Friday, March 27

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

Travel Mosaics 2: Roman Holiday [Nindie Choice!] - What can I say, if you didn’t check out the original iteration of the game on Switch and love Picross-styled puzzles you’ve really been missing out. While I’ll agree that the naming, the art style, and some aspects of the presentation scream dated and have a feel of something you’d find people playing on a tablet don’t allow those elements to get in the way of what I’d consider the most challenging and well-implemented Picross title out there. The puzzles are large, generally involve the use of more colors than the competition, and the power-up system is smart and at times absolutely vital if you want to clear challenges without any mistakes. Carrying a very fair price and hours of satisfying puzzling these titles are an absolute steal so be sure to give them a try, once the gameplay gets you hooked the rest of it all tends to just fall away.

DOOM 64 - While I’ve played many iterations of DOOM over the years going back to the original shareware the N64 incarnation of it was one that I’d missed out on. I’d always heard that it was solid and did things a little bit in its own way and having played it I’d tend to agree. Something about the level layouts feels a bit more intricate (though you could also call them confusing, to be fair) than what I associate with the original DOOM iterations, and the quasi-3D look is at least interesting which at the time I’m sure it helped the game to stand out nicely. While there’s no doubt going back to the earlier style of FPS play feels a bit odd I’d say among the throwback titles in the genre I’ve played this is the most successful and accessible of the bunch, managing to avoid being utterly painful as many tend to be by being about as highly evolved as the genre got before moving on to the fully 3D world of Quake and many others. Recommended for those seeking a look back at the genre’s earlier days that has the best hopes of not shattering any rose-colored memories of how great shooters used to be.

Bug Academy - One of the great things about indie games is that they can sneak up on you and defy expectations. While it isn’t always fair to judge a book by its cover the effect that a game’s eShop logo has on your impression of it is unmistakable. A look at the one for Bug Academy unfortunately doesn’t inspire confidence, at best it gives the impression of something thoroughly generic. However, though it no means offers much more than simple pleasures as a goofy flying physics game where you’ll enlist as many flies as you can to pick up and move items around in a variety of scenarios it is different and satisfying for its modest budget price. If you’re looking for something like, a bit silly, and certainly family-friendly it isn’t a bad idea for wasting away some hours with.

Thunder Paw - OK, so here we have an indie platform shooter with a reasonably good look, somewhat cute main character, and what seems like some promise out of the gate. Only when you keep playing it for a few stages the lack of inspiration in the level design, a complete lack of explanation of what benefit there is to collecting blue gems or the hidden packs on each level, and enemies that are rock stupid and repeat the same weak sauce attacks quickly dash any hopes for a satisfying experience. In truth the game feels unfinished in a way, like there were intended additional game systems they laid the foundation for and then just released without them being completed.

Pooplers - I’m all for weird and wacky games, especially when you’re getting a group of people together for some laughs and fun. In principle, Pooplers and its scatalogical gameplay offers such an opportunity with each player controlling a baby who you’re to navigate through the stage trying to “cover” as much territory as possible. To jazz things up a bit you’re trying to avoid being detected or then caught by Mom and there are some power-ups to try to grab that will give you a variety of benefits to get the edge on your competition. The problem is that it’s really a one-note experience without a whole lot of nuance and whose theme and various fart noises simply can’t cover up the stench of ho-humness that permeates the action.