Thursday, October 29

Mini Reviews: October 30th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Pinball FX3: Williams Pinball Volume 6 -
Once again it’s time for old school pinball fanatics to rejoice as a new pack of conversions from the classic collection of Williams tables has arrived. The top billing obviously goes to the revered classic Funhouse, whose animated ventriloquist dummy head Rudy absolutely steals the show! In a great sign of respect for the quality of the original even in enhanced mode the head is left the same, you can’t improve on a classic! That said, the animated full-bodied Rudy to the right doesn’t particularly add much to the experience. Still, this is absolutely a table every pinball fan should want to have ready access to. Next up there’s Space Station, a much more simplistic table with a spread out layout that feels and plays completely differently. A bit older, so it’s lacking in bells and whistles, the enhanced elements for this one I also was inclined to leave off since at best the floating asteroids and all were distracting and only there for ambiance really, never doing much more than float there. Finally, there’s a table with perhaps too much personality, depending on your tastes, Doctor Dude. This has always seemed like a somewhat polarizing table among my friends, but I personally have a weak spot for it and all of its silliness since I got a ton of time with it in my local arcade back in the day. Again, the enhancements in this case don’t play much of a role in enhancing the experience, especially since the animated Dude simply looks a bit weird, even for him. I was at least entertained when his outfit would change with an upgrade because of your success in making him more cool, sometimes it’s small things that can count the most. While I’d say on the whole most of the other packs have more overall star power, Funhouse would be worth the price of admission on its own. Even not being the best Williams Pack available there’s no doubt you could sink a significant amount of time (and, thankfully, at least no quarters) into these well-constructed and recreated tables.

My Universe: Fashion Boutique - So going completely off the board and reaching out to an unusual demographic among my normal review fare we have My Universe: Fashion Boutique. Granted, it’s likely targeted to younger girls (or anyone who loves a fashion game I suppose) but even as an adult male who hasn’t exactly plumbed the depths of the fashion game genre I’ll say I walked away pleasantly surprised by the experience. What I like is the attempt to really get you a bit more involved in things, not merely trying to match people up with their ideal outfits but also designing and then doing some of the worth to bring new fashions to life. Mini games will have you tracing your patterns, cutting out your fabric, and then sewing it together, trying to be as accurate as possible to increase your score. In the beginning you’ll only have a few articles to work with helping out in your aunt’s store but as you find success you’ll be able to unlock new styles, patterns, and accessories that will really allow your creativity in creating a look to shine. Perhaps the pacing is a bit on the slow side in terms of advancing the story along but as games for the younger set go I was pretty impressed and I think my older daughter would have been thrilled with it a few years ago (she does like it now, just before it would have been her present, not a title she was consulting me on).

Clea - Appropriately for this time of year we have Clea, a game where you’ll come in a bit cold wondering what the heck is going on with the hopes that perseverance will pay off with some suspense and scares. This falls into the category of having general adventure game mechanics, needing to explore and find inventory items to advance the story while being careful and sometimes needing to run in order to evade a bloodthirsty stalker. The bulk of the appeal is that knot in your stomach as you approach a new door, trying to be quiet as you move around and being sure to run for cover if you’re discovered. The thing is, if that hook isn’t enough on its own to motivate you, without that somewhat constant concern this becomes a very simple linear game for the most part. While it can provide a thrill and the story is appropriately a bit twisted even among some other titles in the same space like the Coma games this feels a bit outclassed overall.

Angry Video Game Nerd 1 & 2 Deluxe - While I’ve heard people throw praise at these two throwback platformers I’ve never had the chance to check them out until now. Very similar to one another as a whole, with the sequel simply adding a few more elements to improve on the overall quality of the experience, these are pretty straightforward tough platformers that will demand your full attention. I take some issue with the fact that too often some of your obstacles to progress feel like they’re on the cheap side, but that’s all a matter of taste and what you’re looking for I suppose. While perhaps this can make me seem like an old prude I’d actually say I found the game’s dialogue to be a bit on the juvenile and lazy side, throwing around profanity needlessly for its own sake, and in a way that makes it feel like it’s attempting to be cool and “edgy” somehow. Just in general I’d say these weren’t my cup of tea, whether it was shaking my head at some other cheap curse-laden joke being made or a particular section that simply seems to be designed to be brutal without also really having those that are actually fun.

The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny - The conversions from the Neo Geo Pocket are always interesting from the standpoint of seeing what could be pulled off on such a relatively limited portable, but their quality and staying power tends to vary wildly. In the case of The Last Blade it’s a weapon-based series I’m not familiar with so that added to the learning curve, though with some repetition I was able to start to understand the core moves. Granted, among the few modes there’s a Training Mode option but with it being a 2-button fighter I figured it should be relatively easy to pick up cold as at least a casual-ish fighting game vet of sorts. Surprisingly, no, but checking things out afterwards it mostly made sense. A bit like the Samurai Shodown 2 pocket conversion there’s a more strategic element to the fights here rather than blunt action so blocking and countering tends to be more effective than outright aggression. The character roster is a bit thinner than some of the other SNK fighters from the portable so unless you’re a fan of the series this may not be the fighter you’re looking for.

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