GREAT - In the gaming space of off-roading playground titles, SnowRunner is the pack leader by far. Having honed their franchise for the better part of nearly 8 years, the game has some of the best terrain deformation I’ve seen, and realistic-feeling physics that truly make you engaged like you’re slogging through completely inhospitable terrain. There are some drawbacks in terms of onboarding difficulty, and some platform specifics like handheld mode being a toasty battery drain unlike I’ve ever seen before, but if the Switch is your gaming console of choice, it’s a total treat to have SnowRunner perform so well and provide countless hours through its campaigns.
GOOD - Rise of the Slime is a very personable deck-building roguelike game. Robust gameplay mechanics with just the right blend of randomization and skill, as well as high replayability that makes it the perfect game on-the-go. The visuals are charming, but a bit lifeless, however the game is accessible through use of both the Touch and Joy-Con controls. With a competitive price point of $14.99, if you’re of a fan of games like Slay the Spire, Rise of the Slime will be good company in your library.
GREAT - The Game of Life 2 takes on the classic board game, and gives it a fresh look with several themes, and some updated and enticing gameplay. With the ability to play any way you like with friends, strangers, or just alone against CPU opponents on your lunch break, the game finds its footing equally with the cartoony graphics, responsive touch controls, and quick game rounds. The Game of Life 2 doesn’t disappoint for really any age group to dive in and see where life takes them.
WORTH CONSIDERING - Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 improves on its predecessor and delivers an engaging arcade monster truck experience for all ages. With a solid progression system, loads of trucks (fan favorites and more to unlock), and fictional environments to toy around in, there’s plenty of truck hopping fun to be had. You’ll have to navigate some minor to moderate grievances that may potentially effect hardcore players more so than younger kids, but we’re still talking about an enjoyable Monster Jam experience here.
WORTH CONSIDERING - Cultist Simulator brings a card-based roguelike to the table, with a great thematic setting and deep lore. The core game mechanics are simple to interact with, however the game struggles deeply to gain traction because of an intentional design decision to avoid any tutorials or context to what’s happening on screen, leaving me mostly stabbing at the dark to play the game. Some will enjoy the variable experimentation, but not all will drink the Kool-Aid.
MEDIOCRE - Empire of Sin wants you to be the Mob Boss in all of Chicago. From managing relationships, to hostile takeovers, running an underground economy, and with an X-Com inspired combat system layered on top for action moments, this game has all the right makings for a top-notch prohibition management game. However, the menus are cluttered, heavy, and an unnecessary time sink, and the combat is just too light with clunky opponents, making the whole experience a bit awkward for me to really love.
GOOD - Taking on the role of a DJ, you’ll be mixing licensed music tracks from plenty of genres to please your venue’s crowds, and also your pals at home. There’s a real skillset to master once you get going in the game, and it’s a lot of fun hearing your creations come to life. Sadly, none of the game’s multiplayer modes worked at all for me on the Nintendo platform, which is a big miss given the full $60 price point, and therefore forced me to play in solo venues only. If dreaming of being a DJ is your thing, you can fake it to make it here with Fuser and feel great as the crowd’s cheer.
GOOD - The much-anticipated Torchlight III has arrived on Nintendo Switch. The familiar art style and fantasy driven themes are back and as enjoyable as ever, however diehard fans of the series may be disappointed with the game’s back steps of previously deeper gameplay and strategy. This comes as a result of the game’s development changing drastically over the years. Still, the game offers all of the expected bullet points of an action-RPG styled game, and there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had with hacking and slashing in multiplayer with a friend.
WORTH CONSIDERING - Wartile brings diorama-based table top gaming to the Nintendo Switch with a Vikings and Norse mythology fictional theme. While the game excels at making a highly creative and unique artistic presentation, many of the game's features felt somewhat incomplete, marred further by a lack of clear game progression and a missed opportunity for stronger miniature character leveling up. Still, gameplay is fairly fluid once you get used to it, and the thematic settings are great. If you’re craving a digital table top micro-experience, Wartile might be something you’ll want to check out despite its shortcomings.
GOOD - Ring of Pain is an artistic blend of casual card combat, procedural dungeon running, with some roguelike mechanics. Its strengths are in the short play sessions, and dynamic outcomes that can be had, along with the more advanced strategy that’s possible. Shortcomings include a heavily RNG based system, where sometimes the cards just won’t be in your favor. Additionally, a lack of really any meta unlockable carry-thru content was a strong disappointment for me. Still, I can see myself jamming on a run or two over a lunch break for the foreseeable future without feeling burned out, which says a lot for this genre.
