Wednesday, June 8

Mini Reviews: June 8th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

TEN [Ratalaika Games] (Nindie Choice!) - Ah, challenging games… they’re a love them or hate them affair depending on how much you like having a compulsion to launch your controller across the room. While Ten doesn’t have the sort of depth and polish of more notable (or is that notorious?) titles in the space, for a very budget-friendly price it delivers plenty to gnash your teeth at and yell about with a presentation that may be simple but conveys the action perfectly. Whether simply trying to dodge projectiles, avoid sawblades from both above and below, or grab a bunch of timebombs before they’re able to explode, the stage setups on a general level are quite simple but effective in keeping you working hard to survive. Of course it wouldn’t be as fun if the game didn’t additionally dangle something to try to grab and collect along the way, so often inconveniently-placed coins are also peppered about to give the completionist in you fits and challenge your nerve to risk everything to grab them. Now, one area where I do think things are perhaps a bit unfair is how many stages can often be strung together before essentially hitting your next “safe” point to return to when you inevitably lose all of your lives, but outside of that for the price it’s hard to find too many faults for the challenge hounds keeping an eye on the budget out there.

Pinku Kult: Hex Mortis [Valorware] - Sometimes one of the most effective ways to break out from the pack with a tried and true formula like turn-based RPG action is simply to break out some weirdness and Pinku Kult does just that. Tapping into some urban Japanese mythology, a distinctive villain, and a unique art style at least helps to generate a little interest in what’s going on, even if the mechanics behind it all are still very traditional and lack any real flair of their own. If you’re the type who can get sucked in by a story involving some mystery and weirdness you’ll be far more likely to be down for the ride, but if you’re looking for some fresh gameplay or excitement you’ll definitely want to look elsewhere.

Moonrise Fall [Made From Strings] - This is one of those games that left me feeling a bit bewildered in terms of how I felt and what to say about it. I can appreciate a “less is more” approach when it is handled well, never knowing where things are headed and hopefully being able to enjoy the disorientation of everything as a part of the overall experience. Here, though, more often than not the lack of clear direction, and plain funky game mechanics that didn’t always make much sense, had a tendency to be an irritation rather than a benefit. Perhaps my overall situation with time makes me too impatient, but I’m really not a fan of games that feel like they’re wasting the hours I have without giving me enough incentive and a vision of a payoff to make it worth my while. If you’re the type who doesn’t mind taking things more slowly and has a bit more patience, Moonrise Fall may work for you, but for me it just left me feeling that the experience was simply sloppier than it should have been.

Samurai Riot [Wako Factory] - While earlier on the Switch struggled to get its beat-em-up groove on, the past few years have at least been kind to the system, though genre fans would likely argue more would always be better. Given some of the higher-profile combatants in the arena this more modest budget brawler may not make a big splash, but that isn’t to say that it doesn’t have its place. I do wish there were more up-front instructions to help you get the most out of your moves and the controls earlier on, instead I found that I just had to keep experimenting and making mental notes of what I was pulling off, but I suppose it’s all pretty easy to put together with a little time and determination. Certainly old-school genre issues like a lack of much enemy variety and the tendency to simply stick to what works rather than being compelled to push yourself are there but if you’ve blown through everything out there for a reasonable price this deals up some workable action.

Surface Rush [DrimTiGames] - Ah, mobile game conversions, gotta love em… or not. Probably more appropriately played with a touchscreen (though certainly workable with a controller), Surface Rush keeps things light and simple for the most part. You’ll determine the direction and force you want to use to propel yourself forward, and the goal is to collect stars and coins without running into anything that will be lethal. The addition of gates, directional arrows, and other complications that continue to be added the further you go along keep it all from looking far too much the same, but throughout this remains pretty accessible any-age fun. Now, whether it’s worth even its budget price on the Switch eShop instead of on your phone or tablet (I’ll note that it isn’t free their either, making it a bit more fair) which would still work great and likely be more practically portable could be another question.

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