Sling Ming is a polished game with rock-solid physics and smart puzzles, all shot through with a simple, endearing story and a catchy soundtrack. Difficulty is carefully balanced with addictive mechanics that reward perseverance, leaving a game that can stand proudly with the best indie offerings on the eShop.
Agatha Knife tackles vast subjects with surreal humour and delightful style but when it comes to the big questions, it doesn't offer much beyond sarcasm and a shrug. Fortunately, the writing is entertaining enough to make the adventure worthwhile regardless, and the comprehensive touchscreen execution on Switch makes it an ideal candidate for anybody wanting to dip their toe into the point-and-click pool, provided you're not put off by bad language or the odd splash of blood.
Late Shift succeeds on its own terms by knowing exactly what it is and executing on its goals. It's a tight, movie-length, choose-your-own-adventure that doesn't let ill-fitting puzzle elements slow it down or dampen the tension it creates so well. While player agency is limited to the core branching system, its scale eclipses other FMV productions and, although it's resolutely on-rails, it's a far more seamless and satisfying 'interactive entertainment' experience as a result.
Despite a title that suggests it came out of a name generator, Battle Chasers: Nightwar is a satisfying slice of JRPG that forges a confident, colourful character of its own from formulaic ingredients. The approachable comic style, plus a couple of neat mechanics that encourage experimentation, give it a freshness that belies the age-old systems at its core, and it doesn't waste your time with filler. Depending on your skill, you'll probably spend around 30 hours on the critical path – comparatively breezy in RPG terms – though there's plenty of side content to occupy you beside the main quest, plus a trio of heroes you'll probably shun on your first playthrough. Disappointing performance dips aside, it feels at home on Switch. Ultimately, it's the same old story – numbers go up! – but it's shot through with an infectious exuberance and attention to detail that reinvigorates old tropes.
Smoke and Sacrifice is an attractive take on the survival genre with a diverting story examining our reliance on fossil fuels and class-dependent economies. Juggling your gear is more finicky than it should be, which is disappointing when inventory management is such a fundamental part of the game. However, if you're prepared to keep on top of things, and you have the fortitude to brave the oppressive smoke, there's plenty to enjoy in Sachi's quest and the core crafting loop.
While the central conceit sounds promising as an FMV experience, The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker fails to find a consistent tone or fully engage the player in its story. It offers a couple of nice ideas and the odd smile, but if you don't care about the central mystery, you're left with madness, and the disparate threads never weave together in a satisfying way. The two ominous notes of the soundtrack (only a mild exaggeration) are left to supply tension, and with The Bunker and Late Shift showing how the genre can be relevant and entertaining in 2018, it's hard to recommend this over the alternatives.
The sheer verve of Just Shapes and Beats is infectious. True to its name, the elements are simple, but Berzerk Studio explores and executes on its modest premise with an exceptional level of polish. It injects pure joy into the oppressive, pulsing panic of Super Hexagon and creates a celebratory explosion of the audio-visual in video games. Challenge mode and the hectic multiplayer will keep you occupied after you've conquered the refreshingly breezy story. Grab some decent headphones or, better still, some friends and hook your Switch up to the hi-fi. The neighbours will love you.