Maybe I'm just a "kick me while I'm down and I'll still get up" kind of guy but the best compliment I can pay Has-Been Heroes is that it scratches an itch I never even knew I had, and I don't come along games like that often enough. Depending on where you are on the challenge-loving scale will likely determine where you'll stand, individual results will likely vary.
For what it sets out to be, and the price point, if you're looking for an engaging brawler that will test both your reflexes and your wits Mr. Shifty delivers some pretty solid goods. While it has issues that keep it from being easy to recommend to anybody if the game looks like it has elements that appeal to you it should reasonably deliver the goods, even if it feels like it doesn't quite live up to its potential.
The Switch has been blessed very early on with what is now beginning to take shape as a diverse collection of rogue-likes. While it opened with the well-known Isaac, bringing the rogue shooter to the table, it then veered off into the strategic lane-based challenge of Has-Been Heroes. Tumbleseed goes completely off the board and brings its own unique vision to what a rogue-like can be with an adventure game of sorts, though in general the game feels very much like its own thing and is difficult to put in any known box. I was enthusiastic about the possibilities it could have from the moment it was first shown and having sunk many hours into the game now I have to say I'm thoroughly impressed with the result and, especially at its very reasonable price point, would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a challenge for their mind and reflexes.
At the end of the day Oceanhorn stands a bit in the shadow of the classic Zelda games that inspired it but at the same time has more to offer than its age and lineage would imply. This isn't a AAA game, but it appropriately also lacks the AAA price tag, so as long as you scale your expectations fresh off of playing the likes of Breath of the Wild it shouldn't be quite so jarring. If you're in search of a game that will satisfy you for a weekend or two, depending on how much attention you're setting aside for its 10+ hours, it is an enjoyable experience if the pace and level of challenge are a good fit. I have high hopes for the upcoming sequel, to see what the team has learned and what they can produce when they're targeting the console market as the base this time around.
Whether you will choose to buy GoNNER or not is much more of a product of the game experience that you're looking for than how well it executes on its design. If you're a fan of challenging arcade-style run-and-gun shooting with a variety of selectable play configurations (and keep in mind the slight pricetag) I have an extremely easy time recommending it. The aggravation of dying in the current run is almost always quickly followed by the "just one more try" impulse and the relatively short length of an average run makes it even more compelling to play in between other things given the portability of the Switch. If the look or the description of the gameplay doesn't appeal to you I don't know if there's anything that can be said to change your mind. It is a game that is extremely comfortable being what it is and generally executing on its vision very successfully, the only question is if you have the inclination and the nerve to give it a shot.
If you're looking for a unique game experience on the Switch that isn't terribly expensive and will provide you with a few hours of varying challenges and laughs Bulb Boy delivers quite handsomely. Especially since, for the moment, it has nothing comparable to go up against on the console it is a breath of fresh air as well. As long as you keep your expectations for its length in check there's little holding me back from recommending it to people in search of a little adventuring.
I find myself in the middle concerning how to score I and Me. There's really nothing inherently wrong with it, but at the same time I didn't find it terribly compelling or able to significantly differentiate itself from similar offerings you could find on tablets (or even mobile phones) in terms of challenge or interest. The overall demographics for Switch owners I'd say probably compound this problem a bit, since it is a very sedate and exclusively single-player experience, but I'll acknowledge that for the right people this could actually be a selling point. I'd say the best bet is to read a variety of reviews, check out some video, and take it all in to decide whether or not the game is for you. While I'd personally prefer something more innovative, there is a place for I and Me on the Switch for people looking for a calming way to puzzle away some hours.
I appreciate the fact that some elements of this game are purposely set up to be true to the vision of Resident Evil, which this is obviously inspired by. I also get that there will be people who, despite the game's failings, will thoroughly enjoy it and be engaged by the action loop it offers. However, given the wildly inconsistent nature of it (even by roguelike standards), the issues with items being so critical and yet so complicated at times, and the fact that handheld mode is likely not going to be a great idea overall it's hard to recommend without a substantial number of qualifiers. As noted, I think with some balancing and changing up pieces of the formula the overall experience could improve if tweaks are made but not knowing what the plans are I can only score the game based on what was provided.
