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Welcome to the tenth issue of Switch Player Magazine! 33 games. That's how many reviews we have squeezed into this issue - and we didn't even catch them all... With the Switch library now burgeoning and almost bursting cartridges - and SD cards - to the seams, there are so many games to play, and that list just keeps getting bigger! Indeed, despite squeezing in reviews for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (with another fabulous cover by Justin again), Rocket League, Stardew Valley, Just Dance 2018, LEGO Ninjago and many, many more within another bumper 64 page issue of Switch Player.

UNCOVERED!

Also within the confines of these pages you'll find our interview with Super Meat Boy Forever creator Tommy Refenes, Jakejames Lugo explores fighting games on the Switch and Dan Murphy returns with another Stardew Valley-themed piece, this time offering tips to help you cultivate your farm. If that wasn't enough there's another satirical feature from Jack Longman from Miketendo64 in addition to the latest news and hot game picks! Hopefully this issue will give you a few more game ideas and help you to get more out of your Switch! We will be back in early 2018 with issue 11 - which will once again be rammed full of the latest Switch releases and will sport a new look for the new year, with design contributions from the one and only Wil Overton! Thank you all for your support in 2017 and I really hope you'll stick with us as we roll into another year, which is sure to be even better - and the Switch isn't even one yet!

Regular readers will no doubt recognize that this month's beautiful Skyrim cover was designed by regular cover artist Justin Paul. Follow him on twitter via @Castcuraga!

Paul Murphy

Executive Editor @PMurphy1978

Switch Player

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Inside

Contents FEATURES 08 Will Fighting Games Thrive on Nintendo Switch? 10 Super Meat Boy Forever Interview 56 The Do's and Don'ts of Playning Splatoon 2 Online 58 Ten Tips to Get Started in Stardew Valley REVIEWS 12 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 15 Violett 16 LEGO: The Ninjago Movie Videogame 18 Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime 20 Sparkle 2 22 Sine Mora Ex 23 88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition 24 Squareboy vs Bullies: Arena Edition 25 Yono and the Celestial Elephants 26 Fire Emblem Warriors 28 Wulverblade 29 Earth Atlantis 30 Stardew Valley 32 Unbox: Newbies Adventure 33 Putty Pals 34 Jydge 35 The Flame in the Flood 36 Spelunker Party! 37 Revenant Saga 38 The Count Lucanor 40 Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle 42 NBA 2K18 44 Splasher 45 The Jackbox Party Pack 4 46 Moon Hunters 47 Knight Terrors 48 Elliot Quest 49 Wheels of Aurelia 50 Time Recoil 51 Morphite 52 Sonic Forces 54 Monopoly for Nintendo Switch 55 Just Dance 2018 REGULARS 06 Splatoon News 60 Switch Directory 62 Next Time 63 Patreon Stars

06 John Reid explains the new content coming to Splatoon 2!

08 Jakejames Lugo the merits of Switc


e the newest issue of

discusses ch fighters

10 We caught up with Super Meat Boy legend Tommy Refenes to find out more about Forever

56 It's another piece from Jack Longman, this time with Splatoon 2 tips!

Te n t i p s t o g e t s t a r ted i n

58 Dan Murphy returns with some helpful pointers for making your farm thrive

Switch Directory

12 Our Definitive Verdict

60 The best games that have been released on the Switch


NINTENDO’S “SQUID RESEARCH LAB” HAVE JUST ANNOUNCED SOME MAJOR NEW CHANGES TO SPLATOON 2 WHICH IS BOUND TO MAKE ANY INKLING SQUIRT WITH DELIGHT. IT’S NOT JUST GAMEPLAY CHANGES THAT ARE INBOUND THOUGH. THERE’S PLENTY OF NEW FREE STUFF TO KEEP THE GAME AS FRESH AS WHEN IT WAS RELEASED.

New stages The first new stage, MakoMart, will be unveiled this Saturday. This arena is set inside a bulk-buy grocery store allowing you to admire the inkling lifestyle while colouring the shelves. Following on from this, we’ll be seeing another new stage called Shellendorf Institute in the near future. Not much has been revealed about this particular stage, but Splatoon veterans will be pleased to hear that the classic stages Walleye Warehouse and Arowana Mall are also being released soon.

Salmon Run If you can’t wait until Saturday to play in MakoMart, then Salmon Run teams will be surprised to find that there is also a new stage. Starting this Friday the new Salmonid Smokeyard will be in rotation and ready for egg harvesting. Pushing on the teamwork aspect, the stage includes a pair of fan-powered lifts that will require teamwork to travel quickly between its divided shores.

