Wednesday, July 21

Mini Reviews: July 21st Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

A Plague Tale: Innocence - Cloud Version [Asobo Studio] (AAA Choice!) -
While I've been having a bit of a struggle trying to sort out whether I consider this a true indie game or a AAA title, also taking into account the fact that it is played in the cloud and those complications, I will say that regardless of those questions this is quite an engrossing title to play through. You'll control a duo of an older sister and her younger brother who has a secret, and your goal is simply to survive through a variety of threats posed by both humans and other elements in your way. The mix of tense stealth and puzzles will keep you on your toes, and the quality of the voice acting and storytelling make it a winner.

Cotton Reboot! [Sangatu Usagi no Mori] (Nindie Choice!) - If you like your older-school arcade shooting challenging, a bit on the cute side, and with an undeniable weird streak this refresh may catch your eye. While it generally looks and feels like it follows the normal arcade shooter rules, the places where it deviates will force you to play things a bit more aggressively and dangerously than the norm. In general, though it's probably a better match for shooter veterans, the quirkiness of the experience may also appeal to people who simply love imported titles and their unique flavor you simply don't get from the mainstream American market.

Curved Space [Only By Midnight] - Taking familiar gameplay and changing things up to take some risks has always been a core component of my love for indie titles... but different can often come with a cost. Curved Space essentially asks the question of "What would it be like to play a twin-stick shooter on a donut or other irregular 3-Dimensional object?" at its core and then throws in a few additional ideas like an energy lash for good measure. The result is absolutely a challenge and experience you've never had before, but whether or not it will be appreciated will be another matter. The play field designs can get pretty funky at times, and aside from there being some frustration in tracking down enemies on these irregular shapes I actually got a bit of motion sickness at times (something that never happens to me with games) on certain edges where everything would shift very quickly. I'm torn because I absolutely appreciate the ideas Curved Space brings to the table, but at the same time not everything works in harmony so it's a toss-up in terms of a recommendation and likely only for hard core shooting fans eager to cut their teeth on something different.

MouseBot: Escape From CatLab [Vector Unit] - Casual games that have come over from the mobile space are always a bit of a mixed bag. Even if they’re relatively fun and playable appropriateness on a dedicated gaming platform and whether they can properly strip out free-to-play annoyances when you’re a paying customer ranking high on the list of common issues. MouseBot is roughly riding the middle in this case, having enough cuteness and charm to go with its simple but somewhat satisfying puzzle action play, but then falling down a bit with grinding in-game currency in runs for unlocks, clearly reminding you this was originally free on phones and tablets. The result isn’t necessarily bad, but honestly given the large items and characters on the screen and relatively light action of play I can’t see a compelling reason to purchase this on the Switch when you could grab it for free in the mobile space.

WizODD [JanduSoft] - With a preponderance of twin-stick shooters out there, even ones that are budget-friendly, breaking in with a hit is a tough ask on the Switch eShop. WizODD puts in a bit of an admirable attempt, going with a basic old school look, a challenge level that ramps up pretty quickly, and relatively quick play sessions to work through. The thing is, even if you don’t mind its quirks there’s no getting around the fact that there’s not enough here to keep you engaged for long. You’ll either burn through what it has to offer or simply stop having the itch for another run, and against a ton of competition where the urge for “just one more run” can be extremely strong it just doesn’t put up much of a fight.

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