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ISSUE 9 | NOVEMBER 2017


Essential upgrades for desktops and games rooms everywhere! From Monster Hunter to Dragon Quest, Pokemon and, of course, Mario - dinkybox is a tiny online haven for quirky, collectable toys and japanese comic art supplies. Just use the cheat code switchplayer17 for 10% off any order*.

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Welcome to the ninth issue of Switch Player Magazine! It's hard to believe that just over a year ago we didn't even know what the Nintendo Switch was, and here we are with Super Mario Odyssey in our hands. I'll save gushing over it too much here, you can get my thoughts for Mario's latest adventure on page 16 along with 25 other Nintendo Switch reviews. Yes, this last month or so has seen the Switch release schedule kick into overdrive and there is more choice than ever every week. Whilst it's a struggle for wallets and developers, it's fantastic for you folks; some of these games are to a very high standard! Also inside this issue - which, incidentally is our biggest issue so far - is a feature on first person shooter games which would be a good fit for the Switch by Jakejames Lugo as well as a feature on FIFA's history on Nintendo. Georgina Howlett also goes into detail with Salmon Run on Splatoon 2, offering success tips and best bets! We are approaching the business end of the year and the Switch juggernaut shows now signs of stopping, the release schedule for November alone is mental!

UNCOVERED!

So sit back, enjoy the issue and I'll see you next month for issue 10, unless I see you online first!

Paul Murphy

Executive Editor @PMurphy1978

ISSUE 9 | NOVEMBER 2017

This incredible cover was designed by Stup-Jam and is one of our best covers so far. If you love this then consider following him on twitter via @stupjam or find him on Tumblr via Stuplr.

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Inside

Contents FEATURES 08 History of FIFA and Nintendo 10 4 First-Person Shooters That Should Be On Nintendo Switch 12 Clever Endeavor Interview 14 Stardew Valley is still the game we all need right now 62 Top 10 Salmon Run tips for aspiring profreshionals REVIEWS 16 Super Mario Odyssey 22 SteamWorld Dig 2 24 Oxenfree 26 Golf Story 28 Rayman Legends Definitive Edition 30 Kingdom: New Lands 31 Astro Bears Party 32 Quest of Dungeons 34 Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 36 Butcher 38 Robonauts 40 Thimbleweed Park 42 Picross S 43 Binaries 44 FIFA 18 46 Phantom Trigger 47 Conga Master Party! 48 PAN PAN 49 Neon Chrome 50 One Piece: Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition 52 The Jackbox Party Pack 53 The Jackbox Party Pack 2 54 Fragments of Midnight 55 Inversus Deluxe 56 LEGO Worlds 58 RBI Baseball 2017 REGULARS 06 Switch News 60 Switch Directory 65 Patreon Stars 66 Next Time 67 Nintendo Players UK

The history of fifa and

08 Oliver Roderick looks at FIFA's history on Nintendo consoles

10 Jakejames Lugo discuss which shoo be a good fit for


e the newest issue of

returns to oters would r Switch

is still the game w e all need right now

12 Ultimate Chick Horse is coming to Switch so we spoke to the game's developer to find out more

14 Dan Murphy returns and explains why Stardew Valley is a game we all need

62 Georgina Howlett shares her Salmon Run tips

16 Our Definitive Verdict

67 Find out more about Nintendo Communities closer to you!


Switch News Switch system software updated to 4.0

The Switch's firmware saw an unexpected (useful) update last month, and 4.0 finally brings us the ability to capture 30 seconds of footage from certain games, which can be shared on Facebook or Twitter. The games it works with are (as of October 18th) Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, Splatoon 2 and it also works with Super Mario Odyssey. On top of that, new user icons from Odyssey and BOTW are available and you can now pre-order and pre-load titles on the eShop ahead of release. A final, much-needed feature is the ability to transfer save data to an alternative Switch! Have you updated yet?

Resident Evil: Revelations 1 and 2 to include EXCLUSIVE retro games Publisher: Capcom | Developer: Capcom | Release date: 28th November For those with an itch for retro-themed goodness and a love for the scares, Capcom has delivered some bloodcurdling 8-bit fun in the upcoming Resident Evil games on the Nintendo Switch.

Resident Evil: Revelations will include a game called “Ghost Ship Panic” which appears to be a kind of Duck Hunt with zombies. You will need to blast the brain-hungry monsters as they descend the screen. The second instalment, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, features something a little more familiar. “Ghouls ‘n Homunculi” appears to be a pastiche to arcade favourite “Ghouls ‘n Ghosts“. In this version, you explore a deadly island as Barry Burton. The games reward your high score as you earn rewards which gives you BP to help you in raid mode.

Super Meat Boy coming to Switch this year

Publisher: Team Meat | Developer: Team Meat | Release date: 2017 Get ready to run up walls, leap over grinders and die a million times – Super Meat Boy is heading to Nintendo Switch this year. Confirmed via Twitter, Team Meat stated that the game will be released digitally in 2017, although no specific date was mentioned. A physical release will ‘likely’ follow in 2018. Earlier this year, it was confirmed that the second entry to the series, Super Meat Boy Forever, will be heading to the Switch in 2018. Perhaps now would be the perfect time for newcomers to become acquainted with the first game when it launches later this year. What do you think? Is this your first encounter with Super Meat Boy, or will you be double/triple dipping?

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News stories written by Charlie Large, Ollie Reynolds, Oliver Roderick and John Reid

Batman: The Telltale Series headed to Switch later this month Publisher: Telltale Games | Developer: Telltale Games | Release date: 14th November

Batman will come to Nintendo Switch this month in the form of the Telltale Series. The Series’ first season is heading to Switch very soon, though Telltale Games didn’t divulge any further information about the future seasons, which are being steadily released on other formats. The game, set to be released physically, is out in North America on November 14, three days before the European release on the 17. The Dark Knight appeared in two excellent Wii U titles in Arkham City and Arkham Origins, as well as Arkham Origins: Blackgate, which also came out on 3DS.

Limited Run Games to publish titles on Switch from 2018 Limited Run Games, the game collector’s publisher, has taken to Twitter to let the world know that they now have approval for publishing physical Nintendo Switch games. For collectors and cartridge lovers alike this is great news and we should start to see runs of eShop exclusive games hitting store shelves from 2018. Limited Run have openly said in the past that they would like to be able to publish titles for the Nintendo Switch, even before it was released to the world. As such it comes as no great surprise that they have finally received Nintendo’s approval.

(Subject to change)

N ovember

Are you excited to hear that Limited Run will be releasing Switch retail games? What would be your ideal release?

Sonic Forces November 7th Farming Simulator: Nintendo Switch Edition November 7th Heroes of the Monkey Tavern November 7th Doom November 10th Snipperclips Plus November 10th Ben 10 November 10th LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 November 14th L.A. Noire November 14th Lumo November 16th RiME November 17th Batman: A Telltale Series November 17th The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim November 17th Tiny Metal November 21st Resident Evil: Revelations November 28th Resident Evil: Revelations 2 November 28th Superbeat Xonic November 30th Ittle Dew 2 November 30th Switch Player

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The history of fifa and Written by Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

FIFA 18’S ARRIVAL ON THE SWITCH IN SEPTEMBER REPRESENTED THE RESTART OF THE SERIES’ RELATIONSHIP WITH NINTENDO AFTER A FIVE-YEAR ABSENCE. NINTENDO-EXCLUSIVE PLAYERS’ VIEW OF EA SPORTS HASN’T BEEN TOO FAVOURABLE OF LATE, BUT THAT WASN’T ALWAYS THE CASE.

1993

The very first game in the series, way back in 1993, was FIFA International Soccer. England’s David Platt and Poland’s Piotr Świerczewski were the first to grace the game’s cover, and like those two, the game was about as Nineties football as you could get. It was all about the national sides (club teams wouldn’t be introduced on Nintendo systems until FIFA 96), and it adopted an unusual diagonal camera angle. A considerably more limited version was also released for the Game Boy.

FIFA Soccer 95, the first in the series to take the year in its title, skipped the SNES, instead appearing only on the Mega Drive. FIFA returned to Nintendo the following year, and although there wasn’t a ton of gameplay changes, this version included real player names for the first time – but they weren’t all correct, with some long-since retired players included by mistake.

1998

FIFA: Road to World Cup 98 was the first to release on both the SNES and the N64. Having been born in 1994, the N64 was my first console, and by the time I got one there were a range of great football games on the system. ISS 64 probably got the most of my time in those days, but it was FIFA World Cup 98 which got me underway. It was a wonderful game back then – hitting the C-Up button delivered a professional foul which almost automatically resulted in a red card, and definitely did when you attempted it on the goalkeeper. In the 20 years since, the ability to attack the goalkeeper has disappeared from FIFA games for some reason, and it’s a great shame, because it’s a ton of fun. It’s also notable for having Tubthumping by Chumbawumba as its soundtrack…

For some reason, after FIFA 99, the series took a two-year hiatus from Nintendo consoles. It was FIFA Football 2002 which heralded the series’ arrival on Gamecube, and once again, Nintendo fans had a version which matched those on other formats. Another two World Cup games, in 2002 and 2006, followed on the system, but it was this generation which set the tone for the FIFA we see today. A rapid expansion in licensed leagues, players and the soundtrack turned the series into an annual event eagerly anticipated by the majority of football enthusiasts the world over. Manager Mode, where you could guide a team through any number of seasons and oversee everything from transfers to kit numbers, caught the imaginations of both youngsters and adults alike; it finally offered the experience of feeling like a real football manager. 8

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1995

1999


FIFA 07, the last Gamecube FIFA, was the best of this era, but two FIFA Street games offered a new take on the formula, bringing the beautiful game to an urban environment and placing the emphasis on skills and showboating.

2007

Sadly, what had been such a promising series was run into the ground by EA’s paltry offerings on the Wii. FIFA 08 stripped back everything that players enjoyed, with somebody at EA taking the ridiculous decision that Nintendo players wouldn’t want to play the fully-fledged version available on other series. It was comical; Miis were included disastrously, and the new Be a Pro mode, where you could control a single player throughout his career, was absent. Rather than rectifying this, the following year’s effort was even worse. Calling it FIFA 09 All-Play immediately set off alarm bells that this would be another casual effort, and that it was.

FIFA 10 scaled back the realism even more – a momentum meter let you score from anywhere – but as long as you were shooting diagonally, you could at any time anyway. EA desperately tried to palm off their effort as an ‘alternative’ to the ultra-realistic offerings elsewhere, but not a thought was given to the abandoned Nintendo-only, football loving hardcore fans. The disdain for Wii continued despite a return to a bit more realism in ’11; a completely unwanted FIFA City mode was pointless, and they ended up recycling the exact same games with new kits and rosters until the final offering in 2015.

2013

Turn to page 44 to see what I thought of FIFA 18 on the Nintendo Switch!

2010

However, FIFA 13 on Wii U was excellent. Yes, again it lagged behind other formats in terms of the newest features, but it offered lots those games didn’t. Substitutions on the fly using the GamePad were genius, as were sending players on runs as a manager using the touchscreen alone. Be a Pro mode had finally arrived on a Nintendo console for the first time, and Manager Mode was as complete as it needed to be. Sadly, the omission of Ultimate Team, the card-shuffling popular new take on team-building was missing. But it wasn’t rectified in the 2014 edition, because there wasn’t one. 13 proved to be EA’s only Wii U FIFA, which was a great shame – it harmed the console’s image to a sizeable casual market, and a golden opportunity to continue the improvement was missed…

Thankfully, the series is now back with the success of the Switch, and it’s been welcomed back with open arms. On-the-go, real graphics, women’s football, Ultimate Team – all well overdue an appearance on a Nintendo system, and now they’re here. It’s a shame that the online facilities and one-v-one play has been messed up, as otherwise, this would be everything Nintendo fans need for their console. Yes, the Journey mode is missing, but then it’s been so long since Nintendo had a FIFA of this level, you can give them a pass. Let’s hope, for our sake and the Switch’s, that there’s a FIFA 19 on the system next year.

2017

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Jakejames Lugo

@VenomousFatman1

THE NINTENDO SWITCH IS STARTING TO GROW A DIVERSE LIBRARY OF GAMES THAT FULFILL ALMOST EVERY GENRE, HOWEVER THERE ARE SOME GENRES THAT HAVEN’T REALLY GOTTEN REPRESENTED ON NINTENDO’S NEWEST PIECE OF HARDWARE. WHILE WE HAVE GAMES LIKE SPLATOON 2 AND PAYDAY 2 THAT ARE SOLID THIRD-PERSON SHOOTING GAMES FOR THE CONSOLE, THERE IS A SEVER LACK OF BIG FIRST-PERSON SHOOTERS THAT EVERYONE CAN ENJOY. BOTH THE PLAYSTATION 4 AND XBOX ONE MAY BE HOME TO SOME OF THE BIGGEST SHOOTER FRANCHISES OUT THERE NOW, BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN FIRST-PERSON SHOOTERS CAN’T THRIVE ON THE NINTENDO SWITCH. HERE ARE FOUR GAMES WE BELIEVE WOULD MAKE EXCELLENT ADDITIONS TO THE SWITCH LIBRARY AND REPRESENT THE FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER GENRE RIGHT ON NINTENDO SWITCH.

Overwatch has become a worldwide phenomenon across many different platforms with its fun characters and intense competitive gameplay. Discussion about bringing Overwatch to the Nintendo Switch have gone on for some time, but were often shot down by Blizzard. The biggest reason pointed out was because of technical limitations on the Switch itself, mainly being the limited power the console has compared to other platforms like the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. And yet, this fundamental wall hasn’t completely ruled out the possibility of Overwatch eventually coming to the console.

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With Nintendo reiterating their hardware over time, the Nintendo Switch could get some sort of technical upgrade in the future that would allow a game like Overwatch to be ported over. A lot of interesting aspects can be explored outside of having a portable version of Overwatch. With the Switch’s ability to detach the Joy-Con, things like split screen co-op could be a real game changer for having Overwatch on-the-go. But what if things could be taken further by exploring the possibility of amiibo for the entire Overwatch cast? As one of the most popular multiplayer games out now, it would be a shame for Nintendo to miss out on the excitement and fans of the game to their platform.


Gearbox has a habit of making stylized shooters that exude personality and humor, and no other franchise of theirs personifies this more than Borderlands. Although the series was made portable on the PlayStation Vita, technical limitations and cut-corners made that version of the game a shell of its original experience on consoles. With the Nintendo Switch, this can be attempted once again and given a proper incarnation for a shooter that would fit well within the Switch’s library of games. A combination of additive role-playing shooter gameplay and mature humor could spice up the experience for Nintendo fans looking for something different to play on their Switch.

It’s absolutely no secret that Call of Duty is the biggest shooter franchise in modern gaming and has appeared on almost every platform. Previous Call of Duty titles have made their way to the Nintendo Wii and Wii U and have garnered a small following. But unlike those consoles, Call of Duty would be better suited on the Nintendo Switch as a better portable version that fans of the long-running series could enjoy. The PlayStation Vita was one of the first to have a portable Call of Duty game, and was well poised to do portable first-person shooter genre justice. However, the Vita failed to utilize its portability for the series in any meaningful way.

With Electronic Arts bringing their popular sports games to the Nintendo Switch, it seems natural that they would eventually do the same with their other franchises. But instead of games like Battlefield taking center stage, why not focus on something with more universal appeal? Enter Star Wars Battlefront. Nintendo platforms have been home to many popular, and even classic, Star Wars titles that resonated very well with many gamers. And with Star Wars being as popular as it is now with the rise of a new saga, Nintendo fans should have a Star Wars game they can play over and over again on Nintendo Switch.

The visuals of Borderlands are similar to a lot of the colorful games one finds on the Switch. Games like Splatoon may have a barrage of color that displays beautifully on the Switch gamepad, which could be done in the same way with Borderlands, only with a grittier, post-apocalyptic nature. The controls and gameplay itself would be similar to Borderlands on other platforms, but unlike the PlayStation Vita version this could have a portable experience that’s more 1-to-1 with other consoles.

This makes an interesting opportunity to see if the Nintendo Switch can do so for the franchise. Activision is not shrewd about putting Call of Duty on any platform that has a strong user base. A Call of Duty game on the Switch can not only take advantage of having a full Call of Duty campaign on-the-go, but also play up the split-screen multiplayer with the detachable Joy-Con, which could also work well with the online multiplayer modes. Having the ability to get online via Wi-Fi connection and bring a friend into multiplayer games of Call of Duty anywhere could have a lasting appeal to many fans.

Star Wars Battlefront as a series has been brought to portables in the past, which works in favor of having the series work on Switch. On the PlayStation Portable, there were three Battlefront games available that worked around the limitations of the hardware, mainly because of the control setup on the handheld. But on Nintendo Switch, there are more buttons and functionality that would allow for a more true Battlefront experience similar to what you find on other home consoles. Having a full campaign, online and split-screen multiplayer with the detachable Joy-Con, as well as bonus content would make a Switch version of Battlefront feel special for Nintendo fans.


Clever Endeavour

cleverendeavourgames.com @ClevEndeavGames

Hello Clever Endeavour, thanks for talking with us! Can you tell us a little bit about your studio and how you got into developing games? Clever Endeavour started when I (Rich) was looking to build a team, and met Kyler and Alex. Kyler is an artist, who was doing contract work at the time for advertisement and other non-gamerelated things, but really wanted to work full-time in games. Alex had studied computer science with a specialty in game development, and had also longed to work in games. The group got together and did a game jam, to see if we could work together under the stress of a time constraint... that's where Ultimate Chicken Horse was born! You are currently working on Ultimate Chicken Horse, which you will be bring to the Nintendo Switch. What is Ultimate Chicken Horse? Ultimate Chicken Horse is a party platformer game where you build the 12

Switch Player

THE SWITCH IS FAST BECOMING HOME TO MANY PARTY CLASSICS, BUT WOULD YOU WANT ONE WHERE YOU CREATE THE FUN? ULTIMATE CHICKEN HORSE PRESENTS EXACTLY THAT PREMISE, SO WE CAUGHT UP WITH THE DEVELOPERS, CLEVER ENDEAVOR, TO FIND OUT MORE.

level while they play. You can place platforms, traps and hazards in the level and then try to run through it. If you can make it, but your friends don't, you score points! The game came out on Steam in March 2016, and is coming to console this summer(ish). It plays up to 4 players at a time and has local and online multiplayer play. How much is there to see and do in the game? There's a lot to see and do! In fact, the whole point is that the game is highly replayable because each time the level is built by the player, so it is different every game! The blocks that you place can be combined in all sorts of cool ways to make fun and sometimes surprising combinations. What games have inspired development of Ultimate Chicken Horse? What would you say it is most like, or is it very much its own thing?

