Gavin Lane


47 games reviewed
71.7 average score
80 median score
53.2% of games recommended
Scores 4.3 higher than average

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane
Feb 12, 2019

OlliOlli is one of those games you really have to live with; perseverance pays dividends, but so does taking a break and coming back in the morning to find muscle memory kicking in. Before you know it you'll be grinding elegantly and racking up impressive points, but you need to stick with it. With the skateboarding genre largely on hiatus, this is an easy recommendation to newcomers with the patience to master it. This version doesn't bring anything new to the table if you've played it before, but it's a fine game in fine form on Switch.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane
8 / 10 - Observer
Feb 7, 2019

Despite threatening to fizzle under the weight of its reverence for Blade Runner, Observer manages to craft an impressive and affecting horror experience on Switch that doesn't outstay its welcome. It's arguably at its best when you surrender to the barrage of imagery and sounds rather than scanning pools of blood with detective vision. This port walks a technical tightrope and falters a little in docked mode, but fares much better as a handheld experience – its ambition and rich world-building are admirable enough to make up for any technical shortcomings. If Bloober Team doubles-down on the horror genre and keeps producing work of this quality, we'll gladly play whatever's next in the pipeline.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane
9 / 10 - Downwell
Jan 31, 2019

This is an excellent port of a game that feels like it's found a natural home on Switch thanks to a plethora of control options and the console's natural facility with vertical orientation. Short of popping your 4K TV on its side, Switch offers the very best way to play Downwell. Its roguelike structure and twitch platforming might not be for everyone, but you should really give it a chance. For our money, it's a modern classic that should be in everyone's collection.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane
Jan 28, 2019

Despite the logo giving the impression of a garish knock-off or mobile port, When Ski Lifts Go Wrong delivers some captivating simulation puzzling, with a light dusting of Excitebike helping to set it apart from the crowd. The UI and controls work very well on Switch and, although not being able to share or sample others' creations online is disappointing, the base game works beautifully to provide a very enjoyable package if you're after some rock solid, physics-based fun.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane
8 / 10 - Pikuniku
Jan 21, 2019

We struggle to recall a dystopia quite as cheerful as the one found in Pikuniku. It's a short game, but one packed with heart and imagination, with a great single-player component and excellent couch co-op that can genuinely be enjoyed by anyone. It makes us remember the fun we had cutting pieces from our friends in Snipperclips, but where we occasionally hit a brick wall with that game, Pikuniku sidesteps frustration in favour of a breezy and charming adventure; a perfect salve if you need a break from the backlog, but don't dive in expecting endless hours of gameplay.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane

Billed as a side dish, Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes has been prepared with enough love and affection to become a filling meal on its own, packed with the spice and spirit you'd expect from Travis Touchdown. It's a fun, indie-inflected blast of hack-and-slash which doesn't change the world mechanically (and don't go in expecting No More Heroes 3), but its sincerity and energy are charming. It's an adult game – a gamer's game – foul-mouthed and dripping with style. If you're sitting on the fence, we'd recommend diving in, if only to support its infectious, celebratory spirit; Suda51 seems to have a real affection for Nintendo hardware and this makes you feel lucky to have him working on Switch.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane
Jan 9, 2019

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is an impressive package if you skipped the original, offering the best of modern-era 2D Mario, madcap multiplayer and glimpses of the outrageous invention that was to come in Super Mario Odyssey. Only the most fervent fans will find enough new content here to justify double-dipping, though, especially if you already played the Luigi expansion.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane
8 / 10 - Fitness Boxing
Jan 1, 2019

Within its common-sense (and, thanks to Wii Fit, well-known) limitations, Fitness Boxing is a breezy, energetic success that gets your blood pumping. For the one-time price of a month's gym membership, it delivers some light CV and takes pointers from Just Dance and various rhythm games to provide a convenient and engaging workout. It's no substitute for hard hours at the gym, but there's certainly potential to tone up those arms and shed a few of the mince pies you put away while watching Groundhog Day over the holidays. It would be a mistake to buy this thinking you're getting a game or some magical antidote to your spare tyre. However, it kept us coming back and if you're after a reason to justify cancelling that direct debit to Gold's, this is as good as anything you'll find on a console.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane
6 / 10 - Koloro
Dec 28, 2018

There's no shortage of charming, artistic puzzle-platformers on Switch and Koloro is certainly a good one; there's much to like in its simple mechanics and narrative, and there's satisfaction to be found in its puzzle-solving. The problem is that you've almost certainly seen everything it has to offer somewhere before and, as much as it engages your grey matter while you play, it's unlikely to stay with you in the same way the games it evokes do.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane
Dec 13, 2018

