It's hard to express how well a niche game fares with a numerical score. If train business minutiae are your niche, your heart will be all a-flutter; if not, you'll be all a-bored. Setting the content on one side, there are significant balance, interface and performance issues – but they don't derail the game entirely. While there are other options for management sims on Switch that are much more light-hearted and accessible, A-Train is something different that educated us and broadened our horizons in the genre. Fans, then, will be stoked to play the series on a new platform; for others with plenty of patience A-Train could be a sleeper hit. (We're really, really sorry about all the puns. Honest.)
As a birthday gift from Blizzard to itself, Blizzard Arcade Collection has been put together with some care. Sometimes good things come in smaller packages, though, and a lot of the content here is superfluous. Two of the Definitive Edition games are worse than the SNES titles also included, while Rock 'n Roll Racing's is so successful that including the SNES and Mega Drive versions has only really added clutter. The result is a need to start every version of every game a few times to work out which one is actually worth playing, which somewhat spoils the party. But, for all those imperfections, there's a lot to love: it may not be exactly what we've always wanted, but it's the thought that counts.
The single-player Arcade mode is good, and the Missions have a lot of difficulty headroom, but it will sting a little to pay full price if you don’t have an opportunity for multiplayer. Mighty Fight Federation nevertheless remains a very interesting proposition for fighter fanatics craving a new set of mechanics to explore. Assuming the Switch online community grows, or if you have players ready for local fisticuffs, it will scratch an itch other fighters can’t reach.
As it's a package from 2013 of a game that reportedly sold a million copies, you probably already know if you need to get Thomas Was Alone. If you haven't played it and you have a Switch then you absolutely must get the demo – right away, no excuses. Its playful elucidation of how games work shouldn't be missed by anyone interested in the medium. The full game gives you a few hours of good platforming with great presentation and a well-told story. And as an artefact of its era of indie games, Thomas Was Alone is a delight. The game can be experienced start-to-finish in a few short sessions and Bithell's commentary provides a sort of meta-narration to motivate another playthrough if you haven't heard it before. In short, Thomas Was Alone was pretty great when it came out, it's held up well and now it's on your Switch.
Songbird Symphony hasn’t uncovered some magical gameplay combination by crossing platforming with rhythm action. However, if you think you’d like to play a good, easy game in that unique space, with some headroom for more advanced music gaming, Joysteak has delivered with style and humour.
If you're new to visual novels, and curious, then go somewhere else first; Root Letter: Last Answer could put you off the genre for life. But if you're a visual novel fan, you've played all the other interesting ones on the Switch and you absolutely cannot wait for another – and if you've considered maybe just going outside or watching TV or lying on the floor and staring at the ceiling and you still can't wait for another – then you could take a look at Root Letter and just hope you find it so bad it's good.
All in all, Umihara Kawase Fresh! is presented smartly, if quite bizarrely. Its movement system is fiendish, sometimes frustrating, sometimes free-flowing. Unfortunately, it asks a lot of the player and manages to hide its best bits. The level and boss design are unlikely to inspire anyone, especially when already taken to wit's end by the stuttering difficulty, but that's not enough to undo the game's unique charm. If you're already an Umihara fan then Umihara Kawase Fresh! will give you your fix like nothing else. For anyone else, it's harder to love – but not impossible.
So, throw away the dud story, the awful presentation and the violence-and-shame-based soft porn and haven't we got a great little shoot-em-up here? The fact is that this mechanically competent shooter in a classic style from a proven team comes with all those crummy decorations attached. It's up to you if it's worth overlooking all the ugliness for the sake of a good game that isn't particularly world-changing.