Ultimately, Grapple Dog is fun, and sometimes that’s what I want from a game: no seriousness, just light-hearted, satisfying fun. And it offers that, in spades. If you love a good platformer, it’s a must-play.
I really enjoyed Heaven Dust 2. It’s a cute little indie game, and it will give you a nice nostalgia hit. The puzzles and bosses help to break up the otherwise repetitive exploration of the facility, and it looks nice too. The biggest issue I had with this game is the navigation. Had some areas been more clearly signposted, it would have saved me a lot of frustration while wandering around. The translation could do with some work too. Otherwise, it’s a solid game that will give you a good 8-10 hours of entertainment.
Honestly, I was surprised by how much I got into Watch Over Christmas. I went into it thinking it would be a game to keep my daughter happy on Boxing Day, but the classic gameplay style and sense of humor kept me engaged for longer. If you fancy trying out a new point-and-click, it’s definitely worth checking out Watch Over Christmas. Grab it now and play it in the build-up to next Christmas, or use it as a nice, cozy distraction from your back-to-work blues in the new year.
I don’t think I’ve ever spent more time thinking about the objects that I own (apart from that time I watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and accidentally got rid of half of our stuff). I come from a long line of renters and have moved around a decent amount of times. And yet, some things – a Beanie Baby named Freckles, a box of old photographs – have moved along with me, adding permanence to something transient. Ultimately, Unpacking resonated so deeply with me, more so than any narrative-heavy games I’ve played this year. Life is not about things. After all, we don’t take things with us in the end. But things do tell a story of who we were. Things take on a meaning that we perhaps don’t even realize they have. Things are an outward clue about the things that matter to us. Unpacking shows this in a way I had never thought about before, just by forcing me to place each item one by one, and it reminds me of the unique power of video games to tell a story in a way that cannot exist in any other medium. I took the wine cooler. It lives on my windowsill. I use it to store kitchen utensils, and I don’t really notice it anymore. But every time I reach for a spatula, I see it. It reminds me, subtly, of my roots, of where I came from. And that’s no small thing. Look, I’m getting emotional. Just play Unpacking, alright? It’s gorgeous. You won’t regret it.
It’s difficult to give a score to The Suicide of Rachel Foster. I could have loved this game. And I did really enjoy it, right up until the last moment. It was everything I wanted in a walking sim. Creepy, atmospheric, with interesting characters and a rich, detailed environment. But it was ultimately let down by the end of the story, which mishandles a pretty sensitive topic, and left me feeling disappointed and frustrated.
So, would I recommend it? I think you have to be a real fan of the genre to want to stick with it all the way through (or really obsessed with Lovecraft). While the characters and setting are interesting, the middle sections of each case drag on a bit too long. And I would have liked it to be creepier for a horror game. Check it out if you’re a fan of visual novels and you want a new one to try out.
No Longer Home is a short game. To be honest, I expected it to be a bit longer given the price, and I felt a bit frustrated that I barely scratched the surface in terms of finding out who Ao and Bo actually are. My favorite part is right at the start. In the prologue, you get to see Ao and Bo having their first proper (drunken) conversation. It is exactly like watching yourself in your twenties – going from ‘I barely know you’ to ‘let’s have an incredibly deep philosophical conversation about the meaning of life’ in about thirty seconds. You get to see them click together, a fledgling friendship right at the start. And it’s really nice to watch. Do their conversations become a bit pretentious and self-centered? Well, yeah, sometimes. But then again, I think I remember being like that in my early twenties, too. Overall, it was a surprisingly emotionally complex game, but a lot shorter than I’d liked. Still, I’d recommend giving it a go if you’re after a new indie game for the Switch.