New Gear and Hairstyles As well as the new Salmon Run stage hitting Splatoon 2’s update bonanza, there will be a total of 140 new pieces of gear for you to collect. These include brand new items, and again some classic Splatoon garments that you may be missing from the Wii U days. Your inklings will also have more customisation available to them in the form of new hairstyles. Again, these will be available as soon as you’ve downloaded the update on Friday. 6

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amiibo improvements

Switch Gear In The Lobby

If you happen to have a Splatoon or Splatoon 2 amiibo, the in-game photos feature has been improved. You can now pose for photos at pre-set locations in the battle stages themselves, not just the lobby.

If you’ve been playing Splatoon for any amount of time, you may have resigned yourself to the fact that you have to quit the lobby to change your inkling’s items. Well, Nintendo have finally changed their mind on this! While between battles in Regular Battle, Ranked Battle and Splatfest Battle (Solo) you will have the luxury of swapping out any items without leaving the match. This is great for regular battles if you want to keep playing with the same players.

Raised Level Cap Fed up with being stuck on level 50? Not me! But there are definitely players out there that want to show the world just how much they love their gaming, the level now goes all the way up to 99. But it doesn’t even stop there! If players go and visit Judd they can then reset their rank and start again with 1 star for ultimate bragging rights.

Brand New Tunes Just like in Splatoon, this update brings some new tunes from “new bands”. This time, the punk-flavoured Bottom Feeders and avant-darde-style Ink Theory will be accompanying your turf grabbing antics.

Clam Blitz New Ranked Battle Mode An additional update has already been teased which will bring in a brand new Ranked Battle mode. Personally, I was a little disappointed that the Ranked Battles were copy-andpasted from Splatoon, so it’s refreshing to see that a new mode is inbound. Clam Blitz pits the teams against one another with clams dotted around in the stage. You need to collect and then throw clams into a basket near the opponent base. Collect 10 and you earn a Power Clam. Each basket is protected by a barrier which must be destroyed by using clams to attack the barrier. This brings a strategy in which you need to decide which clams are going to be used to destroy the barrier and which will earn points. This also opens up opportunities to steal your opponents’ clams by splatting them. No doubt that this will be a crazy and chaotic mode

AS MENTIONED, THE FIRST UPDATE IS ALREADY AVAILABLE FOR YOU TO DOWNLOAD. THE FOLLOWING UPDATE WILL BE MID-DECEMBER, SO TREAT THAT AS AN EARLY CHRISTMAS PRESENT. DON’T FORGET THAT ALL OF THESE UPDATES ARE FREE AND WILL DOWNLOAD AUTOMATICALLY WHEN YOU DOWNLOAD SPLATOON 2. IF YOU’VE BEEN DISTRACTED BY A FEW OTHER MAJOR TITLES LATELY, MAYBE IT’S TIME TO DUST OF THOSE DUALIES AND GET BACK INTO IT. Switch Player

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Jakejames Lugo

@VenomousFatman1

JAKEJAMES LUGO IS A WRITER WHO HAS BEEN PART OF THE GAMING INDUSTRY FOR MORE THAN FIVE YEARS. HE HAS REVIEWED MANY DIFFERENT GAMES FOR SOME OF THE BIGGEST OUTLETS IN THE INDUSTRY, AND LOVES TALKING ABOUT VIDEO GAMES ON PODCASTS. JAKEJAMES REALLY ENJOYS PLAYING RPGS AND FIGHTING GAMES WITH HIS CLOSE FRIENDS - ESPECIALLY IF THERE'S PIZZA INVOLVED.

With the renaissance of the fighting genre in full effect across the gaming industry, the Nintendo Switch is a fertile ground for fighting games to grow. There is a lot of opportunity for new ideas to be tested and explored, as well as opportunity for long-running franchises to continue their legacies for a new generation. While the number of Switches sold is nowhere near the amount of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles out in the wild, fighting games releasing on Nintendo’s newest consoles can allow the genre to become bigger than ever.

ENTER THE GAMES The biggest component is the number of fighting games released on the Nintendo Switch. In the beginning of the Switch’s lifespan, Ultra Street Fighter 2: The Final Challengers offered the most basic experience you can have with fighting games. Simple one-on-one battles from the most iconic series in the genre, with not much else beyond that. But as more games release for Switch, new and more complex experiences are what will make the genre become more exciting for Switch gamers.

