Tuesday, March 16

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


Space Otter Charlie [Wayward Distractions] (Nindie Choice!) -
It’s always a joy to play a new indie title that you’ve never heard of or seen that immediately grabs you, and for me Space Otter Charlie did precisely that. Cute, charming, extremely approachable for all ages in both its content and degree of challenge it’s a terrific title that really feels at home on the Switch. You’ll play as a spacefaring otter who needs to explore ships in search of salvage materials ranging from fuel and energy cells to a hodgepodge of random parts you’ll need to craft equipment both critical to your mission and sometimes just a bit silly and fun. I think it’s the balance of legitimately solid play where you’ll need to carefully boost around and shoot enemies and debris mixed with endearing characters, some silly costumes, and an abundance of otter factoids that just make it a joy to play. Perhaps it won’t be tough enough for hardcore folks to get deeply engaged in, but if your goal is to enjoy a well-designed game while having a perpetual smile on your face this is a terrific hidden gem on the Switch.


Zotrix Starglider [Ocean Media Games] - As a big shooter fan who has a fondness for twin-stick shooters but also a soft spot for the classic space shooter Zotrix Starglider, to a degree, is a taste of the best of both worlds. It may feel like an old school space shooter, and in many ways it is, but the fact that it has twin-stick mechanics does help set itself apart. Memorizing attack placements per wave is a bit tougher when you have the run of the screen and can shoot in every direction, just be sure to keep in mind that the screen borders aren’t ever necessarily a safe place to sit. All that said it perhaps is just more of a novelty than a groundbreaking title as its power-ups and sense of flair are understated at best, and even as you unlock ships there’s just not enough variety and differentiation to compel coming back for more over the long run.


Faircroft's Antiques: Treasures Of Treffenburg [Ocean Media Games] - If you’re familiar with the hidden item puzzle genre the Faircroft’s Antiques titles should feel a bit like a warm and comfortable blanket of familiarity. Of course, that can be both a good and a bad thing depending on what you’re looking for. If the goal is just to relax with some calming music while finding a wide variety of generally well-hidden items or solving a few random puzzles it should deliver. If you were somehow hoping for the form to be elevated in some way to inject a little more excitement or intrigue there are other titles that are more successful at that though. It’s a polished, if predictable, easygoing and casual experience through and through.


Root Film [Kadokawa] - Overall I’ve had a rocky relationship with games that lean heavily on the visual novel feel, though right off the bat I’ll say that Root Film manages to far exceed the norm in the space. Undoubtedly creepy, but with a flair for some humor at times as well, you’ll be working to uncover the truth about what appears to be a cursed film and production from a number of years ago. Narratively it does do a solid job of sucking you in, of that there is no doubt. Where it is a bit more weak is in the area of player agency. It’s hardly an on-rails experience, something you can often find in the space, and overall it has a bit more of an adventure feel than most, though that can have its downsides depending on what you’re looking for. If you’re down for a solid story and don’t mind having only limited control over the road to the game’s conclusion it should satisfy though.


1912 Titanic Mystery [Ocean Media Games] - When it comes to more casual fare like hidden object puzzle games differentiating one from another can be tricky since in essence aside from theming or the framing of story they’re going to be inherently similar. In the case of 1912 Titanic Mystery it has the elements in place to at least be engaging, at least as far as a genre game could be concerned, but moreso than others I’ve seen in the space this one just feels more dated in terms of visuals and overall feel so it struggles a bit more to impress. The plot involving a bomb on the Titanic II could potentially be a hook but in a somewhat thinly differentiated space this title is just lacking some polish.

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