Thursday, October 22

Mini Reviews: October 22nd Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Horace [Nindie Choice!] -
Horace is an odd title in that much like the title character robot of the same name it is quite unassuming and humble but there’s so much more to it. In terms of the gameplay it’s mostly a smart puzzle platformer that puts up some challenge but is never too over-the-top taxing either. What makes it special though is the story of Horace and his “family”, which evolves from him being a curious sort of family “pet” to a meaningful and important member of it. There are so many magical moments of joy and sadness that feel unusual paired with the gameplay and yet given the quality of both there’s no room for complaint. Top that all off with mini games and a wide variety of surprises and though there’s not much outwardly sexy about the game’s name or main character to pull you in, rest assured it’s a real gem of an experience if you give it a shot.

The Red Lantern - Typically when you hear about roguelikes your mind conjures up images of action-oriented and intense play, whether slashing, jumping, or shooting. In the case of The Red Lantern there’s none of that though, with the roguelike essence revolving instead around your character who is looking for direction and meaning in life being able to try repeatedly to successfully reach a remote cabin in Alaska with her budding team of sled dogs. Make no mistake, there’s no question that you’ll fail, and depending on your luck or skill that may only be a handful of times or many more. But really the game is less about you reaching your goal and more about the many experiences and hardships you’ll face along the way. Scarcity of resources tends to be the earliest killer, your limited meat, bullets, and means to create fires make your chances remote at best. Thankfully you and your dogs never really die, when you fail you’ll just find yourself back at your van and ready to take on the challenge once more, hopefully with some new perks you gained from your previous run. I’d say if you’re just out for a game to complete the experience will probably not be a satisfying one, the joy in the game is the storytelling and your character’s interactions with her dogs and nature with smart writing and a message about learning to find yourself and learn to survive no matter what the odds.

Disc Room - As a self-avowed lover of the classic days of arcade games a title like Disc Room makes almost perfect sense to me, though I’ll admit not everyone may be as eager to latch on to its unusual concept. Your goal is simply survival while trying to unlock new rooms in a remote base near the planet Jupiter. Your obstacle? A wide variety of absolutely lethal bladed discs of all sorts of shapes and sizes that will cut you in half on contact. Lacking a means to simply shoot or punch your way out of this situation all you’re really left with is running like hell and leveraging those dormant crazy dodging skills you’ve been building up through all of your years of gaming. In order to progress you’ll need to complete all sorts of objectives, starting with obvious things like surviving for a certain amount of time, but then including more unusual ones that reward failure like dying to as many different types of discs as possible. Thankfully as you get further you’ll also gain some new abilities that will make things a little bit easier but that won’t change the fact that to be successful you’ll need to be a dodging prodigy. That may not make it for everyone but for action junkies it’s a good time.

Glitch’s Trip - While this may look like a cute and relatively straight-forward puzzle platformer Glitch’s Trip wastes little time before smacking you around and letting you know it’s here to kick your ass and chew bubble gum, and it’s all out of bubble gum. Who’d have expected there to be a shooting element to a game like this, and when you combine some enemies, switches, and traps of various kinds that cute platformer becomes a lot more grueling and at times almost cruel when you blow it late in a given stage. I’ll give it credit, the mix of elements and degree of difficulty make it pretty unique on the Switch, just I’m not sure that means the right audience will have an easy time finding it unfortunately.

Double Pug Switch - While certainly sporting a cute set of characters and overall look there’s not too much easygoing once you dig in for a few stages in this endless runner of sorts. The general play isn’t too complicated, you’re able to jump as well as switch between dimensions really quickly which will change your obstacles and traps ahead of you. While initially this isn’t too tough pretty quickly you’ll need to be going back and forth in a rapid-fire manner and it gets more tense. If your first objective is merely surviving by the skin of your teeth you’ll be challenged but it’s more manageable. If, however, you’re a completionist who can’t just leave well enough alone the temptation to try to figure out how to get to every special purple coin and still survive will stack the odds against your moreso. It’s not rocket science but if you’re looking for a challenging puzzle action game it may be a good fit.

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