Tuesday, February 16

Mini Reviews: February 16th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Little Nightmares 2 [Tarsier Studios] (Nindie Choice!) - Having missed out on the original, though certainly having heard its praises, I walked into Little Nightmares 2 with next to no pre-knowledge aside from knowing to expect a creepy tone. Without the ability to contrast it against the original I can’t speak to how it holds up, but what I will say is that, on the whole, it is a well-crafted and very atmospheric action adventure with a spirit in line with classic cinematic adventures that I love. While there’s no dialogue you easily get a sense of the situation given the dark and ominous look of your surroundings and the pretty evil enemies you’ll encounter. You’ll spend the majority of your time either exploring or trying to elude capture or death, and that will require a mix of being stealthy, some problem-solving, and a bit of periodic violence as well. While it may not have the same clever narrative hook the likes of a title like Inside and others this is a well-crafted and quite gorgeous title that performs quite well on Switch and will engross you over its handful of hours.

Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption [Transolar Games] - It’s always interesting to see variations on well-worn genres, whether it’s in term of a game’s tone or even overall feel. As familiar as the classic point-and-click adventure may be there’s been a surprising variety in its implementation across a load of titles on the Switch. Hero-U, as a whole, just feels like its own animal from its well-structured interface to its non-stop punnery if you’re willing to take the time to check everything. That’s also where I think the critical point of the game lies when it comes to enjoyment. If you’re more interested in moving the story along and progressing it’s not well-geared to that and pushing quickly will actually deprive you of some clever humor and commentary. However, if you’re more inclined to savor what your adventure games have to offer and will take the time to check everything you can there’s plenty here to tickle your punny bone.

Aground [Fancy Fish Games] - Survival games have really come in a wide variety of forms on the Switch and Aground may be one of the most basic of the bunch. You’ll pretty quickly progress through different phases and technologies as you move about digging, chopping, and whacking away to collect materials you’ll need to complete quests and craft new equipment. Compared to most titles your progression will be pretty quick, and to the game’s credit it’s quite surprising how far the technology tree will go given your time and patience so that can help to keep things evolving at a brisk pace. That said, there’s no denying that while your specific actions and what you collect may change at the core the experience and your moment by moment activities won’t change all that makes, making a sense of repetition set in. If you’re looking for more of a lightweight survival title that can be satisfying, even if not terribly deep, you may find this to be worth your while though.

#DRIVE [Dariusz Pietrala] - While the Switch is still criminally under-represented when it comes to racing games genre fans shouldn’t leap at #DRIVE thinking it’ll slake their thirst for a game from that genre. Really more of an “endless driver” from a third-person perspective this is a mobile conversion and plays as such so it’s less about racing than simply about steering to avoid other vehicles or swerve into stations to pick up gas or power-ups along the way. There’s plenty of “content” in the form of unlocks and new locales to visit but don’t mistake that for much variety as you go along since the same core gameplay remains throughout. If you’re looking for something to kick around for a few minutes at a time it may satisfy but if you were hoping for any depth or nuance you’ll walk away disappointed.

Summer Catchers [Noodlecake Studios] - Whenever you have games come to Switch that were obviously originally intended for mobile devices the first question is whether or not they benefit from the move to a dedicated gaming console. In the case of Summer Catchers, on the whole, I’d say it shouldn’t have come over as it has. Working as a sort of endless runner/racer the hook is that along your side-scrolling journey you’ll encounter a variety of obstacles and hazards that you’ll need to quickly act to avoid or counteract. In terms of gameplay that pretty well defines the entirety of what you need to know. That being the endless runner style perhaps casual fans won’t be bothered, but unless you’re playing using the touchscreen the cumbersome method of controlling which tool you’ll use to get through obstacles really puts a damper on the fun. Even with the touch controls the need to manage which power-ups are available to you at any given time is a consistent distraction and again cumbersome, pretty quickly draining the light fun out of the experience.

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