Sunday, July 7

Mini Reviews: June 24th 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.

Battle Worlds: Kronos - Big picture turn-based strategy titles where you need to move your units around to outflank and outsmart the enemy aren’t heavily represented on Switch so fans of the genre will likely be interested in Kronos. Lacking the flash of the likes of Wargroove and with a more punishingly heavy consequence for failing to exercise caution and care in your every move, Kronos distinguishes itself though there’s no denying its pace is a bit plodding. However, if you’re up for a sustained challenge the unit variety, demand for making proper use of every opportunity, and smarts of this strategy fest should overcome its somewhat bland presentation.

Timespinner - With some great pixel art and a story that takes you through a variety of eras to change things up, Timespinner has its strengths. That said, given the competition in the Metroidvania space on the Switch the combat, exploration, and upgrades you’re able to obtain over the course of the game may be novel but they also fail to thrill. While the time-stopping mechanic, in theory, could have really helped set the game apart aside from some telegraphed spots where it can be useful or in boss fights it doesn’t really go anywhere. While by no means a bad game it struggles to make its case to be among the top tier of games available in the genre.

Phantom Doctrine - When it comes to turn-based tactical strategy there’s no doubt that emulating the X-Com mold from the PC space is a smart way to go. That said, the various attempts (short of Mario and the Rabbids) to make this sort of experience work on the Switch have been a bit half-baked. Coming in somewhere in the middle to the bottom of the pile we have Phantom Doctrine, which tries to build some intrigue with its cloak and dagger feel. While what is going on outside of the missions themselves can be interesting (though perhaps a bit confusing as you try to get your bearings) when you’re in the action the interface and mechanics feel pretty clunky and detract from the experience.

Mainlining - Starting with the positive Mainlining comes to the table as a pretty unique experience on the Switch, with you working to use your computer and hacking skills to catch cyber criminals. If you like the challenge of not having a game hold your hand there’s an additional plus as you’ll be left to work with the information you have access to and will have to  follow every lead at your disposal in order to progress. Where it takes a major hit is with the controls though, as this is obviously a game that was made for the PC with a keyboard and mouse and while the attempt to make it work with a controller isn’t a horrible stab it really makes for a cumbersome experience.