Wednesday, December 22

Mini Reviews: December 22nd Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Timelie [Urnique Studio] (Nindie Choice!) - While time manipulation puzzling has been done before in the indie space, there’s an element of visual polish and flair that helps Timelie stand out nicely. There is a bit of a learning curve at times, as you’ll need to experiment with different methods and taking risks to proceed, but for the most part the game’s stages are designed well so they’ll sort of force your hand in trying different tactics since those you’ve used to that point won’t work any longer. It’s a solid puzzle experience that feels fresh, doesn’t overstay its welcome or get too incredibly onerous to complete, and often leaves you feeling satisfied after you’ve plotted out your perfectly-planned path and then get to watch it executed, sending you on to the next stage.

Asteroids: Recharged [Adamvision Studios] - These Atari classic reduces have been interesting, if sometimes a bit underwhelming, but one constant that Asteroids reiterates is that the core gameplay devised decades ago now still fundamentally does hold up well. For the most part this is what you’d expect, with you piloting a ship, shooting asteroids and UFOs, trying to stay alive as long as you can and typically not wanting to fly around too much since you’ll need to counter your momentum if you want to stop and the edges of the screen tend to be deadly. Also consistent with the series, power-ups have been added to the mix, and since they come along randomly from run to run things can vary pretty wildly. Since the main mode and chasing that leaderboard may not be enough, quite a number of challenge levels are also there to test you, which helps to round out the package and help make it feel like a worthwhile budget purchase for arcade shooting fans.

Trash Quest [Francis Vace] - When you’re looking to score a decent game on a budget you can’t always afford to be overly picky, but thankfully with some help you can often find some solid deals out there. While it isn’t very impressive visually, and certainly won’t hold your hand very much, if you enjoy Metroidvania-style exploration as well as some tricky puzzle platforming, Trash Quest is worth a look. Taken as a relatively small, short, and challenging package to fill some time, completing it initially, and then competing on the leaderboard for a quick clear time once you know what you’re doing, for its low price it has quite a lot of value to offer for the right crowd.

Tunnel of Doom [Antti Vaihia] - It’s always great to see new takes on genres, and though there have been many roguelike dungeon crawlers that have come along Tunnel of Doom takes its own unique path. Blending a degree of action combat with what would be best described as tower defense strategy, as you move through rooms and deeper down you’ll need to be savvy in both areas to be successful. They try to change things up with some unique wrinkles to it from being repetitive but the effect of the strategy component is that it really slows everything down quite a bit between the setup and the action playing itself out. Tack on there not feeling like there’s an added hook of a great story or something else to compel you to keep taking it on and it’s just a decent title, but not terribly noteworthy either in a crowded field.

My Universe: Doctors & Nurses [it Matters Games] - On a general level the My Universe titles have been light enough fare, offering up some simple mini games tied to a specific theme to enjoy on a casual level. In principle, Doctors & Nurses does the same thing, but there’s something really odd about the specifics here that’s weird and a bit off-putting. From the voices for characters being plain odd, to the constant need to navigate the hospital (wasting time), to the weird school rival subplot… there just seems to be baggage here that isn’t helping but instead hurting the experience. Throw in relatively lackluster mini games (even by the series standard) that make odd control decisions or aren’t explained well and this iteration is hard to love.

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