Tuesday, March 30

Mini Reviews: March 30th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Narita Boy [Studio Koba] (Nindie Choice!) -
With an old school cinematic action adventure feel and dripping with neon-lit nostalgic ooze I have no doubt that Narita Boy is targeted squarely at people like me who practically grew up in the arcades. While this isn’t a terribly long adventure, I’ll give it credit for generally keeping a steady flow of new things to experience as you go, never giving itself much time to feel stale… which is very much appreciated since side-scrolling slashers like this can tend to get repetitive quickly. The thing is, even with all of the formidable charm it brings to the table I can’t put a finger on what made it a good time but not necessarily a great one in my eyes, even knowing it would seem on paper to be made for people like me. Certainly any time there was platforming involved the floaty jumping and somewhat loose overall controls were a bit of a bummer, followed up by what I’d say was a lack of clarity at times for where you were meant to be going or what you were meant to be doing. Overall these are pretty small complaints, and don’t manage to knock the game out of being worthwhile, but I’d say they’re worth considering as you get drawn in by its lush and stylized visuals.

The Game of Life 2 [Marmalade Game Studio] - OK, so The Game of Life… you know, that board game probably everyone has played a bunch. Do you really need an electronic version of it to enjoy on the TV? Well, that would depend on what you’re looking for. In terms of gameplay it’s a streamlined and generally quick version of the classic, though it doesn’t skimp on any critical areas you’ve come to expect… just some of the rules have been played with a bit in the interests of having more modern sensibilities. While the pricing on things like the Season Pass you can get to go with it feel a bit steep I was still pleased that the base package includes more than just the plain vanilla skin and characters so at least you can appreciate what different themes can bring to the table to help keep things feeling fresh. While I don’t think my family will stop periodically playing on our Haunted Mansion edition board that we love when we’re on the road or don’t feel like getting everything out or fighting over who’ll be the banker this is a great alternative option that captures the essence of the classic game in a way that people of any age can enjoy locally or even online.

Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace [LuckyHammers] - With a popular board game series serving as the base, it’s easy to instantly see the lore this title brings to the table simply reading through the background bios of each of the characters you’ll be able to begin your adventure with. Mixing together a bit of mystery, intuition and interrogation, strategic combat, and combating the forces of evil this is an odd amalgam of flavors. It’s an odd mix as there always feels like there’s quite a bit going on and depth to explore but at the same time you’re usually able to be successful without feeling the full weight of consequence for your mistakes and/or missteps either. Who you choose to work with and how usually seems to be more cosmetic in many areas more than critically important, and decisions you’ll need to make, which depending on whether they’re the right or wrong ones, can carry a penalty for choosing incorrectly but often feel arbitrarily chosen rather than driven by educated guesses. The presentation and overall narrative have a good feel but it’s an odd hodge podge of an experience I’m not entirely sure what audience it’s really meant for.

One Escape [BUG-Studio] - While the general premise is that you’ll eventually play as each of a crew of 3 criminals who got busted trying to bring in their big score all you really need to know is that this is a pretty decent puzzle platformer on a budget. Mixing together some action platforming with a pinch of stealth here and puzzle-solving of various kinds there I’d say that for the price of admission it’s a pretty good deal. Just keep in mind that ultimately this would, at best, just be a sort of snack in between bigger titles, it’s not very long or deep but it gets the job done without breaking the bank.

Danger Scavenger [Piotr Wolk] - Having transitioned from being a mere fan of the roguelike shooting genre to a seasoned veteran over the course of the Switch’s lifespan I’ve seen a ton of amazing games as well as those that fall short. Perhaps if it were released a earlier on Danger Scavenger’s budget take could have gotten a bit more traction, but with top-notch titles in the space well into the double digits looking at it with a critical eye does it no favors. Meta progression and weapons are varied but ultimately not inspired and the rooftop setting for your firefights is at least different but I’m not sure it works out to a net positive, but I think the biggest weakness is just the loose feel to the controls overall. While the issue is only a slight one the fact that it’s elevated by the constrained areas you’ll be working in exacerbates the problem. All in all it has its charm for a reasonable price but the leap to much better gameplay is typically a nominal amount more so the temptation is to give this a pass until you’ve exhausted quite a number of stronger titles in the space.

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