Monday, September 2

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

Heave Ho [Nindie Choice!] - While having played so many indie games on the Switch is interesting and exposes you to all sorts of takes on multiple genres one admitted downside is that it can also make you a bit jaded. When it comes to my family, who are often asked to partake in helping me evaluate multiplayer games, I’d say the rate of that happening is far more accelerated. Conceptually Heave Ho may be simple, working solo or with up to 3 friends to simply grab and swing your way from the start to the finish line without falling, hitting spikes, or meeting your splattery demise in some other way. However, there’s a certain charm to it that pretty well immediately made everyone laugh and have a good time. Even after repeatedly getting frustrated in certain spots, especially when trying to keep from dropping costume-unlocking coins that can up the challenge significantly at times, the fun cut through the difficulties for everyone. Solo does work, and is great for honing your skills, but the game is absolutely meant to be played with friends, the more the better. Overall, this may be the best and most accessible multiplayer co-op game on the system.

Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise [Nindie Choice!] - Puzzle fans have both a blessing and a curse when it comes to the Switch. Let’s just say that there’s an abundance of riches on the system, but then the problem when contemplating a purchase is deciding which in the sea of titles is the one worth picking up. Agent A has a pretty cool spy-based theme and art style but so do some other choices out there, but what sets it apart are smart, diverse, and engaging puzzles. While not quite the same, the closest example I can think of in terms of style would be The Room series. You’ll need to poke around and experiment a bit and the reward is something hidden which you then will need to work out. While nothing here is quite as elaborate as that series I love the fact that it doesn’t restrict itself to specific styles, it just keeps challenging you with new and unexpected challenges, aside from having a great sense of humor and a pleasing art style.

Plunge [Nindie Choice!] - While there’s no doubt that many may be drawn in by the unusual art style of Plunge, what should make you linger is its unique gameplay… working as roguelike dungeon puzzler of sorts. You’ll be dropped into a level with the goal of first unlocking and then reaching the exit. To get there you’ll need to work through enemies, traps, and puzzles, needing to be careful not to get yourself cornered and using some strategy to maneuver around the stage. There are situations where the isometric view doesn’t work quite so well, particularly when there gets to be quite a lot of enemies roaming about, but the quirks, engaging boss battles, and bits of variety that make each playthrough a little different help distinguish this unusual title.

Whipseey and the Lost Atlas - Undoubtedly inspired visually by the colorful and cute Kirby series, and with some simple but enjoyable core mechanics, Whipseey has some charm but doesn’t really meet its potential. Possibly its biggest issue is simply its length, which feels truncated even amongst its indie peers, but outside of the terrific visuals there’s also a sort of blandness to it all. Perhaps this is where the Kirby comparison hurts the most, you won’t be taking on new or interesting abilities, you’ll just be working the whip and core moves you start with. With some more content and variety it could have made an impact but it just feels a bit incomplete overall.

ESport Manager - In the realm of management sims you can expect there to be quite a lot going on, with layers of information to digest and diverse options for how to proceed. In the case of ESport Manager I’ll give credit for there being a ton to take into consideration, with plenty of ways to tweak your team, take some part in helping them succeed in their training and competitions, and more. The problem is that there’s just this onslaught of information and systems to work with early on and while you can limp along it’s hard to get a solid grasp of what you’re doing right or wrong. For folks who are willing to invest the time and work through the nuance this may end up being rewarding, but at least for the time I spent with it there just wasn’t enough flair or personality to justify the investment and keep me engaged in that process when there are other titles out there that do it better.