Friday, November 15

Mini Reviews: November 15th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Monkey Barrels - While run and gun shooters tend to be a side-scrolling affair Monkey Barrels proves it’s a formula that works well from a top-down perspective with twin-stick controls as well. Whereas most games with this scheme on Switch have been arcade or roguelike in nature in this case you’re on a mission to save your friend, making a bit more of an adventure. You’ll move along shooting up enemies, dealing with bosses, and powering up your armaments to ensure you’re able to keep pace with your enemies. Just to add to the fun you can take on the game solo or with some friends as well.

Woven - Most modern games tend to feature protagonists who are ready for action and tough as nails. Moving in precisely the opposite direction we have Woven, and it’s plush main character Stuffy who ambles along with a consistently innocent and pleasant demeanor. Pairing up with a mechanical friend they set out to discover what has happened to their land and to turn things back around. The game is mostly about exploration, with some relatively simple puzzle solving and hidden textures all about to update Stuffy’s look with. While this won’t be a title that will appeal to hardcore gamers in the least with its cute characters, colorful scenery, and generally slow-paced adventure, Woven is a kid-friendly treat.

Mad Games Tycoon - Have you ever wondered what it would be like to start a game company and work your way from your garage to the top of the industry? Mad Games Tycoon will provide a simplified and sometimes silly view of that process, with you working to manage your personnel, workspace, and critical decisions like research to ensure your company not only keeps up with the competition but is able to blaze a path to dominance. While it plays well enough I’ll note that aside from its sense of humor and general approach in minor areas there are other options out there, including on mobile, that are roughly similar. Just something to consider if you’re looking for your game company management fix.

Vektor Wars - Looking at times like a neon-lit fever dream after playing too many hours of the classic arcade title Battlezone, Vektor Wars delivers intensity. You’re sort of dropped into things without much direction but in general there’s not much to know. Movement is pretty straight-forward, you’ll want to shoot just about anything that’s coming at you, and you’ll need to learn what small objects and icons strewn around represent, whether power-ups or humans to save. While there’s some fun to be had here it somehow has too much going on to enjoy as a pure arcade game but lacks enough depth to be much more. Either way, I can’t say that I was hooked by anything enough to keep me wanting to return to it for long.

Blindy - This is the kind of game, characterizing itself as challenging or souls-like in some way, that gets a bit under my skin. Very simply the core of the game is a platformer where your goal is to survive an assortment of lethal traps on your way to the goal. The trick though, one I’ll note has been done before (and IMHO better), is that you can’t see very far around your character so you’ll be doing a lot of random trying and failing to figure out where the gaps and traps are. While your blood will temporarily give you an idea of where things are the fact that it goes away really leads to the experience being even less fun in the end. If you like the idea, more power to you, but it leaning hard on a gimmick to cover for just so-so level designs you’ve likely seen many times before makes it tough to recommend.