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.
An emotional story that weaves big themes across its episodes, The Lion's Song is a poignant point-and-click adventure with excellent audio, a beautiful art style and great writing. The exploration of its subjects isn't muddied with obstinate riddles or ill-fitting mechanics and it's a satisfying, albeit brief, experience that is absolutely worthy of your time.
If you're the type to burn through the Louvre in an hour and wait for your companions in the cafe, The Mooseman may well try your patience. If you're more inclined to wander around with an audio guide, reading every accompanying plaque and information card, you'll likely enjoy its sedate pace, workaday puzzles and catalogue of artefacts. A clumsy UI seriously hampers the experience but, if you're willing to work around the irritations at its core, it offers an interesting, sometimes beautiful journey.
Star Story: The Horizon Escape is an inoffensive time sink with some competent gameplay that's 'fun' for an hour or two. Once you've seen a couple of the endings, though, it quickly palls. If you've run out of things to play on your Switch – and given the current flood of software, that's highly unlikely – and you're willing to forgive a lack of polish, you could do far worse, but look elsewhere if you're after a meaty adventure game.
If you find Ecco the Dolphin a bit dull, Hungry Shark World is an ideal antidote – what it lacks in finesse it makes up for with vicious energy. The gated content is doled out a little slowly, but the base gameplay is fast and satisfying, if a little repetitive. However, it's the interminable loading screens that truly destroy the pace and hamper the arcade-style fun, making this one hard to recommend.
If you're a fan of the original, you'll likely enjoy the minor tweaks and upgrades on offer, but don't dive in expecting a 'remaster'. You get couch co-op and a healthy framerate, although it doesn't look great on a TV and the original's excellent English voiceover is AWOL. Despite modest enhancements, the 3DS origins of this six-year-old game are plain to see, which may put off newcomers. It's a solid hack-and-slash experience, as it always was – we just wish it did more to earn that 'EX' addendum.
A certain historical perspective and a touch of nostalgia will go a long way to helping you appreciate Titan Quest and its quirks. That core loop of killing satyrs in four hits before finding rare loot that destroys them in one is as compelling as it ever was. Disappointing visual glitches and the occasional crash give the impression that everything is held together with nothing more than sticky tape and a prayer, but it was never enough to stop us playing. Handheld mode is a massive boon for any RPG and, as long as you're not expecting miracles, this Switch port delivers the core experience well enough to warrant investigation.
Our primary criticism of the first game has been addressed, making The Last Wind Monk a much easier recommendation. Experimentation is now a breeze with touch controls and the expanded possibilities offered by character-switching mean puzzles feel more varied. It maintains the original's great writing and presentation, but offers a far better all-round experience, making it the best entry point for Switch owners into the eccentric world of Asposia.
While it's not going to set your world alight with flashy features or ground-breaking mechanics, we enjoyed our time with Manual Samuel enormously. The joke risks wearing thin, but Sam's adventure is brief and self-aware enough to hold your interest. Co-op play is surprisingly fun with a willing accomplice and Time Attack offers some longevity, although for most players it'll be a short ‘one-and-done' affair. For our money, it's a pleasant amuse-bouche of a game – a welcome little treat between the larger courses being served up on Switch this summer.
Shio is a lovely surprise which offers up a precise and beautiful platforming experience. Although it lacks the level of polish as something like Celeste, if you've already conquered that mountain (or – sacrilege! – you're not a fan of its pixel aesthetic), this is a tightly crafted, technical platformer in a similar mould that's well worth a look.
Space Ribbon is not without merit – and the closer it inches into F-Zero's slipstream, the better it gets – but a terribly humdrum beginning, lacklustre implementation of items and a central mechanic which forces you to slow down to speed up makes it a tough proposition. There's fun to be had if you persevere but considering how the alternatives provide pretty-much instant diversion, this makes you work too hard for it.