Thursday, February 18

Mini Reviews: February 18th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Astrologaster [Nyamyam] (Nindie Choice!) - Inspired by the spirit of Shakespeare’s Renaissance England, Astrologaster features a unique pop-up book art style, choral verse that tells the story of your character “Doctor” Forman and his patients, and use of the stars to try to help guide your patients through problems both medical and interpersonal. It’s a bit of an oddity, to say the least, but that’s also what I really enjoyed about it. Once you get used to the constraints of what you’ll be able to diagnose and how you’ll have the option to try to take things seriously, generally tapping into your common sense and intuition, or having some fun potentially at the expense of your clients. Regardless there are some laughs and surprises along the way to be had and as unusual as it all is I must admit that I was intrigued to play through a few more appointments in order to see a follow-up with one of my repeat customers to get a handle on what happened after I imparted my advice the last time. It’s not a game to be taken seriously but its unique presentation and style make it well worth a look if you’re in the mood for something thoroughly different.

Cathedral [Decemberborn Interactive] - Absolutely inspired by the 8 and 16-bit eras and the likes of the classic Castlevania series, Cathedral should be quite good at scratching the old school Metroidvania itch for genre fans. You’ll set out to explore a sprawling map full of puzzles, secret rooms, and various enemies, and the overall feel and action beats feel highly reminiscent of that time. The thing is, that can be both a good and bad thing depending on your modern expectations. There are elements in classic titles that haven’t aged as well as others, and the lack of overall guidance will at times burn some of your time (and perhaps enjoyment) as you backtrack and try to figure out what you may have missed given the way the map is laid out as a whole. Additionally, the level of challenge I would consider consistent with the titles that inspired it but may prove frustrating for some folks given its old school “git gud” approach. If you treasure modern games that fully honor the old style this is a must-buy proposition, but if you were hoping for a retro feel with more modern sensibilities you’re more likely to be disappointed.

Speed Limit [Gamechuck] - With a style falling somewhere between modern endless runners and classic arcade action, Speed Limit sports pretty intense and unique gameplay on the system. There’s not much to go with to know why but you’ll find yourself running and gunning on a speeding train, trying your best to think and act quickly jumping between cars, taking out a variety of well-armed enemies, and surviving a few surprises along the way as well. While it’s not a terribly long game, for fans of an old school challenge it should be pretty satisfying. Just be ready to do a whole lot of dying along the way and just be happy that you won’t need to keep pumping quarters to continue.

Healer’s Quest [Rablo Games] - This is one of those titles that I see being divisive, especially since I think enjoyment ultimately will spring from how much you enjoy the game’s sense of humor rather than the gameplay itself. I’ll give it credit for setting a stage for overall amusement with you playing as the under-appreciated healer of a pretty typical ragtag party of miscreants. Most of the game’s humor springs from this sort of love/hate relationship with your group, though there are also general self-conscious jokes about genre tropes and the like as well. The game unfortunately needs to lean pretty hard on the funny in order to compensate for generally lackluster action as you’ll need to battle cooldowns while you try to keep your party alive through a mix you’ll choose of buffs and healing skills, which you’ll then be able to customize a bit through the upgrade trees. Overall a pretty light but somewhat grindy affair if the humor amuses you it serves as a great hook but not it’s also not going to be for everyone by any means.

UltraGoodness 2 [Ratalaika Games] - As a die hard twin-stick shooter fan it’s both a good and bad thing to check out new entries to the genre on Switch. Since the system has been blessed with an abundance of riches the bar for even making an average showing has become quite high. On the plus side there’s a certain distinct look and feel to UltraGoodness 2 that helps to set it apart, on the bad side there’s also just a certain overall blandness to it all that puts it in the below average category for the genre on the system in my mind. If you’ve really exhausted your options and just need a fix on a budget it’ll do in a pinch but there are loads of more worthy examples of the genre you’ll want to check out before this one.

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