Super Meat Boy was a big influence on the controls of the game, though we tried to make them feel a bit floatier and a bit less hardcore than the SMB controls. The look came about because we wanted to design cute and relatable characters while keeping them blank slate, and not identifying a gender to the players. The gameplay flow (build, run, build, run) is not something we've seen before in full games, so I think in that sense it's pretty unique. Surprisingly, the game was not inspired by Mario Maker, seeing as we started the game before Mario Maker was announced. What made you want to bring the game to the Nintendo Switch? We think the Switch is perfect for Ultimate Chicken Horse; it's a silly, funny, ridiculous party game and fits perfect with the Nintendo style and audience. It also would be great for sharing JoyCons, but we haven't set that up yet so we'll see about how possible it is.


How have you found developing for the Nintendo Switch, compared to the other platforms you are bringing the game to? We had started developing on other platforms before the Switch, as the development kits for the Switch came out much later than the other consoles, so we don't have as much experience on it. We're working on it now though, and I don't believe it should be much more complicated than other consoles. The Switch has a wide range of features, such as HD Rumble. Any plans to incorporate this into Ultimate Chicken Horse? We're not sure yet about HD rumble and features like that, we're still fairly early on Switch development. When can we expect Ultimate Chicken Horse release? Will the game see a retail release? Ultimate Chicken Horse will most likely not have a retail release, as the costs

and risk associated are very high as well as the fact that the requirements to launch retail copies are more involved than digital release. We're aiming to come out in the summer 2017, but haven't announced a date yet. Are there any games that stand out to you on the Switch? Even though it's the obvious answer, I think Breath of the Wild is even more highly reviewed than I expected. I expected it to do well for sure, and of course expect that anyone who has a Switch would buy it, but I didn't expect it to be a contender for the best game ever made! Is there anything new (or exclusive) about the game that you can tell us? Nothing exclusive or secret that I can talk about that will be known before June I don't think... Not sure when we're announcing the new content for console launch so I can't say much.

Our final question: If you have to choose one, what is the Switch? A handheld you plug in or a console you take out? To answer the Switch question... that's a tricky one! I think based on the hardware it's closer to a console you take along with you, though it's not nearly as powerful as the XboxOne or PS4. I think it's a new way of approaching consoles and I think it's a super smart idea, as long as a lot of titles can come out on it without worrying too much about optimization and running at 60fps.

We would like to thank Richard for his time with this interview. We think Ultimate Chicken Horse looks incredibly fun and can't wait to experience it ourselves! Will this be one you'll keep an eye on? Switch Player

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is still the game w e all need right now From the moment the soothing acoustic riff begins to play and the dreamlike pan flutes chime in tandem my shoulders immediately slack. My tense muscles relax. All the worries and fears in the world fade away into the background and nothing really matters at all. Well, apart from watering my crops and feeding my animals.

miserable as you’re miserable because you don’t know why you’re miserable. Even just glancing down a timeline is no longer an enjoyable way to waste time, because the chances of not seeing something that’s wrong with the world are next to none. It’s a vicious cycle. A dark pit. One I’m sure I’m not alone in having fallen into.

Stardew Valley may have initially released over 18 months ago now but with this horrid planet in the state it is and the fact that Stardew is finally being released on Nintendo Switch, it’s still relevant. It’s still the game that we all need to play right now.

There is a ladder out of the abyss, though. It’s Stardew Valley. My luscious, peaceful farm is my haven. My escape. And not just because its artstyle is pretty and its music is intoxicating. Sure, you could probably say this about any game you personally adore that helps you get your mind off things. Or any form of escapism for that matter. But Stardew Valley, with its simple but deep mechanics, has a way of filling your mind completely with the task at hand. Occupying you to the extent that you aren’t ignoring the world’s problems - you’ve forgotten them.

From fat world leaders threatening nuclear war over Twitter to watching Great Britain try and leave an organisation with about as much grace as a drunk dad at a wedding. From a terrorist attack every two weeks to the economic uncertainty that means many young people will probably never own a house and my football club being utter garbage. 2017 has followed in the previous year’s footsteps in offering horror after horror after horror and sometimes it can be overwhelming. Suffocating. It can drag you down and make you feel miserable with you even realising, and then you get more

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Dan Murphy @Murbroski

Switch Player

At face value Stardew seems like a very simple, perhaps even boring, game. You’re just walking around fields, forests and foliage. Watering plants, harvesting from livestock, foraging for goods, chopping wood, mining stone and maybe a bit of fishing on the side. Every single one of these actions is done with the same button. After


selecting the appropriate tool you press the ‘Y’ button and your task is complete. It isn’t challenging in the slightest. Yet somehow it is fulfilling. The single task in of itself may only take a few actual seconds and not be difficult, but only doing a thing once doesn’t leave you with much to sell. But setting yourself a goal: I’m going to clear my farm of wood today, I’m going to plant a whole new patch of corn, I’m going to collect enough wood to build a farm, makes you repeat these tasks over and over again. It may sound like it’d grow monotonous, but it doesn’t. You’re putting in the graft and immediately seeing the results. It makes you feel like you’re progressing. All these little, simple mechanics layered on top of each other actually give enough complexity to get lost in.

products and then when that’s done you have the rest of the day to do as you please. This routine is vital because getting yourself in order means you’re not in a hectic mess and should have more than enough energy left in the tank for other activities. With long-term planning this helps you plant crops in the right season, not let plants rot and let you set and attain big goals.

Stardew Valley is three-games-in-one. It’s a dating simulator, a dungeon crawler but primarily (who’d have thought?) it’s a farming game. Just as farmers have to do in real life, in Stardew it’s vital that you get into a routine and plan for the long-term. While the daily tasks are what keep you occupied, it’s thinking ahead that is what really fills your mind. You have to get in a flow: wake up nice and early, water the crops, feed the animals, collect the produce, turn the produce into

It’s impossible for most of us to live the dream. Quit our boring day time jobs in a blaze of glory and upsticks to the countryside. Live a pure, satisfying life on the land. Live in a lovely, little town and see our hard work turn into instant gratification. No, instead we have to toil away unfulfilled while constant dread refuses to yield. At least in Stardew Valley we can get a taste of that dream and forget the world’s ills. If only for a little while.

It’s crazy that a game that seems so innocuous and onenote actually has so much depth to it. It’s sets itself deep into your mind, gnawing away (in a nice way) and makes you think a lot about what you’re going to do. Whereas in the majority of games you’re playing purely in the moment Stardew Valley makes you think ahead.

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REVIEW

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Super Mario Odyssey

Written by Paul Murphy

@PMurphy1978


When was the last time that a core Super Mario title really impressed you? I suppose that answer could depend on your age and Nintendo experience. I've loved Mario's many adventures over the last 30-odd years, through sunshine, worlds and galaxies but the last time that I was left truly mesmerised by the series was 1997's Super Mario 64. Sure, visually it's dated these days, but the open-world nature, the imagination and the transference from a damn-fine 2D platformer series (and arguably one of the best of all-time in Super Mario World) to showing how it should all play out in three dimensions is a magic that I don't think Nintendo has quite topped since. That awestruck feeling I felt when exploring the majestic world around Peach's castle had never been replicated again, despite the enjoyment the franchise has given me since. Until now, that is. It's taken them 20 years, but Nintendo has managed to recapture that formula and, in Super Mario Odyssey, engineered an experience which is truly breathtaking and surpasses any Mario game since their Nintendo 64 days; and arguably their best game, ever.

As always seems to be the case, Bowser is up to no good again and this time he (predictably) hatches a plan which will see the nefarious villain marry Princess Peach. He's got this super wedding in mind, and this time some meticulous organisation and efficiency from his cronies has resulted in the procurement of many items from throughout Super Mario Odyssey's multiple kingdoms; including a resident from the Cap Kingdom, Tiara. Not content with seeing Peach abducted, it's down to our mustachioed plumber to chase Bowser across the world save the day. Again.

This time, he's not alone. Accompanied by Cappy, a spiritual inhabitant from the Cap Kingdom, who is not best pleased to see his sister cap-ducted. After Mario gets his dungarees well and truly kicked and Bowser tears off through the skies in his airship, Cappy agrees to assist you in your journey. Our newly acquired ghostly chum has a special ability up his sleeve, and has the ability to take control of certain things and effectively possess Mario's trademark cap. Well, he probably needed a new one anyway.

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You begin in Cappy's hometown and it's here that you get to grips with the new mechanics that Cappy's inclusion brings. First of all, you can chuck him by pressing Y, luzzing him in any direction which will collect coins, hearts and make short work of any enemies within your throwing radius. Next are some more advanced moves, like having Cappy circulate around you for a short while, or even using him as a springboard of sorts to jump even further. Finally, as noted above - and the one you are most likely familiar with - is the ability to take over other things; specifically characters, and it's something you are introduced with one of the most laugh-out-loud moments in Mario history before being demonstrated with gigantic, dramatic effect early on in the Cascade Kingdom as your journey literally sparks into life. You would be excused for thinking that Nintendo played their trump card too early, but trust me that isn't even the high point! In fact, there are 24 to control, each with specific skills and abilities to aid you in your progress, and every single one will get a wry smile from you as you become them. First things first, though, you'll need to locate the means to catch up with Bowser and you'll find the titular Odyssey in a very bad state. The thing runs on Power Moons, and you are then tasked with exploring the world around you to collect

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the required number before the ship powers up and sets you on your merry way. Players worried that this could ultimately hinder and limit speedy progress needn't be; there are a huge number of Moons either squirrelled away or hiding in plain sight, and you'll typically get multiples from facing off against the many boss battles you face along your adventure. I'll get back to those later, but the point is that cumulatively there are literally hundreds and hundreds of the things. Also in plentiful supply are the many kingdoms to explore in Super Mario Odyssey. All of them look incredible, and all look widely different to each other. Whether it's the luscious and refreshing feel of the Seaside, the calming presence of the trees in the Forest, or the busy and living city life in the Metro Kingdom, every location possesses its own identity. That variety spills over into the collectible funds too, with each destination using specific currency in addition to your standard Mario coinage. The Cap Kingdom's pennies are hat-shaped, for example, with scales, cogs, leaves, and so on. With these, you can purchase outfits, stickers and collectibles unique to each destination, as well as partaking in many sitespecific activities. Odyssey's environments are all like open world hubs, which will be pleasing for those that loved Super Mario 64 and Super Mario


ser If you have the Mario, Peach, or Bow to ibo ami the ch tou and hold amiibo, can You ler. trol the NFC area of the con too! try other amiibo to see what you get, Mario amiibo: Become invincible for a certain amount of time. Peach amiibo: Get a Life-Up Heart. Bowser amiibo: Shows the locations of regional coins. Rotate the camera to look for them.

Sunshine and somewhat familiar to those that enjoyed the open, expansive nature of Breath of the Wild. Although not on the same scale (being individual areas rather than one, huge world) some areas are substantially bigger than others, but they are all packed with secrets and places to explore. Returning to previously visited lands often yields unexpected secrets, especially post-game. I was constantly finding something new every time as I returned to collect more Power Moons. As noted above, there are hundreds of the bleeders, and you end up feeling like you've got to catch them all. Combat in Super Mario Odyssey should be familiar to long-time stalwarts of the franchise. In addition to the Cappy-chucking shenanigans, Mario can also bounce around, off walls and foes alike, and the triple jump is also present. For those unfamiliar, tapping the jump button three times in succession will bounce Mario higher and more acrobatically than a regular leap. You can chuck Cappy ahead of you as well and bounce off him for greater distance, and you can also sidesomersault, back-flip, ground pound, hang from ledges and even perform a long-jump. Mastery of all of these skills will be crucial to obtaining all of the game's moons, coins and secrets as well as to avoid failure.

Speaking of failure, there's no perma-death here, nor power-ups. Mario has three hearts of health (which can be temporarily upgraded to six) and should you fail at any point you'll be docked 10 coins and reappear at the last auto-save point, usually a check-point flag or, more likely, a boss encounter. Ah, yes, the bosses. One of my absolute favourite bits of Super Mario Odyssey are the boss encounters. You will face off multiple times against his minions along the way, and this time they are the mental Broodals. A group of anthropomorphic Rabbits, all have slightly different attacks and they will continually attempt to thwart your progress in most of the worlds you visit. Most worlds also have their own boss fight in addition to those pesky rabbits, and these are particularly memorable - probably the best yet in a Mario title. They follow the usual bop-three-times style that has always been prevalent, but with each successful hit the phases become more challenging. If the game is too challenging there is an "assist mode" with helps you on your way, doubles your health and allows it to regenerate. Oh, and it'll return you to the world if you fall off the edge.

Switch Player

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The presentation in Super Mario Odyssey is nothing short of outstanding. For such a relatively meagre file size (5.2 GB) everything looks incredible; this is the best looking Mario title yet - but the presentation goes beyond that. Every location has its own pamphlet-style map explaining a few things about it and marking out important locations. The game's soundtrack is phenomenal, and yes, that song is in the game. The setpiece to which it unfolds is nothing short of spectacular and probably one of my favourite moments in any Mario game. As you would also expect, the HD Rumble is used exceptionally well throughout your adventure. Try riding a Scooter in New Donk City, for example. As well as the standard threedimensional plumber action, at various points in the game you can transform into the retro-styled Mario gameplay. Typically this is to get from one place to another but they are a welcome and nostalgic throwback to where it all began. As mentioned before, Mario can obtain a variety of outfits and many of these hark back to other games in the series, one in particular does more to reinforce which game this is essentially the spiritual successor to...

As well as playing with standard controls, you can also play Super Mario Odyssey with Joy-Con in hand and making movements with the controllers will perform a variety of Cappy's actions, as well as enhancing a variety of maneuvers, climbing for one by rapidly shaking them as you climb. The game can also be played with a second player as well, with one of you using one half of the Joy-Con to play as Mario with the other using the second half to control Cappy. Teamwork and coordination will be essential as you work together to navigate levels. It's challenging but a lot of fun. There is so much to see and do here, with 17 kingdoms (three of which are post-game) and a substantial amount of collectibles, you'll need to really test the grey matter and reflexes to get everything. Even once you reach the game's inevitable conclusion against Bowser, it still doesn't end there: it gets even better after that - they really did save the best for last. You are going to love it. Even then, you've got so much to still look forward to and discover. It really is an odyssey.

In just a short space of time the Nintendo Switch has amassed a huge library of fantastic titles although Breath of the Wild aside (which is available on Wii U) you could argue that it lacked that killer title, the quintessential "must-have" game. Not anymore. This is that game. You need it. It's Mario's best adventure yet.

VERDICT Not since Super Mario 64 has a Mario adventure had me this captivated, immersed or impressed. Super Mario Odyssey is Nintendo's finest Super Mario title yet, and easily the most impressive Nintendo Switch title available. With so much to see and do - long after you've dispatched Bowser - you'll be returning to the Odyssey for a long time. Essential for all Switch owners and worth buying a Switch for. It's that good.

5.0 PUBLISHER Nintendo

AT A GLANCE 20

Switch Player

NA: 27th October EU: 27th October 5.7 GB

DEVELOPER Nintendo E-SHOP PRICING ÂŁ49.99 | â‚Ź59.99

EXCELLE

NT


Chris Scullion tiredoldhack.com @scully1888

Every time I start a new 3D Mario game there’s that brief moment of fear that maybe, just maybe, this is the one where the winning streak stops: the one where Nintendo finally drops the ball and delivers a 3D Mario that isn’t remarkable, isn’t special in any way, is fun but a little underwhelming. Super Mario Odyssey killed that fear within the first five minutes.

It’s remarkable how perfectly structured this game is. It’s even more open world in its design than Super Mario 64 and Sunshine were, and yet at the same time its later stages have that Super Mario Galaxy feel of smaller joined-up sections (this time with electricity cables separating them instead of Launch Stars). It’s both linear and non-linear at times, and it’s treads the line between the two so well that fans of one will never feel like they’re getting too much of the other. When it occasionally decides to pull off a set-piece – there’s one in New Donk City that steals the show – it’s nothing short of breathtaking. When it decides it wants to tug on your nostalgia glands it does so in such a sublime way that fans of all levels of dedication will find something that appeals to them. What’s more, as those of you reading who already have it will surely agree, it’s easily got some of the best post-game content I’ve ever experienced. When the novelty has worn off and we’re all able to compare Odyssey to its predecessors with a more sober judgement, I’m still confident that many will consider it the best of the bunch.

Switch Player

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REVIEW

SteamWorld Dig 2

Even if you take into account the fact that the Switch is relatively new, its eShop is becoming more crowded as time goes on (others platforms are in an overpopulated state already). It becomes harder for indie devs to get enough attention for their games, especially when it has to divide space not only with other equally amazing indies but also with bigger and more famous franchises. Still, games such as SteamWorld Dig 2 are given time to shine on both Nintendo’s Directs and Nindies Showcases. If you’re still wondering if it’s worth of such a spotlight – oh, boy! – you’re not really digging how amazing this game is! If you’ve never heard about the games made by Image & Form before, it is important to know that SteamWorld Dig 2 isn’t only the sequel to the first game in the SteamWorld Dig series, but it also takes place in the well-crafted and ever-expanding SteamWorld universe. These games are all set in an alternative reality in which steam-driven robots 22

Switch Player

are the inhabitants of a Wild Westlike world – as well as the space world of the turn-based strategy counterpart that is SteamWorld Heist. Now, SteamWorld Dig 2 returns to the moment that succeeds the events of the first Dig game in order to answer any open questions and fill some gaps on the chronology. At the very beginning of the game, you learn that Rusty, the quiet and stern protagonist of Dig 1, disappeared mysteriously. Rumours point to the city of El Machino as the place in which he was last seen. Therefore, the player must control the cheerful and charismatic Dorothy, and venture through the mines down the city in the hopes of finding more clues about Rusty’s whereabouts. To reach the city, though, you must cross a starting tutorial area, in which you’ll learn not only the basics of SteamWorld Dig‘s mechanics but also the little twists that the game has to offer to the platform genre. The basics are there: you can press B to jump – and doing that on a wall allows you to wall-jump to reach higher areas. The A button, then, is used to attack with your pickaxe in any direction you’re facing… and, here’s the catch, you can use it to break part of the scenery.

