Monday, July 1

Mini Reviews: July 1st Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

With quite a lot going on at the moment I’ve had to pull back the time I’ve been putting into playing and evaluating all of the games that come my way. I’ll always post gameplay of the titles I get but while I don’t feel comfortable committing to full reviews for titles I do want to at least summarize my thoughts on them. So these are the quick summaries on my thoughts on games I’ve played, highlighting the ones that are stand-outs when appropriate.

Duke of Defense - Given that the tower defense style strategy genre is pretty well-represrented already on the Switch in terms of numbers Duke of Defense is a bit of a tough sell. Granted, it plays a little differently than some of its contemporaries but its look and overall experience still feel quite generic unfortunately. Granted, outside of exceptions like X-Morph Defense and OTTTD that clearly break away from the pack Duke of Defense isn’t any worse than any of the rest, it just lacks that spark of excitement and originality I look for in this overdone genre.

We. The Revolution - Definite points for being daring enough to do things differently and to help put people into the mindset of a very different and tumultuous time in history but this is very much an acquired taste. Sorting through the evidence and trying to make the right decisions from the bench while managing your personal and political livelihood as well isn’t something you do often so it’s interesting but it isn’t without its issues. I suppose part of the point is being forced to decide between what you’d choose to do morally and what you may need to do pragmatically to stay alive but it can also be aggravating when it comes to gameplay.

Cybarian: The Time Traveling Warrior - This is one of those titles where very quickly I struggled to find the compelling fun. While your warrior character may look cool his extremely limited moveset for attacks quickly makes for dull gameplay. With so many side-scrolling games already on Switch that both look amazing and have exciting gameplay to boot this really comes up short.

SCRAP - With a mix of endless runner, platforming, and a bit of puzzling in its gameplay SCRAP isn’t too bad as a budget title to play anywhere but it’s just nice... not thrilling, but nice. It plays smoothly, you’ll be challenged to grab everything on every stage the first time through, and at times you may need a few attempts to get your timing down. Not bad for the price though, I suppose.

Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love - I think it may be possible that the classic adventure genre may be among the toughest to have a break out hit with. This is in part because, as a whole, the majority of titles I’ve played in the space have a pretty consistent level of quality and polish, delivering some laughs with smart puzzles of all types. Irony Curtain has a slightly different sense of humor than many of the others but the lovable but misunderstood weirdo main character thing has obviously been done to death so it’s hard to get super excited. Still, if you enjoy the genre and getting in some giggles it’s a good choice.

Scrap Rush - While you try hard not to be overly reductive when evaluating games when there’s an unmistakable inspiration involve you have to note it. While Scrap Rush does offer up a bit of a variation on the method of dealing with obstacles and dispatching your enemies there’s no missing its similarities to the Bomberman franchise. To its credit its single-player mode at least has a different feel to it, even if it isn’t terribly exciting, and it does a decent job of helping you understand what you’re capable of. Then, whether against bots or friends, you’ll be working to shove blocks of scrap at each other and trying to squish everyone else while not allowing them to do the same to you. It doesn’t do a lot to clearly stand on its own but it’s not a bad alternative if you and your friends could enjoy a variation on a familiar theme.

Azuran Tales: Trials - It has a bit of an old school feel to it, and once you get rolling Azuran Tales isn’t too bad but there’s no denying its quite rough around the edges. Awkward animations, some bugginess (falling through the floor), and mechanics that aren’t quite up to modern standards hold it back but if you’re patient with it there’s some challenging gameplay to be found here that may appeal to people looking for something to dig their teeth into.

Attack of the Toy Tanks - I’m a bit torn on this one as I have fond memories of playing Combat way back on my Atari 2600. For what it lacked in complexity and attractiveness it made up for with fun with crazy ricochet shots and variety. While Tank Toys may look much better the core experience isn’t terribly different, you’ll move around trying to shoot your enemies while using cover to your advantage. Just whether playing against the CPU or someone else it just doesn’t do much to make itself exciting.