Monday, July 6

Mini Reviews: July 6th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Ghost Grab 3000 [Nindie Choice] - While I have a great appreciation for epic games that feature massive worlds and complex storylines for me to discover over many hours since I grew up in the arcades I also appreciate a tight experience that challenges me and is fun in bursts. With its relatively-simple ghost chaining mechanics and simple-but-smart controls Ghost Grab 3000 does a great job of scratching that retro itch and making me say “Just one more round”. Your goal is to catch ghosts bouncing around the screen in your beam and then zap them. Sure, you could do this one at a time but first it wouldn’t be very fun and second you’d get a sad and paltry score for that effort. The way to rack up points is to chain as many together as possible before you collect but that ends up making for a very crowded and chaotic screen full of roving enemies and their many bullets. Thankfully you have a trusty dash that makes you temporarily invulnerable and a limited number of EMP blasts at your disposal which can be used to get yourself out of jams and rack up as high a score as possible. It’s all just about the leaderboards and scoring as high as you can in the end but if you’re looking for a quick and challenging fix it’s an excellent choice at a very low price.

The Almost Gone - Sometimes games can be an interesting means of helping to convey powerful messages in a different way. In the case of The Almost Gone the theme is tied to the lasting trauma and effects of familial abuse, and it is layered onto a clever though sometimes perhaps a bit obtuse puzzler with a distinctive look. You’ll work your way through rooms in a house, shifting perspective in search of clues and potential triggers that will help you progress. The puzzles range in their methods as well as their difficulty and this can be a bit frustrating at times as there’s really no in-game means of assistance, but given that the experience only lasts a few hours the challenges can be overcome. If you’ve been a victim of some sort of abuse it may be a bit too heavy and open wounds but for those who haven’t experienced it first-hand it may help to lend perspective. It won’t be an experience for everyone but it distinguishes itself in its style and themes even in the crowded Switch library.

Singled Out - This is an example of a game that runs with an extremely simple premise, being given a few facial characteristics to match a criminal and then identifying them in a slowly-growing crowd, and runs with it as far as it can. On the one hand I’d say that its simplicity makes it a terrific casual game that anyone can play, but on the other I’d note that its difficulty ramps up pretty quickly so that isn’t to say it can’t be challenging. Your enemy is always the clock and you’ll feel the seconds ticking away as you try to quickly eliminate the faces that obviously aren’t a match but since the traits you’re given will vary you can’t count on getting into any real groove and will have to be mentally agile to keep up. Given its budget price, pretty quick play session time, and accessibility to just about anyone, it may lack in complexity but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a good value and fun.

Infini - There are games that merely dabble in weird but then there are also those titles that set up camp in crazyville, unpack their things, and get cozy. That’s how Infini felt to me playing it, shifting between action puzzles that are simplistic in principle but that can be challenging to visually comprehend and then execute to success on the one hand and then a pretty bizarre time-travelling story that seems to be trying to make a philosophical point or 100 but generally left me doing the confused dog head tilt looking at the screen. The great news is that it very much breaks away from the norm, so if you’re looking for an experience that’s a bit out there and can overlook its simplistic visuals you may find it to your liking. If that doesn’t describe what you’re seeking you’ll want to steer clear though.

Clash Force - There’s nothing wrong with a decent budget side-scrolling retro romp and if you’re looking only for that Clash Force offers it up. Does it do anything terribly inventive? Not really, you’re just running and gunning while running right and jumping and you’ll have an assortment of pick-ups that will change up your firepower to suit either your style or the current situation best. An unusual aspect I found it to have is a difficulty level which fluctuated a bit wildly up and down at times, feeling far too simply but then suddenly jumping into the deep end without an easing transition and then back again. That unrefined quality and a look that won’t wow keep it from being noteworthy but it isn’t without its charm for a low price.