Thursday, March 4

Mini Reviews: March 4th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Mail Mole [Talpa Games] (Nindie Choice!) -
There’s no doubt that releasing a 3D platformer on a console that Mario built (and currently has quite a few titles out on as well) takes some guts, and while Mail Mole can’t be considered up on the high tier that franchise occupies it also has some charm and mass appeal that help it to be at least notable. Your goal will be to burrow your way through a variety of themed stages, jumping when necessary, throwing in some dashes, and collecting carrots and turnips before delivering the mail in each locale. While this isn’t too difficult early on the further you get there’s a steady increase in challenge but in general it’s a pretty smooth ride so even younger players should be able to do well with it. I do think that the button hold and release style jump and just the general layout of the buttons is lacking (it would be nice to be able to map them or have alternatives) but since there are at least only a few controls so it isn’t so bad. There are times where the fixed camera can be troublesome for seeing the action as well but on the whole it usually does a fine job and removes a layer of concern less veteran gamers can have trying to keep track of the direction they’re moving in while trying to pan the camera at the same time. If you’re looking for a slightly different flavor in your Switch platforming be sure to check this one out, you just may dig it.

3 Out Of 10: Season 1 [Terrible Posture Games] - Since I’m a big fan of games that bring the funny and their take on play is a bit on the quirky side I’m a bit torn on this title. Featuring all sorts of gaming industry humor ranging from sloppy developers to consumer culture and more there’s plenty to be entertained by here. For me it’s when the filler in the form of an oddball assortment of mini games begin to pepper themselves into the picture that things take a turn for the worse. It would be super meta if the goal was to have them be of middling to marginal quality as a form of satirizing the industry being out of ideas but that would be an awfully bold move and I would hope for heavy winking to clue you into that fact. Stay for the laughs, enjoy the handful of reasonably decent mini games, and simply endure the rest over the few hours the game has to offer.

Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 [Feld Entertainment] - There’s nothing quite like the monster truck game to change up the general play style of the typical racer. Featuring events that are more in the vein of traditional racing (though while trying to keep the very inertially-affected massive trucks from oversteering more often than not) as well as ones obviously unique to this sort of vehicle one of the game’s greatest strengths is its general variety. Some may prefer the more typical arena-style events but for me the fun begins when you get outside with some room to operate working things like the checkpoint race or sillier fare like the challenge to maintain your multiplier while destroying most anything in sight. The hub overworld made finding events and getting started a little slower than it should have. I do appreciate the attempt to do things a bit differently but without much in the way of prompting to get you started I felt a bit lost until I poked around and understood what they were going for. By no means a perfect monster truck title but it’s certainly better than most on the system.

Thunderflash [SEEP] - One way to get some easy interest with retro-inspired games is to simply mimic specifics from classic games, the degree of success being a matter of finding a balance between borrowing elements and concepts and plain shamelessly ripping them off. Thunderflash skirts the very edge of the latter unfortunately, pulling heavily from the classic Commando as well as some elements of other run and gun shooters of the day. One problem the game runs into is that honestly though this is a brand spanking new game on modern hardware it still comes up short against the more refined classics it is imitating, never a particularly good look. If you’re really itching for something with a classic enough feel, are working with a small budget, and don’t mind some shortcomings it’s not a bad, if very derivative, offering.

Blastful [Playstige Interactive] - Having played so many games on the Switch it’s always important to be mindful of the fact that there are many flavors of games for many different types of gamers. That said, aside from having gotten pretty well versed in the best and worst out there, on occasion there are games with a formula that simply doesn’t seem capable of pleasing anyone. Blastful unfortunately falls somewhere into that category delivering a space shooter so generally bland, slow-moving, and without any excitement that I’m not even sure it would qualify as a good match for beginner shooting fans. You’ll be freely moving about the screen, able to fire roughly in every direction twin-stick style, though really only in the classic 8 directions specifically. There’s hardly any enemy variety, enemy missiles and fire streak painfully slowly around the screen (letting you casually dodge and weave through them), there are scarce power-ups with most being either pointlessly temporary shields or health that isn’t generally needed, and the boss is always the same palette swapped big ship that generally just sits there waiting for you to put it out of its misery after you take out its minimal defenses, and sadly this takes a hot minute of just burning through its abundant shields as it sits there unmoving and hardly putting up resistance. I don’t like beating up on games when I know people have put work into them but this one is particularly bad and should be avoided.

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