Criticism that a game is too short is also praise in its own way. It means that it is so good that it leaves you wanting more. I don’t think being short is necessarily bad. I prefer short and sweet over long and tedious. As I have gotten older and found free time becoming increasingly scarce, I’ve looked less for long epics and more for bite size experiences I know I’ll complete. Therefore, for those looking for something quick and easy to pick up, lovers of fairy tales, avid puzzle game players, and people of all ranges in experience with video games, I highly recommend Storyteller.
Usually, when we say a game is “fun,” we mean it is fun for the player to play. Born of Bread is a game that is fun in that sense. It is cute, colorful, quirky, punny, and witty. The developers clearly enjoyed themselves while making it. Characters make funny faces and have fun designs. It’s a silly game in the best sense. I likely would have enjoyed it as a kid. But when it has to stand against my adult criticisms, I unfortunately find it lacking.
I could go on and on with praises for Outer Wilds. The atmosphere, the sound design, the score, the overwhelmingly amazing attention to detail, clever puzzle design, the story. It is magical. Outer Wilds is a must on Switch. Yūgen is a Japanese concept that doesn’t have a direct English translation. It varies, but I particularly like this definition: “an awareness of the universe that triggers an emotional response too deep and powerful for words.” After looking away from my Switch screen once the final credits of the (main) ending finished only to find myself back on Earth in a room that felt too small to contain something intangible, I took a quiet moment to pause and reorient myself in this reality. I think I need some time on the roof to stargaze for a while.
Kingdom Two Crowns is easily one of my favorite games and keeps me coming back again and again even without updates. It’s a game where starting fresh can feel great, but progress and advancement is rewarding. It took an already engaging and memorable game, Kingdom New Lands, and developed it into a well balanced multiplayer experience. It’s three versions in one are a stellar deal and the Norse Lands DLC is so much more than a cherry on top. For fantasy, strategy, and indie fans, Kingdom Two Crowns: Norse Lands is a must.
Animation is the art of movement and Omno is clearly a work of art, but isn’t the masterpiece I was hoping it to be. Despite that, it is still an impressive feat. It is no surprise that the game reached three times its funding goal on Kickstarter. The game is beautiful and enjoyable. It brings new elements to the growing genre of peaceful games. I especially loved the long list of new creatures to interact with. However, minor details left me not quite falling head over heels.
Animal Crossing Happy Home Paradise takes all that was innovative, fun, and satisfying from the original Happy Home Designer, fixes what made the game complete, and expands on the original game altogether creating a DLC expansion that, despite a few set backs, is well worth it for any owner of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Slime Rancher: Plortable Edition is a perfect combination of adventure, management, and cuteness that is addicting in the way all the best management sims are, but still brings a lot of originality to the genre. It’s relaxing and a must-play on Switch for any wholesome gamers.
Unto the End does a great job at capturing the struggle of survival and returning home, but is the struggle worth it? There isn’t a huge epic within Unto the End. There is no dialogue and the story is simple. The actual game in length is fairly short, but the repeated deaths due to brutal combat significantly lengthens the experience, if you even finish it. The story’s depth comes from the player’s emotions as they struggle to master the gameplay mirroring the hero’s struggle to make it home. But not everyone plays a video game to feel that kind of frustration. I sure don’t and though there were aspects to like about Unto the End, the combat was overall what ruined the experience for me.
What sounded like the combination of a management game, Animal Crossing, and The Sims turned out to be barely influenced by all three. If you’re looking for a relaxing Switch game where you can collect clothing, decorate your home, and hang out with animals, there is already the perfect game for you: Animal Crossing New Horizons. If you’ve already played it to the point of needing new joysticks, then there are plenty of other indie alternatives to pick up before giving Calico consideration.
Ultimately, Kolumno is an interesting concept and will likely be appealing to some players. There is gratification to be had when completing the levels and watching them play out perfectly feels like viewing a satisfaction compilation video on YouTube. However, the frustration in repeated failure on the same level or the controls that are awkward enough to break the relaxing feeling of the game overshadowed the positive moments.
Though it isn’t the perfect space game, it’s a pretty darn good one. It gives you so much to think about, but it never feels overwhelming thanks to the three difficulty settings. A casual player will have a great time with the Explorer setting, whereas fans of resource management games who love to strategize will enjoy the Veteran setting. The game is also educational and a great way to get newcomers interested in space.
I play a good amount of indie games yet this game, I believe, is the first game I have played by a Peruvian game developer. My first playthrough left me scratching my head at the cryptic story. It was only after reading an article on Peruvian funeral traditions did I begin to see the story and its metaphors with more clarity. It is experiences like this that make me happy as both a gamer and an anthropologist. As barriers for video game development become less and less of an obstacle, gamers are more and more likely to come across games made from cultures they have never been in contact with.
I would love to visit the charming island of Shelmerston. Clearly a lot of thought was put into this game and it is enjoyable to discover that. Unfortunately, I Am Dead’s repetitive gameplay, awkward controls, and short story that left me feeling discontent made me overall a bit disappointed.
Though A Short Hike doesn’t bring much new to the table (many elements will feel similar to Journey, Celeste, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Animal Crossing, or Stardew Valley), the game combines familiar mechanics so well that A Short Hike, despite a few small drawbacks, is a well put together, relaxing game you shouldn’t miss out on.