Friday, June 10

Mini Reviews: June 10th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Star Wars - Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords [Aspyr] - This is one of those cases where I’m a bit conflicted on how to score a release since on the one hand the actual game is generally excellent (though certainly now feeling dated) but the port is obviously a bit unstable (a few crashes) and buggy in spots. This RPG and its predecessor are widely considered to be among the best in class for both Star Wars games and the genre but if it has been quite a long time since you’ve played them there’s no question that there’s a bit of a shock returning to a game world that’s feeling it’s age, not just visually but with how plodding and methodical it can be at times. If you’re not already familiar just be warned that this is in no way a remaster, it is merely a port of a great title from an earlier era so set your expectations accordingly before taking the plunge. That said, there’s no question that if you’re a big Star Wars fan the game’s characters and lore hailing from a very different and distinct age in its history can be fascinating. Would definitely recommend playing the original first in order to see the full picture, but as long as you can be patient with some creakiness and serious graying at the temples this provides a solid (though, at the moment, a bit buggy) experience.

Delivery from the Pain [indienova] - It’s been an interesting year if you’re a fan of post-Apocalyptic zombie survival games, as now we’ve seen three very different approaches to the genre so hopefully at least one of them will make a connection for folks. Delivery from the Pain is the least action-oriented of the bunch and probably the most in-tune with classic survival play, with an emphasis on careful time management (you don’t want to be in the open after dark), research, crafting, and making sometimes tough choices as you explore. That said, there is an action component that stays much simpler than its Switch brethren but at least still provides some nice tension as you try to sneak up on zombies to kill them quickly, using cover and being careful about making too much noise to maintain stealth whenever possible. The result is a far more paced experience where in general you’ll need to be patient as you slowly expand your area of comfortable operation, continue to seek key materials to help towards crafting breakthroughs, and simply take care not to push too far too fast at the risk of it all falling apart. It’s not a perfect experience but it does have a unique feel that I don’t doubt survival and even general zombie game fans should appreciate.

Metal Max Xeno Reborn [Kadokawa] - I know that whenever I’ve contemplated survival in the desolate wastes of a post-Apocalyptic world I’ve thought, “You know what would be really handy right now, a frickin’ tank!” If you’ve ever had the same thought, good news, because that’s precisely how this game rolls! The thing is, how well it all works is a bit of a tougher call. You’ll rove around killing giant bugs, sand sharks, metal monstrosities and other surprises, encounter a cute pup to help make the world a little better, work on upgrading your hardware to make it even more intimidating, and be compelled to explore areas on foot in order to find various hidden goodies. It has its charm, but it also feels like it plays everything quite safe and simple, which can make it feel a bit dull as you go on. Its combat is a little too action-oriented to really be strategically interesting, but it isn’t action-y enough that it gets exciting. There’s no doubt that it’s unique and has some appeal precisely for that reason, but that said it lacks the ambition to really make the most of its premise, so it isn’t the home run it could have been.

My Lovely Wife [GameChanger Studio] - Talk about a game driven by its unusual story, characters, and art style. While the title may sound more innocent and endearing, once you understand that your goal will be to enlist the aid of summoned succubi in order to collect the energy needed to bring back your dead wife you’ll either get fully engaged or decide to tune things out. Certainly the weirdness of it all, and seeing where things go is the appeal, in terms of gameplay it’s much more of a pretty traditional (and even a bit dull) time management sim where you’re spending most of your time trying to decide where to invest your resources and time to meet your goals more quickly and effectively. It’s undoubtedly a niche title but it seems to know its desired audience, and I’m sure if you have a more morbid streak you’ll likely have some fun with it.

Pro Gymnast Simulator [RedDeerGames] - Ah, weirdo physics games. Undoubtedly an acquired taste, they do have their moments of laughter and some challenges to offer but it’s one of those subgenres where you really need to be invested in the gag for it to have staying power. In that regard going with something more practical and real-world like gymnastics can cut both ways. It helps that your customized athlete is placed in more ridiculous environments all the time, but there’s a grounded nature to most of what you’re doing, really focusing on trying to do things like coordinate the use of your limbs to increase or decrease momentum that helps it stand apart. That said, by not embracing the more ridiculous like many of its ilk it isn’t as capable of continually pivoting and keeping you more actively entertained with craziness, which is normally helpful (or even vital) to keep you coming back for more to see what’s next. Still, it accomplishes what it set out to do and can have its moments.

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