Card Shark has a few things going for it, not the least of which is unique gameplay. I've never played anything like this. The watercolor style looks great. But the story feels like an afterthought; it never felt important or drove the actual game anywhere. The card playing part of Card Shark is nonexistent, instead focusing on the tricks you are trying to pull. While the tricking is fun, there is a lot to remember, and some of the tricks feel silly to perform. This might not be Devolver Digital's biggest game to date, but it does have that feel that most Devolver Digital games give off - a unique game with a unique look and feel. Card Shark doesn't fit into a genre, which is something to admire.
There isn't much that sets Souldiers apart from other Metroidvanias. A big map to explore, secrets to discover, and plenty of upgrades. But limiting players to one of three unique classes does not make me want to play Souldiers all over again a second, let alone, third time. Dying is a struggle, and loading back in after a minute to die all over again is not rewarding. Puzzles that frustrated me to no end were common enough to keep me away. Souldiers will only appeal to those who are gluttons for punishment with little reward.
Good puzzle games make you see the pathways in your mind before they show up in the game. Mini Motorways does this, and does it well. At its heart, Mini Motorways is about failure. Or your attempt to push failure back as long as possible, just like my parents' marriage. Eventually your city will collapse under its own pressure. But if you need a half hour to kill Mini Motorways is a great choice.
While the visuals and voice acting didn't sell me, there was plenty else to sink my fangs into. Choices. So many different, split second choices that made me feel that what I did mattered. A story that kept me searching out clues to find what was really afoot, and great RPG elements too. I was a bit unsure how a game would handle three main characters, and while they're all kinda jerks in their own ways, they're my jerks. I was able to overlook any issues I had without having to sacrifice much to do so.
Loot River has a lot of good features. Controls, artwork, music are all very nice. The combat, while not bad, does nothing to move the genre forward. The unique Tetris-like platform moving is enjoyable, but nowhere near the complexity or difficulty of Tetris. I can see the potential for a great experience, but it just isn't quite there. Occasional difficulty spikes that knock me for a loop and put me out of the mood to make another run leaves Loot River as a good, not great, game.
I'm not sure what I thought I was going to get with Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition. I thought I would be swept away in the story and taken on an adventure I wouldn't forget. What I got was a game that feels like it is trapped in 1995. Some of that is good, solid combat, old-school CG cutscenes, excellent music. If you are new to Chrono Cross this edition is the one you want. It is beyond welcoming to new players. But there was too much holding the game back for me to make it a great game. A cast list so massive I felt bothered by it, and a story that is a bit bonkers was too much for me. Chrono Cross had to crawl so modern JRPGs could run, but it doesn't fit in with JRPGs of today.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed can take you back to 2008, with all the good and mediocrity that comes with it. Do you need to play this if you like Star Wars? I think so. It's a story that feels right at home with the original trilogy, some plot is good, some goofy, it's certainly Star Wars. Some shortcomings like basic level design, targeting, and boss mini games. But using your force lightning to attack clone troops is satisfying. Not a perfect game, but darn near close to a perfect Star Wars game.
No Place Like Home offers a unique take of the farm simulation genre by placing you on a near desolate Earth. Unfortunately it is also void of memorable NPCs and contains little story to sink into. While the addition of a sci-fi element is welcome, the overall gameplay feels like it came from a farm sim made fifteen years ago. There is plenty to enjoy, especially if you want to stick to farming and cleaning up. But since No Place Like Home feels like it is missing modern mechanics that have become mainstays in the genre I'm not sure it's for everyone.
I am at a loss for words when it comes to Rune Factory 5. I had a lot of fun, but it comes at a price. In order to truly enjoy the game I have to get over the horrible optimization. It's not game breaking, but frustrating doesn't begin to cover it. The RPG mechanics are fun, so is the farming. While not the update to the series I was hoping for, there is still fun to be had for the die hard fans who simply have to play it. Everyone else might want to enter with care.
