Tuesday, September 10

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

FAR: Lone Sails [Nindie Choice!] - This is one of those titles where I walked into the experience not really knowing much about it, being surprised by it being something quite different, and coming away very impressed. There’s little context to understand the situation involving the world you’re trying to survive in and little direction given, your continuous focus is just on powering up your cobbled together craft to get it moving, keep it working, and figuring out how to get it past the obstacles you’ll face. Somewhat quiet, the bleak world you’re working within makes the experience somewhat meditative as you move from one station to another keeping everything working. It won’t be for everyone but it’s just a different kind of game that I really appreciate.

Headliner: Novi News - Being put in charge of choosing the headlines that will run for a big city’s major source of news must be a weighty responsibility. Trying to balance the needs of a for-profit business, city hall, the regular people on the streets, and also hold onto some sense of integrity turns out to be a bit of a challenge. This is an unusual game that plays a bit differently from anything I’ve encountered before and I like how quickly it was able to get me connected to a variety of people with different outlooks and relationships to your character, and how that quickly made deciding which stories or spins on events to go with… to then see the consequences of those decisions. Inevitably it deals with many current political issues and different perspectives on them so it may at times challenge you to think through or moderate your own positions and biases as you come to understand the unintended consequences they may carry.

Fifty Words - This is one of those titles that is obviously laser focused on a specific demographic that’s looking for a casual game to relax with but I don’t have a problem with that. A variation on a word search, Fifty Words will have you looking for that number of words all related to a specific topic but that are interconnected a bit randomly and there are no extra letters. Depending on the strength of your vocabulary this can make it all a bit easy at times but if you’re lacking a full appreciation of at least 50 varieties of vegetables or other categories of items it’ll inevitably make it a bit tougher.

Boreal Blade - This is one of those titles where I’d imagine there’ll be little middle ground, you’ll either find it tedious and aggravating or full of ripe challenges to discover technique and nuance as you try to wipe up the floor with your opponents in melee combat. Feeling similar but distinct from a title like For Honor this game is all about smart swordplay and developing a mastery of how to block, parry, and slice up your opponents. Even more interesting is the fact that it is meant to be a multiplayer arena game featuring more than just one-on-one matches, and with a variety of layouts across its 10+ areas there’s plenty to think through in terms of strategy and approach. Aside from the steep learning curve to get to the point where you’ll feel confident you can do more damage than you’ll take the other piece of the puzzle in this title’s success will be the availability and sustained interest of its community. At launch there are often people to play with but depending on the time of day and your luck it can be hit or miss. Unfortunately the connection reliability and quality can be the same, hopefully these kinks can get resolved quickly in order to keep people interested before new titles begin eating into the player base. The best news is that if the game interests you be sure to go pick up the demo on the eShop to try it out for yourself before you need to buy it.

Gun Gun Pixies - Here we go with another entry in the darker corner of the Switch library where you can find all kinds of “unusual fare”. In this case you’ll play the part of two miniature warriors from another planet who are trying to gain an understanding of Earthlings in order to save their planet. This means you’ll need to explore their oversized rooms, shoot them with your “happy bullets” to get them to reveal clues or revelations that will help you complete your mission, and then have some interesting conversations between the straight-laced Kame-pon and the girl-crazy (and a bit dirty-minded) Bee-Tan. Overall the game doesn’t offer all that much variety, and the aiming and movement are very touchy to say the least, but to its credit there is actual gameplay amidst the shooting at crotches, “endorphin” responses, and an occasional bubble bath. It’s all pretty silly, does a great deal of teasing without revealing too much, and contains inappropriate comments of various kinds aplenty… which will no doubt please its target audience.