Thursday, September 3

Mini Reviews: September 3rd Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Witcheye - There’s no doubt that Witcheye has a certain odd charm to it, with you literally controlling an eyeball that’s inclined to move in straight lines until it rebounds or it stopped or redirected by you directly. I found I tended to be a continuously-redirecting fool, perhaps making it tougher than it should have been, but the mid-air stop just didn’t appeal to me so I think I took the tougher path, at least with a controller in docked mode. This definitely feels like a title more intended for handheld play using the touchscreen and going that route it certainly feels more intuitive. The name of the game here is simply making your way through a series of traps and enemies, being careful to avoid taking damage and lining yourself up to make it through tough spots and take out enemies. If you’re a completionist you may not always like the need to burn time randomly poking around stages in search of hidden gems. They’re a bit all over the place in terms of ease to find from level to level but it’s not a huge deal. In the end Witcheye is an enjoyable and accessible title, without a doubt, just it may skew a bit too far to the simplistic (and thus maybe a bit dull) side the more of a gaming veteran that you are.

Piffle - Who knew that even after all this time I could get sucked in by a cute game that has elements of Breakout and maybe some Bust a Move and their ilk. Sure, it’s super-casual, sure I didn’t have too tough a time getting all stars on every level for quite some time, but hey, it kept adding in some layers and to its credit I had to get out of a few tough spots (though I horded my power-ups like crazy and probably could have made my life simpler). There’s nothing terribly complicated about Piffle but what there is works like a charm and it offers just enough challenge to get you hooked and keep your interest without likely discouraging anyone too greatly. Will it be for everyone? Not in the least. But aside from it perhaps being a bit pricier than I’d expect for this sort of title (though, to its credit, it is very polished) it’s a really good time and should help you melt away some hours while generally having a relaxed and good time.

Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars - I’ll admit that initially I was pretty excited for this. The game’s gothic art, general tone, and feel all worked pretty nicely for me… so it sucked me in. Working through the tutorial was a bit slow, with some delays being caused by the directions and interface not always being a slam dunk for where to click and how, but I was still ready to go… but then it crashed. Coming back I had more problems so I moved onto the game assuming I could muscle through. Even with as many strategy titles in this general vein as I’ve played, there’s just something about the flow and rules of this that feels odd and a bit over-encumbered. The great thing is that there does seem to be a fair amount of room for choice, deciding how to use what energy and cards you have per turn to set yourself up best for success. However, until you really dig into how everything functions and making the interface work for you, rather than periodically fighting it a bit to get to the screen or action you’re wanting to perform, it can be frustrating. This is probably exacerbated by using console controls versus if you were playing on PC with a mouse and keyboard. The thing is, even removing the controls from the mix there’s something underwhelming here in that aside from some great cosmetics and some appropriate attributes the vampire theme feels a bit wasted and though it could have perhaps livened up the tactical combat it instead just falls pretty flat. If you’re looking for a change of strategic pace it may be an excellent option but if otherwise I think there are numerous better options on the system.

Connection Haunted - OK, so we have a FPS-style horror suspense game… check. Since suspense can be a tricky affair, not looking to give away too much too quickly, you can sometimes expect a slow burn. Alright, so I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing so I’ll just wander corridors a bit aimlessly while consulting a mini map trying to find 3 flags. Hrm, not running into anything at all… what in the world. Hey, did I just hear a sort of moan? Hey, it looks like someone else connected, though there’s no real clue as to what that really means since I’ve stomped around and captured 2 flags already. I think I just sort of saw something move in the distance, I’ve got whatever gun I have, bring it! OK, so I think I saw an enemy that honestly wasn’t very intimidating looking but I shot it. OK, there’s another and though in theory this is where my heart should start racing a bit if anything I’m a bit bored and shot another one or two. OK, trying to get a better look at my enemy, wondering if they’re even scary or will really attack. Getting closer… and it says the connection has been lost. Yeah, I suppose someone may get sucked into this somehow and want to understand the workings of it all better but really, there’s very little to suck you in here and a lot of “dead air” waiting for things to happen so it’s not for me.

A Hero and a Garden - OK, so these days not all games are meant to be action-filled and there are even subgenres like visual novels where “play” is replaced by sometimes limited interaction to drive the story. A Hero and a Garden is kind of weird because it’s a bit off in its own odd direction, not having enough story depth or giving you enough agency to be a visual novel and yet what there is to play is sporadic at best and reminds me most of a “clicker” type game when you do play. The sad thing is that I actually like the story, with your hero having stormed the area around a castle, looking to save a princess from a witch, but it turns out he was overzealous and wrecked the homes of pretty innocent and decent demons and critters, so now he’s having to work off his destruction by tending to a garden he ruined. Weird, funny, sure, but it’s not enough to sustain an experience where you’re stuck in so much dialogue and when you do get to the action it’s so short-lived and generally dull. Just not sure what to do with this one.

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