Tuesday, October 1

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


Freedom Finger [Nindie Choice!] - When I originally caught this title at PAX I was drawn in by its sheer attitude, blending together some great voice acting, an abundance of perhaps crude but entertaining humor, and an absolutely kicking soundtrack. It’s when you play the game though that the nuances of a great arcade shooter emerge and impress further. The mechanics of grabbing and then either throwing enemies or using their weapons rather than power-ups is smart and effective. The fact that every track of the music influences the speed, style, and flow of each stage is then just icing on the cake. In many regards Freedom Finger defies easy traditional characterization, never fully committing to any set arcade style and instead providing a pretty balanced buffet of action and smart level designs. That ultimately help it stand out just as much as its surface-level fun and makes it easy to recommend if you’re up for some giggles and a challenge.


Untitled Goose Game [Nindie Choice!] - Bless indie developers and their ability to come up with weird concepts for gameplay that you probably never considered but upon seeing them are easily attracted to. Untitled Goose Game is such a title, and I was drawn to it the moment I laid eyes on its gameplay in one of the Directs. Maybe I can’t speak for everyone but there’s something really fun about unleashing your inner asshole every once in a while and if that thought appeals to you this game should be high on your list. Given a checklist of objectives, you’ll need to use your pretty limited goosey skills and some smarts to figure out how to complete them to progress. One unfortunate thing is that the game isn’t terribly long, though I suppose it may be better not have it overstay its welcome and lose its creative spark. Still, it’s a unique and entertaining playthrough if you’re in the right mindset.


Amnesia: Collection - If you’re into horror games or at least watching streamers play horror games there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with at least one of the titles in this collection. Including The Dark Descent, A Machine For Pigs, and Justine, though the base gameplay between each is similar each title does manage to distinguish itself with its own creepy ambiance and challenges. The focus here is on exploration, working through some puzzles, and simply trying to hold onto your sense of sanity as you evade things that go bump in the dark. Given how dark everything can be playing this in handheld mode may be a real challenge depending on where you’re able to play, but at least A Machine For Pigs and Justine include the ability to adjust the gamma in-game to try to help ensure you’ll be able to enjoy the experience optimally. If you’re looking for that sense of unease in the pit of your stomach as you carefully explore this collection does a fair job of delivering quite a bit of it.


Paper Dolls Original - This exploration horror title in many regards plays similarly to the Amnesia Collection but has a decidedly more Eastern theme and feel. Starting out trapped in a dark room you’ll need to slowly search through the room for clues, supplies, and the means to escape further into a creepy mansion. The eerie soundtrack helps to establish and maintain a sense of unease as you try to make progress and when the Paper Dolls come for you, you’ll quickly learn to hide or face an abrupt end. Given the time of year this release seems very appropriately timed, and its setting and flavor help to set itself apart from the competition a bit.


Zenith - Billed as an action RPG mixing traditional mechanics with a healthy dose of humor in concept Zenith sounds pretty solid. In execution, though, I quickly found it pretty disappointing. Weirdly, with as many games as I’ve played featuring crude language and humor that I’ve enjoyed there’s a certain spark in Zenith that’s missing for me so it just feels tacked on and even out of place. I can’t put a finger on it but rather than laughing along with the jokes and dialogue I’d find myself sort of shaking my head aghast at it. That said, if you check it out and find it to your liking there may not be an issue there. Where it will likely fall down a bit universally though is that in terms of gameplay it’s a bit of a mess. Taking on the likes of Diablo may be a lot to ask but even against many indie contemporaries in this space the combat is a letdown, feeling stiff, clunky, and not terribly rewarding. It has glimmers of promise in it but given its competition on the platform it’s tough to recommend.