Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons may not be the greatest nonogram puzzler available on the Switch, but this is certainly another worthwhile and enjoyable entry in the genre-especially for fans who also love a good farm sim. This is ultimately little more than a nonogram puzzle pack themed after Story of Seasons, but really it doesn't need to be anything else, even if it would be interesting to see how farm sim gameplay elements could be more directly integrated into the gameplay. As long as you're not too bothered by a game experience that feels a little less polished than the Picross series, Piczle Cross: Story of Seasons is an easy recommendation to any puzzle enthusiasts out there.
Bandle Tale is a solid crafting RPG with some really interesting ideas, although it doesn't always execute these ideas as well as it feels like it could have. An expansive crafting system, stunning art style, and hilarious writing all work in Bandle Tale's favor, but the gameplay can sometimes come off as overly frustrating and tedious. As the (unintentionally) final entry in the Riot Forge project, Bandle Tale serves as a decent capstone to a really great idea, and we'd recommend it to anyone out there looking for a chill and immersive new life sim to add to their collection.
Eastward: Octopia may not bring many new ideas to a crowded genre, but this is an impressively well-executed expansion that nicely ticks all the boxes for a satisfying and relaxing farm sim. Although it has some rougher edges, the decent gameplay variety, interesting story, gorgeous visuals, and surprising amount of content all come together to make this one an easy recommendation to any fans of the original Eastward. Even for those of you who fell off your playthrough of the original for one reason or another, we'd encourage you to consider coming back for Octopia-this is a much better-paced game and, some performance issues aside, it's lost none of the charm that made the original so popular.
Mameda no Bakeru is a sweet, snappy, and satisfying linear 3D platformer that feels like a wonderful callback to a genre that doesn't get a ton of representation these days. Although it's really easy and has some performance problems, the gameplay variety, snappy combat, oodles of collectibles, and gorgeous art style all come together to make for an adventure that you won't want to miss out on. As long as you don't mind trawling through a bit of Japanese, we'd recommend you give this one a shot if you're willing to import it.
If you’re looking for a simple, fun, somewhat shallow arcade-like game for your Switch, Knights of the Rogue Dungeon is definitely something that’ll satisfy that need. It's over quickly, but this is an overall enjoyable experience—though we’d recommend you try the iOS game first to see if this is really for you.
Chico and the Magic Orchards DX is an excellent callback to simpler days, featuring authentic retro visuals, tight level design, and a surprising amount of variety for such a small package. It’ll only last you a couple of hours at most, but anyone who misses the days of the OG Game Boy will want to give this one a look. It’s lots of fun, plenty charming, and a great use of a fiver.
Palia isn't really anything special, but it doesn't necessarily have to be. There's a fun gameplay loop to engage with here that fans of farm sims will be sure to enjoy, and though the MMO elements feel rather underbaked in this pre-1.0 release, the microtransactions don't feel overbearing and there's enough solo-focused content here to make it worth trying out. It would be tough to recommend you pick this one up were it a full-price retail release, but you're sure to get at least an afternoon or two of good fun if you choose to try it out. At the end of the day, it costs nothing but time and storage space to give Palia a shot; we'd suggest you download it and see if it's for you-especially if you can't get enough of farm sims. We'll be back to see how this shakes out in 2024.
Born of Bread is a fine spiritual successor to the Paper Mario games of old, with a lighthearted story, hands-on combat system, and charming characters all coming together to make for a worthwhile experience. That said, it can feel kind of rough around the edges with a long list of bugs (at least at launch), confusing level designs, and occasionally oddly paced story. We'd recommend Born of Bread to any fans of Mario's traditional RPG adventures, as the positives here do outweigh the negatives, but just bear in mind that this loaf feels like it could've spent a little more time in the oven.
Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince is an enjoyable monster-catching RPG that combines charming visuals with addictive gameplay to make for a genuinely gripping experience, making it feel like the long wait since the last entry to leave Japan has been worth it. Even so, its general lack of ambition and struggles with performance issues hold it back from greatness-it's very good, but it's also definitely got its issues. If you're at all a fan of Dragon Quest or monster-catching RPGs, we'd suggest you pick this one up, though perhaps wait a few months to see if Square can sort out the worst of its performance issues.
Though it has its issues, The Last Faith feels like an overall welcome addition to the Switch's overstuffed Metroidvania and Soulslike libraries. Its tough combat, gothic aesthetic, and labyrinthine world all feel engaging, even if some of the upgrades feel underwhelming and performance can be rough. We'd recommend this to anyone who enjoyed either of the Blasphemous games or fans who can't get enough of the Soulsike formula-The Last Faith isn't the best example of this kind of gameplay, but it's an overall solid effort. However, we'd recommend investigating other platforms that can deliver better performance than Switch, if that's an option for you. Performance drops can really hurt the experience, so we've got our fingers crossed for further updates.
