New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a game that would have benefited from being released in a vacuum. As it stands, this package is one that can neither live up to Nintendo's own suite of contemporary 2D platformers or the Deluxe moniker it is tagged with. Even beyond this point, the game is little more than a window into a bygone era of Nintendo. Offering simple, polished platforming action, this title is suited only for those who have exhausted the genre's other options on Nintendo's hybrid system.
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes is outrageous. The game is uncompromisingly zany: full of smart design, fluid combat, and laugh out loud personality front to back. While some may be turned off by its low budget feel and disjointed design, those who can look past these rough edges will find a hack-and-slash so quirky that it'll be tough not to fall in love. This title stands as a shining beacon of bold creativity and anyone who values risk-taking in games owes it to themself to give Travis Strikes Again a shot.
Pokémon Let's Go is a curious game which bucks the established trends of mainline Pokémon titles. The series' signature, turn-based combat takes a backseat to the experience of simply existing in the world of Pokémon, capturing Kanto's ‘mons with brand-new, well-executed capturing mechanics. This game lacks many of the “hardcore” features that scores of fans, myself included, have come to expect from a new title. However, in the wake of these features is a Pokémon experience that engaged me in a manner unlike any title in the series' past.
Super Mario Party is some of the most fun to be had with a local multiplayer game on the Switch. Unfortunately that is compromised by a deluge of limited modes and design decisions that pull the whole package down. Based the fun factor alone, Super Mario Party justifies its price tag for anyone looking for a new game to play with friends. However, Super Mario Party's fun factor well exceeds the title's fundamental design principles--so tempering one's expectations is a must.
Hover is a game with fundamental design and movement flaws that limit theoverall appeal of the game. However, surrounding these problems is a great universe that is matched by solid mission variety, a unique level-up system, and interesting energy mechanics. In addition, the game's robust basketball-parkour mode, Gameball, is an absolute highlight, and offered the most fun Hover has to offer. Depending on how much these design issues affect your enjoyment will largely depend on what you prioritize in games, and as such, Hover is difficult to give a blanket recommendation.
Super Lucky's Tale is a very predictable 3D platformer. It checks all the boxes it needs to while drawing heavily on the genre's tentpole titles. Due to that derivative nature in conjunction with the title's very low difficulty and padded progression, Super Lucky's Tale is a hesitant recommendation, and only for the hardcore platformer fan. There is some laid-back fun here, but nothing about this title pushes the envelope in any substantial way, and won't be supremely appealing to a non-fan of the genre.
Mini Metro's dynamic gameplay kept me engaged, yet never left me feeling overwhelmed. Whether I was simply looking for twenty minutes of casual puzzling or a burst of hardcore strategy, Mini Metro's deceptively nuanced gameplay worked on both levels equally well. With some quality of life improvements and a more detailed presentation, Mini Metro could propel itself even higher, but even with these concessions the game is easy to recommend.
Laser-focused and brimming with charm, Donut County is one of the year's best experiences. While brief, its laugh-out-loud sense of humor and laid-back, tactile gameplay combine precisely to create a game like no other. You'll come for its physics based puzzle-solving, but you'll stay for its quirky cast of characters and world. This is not a game to be missed.
Saddled by amateurish design, unskilled gunplay, and technical issues, Morphies Law fails as an online shooter. The game does have a great core concept and aesthetic, but it just falls short at every step. Not even its robust offline mode and customization system can prop up a shooter too flawed to receive even a feeble recommendation.
Russian Subway Dogs is an incredibly unique arcade-style title that excels in short bursts. With a wonderfully zany presentation and great mission diversity, there is little else like this game. Its score-chasing, shawarma-munching action is diluted somewhat by its stunted game flow and superfluous unlockables, but neither flaw results in Russian Subway Dogs being anything short of good.
Developed with genuine Sega Genesis tools, Tanglewood is the epitome of retro throwbacks. Outside of that novelty, Tanglewood succeeds through its intuitive puzzle design, constant drip of new mechanics, and varied locations. While the general lack of music and slow introduction do detract from the game, the sum of its parts is a genuinely great 2D platformer worthy of your time.
WarioWare Gold is an off-the-wall title bursting with content and creativity. The 300+ microgames and myriad side modes will keep you coming back to this game time and time again, even with its lacking multiplayer and padded unlockables. WarioWare Gold is easily the best game Nintendo has released in 2018 so far, and a great addition to any 3DS owner's library.
At its heart, Megaton Rainfall is a solid superhero score-chaser that understands the freedom of flight, and empowers the player with a myriad of interesting abilities. Random difficulty spikes and a painfully generic design do hold this game back from being the best that the genre has to offer, though. On top of that, Megaton Rainfall, specifically on Switch, falls victim to a series of unacceptable technical issues which both mitigate Megaton Rainfall's strengths, and aggravate its weaknesses. In its current state, it is impossible for me to recommend this game.
The Banner Saga 2 is a stunningly animated game that sets a new standard for both presentation and narrative outside of the AAA sphere. The game does stumble with a poorly designed combat UI, and a claustrophobic battle system that doesn't offer much breathing room for different strategies. While monotonous, combat is serviceable, and doesn't greatly detract from what is otherwise a defining narrative tale.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is fundamentally strong with a solid core idea and great level design, but doesn't succeed beyond that. A more cohesive atmosphere, extra camera options, and deliberate mechanical progression could've made the experience far more satisfying. The conversion to the Switch brings along its own problems as well, making it hard to call this version definitive. As it stands, the game is a fun but forgettable adventure.
Overall, Octo Expansion is an absolute steal. At $20, you're getting a very creative and engaging campaign that expands the world of Splatoon 2 with diverse gameplay, although a small portion of these levels feels like monotonous filler. Luckily, the ability to skip them mitigates this issue, but does little to assuage the fact that the majority of the bosses are rehashes. If you were hesitant to jump in due to the price tag, don't be: Squidkids will find plenty of enjoyment on the Deepsea Metro.