Friday, August 2

Mini Reviews: August 2nd Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Forager [Nindie Choice!] - When footage of this game was originally shown as part of one of the Nindie Directs any fan of Stardew Valley would have been challenged not to be intrigued with what appeared to be a familiar look mixed with some silliness. To be clear, Forager has little in common with that beloved indie since it isn’t as deep or varied and lacks the entire social component. The thing is, if what you loved was collecting and cultivating resources and slowly building things up Forager can quickly make you forget about all of that. The initial hour or so while you get established are definitely a bit of a grind but once you begin leveling up, investing in new skills and technologies, and expanding your footprint of islands you own there are a ton of great surprises in store for you. New exciting buildings and equipment mean some vastly improved gear and then when you begin to encounter dungeons it’s surprising how this game just keeps going. One negative, though it will hopefully get a patch, is that in at least one of the dungeons (the Crystal Caves) performance took a substantial hit with everything slowing down (though it at least remained playable). Aside from that issue though it’s an addictive loop, unlocking new technologies, finding new surprises, and working on your plan as you expand your skill tree.

Solo: Islands of the Heart - If you’re looking for something with a slower pace, lacking in pressure, and helping you be a bit introspective about life and love this may be just what you’re looking for. You’ll move from island to island, solving what are usually pretty simple puzzles, doing some platforming, and then periodically answering some questions that will tend to give you pause as you consider the answer (especially if you’re being honest and not simply going with a knee-jerk response). What ultimate effect your answers may have on the course of the game would likely take multiple run throughs to discover but if you’re looking for an excuse to slow down, relax, and ponder a bit this is a great game for helping you do so.

Chroma Squad - If you grew up enjoying the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers this title may have a special appeal to you since in essence it is a tactical RPG where you take control of a time remarkably similar to them. What adds to the fun is that these aren’t meant to be the heroes portrayed on the screen, instead you’ll be working behind the scenes to produce the show itself and aside from making your way through battles you’ll be looking to jazz things up to make your show more exciting and gain more viewers. This management twist, with you needing to hire talent, buy equipment, and make some decisions at the production level helps to give the game some flavor, but if you’re here purely for the tactical RPG elements you may find it comes up a bit short. While it all works the angle you view the action in can sometimes make targeting the right spot on the grid a bit cumbersome or confusing and the overall depth of strategy is lacking if you put it up against some much more accomplished tactics game already on the system. If, however, you’re looking for something a bit different and silly that makes use of tactical RPG elements this could be a winner for you.

Standby - Quick and dirty (and typically quite challenging) gameplay is what Standby offers, and if you’re into precision execution platforming it will definitely deliver. While the action is pretty pulled out, making playing it handheld possibly a bad idea, as you progress you’ll find you need to see what’s coming to try to prepare yourself. This title is all about muscle memory, hitting your marks, and nailing every slide, wall jump, and shot in order to keep moving and stay alive. Not for the easily frustrated, it should keep challenge hounds occupied for a while with its increasingly demanding levels.