Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch hits all the high notes. It's a great JRPG, but it also transports you into an interactive Studio Ghibli world. The art and sound is directly that of Studio Ghibli. Careful production and planning went into this and it shows. It's easily one of the best out there. The Nintendo Switch is quickly becoming the one-stop RPG machine and this is one of the top recommendations. Many games in the genre can keep your attention, but seldom do you get one to entertain you like this one. It has that magic. Studio Ghibli: The RPG, developed by veteran Level-5.
The Sinking City might be worth looking into for anyone who enjoys using their noggin to solve investigations. It may be even more intriguing if you enjoy getting sucked into Lovecraft atmosphere. You might even say we can never have too much of either of these and that's probably true. This game shouldn't be overlooked at all, but what lies here is potential drowned in a sea of mishaps. If only the optimization and performance on Nintendo Switch was a little better and the controls didn't feel like it was borrowed from a previous console generation, it could've been smooth sailing to a full recommendation.
You're either in for it or you're not. Gun Gun Pixies has the right concept and mixture of things to satisfy. It has platforming, shooting and takes the ecchi genre full-on with babes and more babes. The most frustrating aspect of the game are its controls. Platforming and movement is super clunky. Shooting sensitivity is one speed and not dynamic. The gameplay suffers as a result. That isn't to say being miniature running around rooms without being detected and shooting larger than life girls doesn't have its appeal. If one can deal with the controls, there's certainly entertainment to be had. If only the gameplay was as great as the visual novel aspect, it would be a well-rounded experience overall.
I didn't know how interested I was in Creature in the Well until I've first seen it. I didn't know how much I wanted it until I first played it. Creature in the Well is a mashup of some stellar genres and it serves up a fresh dish of well-balanced gameplay. There's more skill needed here than a simple hack & slash, but the challenge is enough that it feels satisfying at any level. Though some puzzles are rather simple, others challenge you in all the right ways and reward you for it. It's a unique game that remained fun for its entirety and one that begs for more content and/or a sequel. Another indie highlight for the books.
If winter never came for you, then it's here now. Vambrace: Cold Soul does a fine job in its atmosphere and has the lore built around it that's believable and easy to get into. It's a harsh world and death could come easily. It's even more enjoyable thanks to the fantastic artwork and dozens of outfits to unlock. The turn-based battles aren't groundbreaking, but they're enough to present a challenge at the very least. What's impressive about Vambrace is its world. Every character has something new to say after every event and so much of it can be missed. Depending on your choices, you will get one of three different endings. The people you meet along the way play a huge role in what's to be seen. Even with its flaws, Vambrace: Cold Soul is a chilling ride that many players could warm up to.
6 Eyes Studio is a 2-person developer who had a vision to make a great rpg experience and they've succeeded in every regard. Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark is a joy to play. Turn-based Strategy purists should give this one a run as the customization and gameplay are easily the core highlights to that type of experience. The fantastic art and music only make the experience grander. If you've been missing a Final Fantasy Tactics-like game, then look no further.
The Forbidden Arts is charming, colorful, and has its heart in the right place. The 2D portions make up the bulk of the experience resulting in fun exploration and boss fights. The 3D portions are bland and empty making it not the focus if that was one's assumption. That leaves everything else riding on the 2D levels which are fine as they are, being varied and full of enemies, hazards and platforming challenges. It's the poor implementation of the mechanics and design that hinders the experience. What you think should work and doesn't only causes frustration. Toss in a few glitches and you only wish this had more time in the oven. Still, it's a solid effort that's likable. If you can get past the hurdles, you'll be left satisfied with a side of disappointment for dessert.
Robbie Swifthand and the Orb of Mysteries is a fine platformer. The quality in its graphics, controls and gameplay mechanics make the challenge worth going through. It's also nice that the humor will keep things light when going through the darkness of death. You may die a lot, and you should, but that's the journey. The occasional frustration of some levels are due to the challenge itself and not by bad design. There's some interesting things to see here. For players who want a little more finesse to their platforming, there's plenty of fun here.
Etherborn defies gravity in a very elegant way and in-turn becomes relaxing especially when being accompanied by a pleasant score is placed into the mix. The story feels like one version of plenty that's been done before, pertaining to creation, but it's not necessarily bad. It's just not that engaging. The way Etherborn makes each environment one large puzzle to solve by walking on each of its so-called sides and call for your wits is done nicely. Etherborn is an artistic, environmental puzzle-solving showcase that has class and Altered Matter has expressed their creative talent.
