Thursday, February 4

Mini Reviews: February 4th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Glyph [Bolverk Games] (Nindie Choice!) -
I’m a fan of games that combine elements from multiple titles to make for a new experience so Glyph, featuring a mix of 3D platforming ala Mario and others with a healthy dose of Marble Madness (or Monkey Ball for younger gamers) mechanics firmly checks the box for unexpected. Of course with the rolling element the challenge becomes more focused on managing uneven surfaces and controlling your inertia, so even sometimes simple level layouts can be troublesome in the beginning as you get a feel for the physics of it all. That said, once you get it down, the game does a fabulous job of throwing challenges at you in a steady stream for regular gamers but also tempts more daring folks with hidden secrets that will send the needle much higher for difficulty. Sure, the rewards are generally just simple cosmetics, but for people determined to get everything the game has to offer it’s going to get pretty bumpy and you’ll need to truly master all aspects of controlling your spherical character on all sorts of uneven terrain and obstacles while making sure your jumping and landing games are on point. With plenty of content for the average gamer and loads of hair-pulling action for the pros this is a pretty unique platformer with wide appeal.

Gods Will Fall [Clever Beans] - I always get a bit nervous when anything, whether in its own marketing or by players, gets described as Souls-like since for me that generally points to a measure of tedium and some frustration. Though that can be an element in the boss fights against hulking gods of various persuasions what’s odd in this title, and a bit disappointing, is the often inconsistent roads to get to them. You’ll choose your warrior from a slowly-shrinking party who each have their weapon of choice and some traits that will emerge as you find success (or sometimes failure of others). Mechanically each weapon plays quite differently so tactics are important to consider as you go out with each fighter, what works for nimble warriors will tend to go poorly for your slow but burly characters, and as you get to know the various gods you’ll likely tend to prefer some for specific fights over others. But while I love the game’s art style, and some of the great environments you’ll explore, there can be a barren feel to them in places too. That makes it so the flow of some of the areas can leave something to be desired, sometimes feeling like it’s wasting your time as you fruitlessly explore them (and need to go through them again when you die). It’s an odd mix, though I’m sure it will find an audience.

Cultist Simulator [Weather Factory] - If you’re in the mood for something different, often surprising, and at first a bit baffling, you may enjoy this card-based roguelike. Each round has you trying your best to manage what resources you have to create opportunities to progress, but you’ll need to keep a focus on your survival as you go as well… and keeping that balance can be a challenge since there are multiple types of demise you can succumb to if you’re not careful. I would imagine this will be a pretty divisive title, with people loving it or hating it, with what can feel like a frantic pace in spots intermingled with periods of waiting to see the outcome of your choices. It can take a bit to plot out an effective strategy for success but that’s part of the point, and as you survive longer it unfurls some interesting emergent narratives for you to follow as well. Definitely not for everyone but refreshing.

Silver Chains [Cracked Heads Games] - Horror adventure / walking simulators are always a bit of a mixed bag, and many have unfortunately gone down the rabbit hole of featuring too many objects you can pick up and move around to look at fruitlessly, which is annoying. Silver Chains keeps that to a minimum and in addition while there are times you’ll need to consider hiding yourself it doesn’t get stuck in a repetitive loop of that either. What it has then is a ton of creepy ambiance, a building sense of dread, and a breadcrumb trail of a story to compel you to keep going further to see the picture that results. It doesn’t reinvent or reinvigorate the genre by any means but it deserves credit for constructing a better overall yarn than its average competitor and resisting the urge to give into an abundance of cheap jump scares over substance which is appreciated.

Crossbow Bloodnight [Hyperstrange] - If you’re low on funds and are looking for nothing but intense shooting action, while they aren’t deep, arena shooters can be momentary fun in bursts. You’re not looking to progress and unlock things so much as simply stay alive and chase a top time on the leaderboards, it’s perhaps a bit shallow but it can work if you’re in the mood to blow some stuff up. Crossbow Bloodnight has a decent theme with all manner of nightmare creatures coming to get you, but there is a bit of a learning curve and some experimenting to do in order to make the best use of what you have to work with, all vital to grinding out a few more seconds of survival. It’s pretty niche, but if you’re in the right mood it can be a fun release.

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