Tuesday, November 12

Mini Reviews: November 12th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Ritual: Crown of Horns - When it comes to shooters of all varieties the Switch has an abundance of riches. So when something comes along that plays a bit differently that tends to make me take some extra notice. Rather than going down a quick and intense arcade path Ritual is more slow and deliberate, though that isn’t to say you won’t quickly get overwhelmed by your enemies. While the level layouts and specifics of each stage vary ultimately the action tends to boil down to you needing to defend the witch you’ve aligned with as she tries to cast her spell. Sometimes you’ll have a building with windows and doors that need to be beaten down before the horde can get to her but sometimes the layout is more open. In each case you’ll need to make the rounds quickly and efficiently, taking down enemies with carefully placed and timed shots to maximize damage. The action tends to be somehow both methodical and intense, and there’s a fair amount of challenge to be had. Unfortunately sometimes the challenge is more aggravating than others as some structures and elements have a tendency to obstruct your way and there are times when the pacing seems wildly inconsistent from level to level. Still, if you’re up for a different take on a shooter that slows things down a little it’s a nice option to have on the console.

Door Kickers: Action Squad - Normally when I think about tactical shooters I’m thinking they’re either isometric like in the X-Com vein or top-down like some more classic titles. Heck, earlier this year with RICO we even had a first-person version. Taking things from yet another perspective we have Door Kickers: Action Squad which will have you taking on bad guys side-scrolling style. While you can tackle the game solo it seems like a title mostly geared for pairing up with some friends locally or taking your chances (keeping in mind the fickle nature of Switch indie online communities) with online matchmaking. There are a few classes to choose from, each with their own pros and cons, and the perps’ behaviors aren’t always a sure thing so there are always opportunities for a surprise. While it won’t be for everyone its mix of more arcade-like action with tactical considerations taken into account help it to stand out as a bit different in the Switch lineup.

The Park - While we’re now a little past the formal Halloween season there’s always time for a good scare. Well, maybe not so much a scare in the case of The Park as a slowly-bubbling sense of dread and unease. You play the part of a younger woman who starts out by going into an amusement park in pursuit of her young boy, but it doesn’t take long before things start to unravel a bit and it turns out the place has been abandoned, making you start to wonder if your character may be a few cans short of a six pack perhaps. As you discover bits and pieces of notes and articles a picture of what put the park into its current state begins to form and as you explore you continue to have episodes that make you question what’s real. While it’s more of a walking simulator-esque experience that only lasts a few hours there’s just enough content to suck you in if you’re game for this sort of experience.

House of Golf - Miniature golf is a fun casual staple for families everywhere, so it’s no surprise someone is trying to mine that core experience on Switch… in this case in the form of House of Golf. In this case the name is a bit literal, as you’ll play courses that have been set up in different rooms of the house, with the presentation taking the approach of you playing through with smaller than average people it seems. While the game gets nothing particularly wrong the experience is also pretty simple and even dull in some cases, your planning and executing your shots is uncomplicated for the most part but that also ends up begging the question of “Why?” While not a bad idea for families with less experienced players the less likely you are to play with other people and the more game-savvy you are the more unlikely it is that House of Golf will keep your attention for very long.

Mononoke Slashdown - Games that are on the lighter end of the spectrum in terms of scope and price can be tough to evaluate. If you’re dealing with a budget title just how much variety and depth should you expect? Mononoke Slashdown is a title where that question comes pretty heavily to the front. In terms of its look and base mechanics it’s got some things on its side and plays pretty well in terms of fluidity. That said, though some new elements and enemies are introduced and there are some nuances to combat you can start to pick up on there’s also just not a lot of meat on the bones. For a low price if you want to get your slash on it may not be a bad choice but just because it’s cheap doesn’t redeem it not being terribly engaging for long.