It is less about being a “good” game and more about being an enjoyable and playful reflection on gaming’s past while serving as a self-reflective parody of the interaction between players and developers. The interaction between the developer and the player in tERRORbane is messy, combative, and antagonistic, but it is also thoughtful, concerned, and culminates as a unique bond. tERRORbane knows what it wants to be and defies convention to be an utterly unique experience.
Royal Frontier has the foundation for a capable rogue-like but ultimately doesn’t do enough with its formula. It has the road map for a fulfilling journey, but it doesn’t provide enough interesting stops along the way to provide a reason to make the trip more than once. It isn’t a bad journey, but it isn’t one worth boasting about in the tavern at the end.
Despite some dated design elements that could have used a few modern adjustments, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is as playable and engaging today as it was when it was released in 2003. The core gameplay mechanics still work well with the excellent world-building and storytelling, and being able to play a classic in handheld mode makes it an attractive purchase on the Nintendo Switch.
Shadow Corridor is a low-budget, digital haunted house experience that delivers exactly what it promises and is good for a night of spooky fun as a novelty experience. It’s thrills might not be enough to sustain the experience past the first few levels, but the experience provided by the early portion of the game might be worth the low price of entry alone.
The Caligula Effect 2 is a big, content-heavy, competent game that suffers from poor graphical presentation. The premise and characters are interesting and the combat system is engaging, which helps make up for lackluster dungeons and world design and sub-par visual presentation on the Nintendo Switch.
Hindsight 20/20: Wrath of the Raakshasa is an average throwback action adventure with promising choice mechanics that are undermined by dull characters and shallow world-building. If you are interested in the pure mechanics of seeing how your choices branch, there may be enough here to enjoy. If you are like me and you need a better reason to replay to see the choice mechanics at work, there is still a competent, old-fashioned game that you can complete quickly and still have time to dive into a visual novel afterward.
WitchSpring 3 [Re:Fine]: The Story of Euridy is a pleasant and engaging game on the Nintendo Switch. The delightful story pairs well with the flexible playstyle and character development options. WitchSpring 3 [Re:Fine]: The Story of Euridy is a bit shorter than a typical console role-playing game, but I found it was just the right length before its systems and narrative lost their sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.
King of Seas feels like an early-access version of a game that doesn’t want to admit it’s still in early-access. There’s an interesting game waiting to be played beneath a sea of performance issues and incomplete design choices. When everything works and the design comes together, King of Seas is a delightful pirate romp that briefly holds in its hand the map leading to the treasure of a portable pirate adventure.
I am looking forward to spending many seasons in my own village of Littlewood. The ease of play and streamlined mechanics make it a near-perfect fantasy world to escape into a hectic day. It is Stardew Valley without the stress of time; Animal Crossing: New Horizon, without the byzantine limits to work through; Ultima Online without the threat of being killed by, well, everything.
Undermine is an excellent and challenging rogue-like that fans of the genre will enjoy. While it is more approachable than some of its counterparts, it still demands time and effort from the player and may not be for everyone. The 16-bit aesthetic may be alluring to novices of the genre, but be aware that the game is deep and challenging and depends on the player’s commitment in order to achieve maximum enjoyment.