Kingdom Two Crowns offers a hell of a view, but you may find its brand of light strategy too sedate if you're not one to ‘smell the roses'. Give it a chance, though, and it really grows on you. Disappointing framerate aside, it's a great introduction to the series, and valuable split-screen co-op adds a fresh, more relaxing dimension to its tower defence. If you bounced off New Lands, this won't win you over, but if the last game piqued your interest but passed you by, Two Crowns is a much easier recommendation.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane
Dec 11, 2018

While reminding us just how much we'd love to see FTL on Switch, Everspace manages to carve out an impressive identity for itself. With gratifying space combat, an addictive ‘rogue-lite' core loop and even some light, entertaining writing along the way, it performs admirably – if not flawlessly – on Nintendo's console. Overall, we had a hell of a time with it and this port does a cracking job of preserving the full experience on a handheld. If any of this sounds remotely enticing, we'd heartily recommend investigation.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane

This War of Mine remains an affecting survival experience on Switch and this edition is a comprehensive package. A couple of minor technical issues do little to diminish its power and, although the lack of touch controls is odd, sleep mode is a winner for squeezing in a few days as-and-when you can. Switch arguably helps make this downbeat game as accessible as possible, though there's little point in double-dipping if you've tried it elsewhere. It deserves to be played in whatever form you can find it, though, and is therefore a very welcome addition to Switch's diverse catalogue.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane
3 / 10 - Harvest Life
Nov 30, 2018

Harvest Life is not irredeemably awful, but it's rough and easily outclassed by the games it evokes. It feels dehydrated, with all the soul and polish sucked out, and a few pleasant tunes aren't enough revive it. Games of this ilk thrive on charm; this is subsisting on numbers and fodder. Harvest Moon fans don't have much on Switch at the moment beyond Stardew Valley, but life's too short to waste in Lohwold.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane
8 / 10 - Cattails
Nov 29, 2018

A few rough edges do little to disturb the tranquillity Cattails lulls you into with its fun mechanics, cheerful writing and lovely soundtrack. Despite the conflict at its heart, you could happily while away hours frolicking in the fields, catching butterflies and chatting with your feline chums. If you're after something light-hearted to relax with until Animal Crossing arrives next year, this fits the bill very nicely.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane

If you think Civilization peaked at IV, the sixth entry won't change your mind, but we envy anyone who's never played the series – Civilization VI on Switch is a brilliant introduction.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane

If it were a launch title, we'd recommend tactics fans investigate Mercenaries Wings: The False Phoenix, at least until something better came along, but something better did come along – several things, in fact. If you're an insatiable tactics fiend who's munched through everything else, including the previous collection, this is stodgy, competent filler that should keep you going for a while; it's a supermarket meal deal or a plate of cocktail sausages. It's no-frills and fine, but with a veritable buffet of tasty, interesting alternatives, who wants a sausage on a stick? Perfunctory, cliched writing and a lack of niceties make it a tougher sell when there are literally hundreds of hours to be had elsewhere.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane
8 / 10 - Forgotton Anne
Nov 9, 2018

Forgotton Anne is an evocative, artistic triumph that nails that feeling of a ‘living anime'. Sure, the puzzles are hardly mind-blowing, and some later sections may test your patience, but the beauty of the art and the gentle humour of the writing should carry you through these irritations. Animation buffs should dive in without reservation, and we'd recommend anyone with even the slightest interest check this out.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane

Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n' Fun! gives Europeans a long-awaited taste of Japanese drum-fun. You'll want to consider forking out for the taiko peripheral to see the game at its best, but Switch's touchscreen makes this an easier recommendation than it would otherwise be. The motion controls should be avoided with extreme prejudice – they're simply unworkable – and a few odd design decisions, not to mention an excess of loading screens, take the shine off what is a beautifully bold and bouncy game. Fortunately, the Party Game section helps shore things up, offering short bursts of multiplayer fun as a credible stopgap until Rhythm Paradise arrives.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane
Oct 31, 2018

We thoroughly enjoyed our illustrious career in data manipulation – if you've got the head for it (or if you've ever enjoyed an episode of Silicon Valley), 7 Billion Humans is as perfect an introduction to programming as you could hope for. It gives the layman an appreciation of clean, efficient code, and the writing will keep more savvy players entertained for the duration. It offers more puzzling variety than its predecessor, but if your brain simply isn't wired that way, you won't like it any better. If that's the case, we'd recommend sitting this one out and crossing your fingers that Tomorrow Corporation have something less esoteric in the pipeline.

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Nintendo Life
Gavin Lane
Oct 17, 2018

It's not for everyone, but Warriors Orochi 4's multitudinous hordes can be pleasurable to sweep through, despite the game feeling by-the-numbers in many ways. This is simply more, and while fans might be able to forgive the bland presentation, we'd wager that non-devotees would have a much better time with the Zelda or Fire Emblem spin-offs – with the characters, settings and accoutrement you know and love helping to temper the monotony when you're not quite ‘in the zone'.

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