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Blightbound is a game that seemed to offer everything that I wanted with its stylish multiplayer dungeon-crawling adventure, but I just didn’t have much fun playing it. It’s a shame too, because it’s clear that a lot of love and effort has gone into making the game; it just didn’t come through in the final product. It’s never nice to slate a game and there’s no doubting that Blightbound has its strengths (there were occasions where everything flowed and I had a really good time), but it really is hard to recommend right now. With some fixes, refinements, and game balancing here and there, there’s the potential for it to be a fun little game – especially since the core mechanics of battling and exploration are pretty neat. As it stands though, there are much better co-op titles and much better dungeon-crawlers out there to play, with Blightbound proving a little too flawed to fully enjoy.
Dodgeball Academia blends RPG and dodgeball mechanics in an enjoyably stylish manner, with the combination making for a super fun gameplay experience. I had a really good time seeing Otto’s tale unfold, whilst the varied dodgeball mechanics and unpredictable opponents ensure that the action remains exciting from start to end. I didn’t think the sport of dodgeball could have so much depth, but the range of abilities and arenas on offer ensured it never grew tiresome when playing. There were a few things that could’ve seen improvement, such as the lack of variety outside of dodgeball, the harsh difficulty spikes, and the occasional technical hitch. None of these issues stopped Dodgeball Academia from being a heck of a lot of fun to play though, with it standing tall as yet another memorable sporting-RPG hybrid to grace the Nintendo Switch.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles offers an exciting evolution to the traditional formula, with this courtroom drama offering plenty of fun across its meaty story. Players can expect to spend over forty hours unravelling each case, but that time will fly by thanks to how well written the characters are, how enjoyable gathering evidence is, and how exciting the courtroom showdowns can be. The new features are just the cherry on top, with the Dance of Deduction and Summation Examination offering some of the game’s finest moments. Whilst I have no doubt that the game won’t be for everyone thanks to the sheer amount of reading involved, fans of the series are sure to love this new venture into the life of being an ‘Ace Attorney’.
NEO: The World Ends With You feels as slick and stylish as the original, with the enjoyable combat and fantastic narrative pulling everything together. There’s plenty to love about the world, its characters, and the challenging situation they find themselves in, whilst the many twists of the story will keep players enthralled until the end. Add to that the intuitive pin system, the variety of tasks to complete, and the gorgeous visuals, and it’s clear that NEO: The World Ends With You is a very impressive RPG. It took fourteen-years for a sequel to The World Ends With You to release, but you know what? The wait was worth it. Hopefully we won’t have to wait quite as long to play the Reaper’s Game again next time around…
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD improves upon the original massively, with its new control scheme and impressive visuals making it feel like a whole different game. It was already one of my favourite games in the series anyway, but playing it with more traditional controls at 60fps was astounding, whilst the new quality of life improvements go a long way in streamlining the overall experience. It really is a brilliant game. Admittedly, some aspects of the game haven’t aged all that well – the repetitive fetch quests particularly stood out, whilst there were some aspects of the world that felt vacant when compared to modern titles. Between all of the enhancements, the engaging narrative, and the brilliant dungeons that have stood the test of time though, it’s easy to recommend The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD to newcomers, existing fans, or just those who were simply put off the motion controls the first time around. It’s another must-own title for your Nintendo Switch library.
Eldest Souls is a frantic and tough boss-rush experience that features slick combat, entertaining battles, and a beautiful yet desolate world to explore. Basically, it’s everything you’d expect from an indie Dark Souls title, which is exactly what it wants to be. It’d be a discredit to say that Eldest Souls doesn’t find its own ways to innovate though, with the Bloodthirst system and deep upgrade mechanics offering some cleverly implemented ideas that complement the gameplay. At its core though, this really is a game made for fans of Hidetaka Miyazaki’s famed series. If you enjoy that sort of melancholic world and gruelling gameplay that punishes the player, you’re in for a treat with Eldest Souls – it really is a hell of a lot of fun to play. If you prefer games that aren’t so punishing, though? You might want to play something easier.
Unbound: Worlds Apart is a charming 2D adventure that doesn’t only offer some neat portal-based puzzling but is also really pretty to look at. There’s plenty of variety to be found across the world thanks to all of the different portals players can use, whilst some clever level design and tricky boss encounters will ensure the journey is never TOO easy. It was a little disappointing to see some frame rate hitches when playing on the Nintendo Switch, but hopefully it’s something the developer can fix in the near future. Thankfully, it didn’t stop Unbound: Worlds Apart from being a lot of fun to play and an easy title to recommend to fans of the 2D puzzle-platforming genre.
Like all franchises that use a tried and tested formula, you could accuse Samurai Warriors 5 of being much of the same that we’ve seen in previous entries. And perhaps there’s some truth to that, but it stands to reason that I’m still playing these titles twenty years on without any sign of letting up. Yes, this is a traditional Musou title at its core, but it follows that formula in an engaging and entertaining manner whilst making enough improvements to keep the title fresh. There have been some additions to this entry which show clear indication that the series is constantly evolving and I’ve no doubt that they’ll keep on improving the formula in the future… Samurai Warriors 5: Empires soon, anyone? Add to that the slick and vibrant visual style and it’s clear that Samurai Warriors 5 isn’t only a lot of fun to play, but it’s also taking the Musou genre in a very positive direction.
I was looking forward to playing Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed, but it’s just a bit too clunky and dated in design to really enjoy. I was a fan of the narrative and how weird it gets, but everything else about the game just felt unsatisfying and not a lot of fun to play. With the awkward combat, poor visuals, and technical issues, it really is difficult to recommend the game. To Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed’s defence, it did start life as a PSP game. However, with so many better remastered titles releasing these days, there’s no excuse for it not to have made some refinements to make the game more fun to play. It’s certainly not the worst game I’ve ever played, but it’s hard not to see Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed as anything other than a disappointment.
Last Stop is a fantastic story-driven adventure that ties together elements of the supernatural with real-life situations in an impactful manner. I was totally hooked into each character’s tale, and whilst some chapters hit a little harder than others, I simply HAD to see how everything would unfold by the end. Add to that some brilliant writing and a wonderful soundtrack and it all comes together to make for a very memorable experience. There are some missteps along the way, with some iffy character models and animations as well as a few missing pieces in the story, but they don’t stop Last Stop from offering a gripping adventure. I was already a fan of Variable State following their work on Virginia, but Last Stop feels like a real step up for the team.