Somewhere deep down in the development brief for Tiny Racer there is a glimmer of a good idea, but, unfortunately, a good idea on its own does not make a good game. A poor physics engine, uninspired gameplay and glitches up the wazoo make Tiny Racer difficult to redeem. If you want an arcade racer to play with friends, Tiny Racer is several continents away from being in a position to compete for Mario Kart’s throne.
Overall, I think Sakura Wars just isn’t for me. If you like a game that’s framed as a long anime TV show with the occasion interactive section, this game is 100% for you. If you like dating sims for their depiction of ‘healthy’ relationship building, this game is 100% for you. If you’re more interested in a game’s aesthetic theming, art style and soundtrack than the gameplay, this game is 100% for you. Unfortunately, I’m none of those people so the appeal of Sakura Wars passes me by. If you’re a veteran of the genre, I’m sure Sakura Wars is a great example of an action role-playing dating sim. However, as a layman with no history with the franchise, Sakura Wars looks to me to have very little going on and what is going on is slow, drawn-out and low-key misogynistic.
For me, Fallen Legion: Revenants is one of those restaurants that does fancy and experimental food and that has highly mixed reviews on TripAdvisor. Maybe the apple crumble flavoured pasta and peanut butter salad are doing something interesting, but by the time you finish you’re still hungry and just want some proper food so you stop by a Five Guys on the way home. It was certainly an experience. There’s some interesting stuff going on in there somewhere and I’m sure some people will get a lot out of it, but if you’re expecting to draw parallels to a game you’ve played before, you’re going to end up disappointed.
Overall, Shakes on a Plane is inherently pretty average. It has a great premise with some less than great execution in places. However, that great premise is directly ripped from another game and, as the old saying goes, if you come for the king you better not miss. Shakes on a Plane didn’t exactly miss its swing for the co-op cooking game throne but the strength of the swing was equivalent to an ant swinging a toothpick at a giant. If you’re looking for a chaotic game to play with friends to beat the lockdown blues, there isn’t much to promote Shakes on a Plane over the king: Overcooked.
Orwell’s Animal Farm is a great retelling of a classic story. It’s almost a visual novel but the level of interactivity and choice elevates the game well above what it could’ve been with a little less ambition. It’s small scale but the number of options and potential story outcomes give a good amount of replayability and intrigue. Overall, I think the content is perfectly pitched for the price and, whether you’re a fan of the novel or want to experience the story for the first time, it’s definitely worth a couple of hours of your time.
Skelattack is a beautiful and endearing indie game with a soul borrowed from a FromSoftware game. It’s gorgeous, challenging and so compelling. When you put it down, it won’t be long until you pick it back up for another go. It is let down by some awkward controls and uninspired combat but on balance, I came away with some really positive feelings for Skelattack.
Overall, Adventures of Pip is 90% formulaic but well-built platformer with 10% juicy, new, resolution-switching puzzling. It’s a good example of a pure action platformer, but there are an awful lot of games in that genre and the question remains whether the bitforce transformations are enough to make it stand out from the crowd. I enjoyed my time with Adventures of Pip and I would recommend it. It’s neither jack-of-all-trades nor master of one, it’s more like ‘proficient at one and a half’, which is good enough for me.
In my mind, Lonely Mountains: Downhill is the perfect Switch game and, a pretty great game regardless of platform. It feels amazing, looks fantastic and is exactly the right level of challenging. The way that you can pick it up for five minutes, have a run through a trail and have a fun time makes it ideally suited to what I think the switch does best, that pick-up-and-play genre of games you can play on a train or while waiting for a bus. Even then, you can sit down with it for a few hours to make some progress through a mountain, tackle a difficult challenge or destroy your high score. Whatever type of gamer you are, Lonely Mountains: Downhill has something for you to sink your teeth into and it’s a strong recommendation from me.