Monday, July 22

Mini Reviews: July 22nd Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Moving into a new phase with the site and trying to make better overall use of my time in terms of finding a balance I can no longer keep the pace doing full reviews. I’ll always post gameplay of the titles I get but while I don’t feel comfortable committing to lengthy write-ups 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.

Etherborn [Nindie Choice!] - The definite stand-out title of the week is Etherborn, a gorgeous, challenging, and somewhat mind-bending 3D environmental puzzler. While it all starts out pretty simply, with you needing to navigate through spaces where you’ll need to repeatedly reorient yourself as the world rotates to stay beneath you, you’ll quickly learn that its puzzles can be quite diabolical. Smart, fabulously attractive, but at times no doubt frustratingly challenging, this won’t be for people easily discouraged. However, if you enjoy being tested and working to explore and experiment within complex environments to find the way out of them, Etherborn will keep you engrossed for hours.

Pinball FX3 Williams Volume 4: Being an enormous fan of classic pinball tables from the Williams era I’m always excited to see what they have in store with each new volume. That said, this is a pack that (for me) lacks a single powerhouse table that I’m thoroughly enamored with. The good news is that while some of the other packs have had a weaker table of some sort on the other end of the spectrum against an absolute top-tier classic this one at least has 3 diverse tables of what I’d consider comparable quality. White Water has quite a bit of personality and feels like the more ramp-heavy table of the bunch. Red and Ted’s Road Show, by comparison, most definitely features the most gimmicks and craziness. Rounding things out with a more traditional and toned-down feel there’s then Hurricane, sporting the classic amusement park theme and working as a nice all-rounder.

Redeemer: Enhanced Edition - While the beat-em-up was an arcade and early console staple in more recent years it hasn’t had much representation. Getting the right feel and including variety tend to be the challenges for the genre, and Redeemer takes some tough hits in both areas which tends to hold it back. Granted, there are some positive core elements with its top-down view that give it an almost Diablo-like look at times and some location-based attacks and finishers that can add some flair but it gets a bit monotonous pretty quickly. The ability to pick up and use weapons is an attempt to stave off repetition but even as you get deeper into the game there’s just not enough evolution in the combat mechanics so you tend to fall into the same attack patterns that work best, lather, rinse, and repeat. There are certainly worse examples of the genre out there but there are also ones that are clearly superior worth seeking out first.

Lost Orbit: Terminal Velocity - Delivering gameplay somewhere between an endless runner and a space flight simulator, Lost Orbit: Terminal Velocity is a pretty unique, and at times challenging, experience. As you make your way through various systems, being sure to make smart use of your boost to maneuver between asteroids and slingshot around using gravity, there’s a surprisingly engaging story as well, something the game doesn’t need but that at least helps make it a bit more fun. My biggest complaint is definitely the tendency of the camera to get too close to you on a regular basis, complicating your attempts to fly through tough spots by simply making it hard to get a good view of the action. Especially when you’re trying to make the shift from one side of the screen to the other by going past the edge it is easy to lose track of where you are, making deaths or other problems you have when that happens particularly aggravating. That said, mechanically and in terms of upgrades the game does more than you’d expect so it may very well feel like a hidden gem to the right audience who can be patient with it in a few areas.

Mochi Mochi Boy - While its budget price and cute pixel art looks may call to you I’d say it is worth taking the time to check out Mochi Mochi Boy a bit before you consider picking it up. Mechanically it is a pretty unoriginal and I’d say outright dull puzzle game where you’ll spend most of your time trying to snake your way through a level, being sure to fill in all spaces. Sure, there are some wrinkles thrown in to complicate things, and perhaps make it a bit more exciting, but there’s really nothing here of substance you likely haven’t seen before. It’s just probably one of the more plain and dull puzzlers I’ve played on the system in quite some time.