Wednesday, October 2

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

Puzzle Quest: The Legend Returns [Nindie Choice!] - While fans of the old school original game likely won’t even need to read this review, it’s worth noting that though some elements of this classic from the DS may be a little behind the current curve you can still easily see how it blazed a trail for the concept of a Match-3 Battle RPG genre. While perhaps the story would best be considered serviceable by RPG standards it does manage to throw a pretty wide variety of enemies and challenges at you, requiring you not only to be smart with your puzzle matching but also show some strategy in how you use the class skills you’ll acquire over the course of the game and dictated by a variety of choices you’ll make. Once you’ve unlocked all of the buildings the game has to offer you’ll have the choice to grind and acquire new skills and perks, all while changing up the puzzle formula just enough to keep things from feeling too redundant. Throw in multiple base classes that give you an incentive to play through the game multiple times with different strategies and the game offers hours of smart and satisfying strategic play for puzzle fans.

Lost Castle [Nindie Choice!] - As a huge fan of both beat-em-ups and roguelikes this game is a bit like a Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup game for me, mixing things up to create a challenging and surprisingly varied package. While its art style may not appeal to everyone with its simplicity and in the early going you’re going to die quite a bit as you grind to unlock better weapons and upgrade yourself, if you’re patient and give it some time you’ll continue to get more formidable and smarter in how you proceed. How you gear up and make the most of your skills and items you pick up along the way really becomes the key to success as not all weapons are created equal and whether you prefer ranged weapons, close-up melee, or something that gives you the ability to do both you’ll often get many opportunities to change things up over the course of your run. If you’re a fan of both styles of play this is a great marriage of them both and worth checking out.

Button Button Up - With the abundance of platforming options on the Switch it can take some effort to stand out from the crowd and make an impression. Though pretty humble in appearance and not without flaws I’ll give Button Button Up credit for managing to do that, offering up an experience you can enjoy solo or with some friends. Throwing in some unique mechanics that offer some unexpected challenges and surprises, what’s great about the game is that it doesn’t simply remind you of every other platformer you’ve played before, something that many indies in this genre are unable to claim. One oddity is that though I’d generally consider it friendly to younger and less experienced gamers the stages are a bit on the long side, a departure from the typically more bite-sized lengths you may be used to. It’s not a killer by any means, but it is strange, but if you’ve been looking for a reasonably solid platformer that at least has a style of its own this is a good option.

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast - The Dark Forces and Jedi Knight series from yesteryear are often spoken of fondly by vintage gamer enthusiasts, and to a degree you can understand why. Wielding the power of the Force in games has always been a bit of a thrill and having the lightsaber as an option as a weapon was a great way to shake up the traditional FPS formula. With Jedi Outcast at a point far too deep into the game everything does come together and get more exciting, unfortunately the road to getting there is filled with what now feels like some iffy and uninspired level design and pretty bland shooter play. If you’re a die hard Star Wars fan and are looking to either recapture nostalgia or are willing to grit it out to get to the good stuff this may be satisfying but for everyone else in this case it’s probably better to use your imagination and wait for a more modern release to scratch your force powers itch.

Police Stories - Tactical shooters are typically an acquired taste as they require a slow and steady approach over diving in with guns blazing. Police Stories very much falls into that mold, though its top-down perspective really makes you want to think initially that it could just be a more thoughtful variant on Hotline Miami. Having spent some time with it my main comment would be that playing it solo is generally quite aggravating and slow as your AI partner doesn’t respond to a variety of scenarios very well and has a tendency to either get killed or simply not be very responsive. Playing with a friend really seems to be where the game hits its sweet spot if you’re able to communicate and work together, covering either other and being smart. If you’ve got someone to play with and who’ll cover your back this could be a blast, but if you’ll be taking the game on alone it simply takes too much time and effort to make progress… unless that may be what you’re looking for.