Written by Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro

Most of the mines and caves you explore in SteamWorld Dig 2 are formed entirely of blocks. They vary in composition, so some may take more hits to be broken, some may ask for a specific approach or tool, and others are completely indestructible. Consequently, the game has quite the unique mindset for exploring. While it has a more vertical approach for platforming – because you’re constantly getting deeper into the bottom of the mines –, it also demands the player to think about the best way to shape the terrain. As strange as it may sound, for the most part of SteamWorld Dig games, the player has power over the creation of the level design itself. Don’t leave the room yet if you’re not fond of the openness of creation-based games; SteamWorld Dig 2 is not one of those. Even though you can shape your surroundings, many different things will tailor your path. The many hazards you’ll encounter are just some examples. From acid and lava-filled pools to aggressive fauna and flora, Dorothy must choose the best route to have the upper-hand over the enemies and challenges. Each enemy has its own distinct behavior too, and must be dealt with caution. To make things more complicated, some of them also have power over the environment and can do things such as opening huge


pits to make the player susceptible to fall damage. As Dorothy descends through the many mines and caves of SteamWorld Dig 2, the player must also pay attention to the location of the many minerals scattered here and there. By breaking those special blocks, you can collect all sorts of ores and jewels to sell in the city for gold. This in-game currency can be spent on many upgrades for each of your tools and skills. While this may sound like busy-work at first, in fact, it helps with the passing of the game, as you are constantly measuring the risks of going on a little further (if you die, you’ll lose part of the goodies you gathered). Getting those new upgrades is also fundamental for your progress, as it’ll improve your odds of survival, with things like more health points, how strong your pickaxe is, and how many minerals you can carry in total, among many other things. Concerning your progress, SteamWorld Dig 2 also has a RPG-style level system, so you will get experience by killing enemies and completing quests and, with each level, new upgrades will be available in the city. To allow for more character customization, this second game also has a different category of upgrades based on ‘Cogs’. Those little gears are usually well hidden on the scenario, and by finding them, you can activate a unique set of skills that may change the characteristics of your tools. You have a limited supply of ‘Cogs’, so you need to be constantly choosing which skills to activate for each set moment.

While this progress system matches perfectly with SteamWorld Dig 2‘s exploration mindset (and digging is fun enough by itself), the game is much more than that. In addition to the gigantic interconnected mines that you explore, there is also a huge amount of smaller caves to find during your adventure. They work more like a traditional platform level and demand you to overcome a challenge in a more restricted and controlled scenario. Instead of being limited, though, they are super fun and come in a variety of formats. They feel also like little puzzles that do not only consider the digging possibilities, but also the entirety of Dorothy’s skillset. Talking about the different skills, it doesn’t take much for Dorothy to broaden her possibilities. I’ll not get into further details about this to not spoil the surprises, but it is a nice addition that SteamWorld Dig 2 follows the best premises of the Metroidvania genre. Therefore, what you can and cannot do in terms of locomotion is dependent on your current skill set. Due to this, you’re constantly getting new upgrades that add new and inventive ways to reach new areas.

SteamWorld Dig 2’s ever-present level of quality isn’t exclusive to gameplay only. I must highlight how important was the experience that Image & Form gathered while creating the other SteamWorld games. It is palpable just how much care was given to the many details you see on the art and animation department. SteamWorld Dig 2 has a superb cartoonish art style

PUBLISHER Image & Form Games

AT A GLANCE

NA: 21st September EU: 21st September

DEVELOPER Image & Form Games

that just becomes alive when you see it in action. Every single character and enemy – as well as many elements from the environment – has its own subtle animations. Dorothy may be a robot, but it really seems like she’s breathing. Add to that the most on-point music and sound effects that you can ask for, and you have the almost-perfect package that is SteamWorld Dig 2. If I recall back the days when I played the first SteamWorld Dig, it was a game that I enjoyed due to its pleasant and somewhat relaxant gameplay loop. Now, in contrast, I can say that SteamWorld Dig 2 is not only a better and prettier sequel to an already good game. It is, in fact, a game that I fell in love with, and I could really enter into a discussion or two arguing that it is the best indie game available on the Switch at this moment.

VERDICT SteamWorld Dig 2 is everything that you may want for a sequel. It takes the digging formula of its predecessor and makes it more fun to play, prettier to look at, and more pleasant to listen to. Fans of both platform and Metroidvania genres will be pleased by its enjoyable gameplay and, even if you’re not into those style of games, it may be worth a try - as it is one of the best indie games released on the Switch.

4.6 EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £14.99 | €19.99

257 MB Switch Player

23


REVIEW

Oxenfree

Written by Charlie Large

@CharlieLarge

It took Night School Studio’s Oxenfree a matter of minutes to have me hooked. The game, a supernatural, kinda scary story about a group of teenagers who uncover something mysterious and ancient on a remote island, has the tropes of many horror films – but replaces the clichés with a clever tale about relationships and growing up that is certain to leave a lasting impression on those that experience this title.

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The game starts on a ferry, and playing as blue-haired teenager Alex, you discuss with your friends what lies ahead when you arrive at Edwards Island. As expected from a group of teenagers travelling to a remote beach, the itinerary involves hanging out, playing truth or dare and drinking beer. There is an urban myth about the island that is discussed, whereby that if you tune a radio into certain frequencies whilst on the island you will hear ghostly messages – and so Alex and co. decide to investigate. After accidentally unleashing a paranormal force on the island, the group must figure out what the force is and how to stop it. The gameplay in Oxenfree will be instantly recognisable to anyone who has played either a point and click adventure or a Telltale game before. The conversations flow freely between all of the characters in the game and you are given multiple choices over which response you want Alex to join in with. The decisions and responses that you choose influence how the rest of the game will play out, meaning that there are many narrative paths for you to see and a variety of different endings that can be achieved.

cleverly, the game’s New Game Plus mode acknowledges choices you’ve previously made and characters also have a sense of déjà vu and the paranormal beings will mess and taunt the characters even more – which I thought was a really neat addition!

The only criticism I can throw at the Switch version of Oxenfree is that the loading times were a little lengthy. Other than that this is one of the best stories I have had the pleasure of playing through. The fact that I can experience this both on a big screen with Pro Controller in hand or under the duvet using the touch controls on the Switch to navigate around this wondrous world certainly made it easier for me to get drawn into this beautifully told story – switching between modes as often as the game switches between planes.

Accompanying the engrossing story is a soundtrack that is something truly special. Composed by scntfc, the soundtrack is full of synth tracks and combined with the paranormal tale made me draw comparisons between Oxenfree and the Netflix series Stranger Things. Tuning the radio that Alex carries around As hard as it has been trying to write this review without giving away too much would also produce static crackling until of the story, this has also been one of you’d pick up a station – where you’d the easiest reviews I have ever written. hear old time music, news reports and I cannot recommend this game enough, the like to further build the game’s so sit down and let Oxenfree take you on atmosphere. Oxenfree‘s 2.5D art style is also particularly pleasing, with the a journey – you won’t regret it! dark elements of the game’s landscape combining with the bright colours of the supernatural elements to give a real sense of worlds colliding.

VERDICT

It is testament to how great the storytelling is in this game that you will want to play through multiple times to discover the different possibilities and get a fuller understanding of what is going on in Oxenfree‘s story. As soon as I finished my first playthrough I was loading the game back up to start a second run through so I could understand more about what I experienced the first time round and

Oxenfree mixes a spooky story, superb soundtrack and vivid visuals to create an experience that is truly memorable. I cannot recommend this game enough to anyone who enjoys getting lost in an atmospheric adventure.

4.5

AT A GLANCE

PUBLISHER Night School

DEVELOPER Night School

NA: 6th October EU: 6th October

E-SHOP PRICING £15.99 | €19.99

EXCELLE

NT

2.1 GB Switch Player

25


REVIEW

Golf Story

Written by Charlie Large

@CharlieLarge

The best sports game so far launched on the Nintendo Switch during the last week of September – which is no mean feat considering that FIFA 18 also released in the same week!

Golf Story begins with a flashback of you and your father playing golf. Here you learn the basic controls and also begin to believe that you will someday be a big-shot on the golf scene. Once the tutorial is over, the game flashes forward a few decades and you learn that all did not work out as imagined and your character, fed up with being an unsuccessful adult, decides to take another stab at becoming a legend of the Links. So, you leave your house and set off on your journey; exploring the surrounding golf courses, meeting the colourful characters, playing some golf and learning new skills. The golf mechanics in Golf Story will be instantly familiar to anyone who has played Mario Golf (or a few other arcadey golf titles for that matter). Taking a shot is as 26

Switch Player


straightforward as tapping the A button three times. Once to start filling the power meter, a second time when you have reached the desired shot power, and a third and final time to nail the accuracy and send your shot (hopefully) somewhere towards the flag. HD Rumble is used to a good effect when teeing up your shot, and a satisfying rumble can be felt when sinking your shot. There is also a slight rumble that can be felt when you are in conversation that goes nicely with the varying sizes of speech bubbles that pop up to convey the tone of your words and thoughts. As you make your way through the eight different courses that the game has to offer, you will meet some fantastic characters who are in need of your help. They will ask you to lend a hand with a certain task or challenge you to perform a specific type of shot. All of these optional interactions and quests serve as a way to deliver additional tutorials to the player – helping you to learn new ways to play that will be beneficial to you when it comes to taking on the 9-hole round of golf that acts as an end-of-area boss battle of sorts. Eventually, you’ll be adding backspin and curve to shots like the pro you always wanted to be – and you’ll be having a great time while doing it. Both the main and side-stories are full of humour and a little bonkers and will surely bring a smile to your face during play.

Completing the various missions on offer will see you rewarded with both cash and XP, with XP allowing you to upgrade stats such as power, strike accuracy and spin. It is nice to see these actually make a difference as you play – there were one or two side quests that I struggled with in the later game but once I’d levelled up a little I went back and cleared these with no problems due to my character being that little bit better with his ball control.

Aside from the main story, there is also a Quick Play mode that allows you and a friend to play 9-holes in any of the courses you have unlocked in the main game. This was a nice, unexpected addition – and certainly adds a little longevity to the game. I probably wouldn’t have returned to the game for some time once I’d beaten it, but with the inclusion of this mode I can see myself playing this with friends quite often.

There is so much to see and do during the 15-20 hours it will take you to see One thing that these skill points won’t Golf Story through to its conclusion, and be able to help is your aiming ability, although a few of the jokes did wear a and Golf Story‘s courses feature both little thin come the end of play I could traditional and not-so-traditional have carried on playing for much longer. hazards that you will want to avoid on I enjoyed looking forward to seeing what your way to the pin. Not only will you course I would be playing on next and have to try and avoid bunkers and water finding out what bonkers quest I would hazards, but the courses in Golf Story be asked to carry out. The fact that the 16-bit pixel style world is a delight to look feature hazards such as molerats, birds at certainly lends itself to the whole feel and crocodiles that will snatch your ball and kindly relocate it into a tricky spot for of Golf Story, there is nothing about this you – so you need to get your accuracy package from Sidebar Games that feels down to a tee if you want to be getting sub-par! birdies and eagles! There are also small hidden distractions throughout the game that you will want to find, with a particular highlight at the start of the game rewarding you by unlocking an Sidebar Games have made a great indoor mini-golf course for you to play take on the arcade golf game and on. added a story and RPG elements with great success! Golf Story is the best sports game on the Nintendo Switch, and arguably one of the best games available right now on the system. Whether you are a fan of golf or not, you need this game on your system!

VERDICT

4.1 PUBLISHER Sidebar Games

AT A GLANCE

NA: 28th September EU: 28th September

DEVELOPER Sidebar Games

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £13.49 | €14.99

936 MB Switch Player

27


REVIEW

Rayman Legends Definitive Edition

Written by Reece Heyworth @rheyworth07

Rayman Legends, the game that wants to be on every console under the sun. Ubisoft now offers up the Definitive edition of an already fantastic game. For the Nintendo Switch every character on previous consoles are available here making up quite the roster and the mini game KungFoot gets an added tournament mode and a single player option. That’s it. While these small changes are welcome, they’re hardly definitive. Lacklustre additions aside, though Rayman Legends is still great. You take control of titular hero Rayman as you travel through various worlds trying to save the Teensies from evil wizards. Don’t worry if that sounds a little lame because the real star of the show is the gameplay. You run, jump and punch your way through various 2D levels. The platforming challenges are plentiful and varied from running through falling buildings to flying through the air throwing magical fists at a giant armoured toad (no I didn’t make that up). The game knows how to mix things up and keep it interesting and thankfully all of the ideas present seem well fleshed out and not at all gimmicky. 28

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The platforming is exceptionally well executed, running and jumping through levels feels wonderfully fluid and as you learn the levels, traversing them almost has rhythmic feel to it. This fluid platforming is rightly the focus of the game, every design decision is geared towards making everything flow, such as the collectible lums painting a path to jump across several enemy heads onto a zipline. The game is filled with routes like these that are easy to spot but make you feel awesome when executed. The best examples of the fluid platforming are the music themed levels. At the end of the first world, the Castle Rock level opens up. As you start running through the level music starts to play and you begin to notice that as you jump, punch and slide through the level the music beats are matching your movements. It’s perfectly executed to the point where it feels like you’re the one playing the music. As the game progresses it starts to ramp up the challenge, requiring more and more skill to perfectly execute sequences but thankfully the game is generous with checkpoints, never sending you back too far, allowing you to salvage that fluid momentum you had going without feeling frustrated. By the end, Rayman Legends is no pushover and 100%

completing this game is going to require you to hone your skills and practice levels repeatedly. With exceptional gameplay nailed, Rayman Legends continues to knock it out of the park with the sheer amount of content in the game. With 120+ levels, daily challenges, Kung-Foot mini game and levels from the previous game Rayman Origins, there’s so much to do you’ll struggle to get through it all any time soon. There’s a great deal of variety in the content present as well. The Murphy’s touch world requires you to undock your switch and make use of the touch screen and motion controls, the challenges can take the form of endless runners or time trials. Kung Foot is still the best way to waste 5 minutes since Angry Birds, the definitive edition now allows for local multiplayer as well as tournaments making it less of a little distraction and more of a fleshed out multiplayer mode. To go with all this superb content the game sounds and looks absolutely stunning as well thanks to the UbiArt Framework engine. The music works brilliantly with the art to set the fun natured, fast paced tone to the game and on the smaller Switch screen, these visuals really start to pop. The art style lends a real charm to the world of Rayman and all the characters feel special and unique from an oversized angry Luchador to fire breathing dragons. Superb gameplay, loads of content and stunning artwork, Rayman Legends was a great game 4 years ago and holds up just as well today. Unfortunately, this so called definitive edition has flaws and makes it hard to suggest the Switch port is the best way to play this game. Load times on Switch are weirdly the

PUBLISHER Ubisoft

AT A GLANCE

NA: 12th September EU: 12th September

DEVELOPER Ubisoft

longest of all versions and can be a real drag when you’re switching between levels often. Alas that’s trivial compared to some performance issues that I encountered in some levels where there is more going on in the level. There are times where the game slowed down to the point where I was almost playing a slideshow. It doesn’t affect every level but when the problem does rear its head it can almost ruin the game which is a shame because the game is as close to platforming perfection as it can get but these problems mean this version isn’t deserving of the Definitive Edition moniker.

Rayman Legends is still a great game that anyone with a passing interest should play, the technical issues however are disappointing and if you’ve played this game before it can be hard to recommend. Hopefully Ubisoft fixes these issues and I can just carry on singing the praises of this game to everyone.

VERDICT Rayman Legends will always be a great game. With exceptional platforming and level design, more levels than you thought possible and stunning art and music the game is up there with the very best. Unfortunately technical issues mean this is far from the definitive experience that Ubisoft want it to be.

4.0 EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £29.99 | €39.99

3.1 GB Switch Player

29


REVIEW

Kingdom: New Lands

Before even knowing what the game was about, Kingdom: New Lands caught my attention with its superb art style. It is a beautifully crafted game, as you can see and a delight to experience. From the minimalistic characters to the uncharted landscapes, everything from the game has its own subtle style, giving you the feeling that you are exploring a vibrant – and living – island. Despite the great first impression, I wasn’t expecting that this subtleness of design would be present for the entire game. It is. And it’s good.

Kingdom: New Lands’ premise is very simple. You control a king (or queen) that has just arrived on a new island and your objective is to establish a new kingdom there. Aside from the first moments of the game (in which the ghost of the past ruler guides you to build the first camp for your people), it is up to the player to figure out how to best develop your kingdom in order to face the many perils that come at night. You control the monarch in a simple 2D manner. Using a horse, you can choose to simply walk through the scenarios or you can also hold the ZR button to pick up speed. Your horse has a hidden stamina bar, though, so you can’t keep up running indefinitely. Nevertheless, this is not a 2D platform game. These mechanics are not the focus, being just the way you get from place to place.

30

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@JhoCarneiro

Kingdom: New Lands’s main meat and potatoes reside on a currency system and in the kingdom management itself.

from game to game though, not to mention how much you learn about the many Kingdom hidden mechanics.

