TOKOYO: The Tower of Perpetuity is a game worth having on your Switch digital library, simply because of its pick-up and play appeal, and also because it offers an experience that literally renews itself on a daily basis. Also, this is far from a solitary roguelike experience, as you’ll be part of an active community, one where everyone takes on an entirely new journey together each day.
Centipede: Recharged is a welcome modernization of a timeless arcade shooter. The classic ’80s gameplay is fully intact, and the new power-ups and challenges spice up what was already a fine-tuned experience. Some of the best games in the world are ones that instantly wire into your reflexes, and Centipede: Recharged is definitely one you’ll want to keep around for pure shooting bliss.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a remarkable and magical adventure, and it’s honestly still hard to believe this is an indie title. This is the kind of game that simply needs to be part of every gamer’s library and one that raises the bar for the adventure genre in this generation. With emotional story beats, a compelling game world, engaging level design, challenging boss battles, and surprising combat versatility, Kena: Bridge of Spirits is an experience far greater than the sum of its many interconnected parts.
Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions is one for the movie fans, but it’s also a fun arcade boxing game for anyone who happens to be looking for one. The core boxing action is entertaining, with a wide cast of characters to try out. While the game falls short in its presentation and gameplay modes, there is still enough here to provide a satisfying boxing challenge as you unlock new content and relive your favorite moments from the movies.
The story is filled with emotional and meaningful moments, even if they interrupt the pace a fair bit. While the combat and world design can get repetitive, there are plenty of cool moments in terms of boss encounters and learning new abilities. So if you’re after a comfortably paced and unique Zelda-style adventure, then Arietta of Spirits certainly won’t disappoint.
Spelunker HD Deluxe doesn’t quite live up to its namesake, given how it is largely based on a release from over a decade ago, where the core game itself lacks the charm of the series by design. The awkward mechanics haven’t aged very well, but the premise of the level design and progression can be interesting and even rewarding at times. Unfortunately, the experience as a whole feels needlessly frustrating and dated, especially when you’re fighting against the controls for the most part.
For a video game to demand the player derive their own meaning from it is asking a lot. This makes Sky: Children of the Light a challenging proposition even as a free release on Switch. For many, it may be a few hours of wandering about before they are put off by the aimlessness of it all. Still, at least for its niche audience, they will likely self-select into this unique gaming community. Sky is a pointless online video game experience driven by the player’s own subjective interpretation, but that’s perhaps the entire point.
Cotton Reboot! is one for the diehard shmup historian. The core experience is largely based on a dated shmup design, which will be noticeable to newcomers and genre veterans. It’s a welcomed preservation of a rare and oft-forgotten Japanese cult classic. Still, some of the choices in the visual presentation make the reboot experience far more uncomfortable than it needs to be. Nevertheless, better shooters are available and even better Cotton games are on the horizon, making Cotton Reboot! one for the connoisseurs and collectors.
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: The Official Video Game is a functional and serviceable sports video game at best. While it features various events, the play mechanics and controls are too basic, so there isn’t much long-term replay value. The biggest problem here is that the experience sits somewhere between a sports simulator and an arcade game, and it doesn’t succeed with either approach. If you own a Nintendo Switch, pick up Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 instead.
Mushihimesama is a long overdue and welcome release on Nintendo Switch, serving as an exemplar of its developer’s signature shmup style. The Switch version comes with all modes and features intact, and so whether you are a returning veteran or a complete newcomer, players can approach the experience however they like. However, regardless of who you are, Mushihimesama is the quintessential bullet-hell shooter that is especially a blast to play in handheld mode.
Guilty Gear -Strive- is the premier fighting game for the next generation of gaming. At launch, the experience feels complete with an in-depth single-player, robust multiplayer, and plenty of great extras. It has, without a doubt, the best 2.5D graphics featuring unreal fluidity in its animation. The gameplay is superbly refined and engaging, featuring a roster of imaginative characters with uniquely contrasting fighting styles. What once was an obscure fighting game has now become a genre leader, like a small-town rock band selling out stadiums.
Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown appears to be a test to see if a revival would be feasible for this series to modern consoles. There seems to be a push to get this game in as many hands as possible to gauge interest and show that Virtua Fighter can still put up a fight. Thankfully, the updated systems, balances, and visuals make this a worthy fighter, but a lot rides on the competitive modes.
Cozy Grove definitely lives up to its namesake as a cozy gaming experience, one designed for short bursts of play, where playing a little each day allows you to get more out of it than longer play sessions. The basic gameplay loop is limited, but the charm of the game world and the basic premise provides a relaxing sense of achievement. While it doesn’t replace Animal Crossing as your next time-sink, it does enough to provide a lighter and less demanding alternative.
SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium holds up really well as a 2021 release on Switch, and while the other fighting games in the Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection were interesting curiosities at best, this one feels like a legitimately strong fighting game experience in its own right. The game undoubtedly suffers from the basic limitations holding back other games on the handheld. Still, thanks to the diverse roster of characters, game modes, mini-games, and the sheer fanservice detail, this is an excellent retro fighting experience on Switch.
Heaven’s Vault is one of those extraordinary adventure games that will likely become more legendary in time. Much like the ancient Empire that players must uncover in the game, Heaven’s Vault is rife with intricate details where players are likely to notice something new each time they revisit the immense nebula. While not all of its gameplay ideas are effective, and Aliya as a protagonist can take a while to become likable, the adventure as a whole is staggeringly epic, one that makes you feel like a providential participant in a dynamically evolving narrative.
Tanuki Justice is an enjoyable and welcome retro release, one that recaptures the magic of ninja action games like Shinobi and Ninja Gaiden while adding some bullet hell shenanigans to provide a different type of challenge. There are some mechanical imperfections and omissions which do hamper the intended fast-paced ninja action. Still, the experience as a whole tends to shine through thanks to its vibrant presentation and strong level design.
Morbid: The Seven Acolytes is a challenging game which generally incorporates both the good and annoying elements of a Souls-like experience. Still, it manages to stand out thanks to its strong dark fantasy presentation, rich Lovecraftian lore, and gameplay systems that offer methodical combat and plenty of features to make the adventure satisfying. It’s a difficult game, for sure, but it doesn’t forego quality-of-life features for the sake of being difficult, and so in this sense, many players outside of the Souls fandom can get something out of it.
QV is one of those games that ticks all the right boxes for its particular niche. As an isometric puzzle platformer, there’s little else like it at the moment, and so it manages to have an audience even among so many video game releases. It’s a comfortable and well-designed puzzle romp complemented by some genuinely catchy tunes.
Mad Father is a legitimate survival horror experience that takes after the seminal Sweet Home. The storyline is genuinely intriguing and disturbing, with a captivating narrative complemented by authentic gameplay systems that create a true survival horror challenge. Despite simple pixel graphics, Mad Father manages to use its excellent sound design to create a horrifying atmosphere. It may lack 8K powered zombies, but there are plenty of scares here for even the most seasoned horror game fans.
Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings sits comfortably between being an inviting arcade-style romp and a serious baseball simulator. It's easy enough to get into the swing of things, but there's plenty of depth for those looking for a baseball video game to invest in.