Friday, June 4

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

Mighty Goose [Blastmode] (Nindie Choice!) -
As a classic arcade shooting fan the Metal Slug series has always had a place in my heart for its intensity, variety, and explosive fun. If you take that formula, throw in some modern bells and whistles like selectable upgrades and sidekicks for help, and then make the protagonist a honking hero you get Mighty Goose! Calling it a bit bonkers would be an understatement, as it manages to be silly, chaotic, challenging, and a lot of fun all at once. You can expect a variety of powerful weapons, vehicles that amp up your damage (and the fun), power-ups, and tough boss fights along the way as well as explosions everywhere most of the time. That does, at times, come at the cost of clarity, I’ll admit, as some of the battles fill the screen with so much chaos that staying alive can be a challenge, but there are patterns to pretty well everything and more often than not the key is keeping an eye out for health packs to grab when the time is right to keep yourself in the fight. It’s rare that games that look to emulate the classic Metal Slug series do it justice, but Mighty Goose has managed to do just that and is a honking good time to boot.

Sumire [GameTomo] (Nindie Choice!) - Though I love running and gunning and high-intensity games there’s no denying that games with a compelling and heart-felt story are capable of leaving a serious mark as well. Sumire, with you playing as a young girl who has recently lost her grandmother and is hoping to connect with her spirit, is one such compelling title. In her journey of only one day she’ll interact with a variety of characters and be given choices, most of which will carry a serious consequence in how things play out by day’s end so you’ll need to be mindful in how you choose. With terrific and colorful art, a great mix of the grounded real and the fantastic, and a meaningful story to tell, Sumire is a memorable experience story lovers should be sure to enjoy on Switch.

Sunblaze [Games From Earth] - While there’s no doubt that the likes of Celeste and Super Meat Boy tend to steal the spotlight when it comes to challenging platforming, some smaller titles have managed to make an impression as well. Sunblaze definitely falls into that category, not quite reaching the heights of challenge and polish those titles have but still throwing down a gauntlet of challenge that feels fair since the controls are pretty tight and responsive, and you’ll quickly be right back in the action whenever you die. It doesn’t offer much in the way of bells and whistles but the solid play is there and a periodic dose of Dad jokes also help give it a little bit of personality along the way.

Motif [YeTa Games] - Very simplistic budget games that come from the mobile space and are designed to use touch controls are sometimes tricky to evaluate fairly, often having working but wonky controls if you want to play the game in docked mode. The good news with Motif is that though its controls aren’t terribly complex, they do require a degree of nuance and sensitivity and thankfully the analog stick approximates the light precision of a touchscreen, helping to make this basic concept work well. The goal is to take a close look at a pattern and then arrange one or more basic pieces into position so that the replicated pattern made with that piece matches the example. At first since there aren’t really any instructions it took a moment to catch on but I was surprised that as it went along the degree of challenge never became substantial but that isn’t to say there wasn’t a sense of accomplishment working things out, particularly when you had to use more than one shape. It won’t take too long to finish and is very minimalist but the fact that it is just different gives it some appeal.

Dungeons of Clay [ShotX Studio] - There’s a difficulty in evaluating games that are budget-friendly that don’t play it safe but don’t quite get everything together. Dungeons of Clay at least looks different and tries to throw an element of unpredictability into otherwise more straightforward platform shooting play. The problem is that there’s a real clumsiness to everything from the aiming to just about any notable aspect of things. It’s certainly playable and different, but not admitting it’s quite rough around the edges would be deceptive.

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