Thursday, February 11

Mini Reviews: February 11th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Undermine [Thorium Entertainment] (Nindie Choice!) -
As a connoisseur of roguelike titles of all stripes Undermine had me excited at first glance. With its pick-axe throwing protagonist(s), quite varied power-ups and potential curses, and some tough-as-nails bosses to battle it feels fresh while pretty familiar so genre fans should quickly feel right at home. My main warning would be that you should be ready for a pretty slow and deliberate grind, with results and satisfaction taking a bit longer to achieve than what I’d consider the average. That said, it also has a much longer tail of content to continue to unlock as you chip away at meta upgrades and new hard won gear. There are certainly a number of titles in the category with more flash and craziness, but the deliberate and more measured pace of Undermine, as well as a steady stream of new things to discover for those who are willing to invest in it, this is a pretty unique and worthwhile addition to the upper shelf of titles in the category on the Switch.

Blue Fire [Graffiti Games] - Never let it be said that the team behind Blue Fire lacked in ambition. Attempting to bolt together the essence of a Zelda-esque sword-wielding adventure with an often-challenging platformer, you can see many inspirations in its gameplay. Unfortunately, it lacks the necessary polish and refinement to truly pull it all off… at least this time around. To its credit, while its visual style can often be pretty sparse on detail it is at least pretty attractive and generally runs well. Level design, however, can be a bit all over the map with some platforming areas working well but with many of the more action-oriented spaces feeling more generic, which is also a good word for describing the majority of the game’s combat. Definitely a victim of the jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none syndrome there’s a little bit of everything here, which can be diverting and fun, but in terms of substance and satisfaction its kitchen sink approach firmly places it in the “good” region, but it fails to elevate itself much towards “great”.

Gal*Gun Returns [Inti Creates] - Ah, the wonders of the eShop of today versus the Nintendo marketplace just a generation or two ago. For those not familiar the Gal*Gun series is (in)famous for being a rail shooter where your targets are young women, your weapon of choice is roughly a love gun, and your goal is to incapacitate them with ecstasy as you move through the many areas generally of your high school. Sure, there’s an unusual story that attempts to explain it all and you’ll be trying to woo a love interest of your choice while all of this is going on but in the end it’s all about some pretty pervy content as you fire away. To its credit, compared to some other games in this general category there’s more reasonably-decent gameplay and less jaw-droppingly gross and inappropriate moments. That said, this still isn’t likely the sort of game you’ll want to play with anyone else around.

My Universe: Pet Clinic [Maximum Games] - The My Universe series, obviously targeted at more casual and younger gamers, won’t be for everyone. Consistent with the other titles I’ve played, Pet Clinic has a generous helping of cute and charming then filled in with what amount to essentially mini games for the completion of daily tasks. In this case your job is to be the local vet, taking care of furry friends who’ve been scraped up, aren’t feeling well, or perhaps need some full service care of some kind. While every few days in the early going you’ll add new rooms and treatments that will help steadily add to the potential tasks to complete there’s no getting around the inherent repetition of the days and it can pretty quickly become a grind. For less experienced gamers that may be developing their skills the cute factor and mild nature of the action may have legs but for anyone with some experience it will quickly get dull no matter how many cute dogs and cats it may throw at you.

Football Cup 2021 [7Levels] - Sports titles in general have been criminally under-represented on the Switch, and budget games within the space are next to unheard of. While in terms of impressions Football Cup 2021 comes out of the gate reasonably well, featuring a sort of training mode that features many mini games and distractions that help you develop your game skills, unfortunately in the long run it quickly loses gas. When you’re participating in skill drills the game’s woeful (that would be a generous description) AI doesn’t really get time in the spotlight but once you’re playing full-on games it quickly becomes apparent. Players on both sides of the ball meander and cluster in unusual ways, often fail to respond in any coherent way to what’s going on, and just struggle painfully. If it weren’t for this crippling problem the budget title may have been fun, but the issue is simply impossible to ignore.

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