I wish that there were more for me to discuss regarding Fallen Legion, but that is more of a fault of the game’s content than my review. Outside of town sections and battles, there is nothing else to do except browse the glossary and mess around with your (limited) equipment options. The most damning criticism I can give of the game is that, at its core, its content feels akin to a mobile game, despite my confidence that its battle system would never be executable on a system lacking buttons. Even so, the difficulty spikes in the game force the player to practice stringent Perfect Blocking or return to earlier stages in order to grind out Exemplar tributes, which kills any sort of narrative momentum established up to that point. When your game is all grind and no side-content, it tends to grate on the nerves, which is exactly what Fallen Legion ended up doing. While the idea of having two full-blown narratives may sound enticing, outside of the decisions made, both characters end up facing the same enemy types and using the same group of Exemplars. If you are looking to test the limits of your ability to enjoy new and creative combat systems, I might halfheartedly recommend Fallen Legion. With the ability to replay scenarios there’s no shortage of combat to be had, but you’ll only get so far before the flaws in its execution start to wear you down.
Recommending Salt and Sanctuary comes with a hefty amount of baggage. It is not just an action-combat RPG, it takes some of the best parts of a number of different series and combines them to create what could be called a 2D Dark Souls equivalent. However, that is a discredit to all of the smart design and punishing challenge the the developers have implemented in order to make that oppressive feeling work without an additional dimension. A patient video game enthusiast with some experience with this kind of game may get the most mileage out of it, but even newcomers will appreciate the crash course of mechanics and difficulty that Salt and Sanctuary features, especially with the fabled Dark Souls remaster eventually coming to Switch. If you’re looking to get your teeth kicked in by a well-made title, this is definitely the one for you, otherwise you might end up grappling with your Switch a bit too much.
This doesn’t detract from the overall visual spectacle and quality of the combat; however, the obscure hidden objects and aimless directive do, somewhat. Hyper Light Drifter demands patience and a slower pace, so those looking for a non-stop, full throttle action title should temper their expectations. While the game seeks to deliver a more expanse experience than the SNES titles of the past, it is often most effective during its most intimate moments. In comparison to other Zelda-like titles on the Switch eShop, it is difficult to say whether or not there is an equal amount of quality and personality, as Hyper Light Drifter is content to wow players with its own, unique charms. If you are a fan of tight combat and gorgeous visuals, you can’t go wrong with this title, but expect to get lost more than a few times, in both good ways and bad.
Firetop Mountain is a quaint title. Straightforward and simple like the series it was based upon, its tone is never too serious that it breaks the illusion of playing a tabletop game. There are several moments of genuine humor to be found, and there is a consistent sense of whimsical, swashbuckling adventure throughout. There’s nothing here that is particularly offensive, rather a few elements that an attentive player must keep their eyes upon. The result is a satisfying experience that features loads of variety in a deceptive manner, encouraging experimentation just as often as it pulls the rug out from underneath the player. While the combat is never too deep, it makes sense as the kind of mechanic one might see in a physical game. The writing is never too grandiose, nor does it need to be, but the loads of text and the illusion of verbal storytelling is a huge drawing point. If one prefers gameplay and active exploration over a more passive and strategic title, this likely won’t be the best fit. If you’re looking for an RPG that is approachable and entertaining, however, there are very few other options on the Switch that present as faithful and fundamental a look at the genre as The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.
While it satisfies all of the hallmark aspects of the first-person dungeon crawler- the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies a large mapping session, the loot-gathering nature of repeated cyclical visits, and turn-based combat with its own unique flair, this first attempt has both the good and bad elements of the subgenre. Its wacky narrative and the impact it has on the design of the labyrinths is certainly unique, but the game never rises above its contemporaries, rather offering an experience just as full-featured and lengthy. For a full-retail title, there is plenty to see and do in Labyrinth of Refrain, but it still comes with a strong warning: if other first-person dungeon crawlers aren’t your thing, this game won’t do much to change your mind. Like Disgaea, it serves as its own unique entry into its subgenre, doing so with competence, flair, and even a few unexpected delights. It may not be a masterpiece, but it is well-worth a look.
If you are looking for a definitive rogue-lite experience on the Switch, there are other options out there that will give you a bit more bang for your buck, but BEHEMUTT’s title is an admirable take on a genre that can often be a bit too exhaustive for its own good.
