Friday, February 25

Mini Reviews: February 25th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes [Firefly Games Inc] (Nindie Choice!) - While I’ll open by admitting that, in general, any game with the word Pinball in the title gets my attention, in the case of Zombie Rollerz there’s so much greatness here it had no need to tap into my silverball nostalgia to make me happy. Original, smart, loaded with nuance and depth, this bizarre mix of pinball, roguelike concepts, diverse power-ups, and action is thoroughly satisfying and absolutely one of the best games on Switch I’ve played yet this year. While at first the ball moving slowly down the flippers really bothered me since it detracts from the “pinballness” of the experience, once I got spoiled by how that opens the door to very precise aiming and control to hit distant targets to trigger events or go to hidden playfields I got over it quickly. I will say, it pretty much drops you into things and you’ll need to acclimate at first to everything, and struggle to figure out which power-ups will work together to suit you best, but even ramping up is fun and then when you attack the game with your full knowledge it’s a big bucket of win!

Monark [Lancarse] - I’ve got to admit, there are games that I review that I don’t really get, but sometimes they can still make quite an impression on me… though maybe not always with the hook that would grab other people. Monark is definitely weird and yet chock full of style, dramatic in cliched ways at times but also more than happy to roll out a really weird story with my favorite oddball part of the story being the Daemon Vanitas. For whatever reason the combination of his nightmarish and yet Tim Burton-esque look and generally rhyming speech absolutely made him steal attention every time he pops up. But hey, the tactical combat (once you get used to it) feels pretty smart and keeps you engaged, the opening questionnaire that may only have a minimal effect on the game you play is still at least interesting, and the bizarre school-age drama all at least make for a pretty unique ride. It absolutely won’t be for everyone, but if you’re looking for something pretty off-center in your RPGs this delivers the goods from pretty well all sides.

Edge of Eternity [Midgar Studio] - Whether or not my reaction to Edge of Eternity is a bit clouded by playing another very stylish RPG around the same time or not I can’t say, but despite the obvious efforts put in to make Edge of Eternity impressive more often than not I found it fell flat for me. In particular the opening of the story I found quite baffling, barely introducing you to a number of characters before killing off pretty well all of them… both squandering what time you did spend with them and pretty well ensuring their deaths feel pointless since you’re still just getting to know them. While I’m sure this was meant to be shocking and dramatic in some way it really put me off quickly and colored my view of the story (which, from there, remains pretty run-of-the-mill) from that point. I do appreciate the way the zones are handled in the tactical combat at least. While it isn’t as involved as the systems you see in other titles in the space it does work well enough and helps give the game a little more flavor. In the end it is clear there’s a lot of effort behind this endeavor, I just with the result were more worthy of praise.

Autobahn Police Simulator 2 [Aerosoft] - While movies and TV shows tend to make the idea of being a cop seem to be packed with danger and excitement, I have no doubt that the vast majority of time spent on the job is filled with some degree of tedium getting from Point A to Point B or filling out paperwork. While thankfully filling out stacks of forms is not covered in this Police Simulator, the mundane task of getting on the road to drive somewhere following your GPS is fully on display. The thing is, I know there are people who enjoy driving and other simulators of various kinds to help them find some routine and calm, so I won’t discount the game fully. That said, there are a lot of weird details that I’m not sure are deliberately handled poorly or just on accident that really make it all feel odd. Between roads that are almost entirely empty the majority of the time, to street lights that don’t appear to actually do anything at all, to the almost comical facial movements people make while having conversations with one another I struggled to understand whether the developers are leaning into the weird for laughs or just a bit sloppy. In any case, at best this would fall under an acquired taste… even then only likely for a short time.

Moto Roader MC [Ratalaika Games] - While I was excited to see a retro racer in the vein of classics like Super Sprint and its ilk coming to Switch, I knew it could be tricky. The fact is, aside from playing games like that in the arcade with a wheel they’ve never come over very well in terms of control. Unfortunately, Moto Roader MC fits that bill pretty well dead-on, and with the general speed of everything being pretty quick that just makes it all the more painful. I suppose some credit goes to there being so many tracks, and some layouts that aren’t as turn-focused help make everything a bit more easy to enjoy, but even giving the game some time it remains really easy to screw up, and that’s even without projectiles or bombs from other cars disrupting you. If you’ve got a group of friends to play with locally it may at least work better with everyone being at the same disadvantage, but overall it’s a pretty rough experience.

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