Sunday, October 27

Mini Reviews: October 27th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Pig Eat Ball [Nindie Choice!] - When a game comes along that has classic arcade-style sensibilities and it is just plain weird it is pretty well sure to get my attention. On both fronts Pig Eat Ball delivers, with an oddball experience and a ton of levels that are reminiscent of classics like Pac-Man but with a weirdo take and a bit more strategy involved. You see, the issue is that as you consume more balls you’ll continue to get more rotund, which can then restrict you from getting around. The solution? Throw them back up, of course. This makes for some entertainment as well as quite a bit of strategy as you try to complete the level objectives as quickly as possible yet for the most part your available skills are limited. Where the fun really kicks into gear is with the game’s sheer variety of settings and variations of levels, you really never can know quite what to expect, and that’s what really put the experience over the top for me.

Day and Night [Nindie Choice!] - Action puzzlers are a challenge to get right as they need to have their own sense of personality to differentiate from the pack but don’t want to risk going too far afield with their core gameplay for fear of alienating people. Day and Night walks that tightrope pretty effectively, offering up what feels like a mix of concepts from multiple familiar classics and then throwing in a variety of elements that complicate matters in ways that make sense but are generally new. The main hook revolves around both a day and night, as well as a seasonal cycle, setting the foundation for you never being able to truly be comfortable and needing to be mindful of what will happen when things shift. Dormant blocks belonging to another cycle will activate as the time of day changes and if you or your opponent were able to do some decent planning amidst the chaos of blocks falling that can quickly turn things around. In addition the game’s power-ups can be very effective and often provide a choice of slamming them down to use immediately or letting them fall slowly to sit dormant until triggered, providing even more room for strategy. Throw in both a story mode and challenges for people to play through solo and this is a puzzler chock full of challenges and fun.

Cat Quest II - Meow let me tell you about a purrfect game for fans of furry cuteness and action RPG action. While perhaps it isn’t a very radical shift from the original title it does bring more content, cat punnery, and the ability to play with a friend to the table (or at least shift between two characters who can be geared up to combat different situations). Much like the first one this is a game that revolves heavily on a stick and move strategy, with combat mostly consisting of you getting up close with melee and then dodge rolling out of the way when your enemies attack. You’re also able to work with ranged magic though and depending on the foe you face you’ll want and need to change things up. It’s a pretty light and fun experience, though a bit grindy for sure, but it should make for fun if cute action is what you’re seeking.

Jackbox Party Pack 6 - The Jackbox games have pretty well become a staple at my house for fun when we have people over. In the case of this sixth party pack while there’s fun to be had, for sure, and none of the games are redundant (which is a good thing), compared to previous outings this one just doesn’t have quite the star power of some of its predecessors. The only sequel in the pack, Trivia Murder Party 2, is a lot of fun just like the original. The mix of trivia, morbid mini games, and plenty of gallows humor works nicely and it serves as a great start. Following that up there’s Role Models which isn’t so much a competitive game as a fun way to have some laughs as you and your friends categorize one another with forced prompts so you can all discover which Classic Movie Hero you believe each of you could be. After that you have Joke Boat, a mix of Mad Libs and trying to come up with the best punchlines to complete what aren’t always helpful prompts that result for head to head joke-offs. Next there’s Dictatorium, which has a core that feels like some of their great classic titles with an emphasis on everyone trying to be funny in working with made up words. Weirdly this one is over very quickly and never feels like it gets a chance to get a proper rhythm going and it falls short of its contemporaries. Finally, there’s the alien-discovering Push the Button, where in a round robin fashion you and your friends will be put through some paces to discover who among you is the human and who is the alien. Though playable with only 4 people this one is far more effective with a larger group and has a lot of potential for varied and unpredictable fun. While it isn’t among their best packs the games are still all entertaining and have their own sense of style.

Billy Bomber - Budget titles are always interesting to check out, if you can look past their often more simplistic appearance some creative gameplay can lay within. To a degree this is true of Billy Bomber, which challenges you to use a somewhat limited set of elements to guide/propel Billy to the goal in each level, trying to bump into stars along the way. It’s a decent exercise in applying the rules of momentum, some planning, and a sense of timing as you try to use bombs to knock him around. While it’s pretty simplistic from head to toe for the price it’s at least a fun way to experiment with some creative applied physics puzzles.