Putting the salubrious charms of the two-player mode aside for one moment, Rival Turf! is inferior to Capcom's Final Fight in every single way imaginable. The gameplay is insipid, the characters look like they've wandered off the set of a Vanilla Ice music video, and the presentation is lacklustre. This is a game that was practically sold on the fact that it allows you to play along with a friend, but in all honesty your pals are likely to shun you should you force them to endure this disappointingly feeble fighter.
Tetris is one of the greatest video games of all time, and Tetris Effect: Connected is perhaps the best iteration of the classic puzzler yet. While this Switch port doesn't offer a great deal over existing versions in terms of features, it delivers the one key ingredient that its rivals cannot: portability. Sure, some will argue that Tetris Effect: Connected's unique brand of synesthesia only really comes alive when played on PSVR or an Oculus Quest headset, but we'd argue quite passionately that this game benefits far more from the ability to pick it up and play whenever, wherever. Just as the Game Boy and Tetris combined to create an irresistible, world-conquering fusion back in 1989, Tetris Effect: Connected has finally found the hardware that allows it to truly shine, making this an utterly essential purchase for all Nintendo Switch owners. Just don't forget those headphones.
While the updated graphical style and jerky scrolling don't make a great first impression and there may be some who feel the 'Tower Defence' sections are given too much screen time, Actraiser Renaissance is ultimately a successful attempt at updating a solid-gold classic from yesteryear. Rarely are two totally different gameplay styles fused this effectively, and the enhancements introduced by developer Sonic Powered really do improve things; combat in the action sections is more fun, while the 'God Sim' portions of the game are lent increased depth thanks to thoughtful gameplay upgrades. To cap it all off, Yuzo Koshiro's music – available in both its SNES and rearranged forms – is masterful. While it's not perfect, Actraiser Renaissance will nonetheless find favour with fans of the original, as well as pick up plenty of new fans along the way.
If you're a fan of belt-scrolling fighters then Vendetta is a must-buy, pure and simple. While its arcade origins do mean it's slightly unbalanced in terms of fairness, it has enough charm, gameplay and multiplayer appeal to be well worth a look, even decades after its initial release.
Ultimately, R-Type Final 2 is exactly what you’d expect a sequel to R-Type Final to be like. It certainly doesn’t attempt to reinvent the wheel, and some may be a little underwhelmed by the fact that it lacks any massive gameplay changes from previous instalments in the franchise. Still, that’s rather missing the point; games like this aren’t as common as they once were and getting a shmup of such quality in 2021 is truly something to celebrate.
Vigil: The Longest Night isn't the toughest Metroidvania you'll encounter on Switch – nor does it possess the most interesting plot – but it has plenty of secrets to uncover even after you've finished it; it's just a shame that Switch owners have to endure a host of technical problems, such as long load times and an inconsistent frame rate. These unfortunate issues aren't enough to totally sink the game, however; if you're in the market for more Metroidvania goodness and you like your games dark, grimy and gothic, then it's certainly worth a look.
We can't deliver our final verdict on Mario Kart Live until we've fully explored its multiplayer potential with a second RC car, but what we can say at this stage is that this is a startlingly authentic "mixed reality" recreation of Nintendo's most popular racing series which encourages you to be inventive with your course designs and does an excellent job of combining your real world surroundings with the fantasy environments of the Mushroom Kingdom. The tech side of things is undeniably impressive and it's impossible to not raise a smile the first time you play; the question is how long that magic will last, especially if your home limits your track designs and you've only got the budget to cover the cost of a single car.
Missile Dancer certainly isn't the most complex shmup we've ever seen, nor is it the most attractive, but it absolutely nails that core gameplay loop which makes the best examples of the genre so compelling and is a must-have for anyone who considers themselves to be a fan of this type of game.
The often frustrating controls and totally random gameplay elements do tarnish the experience somewhat, but we still had a whale of a time playing Behold The Kickmen. The cutting humour goes a long way to making it an enjoyable romp, and the story mode holds your interest via its funny narrative and the attraction of ploughing cash into improving your team. While it's never going to challenge legitimate soccer simulations on the market, we're glad it exists; as much as we love the sport, it does take itself far too seriously.
The obvious question when reviewing The TakeOver is how it compares to Streets of Rage 4, and we're pleased to report that it's just as worthy of your time as money, even if it lacks online play and some of the extra polish that DotEmu, Lizardcube and Guard Crush Games' title possesses. Some players will no doubt take issue with the CG-style sprites, but every other aspect of this package feels spot-on and we especially appreciate the two bonus stages, which feel like love letters to other Sega classics. The TakeOver offers an engaging and addictive alternative to Streets of Rage 4, and any self-respecting fan of the side-scrolling fighting genre shouldn't hesitate to pick up both.
Taking a franchise as treasured as Streets of Rage and updating it was never going to be an easy task, but we can't imagine that any self-respecting fan of the series will be displeased with what has been achieved here. Streets of Rage 4 walks that fine line between paying tribute to its predecessors and forging its own unique path and feels like an evolution and a revolution at the same time. The gameplay is unmistakably faithful to the originals, but the addictive combo-heavy mechanics, gorgeous presentation and robust multiplayer options add a whole new layer of complexity, resulting in a game that fans and newcomers alike will enjoy no end. Let's hope we don't have to wait another 26 years for a sequel.
Untitled Goose Game boasts more inventiveness, creativity and charm than the vast majority of titles on the Switch eShop, and offers a believable game world that's a real pleasure to explore, investigate and – of course – cause merry havoc in. Superb physics, excellent controls, surprisingly robust AI and unique presentation all combine to make this a real highlight in the Switch's library – it's only the brevity of the experience that lets it down, but this really is a case of quality over quantity.