Tuesday, February 9

Mini Reviews: February 9th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Disjunction [Ape Tribe Games] - Both stealth games and cyberpunk theming have been pretty popular in more recent years, and Disjunction does an admirable job of bringing together these two great tastes to make something pretty appealing, even if its stealth segments can’t quite stay fresh over its handful of hours. While the story borrows familiar elements from other narratives, whether futuristic or some classic noir tropes, the dialogue often gives you just enough room to enjoy yourself rather than merely be a passive observer. The main draw though are the missions you’ll go on, trying your best to do things quietly and cautiously, but being ready at any moment for it all to go south and getting your hands dirty. This makes for some great moments of tension, and a certain degree of observation and strategy, if you’re invested in not always having things devolve into a bloody mess as guns begin to blaze, especially since you’ll usually be outnumbered unless you’re careful. It won’t take the world by storm on any front, but it is a solid stealthy experience nonetheless.

Haven [The Game Bakers] - While a great story in a game isn’t usually quite enough to singularly make its purchase a must, it can help to elevate a title beyond other elements that are more lacking. For me, the story and well-written romance between its main characters, somewhat stranded on an odd collection of floating islands, Yu and Kay was the most compelling reason to keep playing… with the exploration and other elements falling more flat by comparison. It’s unusual to observe in-game romances being anything more than superficial and predictable, but there’s both something about the essence of the writing as well as the voice acting performances of the characters that makes the game feel pretty special. Certainly the mystery behind their circumstances, what they’re running from, and what brought them together helps to add flavor, but it’s their pretty natural and believable relationship that will sustain your interest on this journey.

Binarystar Infinity [Ricci Cedric Design] - Ahh, retro arcade-style shooting. Love the genre and we’ve been fortunate to have a number of worthy examples on the Switch. The shame with Binarystar Infinity is that though perhaps it wouldn’t have ranked at the very top of the list of titles in the space it could have at least been solidly somewhere in the middle, providing satisfying play with a pretty unique overall look. The problem, though, is the inclusion of extremely distracting screen shake when enemies explode, and this is even more unfortunately something that can’t be minimized or disabled. That feature proves to be enormously distracting when your goal is precision, and when you couple that with the limited color palette when things get intense it makes it very hard to make out what object are enemies, the background, or objects like asteroids you’d be best off avoiding. A major mistake that will hopefully be patched or minimized in some way to make the game more consistently and enjoyably playable.

Odysseus Kosmos and his Robot Quest [HeroCraft] - Pont-and-click adventures have been converted over to work with console controllers in a variety of ways and, let’s face it, none of them work as well as the traditional mouse unfortunately. That said, there have been implementations that have worked well and there are those that are pretty clunky. Unfortunately Odysseus Kosmos suffers from one of the overall most cumbersome I’ve used, with you often needing to cycle through a variety of options before you get the one you want, partially because proximity to the spots in question isn’t much of a driver it seems. The humor is appreciated and can be amusing, and the puzzles have a certain flair to them (though they feel more often on the obtuse side than most), but on the whole among the many great options for a classic adventure title this Robot Quest is lacking in polish.

How to Take Off Your Mask Remastered [roseVeRte] - Anyone who has read a few visual novel reviews from me will know that I don’t tend to be a fan. With “Mask”, though it has an unusual storyline that feels very unique with its whole “cat people” thing going on through the eyes of the main characters, the biggest issue is simply the lack of choice. This is an experience for you to click along and read, and really the use of images and elements that could have complimented and improved the story are minimal, so having it as a “game” feels like a terrible waste. I’d say find a new oddball anime series streaming somewhere and enjoy instead.

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