Cities: Skylines is one of, if not the premier city building sim on the market. The amount of detail it is able to cram into every facet of the experience can feel intimidating at first, but getting to know all of the features at their disposal will be both crucial and satisfying in the player's pursuit of the greatest city on Earth. Some performance issues place a damper on the experience, as does the absence of content available in other versions of the game. Regardless, for Switch owners wanting to get their fix of constructing their very own megalopolis would be hard pressed to find a better resource than this.
Aside from a couple of relatively small issues, this is both one of the finest independent games of 2018, and one of the most unique puzzle/action/platforming titles of the year. A visceral experience, which relies almost purely on the satisfaction of clearing a tough challenge, Flat Heroes provides ample opportunities for players to test their mettle against a continually escalating series of challenges. Whether breaking through thanks to careful dissection of the puzzle, pure technical skill, or even just a bit of luck, each new stage presents a new opportunity to earn what should be a very satisfying victory.
Kingdom Two Crowns brings deceptively complex strategy and empire building to the Switch, in as well a presented package as you can find. While some obtuse and unclear mechanics may turn some players off, others will no doubt welcome the challenge, and embrace this new world which they ought to conquer. Punctuated by stunning visuals, and rewarding gameplay and discovery, Kingdom Two Crowns offers some of the finest strategy gameplay available on the Switch.
Safe House is an unfortunate case. Its core concept and chief gameplay hook are not without potential, which is what makes playing this so frustrating. The foundation to make a solid little spy-themed version of Papers Please is there, but none of the other necessary components made it into the game. A sparse presentation, coupled with an increasingly apparent lack of polish, restricts any potential this game had, instead reducing it to a fairly forgettable experience.
Break Arts II is a deceptively complex racing game that is sure to create a dedicated and hardcore fan-base. Complex construction mechanics allow for the creation of machines that can be wholly unique to their builder. A high skill ceiling serves as a fine complement for the construction, as all the time spent in the garage will pay off as that machine navigates the small sampling of challenging tracks. While the combat interactions can feel unsatisfying at times, mastering those elements with the others provides players with a worthy challenge.
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero - Ultimate Edition in many ways feels like a greatest hits album for the Shantae series. From the returning characters, to the returning transformations, this feels like a way for the fans to celebrate the series they have been following for more than 15 years. There is plenty here for newcomers of the series to enjoy, as well, as long as they don't care about minor things like character introductions. Along the way, they will encounter some fun and often self-referential humour and some challenging puzzles in a colourful and sugary sweet package.
When taking on an army of demons, it is a good idea to bring along some backup. That seems to be the general philosophy behind Hellmut: The Badass from Hell, and it isn't too shabby. Controlling a swath of monsters, machines, demons, and other oddities to dive headfirst into a frantic fight and deftly swapping bodies to overcome the challenge is a very solid and fun core mechanic. A few rough edges and unclear enemy attacks throw some bumps in the road, but it is still an enjoyable journey through the underworld nonetheless.
Even with some unfulfilling visuals, Shiftlings: Enhanced Edition provides a very engaging and challenging puzzle experience. Collecting each of the worlds' 30 soda bottles for their respective bonus levels is not an easy feat. The task can become especially difficult for those wanting to take these challenges on with a partner. As with other co-op puzzlers, the fun in each level is split between properly overcoming each challenge, and failing them on purpose to mess with your friend if favouring sabotage over co-operation. Whether taken on alone or with a friend, fans of puzzle games should find quite a bit to enjoy in this goofy, soda-filled occupational adventure.
Conarium is a game with a lot of potential. Those early hours spent with it will prove to be difficult to walk away from. However, it is too willing to toss away its fairly slow and tense pace to thrust forward the reveal of the truth behind its mysteries. With those questions gone, all that remains is a standard adventure experience of some puzzles and brainteasers on the way to the end of the story. The ending does its best to redeem the weak middle section, but it is not quite strong enough to lift the whole thing back up to those suspenseful and tension-filled first couple of hours.
Don't let first impressions fool you. Beneath the bright colours and initially sunny disposition of Iconoclasts lies a game that is going to challenge you in a variety of ways. It will force the best from your quick-twitch-skills, with fast-paced and frenetic combat. It will strain your brain with tricky puzzles and unique boss encounters, and it will also present a world whose obstacles and solutions may even challenge your own ideals and world view. This is an experience that cannot be missed by fans of both 2D action platformers, or by those seeking a greater level of mental and ideological engagement.