All you have at your disposal is a little bag in which you can store coins. You learn fast that a ruler without money is nothing and most of the things within the game will ask a certain amount of coins. So, stray people will become loyal to you for a coin. To make them useful, then, you’ll need to create a tool, such as a hammer (and make them builders) or a bow (to make them archers). Each of these things is done in a certain building in your kingdom by dropping coins using A, and there are many other structures that will allow for different benefits.

Overall, Kingdom: New Lands is surprisingly entertaining. Even though you don’t have direct control over your people, it’s very satisfying to learn their patterns and figure out the best way to help your people survive and make your kingdom prosper. The game is not without purpose, but I won’t spoil it. In the end, the best thing about Kingdom: New Lands is the process of figuring out how to become the best king or queen, even if it demands some harsh trial and error methods. It is a great little game, which holds an impressive amount of depth in such a simple basic formula.

Surely, if you want your kingdom to prosper, you’ll also need to find a way of enhancing your income. At first, you have a merchant at your disposal, who will be nice enough to bring a certain amount of coins each day – if you pay him to travel. Stuff will get pricey with time, though, so you need to explore the isle to find chests with coins, and also find other ways to get more money.

Kingdom: New Lands isn’t free of challenge, though. Almost every night, your settlements will be attacked by strange creatures, who’ll look into any possible opportunity to steal the tools from your people, the coins that they can get their hands on, and, ultimately, your very own crown. Losing your crown means game over, and is very punishing because it’ll oblige you to start the game from the beginning. Some stuff persists

PUBLISHER Raw Fury

AT A GLANCE

Written by Jhonatan Carneiro

NA: 14th September EU: 14th September 398 MB

DEVELOPER Raw Fury E-SHOP PRICING £13.49 | €14.99

VERDICT Kingdom: New Lands is a great experience. At a first glance, it looks like a kingdom management game with a very simple gameplay premise; carefully built with an astonishing beautiful pixel art style. Under its subtle design philosophy, though, lies a deep experience that is both frustrating and fascinating.

4.0 EXCELLE

NT


REVIEW

Astro Bears Party

Astro Bears Party is a competitive party game featuring cute, podgy bears in spacesuits who run around bumping into each other and catching fish. Oh… and one of them is called Neil. If that doesn’t immediately intrigue you then I don’t know what will! Published by Qubic Games (who have an incredible amount of Switch games on the way), Astro Bears Party is hoping to be your next go-to party game – and it may well have succeeded. The game has both single and multiplayer offerings which each have different objectives. The former sees you running around a spherical, planet-like surface with the sole aim of catching Jetfish (fish with jets on… obviously). Each time you collect a Jetfish, your Magical Beary Ribbon (a damaging trail that is left behind you as you run, and possibly the best name for a video game item ever) grows in length, eventually becoming so long that it will wrap around the entire planet. It works in exactly the same way that Snake used to on old Nokia phones, except in a 3D environment… and with bears. The difficulty increases as your Jetfish tally increases and your goal is to aim for the highest score possible. It’s very enjoyable and can be extremely addictive.

The multiplayer mode is where the “party” element of the game really kicks in. Here, 2-4 players all run around the same globe with their Magical Beary Ribbons shooting out from behind them. If you touch the trail of any bear (including your own) you are knocked out – the last bear standing wins. The controls are exactly the same as those in the single player; move the left control stick around to move and press (A) to jump or hover in the air. Simply dodging and jumping over colourful lines is, of course, an extremely easy concept for anyone to pick up and, as a result, you are left with a game that is readily accessible to players of all abilities (and a whole lot of fun). This mode also lets you change the amount of points needed to win, as well the size of the planet you want to play on which can dramatically change how tense a game can be. In addition to this, both modes allow you to choose different bears to play as, each with their own set of stats that affect their speed, jetpack capacity, turning speed, and so on. It is only a small game with an unfortunate lack of varying play-styles and modes, but it’s really nicely polished and the features it does have have been designed extremely well. It looks and sounds great too – the visuals are really pretty, especially in things such as the bears’ animations, and the pumping soundtrack fits the party vibe. The controls are so effortlessly simple that a Joy-Con on its

AT A GLANCE

PUBLISHER QubicGames

DEVELOPER QubicGames

NA: 28th September EU: 28th September

E-SHOP PRICING £4.49 | €4.99

Written by Ryan Craddock @ryancraddock

side is more than enough and, unlike when needed in the Switch’s bigger titles, is actually comfortable to use. Playing with any more than two players in Tabletop mode might be a struggle, though (just because the split screen would become almost impossible to see), so I’d recommend sticking to having everyone gathered around the TV. A surprisingly impressive effort all round, then – Astro Bears Party offers a lot of laughs, some very tightly designed gameplay, and a really simple pick-upand-play concept that is perfect for a small gathering of friends. The solo player experience is fun, but considering half of the game’s content is based around multiplayer action it is definitely more suited for those who like to play with others. If you’re looking for a new party game for your Switch, look no further than Neil and Co.

VERDICT Astro Bears Party is one of those games that anyone can instantly pick up and have a laugh with. The game is really impressively designed with solid gameplay and lovely aesthetics – in fact, the only fault I can find is that I wish there were more modes to play. You won’t be playing it for hours on end, but that’s not the point – grab some friends, grab a Joy-Con, and have a great time.

3.7 GOOD

268 MB Switch Player

31


REVIEW

Quest of Dungeons

Written by Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro

I’m constantly impressed by how many shiny indie gems we can find that are so often neglected by the mainstream public. While there are some bigger games that try to captivate the player by adding huge amounts of content, there is something truly valuable in games that aim for a simple and straightforward idea and execute it well. Quest of Dungeons is one of these titles. 32

Switch Player


Funny thing is, at a first glance, Quest of Dungeons may not seem like a simple game at all. It is a turn-based dungeon crawler game with RPG and roguelike elements and it mixes all those elements in a cohesive and easy to play way. It is a game that you can play for hours or in short bursts and have equal enjoyment. The premise of Quest of Dungeons is that an evil lord has stolen the light from the world and put it in a lamp. Four heroes are then tasked with entering his lair and have to recover the precious artifact. At the beginning of each run, the player can choose between a warrior, a wizard, an assassin or a shaman, and each of them will have a different set of skills and unique mindset for you to engage with the enemies and perils of the dungeons. Following the most basic elements from the roguelike genre, you will explore a new random generated dungeon every time you start a new game. Everything from the positioning of enemies to the map layout will be different – including item drops. This adds a very compelling risk and reward feel to your dungeon crawling, because, as a roguelike, dying means that all your progress will be lost. This may sound too harsh for some players, but Quest of Dungeons is designed with this in mind. A complete successful run doesn’t last more than one hour. Still, the game is very challenging, so most runs may not even get to the 20-minute mark.

Grids divide the entire Quest of Dungeons map, which is used as a measurement for the turn-based mechanic for both combat and exploration. The game counts as a turn every single action performed, be it walking, using an item or attacking. Your enemies are also restricted by this rule, so the game has a strategy take on how you want to treat your odds. Walking recklessly into a new room may work when you’re over leveled, but may be your doom if you find a more powerful enemy, such as one of the many soulcrushing bosses.

Quest of Dungeons is also simple but effective when it comes to its graphic and sound elements. The entire game is presented with a charming 16-bit pixel art style. Each class has a uniquelooking visual, and the enemy design varies from rats and bats to vampires, skeletons and other fantastical medieval creatures. They all lurk on the different floors in the dungeons and are matched with the appropriated background music. While not striking in any manner, the game’s soundtracks helps to create the exploration atmosphere needed for a dungeon crawling game.

Quest of Dungeons‘ combat is more about how to approach your enemies than actually delivering blows on them. Every character has a melee range attack, that can be used either by pressing A near an enemy or by just ‘walking’ in its direction. Some classes, though, may have others tools that can be used by pressing B, such as magic powers and ranged attacks, so you may choose wisely which enemies you’ll fight, how you’ll kill them, and in which order. Enemies can crowd you faster, and that is never a good thing to happen, as it usually means you’ll lose all the precious experience points you got until then.

As the Switch’s library grows every week, Quest of Dungeons may go unnoticed by many people, labeled as ‘just another little indie game’. Still, I had such a great time playing it, that I just can’t recommend it enough. It is an easy-going experience that I’m happy to keep on my Switch library for every spare minute that I may have. It is an adventure that I really do not mind going alone on.

The RPG elements of Quest of Dungeons are not present in its leveling systems only, but you also have an inventory, in which you may stock potions, treasures to sell, and new more powerful equipment to use. At any time, you can press X to open it, and knowing the right moment to do so and drink one of your precious HP potions is often the difference between life and death.

VERDICT Quest of Dungeons is one of the most enjoyable roguelikes to hit the Switch. It is an easy to play dungeon crawler with an addictive turn-based gameplay that makes you want to go for one more run.

3.9

AT A GLANCE

PUBLISHER Upfall Studios

DEVELOPER Upfall Studios

NA: 14th September EU: 14th September

E-SHOP PRICING £7.99 | €8.99

EXCELLE

NT

54 MB Switch Player

33


REVIEW

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2

Written by Charlie Large

@CharlieLarge

The Dragon Ball franchise is probably one of the most recognised animes in the West – it is over 30 years old and has seen many different video game iterations over the years. Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is the first Dragon Ball title to release on Nintendo’s newest console – but will this brawler make you want to become a Saiyan or will it make you say Sayonara? Read on to find out! Placing you in the shoes of a Time Patroller, your task is to ensure that there are no changes made to history – a history that is under threat quite often it would seem! Once you have chosen your race and created your character you are ready to start your adventure. Arriving in Conton City – which serves as the game’s hub world – you will be given a whistlestop tour where the basics are explained to you. Although Xenoverse 2 is a 3D fighting game, there is a MMO-lite experience to be had within the game’s hub area – with many NPC’s and other players hanging around for you to interact with. The two key characters in this area are the 34

Switch Player


button with one of the four face buttons – these abilities will diminish your Ki meter but this can soon be replenished by attacking your opponent some more. I would certainly recommend that you The story starts with history beginning to make use of the many tutorials and change once more – with Towa and Mira training missions that the game offers, as although you can beat most missions being the villains responsible for this. You will need to follow them through key by simply mashing the buttons (my go-to method for most fighting games) moments from the Dragon Ball world you will be taught combos, skills and to try and stop them – taking on the troublesome twosome and their army of defensive manoeuvres that will help you out in some of the tougher bouts. antagonists along the way. Elder Kai and the Supreme Kai of Time as it is through these two that you will pick up the missions required to progress through the main story of the game.

Alongside Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2‘s story, you will find side quests, challenges and training missions that will certainly keep you busy! You can view the hub’s map using ZR, and you will see lots of markers dotted about to indicate the plethora of options available to you.

Motion controls are also present here in Xenoverse 2, but they do feel more like a tacked-on gimmick. With a JoyCon in each hand, you can perform specials such as Kamehameha’s – and it is quite fun for a short time. However, after trying them once, I didn’t find myself using the motion controls again.

Once you have picked your mission, you will be presented with a “Mission Start” screen that will tell you the difficulty of the mission and the requirements to clear it. The majority of the time this will be to simply deplete your opponent’s HP within a time limit, but there are missions that will ask you to complete other tasks such as finding and returning a number of Dragon Balls to a capsule on the map before your enemies can get their hands on them.

I did find a lot of the missions to be rather easy, however there were some battles where the difficulty spiked rather ridiculously – I found myself having to quit out of the main story arc and taking on the side missions to boost my characters attributes before I could continue. I get that this is something that is commonplace in RPG’s, but these ramps in challenge were out of the blue and just felt out of place to me. You do level-up as you progress, and you can use attribute points gained to increase abilities but the game’s balancing never seems quite right.

The fights are often frantic affairs – taking place across vast 3D spaces that the characters fly about. The controls are relatively straightforward, with a strong attack on X and a weak attack on Y. You also have various skills at your disposal that can be used by combining the ZR

AT A GLANCE

Aside from all of the single-player content, the game has a wide array of multiplayer options = with PvP fights and PvE quests where you can team up with fellow players to take on multiplayer specific quests. I did struggle at times to find people to play online with (which is strange considering the hub world is full of other players) but when I did get into

PUBLISHER Bandai Namco

DEVELOPER Bandai Namco

NA: 22nd September EU: 22nd September

E-SHOP PRICING £54.99 | €49.99

games they ran smoothly and were good fun – even if I did get my ass handed to me several times in the ranked battles! You can even play local multiplayer using a single set of JoyCon – which is a nice, surprising feature that works really well!

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 looks great on the Nintendo Switch, with graphics that look crisp and sharp – really giving you that anime feel while playing. There are the occasional camera niggles during fights that can be annoying but, that aside, the game performs really well otherwise. If you are a fan of the Dragon Ball anime then this game is not to be missed! For those of you that are not so familiar with the series, you will find an enjoyable fighter/RPG mashup that will keep you busy and your thumbs a little sore!

VERDICT Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is a fantastic combination of both fighting game and RPG that fans of the series will be delighted with! For those that aren't as familiar with the anime that this game is based on, you will find a title that is a fun timesink - even if you won't fully understand what is going on!

3.8 GOOD

6.9 GB Switch Player

35


REVIEW

Butcher

Written by Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

The Nintendo Switch hasn’t had too many early gory-type games. The Binding of Isaac could be one, for sure. But new eShop exclusive release Butcher makes no bones about its grotesque love-in for violence. The Butcher of the title doesn’t refer to anything associated with meat but is more to do with how our protagonist, if you can call him that, carves through swathes of enemies leaving all manner of blood and gore in his wake. Hooks hang from the ceilings, and enemies you blast away can get caught on them to create some of the more memorable death sights seen on Nintendo’s new console to date. Your goal is quite literally to obliterate everything in sight. Using the left control stick to move and the right one to aim, the controls handle very similarly to those in last month’s Switch eShop release Neurovoider. Butcher, however, makes more use of jumping between platforms and using the environment for cover as you look to pick off all the enemies in proximity. 36

Switch Player


Gameplay takes multiple forms – you start off, while avoiding streams of bullets from all sides, almost as an exploration game, working a way through the dungeons, and trying to work out how to collect hard-t0-reach special items. At other times, though, hitting a switch triggers a blastathon, where you’re stuck in an enclosed area and will only be able to progress through eliminating everyone around you. The game is hard even on its easiest difficulty setting, and the enemies are smart enough to be able to quickly lock their sights onto you as soon as you emerge from any sort of cover. And no matter the enemy, it doesn’t take a lot of hits to deplete your health gauge to empty. You can get extra health pickups which take your gauge even higher than the 100 figure you start off with, but don’t be fooled – this extra health only gives you a fraction more chances at being hit before you’re going to have to start the level over from scratch. Hitting the X button allows you to cycle through choices of weapons. The chainsaw is, of course, the most-barbaric seeming, but equipping it basically puts you into a suicide mission due to its incredibly short range. A shotgun is also available early on and is quite effective to use when timed correctly, while an automatic gun makes things a little easier but is heavily limited in terms of its ammo capacity.

The 2D, pixelated styling of the game does well for the tenseness and atmosphere, it must be said. But the lack of detail of the character modelling often makes it tough to see exactly what is going on. In the grisly deaths on the hooks, for instance, blood sprays everywhere, and you hear the haunting screams of the enemies you’ve just slain, but it’s not quite clear enough to work out exactly what’s happening. Yes, you could say this is deliberate, so as not to make the game too grotesque, but that explanation doesn’t really wash when you’re already seeing blood going all over the place. I want to see what happened to my victims, dammit! While not massive, a number of different settings mix the game up a bit every few levels. But ultimately, the core of the action offers more of the same. The arrivals of new weapons and enemies are welcome, but after a while they are no longer game-changers. It remains a game about frantically looking to blow everything away while keeping a sneaky eye open for any collectibles around you.

One thing Butcher does really well is sound. The music is atmospheric and sinister, the sort you’d expect from a bloodbath Hollywood movie. It’s a grisly, demonic sound which really ties into what the game is all about. And the gunshots ripple through the speakers; they honestly must be some of the most realistic-sounding gunfire effects used in gaming. At £8.99, you can’t really fault Butcher for what it is. It offers an immense, satisfying challenge; it gives constant action and also the memorable usage of blood and gore. It has a nice pickup-and-play aspect too, so you’d be hard-pressed to find a good reason not to add it to your console catalogue.

VERDICT If you're not among the fainthearted, download Butcher. It'll test your wits, reflexes and ability to stomach some gore, and is easy to pick up and get stuck into from the start. If you get frustrated at games being too hard, though, perhaps it's worth sharpening those reflexes elsewhere before taking Butcher on.

3.8 PUBLISHER Crunching Koalas

AT A GLANCE

NA: 28th September EU: 28th September

DEVELOPER Transhuman Design

GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £8.99 | €9.99

124 MB Switch Player

37


REVIEW

Robonauts

Written by Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

To anyone looking for a tough-as-nails arcade-esque shooter with a bit of pseudo-platforming action, the Switch could have the game for you. Robonauts combines the genres by blending hordes of alien enemies with a terrain that needs a steady jump button finger if you’re going to make it to the end. To quickly summarise the plot, a small cleaning robot on a spaceship stumbles across a room filled with weaponised suits, and shoots off to explore a distant planet. Once there, swarms of alien lifeforms bear down. It’s worth noting that this, all explained in a quick cutscene when you first boot up the game, bears no resemblance whatsoever to the visuals offered by the gameplay. It gives the impression of an expansive 3D exploration-type game, but Robonauts couldn’t be more two-dimensional.