WORTH CONSIDERING - Space Crew, the sequel to Bomber Crew, pits players against the perils of space, managing their crew and spaceship and defending the galaxy from the Phasmids. The game feels less like a sequel, and more like a complete reskin and a version 1.5 from the original. The controls are still a bit complicated, but gameplay is engaging with a lot of micro management to be had, albeit a tad more grinding than I would have hoped for. If you haven’t played Bomber Crew, or you want a new theme for that game, then take to the stars and enjoy some Space Crew.
BAD - MX vs ATV All Out is the continuation of a decades long franchise. Regrettably on the Nintendo Switch it falls flat visually, looking heavily dated, and there are some seriously crippling performance problems visually and audibly in multiple areas of the game. Worse off, all of the enthusiast branded vehicle content is tied to paid DLC. If you want to go “All In” with this game, you’d be shelling out nearly $150 in total. My suggestion, however, is to follow suit with the game’s title, and go All Out as far away from this one as you can.
WORTH CONSIDERING - Mini Motor Racing X is a fast-paced arcade racer with a ton of content to keep you occupied for quite a few hours. Type X mode introduces power-ups & weapons refreshing the title a fair bit from just the standard racing element. Despite the visuals looking a fair bit aged, there’s still fun to be had here, and in particular with friends or Multiplayer for a reasonable $20 price tag. If you like kart or arcade racing games, this one finds a reasonable home on the Nintendo Switch, however there’s quite a few competing games already on the platform, so your mileage may vary.
MEDIOCRE - Street Power Soccer attempts to bring an arcade-centric focused urban soccer game onto the Nintendo Switch platform. While the game does great at creating a visual and audio thematic setting for this genre, gameplay is clunky more times than not, and many of the game’s modes feel awkward and too mini-game focused. I also encountered a complete lack of polished animations that make for the standard soccer matches looking broken, and even in the home menu, my character would break from his idle animations to a standing T-Pose randomly. For a $49.99 game, there’s just a lack of polish and depth to this game.
EXCELLENT - Faeria is a AAA quality merging of the collectible card game space with strategy board games. It features some of the most stunning art I’ve seen in the genre. Accessible and easily learned, but difficult to master gameplay felt nearly perfected, and there’s enough game modes and replayable matches to keep a person playing for ages. The only thing really keeping this from a perfect score in my book was that the game requires constant, good internet to play smoothly, even in solo modes. I wished so much I could have had a seamless experience offline. Still, for fans of Magic Arena, Hearthstone, or other fantasy deck builders, Faeria is a must-have, and definitely won’t break the bank at a $19.99 base price point, with a handful of great DLC for a bit more cash.
GREAT - Nowhere Prophet brings deck building and a unique turn-based combat system into the roguelike genre complete with slick visuals, and accessible controls that add to the straightforward game mechanics. There’s a ton of strategy to be had with each run, and the risk/reward elements tied into the narrative driven choose-your-own-adventure choices make for an incredibly engaging experience with every start of a new game.
WORTH CONSIDERING - Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break brings with it a create-a-level mode as the centerpiece. For me, the Story Mode was still the heart of the game, but it’s borderline frustratingly difficult with a combination of too many obstacles, precise AI opponents that are just too good, and grueling courses. The classic storytelling and graphic animation styles were still present, but playing the game on the Nintendo Switch also brought some system quirks with it too. For fans of the series, there’s still something here to have fun with, but I felt like the original game ultimately brought me more joy.
GOOD - Urban Flow is a challenging stoplight/traffic management game that utilizes the Switch platform nicely. You can tackle the campaign levels solo which was my preference, or sync up 3 other players and turn the game into a sort of ‘party’ style game. There’s a lot of layered challenges this game will offer over it’s 100 levels, but the difficulty curve may turn some players off before they get to see everything that is offered. For $14.99 you’re getting a polished experience, but there are plenty of free or very cheap games in this genre on mobile platforms as well that may satisfy your traffic light switching urges.
MEDIOCRE - Star Horizon is a pretty standard on-rails shooter set in space. Basic gameplay and an extremely lenient auto-targeting system make for a fairly dull experience. Visuals, voice overs, and graphics are pretty decent here, but overall there’s much to be desired.
GOOD - Dread Nautical is a tactical turn-based RPG with some roguelike elements. Mixing these elements with a compelling story, interesting characters, and the classic risk and reward systems works well. Ultimately it reminded me of the board game Clue come to life mixed with a little bit of XCOM. The repetitive layout of the ship and enemies put a damper on what otherwise is a great concept for a game.