For better or worse, Mario Party Superstars delivers on its promise of bringing the best elements of the classic era of Mario Party to vivid life on the Switch, though even with a variety of gameplay styles and customization options, the formula is showing its age, and the loose combination of RNG and skill-based gameplay won’t be for everyone.
I can’t recommend Metroid Dread enough, whether to longtime fans or newbies to the franchise. Not only does it deliver on the promise of a fifth 2D Metroid game nearly two decades in the making, it does so while updating the time-tested formula to reduce tedium and bring new players into the fold. Nintendo knocked it out of the park, and while I wish the game were a little longer and the presentation a tad more polished, I can’t find any other faults in this very welcome new addition to the canon.
I’m happy to report that New Pokémon Snap improves upon the original game in nearly every respect. It’s filled with well-animated interactions between Pokemon, a wide variety of evolving environments, and over 200 Pokémon to add to your Photodex. Despite all of its quality-of-life improvements, its relaxing vibe, and decent presentation, however, it’s more of an evolution of the concept than a revolution, and soundly geared to younger audiences. I imagine that because of its simple gameplay, it’s not going to satisfy everyone.
While it’s not without its faults, I enjoyed nearly every moment of my 50+ hours spent on the frantic battlefields of Hyrule playing Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. With a strong story, copious amounts of fan-service, and a wealth of unique and balanced musou gameplay, it succeeds wildly both as a worthy sequel to Hyrule Warriors, and a semi-prequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. While your mileage will vary depending on how much you enjoy musou games and how willing you are to tolerate performance issues (and, to a certain extent, repetition), I give this one a very strong recommendation.
Despite its occasional quirks and missed opportunities, Racer delivers on a consistent, mostly-bug-free performance that made me pine for both LucasArts’ heyday, and the golden age of high-speed futuristic racers, which have all but disappeared as a sub-genre.
Because it is rather obtuse at times, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone, but if you’re anything like me and you love carefully-constructed, paradoxical art that is enlightening and entertaining, haunting and hopeful, melancholy and magical, perceptive and pointed, you might really fall in love with the existential irreverence of Kentucky Route Zero.
Astral Chain definitely falls within the higher tiers of Platinum Games’ offerings. It boasts a wholly unique and fully-realized gameplay mechanic, above-average world-building and characters straight out of animé, a memorable soundtrack, and more than enough replay value, all glistened with a coat of polish that will have you itching for more, even once you’ve completed its twenty-odd-hour campaign.
Unfortunately, despite all it has going for it, Team Sonic Racing doesn't achieve its full potential. The track selection is far and away inferior to previous offerings. There are some standouts, but it feels like for each great track, there are two half-baked ones filled with recycled ideas that go on for far too long.