Tuesday, October 27

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


Oddworld: New n Tasty [Nindie Choice!] -
While the Switch has had some entries from the Oddworld series that have dabbled in a variety of styles of play, most of them at best only moderately successful, New n Tasty marks their return to the original… though thankfully in gussied up redux form. You’ll control Abe as he desperately tries to escape and share the truth (reminiscent of Soylent Green) with his brethren. Mechanically true to the original the controls take some getting used to since this isn’t a straight action platformer but instead a puzzle platformer with some movement and controls that are more like Abe’s following your commands on a broad level, perhaps even after taking a few drinks. There are places where this can absolutely be frustrating but the style harkens back to earlier times and classics like Prince of Persia or Out of This World among others so it is an understood style of control, just one that perhaps now feels more dated than ever. Regardless there’s some craft and charm in the polished look and silliness of the whole affair and it does do a good job of justifying how the original was able to start up a franchise with its weirdo charm.


Torchlight 3 - Oh, Torchlight 3, what to do with you? I’m a massive fan of Diablo and the many titles it inspired, with the Torchlight series probably being my favorite of the bunch. I had a great time with the first two titles and it was even a great gateway to get my daughters into the style of play without all of the more graphic elements of the Diablo series when they were younger. I’d heard that the third title had a rocky time through its development process, at one point looking to go more of an MMO route and even considering being a free-to-play, so it’s understandable those plans and a lack of consistent direction would have had a negative effect on the final product. I’m just sad to see the depth of the problem, particularly on the Switch.

Starting with the positive I will give some credit for the creative assortment of initial characters you have to choose from, mostly appearing to fit into the typical genre archetypes but showing some surprising core variety. You can tank it up with a shooting locomotive in tow, amp up your pet game with your archer, or viably go with melee for your mage among other things. The downside to that is there just feels like there’s quite a bit of filler in the skills area and the actual build diversity you can achieve falls short of the potential you could hope for.

The disappointments don’t quite stop there though, in pretty well every area there are shortcomings. The camera is quite pulled out, likely showing the MMO influence, making the action harder to appreciate and handheld play a bit of a challenge. There are elements like bounties that really feel tacked on and more like daily free-to-play grind tasks. When the enemy mobs get bigger the performance can start to chug and get choppy. 

Just in terms of the big picture of the overall experience Torchlight 3 has sort of a Frankensteined-together feel, lacking in cohesion and polish. Given the presence of not only Diablo on the platform, but other strong contenders like Victor Vran that deliver a more exciting experience unfortunately this Torchlight entry just fizzles out a bit.


They Bleed Pixels - When it comes to challenging platformers of all types the Switch has gotten to the point where it has you covered and then some. Coming in on perhaps a bit more of the brutal end of the equation we have They Bleed Pixels, a platformer full of deadly traps where traversal is as much of a challenge as the enemies you’ll be trying to slash into submission. One oddity for me is that even though your character has a relatively small arsenal of moves I struggled to keep some of them straight contextually since most were about hitting a direction while performing a button press rather than making more use of the buttons available. Perhaps it’s a small thing but as tense as things can get when you’re trying to be sure to take open opportunities and make the most of them fumbling with the wrong attack can be aggravating. In addition there’s not a whole lot of ramp up overall for the various wall jumping and general nimbleness challenges, you’re just going to have to die until you git gud in many cases. For the right crowd who wants to dig in and master tough levels this could be a real treat, but for anyone remotely on the casual end of the spectrum it will be one to avoid most likely.


Cross Krush - Triggered by the traffic outside their house in Cross Krush you’ll play as one member of an elderly couple who is determined to destroy any and all cars on the road to get some peace and quiet. Once you get the hang of the different vehicle types, which you should spare, and what effects destroying them can have it takes on a pretty straightforward puzzle style, just presented in a weird and humorous way. Effective planning and execution will net you the best results, with multi-car combos often being a central part of your plans. Perhaps the controls for executing your vision of destruction are a bit on the slow and cumbersome side since you’ll need to walk your retiree of choice around a bit but a fair taste of destruction and humor make it at least a memorable puzzle choice among more normal fare on the eShop.


Rusty Spout Rescue Adventure - OK, so there’s a saying that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, though in entertainment media when you copy something a bit too much it can be weird. In the case of Rusty Spout Rescue Adventure with the exception of some aesthetics, the story and characters being different, and perhaps some nuance with powers and problems you’ll run into there’s no mistaking this is copied heavily from the Bust-a-Move series. The weird thing is, it is but it isn’t, there are just some small things that are different and one in particular is for the worse. There’s a good reason many games of this kind use an arrow of some kind on the base you fire balloons from, it helps you visualize where you’re aiming even when the guides are missing. Since this game instead features a cannon there’s no such help and you’re left trying to quickly eyeball it, often leading to issues. While seemingly a small detail it harms the game pretty substantially and is a big mistake for an overall pretty simple game.

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