As a freshman effort De Mambo does an excellent job of putting The Dangerous Kitchen on the map. It is clear that they’ve taken the philosophy of simplicity, have spent time carefully defining and refining each aspect of their creation, and have delivered an experience that makes the most of everything they’ve provided for. With a group of friends who are down for smashing into each other and having a raucous time the Mambo mode will absolutely deliver, at least for a while. The question for group play will come down to whether everyone will invest in mastering the tools they’ve been given and will make the most of them or whether they’re looking to the game itself to provide more consistent opportunities. As I’d said the variety in stages does help greatly in this area but there can be levels or just passages of action where only the core move set is in play and that can lose people over time. The inclusion of two additional modes is also admirable and does provide for added value. Their mileage will vary for people, depending on tastes, as they are add-ons and the focus is clearly the main Mambo mode. In the end the effort and love are all there but while the control simplicity worked out well there’s room for peoples’ expectations for more interfering with their appreciation for it over the long haul. In what is looking to become a very competitive space on the Switch in the coming months I’m not sure De Mambo will be able to clearly break away from the pack, though it will undoubtedly be right in the thick of things.
I’ll give credit where it is due, this does not feel in any way like a low-effort shovelware conversion, someone took the time to do some work on the game and make the most of the situation. All the same, it is all a relatively simple experience and if you’re not looking for a strategic solo card game nothing in the package will likely win you over. That said, I can genuinely say it is the best game of its kind that I’ve played on the Switch, noting for the moment there doesn’t happen to be any competition.
It has been a long time since I’ve played a puzzle game where I didn’t end up feeling like I was going through the motions as a single-player experience. From that perspective I enjoyed the mental and physical dexterity required to tackle Story mode solo. While my wife and I completed all of the challenges in Snipperclips she also said, as a more casual game-player, that she preferred the less “fidgety” nature of control and challenge in Death Squared and that’s a perspective I can agree with. With there really only being a focus on movement the puzzle experience is a bit more pure and unencumbered, leaving you only with the challenge at hand. In that regard I also think the multiplayer aspects of the game have been as well-addressed as you could ask, you just need to provide a smart and patient group for it to work. With that in mind I’d say that no matter how you choose to play the game, alone or with friends, it absolutely works and is a great time. By their nature puzzle games aren’t for everyone but as a total package, and considering all of the viable ways it can be played, Death Squared is the most satisfying one that I’ve played in a very long time. It has, appropriately, defied expectations and raised the bar beyond the previous boundaries I had put on the genre.
Levels+ does a better job than I would have expected and provides for an engaging experience. If you’re looking for a light puzzling experience you can just pick up and play semi-thoughtfully for a while it’s probably better than any other game of its kind that I’ve played on other devices, though I just may not have seen this variant before. With its relatively inexpensive price the question ultimately becomes whether this is the kind of game you’re looking for. If it is, and you understand that the goal isn’t to “win” but to challenge yourself to continue to try to up your score, I’d say this is a worthy purchase.
For everything it sets out to do and accomplishes relatively well Ultra Hyperball presents the same challenge in terms of recommending it that some of the other indie multiplayer games have had. If you and (probably more importantly in terms of long-term play) your friends buy into the hook of the game and will invest in getting the hang of the timing and controls there’s the makings of some fun local play. The problem, though, is that I’d consider it further in the direction of the people being key to the experience making it fun than the game itself. With simplicity can come accessibility but it doesn’t always equate to long-term challenge. At its relatively low price point people will just need to decide whether it is something that looks appealing to eat up some hours with on your own and with the other people you play with.
Right now on the Switch there’s just nothing else quite like Slime-San. It’s a challenging action/platforming title with a fair amount of puzzle-solving required and speed running roots thrown in to boot. As is necessary with this style the controls are tight and responsive and there are a number of choices in Slimes that will help you tune your experience closest to your liking. The duration of individual levels tends to be quite quick so it is excellent as an in-between doing things experience, allowing it to be played similarly to a mobile game in some regards if you’re often on the go. Finally, it is a terrific gateway to platforming challenges that venture past the familiar boundaries of the Mushroom Kingdom, turning the difficulty knob higher without necessarily breaking it like a few other titles of its kind tend to insist on doing. Recommended!
