Friday, January 21

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

 

Windjammers 2 [DotEmu] (Nindie Choice!) - I’ll admit to having a bit of an old school weakness for the weird spectacle that the original Windjammers managed to create by mixing a relatively simple game played with a frisbee with the over-the-top attitude and personality of a professional wrestling match. True to those same roots this sequel may not deliver a revolution, but it does manage to take everything that worked well in the original and give it a renewed and more vibrant life. New characters, new stages, and quite a few new moves to learn to integrate into your game definitely up the ante and depth to the experience, though as always the thrill here is competition with something other than the CPU opponents, ideally locally with friends but online play is also supported so that may help aid in longevity. What still works best is that the game is fundamentally pretty “easy” to pick up and play with more limited techniques, but if you’re able to integrate the newer moves into your repertoire you can become quite formidable… just be warned that getting the timing and distance down for it all will take some investment and experimentation. It may still be a bit on the niche side given its lack of ties to an established and popular sport, but this sequel has plenty to offer for a reasonable price.


Blackwind [Drakkar Dev] - What can I say, my ears always perk up at the suggestion of a game that in any way features mechs. Whether full-blown simulations or more action-oriented, my childhood enjoying great cartoons and anime featuring them has me hooked. Blackwind sort of plays into that love, though with a much more decidedly action feel than normal, sharing more with brawlers than anything else. The hook here is some exploration, with hidden spots for extra loot being around in relative abundance, some shooting, some punching, and a whole lot of executing finishing moves for the bonuses they award you. I wouldn’t say that the flow of combat is great, but it at least tends to be entertaining… if generally repetitive once you understand what tends to work best. Throw in some platforming and puzzling and it at least tries to keep you on your toes. My biggest complaint is the camera which you can’t control and that, at times, tends to be at too high an angle so it can be hard to understand where you want to go. That said, if you’re looking to smash things up for kicks it’s at least a decent bit of fun.


Scrapnaut [RockGame] - Typically when I think about the survival genre the focus that comes to mind is a balance between crafting, exploration, and fighting to stay alive. That can have a tendency to scare away more mild gamers who can get overwhelmed by either tricky combat or a constant need to take care of your health or vitals in other ways. Scrapnaut is a bit of a different animal though, and while it may end up feeling a bit too mild for typical genre fans, it may be a great starting point for people who’ve been wondering what it’s all about… though I’ll admit that it lacks polish in multiple areas. Still, if you enjoy crafting, having a fair amount of area to explore, and still engaging in periodic combat (but without the normally brutal difficulty level more common in the genre) Scrapnaut may be just the thing to keep you occupied for some hours.


Labyrinth Legend [Sasuke Shimoyama] - I’ve always tended to have fun with a decent dungeon crawler. Hacking and slashing (or maybe shooting) my way through waves of foes can almost be relaxing when you get in the zone. In the case of Labyrinth Legend there’s a bit of good and bad, with the experience landing in the decent zone for the most part, but struggling to really impress. There’s no doubt that the price is right, and if you could pick it up on sale it would undoubtedly be quite cheap. However, with that low price comes a pretty bare bones presentation and general feel in its action though. You’ll certainly continue to face tougher foes which will require better gear to vanquish, but aside from the boss battles more often than not with your limited repertoire of moves the combat tends to be flat and repetitive. If you’re working with limited funds and are thirsty for some conquest it may provide some momentary satisfaction, but among its peers it’s a pretty basic affair.


Guild of Ascension [WhileOne Productions] - It amazes me at how roguelikes have really managed to both increase and broaden their appeal over this generation. Originally relegated to platformers and shooters for the most part, we’ve now seen multiple genres infused with some unpredictable goodness on the Switch. In the case of Guild of Ascension the target genre is strategy, and though the roguelike elements are more on the limited side you will be challenged to make some decisions involving some risk and reward as well as concerning yourself with developing your characters over the course of many runs. The main issue for the game is simply that in almost all areas it comes across as a bit generic and bland, lacking enough story to suck you in, tactical strategy variety and smarts to challenge you, or visuals to excite you. Granted, the asking price is pretty reasonable for what you get but if you’re looking for something that’ll get you excited this will struggle to go any substantial distance in that direction.


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