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Banner Saga 2 is here to show us how things are progressing and how dire things are becoming. It acts as a thankless bridge that’s often ignored yet fundamentally necessary. It may not have the glitz and glamour of being a beginning or an end, but it’s the workhorse that keeps everything together.
Normally if a story started in the middle I’d be confused, and if it ended with a lot of loose ends I’d be mad. The first entry in The Banner Saga did just that but I wasn’t mad. Instead, I was invested and intrigued. I felt a fraction of what each character was feeling, and then some. And most importantly: I sympathized.
If one were to spend time at an amusement center, playing nothing but Skee-ball to earn 10,000 tickets for a prize, it would feel a lot like Skee-Ball on the Nintendo Switch. The games might be quick but the sheer amount of tickets needed is monumentally staggering. Though if you can get through the ticket and progress slog, this version of Skee-Ball is actually a clean experience.
Light Fall might not be reinventing anything but it definitely succeeds in what it aims to be. Exhilarating speed combined with a very reliable personal block can make even the most casual player feel like a champion. Its gorgeous aesthetic ensures that you never tire of it, and instead keeps you mystified enough to keep playing. And its most important mechanic, the Shadow Core, perfectly balances its role as a lifesaver and a stepping stone.
The technical problems that plague the game can make even the most casual player a bit leery. Even if we give the benefit of the doubt and assume that the bugs from previous versions are fixed, the problems that do exist in the Switch version are enough to make someone think twice about spending time and money in the game. And that's unfortunate because this debilitating blemish prevents The Deer God from realizing its true potential.
Woodle Tree Adventures Deluxe is an interesting game. The developers behind the game, Fabio Ferrara and Chubby Pixel, make a point to state on Steam that the game is “meant to be played by adults and children and to bring happiness to all souls.” Their goal with this game was for people to enjoy their time playing it and just relax. With that being said, it would seem the developer’s goal was met, but doesn’t feel like enough to make a good, more worthwhile game.
Mantis Burn Racing may not be flawless, but its strengths are worthy of attention on the Switch. Sleek, modern vehicles paired with highly detailed tracks work well together with the speed of each race. If you can forgive its shortcomings, Mantis Burn Racing is worth checking out.
Lumo had the makings of an instant classic. A retro tribute without the retro graphics, combined with an adorable character make for a very tempting game. It even had pop culture references to yesteryears that some people would recognize. But mechanically, Lumo had critical flaws. Isometric views should never be hindrance to gameplay, but rather a style of presentation that offers a unique experience. And that’s where the game fell short.
If gameplay is the only way to teach us a lesson, Inkline falls short on that task. But when looking through the entire picture, it's easy to ignore the game's shortcomings and appreciate it for the goal it's trying to accomplish. It's a laudable and valiant effort, and Inkline should continue with these ventures.
Aside from small complaints here and there, Superbeat: XONiC does a very good job of being a portable game. With just three songs per TRAX session, it becomes a game that’s perfect for short pockets of time. The barrier to entry is not that high either, making this game accessible to a lot of players. If you like rhythm games or just want to jam with great tunes in general, you owe it to yourself to add this game to your library.
Tiny Barbarian DX is definitely a nod to the challenging games of the 8 and 16-bit era. Armed with colorful retro-styled graphics and head-bopping tunes, this game will challenge you and frustrate you just as much as its spiritual predecessors. This game might not have anything groundbreaking, but at least it is bite-sized enough to keep you coming back.
Even though Ironcast doesn’t have much of a story – it exists mainly to give you more chances to play the puzzle part and present you with different challenges – it has more than enough replay value to keep even casual players coming back again and again. The allure of slowly building up your might to go against the strongest villains meets an engrossing gameplay that’s accessible to everyone. If you factor in the Switch’s hybrid nature, Ironcast suddenly becomes the game you never knew you needed.