While Don’t Sink does have a rogue-like difficulty that erases a save file upon failed naval excursion or combat, a part of me doesn’t feel that bumping up the difficulty is worth the risk, as a great deal of the gameplay has to do with waiting and saving resources rather than actively engaging in the kind of swashbuckling gameplay one might expect. If you are looking for a more laid-back, resource-management-oriented sort of title, I might recommend Don’t Sink, although a great deal of its challenge can be circumvented by playing the game relatively safe. Perhaps its the savvy, overconfident nature of piracy that I lack which caused me to shirk from its more adventurous choices. Still, the idea of wasting more time saving money and resources on the high seas didn’t make the prospect all that enticing.
If it wasn’t already obvious, I think YIIK is a game that everyone should play. It is not a perfect game – rarely do titles come along that feature wholly agreeable mechanics – but it manages to use fabulous music, voice acting, and addictive combat in order to tell an extremely original story. This is one of the rare titles that has challenged me to rethink what I believe is possible in the medium, let alone the Role-playing genre, and for that, I give it my healthiest and most adamant recommendation.
Whether or not you feel The Shrouded Isle is worth your time mostly depends on two considerations: the first is how much mileage you’ll be able to get out of viewing the same ten or twelve screens and playing the same style of simulation, the second being how much of your time you feel like taking notes on your video game. The game itself does very little to keep individual family member information transparent, and once you’ve learned the ins and outs of each of its relatively few mechanics, the rest of the game is attempting – and failing – to make things work out for as long as you can, with the eventual hope that you’ll get a winning combo. There are important choices to make, but the game lacks depth in characterization and variety too much for me to recommend it.
I’d personally recommend giving the lower difficulty a good try, but if you’re finding things a bit too easy within the first hour, it would be best to restart on the higher difficulty. The game’s Hard Mode does not pull punches, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If you are looking for a more straightforward Metroidvania experience, Momodora achieves what it sets out to do very well. Despite a good half of its boss fights involving cute girls, they’re all varied and require different approaches. While it doesn’t break the mold with any of its abilities, battles, or narrative, it is a solid and enjoyable title that is well-worth a look.
All in all, if you’re a big fan of the source material, whether Lovecraft or the board game, there’s something to appreciate in Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics, but for those looking for a bit more complexity or variety, your time is best spent elsewhere.
For some, these performance issues will be a bit too much to handle. While they didn’t entirely ruin my experience with Halcyon 6, I could see it being a problem for others. The addictive “one more turn” aspect of the gameplay was enough to get me hooked, as you are almost constantly making micro – and macro – management decisions in order to improve the efficiency of your dealings, as well as keep your galaxy safe. If it weren’t for these technical hurdles, I would go as far as to say that Halcyon 6 is a must-own for the Switch, but you’ll have to watch some gameplay in order to see if those hiccups are worth the entry price. Either way, I can’t recommend it enough, as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into.
If you’re looking for an impressively varied strategy simulation title, there’s little else on the Switch that compares to Thea. Its mechanics take a solid amount of time to pick up, but once you have a good grasp on things, you can settle into a nice and comfortable gameplay loop. Your ultimate goal might be a large town, or a dedicated group of high-level warriors. Whatever it is, Thea gives you a great deal of freedom to do it, as long as you trust and prepare for the unexpected. For fans of simulation titles, Thea is an easy recommendation – for Role-playing enthusiasts, it might be a bit of a risk. If you’re willing to submit to the gods and take risks, you’ll find a game with satisfying depth, mixed presentation, and a lengthy and fun campaign loop.
I don’t know if I can recommend Away unless I say this, so here it is: If you find rogue-lites to be too unforgiving or are looking for a beginner rogue-lite for your child, Away is a suitable choice. It allows the player a great deal of freedom, but one they realize how broken the robot with the missile launcher is, the illusion of difficulty is wiped clean. The narrative is bizarre and certainly unexpected, with the final… “boss…” being unlike anything the game has yet to offer, but players might feel cheated by the lack of options present. It’s a game that has so many good ideas individually, but fails to put them together to form a cohesive and substantial challenge. If you’re not really looking for challenge, though, and you love the game’s aesthetics as much as I do, you might be able to find something to love here. While I love the way this game looks, I cannot say the same about the way it plays, and that’s an unexpected disappointment.