Thursday, October 7

Mini Reviews: October 7th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Metallic Child [Studio HG] (Nindie Choice!) -
OK, so to start I’ll admit that just on paper I was already rooting for Metallic Child a bit. An anime-style roguelike beat-em-up brawler? Yes, please! OK, so the story feels a bit to filler-y and getting down to business took longer than I would have preferred. Add to that the fact that the style is more grindy than technique-driven and the tendency to get down to button mashing in places feels a bit inevitable. To boot, I’ll admit that in order to maintain the hectic pacing of things I didn’t usually do much thinking when encountering power cores and upgrades, rolling with my gut and letting the chips fall as they may. The thing is, even with those observations and criticisms it’s still a damned fun time and will keep you challenged to refine your techniques with the different weapons and equipment you can find to stay alive and keep going. It may be a bit on the chaotic side, even among its brethren in the roguelike action space, but it still delivers some intense fun if you’re game for it.

Regency Solitaire [Grey Alien Games] (Nindie Choice!) - You’ve got to respect a development team that takes on a well-known casual card game and decides to swing for the fences to make as feature-rich a version of it as possible. That’s very much the case for Regency Solitaire, which likely won’t be able to suddenly win over hardcore types with its Jane Austen trappings and story of a young woman getting pressured by her family to go for money rather than love, but absolutely sets itself apart from most anything else in the same space. While all of the special cards, rules, and how best to utilize things like your wild cards or perks to maximize your points may take some time and trial and error, the almost roguelike progression where you’ll be able to unlock improvements or rechargeable abilities (which you’ll need to strategically manage) absolutely adds flavor and some appreciated personalization to the mix. All then set against the literary backdrop, this is a casual game that screams maximum effort and is worthy of a look if you’re hoping to unwind a bit with something more relaxing but still well-made.

RiMS Racing [RaceWard Studio] - Oh, the challenges of being a racing fan on the Switch. While there have been some pretty solid titles over the years it’s definitely one of the genres with pretty thin overall representation and variety on the system. Bearing in mind some reasonably-good recent arcade-style racers RiMS Racing is a title in a completely different direction, going for a pretty hardcore simulation style that is about far more than just the action on the track… and whose overall difficulty level on it won’t be for the patience challenged. You won’t just be doing the normal team and equipment management, there’s a really hands-on aspect to the maintenance of your ride, having you actively participate in a mini-game-like way breaking down or assembling your bike components and even jumping into the role of a member of your own pit crew. It’s a big swing sort of move that I’d imagine people will either love or hate but I respect the choice that’s been made to run with the simulation angle at full speed with no hesitation. If you’re on board with the heavy management and participatory elements the only other warning is that the racing controls can be very fussy, in particular with the lack of analog triggers for acceleration and braking making for a challenge in feathering them both to avoid throwing yourself off your bike. If you’ve grown bored of arcade racers this moves as far in the other direction as you could ask. It may not be as accessible as perhaps would have been wise, smoothing out its rougher edges, but it’s unapologetically committed to doing things its own way.

TRIOS: lofi beats / numbers to chill to [Samurai Punk] - Who knew that games that are heavily centered around working out math problems could at least be a bit interesting? While the initial levels of TRIOS remain very simple, they are effective at warming you up to what’s coming when more and more elements are added with every group of levels to amp things up. The principle, no matter how many elements are involved, remains consistent: Your goal is to arrive at the number shown in the background using all of the numbers and operators you’ve been given. Working on two numbers and a key operator at a time you’ll need to work your way through to get to the desired result… which does take some planning as things go on in particular. Much more cerebral and exciting, it’s at least a fresh take on what you’d normally consider an educational title, and its presentation and great tracks at least make for a pleasant experience as you progressively get more frustrated with the challenges put before you.

Spacebase Startopia [Realmforge Studios] - When it comes to management simulations there’s no question that the pickings on the Switch are pretty slim, indeed, so when any new ones come along I have no doubt genre fans are immediately curious for details. While you can see the effort to try to make SS approachable, humorous, and perhaps at least a little challenging with its multiple levels and unique concepts, unfortunately it’s plagued by more troubles than it has successes. Without a doubt the killer issues are the clumsy and cumbersome controls and the interface scheme that I have no doubt worked reasonably well on PC but have not been given the proper attention and care being converted over to a console experience. While it’s undoubtedly not an easy nut to crack, the fact is there are other conversions in the space already on the eShop that don’t just do it better, but do it better to an enormous degree. Beyond that it also just feels like the experience is lacking in distinctive personality, something its competition (not to name names but specifically Two Point Hospital and Rollercoaster Tycoon 3) gets far more right. The result is a bit frustrating. Perhaps engaging play could have compensated for lacking controls or vice versa, but in this case unless you’re really starved for something just a little different there are better options out there to consider.

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