Eschewing direct combat for a nearly purely stealth focus helps simplify without dumbing down the essential structure of what makes this genre great, and the efficiency that it demands for success is challenging but rewarding in ways that make me want to replay it over and over until I’ve scraped all the meat off the bone.
Lots of shoot-'em-ups provide the exhilaration of narrowly dodging a flurry of projectiles then tagging the enemy. Multi-wave bosses with clever, varied patterns are almost cliche at this point. But this is the first time in recent memory I've seen those elements married to elevate the experience to something that might be both my favorite indie so far this year and in a rare club of games I'll keep playing for some time to come.
Candidly, the story itself is nonsensical in a way that is tough to follow and really kind of non-consequential.
But who can blame people for not gravitating toward this when there is a larger, more expansive, and much smoother gameplay experience out there at a negligible price difference on the Switch in Daemon X Machina? Override Mech City Brawl asks a lot out of potential customers for a much more flawed game. Even if it were a budget title, the framerate valleys, constricting scale, limited customization options, and a completely dead online presence would make it tough to recommend. In its current state, you'd do best to walk past the smoldering pile.
For better or worse, Pandemic on Switch is little more than a digital recreation of the hit board game that you can enjoy solo or grouped-up. The lack of features, side modes, online play and presentation are disappointing, but at its core this is still one of the more fun cooperative board games I've ever played in a compact form on the Switch for a reasonable price.
Whether it's because I can play it untethered from the television or how it eschews the alien threat for a relatively more grounded espionage take on the genre, I found the break-up between on-the-ground missions and reconnaissance activities fresh if uneven, and the removal of dice rolls for hit rate removes obfuscation that for me made combat a much more rewarding endeavor. If you're someone like me who liked Mario + Rabbids but wished there was more depth or don't particularly love sci-fi themes, Phantom Doctrine is a worthy alternative.
If I have a grievance with European Conqueror X, it's that there's an enjoyable, robust, and competent turn-based strategy game at its core surrounded by nothing distinguishing. It satisfies that itch for its genre, but its dry presentation and impersonal nature might keep you from wanting to play for more than short intervals.
Hello Neighbor: Hide and Seek is a one-trick pony that had a game built around the premise of drawing a reaction out of the player via jump scares, which it does very well. If the levels and puzzles were more focused and honed-in, there could be a logical and interesting foundation for an experiential dread and tension. Forget moving out of the neighborhood, I'd suggest moving to the next county over.