Tuesday, August 13

Mini Reviews: August 13th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Pix the Cat [Nindie Choice!]Classic arcade action fans who appreciate a game focused on chasing high scores will likely get a kick out of Pix the Cat. To give you an idea of the action is plays like a mix of Pac-Man and Snake, with some visual flair reminiscent of Chu Chu Rocket. You’ll be looking to move over eggs, form a line of chicks that will follow you (OK, so maybe there’s a bit of Flicky in there as well), and deliver them to targets positioned elsewhere on the screen, progressing quickly to the next stage once you deliver them all. While there can be enemies in some cases to contend with your most typical enemy is time since each run only lasts 5 minutes. To get further you’ll need to be more efficient and keep your combos going, which will keep your pace steadily increasing. The one issue is definitely that the analog stick and even the Pro D-Pad don’t fare as well as I’d like as the speed picks up, with the controls starting to feel sluggish. Alternative stages, some more puzzle-oriented modes, a multiplayer Arena, and various fun modifiers unlock as you progress but the core is all about patterns, optimizing your path, and trying to keep ahead of the movement as best you can.

Quench [Nindie Choice!] - This is a title I initially checked out at PAX East and it made enough of an impression I was excited to get a chance to play more of it. Working a bit like a mix of a god game and a puzzler, Quench will have you using elemental powers to aid herds of animals, though primarily your initial bunch of elephants, through a variety of environments and situations. You’ll need to use rain to replenish the land or put out fires, wind to clear away sand or divert enemies, quakes to clear boulders, and lightning to zap thorny vines or even revive fallen animals. Your resources aren’t unlimited so you’ll need to work out what paths you want to take and make smart and careful use of them as much as possible to replenish the land and keep your herds moving towards their goal. With a relatively slow pace and naturalistic themes it should appeal to the crowd looking for a more soothing experience to enjoy.

Doughlings: Invasion - This variant take on the classic arcade shooter ala Space Invaders and others keeps things pretty simple but as you progress manages to consistently change things up a bit. Your default character and gun are very straightforward but as you collect thumbs ups dropping from slain enemies and eventually genetic modifiers you’ll gain power-ups that will temporarily juice you up and allow you to do more damage. Probably my biggest complaint is just the lethargic pace you tend to move with, making this a better recommendation for people who enjoy a milder action challenge than those looking for intensity.

Grave Keeper - In principle this should be a solid and entertaining game, combining twin-stick shooting with hack-and-slash combat as you work through waves of enemies and bosses. In execution though, the pacing is too slow, the upgrades are too lackluster, and the feel of mobile grind-fest roots permeate the experience. There are almost constantly challenges or objectives you’ll unlock, which will give you some currency, which you can then use to incrementally upgrade your gear, but nothing really excites. Just overall it plays out too vanilla and lacks in excitement from its sluggish pacing.

Tap Skaters - One button action games always have a very mobile feel to them but Tap Skaters in particular feels like an experience far better suited to your phone or tablet than the dedicated Switch. You’ll tap the button (or the screen) to switch to the next platform as you make your way down a mildly random structure, avoiding obstacles and other skaters. This is a grind to take your mind off of things as you wait for an appointment for a few moments at a time, not something you’ll likely enjoy in anything more than bursts, but again it would probably simply be better on a mobile device.