Robonauts makes use of the planet-jumping mechanics that we saw in the brilliant Wii Super Mario Galaxy Series, although whereas Mario was planet-hopping in a full three-dimensional environment, in Robonauts you traverse each planet’s circumference only, and can only leave your planet’s orbit if you’re directly under an adjacent planet. This is a feature which isn’t used seamlessly, however. Sometimes, clusters of planets are so close together that when you hit the jump button, you can sail to a planet you didn’t want to, and often end up right in the crossfire of another bullet storm. It’s hard enough to dodge bullets when there’s so many enemies on the screen as it is – the planets should have been spaced out better to avoid the risk of this happening. The camera rotates 180 degrees each time you execute a planet jump, and this can be disorientating, as can simply going the full circumference of a planet. The game takes place across twelve levels, which may not seem much, but the difficulty can really put you to the test. Each level sets you with a different goal spread across a number of planets; these can include obliterating every enemy on the map before being allowed to progress and destroying generators to lower shields from drilling machines. Things get complicated with the infinitely Metroid-esque spawning nests, each a different colour and style to symbolise the alien that hatches from them, which must be destroyed to stop enemies coming back. The music is more electro than Metroid, though, but the visuals are crisp, if a little undetailed. More interesting level concepts include guiding a robot through a set path as it shuts down generators while under heavy fire from enemies, and a level which is more of a labyrinth, where you need to spend less time worrying about enemy fire and more time looking for switches which turn off deadly laser beams which impede your progress. These are both good fun, and 38

Switch Player


offer a welcome relief from just blasting everything in sight. Ammo is unlimited for your two base weapons (operated using the two shoulder buttons), but you can pick up powerups which have a set amount of ammo. Problem is, the accuracy leaves a lot to be desired, and due to the sheer swathes of enemies that come at you at nearly all times, there’s not a lot of time for you to be able to line up some shots with a projectile. As a hark back to the arcade shooters of old, most who play Robonauts will find themselves tapping the trigger button repeatedly to fire, but simply holding the button down will do the trick. That’s one to bear in mind for anyone, like me, who starts to get aches in their fingers after a prolonged period of playing the game. Enemies all have different attack habits. The first and easiest to defeat look like spiky birds, and only take one or two blasts to be done with. A mosquitolike monster makes lunges at you from above and can really be a pain when you’re negotiating other enemies at

the same time, and they can mount up, too, to a point where they become overbearing. Next-hardest are crab-type things, who seem to absorb countless shots before they eventually succumb. Another crab-thing fires two beams in different directions, and is usually positioned to stop you from jumping between planets. Lastly, some lion/tiger thing can cause you serious damage with attack bursts if you get too close, and prove particularly tricky on levels where you need to eliminate their nests. And it is tough as nails, especially levels 8 and 10. It’s so easy to pick a course throughout the map (pressing + or – brings up the map for you to see which objectives you’ve yet to reach), but then continue to make the same mistakes over and over. On some levels it’s possible to plot multiple different courses, and this can be done tactically, getting the tougher enemies out of the way first or vice versa. But only the most patient and dedicated will be making it through to the last few levels after the sheer difficulty of 8 and 10.

You could argue it’s too difficult, to be fair. It’s unforgiving, sure, and weapon range is too short for the most part, but Nintendo needs these tough games for the hardcore fans. It’s the sort of satisfaction on completing a level that we saw in Wii U and 3DS release Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures – it’ll have you cursing it for hours, but that one successful run will give committed players a kick. There’s even a hard mode for the more sadistic players among you. There’s a local co-op mode, which of course makes the stress of all the enemies a little more manageable, and you can also play against another player locally, with modes based around competing to amass the most points, rather than just shooting each other. An in-game achievements list gives a little longevity, but just completing the twelve levels is satisfying enough.

VERDICT Under its early bird sale price, Robonauts is one that you should pick up. The developers should consider retaining its initial price point as it looks to stand out in a sea of quality Switch indie titles hitting the system at the moment, but if you do want that hard-hitting, swear-inducing arcade shooter that just about everyone loves, you'd be doing yourself a favour in checking Robonauts out.

3.8

AT A GLANCE

PUBLISHER QubicGames

DEVELOPER QubicGames

NA: 15th September EU: 15th September

E-SHOP PRICING £13.49 | €14.99

GOOD

726 MB Switch Player

39


REVIEW

Thimbleweed Park

Written by Ryan Craddock @ryancraddock

Thimbleweed Park was born thanks to a (very) successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2014. Designed by Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, the title is actually a spiritual successor to previous games made by the duo – Maniac Mansion, and The Secret of Monkey Island – which were released in 1987 and 1990 respectively. The nods are obvious – the graphics and gameplay are reminiscent of games of this time – and whilst I never had the chance to play those games myself, a quick look online will tell you that players are falling head-over-heels with nostalgia. So far, so good, then. The game is a point-and-click adventure which follows the stories of five characters in a place called (you guessed it) ‘Thimbleweed Park’. A murder has taken place by a river with the body left lying face-down on the floor and so two detectives arrive in town to investigate. Alongside these two detectives, you’ll also take the role of Delores (an aspiring games developer), Franklin (Delores’ father and extremely shy business man), and Ransome The *Beep*ing Clown (a clown who has been cursed to never remove his make-up). An odd 40

Switch Player


cast, then. In fact, the whole town is utterly bizarre – the murder is perhaps one of the most normal things about it. Whilst travelling around as these characters you are presented with a menu of actions; ‘Open’, ‘Look at’, ‘Pick up’, and ‘Give’ for example, and have an inventory of items that you collect along the way. The general idea is to look at absolutely everything by clicking it onscreen, pick up everything that you can get your hands on, and then use these items, logic, and your memory to solve puzzles and uncover what on Earth is going on. You also have the ability to switch between the different characters that you have come across – sometimes this is crucial to solving particular puzzles and using one character to help another can be extremely satisfying.

Thimbleweed Park is full of humour, sometimes breaking the fourth wall by having characters explain that items “look like they’re from a point-and-click” game for example. If you haven’t already noticed, the town is crazy, and this includes the entire cast of characters as well. Senior Agent Ray, in particular, has some wonderful lines throughout the game, and all of this combined with small references to a variety of different things (especially the society and culture of the time the game is set) is sure to make you chuckle. Perhaps the thing that surprised me the most about this game is its length. There are two difficulty settings – ‘Casual’ and ‘Hard’, but the added difficulty presented in Hard mode is actually just more puzzles and therefore the need for

a high level of persistence. The Casual version of the game takes out some of the puzzles, theoretically making the experience easier for beginners to the genre who might struggle to keep going. At its easiest – and if you just rush through the entire thing – you’ll likely find yourself seeing the credits after around 10 hours or so. If you take everything in and really let yourself be absorbed into the world, however, (and especially if you’re playing on hard), you’ll go well over 20 hours, maybe even 30. Personally, as someone who doesn’t play many point-and-click adventures, I must admit that I got confused frequently, often for quite a while. Luckily, at (almost) any time you can use an ingame phone to get hints by dialling ‘4468’. Players with lots of experience with the genre may well breeze through the majority of puzzles but for everyone else this is a really handy feature. The game can be pretty tough but thanks to this method you never quite reach the point of thinking “this is just impossible”. There were times when I found myself wanting a break, annoyed at not knowing what to do, but I always eventually found my way, even if it took me longer than I would have liked. The game can be played on the TV; the left control stick can be used to move a cursor around and a combination of buttons will cycle through the on-screen actions, but Handheld is easily the better play-style. This way you are able to just tap anything and everything with your finger effortlessly – just as the game would play on a PC. This works a treat for the most part, although occasionally I would find myself going through doors when I actually intended to stroll right past them as finger-taps can be used for very similar actions.

PUBLISHER Terrible Toybox

AT A GLANCE

NA: 21st September EU: 21st September

DEVELOPER Terrible Toybox

To summarise, then; a wonderful cast of characters, bucket-loads of nostalgia, and an utterly bizarre, ‘twisty-turny’ storyline make Thimbleweed Park a must for fans of the genre. It has to be noted that for players who aren’t as used to point-and-click games, the difficulty of the puzzles can feel very slightly overwhelming, especially if you are used to the more modern approach to games design that favours easy-to-follow, linear storylines. Everything about the game is very nicely put together, though, and after 20 or so hours in Thimbleweed Park it will start to feel like home. If you feel up to the challenge, grab yourself a one-way ticket.

VERDICT Thimbleweed Park is a beautifully crafted, if challenging world to explore. The puzzles you face can be daunting at times and may put some people off, but players who are able to be patient (or use the in-game hints when possible) should find it to be an enjoyable ride. Fans of the genre and of the game’s predecessors will no doubt love everything on offer here and, with 20-30 hours worth of content for those willing to fully explore, there is quite a lot to love.

3.6 GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £14.99 | €19.99

975 MB Switch Player

41


REVIEW

Picross S

Picross S is the first game in the series to appear on the Switch; several iterations have been available on Nintendo 3DS, with the occasional Nintendo-themed spin-off appearing too such as Pokémon Picross and the slightly ridiculously named My Nintendo Picross: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. On the surface, Picross looks like a very simple puzzle game (perhaps reminding you of Sudoku), but it can actually get rather complex and is a different game entirely. For those who haven’t ever played a Picross game before, let me explain how it works. Your task is to fill various sized grids (from 5×5 all the way up to 20×15) to create a picture. To do this, you’ll need to pay attention to the numbers around the edge of the grid; these tell you how many squares should be filled within that particular line, and also if any gaps should be left between these filled squares. It’s a rather tricky concept to write down on paper – the best way to understand it is to just jump into a puzzle yourself – but in my humble opinion, Picross is one of the better puzzle types out there. The harder levels really make you think and there is always a logical solution to be found.

There are 150 levels in all (which are all unlocked from the start), with another 150 Mega Picross puzzles available too. These are a harder version of the game which sees some numbers account for two lines rather than one – in these cases you must link up the specified amount of blocks in different patterns within those two lines (this is even harder to explain on paper!). In all honesty, I actually found the main game to be more enjoyable than this mode so, whilst it is nice that these puzzles are there, I wouldn’t deem them to be essential. Also, the pictures that you reveal on these puzzles are actually the same set that you unlock in the original 150 which is a shame. If you’ve played any Picross game before you’ll be well aware of what to expect here – if you liked it before, you’ll like this one; if you didn’t like the earlier ones then this won’t change your mind. The game features a new-to-the-series multiplayer option (where players can work on a grid simultaneously) but that isn’t really what Picross is all about. There is something that I should point out for Picross veterans, however: despite it becoming a staple of the series through the game’s release on Nintendo DS and 3DS, the touchscreen functionality has been dropped from this title. The game is completely playable without – using the D-Pad and face buttons works just fine – but it is strange that the option has been removed as it suits the nature of the game perfectly.

PUBLISHER JUPITER

AT A GLANCE 42

Switch Player

NA: 28th September EU: 28th September 75 MB

Written by Ryan Craddock @ryancraddock

Picross S is extremely welcoming to new players; there are lots of tutorials to explain the game and you have the ability to utilise some in-game help should you need it. Before you play a level you have the option to perform a roulette spin which fills in two lines for you automatically – giving you a helping hand from the start. You can also toggle an option on or off which tells you when you make a mistake – meaning that you’ll never get to the end of a complete board and have no idea what went wrong. If you’re an expert, though; don’t worry! These are completely optional and if you’d rather complete all puzzles using your logic alone, you are very free to do so.

VERDICT Picross S is a solid entry to the series, offering a good place to start for newcomers as well as a whole bunch of new puzzles for veterans to sink their teeth into. The puzzles range from nice and easy at first to extremely tricky (the last level took me one and a half hours to complete on its own!) and the gameplay is very enjoyable. Perhaps best for those looking for something to do on their daily commute, Picross S is a definitely a decent option for puzzle fans.

3.6

DEVELOPER JUPITER E-SHOP PRICING £7.19 | €9.99

GOOD


REVIEW

Binaries

There is something delightful about the sense of accomplishment you get after finally being able to finish a level on hardcore platform games. On games like Super Meat Boy and VVVVVV, you must control a fragile character that must traverse the most challenging levels, while pretty much everything will onehit kill you. Binaries has this very same mentality, but you control two characters at the same time! This basic concept is indeed as simple as it sounds. The player will be thrown in different platforming levels and must control two little circles: a blue and an orange one. Your objective is to make both balls reach a chequered area at the same time (easier said than done). Binaries holds up to the very basics of platforming: you can move to each side with the sticks and can jump with either B or A – and that’s it. The difference here is that anything you do will affect the two circles at the same time, and they’ll often be put at opposites sides of the map, with different challenges to overcome.

AT A GLANCE

Binaries executes this concept in a perfect manner. Much like the best platform games you can think of, the very act of jumping and traversing the levels are pleasant by themselves. Jumping here also has the precision that is so important to such a challenging game. This way, you do have total control over the characters. Therefore, if you fail, it’s up on you, not the game – and you’ll fail, many times you’ll fail. It doesn’t take long for the difficulty of Binaries to ramp up. As you progress, you’ll be gradually introduced to new hazards, such as spikes, turrets, portals, among others. The game eventually adds to that an inner logic that comes in with the characters and scenery colours. The blue circle will only be affected by blue stuff, and the same goes to the orange one. Thanks to that, the blue circle can walk over orange spikes (just to mention an example). The catch then resides on the mix of platforming and puzzle that is Binaries. Because you control the two characters, you must time your jumps considering two scenarios at the same time. This requires some mind breaking logic sometimes, and may induce moments of rage, but the joy of finally finishing that 100-deaths level is unprecedented.

Written by Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro

music is delightful, though, and seems to follow precisely the split-second platforming thrill of the game. Unfortunately, if you’re not into the hardcore platform genre, Binaries may not have much more for you. The game has a total arcade vibe, and it’ll reward you with better grades depending on how fast you finish each level. You also have 100 different levels, that will really challenge your skills, but, other than that, it does not have any type of narrative other than some funny jokes and questions on levels, here and there. If what you need on your Switch library is a hardcore, soul-crushing platformer, then I can’t recommend Binaries enough.

VERDICT Binaries offers a different take on the platform genre. By putting the player in control of two characters at the same time, it offers a mix of platform and puzzle that will be as challenging as the most hardcore games. Having its focus on gameplay and time attack, it’ll please those interested in arcade-like experiences.

You can see that Binaries main focus is all about the gameplay. Though its visual style is a pleasant one, it is rather simplistic. It doesn’t really try to take your attention from the platforming action, being mostly formed by blue/ yellow maps with different formats. The

PUBLISHER Ant Workshop

DEVELOPER Ant Workshop

NA: 28th September EU: 28th September

E-SHOP PRICING £9.99 | €12.99

3.6 GOOD

449 MB Switch Player

43


REVIEW

FIFA 18

Written by Paul Murphy

@PMurphy1978

How are you supposed to review the best FIFA title to ever grace a Nintendo system, when it’s not quite as good as those available elsewhere? Do you score it on its own merits, disregarding a more fuller experience available on other systems? Or do you mark it more harshly, holding a system that simply isn’t as powerful – or popular – more accountable than perhaps is fair? It’s been incredibly challenging for me because FIFA 18 on the Nintendo Switch is tremendous fun. Not only the greatest football game Nintendo fans may have seen, it’s also the best handheld version – no question. Described as a “custom” version of FIFA, the best way to look at the Switch version of FIFA 18 is that it’s almost the same as FIFA 16 elsewhere, with a few minor tweaks and the current squads/kits and all that good stuff. That means you get Skill Games, Women’s Football and for the first time on a handlheld, FIFA Ultimate Team, which will need explaining later. It also gets a few new things, like the current kick-off rules and corners are exactly like they are in the current generation versions – so it’s baffling that the penalty and free kicks are as they were two years ago. There is the goal-line decision system replays but the referees do not mark the field with the spray. It also has a career mode, but it’s the bog-standard one from a couple of years ago. This does indicate that there are things that are missing; most notably The Journey. Because of the aforementioned “custom” engine that the Switch build is said to run on, it means it isn’t on DICE’s Frostbite engine. EA has explained that the Frostbite engine is required to power the story mode that they introduced in 2017’s version, following the exploits of rookie Alex Hunter and his rise to stardom. Obviously, during development EA wouldn’t have known that the Switch would experience the explosive success achieved thus far, so the sensible portion of my brain can understand the reluctance to invest so heavily in a Switch port of Frostbite – if it is indeed possible at all. That lack of Frostbite does also then affect the presentation and the way the game plays on the field. Modern console versions have become more refined of late, but running on a more traditional build means that some of the shooting and crossing mechanics may not feel the same. It took me a few matches to readjust this way, but FIFA new-comers may not notice. 44

Switch Player


The game has a high standard of presentation and, although not as polished as the console equivalent, does maintain an authentic aesthetic. The game runs at 60FPS in both docked AND handheld mode and also outputs in 1080p/720p accordingly. The team at EA Vancouver and EA Bucharest have done a sterling job with this. The vast majority of players look like their reallife counterparts and the kits, stadia and even the crowd look good. Talking of the crowd, there’s a wide range of chants in the game and the whole atmosphere is spot on. The commentary is also to a good standard with Martin Tyler and Alan Smith mumbling along to the events as they play out on screen. I’d like a wider range of commentators to choose from – with Gary Neville being a personal favourite in the cocommentator role – but that’s my Spurs bias kicking in. As you’d expect, FIFA 18 also packs in a huge range of songs that you’ve probably never heard of, but they all seem to suit the game well.

engine), the yielding of random yellow cards to the bizarre blue/yellow imprint on some of the Huddersfield Town players during a match against Tottenham Hotspur, this game could certainly do with patching. What also needs patching in is the ability to play online with your friends. Yes, you read that correctly; although there are online modes available you cannot actually invite your online chums into a friendly match. Sure, offline kick-offs are available and the game boasts a nifty (albeit limited) split Joy-Con control method to kick about with your mates but no online? It’s a massive oversight. I was looking forward to scoring more world-class finishes against Charlie like I did at EGX (fluke, it was a cross… – Charlie), alas EA (and more likely, Nintendo) have seen fit to restrict one of the core elements of the game.

