Despite all its flaws, however, I cannot completely count out Fairy Fencer F. It is dated and may not be a great game or even a good game all things considered, but overall I would consider it a pretty okay choice if you're simply browsing the eShop in search of a quick “junk food” JRPG. There's not a lot of substance to it, but it will at least keep you busy and entertained in some form for the twenty or so hours it will take you to complete a single route.
Whether you're on the hunt for a new brain teaser or simply looking for something to play for a few minutes on break at work, Samsara is probably a game you should put on your list. Disappointing sound design aside, I found that the experience was fun both on my own and alongside friends as they tried to help me solve a particularly difficult level. It's not perfect, but for what it is and what it's trying to be the game does find some success.
A clunky jump mechanic meant to be used in poorly designed platforming sections; a crowded HUD made so simply for the sake of looking more “16-bit;” enemies that are either easier to fight standing still or are designed purposely to be annoying, unkillable obstacles; and a map made entirely of dead ends and corridors all come together to make a boring and fractured slog largely not worth playing. If the final mechanic had been the core mechanic the entire way through, perhaps Anodyne would be worth the time investment it asks of you. Hopefully some of the lessons learned making it will be applied for its upcoming sequel, and the small bits of potential it does have can shine.
Attempting run after run, slowly getting more used to the game and making it further and further each time feels satisfying even if just for a fleeting moment. This feeling combined with the beautiful art and driving soundtrack made me eager to jump back in for my next go mere seconds after each death. If you're in the market for a game you can pick up to play for a few quick minutes before getting back to work, Rotating Brave may be the game that can fit the bill.
A successful run may take you no more than around two hours, but you'll likely find yourself going back for another crack either with different perks or on a higher difficulty just to see how far down you can get. Seeing the numbers slowly tick down as I went made me truly feel like I was progressing, even as each floor was functionally identical to the last. If playing a game over and over until you've figured out every secret and strategy is something that you enjoy, Skyhill is one you should at least give a glance.
Overall, VA-11 HALL-A on the Switch is a marvelous port that works far better than I ever expected it to. The new controls may take some getting used to, but after a few minutes tinkering with them I found they came pretty naturally, and overall the game has kept the charm and likeability that drew me to it back in 2016. Gameplay may get a bit stale after long sessions of play, but for small relaxing wind-down sessions at the end of the night, you'll find no better place to be than in Jill's head during yet another shift at the bar.