The growth in combat complexity was not only satisfying, but the various upgrades and equips allowed multiple strategies and approaches to levels that were surprisingly robust. There's a beauty to the clean but vibrant backdrops and interstitial drawings. 9 Monkeys of Shaolin is a rewarding beat-em-up that belongs in every fan's library.
In the end, The Long Dark won me over through the same war of attrition it demanded of me during playing. What starts as an oppressive wilderness and battle of the elements eventually unfolds into a gratifying progression as I learned how to survive efficiently through trial and error. They say that adversity builds character, and if you can grow some thicker skin, there's a lot of character in The Long Dark to discover.
In my two saves, I spent enough time to acquaint myself with the systems, understand the way the world works, and became a better survivor in the world of ATOM RPG. What makes it special is the world building through the character dialogue, learning how to play characters against each other to meet your needs, and leaning into your character strengths to uncover the outcomes you're looking for. ATOM RPG isn't going to make you a cult follower in the church of CRPG, but those who are already ordained there can likely overlook its dated look and flaws to find an enjoyable experience on the Nintendo Switch.
It's worth noting the developer announced a bugfix update is in the works, but tread with caution if you decide to buy-in beforehand. But all that said, those demerits weren't enough to sour my experience with Raji: An Ancient Epic. The well-worn game structure is adorned with a decorative style that's wholly unique in video games; a striking soundtrack with heavy sitar notes and an ancient Hindu history lesson compel you to see this personal story of sister and brother to its conclusion. Even with performance caveats in mind, there's a lot of beauty to uncover here if you give it a chance.
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.