Tuesday, March 23

Mini Reviews: March 23rd Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

NeoGeo Pocket Color Selection Vol. 1 [SNK Corporation] (Nindie Choice!) - While I used to have nearly every Nintendo handheld system and enjoyed both of the ones from Sony as well I was never inclined to take a chance on the Neo Geo Pocket. Now, many years later and getting to check out some of its prime titles on the Switch, I’m finding that I may have really missed out. This collection is busting at the seams with great and honestly quite diverse fighting games first and foremost, including my favorite from the system, the roster-heavy SNK Vs Capcom: The Match of the Millenium. Joining it are titles from the Fatal Fury, The Last Blade, King of Fighters, Gals’ Fighters, and Samurai Shodown series as well, making for a fighting fans nirvana of sorts as you’ll be shocked at how well the controls and game feels were translated onto a 2-button system. As if that weren’t enough then pile on the somewhat unusual Dark Arms, a solid golf title, AND 2 Metal Slug games and it’s simply an incredible collection of content that demonstrates the system featured some truly amazing software.

Get-a-Grip Chip [Redstart] (Nindie Choice!) - It’s always terrific when you stumble onto a game that offers a flavor that’s a little new but somehow vaguely familiar in its mechanics all the same. Get-A-Grip Chip is one such title, having you focus almost entirely on the smart and effective use of your character’s handy grapple. It will allow you to climb, swing over hazards, and slingshot yourself into secret areas peppered throughout its 30 levels across 5 increasingly-challenging worlds. This is one of those titles that feels like it gets the challenge just right for mainstream audiences, pushing its charm and accessibility throughout while still offering up carrots to more determined gamers to try to refine their technique to speed run levels and compete in the online leaderboards. While not quite in the category of what I’d consider a pure budget title at a mere $15 it still feels very appropriately priced and delivers a great experience gamers of any age should be able to enjoy.

In Rays of the Light [Sergey Noskov] - In general my history with walking simulators has been mixed, at best. On the one hand there can be a sense of zen tranquility and/or eeriness to them, and that’s actually an area where In Rays of the Light manages to capture both sides of that coin. With no direct narrative, just what you’re able to gather as you explore, it’s a very different sort of experience in this desolate space which feels post-Apocalyptic but you’re not quite sure. While it’s not a very long game, likely wrapping up in just a couple of hours, it’s at least somewhat interesting and feels a bit better thought out than the majority of its contemporaries. If you’re down to explore and do some sleuthing to discover what has happened it could be a good match for you.

Explosionade DX [Mommy's Best Games] - Since my list of top shooters on the system is at 50 now there’s no question that the system has both a wide and deep representation of quality titles. On the good side the platform-ish shooting of Explosionade DX is not typical in its arcade feel, with you needing to maneuver levels, weave through certain areas, and even show some skill with a shield jump to get to tough areas. Add in what’s overall a moderate challenge and it sort of hits the skill sweet spot as well, neither too challenging or simple. The issue, though, is that it’s just a bit of a mess from the lackluster presentation, the overall lack of real variety to keep itself feeling fresh the further you get, and just a lack of any “it” factor that makes it stand out in a genre that’s not only crowded, but also pretty chock full of terrific titles.

Must Dash Amigos [Minibeast LLC] - With a feel that’s a bit like tackling Mario Kart, but with a bit of a slower pace, “wacky racers” like Must Dash Amigos have a tough road to hoe. Without the excitement of speed on their side the idea is typically that they’ll compensate with some sort of wild theming, truly insane power-ups, or something to try to juice things up and make the experience stand out. Unfortunately, Must Dash is really on the bland end of things, lacking in both variety and potency of power-ups, having only a smattering of pretty ordinary tracks, and not even having theming that brings a smile to your face. The result is a racer to enjoy with some friends (there’s a supported solo mode, but it wouldn’t keep your attention for long) perhaps but that likely has very limited legs in terms of enjoyment.

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