It is difficult to score The Last Spell, because it's a game that does so much so well, from the music to the game balance to charming writing. If you can wrap your head around the counter-intuitive controls - which an eventual patch will hopefully sort out - there is plenty for tactical RPG fans to sink their teeth into. We enjoyed our time with the game, but the hasty feel of the Switch port keeps the game from reaching its full potential, though.
Despite having some fun wrinkles on the tactical RPG formula, Redemption Reapers is too frustrating in its early levels to justify the thin plot and undeveloped characters. The music is the only consistently stellar part of the game, which is let down by uneven visuals and poor gameplay balance. You're better off looking elsewhere for your tactical RPG fix on Switch.
Digimon World: Next Order is an open-world RPG that's too much of a grind to recommend. While the music and graphics have their charm, they're totally overshadowed by the unbalanced difficulty, highly-repetitive training mechanics, and some very strange design choices. Unless you're a die-hard Digimon fan with untold patience, this one is best left alone.
Nadir: A Grimdark Deckbuilder succeeds in delivering a visually beautiful experience, but the game around these gorgeously metal images doesn't feel like it had the same care as the art design. It is frustratingly difficult, a fact exacerbated by the inconsistently presented information and issues around how the game's controls were ported to the Switch. This is a game that feels unfinished, despite the visual flair it offers.
Still, this isn’t a bad game. The cast isn’t quite as good as previous entries but is still solid. The combat mechanics are stellar and will keep you excited throughout the 30 or so hours it takes to complete the main plot. Everything outside the combat, however, feels like it was added simply because they couldn’t possibly ship a JRPG without a host of mini-games to pad out the runtime. I went into Fire Emblem Engage expecting “great”, so “good” feels like a disappointment.
Some minor technical issues aside — like hair clipping through character models in a way that feels lazy and haphazard for a big release like this — there is more to like than dislike in Fire Emblem Engage thus far. My biggest worry, looking forward to the next several dozen hours of my life, is that some of the more interesting characters aren’t being introduced as early as I would like. But we shall see!
If you're a fan of tight strategy games that don't take themselves too seriously, Kaiju Wars is a short but well-balanced title that sees you defending your homeland from giant monsters. The retro graphics and sound allow the developers to lean into the campest kaiju film tropes, but the gameplay itself shouldn't be overlooked because of the silly packaging. Even without the additional features that the PC version eventually got, there is plenty here to sink your teeth into across the short playtime.
Sail Forth isn't the best open-world game for the Switch, but it takes the procedurally generated formula presented in No Man's Sky and gives it a much more approachable (and nautical) feel. The visuals are relaxing and effective, and almost every character has a lot of charm in the way they're presented. Sailing is surprisingly fun despite some distracting bugs, and the fleet-building mechanics have just enough depth without feeling overwhelming. A good way to unwind if you're happy to go with the wind.
There is a good game in Paper Cut Mansion, but it would need at least a year polishing and refining what's here to make it worthwhile. As it is, the interesting concept and excellent art direction can't make up for shallow gameplay and clunky mechanics. Nothing in this game is terrible, but there are far better roguelites out there to spend your time and money on.
Romancing SaGa – Minstrel Song – Remastered ambitions and achievements still feel fresh today. The open-world system is remarkably well-implemented and the multiple-protagonist approach feels modern even in a game that has been on the market for decades, but control issues, the vague nature of the game, and a slow progression system drag it down. Unfortunately, this is a cult classic JRPG that is less than the sum of its parts.
If you go in expecting to sink 100 hours into Dragon Quest Treasures or think you'll get the same kind of intricate plot that the series is known for, you'll come away disappointed. However, if you are a younger gamer that is itching for a taste of what a JRPG is like or you just want something laid back to tackle, there is a lot of fun to be had here. Everything you'd expect in a JRPG is in this game, just stripped back to the basics, all adorned with that timeless Dragon Quest charm.
Unless you're a die-hard fan of the original or the TRPG genre in general, you're probably safe to give this one a miss or just lower the difficulty of the combat to enjoy the story. Despite the strengths of the setting and the characters, the gameplay becomes more frustrating than fun and won't keep most players engaged past the first few hours. It's a shame because there is a brilliance to telling the same story from two opposing points of view, but that gets buried beneath poorly implemented mechanics. Unfortunately, modern visuals and sound can't salvage gameplay here that feels too random to be satisfying.
Signalis is a near-perfect love letter to the survival horror genre. Its atmosphere and tension feel natural and earned, with callbacks to sci-fi classics scattered throughout. It is at its best when you're darting between enemies, using stealth and patience rather than brute force. While some of the combat encounters felt a little forced, the puzzles are just the right mix of challenging and approachable. The surreal imagery and unique storytelling structure add to the overall polish of a game that is the perfect length for what it is. Highly recommended.
Like the gears in an engine, everything in Factorio has a purpose. There is little in terms of extras here but what is present in this factory management sim does its job beautifully. Despite some issues with the way the Switch port is presented and controls, these are minor issues in an otherwise stellar game that will have you obsessing over the best possible layout for your factory or wanting to keep playing to see what the next research tree unlocks.
If you’re looking for a horror game to play, Yomawari: Lost in the Dark is a solid example of atmospheric storytelling and tackling daunting subjects without hammering the point home too much. It plays great on the Switch and benefits from the console’s portability. Playing with headphones in and in a dark room really adds to the tension. You can also grab it on Steam and PlayStation consoles.
Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher is the quintessential Monster Rancher experience, just bigger, louder, and more polished looking. The mechanics of the combat and training cycle will be familiar to long-time fans while the new larger scale of the creatures lends itself to the scale of Ultraman and his monstrous foes. Scanning every electronic device in your house to see what monster pops out is satisfying even if the actual gameplay gets stale over time.
Dragon Ball: The Breakers isn't likely to challenge titles like Dead by Daylight for the top spot in this growing asymmetrical multiplayer genre, but it is a fun game that stands out among the rest of the Dragon Ball franchise for daring to do something different. Despite some technical issues at launch and the need to do a lot of grinding if you want to get enough experience with the different Raiders, this is still a worthwhile multiplayer timesink for anime fans.
If you’re new to 4X games, we could see this being a gentle introduction to an often-overwhelming genre. There is certainly enough content here to get new players interested, though for returning veterans it will probably not scratch that itch for more than a handful of hours. For them, The Battle of Polytopia will be a brief distraction and very little else.
Chaos;Child is, by most metrics, a step up from its predecessor and has every right to stake a claim at being the best game in the Science Adventure series. There is a huge amount of content and it will take several dozen hours for players to get to the bottom of the return of the New Gen Madness case. Despite some small issues with the text's formatting, the story is compelling enough to keep most players invested through the long runtime. With solid characters and some genuinely surprising twists, fans of visual novels will want to get their hands on this one if they haven't played Chaos;Child before.
Chaos;Head Noah isn't the best game in the Science Adventure series, but it is a great point for players to jump in if they're new to the genre. Visual novel veterans will find plenty to enjoy here as well, with a story that goes to some dark and unsettling places. The plot makes no attempt at making sense and there are times when we wanted to strangle Takumi for being such a weirdo, but it remains engaging and fun throughout. This is an easy one to recommend, either on its own or as part of the bundle with its sequel.