I’ve been an Uchikoshi fan for almost a decade at this point, and nirvanA Initiative might be his most singularly satisfying experience yet – blissfully complete and fully itself. In an age where more and more media feels homogenized into a singular paste, there is nothing else like it. Its personality is so strong that you’ll find it either utterly repulsive or intoxicatingly magnetic. There are parts I hate, but so much more that I love. And accepting it for its flaws and everything that makes me roll my eyes or grit my teeth, alongside its deeply, deeply affecting moments and enticingly endless web of a plot – that feels truly enlightening.
I can imagine somebody else looking at this game and considering it middling, subpar even. Action mechanics that are lower than top of the line, the graphics are outdated, and those allergic to anything remotely “Anime” would scoff. But Rune Factory isn’t trying to be anything it’s not. It’s a game where you can grow a radish, forge that radish into a long sword, and use it to murder sheep monsters while calling your gay partner affectionate nicknames. And do I personally want anything else from a video game? Not without becoming greedy. After a long slumber, the reawakening of this sub-franchise is much beloved, and I sincerely hope to see a Rune Factory 6 sooner than nine years from now.
There’s so much more I could go on about – the customizability, the perfect pacing and length, the world map thrice as rich and dense as Zelda 1’s, the little moments of LGBT rep, the charm of all the names, how it manages it be more than the sum of its already gorgeous parts – but I don’t know if I’d be able to stop. Chicory: A Colorful Tale is a special game, one as finely crafted as it is sentimentally inspired, brimming with color for an experience so seemingly monochromatic. There’s only one word for it: art.
Life Is Strange: True Colors tries to tell a mature story, one of grieving and self-loathing, how it transforms our lives and others, how we come not to find relationships but build them with those around us. But for all of these themes, it scarcely succeeds at capturing any one of them. It can be compelling, captivating, and charming at one moment and forcefully maudlin at others. It tries to capture the full rainbow spectrum of human emotions, every last hue and shade that makes up the complexities of ourselves. But it only has four colors.
This is an impossible game to rate on a numbered scale. The score below ultimately reflects an arbitrary placement, one that makes the game seem merely middling when it’s really like a full-course meal that was delicious but an absolute pain to work through. Eastward is far from the YIIK class of terrible “Earthboundlike” games, and certainly deserves more attention than that mess. If you have a lot of patience, this is an easy recommendation. And if you have none, I would stay far away. I’m not sure if I’ll ever head Eastward again, but the journey will always remain fresh in my mind.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles will likely be as remembered for the journey it took to even be officially released in English as the journey of Ryunosuke Naruhodo himself – and both are worth it. The sheer grandiosity, excellent writing, and overall package make it one for the ages
If you haven’t tried Layton before, you could do worse than giving Layton’s Mystery Journey a whirl, considering you’ll get at least a couple dozen hours out of the experience. But if you’ve already played through Katrielle’s quest once, then this is a port that you can safely skip over.
Ori and the Blind Forest is without a doubt one of the prettiest games ever made, with lush backdrops, silken animation, and heartfelt tenderness. While not revolutionary in design, it dazzles in beauty and splendor like few other games can, making it an easy recommendation for any Switch owner.
Etrian Odyssey really knows how to use the console’s features to the fullest — drawing the map is smooth and intuitive, all the buttons are used efficiently… hell, even the 3D is good, making it one of the few games I would recommend giving the feature a solid try even if you’re usually not into it. Other franchises have departed to the Switch by now, but there’s a reason Etrian has hung onto the DS line from which it originated.