So, if there’s no online you are probably wondering what modes can you actually play in, right? You can get straight into a kick-off match, play in a What doesn’t suit the game is the few custom tournament, play in a women’s silly bugs I encountered. From the camera jumping during set pieces, button international tournament or play in the aforementioned career mode, either as prompts remaining on screen, random a specific player or as a manager. Then, collisions (due to the dated animation for the first time on Nintendo, there is Ultimate Team. Perhaps one of the biggest things in FIFA these days is Ultimate Team. Think of it as a card collecting game, where the cards you obtain are the players and your plan is to create the best team you can. Entering into tournaments and winning games will earn you coins which are then used to purchase packets of varying costs; obviously the more expensive the pack the better the chance of rarer and better players and buffs. These packs are also available for real money too, so that’s something that you may have to PUBLISHER Electronic Arts Inc

AT A GLANCE

NA: 29th September EU: 29th September

DEVELOPER EA Vancouver / EA Romania

be wary of if you are buying the game for a younger player. There’s an auctionstyle system where you can bid and buy specific players if you’ve got the readies and lack the patience for chance. What you will need is an internet connection, though, as the whole mode will not operate without one. I can understand why to an extent, but it severely restricts your ability to manage your team on the fly – and there are offline tournaments. It could have just updated your coins, team, matches and so on when next connected online… Should you buy it? FIFA 18 is the best version of handheld or Nintendo FIFA ever seen, but it’s not the best version of FIFA anywhere. If you only own a Switch then unquestionably this is the version for you. If you own another system, or want to play online with friends, or need to have the Journey then perhaps go for another version. It doesn’t have “The Journey” but it can go on “A Journey”. Is that enough for you?

VERDICT It's hard not to be impressed with FIFA 18 on the Switch, but it's also hard to overlook the omissions and silly little things that hold it back. It's the best FIFA on Nintendo yet and you will have fun. If you are OK with it being cut-back then it's essential, as long as you didn't want to play online with friends.

3.5 GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £54.99 | €59.99

14.3 GB Switch Player

45


REVIEW

Phantom Trigger

Potential. This is an important word when it comes to the many indie games that you can find on the Switch’s eShop. Some of them may not catch your attention at a first glance, but they have the hidden potential to captivate you – given the chance. Others seem just like the next game you are going to fall in love with, but are more about what they could’ve been than what they actually are. Phantom Trigger falls right on the middle ground between those two spectrums. Creatively described as a ‘neon slasher’, Phantom Trigger is a game with a unique premise. Its narrative blends two distinct worlds; on one side, you have Stan, a middle-aged man who seems to live a pretty standard life in our world – until he collapses. On the other, a mysterious scarfed man arrives in a strange world, where other people call him Outsider. You then control the Outsider on many incursions through a portal – and aeon worlds – defeating all sort of creatures while you try to figure out what is happening to both characters. In order to do that, you have at your disposal a variety of elemental weapons that you can materialize and combine under a combo-based system. The most basic one is your sword, which can be summoned by pressing Y and works as your fast standard weapon. To keep up

the fast-paced combat, you can also press X to pull enemies towards you with a whip, and the A button is added to the mix at a later point with a second but slower damage option. Combat is not all about attack, though, as you can also press B to activate a blink skill, teleporting between the enemies and hazards and using it to avoid damage. The combo system is a very simple one and works with different combinations of three attacks. Repeatedly pressing the same button will give you the full combo of that specific weapon but, as you progress, you unlock different combinations between your weapons that may trigger unique attack patterns – sometimes even adding a special effect to your combo such as freezing or burning. It is here that the RPG system of Phantom Trigger comes into play. Each of your weapons will accumulate experience individually. So, the more you use each of them, the stronger they’ll be. It is a very interesting system, as it encourages you to try them all and mix them on your progress. What is not interesting, though, is how repetitive the use of this system is – and, consequently, how repetitive Phantom Trigger is in general. Combat is fast-paced and easy-to-go, but it falls into the rather simple realm due to the low number of varying enemies that the game has. The game is challenging and you may die easily if you don’t pay attention, but after you learn the pattern of the enemies, combat becomes

PUBLISHER tiny Build Games

AT A GLANCE 46

Switch Player

NA: 10th August EU: 10th August 571 MB

Written by Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro

boring, and the difficulty comes from the quantity of enemies you encounter, not their variety. Then, it just becomes frustrating when you get to see the third or fourth variation of the same basic enemy, except using fire instead of ice.

Phantom Trigger does compensate these problems a little due to its beautiful art style and fearful soundtrack. While some of the maps do look too similar, they are a mixture of the cybernetic world and demon dimension that just keeps you wondering what exactly it is all about. While combat may fall short due to its repetitiveness, you may keep wanting to get to the end to see what it all means. The game even has four different ending paths – and a co-op mode, for those interested – so, in the end, it may be worth a try if nothing better is in your backlog or wish-list.

VERDICT Phantom Trigger is on the halfway between a true indie gem and a completely skippable title. It does have an entertaining hack n’ slash combat, but it falls short due to its repetitiveness. Its art style and atmospheric cyberdemon world is interesting enough, though, and may keep you hooked in addition to its surprisingly thought-provoking narrative.

3.3

DEVELOPER tiny Build Games E-SHOP PRICING £13.49 | €14.99

GOOD


REVIEW

Conga Master Party!

Conga Master Party! tasks you with building up a conga line at various parties, clubs and dance floors. All you have to do is dance near other dancers to convince them to join the conga, all the time your momentum is depleting, gaining new dancers refills the momentum. The challenge is all about balancing getting new dancers to join you before your momentum runs out, it’s straightforward but can prove a real challenge at times. The game has just two modes, story mode and endless mode. Endless mode is just the above gameplay loop on repeat until your momentum eventually runs out, I personally found this mode to be more fun as you have the room to really build up some epic conga lines that stretch across the entire club – it’s all about high score chasing and is the best use of the gameplay on offer here. Story mode is surprisingly less about a story (maybe something to do with aliens?) and more with providing a spin on the core gameplay. Here you’ll need to convince a number of dancers from four different groups to join your conga line and once you have enough from each group you need to make your way to the exit all while still balancing your momentum. It’s a different kind of challenge as you need to identify

@rheyworth07

where the dancers you need are whilst not wasting too much time and losing precious momentum. It is a careful balancing act that whilst not as fun as high-score chasing Endless mode but is definitely an interesting take on the gameplay.

As you’d expect for a game all about dancing the soundtrack is great, often I’ll play a round just to enjoy the music as I dance around. To compliment the disco soundtrack are some pretty basic visuals, there’s a variety of characters to play as and seduce on the dance floor but the art style makes them feel forgettable and This itself isn’t very long and you’ll clear does them a disservice. It’s by no means story mode pretty quickly, endless mode bad but feels like it could be so much just reuses all the same maps you unlock more. from the story, though you’ll have to put in some time if you want to unlock all All in all Conga Master Party! offers up the playable characters. Each character a good arcade game experience that will has different stats so you’ll need to definitely help scratch that high score experiment to find what you prefer and itch. There’s fun to be had here even if it suits your strengths. Each stage also has is limited in scope, but for quick 5 minute its own quirks – from janitors that ignore sessions there’s an incredibly satisfying health and safety rules and leave wet gameplay loop that is definitely worth a floors everywhere to waiters that when look. bumped into will spill drink magically straight into your mouth. They all provide their own challenge that you’ll need to bear in mind when navigating the dance floor.

VERDICT

On top of all this, the game also allows you to take on the dance floor with friends which is good novel fun. The game features several different game modes, from a last dancer standing challenge where you pop your opponents balloons (conga line) to a capture the dancer. There’s a great variety in modes here and if you have friends to play with then the game has plenty of multiplayer goodness to enjoy.

PUBLISHER Rising Star Games

AT A GLANCE

Written by Reece Heyworth

NA: 28th September EU: 28th September

At first glance Conga Master Party! just appears to be a modern day Snake, but diving in there's a fun little gameplay loop, nobody ever thought navigating the dance floor could be so tough. On top of all the single player fun there's also a compelling set of options for fun with friends, all in all this game offers up a good arcade experience. It's easy to recommend this game for those looking for a smaller experience on the Switch.

3.5

DEVELOPER Rising Star Games E-SHOP PRICING £7.99 | €9.95

GOOD

511 MB Switch Player

47


PAN PAN

Written by Paul Murphy

In a change from many indie titles, the game is presented in 3D with the world around you explorable and the ability to shift your viewing angle with the right analogue stick. You’ll soon find yourself moving around, picking up random items (with A) and setting them down in order to complete the puzzles you encounter; none of which I’m going to spoil here.

That said, it is a little refreshing to see a game that doesn’t want to hold your hand and actively encourages you to explore and find the answers yourself, with trial and error. Maybe I’ve been spoiled over the years with games explaining what is required every step of the way, which led to some frustration but that’s probably more on me and a lack of patience…

The whole game has a very minimalistic vibe to it, yet Swedish developer SpelKraft has managed to create something rather relaxing and enjoyable. The music chirps along satisfyingly as you complete the obstacles around you and some of the details are rather cute. Leaves rustle, birds fly and the inhabitants of the island babble at you when you attempt to talk to them.

For while it lasts, PAN PAN is a little gem, and is incredibly cheap. Like Kamiko before it, publisher Circle Entertainment have provided another affordable indie that will bring a smile to your face – although it just might frustrate you a little bit first!

As for the aforementioned puzzles, there’s a variety. Switches, currents, levers and buttons make up the majority of the challenges, such as one with ornaments that have to be set down in a specific manner. The trouble is, those ornaments weren’t marked with corresponding symbol for the puzzle. That meant that once I picked up the artifact, I then had to run around exploring the caves for a rock which told me what it was. Whilst this and the other puzzles mask an already short run-time somewhat, once solved it also removes any replay value that the game may have had.

VERDICT

REVIEW

PAN PAN is a strange one. Described as an “open plain adventure”, if you told me to explain the game in one word I’d say “charming” but instantly be torn internally, instead preferring “confusing”. Upon crashing on an unknown but luscious and colourful island, you are tasked with exploring the world around you and progressing through the many puzzles that you are faced with in order to repair your craft. The problem is, nothing is explained very well. With no narrative, no explanations and no running dialogue with any of the limited number of folk you encounter, you will instead be left to your own devices in order to solve the mysteries around you. The world is shrouded in darkness until you explore it – think fog of war – so you’ll need to move around a lot to remove the darkness and give you a better view of what you are required to do!

PUBLISHER Circle Ent.

AT A GLANCE 48

Switch Player

NA: 14th September EU: 14th September 117 MB

DEVELOPER Circle Ent. E-SHOP PRICING £4.99 | €5.00

@PMurphy1978

It's cheap, it's charming and although short, may challenge you. If you are after something a little different, then you should give PAN PAN a look. In a growing library of indie titles, it's nice to have something a little different, even if only for a little while.

3.2 GOOD


REVIEW

Neon Chrome

Neon Chrome is a rogue-like twin stick shooter set in a dystopian future. The game first came out last year and if you’ve experienced it before then dont expect much new stuff to draw you back in. At face value there’s an interesting tale of trying to overthrow a despot overseer using an army of soldiers, it’s an interesting if not unique world but the game does not lean too heavily on its story – so if that’s what you’re here for then you best look elsewhere. Neon Chrome is all about the gameplay and, thankfully, that is still as good as it ever was. Your objective is to climb the floors, killing enemies and bosses along the way, the catch being that each level is randomised and you’ll need to upgrade your character between deaths. So far it’s classic rogue-like. What Neon Chrome does so well is allowing you to play however you want, the game affords you the tools to play whatever suits your style. Fancy taking things more slowly and methodically working your way through a floor? Feel free, the enemies rarely swarm you and you can usually sneak your way around most floors and picking your fights carefully. If you’re more of a Rambo and prefer to kill first and ask questions later then that’s perfectly

viable. You can customise your perks and character class and even weapons to suit however you want to play, this is where the game shines compared to others in the same genre, most other games hone in on one style of play whereas Neon Chrome somehow manages flexibility that others struggle with. So how does the moment to moment gameplay actually shakedown? The core loop of shoot, die, upgrade, repeat is still a satisfying loop. The upgrades available to players are your standard health, damage etc and the upgrades will keep coming at a steady rate so you’re unlikely to stall and feel like you’re slogging through a section. The shooting makes up the bulk of your gameplay experience though and, thankfully, it holds up well. There are several weapons to use and on top of that there are weapon types with certain ammo types doing more damage to specific enemies though, in general, you can get by just shooting everyone with whatever is to hand. The bosses offer up a slight change in pace, requiring you to spend as much time dodging your enemies attacks as you start dishing out damage yourself. The bosses are varied and are a definite break from the enemies you’ll encounter during the rest of the game from a giant mecha-spider with machine guns to an airship that conventional weapons won’t even scratch. Visually the game strives for the neon (duh) cyberpunk look and those colours certainly pop on the Switch.

PUBLISHER 10tons

AT A GLANCE

NA: 12th October EU: 12th October

Written by Reece Heyworth @rheyworth07

The game offers up a small variety of enemies though you’ll soon find those repeating as the game goes on. The game makes the most of the screen space as well opting to display all the key information around your character such as health and shield levels, reserving the screen edges for ammo counts and special powers. It’s a smart choice that really helps when in portable mode and screen space is limited.

Neon Chrome has been around for a while and now it’s here on the Nintendo Switch. Those that have played the game before know what they’re getting into and probably won’t find a significant reason to reinvest but for newcomers I highly recommend checking out this twin-stick shooter as it offers up highly re-playable gameplay in a way to suit any player.

VERDICT Neon Chrome was a good twinstick shooter when it first came out last year and thankfully it holds up well on Switch. Thanks to flexible straightforward gameplay and the randomised replayable nature of the game it's definitely worth a look for any fans of shooters looking for a smaller title to kill some time.

3.5

DEVELOPER 10tons E-SHOP PRICING £12.99 | €14.99

GOOD

211 MB Switch Player

49


REVIEW

One Piece: Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition

Written by Reece Heyworth @rheyworth07

One Piece: Unlimited World Red Deluxe is a mixture of ideas and game mechanics, attempting to elevate what would normally be a bland brawler into something more. During the game you control Luffy and his pirate crew and fight through various worlds and beat up other pirates, what more can you ask for? The story is not particularly newcomer friendly, if you’re not familiar with the manga or anime then buckle up because characters are thrown at you at a relentless pace and barely any of them are explained. You’re able to get to grips with the main characters soon enough but I can’t help but feel like I missed out on some fan service present by not following the One Piece anime or manga. The story itself is fun enough but serves more as a reason to go to different locales and beat some fools up, don’t expect a riveting tale but it’s more than serviceable for the sake of this game. 50

Switch Player


Gameplay wise the game is a mash-up of various ideas. On the one hand, the majority of gameplay is a simple action game affair, you’ll be mashing buttons to perform combos and occasionally use the odd super move to deal more damage. Unfortunately, this combat is as shallow as it sounds, rarely if ever are you required to perform complex combos and 90% of the time you’ll be fine just mashing the Y button to cut down the groups of enemies in front of you. The game allows you to choose from several different characters each with their own move-sets, credit where credit is due the move-sets for each character are pretty distinct and each character as such will have their own play style associated with them. Characters such as Zoro are more melee focused and are better suited to getting up close and personal, someone like Usopp, however, is a ranged combatant and is better at picking off enemies from afar. Going into each area you can pick 3 characters so understanding the moves of each character can help optimise your team for any of the tricky fights the game throws your way. Outside of the combat though, One Piece attempts to incorporate some more traditional RPG elements in an attempt to make the game feel less shallow. All the characters level up individually to increase their stats, in addition to this, you can equip characters with various ‘words’ to alter their stats or give them various buffs. Alas it never really feels necessary to delve into this part of the game, since the combat is already so shallow, the optimisations feel superfluous but they’re there if you

AT A GLANCE

want to dive in and make life a little easier. In addition to the stats and levels, you can always count on side quests making an appearance. The side quests on offer here are a simple affair, don’t expect sprawling storylines but they’re a distraction that allow you to try out other characters and can be a nice little break from the main story. Whilst the game itself will take roughly 10 hours to beat, the repetitive gameplay can make this feel like a bit of a slog, if however, the gameplay does tickle your fancy then there’s plenty of extra content which can easily double that play time. In between battles you’ll be able to roam around the hometown, here you can buy supplies and take on quests. You’ll also be tasked with collecting supplies during levels in order to help rebuild various parts of the town. For example, you’ll initially be tasked with rebuilding the pharmacy, collect the necessary materials and you’ll have access to medical supplies which will come in handy later in the game. There’s plenty of buildings to upgrade and it can be helpful to go out of your way to get the materials, sometimes this will feel like a chore other times it can be a welcome break from the main missions, it’ll be a love it or hate it exercise. On a more positive note, the art style is stunning, the vibrant world of One Piece is really well realised on the Switch, with so many colourful characters and interesting worlds the game has one of the better looking art styles out there right now. The core characters and bosses really stand out with excellent designs, however the great designs start to fall a little flat and feel more generic when it comes to your everyday enemy, but as minions whose only purpose is to stand around looking busy as you kill them, they do the job. On the big screen

PUBLISHER Bandai Namco

DEVELOPER Bandai Namco

NA: 29th September EU: 29th September

E-SHOP PRICING £54.99 | €39.99

the character models start to look a little less detailed and the art suffers for it but in handheld the game really shines and looks wonderful.

One Piece: Unlimited World Red attempts to elevate itself beyond a simple brawler by mixing in a healthy amount of RPG. Unfortunately , he shallow combat holds the game back too much for this to work in a compelling way. The game can be a fun jaunt through the world of One Piece but it’s hard to recommend this game on that alone, it’s by no means a bad game but it is relatively shallow and repetitive.

VERDICT One Piece: Unlimited World Red tries to be more than just a licensed brawler but unfortunately the RPG elements are lacklustre and can't help elevate the shallow core gameplay. Fans of One Piece might be able to find joy in the story present here and there's plenty of content to dig into for those having a good time but it's difficult to recommend this average game to everyone.

