Friday, January 10

Mini Reviews: January 10th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Blackmoor 2 - When it comes to budget games that have come to Switch there has been a really mixed bag of decent games down to pretty horrible ones. Somewhere near the top of that pile we have Blackmoor 2, a side-scrolling beat-em-up of sorts packing a lot of variety in the form of multiple playable classes. While the moveset of each isn’t terribly elaborate, they are at least distinct from one another and allow for you having what feels like a reasonable degree of choice in how you take on the challenges the game presents. With pretty chunky characters and enemies handheld play isn’t any issue at all but I would say that though the controls work well the scaling of the characters does make you feel like a very large target at times. Regardless, for a budget price Blackmoor 2 has quite a lot to offer, allows for up to 4 players locally, and delivers a pretty solid experience through and through.

Technosphere Reload - Mixing together elements of the likes of either Marble Madness or Super Monkey Ball, and throwing in some puzzle mechanics to boot, we have Technosphere Reload. After a surprisingly long tutorial pointing out that there’s quite a lot to be aware of as you play through the game, you’ll be off and trying to roll, jump, and boost your way through a pretty wide variety of action puzzles. Probably the weakest elements of the game are the lighting in places which makes it hard to make out crucial detail and the pretty static camera that you can adjust in 90 degree increments but at times leaves you feeling like there’s just not an optimal direction to view the action from. Still, it presents a pretty unique challenge and ball rolling fans should enjoy the elements that it brings to the table.

Drawngeon: Dungeons of Ink and Paper - Dungeon-crawling RPGs are very much just their own thing, and they’re not for everyone, but for a budget title Drawngeon takes a fair stab at providing a decent experience. While the hand-drawn art helps make the game unique unfortunately its play mechanics are pretty stale and uninspiring. For the most part this ends up being a “going through the motions” kind of experience, not necessarily bad but doing very little to make a case for remaining on your radar for very long once its creative novelty wears off.

Ultimate Racing 2D - As an old school arcade gamer I’m actually an enormous fan of the classic top-down racer. Titles like Championship Sprint and Super Off-Road are revered for a reason, because though they weren’t as visually impressive as 3D racers they had a great feel to them and delivered great action. Granted, the lack of a wheel and an accelerator makes transitioning that experience to a home console like the Switch tougher but in the case of Ultimate 2D Racing the problems are far more fundamental than just the controls. To the game’s credit, the variety in vehicles (most of which have very different feels to them) and the abundance of tracks are impressive. If anything the number of options you’re inundated with in the menus is positively overwhelming. The pity is that so little of it manages to capture the essence of fun. Cars collide with no real regard to inertia, clacking against each other, and the tracks are plainly straightforward with no classic elements like risky shortcuts to make things more interesting. Like it’s 2D visuals unfortunately the gameplay simply falls a bit too flat overall.

Aborigenus - This is just one of those titles where I’m not certain what to say in many regards. Granted, it is a budget title, but the gameplay is so limited, the few levels so generally sparse, and the overall feel so simplistic that it doesn’t really feel ready for prime time. What combat there is lacks in excitement and is honestly plain strange since you’ll generally just wail away, getting hit as well as you’re not terribly nimble, and then you’ll move on. If you’re smart with your upgrades you can then quickly become practically untouchable and that makes little sense as well. Just if you’re itching for a budget pick up there are better options than this out there for you.