Bouncing a ball off paddles, through corridors, and around danger makes for a two or three-hour runtime that doesn't overstay its welcome and manages to hold your attention throughout. There's a familiarity to the proceedings that's deceptively comfortable, and therein lies qomp2's greatest trick: it feels like something you've played, but you haven't. And while I don't have a problem with going back to Pong for a few rounds, I was happy to invest significantly more time than that in this oddly-named psuedo-sequel.
If you already finished the Phoenix trilogy and have been eager for more, don't hesitate to dive into the Apollo trilogy. For some, the petition to get the two Ace Attorney Investigations titles and the Phoenix Wright crossover with Professor Layton will now begin in earnest. For me, I'm still trying to find times in my everyday life where I can shout "OBJECTION!".
The gameplay loop is pretty fun, and finding new weapons to dispatch the security flora and fauna standing in the way of your heist manages to entertain, at least up until the final parts of the game. The performance on Switch also leaves something to be desired, with more detailed areas of the bank leading to noticeable frame drops. If you wanted a bit more action from your Turnip Boy escapades, this follow up might be the serving of veggies you're craving. That said, it doesn't quite do enough to rise to the upper echelons of roguelites already available on the eShop.
There's an absolute treat of a game in Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, and the ways in which it reminds me of Hollow Knight, Metroid Dread, and of course the original Prince of Persia from 1989 are palpable. The almost-Spider-Man-like traipsing around ruined temples, a frozen sea, and majestic historical cityscapes only got better and better as Sargon's repertoire of moves grew, and even if some of the mid-to-late game bosses ramp up the difficulty a fair bit, there's more than enough fun in returning to exploration to bolster your stats and capabilities. The Lost Crown is a title that I hope people remember at the end of the year when recalling the standout video games of 2024 because there's no doubt this should be among them.
Even aside from its technical and artistic weaknesses, there isn't an abundance of strength in its story pacing, even if a few beats do land fairly well. The activity you'll spend most of your time with, the turn-based battles, are pretty good but feature little in the way of variety. If you're a diehard tactics fan, Arcadian Atlas may be worth looking up on another platform if the performance is better there, but games like Triangle Strategy and Tactics Ogre Reborn are much stronger options if you've yet to play them.
While it doesn't persist throughout the entire playthrough, there's an unmistakable uniqueness to In Stars and Time. Its parts may be stronger than it ends up as a whole, but there's humor and heart pouring from its cast. While the back half features some interesting twists, with them come more repetition and occasional frustration with how character and area progression occurs. Even though it's a little too verbose, the overall experience of In Stars and Time is a worthwhile one, especially for fans of Undertale and other offbeat RPGs.
I walked away impressed by the PAX demo of Cobalt Core, and the full game lives up to that hype. It's a wonderful run-based title that I expect to revisit for years to come, just as I've done with other roguelike standouts like Into the Breach. Although it's somehow not yet on Switch, FTL: Faster than Light is another obvious comparable for Cobalt Core, and if you enjoyed the former, you'll almost certainly want to sink your furry paws into the latter. This is one time loop I'm happy to never see the end of.
Worse than any promises unfulfilled is that the game just isn't very good at all, and it's mired by bugs, lacks basic options and tutorials, and only spans five total stages. Gargoyles is a relic that should have remained set in 16-bit stone, sealed away never to return. I'm normally very supportive of the effort to bring back old and forgotten games, but even superfans of the TV series shouldn't be tortured by this unnecessary re-release.
It's received an obvious visual upgrade over the 3DS release, and has added online play, too. It can be frustrating to get stuck with unwinnable event battles, but the penalty of losing an in-game hour isn't devastating. There's definitely a bit more of a learning curve for anyone who's only played River City Ransom, but the overall package is a solid one for Kunio-kun and brawler fans alike, provided you don't mind a bit of detective work.
There are even level and campaign editors for the creatively inclined. The aesthetic, including the level design and the art style, wasn't overly appealing to me, but my son and I still had a wonderful time trying to see how far we could get across the different game modes. While it's not quite in must-play territory, CounterAttack is well worth a look for fans of the genre, particularly those who embrace playing starship mechanic.
The only group who is likely to derive any satisfaction from Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai would have to be megafans of the manga or anime and want to see the events therein retold in a different medium. Baffling design choices like splitting up the party, forcing players to make use of the punishing roguelike area, having lack of action map nodes, and delivering the story through still cutscenes work in tandem to kill any joy that this experience might have elicited. Ultimately, Infinity Strash is a lifeless husk of a video game that can't be redeemed by an added post-game difficulty or the dozens of simplified and random stages of the Temple of Recollections. Spend your time and money on anything else with the "Dragon Quest" name on it instead, and leave this one in the Strash bin.
