Tuesday, October 8

Mini Reviews: October 8th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

80 Days [Nindie Choice!] - Though the act of traversing the world is no longer such a grand feat in the time of Jules Verne, when he wrote Around the World in 80 Days, it was by no means a simple feat. 80 Days puts you in the driver’s seat (well, not literally, you’re generally a passenger) and tasks you with pulling off the title feat, using a mix of smarts, luck, and careful management of your time and money to pull it off yourself. If you’re not a fan of reading a lot of text this won’t be the game for you, but it is essential to fleshing out your adventure, winding in some intrigue and plenty of details to mine for hints on your best bets for getting around quickly and minding your budget. With so many potential routes to choose from there’s actually ample room for replay as well, by making a few different choices early on you can embark on very different journeys to not only try to do better but simply enjoy more of this richly written world.

The Tiny Bang Story - Having played through and enjoyed quite a number of hidden object and puzzle games over the years there’s a comfort zone that The Tiny Bang Story occupies pretty well, at least for a little while. With whimsical art and a very relaxed overall feel there’s some merit here, but in terms of there being something more than just the raw puzzles or some real variety this falls short. The best examples of this genre have generally had some underlying story or mystery to help drive you forward and often include far more diverse and challenging puzzles to ponder over as well. While this may satisfy if you’re looking for a mild distraction for a few hours there are definitely better examples of the genre on the system already.

Scheming Through the Zombie Apocalypse - Though at times not feeling like much of a game Scheming Through the Zombie Apocalypse at least manages to deliver an experience that includes some laughs. Working as a pair of misfit friends you’ll need to work together to try to survive not just the undead but also the real threats of other survivors as resources become scarce and precious. There are some choices to make and variations in what you’re doing but much of the experience feels a bit like it’s on rails as well, so you’ll want to plan your trip to this vision of the end of the world accordingly. If you’re just down for some sarcasm and laughs first though it may be a strong and unique match in the Switch library.

Tic-Tac-Letters - Taking on the puzzle likes of Sudoku and the Picross series we now have Tic-Tac-Letters, which in some regards feels similar but whose rules are unique and present their own challenge. Similar to the game’s namesake one underlying rule has to do with 3 of the same letter in a row, except in this case you don’t want that to happen. Helping you with another piece of information you’ll have numbers on each row and column tied to how many more of a given letter there are left. Using the combination of these core rules you’ll be able to use the process of elimination to divine which letters go where. While this makes for a unique challenge visually it all gets a bit boring and even maybe annoying depending on the letters being used on any of the game’s 120 puzzles. Lacking visual variety or the satisfaction of a piece of pixel art you’re trying to complete this challenge may be unique but doesn’t necessarily feel as diverse or rewarding as its well-known competition.

Petoons Party - When making a family-friendly party game for a Nintendo system there’s good news and bad news. Obviously there’s an audience for such a title, especially with the Switch’s emphasis on local multiplayer. However, you’ve also got to be incredibly aware of the 800 pound gorilla named Mario Party looming over you as competition. Granted, you can still make a good or even a great game that stands apart from that title but the comparisons will be inevitable. Unfortunately for Petoons Party, even without taking the plumber and his friends into account, the pacing and overall quality of this collection would still be pretty lacking. Perhaps the goal was to make it accessible for younger gamers but many of the mini games here are utterly lacking in excitement and their controls are often a bit wonky. Worse, the simple act of getting through everyone's turns can feel like an eternity as the game just has a very slow and deliberate pace, again seemingly not being in tune with highly distractible kids who would in theory be their target audience. You can see what it’s trying to do in places but unfortunately a variety of problems make it a tough one to recommend.