SENRAN KAGURA Peach Ball is not to be overlooked when looking at it from a gameplay perspective. The core mechanics are fun and use interesting ideas that add more flare to a plain table experience and will have you coming back for another round to top your last score. Fans of the series now have their sexy shinobi as the centerpiece of the pinball table, which also serves as a gameplay element. The detail on each table with its objects and gimmicks, the visual effects and sound only better the experience. HD rumble feels great. Plenty to unlock and customize. There's a lot going for it in regards to both the pinball aspect and the ladies involved. Sometimes the story is cute, but it's really the only downside to Peach Ball as it's mostly slow and re-purposed for each girl's set of story missions which makes it an overall drag; if you care about a story for an addicting pinball game involving provocative, busty females.
Image & Form continues to impress. When tackling other genres and adding their own flare they never cease to amaze me. SteamWorld Quest is a properly balanced RPG whose visual and audible are equally beautiful with the humor and charm that you know and love. It's a straightforward, more linear journey and that's okay because some games should be especially when there's wiggle room for discovering secrets. Play times may vary between 20-30 hours and upwards 40 for those truly committed. It's a nice dose of an RPG that is just downright fun to play. Its formula now has me wanting to see what more can be done.
Vaporum is a well-rounded RPG that properly executes a classic experience with a nice coat of paint. It takes what you commonly love in a more fantasy/medieval setting and interprets it into a steampunk setting. Vaporum looks the part and sound effects and environment ambiance also help sell the atmosphere. The combat is fast, but flexible. And the choices given for certain playstyles make it a worthwhile experience.
The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince is a title that easily grabs peoples attention. The art style invites one to seek it out and uncover what it's all about. The game succeeds in delivering on its visual presentation. Furthermore, it's nice that a touching story is able to pair perfectly with it. The game's length and puzzle-platforming might be its biggest detractor from being an overall amazing experience as those are just *okay*.
City of Brass stands out for a roguelike. It's one of the first-person roguelikes with an underused visual theme that recognizable and feels more realistic than arcadey. The snap of the whip feels great and the opportunity it presents will vary from run to run. The different items, enemy variety and amount of traps will surely test you. It feels good and there's not much more to it than that. It's a roguelike meant for repeated plays until you unlock get it down with all the things to see and unlock. The gameplay might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it has its audience. For something that feels more weighted and isn't a shooter, City of Brass has you covered; not in sand.
Cursed Castilla EX is on Nintendo Switch and it may as well be the best version. In a time where 2D pixel-art have made a huge comeback, don't let Cursed Castilla EX get lost in the shuffle. Cursed Castilla EX respects your time when playing it and Locomalito has certainly earned my respect as a developer after playing it. Fans of Super Ghouls n' Ghosts/Ghosts & Goblins looking for something on par should look no further. With tight controls, carefully crafted levels, hidden secrets and fantastic bosses... Cursed Castilla EX is all-around quality and a polished experience.
At Sundown: Shots in the Dark gets mostly everything right. Responsive controls, a variety of weapons with their own gimmicks, plenty of matchmaking options for any type of player and all the good modes you want in a multiplayer shooter. The stealth mechanic where players can take advantage of the dark certainly adds tension to the fight. It's not the best looker. Maps are themed, but feel rather bland and uninspired in their design. Still far from bad, however. What may separate players are those who got the gameplay down to the meta with not as much wiggle room to show off versus anyone who just wants a good time. In the end, having a good time is what it's all about.
It seems Touhou Project games are a dime a dozen if you've ever heard of the series, but they're all about having fun with characters and using them in different ways. Gensokyo Defenders is a little rough around the edges, but the mechanics in place make for some fun gameplay. It keeps things interesting by adding new characters to join your party who play differently from each other, new map ideas, introduction to new traps and an upgrade system that requires skill points to be spent and applied in any way you see fit. It's a tower defense that feels like more than the usual tower defense and it certainly scratches an itch or two.
Storm Boy is charming, cute, touching and very accessible. It's designed with a younger audience in mind, but can be experienced at any age. Some tales are for everyone. Being very pickup & play, both parents and children can experience an easygoing journey together in this faithful retelling of a classic story of a boy and his pet bird; but mainly his friend.
SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is an awesome anthology of classics that felt about time it should exist. The games included can be debatable, but holding out-of-print or hard-to-find games in the palm of your hands is way cooler than coming up empty. The Museum feature alone really is a blast from the past. The Watch feature is a new innovation that lets players not only witness a playthrough, but control it and resume the game from any point they choose. Overall, this is a worthy package created with care.
I've been a fan of Moonlighter since it was first revealed and after having finally played it I can say it delivered. It's a game that fuses two different genres successfully. At one point you're navigating through floors of dungeons in different ways, fighting crazy enemies using a fun combat system. The next, you're growing a peaceful town and selling your earnings the way you want to through the shop you own. The action is fairly competent and constantly makin' cha-ching as a merchant is gratifying. The visuals are beautiful and nostalgic; the same is said for its music. If the idea of feeling stronger and playing smarter intrigues you, and if the choice to handle your earnings fancies you, then Moonlighter is a worthy time sink.