Much to my delight, the inclusion of a roguelike mode in Wargroove 2's Conquest feature is the best reason to recommend this hearty sequel, particularly for anyone who enjoyed the original. The sequel is not only more of the same, but also presents a compelling new way to experience its tried-and-true strategy gameplay. While I do like the new Commanders that have made their way into the fold, I would love to see the individual factions have a bit more uniqueness in terms of how they played or their strengths and weaknesses; they're only distinguished by their appearance and their units names (which can sometimes be confusing). Nonetheless, strategy fans should rejoice at the opportunity to spend more time with a wonderful series that puts a fantasy twist on Advance Wars.
I can definitely respect the endeavor of keeping the spirit of the NES alive in 2023, and while faithfulness often does come at the price of convenience or aesthetics, Project Blue definitely offers a fun experience for those who go in with the right expectations. It's a bit rough around the edges, but being a product of the '80s myself, I was able to while away a handful of satisfying (and at times painfully difficult) hours with this latest homage to classic titles like Metroid and Blaster Master. I can think of many worse ways to transport yourself back to 1988 for an evening, and this one doesn't even require a DeLorean.
Even for diehard fans, I'd find R 2 to be a difficult recommendation. I may break it out from time to time for a few online matches, but I doubt I'll spend even a fraction of the time I did with Super Bomberman R Online on this latest game. It may just be time to re-invent Bomberman for the modern era, and while I'm eager to see what that might look like, unfortunately for now, your Bomberman is in another castle.
Fans of the Game Boy Color days rejoice! Curse Crackers will have you feeling that nostalgia with its solid platforming, endearing world, and abundance of content. If you're up for uncovering all of its secrets and earning every achievement, there are dozens of hours to keep you busy, but an unlockable Arcade Mode and even just the overall level design lend themselves to leaping through every stage as fast as possible. However you choose to play it, Curse Crackers is an easy recommendation and a retro-fueled gem in the Switch library.
With a fairly enjoyable main narrative that plays second fiddle to engaging gameplay and effective presentation, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails may be slight in terms of length when compared to other Trails games, but it's a spinoff that matches them in quality and enjoyment. There's something compelling about its relative simplicity and all of the small things you can do from moment to moment that all complement each other and help your character progress, both in terms of story and capability. With Ys and the Trails games typically being separated into action and turn-based combat, respectively, I'd love to see either series experiment with the other form given how well it comes off in Boundless Trails. Young Nayuta's adventure is well worth experiencing for yourself; just don't forget to pack a lunch.
Having played both Gato Roboto and Gunbrella, I'd say that the former is the stronger overall experience, edging out the latter because of its progress-halting bugs (which may be mostly hammered out during the game's launch). The atmosphere and movement abilities of Gunbrella are excellent, but the lack of enemies and opportunities to use the titular weapon are a bit disappointing. If you prefer more of an adventure-game bent to your action-platformer, then Gunbrella is definitely worth a look, even if its rain-shielding, double-barreled frame could use a little more polish and a lot more target practice.
Should you possess a particular affinity for Taito's arcade past and the shooters, platformers, and fighters from their heyday, then a second Milestones collection is probably right up your alley. The online leaderboards offered by the Arcade Archives versions here add to the replay value, but it's again a little disappointing to see a noticeable lack of bonus features, extra content, or presentation elements. The two Taito Milestones compilations are fairly barebones compared to some of the offerings from Capcom and Konami, but I can still appreciate having the opportunity to revisit–or experience for the first time–a back catalog of offerings from a historic developer.
At times it wears its SNES inspirations on its sleeves (and proudly), but it evolves the combat to a level of perfection. Every aspect of the game is fun, or emotional, or tantalizingly brain-teasing, and I haven't been able to put it down even after rolling credits a dozen hours of playtime earlier. You'll smile, laugh, and maybe even cry as you help Valere and Zale complete their mission, but there's one thing for certain: you'll never forget it.
That said, runs are generally quite short, under 20 minutes in most cases, and so it's easy enough to start right back up again after a loss. The presentation is quite clean and straightforward, but there's a strong flash of light that accompanies the defeat of the enemy king–not something that normally affects me, but I did turn it off in the settings menu. It might not be a certain checkmate, but Shotgun King kept me in check more often than not, and it's a pleasant and worthwhile distraction that deserves a spot among the higher tiers of run-based Switch games.