Wednesday, December 30

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


Super Meat Boy Forever [Nindie Choice] -
Fans of one of the OG teeth-gnashing platforming challenges from the early indie days have been waiting for a number of years to see Meat Boy make his triumphant (and brutally tough) return, and with the arrival of Forever… there’ll be mixed reactions?!? This may not be the sequel everyone was hoping for as the style of play has been changed completely, even if the degree of difficulty hasn’t subsided at all. Where before you had full control over Meat Boy (or any of his unlocked contemporaries) to work through loads of platforming challenges, this new entry in the series has taken on a form more consistent with an endless runner. There are positives as well as pitfalls to this choice, with the streamlining of what you have to worry about possibly making the experience more accessible but leaving the experience mostly with very picky timing on everything you do in its place. Since you’re unable to freely move many levels also take on more of a puzzle-like feel as you try to work out your path (hopefully picking up pacifiers along the way and maybe finding hidden secrets) since you’ll simply die if you get to the edge of the screen and turning isn’t always something you can pull off wherever you’d like. The big upside is that every time you play through the levels are bound to lay themselves out differently, giving the game immense replay value, but whether or not you’re down for the new format that may have come at a high price for your enjoyment or perhaps your expectations.


Double Dragon: Neon - The Double Dragon name is revered for good reason since the series has been around since the early days and has also had some great conversions onto many home systems over the years. Neon is obviously an attempt to reignite and modernize this venerated franchise, though also being sure to celebrate the more ridiculous aspects of the decade that it spawned from. The Switch has seen a real beat-em-up renaissance emerge since launch and while this over-the-top brawler has its moments not all comparisons to its contemporaries on the eShop are favorable. For me the most notable issue is just the sluggishness of your character’s movements and attacks, while perhaps it’s consistent in general feel with the original by modern standards it feels like you’re moving through molasses. If you consider the modern genre to be too chaotic and rapid-fire this may actually be a plus, but for me if the game could be played between 1.25x and 1.5x faster I’d enjoy it more. There’s certainly no lack of personality here, and your ability to customize your characters stats and specials to suit your tastes is a nice touch, but in terms of core play Neon simply feels behind the times in what’s become quite a competitive space on the Switch.


Wingspan - Card-based strategy titles have been coming to the Switch in a pretty steady stream but I don’t think there have been any quite like Wingspan. With an ornithological focus, everything you do in this title revolves around birds, just be sure to be ready to do quite a bit of reading and experimentation to truly get up to speed. Turns are spent gathering various types of feed, laying eggs, or playing the bird cards in your hand, with your focus often being on working out how best to chain your various bonuses to maximize every turn. Since you’ll be playing against a CPU competitor taking a look at what may be going on with them won’t be a bad thought, and opportunities may arise with predatory birds in your deck to capitalize even on actions they take. Careful and thoughtful planning and a bit of luck can go a long way to help you succeed in this game, and that can be rewarding when everything comes together, but whether or not the experience will be something for everyone is a fair question.


Elliot - When it comes to traditional platformers from top to bottom the Switch tends to have you covered. So when a title like Elliot comes along, not really having any major faults but also not doing anything that’s going to differentiate it from a host of similar genre titles it’s hard to know quite what to say. The degree of difficulty here is higher than the norm, especially if you’re looking to pick up stretch goal challenge items that are peppered around in tough places, but there’s just something missing in terms of personality or perhaps creativity that fails to make it memorable, aside from perhaps its budget price, but even in that category there’s some more worthy competition.


Fatal Fury: First Contact - Fans of fighting games who also happen to have fond memories of playing their favorite series in handheld form may get a kick out of this one. The Neo Geo Pocket conversions may be an acquired taste since, by their nature, they were being made on more limited hardware but there are those like this one that shine a little brighter than the rest. Once you get over the somewhat slow response of your fighters (it’s minor but hard not to notice, I’d imagine this is consistent with the original though) you’ll find that the move set for each character is pretty deep and generally easy to execute even with only the two buttons supported. Depth of challenge may be a bit more of an issue, depending on your level of skill, but if you’ve got some pocket-sized retro nostalgia it’s among the better conversions they’ve made.


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