3.1 GOOD

11.2 GB Switch Player

51


The Jackbox Party Pack

REVIEW

With the festive season fast approaching, it’d be worth having a think about getting some games that the family can play while sitting around the TV. We’ve had Use Your Words as an okay early party game offering in the Switch eShop library, while we’ve also already had the third Jackbox Party Pack bundle. Now Switch owners can add the first two games in the trilogy to their library. One of the criticisms I levelled at Use Your Words when it came out just over a month ago was that it lacked variety. Once you played the game’s one and only gameshow-esque mode, there was nothing more to offer. As the title implies, the Jackbox Party Packs address the issue with a number of different games spread across the first two iterations. Like Use Your Words, it involved joining rooms using your mobile advice and entering answers from your phone, though there are some games which allow single-player play using the Joy-Con. All the games require an online connection – which of course you’ll obviously have if you’re able to download the game in the first place – but don’t hold out hopes of using this as a game to liven up a long family road trip.

Party Pack 1 is made up of five such games. The first mode is You Don’t Know Jack 2015, which is a quirky ten-plus

rounds of general knowledge. There’s a lot of weirdness going on here, not least coming from the announcer, whose gags are certainly a lot more miss than they are hit. This can be played with a single player, or a few more, but when you have a gang around you’ll have a tough time getting them on board with the ‘humour’ – he’s no Les Dennis. Answer the questions correctly, and faster than your opponents, to amass the most points. There’s a series of formats, including straight questions and word association, and it’s nice to have a bit of variety to keep you going along what is a relatively long game length, especially if players take a while to submit their answers. Drawful is a drawing game which needs a minimum of three players, and has you guessing what everyone else has scribbled. You can be clever with the way you play this one – but drawing something loosely related to the clue can work both for and against you. You need to think most about how to influence your fellow players into gifting you the most points. Word Spud is a difficult sell, and perhaps the weakest of the five games in the first Party Pack. It has each player adding a word to comprise a sentence, but opponents can accept or reject their contributions. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. Lie Swatter is a good old-fashioned game of truth or lies, separating the facts from the fiction, while Fibbage is the pick of the first bunch, and really is the game which Use

PUBLISHER Jackbox Games

AT A GLANCE 52

Switch Player

NA: 17th August EU: 17th August 1.3 GB

Written by Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

Your Words should have been. Each player submits a fake answer and tries to blend in with the other answers, hoping their opponent selects their answer over any of the others, and particularly the correct one. This just wasn’t done well in Use Your Words, but from having a clear right answer, it’s something Jackbox has bettered. So yes – if you are looking for silly gameshow-type fun in blasts, by all means, download this from the Switch eShop. However, there isn’t a consistent quality shown in the five games in this pack. At its current price point you’ll be best served already having friends capable of coming up with some interesting answers to keep the better games lively.

VERDICT Having 100 players able to join in is a major selling point – you can see the live streamers encourage their fanbase to get involved, so of course that would be a lot of fun. However, on the other hand, there’s a bit of a problem in that so few of the games are able to be played with less than three players. Yes, it’s a party game, but people in general simply don’t have that many people around with them to be able to play the game often. Then again, that could be a blessing in disguise.

2.8

DEVELOPER Jackbox Games E-SHOP PRICING £18.99 | €24.99

GOOD


REVIEW

The Jackbox Party Pack 2

Released on the same day as the first iteration, the second Jackbox Party Pack has one killer game to have it stand out as the better of the two. Think of the Captain Toad minigames in Super Mario 3D World which spawned a much-loved game of their own a few years ago. That’s what we have here with Bomb Corp, which is full of charm, humour and tough-to-solve riddles done under pressure. More on that later. The developers obviously knew that Fibbage was the best that the first Pack had to offer, because it’s back for more in the second Pack in the form of Fibbage 2. Also in the second bundle of ‘fun’ is Earwax, which puts sounds to the forefront and has you choosing from sound effects to decide which best represent a given prompt. It’s another one which doesn’t make a ton of sense. And it goes on, and on, and on. It’s never a good sign when you become desperate for a round to end, particularly in a party game. Bidiots is a little better. This one has you drawing art as a group, before players attempt to bid ridiculous amounts for your ‘masterpieces’. It’s more of the same from Drawful in the first game – you get tips from the computer on how best to deliver your works of art, but the auction part is definitely the most fun, and tense.

Quiplash XL brings more of the Use Your Words formula into action once again, with everyone presented with different questions from which they have to come up with the cleverest and/or funniest response, with other players then voting on which they think is better. There’s not much more to say about it beyond that; it’s as good as each player involved is prepared to make it. But every other game in both Packs is blown away, so to speak, by the excellent Bomb Corp. Presented with 8-bit stye graphics, the visual style just adds to the hilariousness of the dialogue here. The humour is nailed on the head, and the mode can be played in either a story mode or a challenge mode, both with just a single player and with a group; although it’s arguably easier on your own. Basically, you play as one of the interns at a bomb factory, and for some unbeknown reason, there are bombs riddled all over the place set to go off and obliterate the entire workforce at any moment. You have to defuse them by cutting the correct wires, which are determined by a series of clues, some of which contradict each other. So you won’t be able to cut any wires at all until you’ve read all of the information on each card. The inclusion of Bomb Corp is enough to make Jackbox Party Pack 2 the pick of the first two games. It’s good enough to spawn its own spin-off series; the characters are likeable, the writing and comedy timing is impeccable, and the

PUBLISHER Jackbox Games

AT A GLANCE

NA: 17th August EU: 17th August

Written by Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

brilliant problem-solving, quick-thinking and teamwork elements of the puzzles is addictive. Hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot more of the office staff working at Bomb Corp in the future. You can see the Jackbox Party Packs doing well over the next few months, especially as people start looking for new and exciting ways to entertain guests at festive parties. What Pack 2 has in its favour is Bomb Corp – it’s the game most likely to keep players coming even on their own later on after the season is over. That being said, the rest of the package offers lighthearted fun in varying levels, given you make the best of them. Your enjoyment will depend on your imagination, humour and drawing skills, and also your ability to stomach some painful attempts at humour inbetween the game rounds themselves.

VERDICT If you only have the money for one of the Jackbox Party Packs, go for this one. There's fun to be had in short bursts if you can gather some friends together. However, other than Bomb Corp, there’s nothing here that you’d want to sit around playing for hours. It’s great fun in the smallest of blasts, but like most in the genre, the more people you have who are able to take part, it’s likely that you’ll have more fun with the games.

3.0

DEVELOPER Jackbox Games E-SHOP PRICING £18.99 | €24.99

GOOD

707 MB Switch Player

53


36 Fragments of Midnight

REVIEW

Developed in collaboration between Ratalaika Games and Petite Games, 36 Fragments of Midnight is a procedurally generated platformer in which you control the titular character Midnight. You are tasked by an unknown entity to collect 36 Fragments which they have lost. The game doesn’t divulge any further plot details at all, and so you control a little square block as you navigate through jumps, lasers, spikes and saw-blades in an attempt to collect the missing fragments and return to your starting location where you are told something may happen once the objective has been met. When you first encounter some of these obstacles they may seem difficult and you may die a couple of times as you get to grips with how to solve them. The solutions, however, are fairly easy – for example, some of the lasers can be obstructed by moving saw blades and other objects giving you the opportunity to pass through them. Once you learn the timing of these solutions you’ll overcome them with minimal effort. If you do come into contact with one of the game’s obstacles and die, you will be told how many fragments you collected in that run, as well as the highest amount you’ve managed to collect in any previous runs before restarting you in a refreshed map.

In dying, the game reveals one of its major flaws, you’ll start to notice that the puzzles are exactly the same as those previously encountered but they have moved location. To me, this displays lack of variety in the content on offer – meaning that you’ll soon be collecting all 36 fragments rather quickly. The controls are fairly easy to get used to, you’re on a 2D plane – so you’ll only be moving left and right here using either the D-Pad or the analogue stick. The A button allows you to jump and pressing it twice will let you double jump. I found the controls to be rather smooth, except in some cases where the double jump felt either unresponsive or difficult to time correctly when needing to avoid some of the game’s traps. Graphically the game is very basic, environments are dark and bland with not much going on within them. Midnight is a very minimalist character in terms of design, essentially a square with eyes. The only real effect here is that jumping creates a white line behind the character which shows the trajectory of the jump but other than that there isn’t much to talk about in terms of graphics.

54

Switch Player

@LiamHangover

the game’s narrative but I feel it would have been more welcoming if there were sounds – even if it was gibberish, to convey that somebody is speaking to you.

36 Fragments of Midnight ends up being a really short game, it took me 8 minutes to complete it the third time round and in my other attempts also clocked in at under the 10 minute mark. Once you’ve completed it you’ll find it very hard to want to go back to as the pay-off for completing the game was nothing short of insulting. I’d have been able to recommend the game had there been a lot more content on offer, however with such a short play time and low difficulty it’s hard to recommend at all – even with such a low price tag!

VERDICT 36 Fragments of Midnight may look enticing at its price point but fails to provide much in the way of content. It can be enjoyable if you like something quick and easy to pick up and play but otherwise, it might be best to avoid this one.

Sound is also disappointing in 36 Fragments of Midnight, there is no music apart from when you die – exploring the world only provides you with the atmospheric sound of wind and a chime is played when you collect a fragment. Text will appear on screen to convey

PUBLISHER Ratalaika Games

AT A GLANCE

Written by Liam Langan

NA: 14th September EU: 14th September 55 MB

DEVELOPER Ratalaika Games E-SHOP PRICING £2.99 | €2.99

1.9 POOR


REVIEW

Inversus Deluxe

Inversus Deluxe is a unique shooter created by Ryan Juckett, who previously worked for Bungie. Originally released in 2015 on PC, it makes its way to Switch with new content which and is a minimalistic yet fun by nature game and, because of this, it might also have become one of my favourite early eShop titles. The premise of the game is quite simple, you play as a black square sat on an area of white squares. Outside of these white squares is a field of black squares where enemies are spawning in. You have white dots inside of your black square which count as your ammo. Your aim is to shoot the black squares and turn them white – eliminating any enemies that may be in them and dodging bullets along the way.

Inversus Deluxe has multiple game modes; Online and Offline modes include 1v1 and 2v2 modes – where you and up to three other people can team up and take each other out. This can be done with a single Switch either in tabletop mode, docked mode or online. Sadly, even a few weeks after the game’s launch, there appears to be no online community. Multiplayer matches are hectic and are usually over pretty quickly, and often make for good fun when going toe-to-toe with a few friends.

While Online Multiplayer seems lacking in players it’s the Arcade mode where Inversus Deluxe really shines. It has 10 unlockable stages, in which you can earn 5 stars based on what score you get. You can improve your score by chaining up enemy kills based on how close they are to one another – which is where the games strategy factor comes in to play as you’ll need to use your wits to dodge enemies and bullets in order to let enemies get closer so that you can cause a chain reaction of kills. Once an enemy dies, they’ll drop a blue dot in the square they died in and if you manage to pick this up, you’ll get a bullet that fires faster. Each time you get a “Game Over” you acquire XP and with each level up you unlock emotes to use during multiplayer and colours which can be used to change the enemies’ on screen appearance. All of this is purely cosmetic and doesn’t add too much extra to the game but it’s definitely good to see some kind of progression system here which keeps you playing, and trust me you’ll be playing for a while. The controls for Inversus Deluxe are quite easy to get used to; the analogue stick controls your movement and the face buttons are for shooting. The positioning of the face buttons corresponds with the direction you fire; so X is up, Y is left – you get the idea. Normally one shot will cover one row of blocks, however, holding in the button for a few seconds will unleash a charged shot which covers three rows – this is especially useful if you somehow

PUBLISHER Hypersect

AT A GLANCE

NA: 28th September EU: 28th September

Written by Liam Langan

@LiamHangover

manage to get into a tight spot.

Inversus Deluxe’s graphics are fairly basic – mostly using black and white for text and environments. Enemies can come in different colours such as red and blue but there isn’t anything particularly outstanding visually. The soundtrack is nothing special either, it can be repetitive and lacks in variety between maps. On the plus side, performance is no issue here, the game runs impeccably in both docked and handheld modes even whilst playing online. While simplistic in gameplay and style, Inversus Deluxe is easy to learn but difficult to master. With Arcade mode you’ll find yourself stuck in that ‘one more go’ state of mind as you try to earn extra stars to unlock later stages in the game. Ultimately this all just feels like padding for a game whose heart and soul seems to be set on its online multiplayer – which appears to be sadly void of players.

VERDICT Simplistic and fun, Inversus Deluxe is definitely worth checking out, it's easy to learn and hard to master gameplay will keep you hooked as you go back to better your own or your friends' high scores. Multiplayer is also a riot, especially in a 2v2 environment.

3.4

DEVELOPER Hypersect E-SHOP PRICING £10.99 | €14.99

GOOD

70 MB Switch Player

55


REVIEW

LEGO Worlds

Written by Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro

LEGO isn’t only a famous line of block building toys, but it also found a very successful spot in games, with its many crossovers with equally successful franchises. Nowadays, you can find a LEGO game about pretty much anything – or at least that is the impression. There are LEGO games on medieval worlds, on magic worlds, on superhero worlds, among many many others. What you couldn’t find until recently was a LEGO game about… LEGO.

LEGO Worlds is this exact premise. Instead of having a story-driven platform experience inside a famous franchise setting, you now have a non-linear sandbox game that takes place in many procedurally-generated worlds. The most obvious comparison would be to call it a ‘LEGO Minecraft’, but that would give the impression that the game is much better than it actually is, and… well, we’ll come to that soon. First things first, LEGO Worlds’ main campaign puts you in control of an astronaut LEGO character whose main objective is to become a master builder. Your journey does not start well, though, and your spaceship crashes on an unknown planet. You must then gather a certain amount of golden blocks to repair your ship. To achieve that, you must complete short quests given by the NPCs who own these special blocks. While the main campaign works as a tutorial for LEGO Worlds’ building mechanics – giving you each new tools progressively (in company with quests that demands that specific tool), it does have a very strict and repetitive structure. Over and over again, you go to a new world, complete quests for NPCs and get golden bricks to refuel your spaceship. Each of these worlds is procedurally generated, and there’s quite the variety of them: from prehistoric landscapes to pirate adventures – each world has its own look and specific items to be discovered, which is cool. Here comes one of the first big problems of LEGO Worlds: due to its randomness, you will hardly find more elaborated quests or level design. You may get to a new world only to find some new fetch quest, in which you must deliver a specific item to said NPC. Your reward? Maybe an item to be another quest, maybe another golden brick. The quest system eventually progresses to more complicated objectives, but LEGO Worlds has two distinct game philosophies that comes in conflict on said moments: on one side, it wants to provide objectives and a challenge to be dealt with; on the other hand, you have no limits on your building and terrainshifting skills. So, the thrill of overcoming a small dungeon totally disappear when the easiest and most efficient way to do so is by breaking a wall into the final 56

Switch Player


chest loot. Worst is to do that only to get one more golden brick. You could say that this freedom is exactly what makes games like Minecraft interesting, but LEGO Worlds lacks two important elements to make everything more meaningful and fun: the survival and resource mechanics. You can hit Y to attack, using your punches or any equipped item, but that hardly comes into play. You do have hit points and can be damaged by enemies that are scattered through the many worlds, but combat is clunky and unresponsive – not to mention that the camera may be the worst enemy you’ll ever face. The best option is to always ignore enemies and keep going – and, strangely, they’ll do the same with you.

I really must praise LEGO Worlds‘ creation tools, though. Each world is built entirely out of LEGO blocks, which is quite impressive. They have many different formats, sizes and colors – so if your catch is to get creative at building things, LEGO Worlds has all you could want to lose yourself in. By holding X, you get access to a tool wheel with options to summon items, terraform the land, paint blocks, copy-paste items, among others. You can even get deep into the block-to-block creation and get into playing actual LEGO with LEGO Worlds. These creative tools and sandbox mode could even compensate for the poor main campaign – if it wasn’t for the game’s poor performance.

After you finish the first few worlds and gather the different building tools, you then can change the landscape and create anything from the get go. Some of the items need to be discovered in the game first to be unlocked on your building menu using the studs that are the staple LEGO game currency, but after doing that you can summon them anytime, anywhere and as many times as you may want. This is expected in the sandbox mode, but being able to do that during the campaign makes everything loses meaning. In Minecraft, things like diamonds are important resources because they are rare and difficult to find. While it’s very cool to be able to summon a dragon you can use to mount, it isn’t as impactful when you do that for the eleventh time to get to a higher place and – surprise! – get a golden block.

While the worlds built in LEGO blocks are cool to look at, the draw distance on Switch is very poor! The starting worlds aren’t even that big and you still can’t see up to their borders. If it is a problem with the landscape, it gets into catastrophic levels with NPCs and objects placed in the world – as they are constantly popping in just as you get near them. Add to this mess the everoscillating frame rate, and you have a nightmare performance. As you can guess by this point, due to these issues, I can’t really recommend LEGO Worlds to many people – hopefully a future update will look to fix these issues. If you’re really into free-building tools (but really, really into), it may be something for you. Even in this case, I would say you have better options on other games, such as Minecraft itself. If you’re looking for a single-player LEGO experience, though, you can get something better with any other LEGO game. Check out our LEGO City Undercover review, for example.

VERDICT LEGO Worlds is a game full of wasted potential. It has a very robust creation tool, but it is completely overshadowed by a repetitive and uninspired gameplay looping, and a very bad performance overall.

2.0 PUBLISHER Warner Bros. Interactive

AT A GLANCE

NA: 8th September EU: 8th September

DEVELOPER TT Games

POOR

E-SHOP PRICING £24.99 | €29.99

2.2 GB Switch Player

57


REVIEW

RBI Baseball 2017

Written by Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

Baseball. That wonderful American sport which just about everyone can get into. Both baseball and rounders, the similar equivalent in the UK, share one major selling point. Everyone, no matter their ability, can simply pick up a bat and have a ton of fun. It’s something that’s almost impossible to mess up. It’s really hard, you have to say. But sadly, MLB have managed it. RBI Baseball 2017 causes infuriation from top to bottom, from its lazy design to its poor controls, its weak graphics to its sparse list of modes. It’s a shame, too. As the Switch’s first big sports release, a lot of Nintendo fans will have had high hopes for this one. The Wii U went without the genre for much of its life, so this return was meant to be a crowning glory, but instead it’s been a halfeffort of a baseball game which doesn’t offer any fun at all. What were the developers thinking?! Let’s start by covering the game’s mode choices. This won’t take long. First up is the Exhibition mode, which, as you’d expect, is a one-off match. You pick a side, pick the opponents, pick the uniforms for both sides and get underway. Speaks for itself. Next up is the Season mode, which is the league campaign. Note that all this involves is playing game after game to formulate the league. 58

Switch Player


You can tweak your line-up, and simulate games, but that’s as much of a ‘campaign’ experience as you’re really going to get here. Post-season, the third and final mode, is basically a knockout tournament to those not familiar with their baseball terminology. There’s no online play.

