Wednesday, June 2

Mini Reviews: June 2nd Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Earth Defense Force: World Brothers [YUKE] (Nindie Choice!) -
While I’ve generally heard good things about the Earth Defense Force series, to date it’s one that I’ve never had the pleasure to check out. But I’ll tell you what, it pretty quickly and easily turned me into a fan. It’s all about giant bugs and kaiju-sized monsters, the end of the world, and blowing everything in sight up real good… and while perhaps that doesn’t make it terribly nuanced it sure can be a blast (quite literally). While I obviously can’t contrast it with previous entries or comment on how it has either evolved or stagnated in the greater series, viewed as a stand-alone title I’m impressed by the great voxel-based look which works perfectly for maximum destruction, the pretty wide variety of compatriots you’ll rescue along the way to continue to add more diversity into your squad, and the bonkers story that makes no attempt at all to let concepts like reality enter into the mix. Best yet, you can enjoy it with friends or even online, though as always I’ll throw in the caveat that online support for Switch games outside of the massive AAA titles tends to come and go in a hurry. All in all it’s a great and ridiculous distraction from all of the troubles you may have, allowing you to lock in, destroy everything you see, and embrace the controlled chaos of it all.

Pathway [Robotality] (Nindie Choice!) - Elevator pitch time: Set off on an adventure with a party of your choosing with a wide variety of skills. Every step of the way is filled with the potential for fortune or peril, with you sometimes being forced to make tough decisions about how to proceed with the hope it’s the right one. Whenever you’re thrown into combat it’ll be pretty solid (if a bit on the well-worn and generic side) tactical fare, with your needing to carefully manage your people, their cover, and supplies in order to survive. Oh, and Nazis! All in all while I wouldn’t say Pathway does anything that strikes me as revolutionary, I really dug the narrative elements, the diversity of the characters you can set out with (with quite a number to unlock), and the tough but fair challenge I typically faced. 

LOVE: A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories [Thalamus Digital Publishing Ltd] - Storytelling can take place in a wide variety of forms, and the breadth of games with a focus in that are on the Switch has been quite remarkable. LOVE has an interesting take, and not one that I think I’ve seen to date, with it mechanically being a puzzle game that allows you to manipulate a building a bit like a Rubik’s Cube to reveal vignettes of various people that tell some sort of story. The quality of them varies quite a bit, and not all of them really connected for me, but I will say that some were positively touching even if sometimes also tragic in some way. Unfortunately the puzzle aspect isn’t as strong, and if anything can be perplexing since there’s a lot of trial and error involved even in understanding what you’re supposed to be doing in places. You can figure it out but the needless frustration factor is a bit too high to make it an easy recommendation.

Fishing Fighters [FuRyu] - First of all I want to set the baseline, and that’s the fact that to date all fishing games I’ve played on the Switch have been pretty awful. There may be one I haven’t had the pleasure to review that’s good, and if so to that title I’m sorry, but really the mini games in the likes of Zelda games are often more engaging and fun mechanically than the efforts I’ve seen. That being in mind I’ll say that among the fishing titles I’ve played, Fishing Fighters is at least the best of the lot. However, I’d still say it isn’t without its problems beyond the presentation being relatively pleasant. The action as you try to land your catch is OK but honestly a bit of a bore as it can get overly drawn out at times and simply feel dull and a bit aggravating. Still, if you’re hard up for that flavor among the titles I’ve tried out it’s at least the best by a fair margin (and yes, that’s in indictment of how bad most have been).

CyberHive [Redblack Spade] - OK, so there are games that have an obvious broad appeal as well as those with more narrow niche-y target audiences and in the case of CyberHive I’m feeling the niche vibe. At the end of the day this is very much a tablet-style casual-ish strategy game with you allocating your personnel to keep your ship moving, collecting resources, and warding off threats. Oh, and all of your crew are dishy anime gals decked in bee-themed attire of various kinds. Yeah, if that sounds cool this one will be a match for you.

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