Tuesday, July 30

Mini Reviews: July 30th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Super Mega Baseball 2 [Nindie Choice!] - At long last a high-quality and very broadly accessible baseball title is available on the Switch. After the disappointment of the RBI Baseball series I was a bit down on things but since I was a big fan of the original Super Mega Baseball on PC when I heard the sequel was coming to Switch I was excited. Let’s be clear, if you’re first and foremost a fan of the major leagues and are looking to control real teams and players this game likely won’t do it for you as it lacks the license. What it delivers instead is rock-solid gameplay that quickly makes concerns over your team’s name or your favorite stars melt away though. What impresses me most here is that the game works reasonably well even if you’re a bit of a novice, with things like automatic fielding covering over some areas that aren’t always implemented well. That said, if you’re willing to invest your attention in fine tuning your hitting, pitching, or even going for a sliding catch at the right times you absolutely can apply some technique and get great results as well with a little bit of practice. Absolutely a terrific title for sports fans.

Songbird Symphony - If you’re on the look out for a title with a wholesome story, cute looks, a great soundtrack, and a mix of puzzle platforming and rhythm game elements you’ve really lucked out with Songbird Symphony since it manages to check all of those boxes. Perhaps somewhat predictably when a game attempts to bite off so many things at once the result can be that some areas suffer with some issues though. There’s a lot to like about the game, with an earnest charm and some variety, but the gameplay can meander in quality from good to ho-hum to a bit rough around the edges in places. In particular, the puzzle platforming never truly takes flight and the rhythm elements, though paired with some great music, have mechanically awkward controls and are a bit all over the place in terms of difficulty and even responsiveness. The positive is that you don’t appear to be penalized and unable to progress even when struggling with these segments but I wish they’d taken the time to refine them rather than allow you to move on even if you were a disaster on a given song.

Hoggy 2 - Cute, colorful, and surprisingly challenging at times, Hoggy 2 is a budget-friendly puzzle platformer with very basic controls and a bit of charm as well. There’s not much you need to understand at a fundamental level, on each of its 200+ stages you’ll be working to collect all of the fruit without dying. In your way are a variety of obstacles, traps, and enemies, and you’ll need to carefully manipulate gravity to move between the floor and ceiling to get through it all. While I wouldn’t say any of it feels like something you haven’t seen before if you’re a puzzle platforming veteran, I do give some credit for it surpassing my expectations for the price of admission and showing some smart level design even relatively early on.

Mighty Switch Force Collection - If you’ve never heard of or played any of the Mighty Switch Force titles before, and enjoy a solid puzzle platformer, you may be in luck with this one. This series is all about moving through levels, capturing criminals, finding secrets, and working out some action platforming puzzles along the way. While there are 4 games in the collection 1 of them is a remaster of the original so consider it’s more like 3 unique games in reality. Breaking it down a little further the last game in the collection, Mighty Switch Force Academy, is a multi-player experience which allows for both co-op and competitive play using the same general look and style. All in all it offers up satisfying play for a reasonable price but just be sure you understand there are essentially 2 original games, a remaster, and a multi-player variant here when considering the cost of admission.

Kill la Kill The Game - As someone who has watched some anime over time, but has hardly kept up over the years, Kill la Kill is something new to me so walking into the world of this game is definitely a bit mind-boggling. There’s some seriously crazy/weird survival of the fittest mixed with schoolyard clique mixed with serious family issues stuff going on here, and while it is an entertaining roller coaster ride for the uninitiated it may be hard to follow. With the sheer volume of story told through animated and voice acted cut-scenes this is an experience catering first to fans of the series, without a doubt, and its gameplay takes a back seat. The good news is that when you finally do get down to playing while I could see where some button mashing could be effective the 3D arena fighting is surprisingly satisfying, though perhaps over the long term lacking in depth. If you’re a fan of the series my impression is that this title has gone all out to make you absolutely feel at home and happy. If you’re not, the impressive presentation may be more wasted on you leaving a title that can be fun for a while but doesn’t really stand up to the quality of play offered by other fighters already available on the system though.

Terrorhythm - Starting with the elevator pitch, a game mixing up a rhythm game with a beat-em-up, Terrorhythm had my interest. At a glance its stylish and futuristic looks also add to its appeal. Unfortunately, where things get a bit more dicey is in the gameplay itself and a lack of overall variety. Granted, beat-em-ups tend to traditionally be a bit on the repetitive side but they can compensate with cool attacks or combos and a need to maneuver around the screen. Here you just have enemies coming from either side of the screen that you’ll take out… but ideally that will happen to the beat, bringing the two elements of the game together. Except whether it has something to do with the animations, the muddiness of the beats in the track, or perhaps the responsiveness of the controls it just doesn’t quite connect somehow. It’s playable, it has its moments, and it’s in the proximity of coming together, but the end product just doesn’t quite gel unfortunately. Overall this makes for a playable game that is uneven and not terribly satisfying for fans of either genre.