Friday, June 12

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

Demon’s Tier+ [Nindie Choice!] - With indies I always find it so thoroughly satisfying when games manage to take me by surprise. What, on the surface, looked like a run-of-the-mill budget action RPG instead turned out to be more of a twin-stick shooter in many regards that has just enough roguelike elements (and fair degree of challenge) to make the grinding you’ll inevitably do to unlock better weapons/character classes/equipment worthwhile. Is it Earth-shatteringly great? No. But all the same, for a modest price I was surprised how compelled I was to return to it until I beat the game at least at the first skill level. Every once in a while the mission I’d need to complete to finish the level would feel a bit unfair, the dungeon a bit too funky in its random layout, but that does tend to come with the territory when you’re trying to keep things fresh. Overall, it’s a satisfying experience on a budget with plenty to unlock and improve your runs with in search of glory.

Evan’s Remains - This is a bit of a tough one as the overall package is an interesting mix, but whether you’ll be game for it will depend heavily on what you’re looking for. On the one end in terms of gameplay mechanics it’s a pretty straight puzzle platformer, and generally a pretty solid one overall. On the other it has a bit of a mystery to tantalize you, with your character searching for someone important who is missing, a cast of characters you’ll slowly begin to see and understand more about as you go, and a few revelations that will likely take you by surprise. It’s an unexpected mix, and while I think that the storytelling may be more of an incentive to play than the puzzling (which is good but not particularly revolutionary either overall), if you’d like to work your way through a general well-written narrative, pausing for puzzle interludes periodically to help break things up, it may be appealing for you.

Ancestors Legacy - When it comes to real-time strategy, representation a bit on the iffy side for Switch, so any new entry in the space is always welcome. Ancestors Legacy delivers pretty well too, sporting a degree of visual polish, multiple nordic armies as well as factions within them to work through, and reasonably good controls for a console implementation of the genre. As is usually the case not all mission types are created equally and, depending on your tastes, the pacing and length of some less violent variants may drag on a bit more slowly than I’d have liked, but the variety is still welcome overall. I did find keeping my unit groups straight in terms of their composition tricky when things got hectic at times, which undoubtedly lost me some men, but for the most part you get into the swing of managing the action and letting your units do their thing once you set them up for success. If you’ve been itching for an RTS while I think this genre always tends to do better with a mouse on PC the overall package here is well-implemented on Switch.

Do Not Feed the Monkeys - If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know I’m a big fan and cheerleader for weird games. Love ‘em. Give me an experience I haven’t had before since there’s an excitement to it with discovery. Do Not Feed the Monkeys certainly checks a number of boxes in the weirdo game category, with a premise unlike pretty much anything I’ve played, mechanics and strategy you’ll need to discern through some experimentation and flailing in the dark, and random bits of humor and even mystery from the news, dialogue with your neighbors, or through the “monkeys” you’re voyeuristically tasked with observing. With new experiences some confusion is to be expected, but for me the balance tips a bit too far into territory where the game simply feels unrefined and not quite clearly complete in terms of its concepts and design. If you’re down for things being a bit bumpy, with some trial and error and struggle there’s an interesting blend of ideas and some humor here that are worthwhile, it just may be an acquired taste overall.

House Flipper - Oh, simulator games, how you can sometimes baffle me for you appeal, allowing people to do some theoretically cool things but then often getting bogged down in drudgery and minutia. If there were a poster child contest for this syndrome House Flipper would be near the front of the line. Yeah, as you build up your construction empire you’ll get more opportunities to do cooler things but the road to success involves a lot of crap work, picking up garbage, cleaning up messes, and slowly pressing the right buttons to install replacement equipment. Sure, there’s an element of vegging out and enjoying yourself with the small details if that’s your bag, but even among its peers this just feels clunky and unrewarding.