Thursday, March 11

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

Dreaming Sarah [Asteristic Game Studio] -
Having played so many indie platformers with pixel graphics, a relatively light feel, and an early hint at a story that at least develops as you play I think I’ve sadly gotten a bit jaded with the formula. Dreaming Sarah, especially for its asking price, isn’t a bad bit of puzzle platforming and has a very pleasant feel to it overall, so it isn’t without appeal. That said, there’s also a somewhat familiar blandness to it all with it failing to do anything terribly creative or inspired on the gameplay, artistic, or even story-telling fronts. It may well be that I’ve just become a bit numb to these sorts of experiences through the sheer repetition of the overall style, but if you’ve played your fair share of them you may well feel the same apathy. However, if you’re looking for a decent play for a humble price it’s a pleasant enough game to take for a spin, just don’t expect your mind to be blown by any means.

Battle Brothers [Overhype Studios] - The description of “roguelike tactical strategy RPG” that comes with Battle Brothers should clearly communicate one of the most critical things to know about the title… it’s damned hard. The learning curve, even if you start out on the easiest setting and use the game’s “tutorial” to get help, is absolutely brutal here and it’s a game where you’ll simply need to endure getting your ass handed to you repeatedly to slowly learn how best to address numerous concerns including the composition of your team, how to best utilize the attack skills associated with certain equipment, and also how to try to plan but then be ready for sometimes random tragedy along the way. Unfortunately, I found that the second real struggle tends to be with the game’s interface, with it feeling very much like a converted PC title with some quirks in behavior that take getting used to. This is definitely one of those titles that’s a mix of good and bad, and will likely have each person playing it walking away with a unique impression… but no matter what be ready for needing to put in some time to get the most out of it.

Doodle Devil: 3volution [JoyBits] - The Doodle God series has been around for a while and in the casual space it has always seemed like a popular staple for people who enjoy the discovery tied to iterative experimentation. Now with the focus being shifted away from the divine and into the space of the infernal not much has changed in terms of mechanics, you’ll just be trying to focus on creations of evil instead of good. I think the style of play is a bit divisive though, and could be viewed equally through 2 lenses. You could either focus on how grindy it can end up being, combining everything you have at your disposal in hopes of success or you could choose to enjoy the surprise of having planned or stumbled your way into a new creation, often then opening the door to further experimentation. For me the further you get the more random success can feel but I know people like my oldest daughter love the thrill of the hunt, results will vary.

Duel on Board [indienova] - Games that are implemented to be very simple by design are a bit of a struggle to review since, by their nature, there’s not likely to be much depth to them. Duel on Board would best be enjoyed in bursts with a friend, in many ways tapping into that sort of classic Pong space of a game anyone could understand and play quickly but also has enough nuance to potentially have legs. While I wouldn’t say the button scheme is ideal, your limited controls to jump, dash, shoot, or block allow for more choices in approach than you’d think tactically, and each of the game’s modes emphasize different skills as well. It may not have broad appeal but if you’ve got a competitive friend you love taking on head-to-head it may be a great diversion for a while.

NoReload Heroes Enhanced Edition [Teatime Holdings] - Fans of shooter titles are blessed with an abundance of terrific choices on the Switch, which unfortunately then has raised the bar substantially for making any sort of impression in the space for new titles. NoReload Heroes has a colorful look and probably more family-safe tone as things go in the genre, which could perhaps be a positive depending on what you’re looking for. The problem is that the twin-stick shooting itself is remarkably bland overall. There’s at least some variety to the weapons, and you’ll certainly need to experiment to find which ones suit your style. This is even more critical if you’re combining weapons among friends, working to find a balance of power and speed that can suit any sort of situation. The issue is just that too much time is spent with too few bland enemies and walking around until things begin to ramp up. In such an adrenaline-filled genre this is a title that just can’t get moving fast or intense enough, relegating it perhaps best to beginners.

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