Thursday, January 28

Mini Reviews: January 28th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

TOHU [The Irregular Corporation] (Nindie Choice!) - Right out of the gate I was honestly a bit nervous with the look and feel of TOHU, concerned that it would go firmly down the cute and quirky road but come up short in terms of variety and challenge. I’m happy to say that for the most part that impression was completely wrong though. Quirky as it may be, this is a puzzle-filled adventure that has a pleasing degree of variety, at times is even a bit challenging, and leaves you with a sense of satisfaction as you progress for the most part. I do wish the story were a bit better defined in order to help you better understand and appreciate the world and its characters, but if you’re simply looking for a rock-solid point-and-click adventure that delivers more and better puzzles than its average competition you should be satisfied with the experience.

Hitman 3: Cloud Version [IO Interactive] - This being my first foray into a AAA title ported to the Switch that’s only playable streaming from the cloud, Hitman 3 definitely leaves me with mixed feelings. There’s no doubt it’s an interesting and engaging title, promising a satisfying mix of stealth, situational creativity, and even some improvisation when everything doesn’t quite go to plan. I can’t say that anything I’ve played on the system has quite the same feel or level of polish, so that part is all good. The issue is more the quirkiness of streaming play. Quite a number of years ago I was able to enjoy full-blown games on my nVidia Shield, but there was always a need to be mindful that at any time you could get hiccups or issues depending on your connection. The Switch cloud experience feels much the same, and in terms of the desire for a rock-solid connection perhaps a bit more picky. Some evenings the bandwidth just wasn’t there so I actually ended up playing it more early in the day when there was less contention for resources. Your experience, depending on where you live and a number of intangible factors, will vary but as long as you’re mindful of that going in you’ll hopefully be able to evaluate whether it may be a good match for you. A great game awaits, just be aware of the issues that may interfere with your enjoyment as you consider a purchase.

Redout: Space Assault  [34BigThings] - A glimpse at the trailer for Redout: Space Assault certainly shows promise, delivering some solid space shooting visuals and a great sense of scale as well. There was a moment where it made me long for a moment for the long lost likes of the Wing Commander series. Alas, in terms of gameplay unfortunately there isn’t as much ambition as behind the visuals and instead of it being a space simulation full of exciting dogfights it’s more of an on-rails arcade shooter that’s reasonably good but not without its issues. Fans of the Star Fox series hoping for glimpses of well-designed shooter action will be a bit let down as well as both the excitement and difficulty tend to fluctuate up and down from moment to moment, again with the play never reaching the same level as the game’s great visuals. Especially for its budget price it provides a reasonably good return, just no matter what type of experience you were hoping for it likely won’t live up to more than merely modest expectations.

Turrican Flashback  [Factor 5] - I have no doubt that fans of the classic Turrican franchise will be thrilled with the opportunity to play all 4 of the original titles on their Switch. As is always the case when you return to games from a few decades ago though, you may be surprised or even disappointed with what you find. There’s no doubt that the varied power-ups and run and gun action have their moments, but I’d also say that level design and general stage layouts feel sloppy even put up against some of the series contemporaries. Granted, there are 4 titles included here, but throw in a relatively high cost and you’ll need to evaluate the nostalgia factor over picking up one possibly more contemporary titles for the same price of admission. 

Ziggy the Chaser [Ultimate Games] - There’s not necessarily anything wrong with more casual and newbie-friendly games that are lacking in complexity. Where Ziggy the Chaser goes a bit more wrong, beyond its looks that make it resemble a title from a couple of generations ago, is that its level designs and structure just feel very haphazard. You’ll control your elephant while trying to collect gems, moving through an environment full of traps, stairs, power-ups, and a few enemies to boot. It doesn’t take long to get the hang of things after some trial and error, but there’s just nothing that makes the overall experience memorable or deep, it’s just all very bland in the end.

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