Friday, June 18

Mini Reviews: June 18th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Metal Unit [Neowiz] -
Out of the gate, while perhaps holding me back from the action a tad too long, I’ll at least give Metal Unit credit for going all in on trying to get its story going. It’s undoubtedly on the tropey side and familiar on a high level, but I’ll admit that it helped suck me in. In the early stages that’s a bit of a help as well, since until you get a bit deeper into the game you’re in the growth stages of your power and the action tends towards being more generic. The good news is that if you give it some time, while the action doesn’t necessarily become transcendent by any means it does get more varied and interesting since you’re really able to customize your overall build to your liking. Now, while the weapon and skill variety are helpful to pull the game above some of its competition, that isn’t to say it approaches the games in the space that have a much better and more intense flow. Mechanically it just plays a bit too set and simple, and perhaps the enemies are on the simplistic side, but while Metal Unit offers a good retro challenge it fails to carve out a space for itself in parallel with its more polished contemporaries.

Wave Break [Funktronic Labs] - As a fan of Wave Race, the Tony Hawk series, and multiplayer shooting, in theory all of the building blocks going into Wave Break should make it a sort of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of a hybrid game for me. There’s no doubt it has the attitude, the style, and the ambition to break out as a new bit of crazy fun but a few hours in I just couldn’t generate much enthusiasm for the end product unfortunately. In a variety of ways I think its biggest problem is plain trying to do too much and be too much. When you try to tackle this many gameplay elements, you really need to make sure none of them hold you back or you’ll be judged by your weakest link. The problem is I’m not sure anything really connects fully. The water is handled pretty poorly, almost like it was put in place to justify the very floaty feel to everything. Just with general controls that can be troublesome but when trick execution is also pretty sloppy the problem compounds itself. For me the multiplayer aspect is really a mystery as it’s the weakest and most unusual element that simply fits into the big picture poorly. That adding it also added a need for currency and a shop for buying things makes it feel even more like a boondoggle. The result has some potential for fun if you’re willing to be patient with it but there’s no mistaking the fact that it has some serious flaws in its DNA.

Trenga Unlimited [Flux Games] - When I first saw Trenga Unlimited I got a sort of old school Tetrisphere vibe, though unfortunately that may have been setting me up for some disappointment for sure. With pretty unique mechanics, using a variety of pieces that you’ll need to place on a 3D rotating structure to fill in gaps, I’ll at least give it credit for aiming to do its own thing. Where it falls down a bit is that the controls aren’t very friendly to getting into the flow, always feeling just a bit stilted and just a bit awkward even a ways in. Playing with friends is a nice option, and it’s at least some fun for a little bit, but time is the game’s other enemy as everything feels just a bit too basic in the end. Since there aren’t many special blocks in the game, and even the few included don’t have a great interactive fun factor when you drop them on your enemies, there’s not a personal “I got you” factor to help drive up the excitement. Instead, it just ends up feeling like an exercise in plain survival, which isn’t quite as satisfying. With a bit more diversity and polish the base formula could work, but as is there doesn’t seem to be quite enough ambition for Trenga to break out as another puzzle action franchise.

Sun Wukong Vs Robot [Ratalaika Games] - Throwback budget action platformers are pretty well a dime a dozen on Switch, and of relatively uniform decent quality, so clearly differentiating yourself in the space is a challenge. I suppose in terms of visual style Sun Wukong is at least a bit different, with an old-school pixel look but with smaller characters and details on the screen than would be typical. The problem is just the pretty limited scope of what you’re able to do, which offers little in the way of anything original or exciting and that honestly there were numerous times where I struggled to be sure which flat areas were platforms I could stand on and which were just aesthetics. If its look appeals to you, there’s some game to enjoy for the budget, but it’s hardly a stand out on the system.

Together [The Dust] - Loading up Together, aside from there being an obvious provision for cooperative play I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Unfortunately, having played it both solo and a bit with a friend I can’t say that it inspires a sense of a lasting impression. While it certainly likes to make use of color quite a bit visually the gameplay itself is quite bland, featuring a somewhat mushy jump and generally weak melee attack action. You’ll meander through levels, defeating enemies, picking up assorted power-ups, hopefully discovering a variety of hidden areas, and then truthfully you’ll move on to something else. As a budget offering expectations can’t be incredibly high but there’s just not a lot here to get excited about.

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