Friday, October 9

Mini Reviews: October 9th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

The Survivalists [Nindie Choice!] -
As I have noted a few times before, in general survival games haven’t tended to be a favorite of mine in the past. That said, as the genre has diversified and mixed in different elements to make the experience more accessible (and sometimes actually a bit fun), I’ve slowly become more of a fan. The Survivalists is one such genre game that breaks down some barriers to do things its own way and the combination of crafting, resource management, monkey management, exploration, and experimentation often managed to put a smile on my face. While I’d hardly consider this a hard core challenge that isn’t to say you won’t find the island to be dangerous as you first get started or if you insist on pushing ahead beyond what your gear will handle well. As always, the early game then is about collecting resources, crafting, and putting together more and more reliable and functional gear. Where this is usually a pretty cumbersome grind a great feature of this title is the ability to train some monkeys to do some grunt work for you. I’ll admit that initially I didn’t consider their management too intuitive, even with instructions, but once I got the hang of it I could rely on them just clearing every tree, rock, or other resource in the immediate area, saving me a load of time and tedium. The help in the reduction of plain grinding, a pretty smart and well-designed crafting tree, and a consistent flow of surprises really made this one of my favorite survival games to date. Though, keep in mind since I’m not a traditional fan of the genre you’ll have to take my tastes into account when considering the purchase.

Flipon [Nindie Choice!] - When it comes to action puzzle games the tendency is to think of the big and well-established guns when looking for some quality play. That said, every once in a while a new title storms out of the eShop with a budget price and some quality play to make a strong impression. Flipon, while not necessarily terribly original in its mechanics, offers up a whole lot of variety and fun whether you’re playing through its campaign and various modes solo or with up to 4 friends. While perhaps I’d say the action is a bit too close, somewhat discouraging more strategic accumulation of blocks to try to pull off larger chains of combos that does make for a fair degree of intensity. Your goal is to shift pairs of block to set up straight lines of the same colored block, but there’s some strategy to be had as you get the hang of things and both the campaign and other modes do a good job of trying to help you refine some of those techniques even if you don’t consider yourself to be a pro. For such a modest asking price Flipon really brings together great presentation and production values and then pairs that with a load of content and variety (well, for this sort of game) to keep you busy puzzling for quite some time.

Adventures of Chris - I’ll give credit where it is due, while action platforming doesn’t often change things up too much Adventures of Chris creatively throws some curveballs at you in order to try to keep things a little more fresh. The somewhat unassuming and pudgy Chris, through a series of weird events, finds himself imbued with the power to float initially (how gets weird, you’ll just need to check it out for yourself) and from that base is determined to go on an epic adventure and turn himself into a full-fledged hero. The game really does try to keep changing up the style of play, sometimes favoring more action and other times some creative puzzles and platforming, so that’s a plus. Even so, at times I felt like the enemy was more the not-quite-tight-enough controls which are just muddy enough that intense situations feel a little tougher than they should be. Throw in what feels like a lot of pretty juvenile humor about Chris’s weight that feels at least a decade out of place and it’s a mixed bag. This adventure has its ups and downs (with plenty of inverted action to prove it) but if you’re looking for a unique challenge it may be a good fit for you.

Falcon Age - Novelty in games is always a good thing, new experiences are welcome and you never know what may become a break out hit or revelatory gameplay experience. Falcon Age is unfortunately neither but if you’re looking for a reasonably good story, play mechanics that are simply a bit different as you become more adept at guiding and using your fledgling falcon companion’s skills, and don’t mind the pace being more on the slow side it can be a refreshingly good time. I found the game’s sense of humor often provided me with an amusing response to in-game prompts, a small detail but one I appreciated nonetheless. You can tell it was designed with VR in mind and if you were fully immersed in the game world perhaps it wouldn’t feel so plain and empty. Not to say there’s not some beauty here, just the level of detail feels a generation or so ago. Give it a glance and if the style of play looks appealing it’s certainly worth a look.

WarriOrb - Billed as the “Dark Souls” of 2D jump and run action, WarriOrb set itself on a pedestal daring comparison. Unfortunately while there’s some novelty in the experience I can’t say that it’s a flattering match-up. What’s striking in many ways is just how plain the experience is in many regards, with a pretty bare bones feel in terms of action, a general blandness in design, and a surprisingly plodding pace. Then there are weird quirks like rather than make transitions or animations for some actions like ladder climbing or switching perspective the game sort of magically ports you from one point to another which may be practical but it does often seem sloppy. In general it’s just an odd experience and with so many worthy action platformers out there it’s easy to pass this one up.

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