The first handful of gameplay hours are working against Triangle Strategy. Not a lot of combat, characters that you don't care about yet doing things that are not very interesting. However, there is an excellent game, with a fascinating story to experience, hiding behind all of that initial content. You have to learn about the world you are dropped into before you can have the ride of your life, if that's not of interest then look elsewhere. It's hard to say just play the first four hours, if you're not hooked by then you'll never be, but it's the truth.
Battle Cry of Freedom is fun but problematic. With no tutorial you're left to figure everything out on your own. An even bigger issue is the not so subtle racism found in the community in a game that pits confederacy vs the union - and you pick whichever side you want. While players' behavior is not the fault of developer Flying Squirrel Entertainment, making a game whose topic is the civil war brings out some less than savory people. Combat is fun, but understanding the flow of battles takes patience. You don't need a PHD to play Battle Cry of Freedom, but a Bachelors probably goes a long way to understanding pivotal gameplay mechanics.
I'm glad I was able to mark these off my bucket list of games I wanted to play but never got around to. Whatever I had to sacrifice to be able to play these games on my Switch was worth it. The story of Ezio Auditore starts a little slow, but by the end of his third game I was ready to seek out the next game. Everything can feel a little outdated compared to newer entries, but as someone who has never played these games this was a great way to experience them.
Lost Ark is light on the MMO, and heavy on the action- RPG, taking all the elements from MMOs that make them great, and a few that make them a bit dull to fans of the genre. It's easy to get lost in the customization before you even set foot in the fleshed out world. The five main classes are the big star, each feels and plays differently enough making me want to replay the game just to try them out. Being able to tackle this game with friends will make for a better overall time with the game, but it isn't required to have a good time. Lost Ark warrants a look if you like action-RPGs, MMOs, or both.
The Company Man plays out like I expected it to, but in a good way. The floors each look different, even though they look different they don't play too differently from one to the next. Boss battles are fun and different enough that I looked forward to playing each one at the end of a floor. Some of the upgrading options felt a little slow for my taste, but I only have minor complaints to file with H.R. about the game.
There isn't much to say about Clockwork Aquario. It's a side scrolling game. It doesn't stand out, looking good and having solid controls doesn't make it a must play. While Clockwork Aquario is a fun game, it's price of admission doesn't make it a must play for anyone other than a diehard 90s arcade fanboy.
Big Brain Academy: Brain Vs Brain is a great pick up and play title. I found myself becoming addicted to trying to do better each time I sat down. The new addition of multiplayer is very welcome. Allowing each user to select the starting difficulty made this a fun game to play with my very non-competitive wife. If mind games are something you enjoy, or if you've played a Brain Academy or Brain Age title this would be a good addition to your Switch line up.
Pocket Dungeon grabbed me immediately and hasn't let go. Everything in this puzzle game works; the aesthetic, controls, modes, bosses, replayability. A puzzle game that has this level of polish will stand the test of time with the likes of Tetris.
I don't know what I expected from Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX. Never playing a game in the series but wanting to try it out might have set my expectations too high. Monster Rancher is a unique take on a game, it also takes someone who wants to play a unique kind of game to get the maximum enjoyment from it. I don't think that was me, but I can appreciate two well made games, even if they're not my perfect cup of tea. The Nintendo Switch might be the best place for this type of slower paced, menu based game. Overall I enjoyed my time with the games, but not as much as I hoped to.
I need a little more hand holding than Sherlock Holmes Chapter One gives. I'm not as smart as Sherlock, and found myself bumbling around at times like a lost child. When I was in the zone I was having a good time. The variety of costumes made for a fun time, and the eavesdropping mini game were a good distraction to a worthwhile story. The game has flaws, but those can easily be overlooked with a mountain of fun and interesting mysteries to solve.
It's easy to look back with rose tinted glasses when it comes to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. But after spending a week back in this world I can easily say there are no tinted glasses here. It's as good as I recalled it back in the day. If you've never played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic this is a great way to jump in. I couldn't believe a game that came out in 2003 could still hold my attention, even on the fifth or sixth playthrough that I had while reviewing the game. The atmosphere created by the game is second to none when it comes to Star Wars games. Playing on the Nintendo Switch might be the best way to experience, load screens were fast, and the game looks great in handheld mode. The Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic story is one every Star Wars fan should experience.