Astlibra Revision may not be a truly great game, but it is most certainly an interesting one. At the very least, it is unafraid to challenge JRPG conventions in unique ways while also demonstrating mastery of the genre's most basic tropes. It can feel a little too archaic in its design and haphazard in its pacing, while the vaguely Flash game-esque visuals are a bit of a letdown. On the whole, though, it proves to be a worthwhile experience, one that we would especially recommend to fans of older RPGs. If you can look past its faults, there's a lot to love about Astlibra; we'd suggest you investigate if your interest is piqued.
Persona 5 Tactica is a thrillingly varied tactical RPG that fans of the Phantom Thieves and the genre should take note of. It's a little on the easy side, but the varied gameplay, excellent soundtrack, striking visuals, and lovable characters all make for a very easy recommendation here.
Astral Ascent is a prime example of a game that amounts to more than the sum of its parts. Its strong character design, hi-bit visuals, tight combat, memorable bosses, and broad build variety have all featured in games you've probably played before-there's nothing 'new' here. But to write it off as just 'another one of those' in a crowded genre would be to miss out on one of the most delightful and surprising releases of the year. Astral Ascent is comfortably one of the best roguelites available on the Switch today, and we can easily recommend it to anyone with a passing interest in the genre. Don't miss it.
World of Horror is one of the most unique roguelites we've seen on the Switch eShop to date, its expert fusion of text-based adventure, survival horror, and roguelike mechanics makes for a difficult, harrowing, and spooky adventure that we'd recommend you give a shot. Not everyone will be charmed by its extremely retro aesthetics, but if you can get into the right mindset for giving this one a playthrough, you'll find there's a lot to love.
In a year overflowing with outstanding new RPGs, Star Ocean: The Second Story R is among the very best of them. This revival of a PlayStation classic does a thorough job of mixing modern game design and artistic elements with old-school sensibilities to make for one of the most impressive RPG releases of 2023. A lengthy, player-driven story, thrilling combat system, gorgeous new visual style, and remixed soundtrack all come together to make this one of the easiest recommendations we can make to any RPG fan. If you're even vaguely interested in picking this up, we'd encourage you to do so as soon as you can; Star Ocean: The Second Story R is comfortably the best entry in this series.
My Time at Sandrock is a decent new entry in the farm sim genre, though not one that we'd say you need to play. To its credit, its mixture of open-ended farming, crafting, socializing, and questing is compelling and could easily drive dozens of hours of gameplay if it gets its hooks in you. However, everything My Time at Sandrock does has been done elsewhere, and better. Couple this with the mess of technical problems at launch, and you've got a game that has its draws but does very little to demonstrate that it's worthy of your attention. If you've already started and finished several farms across the likes of Stardew Valley, Harvestella, and Story of Seasons, and are looking for something new - and you're not too bothered by bland presentation and technical hiccups - then My Time at Sandrock could be a decent way to keep working the land. That said, we'd recommend you wait for a deep sale, ideally several months from now once time proves whether those patches ever come.
Song of Nunu is yet another great addition to Riot Forge's growing lineup of games based in Runeterra. The heartwarming relationship between Nunu and Willump carries this compelling narrative, while the linear gameplay along the way is well-paced and engaging. Though performance could be better and combat is a little simplistic, this is an all-around great game that we can easily recommend to any fans of old-school Zelda or someone looking for a high-quality, narrative-focused game that's on the short side.
Suika Game is a competent and addictive little puzzler that does a great job of executing a very simple concept. There’s not a whole lot to it, but considering it's roughly the same price as a pack of gum, Suika Game is definitely worth the cost of admission. If you’re looking for a quick time waster to add to your Switch library, we’d recommend you pick it up.
Crymachina is like the RC Cola of action RPGs; it'll do if you're desperate for something to satisfy your craving, but it'd be tough to argue that it's anyone's top choice. The so-bad-it's-good story and fast-paced combat ultimately make this one worth the punt, but the game's overreliance on repetition wears off its sheen before too long. We'd give Crymachina a light recommendation to any fans of FuRyu's previous work or anyone looking for a low-investment action RPG that's all style and little substance. Crymachina is a decent outing, but you may want to wait for a reasonably deep sale on this one.
Gargoyles Remastered is an okay remaster of an okay game. Its moody 16-bit visuals and challenging difficulty will no doubt appeal to some, especially fans of the show, but its short length and often unfair design certainly hold it back from greatness. We'd say this one might be worth picking up if you can find it on a pretty decent sale down the road-it's entertaining enough despite its shortcomings-but you're not really going to be missing out on a ton if you choose to pass on it.