The controls when fielding are useless, too; you can simply run using the control stick in the direction of where the ball is going to land, and even that doesn’t guarantee you’re going to catch it. But you’re going to spend more time fielding than batting, and that’s really not the part you want to put the hours in on.

would probably be hard to differentiate from a NES version of baseball. Perhaps the most unforgivable sin of the lot though is when moving your batter or pitcher – they simply hover over the area without even moving their legs, in a ghostly kind of way. This shouldn’t really happen in the era of the Switch.

But that’s it. There’s no training mode, no real tutorial and nothing along the lines of minigames which may allow the game to stray from the monotony of just playing game after game of straight baseball.

If you don’t catch them out, you’re likely to be running after the rolling ball trying to return it to the base, but the outfielders are dead slow, and the fact that the same button is used to switch between outfielders and to throw the ball is criminal – you often find yourself switching to someone who’s nowhere near the action, and wasting countless seconds as your opponents trot around all four bases. You can throw to specific bases – at least in theory – by pressing a direction on the control stick while hitting the throw button. But even this isn’t done well. The accuracy is off, and you’ll find yourself throwing to first base when you were trying to find second, something made even more annoying by the fact the CPU never mess it up.

Audio, meanwhile, stays true to form by being bland. There’s one track for the menus; certainly no all-star hiphop soundtrack like the one used by a lot of sports games nowadays. There’s no commentary, just an announcer screaming out ‘play ball!’, ‘strike!!’ and so on. It really is the least they could do.

It’s a game which is crying out for a tutorial, because hitting the ball as a newcomer is nigh-on impossible. Swings are all handled with one button, but there’s almost no way of knowing where the ball is going to sail towards you from the pitcher. One thing that Wii Baseball got dead right was that, no matter how the ball was pitched, there was a chance of the batter hitting it. Just simply hitting the ball, and not getting a foul ball or a strike, is an achievement in itself in this game. The ball can go behind the batter and yet it counts as a strike, but when you do the same thing as the pitcher, it’s you who are penalised again. It gets so tiresome swinging and missing, swinging and missing, over and over again, simply because the game makes it so difficult just to hit the ball. Then, on the rare offchance that you do hit the ball and it isn’t on its way to sailing out for a foul, chances are the ball’s going to sail directly towards the opposition fielders – who are conveniently always in the right place to halt your progress.

It gets worse: the game is a glitch-fest, too. On multiple occasions the game froze, leaving fielders running endlessly against the field boundaries and forcing you to switch the console off and on again. That’s so annoying when each match is so long. Graphically, it’s the bare minimum. There are no close-up shots, no action replays, not even a little animation showing the players running onto the field as you’d get in just about every other sports game nowadays. Players are differentiated by hair and skin tone; you never see their faces close enough to see their features. Crowd textures hark back to the days of the Gamecube, while the ball itself is just a bland group of white pixels which

PUBLISHER MLBAM

AT A GLANCE

NA: 5th September EU: 5th September

DEVELOPER MLBAM

If the game does have a sliver of a saving grace though, it’s the determination it instills in you to have another go. You will find yourself thinking, ‘I’m gonna hit that ball this time…’. Chances are you won’t, but you will come back for another go for a while after the initial few fits of rage.

VERDICT If you're looking for a first sports fix for the Nintendo Switch, sadly RBI Baseball 2017, the first sports title to come out on it (after NBA Playgrounds, at least) isn't the one you should go after. With FIFA, NBA and WWE on the way, chances are you'd get far more bang for your buck from going with them.

1.4 POOR

E-SHOP PRICING £26.99 | €29.99

3.1 GB Switch Player

59


Switch Directory

THESE ARE THE HIGHEST-RATED SWITCH TITLES SO FAR. HOW MANY ARE IN YOUR COLLECTION?

1. Super Mario Odyssey

5.0

AT A GLANCE NA: 27th October EU: 27th October

NEW!

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £59.99 | E59.99

6.8 GB

2. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

4. Fast RMX

3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild

4.8

AT A GLANCE NA: 28th April EU: 28th April

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £59.99 | E59.99

6.8 GB

4.8

AT A GLANCE NA: 3rd March EU: 3rd March

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £59.99 | E59.99

13.8 GB

5. Pokkén Tournament DX

AT A GLANCE NA: 22nd September EU: 22nd September

EXCELLE

NT

3.5 GB

AT A GLANCE NA: 21st July EU: 21st July

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

137 MB

Switch Player

4.6

AT A GLANCE NA: 16th June EU: 16th June

9. Puyo Puyo Tetris

E-SHOP PRICING €29.99

E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

10. Thumper

4.6

AT A GLANCE NA: 25th April EU: 28th April 1 GB

EXCELLE NT

2.3 GB

4.6

20th June

E-SHOP PRICING £16.99 | E19.99

NA: 3rd March EU: 3rd March

4.6

8. Cave Story+

NT

EXCELLE NT

7. ARMS

3.3 GB

AT A GLANCE

AT A GLANCE

6. Splatoon 2

E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

EXCELLE

4.7

841 MB

4.6

60

EXCELLE

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £34.99 | €39.99

4.6

AT A GLANCE NA: 18th May EU: 18th May 697 MB

EXCELLE NT E-SHOP PRICING £15.99 | €19.99


11. SteamWorld Dig 2

12. Oxenfree

4.6

NEW! AT A GLANCE NA: 21st September EU: 21st September

EXCELLE

NT

4.6

NEW! AT A GLANCE

E-SHOP PRICING £14.99 | €19.99

257 MB

13. The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+

NA: 6th October EU: 6th October

EXCELLE

NT

AT A GLANCE NA: 8th August EU: 8th August

EXCELLE

15. Piczle Lines DX

NT

16. GoNNER

NA: 24th August EU: 24th August

EXCELLE

NT

18. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £4.49 | €4.99

NA: 29th August EU: 29th August

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

NA: July EU: 6th July 374 MB

NA: 28th September EU: 28th September

EXCELLE

NT

AT A GLANCE NA: 23rd May EU: 26th May

E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

NA: 3rd August EU: 3rd August

EXCELLE NT E-SHOP PRICING £12.99 | €14.99

24 MB

25. Graceful Explosion Machine

24. Death Squared

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £7.19 | €7.99

4.1

AT A GLANCE

E-SHOP PRICING £13.49 | €14.99

4.1 EXCELLE

NT

22. Retro City Rampage DX

936 MB

23. Disgaea 5: Complete

NA: 31st August EU: 31st August

EXCELLE

4.1

NEW! AT A GLANCE

E-SHOP PRICING £8.99 | TBA

4.2

57 MB

21. Golf Story

20. I and Me

EXCELLE NT

19. League of Evil

AT A GLANCE

2.8 GB

4.2

E-SHOP PRICING £8.99 | €9.99

4.2

AT A GLANCE

112 MB

AT A GLANCE

NA: 29th June EU: 29th June

EXCELLE NT

300 MB

4.4

NA: 27th April EU: 27th April

4.4

AT A GLANCE

E-SHOP PRICING £13.99 | €14.99

175 MB

17. Kamiko

E-SHOP PRICING €39.99

4.4

AT A GLANCE

E-SHOP PRICING £13.49 | €14.99

148 MB

AT A GLANCE

NA: 17th March EU: 7th September

EXCELLE NT

610 MB

4.4

6.2 GB

AT A GLANCE

E-SHOP PRICING £15.99 | €19.99

2.1 GB

14. Severed

4.5

4.1

AT A GLANCE NA: 13th July EU: 13th July 473 MB

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £12.99 | €14.99

4.1

AT A GLANCE NA: 6th April EU: 6th April

EXCELLE NT E-SHOP PRICING £9.99 | €12.99

318 MB

Switch Player

61


Georgina Howlett @howlettwrites

Since its release on July 21st, Splatoon 2 has become a roaring success with Switch players all around the world. One of its game modes in particular has proven to be a fan-favourite – the infamous egg-collecting, Salmonid-defeating, playerversus-environment thrill that is Salmon Run. Salmon Run is a mode which requires effective communication, working as a team, and using the assigned weapons to their maximum potential. Hard-working Profreshionals are rewarded with huge bonuses – including exclusive gear, huge cash amounts, food and drink tickets, and more – and as such the mode is hugely rewarding to master.

If you want in on these amazing bonuses, you will have to work hard and become a Profreshional yourself. How do you become a Profreshional, you ask? Well, it takes patience, practice, and some excellent cooperation… as well as knowing what you are doing. If you really want to make it to the top, here are our top ten tips – good luck, kid. You will need it out there.

1) Ink everything! One of the most basic, but most important, unspoken rules of Salmon Run is to ink the turf around you and your escape routes during the opening and mid-round countdowns. Ink everything. The walls, the floor, the lifts, the far-off platforms you think you’ll never go to, either side of those jumps you always risk to get eggs to the basket faster – ink it all. Doing so will get you out of more than one tight spot when you’re surrounded by Salmonid enemies!

2) Use your callouts – and celebrate your victories! Pressing Up and Down on the D-Pad a is vital habit for every Profreshional, as these buttons form the callout system. ‘This way!’ informs teammates where enemies are spawning and rallies them to follow and help you if you need it, ‘Booyah!’ lets them know that there are golden Salmonid eggs to collect, and ‘Help!’ informs them that you’ve been splatted and marks your location so that they can find and revive you. Don’t be afraid to use these messages to rally and encourage your teammates to play at their best – and make sure to throw that victorious ‘Booyah!’ out there at the end of a successful game, too! 62

Switch Player

3) Work together to eliminate the most troublesome enemies first! Smallfry, Chum and Cohocks are the weakest and thus the easiest Salmonids to eliminate, so take care of them as soon as they appear. Similarly, take out troublesome boss Salmonids – such as Stingers, Flyfish and Drizzlers – as soon as possible to prevent their cross-map range and tendency to overwhelm in large numbers from becoming an issue. Work together with your team to defeat them, and to carry their eggs to the basket! The less bothersome bosses – such as Steel Eels, Steelheads and Maws – can then be eliminated. Do not be tempted to leave the boss Salmonids you cannot see alone – they are the ones you need to worry about most of all!


6) Make use of your ultimate abilities!

4) Draw boss Salmonids to the egg basket where possible! Tackling boss Salmonids as soon as they appear, wherever they appear, is sadly necessary in the case of the aforementioned bosses. However, some bosses – such as Maws, Steel Eels, Scrappers and (during special events) Goldies – can be tempted closer to the basket, and in being eliminated close-by to it, makes depositing all three of their eggs much easier – and makes reaching egg quotas much faster. Plus, the further inland golden eggs are, the less likely it is for pesky Snatchers to be able to reach them and steal them back to the sea without you noticing!

Too many people forget to use their ultimate abilities, even though they are the most powerful tool for any Profreshional! Two uses is a lot when taking into consideration that there are only three rounds, so know when to use one to take out an oncoming swarm or eliminate bosses when time is running low. As with the regular weapons, they all have their strengths: the Splat Bomb Launcher is good for quickly eliminating Salmonid hordes and strategically eliminating enemies like Maws and Flyfish; the Sting Ray is good for taking out masses of enemies from afar and for eliminating enemies in unforgiving places (such as the gratings over water where one wrong ZL trigger press sends you straight to your doom); the Splashdown can easily eliminate clusters of enemies (such as multiple vulnerable boss Salmonids at once) and efficiently revive fallen teammates; and the Inkjet is good for taking out lesser and boss Salmonids from afar and defending clusters of golden eggs, with the ability to shoot the missile launchers right off a Flyfish with it if you aim well enough. Don’t forget about them – use them!

5) Play to your weapon’s strengths each round! The array of weapons assigned for use in Salmon Run at any one time may seem random – and, often, really quite useless – but there is reasoning behind it. Certain types of weapons are better than others at doing certain things: Splattershots, Dualies, and other rapid-fire weapons are good for quickly eliminating lesser and boss Salmonids; Splat Chargers, Splatterscopes, and other long-range weapons are good for tackling bosses such as Steelheads, Stingers and Steel Eels from afar (a fully-charged shot can take out a Steelhead in one hit, for instance); Splatlings, Blasters and other burst/heavy fire weapons are good for eliminating vulnerable bosses such as Scrappers, Maws, Steelheads and Drizzlers, and for clearing groups of lesser Salmonids; and Rollers, Sloshers and other widecoverage weapons are good for quickly inking lots of turf and making it easier for teammates to move around. Pay attention to what your weapon can do and play to its strengths – you will be much more successful if you do!

7) Revive your teammates as soon as possible after they are eliminated – make it a priority! In order to beat Salmon Run, at least one teammate has to survive until the end of the final round as well as the team meeting the egg quota – so don’t willingly leave your teammates as life buoys! Make it your priority to revive them; actively seek them out, calling ‘this way!’ so that they know to move towards you to be revived, and work as a team to take out any enemies around them at the same time. Then, spray your ink all over their life buoy and – voila! If you are the unlucky life buoy floating around the map, make it easier for your teammates to find you by calling ‘Help!’ and moving closer to the egg basket, as this is the focal point of the map and they are most likely to see you there. Switch Player

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9) Master the challenges posed by special rounds! So: you have mastered the various kinds of Salmonids, the different Salmonid bosses, and you can navigate high and low tide, with fog or not, with ease. You are confident in your abilities to splat enemies and think of yourself as a true Profreshional, but… what’s this? Special rounds as well as special conditions? Oh, bugger. Each of these rounds requires its own strategy to beat:

8) In special conditions, play smart! Just when you think you have got all of the enemies and bosses figured out, Salmon Run throws different water levels and weather conditions at you. Examining the ocean waves and the skyline before each round can help you determine which conditions are going to be forced upon you, as can paying close attention to Mr. Grizz. The quicker you realise what’s going on, the better you can be prepared and can organise yourselves and your positions for strategic egg collection! During High Tide, you have a reduced space to work in and not much room to move around, so take out lesser Salmonids even faster than usual, and eliminate boss Salmonids as soon as they appear! Golden egg turnover is quicker and easier due to the reduced distance between eggs and the basket. Low tide rounds are immediately obvious as the egg basket does not appear in its usual place, and involve you tackling Salmonids on the shoreline. Enemies and bosses start spawning from really far away, giving you a lot of space to take them out, but don’t get caught up in the trap of protecting eggs at the shoreline. The pathways to the basket can be easily blocked by Salmonids! Finally, Fog renders your vision almost non-existent, and Salmonid spawns remain regular and consistent, so using callouts is a must – as is working together with your team to defeat bosses and transport eggs. Draw enemies to the basket where possible to make these tricky rounds easier – and try not to get stranded away from your teammates! 64

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Mothership: Your team should work together to shoot down the falling boxes and prevent lesser Salmonids from spawning as much as possible. Everyone should collect and deposit golden Salmonid eggs, and ensure that the floor is well-inked for travelling back to the basket when the Mothership inevitably makes its move on it. Make sure to defend it, or you’ll lose all the eggs you just collected! Grillers: Work as a team to shoot the Grillers’ tails – keep shooting until they spin, are defeated, and drop their golden eggs. Deposit them in the basket before another Griller has the chance to spawn; where this isn’t possible or there are multiple Grillers, focus on the tails and get them spinning and stationary as soon as possible, and tackle lesser Salmonids at the same time so they don’t have chance to become overwhelming. Rush: The unlucky person to be haunted by the Glowflies should stay somewhere near the egg basket with limited access routes, with teammates efficiently eliminating Goldies and depositing their eggs when they draw close. Having limited access forces Salmonids into predictable routes, and means that everyone without Glowflies swarming around them just has to shoot, shoot, shoot the oncoming waves and use those well-inked escape routes you already created to have a successful round. Cohock Charge: Spawns of lesser Salmonids are massively increased in addition to the presence of boss Salmonids, so use the provided Ink Cannons (preferably the furthest one from the shoreline, as it gives the widest field of view) and remain mindful of your ink capacity. Certain bosses – such as Maws and Stingers – can still attack you inside these cannons, so pay attention and dodge! Remaining teammates should take out enemies together on the ground and swiftly deliver golden Salmonid eggs to the basket – simple, right? Goldie Seeking: Pop all of the ink vents! Make the brightest light from the Goldie as easy to identify as possible, and use your ‘this way!’ command when it is exposed to let your teammates know where it is. Shoot it until all of its golden eggs have dropped, and make sure to eliminate lesser Salmonids at the same time – particularly as in this special round, Snatchers are even more prone to trying to steal Golden eggs away, so don’t let them!

10) As soon as you have a golden egg, go deposit it! It is so, so obvious, but: as soon as you pick up a golden Salmonid egg, go and deposit it in the basket! The objective of Salmon Run is to meet the egg goal quotas for all three of the playable rounds – if you fall short of that quota, you instantly lose – so don’t sit around holding one, take it back to the basket – even if you have just taken out a boss Salmonid and your teammates are not there to collect the other eggs. More boss Salmonids will appear, after all, so bank what eggs you can and don’t waste time protecting those you can’t carry. Always bear the quota in mind – and safety first, of course!


MBER 2017 ISSUE 9 | NOVE

S TA R S Chris

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Switch Player Issue #9  

Dedicated to the Nintendo Switch, this 68 page FREE magazine has the latest Switch content including a Super Mario Odyssey review!

Switch Player Issue #9  

Dedicated to the Nintendo Switch, this 68 page FREE magazine has the latest Switch content including a Super Mario Odyssey review!

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