At the end of the day this is a throwback 8-bit version of games with more modern sensibilities and it is well-executed. The controls are relatively simple and sensible, the action is varied enough (though usually centered on doing something illegal or insane), the silly references are abundant, and the amount of content means if you enjoy the game you’ll have something to play for quite a while if you want to do it all. If you’ve played it in one of its previous incarnations there’s nothing new here, it’s just on the Switch and probably in the most refined and versatile form it has ever been in. If you’re not into destruction and pop culture call-outs the game also isn’t likely for you. But if you’re in search of something light, fun, and packed with mischief it is a good time, even while showing its age.
In what is becoming one of the most contested types of games on the system (keeping neck and neck with roguelikes) I firmly believe that at this moment as a total package Rocket Fist delivers the best deal on the system currently. While it is local multiplayer only, ceding ground only to Bomberman R in that area, I believe that the included provisions for bots does a reasonably good job of compensating. The rules and controls are simple to understand but the nuance with how best to use the walls to make difficult attacks leaves substantial room for people to refine their technique. Throw in what I’d consider to be a replayable and challenging Adventure mode to refine and perfect your skills and I’m calling it: Rocket Fist has thrown a knockout punch against the current competition in this space.
While Use Your Words is very much a copy of an established (and very effective) format credit is due for the new twists it brings to the party. The MST3K-esque potential in the Sub the Title mode, specifically, is huge and opens the door to some very different opportunities for people to exercise their funny-making chops on. The pacing can tend to be a little slow because of the use of video clips (though they are very short) but I think the developers have tried to find a balance in reminding people of the context (which can be vital) and keeping things moving. I like the idea of the “House Answers” feature, it’s a great stab at adding an extra challenge, but in our playthroughs my family found it changed the answering strategy too much within our group so we were glad to have an option to disable it. If you’re looking for some fun and have access to a group of people on a somewhat regular basis Use Your Words will provide a few evenings of entertainment and engagement for everyone.
I believe the biggest factor in deciding whether you’ll enjoy Blockle or not, if you’re at least open to getting a new puzzle game, will be the art style, humor, and look of Arika specifically. I can confidently say that I know people who absolutely would avoid the game because of her presence, though undoubtedly there are also plenty of people who will either find her amusing in some way or even benign. If you’re searching for a traditional puzzle experience give the screen shots and some video a look and decide for yourself if it is for you. While I wouldn’t consider it revolutionary there’s no doubt that Puzzle Adventure Blockle is a very well-made and well-executed puzzler that is price appropriate for the right audience.
If you enjoy being challenged and engaging in highly strategic gameplay my answer would be it is absolutely worth your time and effort to learn. With that in mind I’ll also say that I was among the people who greatly enjoyed Has-Been Heroes while a great number of people chose to throw their hands up in frustration instead. Of all of the games I’ve played on the Switch in many ways I consider Ironcast to have a similar spirit as HBH as a game that won’t apologize or compromise just because you’re struggling. It sets the bar high and expects you to get there or die trying. That said, if you take the time and put in the effort you absolutely can beat the game and I’ll say accomplishing that feat was among the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in quite some time. Ironcast is the kind of game that only indie studios would likely be daring enough to attempt, defying all traditional expectations and making people invest some blood, sweat, and tears to cross the finish line. If you’re up to the challenge your mech is waiting for its Commander, and the good people of England are depending on you!
I found Phantom Trigger to be a challenging and distinct experience, mixing up some elements I appreciate in multiple titles with the action and nature of the boss battles, and giving me something to chew on for a while. While I normally don't go right back through to attack a game I just finished on a harder difficulty setting I did that here and the game hasn't disappointed. As I'd said I felt pretty good about myself being capable of facing everything the game could throw at me, but then hit World 4 and now I'm carefully trying to survive and progress… it's a tough one. The Arena mode seems to have potential but for the most part it also doesn't strike me as something everyone will want to replay once the main game has concluded. Since one of the things I'd wished for was for such a mode to exist to extend my play of Mr. Shifty I do greatly appreciate the added effort and opportunity to get some more out of the game now that I've mostly mastered the mechanics. While not everything in Phantom Trigger is perfect I'd say people looking for a meaty action challenge won't be disappointed given the difficulty it brings with both its varied enemies and creative bosses. The fact that it tells an interesting story along the way is just icing on the cake.