your time, look no further.
Rain World shows up to the table with a lot of good ideas but fails to execute successfully on many of them. What should probably be a challenging but enjoyable game feels more like a directionless, unintuitive slog that, while mostly pretty to look at, is confusing and possibly overly difficult for the sake of being difficult. I can see a situation where just a few tweaks to character movement (namely improved speed and agility) would go a long way toward making this game feel like a properly balanced challenge. It’s entirely possible that the point of the game is to be really hard, but if so I find the controls, mobility and systems design is at odds with that intention, because as a player I never felt empowered to deal with the challenges laid before me so much as at the mercy of the whims of whomever is pulling the strings.
The Swindle is an enjoyable enough game which I would probably rate higher on other platforms, but the additional shortcomings with the Switch version in handheld mode make it a little more difficult for me to recommend. If the technical issues aren’t deal breakers for you, and if you’re looking for something you can play in short bursts and which will let you progress quickly, this is a fine enough choice. If you can play it on another platform, I’d suggest going that route instead.
The Messenger is one of the most successful contemporary takes on 80s and 90s platforming I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Where many games attempt to cash in on easy nostalgia plays and fall short of impressing anybody, The Messenger wholeheartedly embraces the design philosophies from the era of its inspiration and uses them as a framework for experimentation rather than a set of guidelines to be ignored as often as they're followed.
To put it succinctly, Forsaken Remastered is the complete package. It is a heavily faithful adaptation of a classic from an era when PC games were still getting their 3D sea-legs and experimenting with the format, and the feeling of playing games from that time remains alive and well within it. More importantly, Forsaken Remastered sets the bar for what remaster projects of old games should be in terms of looks, feel, performance and content.
Subsurface Circular presents a well-woven (albeit short), futuristic detective story full of interesting characters and thoughtful concepts. If you like a good mystery and are looking for a more relaxed, story focused experience, its hard to beat what's on offer here. Though light on action, Subsurface Circular has plenty of intrigue and confidently presents itself as an experience you've got little excuse to pass up.
The Deer God is an interesting, successful pairing of genres that is well presented and fun to play. What it lacks in-depth it makes up for in character, keeping the adventure light and enjoyable regardless of your experience as a gamer. Right at home on the Switch, it’s a great title to unwind with at the end of a workday, or to spend a full afternoon with on the couch.