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Games like Pokken Tournament DX and ARMS have new approaches to the traditional gameplay of 3D fighters, while also giving a second chance to some games that appeared towards the later days of the Wii U. This variety, which is seen in other titles making their way to Switch, will give more options for players to enjoy that may be intimidated by the more competitive aspects of fighting games. Not a fan of entering competitions? Then there’s still much to experience playing fighting games, whether that would be interesting characters and stories, or new gameplay mechanics that challenge the norm.


WAY OF THE T OURNAMENT Speaking of competitions however, the fighting genre has always had a deep rooted history in competitive gaming. With the Nintendo Switch’s portability and controller options that allow more players to join games through one console, it would be simpler for more players to participate in tournaments all over. Some of the biggest issues with the Wii U at fighting game competitions was the difficulty in both the set-up and lack of popular titles that could attract players, with only a few exceptions like Super Smash Bros. It would take a lot of effort to set up Pokkén Tournament competitions before on Wii U because of the complex issues organizers would run into with the console itself. Many tournament organizers would avoid doing so in favor of other games that were easier to set up and play quicker. The dual handheld and home console nature of the Switch allows for players and tournament organizers to get around issues like this. Tournaments can be hosted just about anywhere and the set-up to organize competitions can be done much easier than before.

FIVE DEADLY CONTROLLERS An interesting part of this is the number of options to control fighters on the Nintendo Switch. Most gamers love playing their fighting games on an arcade stick to simulate the feeling of playing on an arcade cabinet, which is possible on Switch with the HORI Real Arcade PRO V and 8bitdo’s NES 30. But the variety of options beyond this is what makes the Switch so malleable with the fighting game genre. There isn’t one way to play your game, but rather many to choose between. Players have the choice to use the Joycon controllers (with or without the Joycon grip), arcade sticks, the Switch Pro Controller, and others to play their games. This was a trend that was started in the Super Smash Bros. series, which started in Brawl for the Wii and continued for the series on the Wii U. Players weren’t limited to just one type of way to play, which is great for those who prefer alternative options when having fun or looking to get far in competitions. More ways to play in any occasion is always a good thing for everyone.

It’s going to take some time for fighting games to establish a major presence on Nintendo Switch, but eventually we may see an explosion of the genre on Switch. Discussions about upcoming fighting games like Dragon Ball FighterZ, or previously released fighting games like Injustice 2 and BlazBlue, have continued to come up in various circles that may lead to more popular fighters being ported to the console. In the meantime, SNK has been publishing many of their classics, like the King of Fighters and Art of Fighting series, on the Switch eShop for fans to enjoy. The indie scene also has something fighting game related to offer Switch owners in the form of Brawlout, which borrows elements from Super Smash Bros for its gameplay. If all goes well and we continue to see releases like these happen, then the Nintendo Switch might be a brand new home for the fighting game genre.

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Tommy Refenes supermeatboy.com @TommyRefenes

Hi Tommy, thanks for talking with us! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into developing games? I started programming when I was 11... making little things in QBasic with my dad. I later took classes in Pascal and C++ in Highschool. Went to college and hated college so I dropped out and was a web developer specializing in Real Estate database stuff, then I became a developer of educational software, then I took my first industry job as a network programmer but eventually moved into engine and render pipeline programming. I left that job to start my own stuff, tried to make a game and it didn't go anywhere, then made Super Meat Boy and the rest is history. We are talking today about Super Meat Boy Forever, the follow up to the incredibly successful Super Meat Boy. Can you tell us a little bit about the game? What games inspired the Super Meat Boy series? 10

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TOMMY REFENES IS THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND SUPER MEAT BOY, AND WITH BOTH THE ORIGINAL AND THE EAGERLY ANTICIPATED SUPER MEAT BOY FOREVER HEADED TO THE SWITCH WE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA TO CHAT TO TOMMY ABOUT THEM.

Super Meat Boy Forever takes place after the events of Super Meat Boy. Bandage Girl and Meat Boy now have a little girl named Nugget and Dr. Fetus is still an asshole. He kidnaps Nugget to get back at Meat Boy and Bandage Girl which prompts them to go after Dr. Fetus and get back their daughter. As far as inspirations, nothing has really inspired Super Meat Boy Forever other than "Lets make something as awesome as Super Meat Boy". As a sequel, what was your focus? Were you mindful of making it too different? My main focus was I wanted to make sure that whatever was put out was the same or better quality than Super Meat Boy. Super Meat Boy is an icon and to do it a disservice would be to do myself a disservice. As far as making it different, I wanted to make sure I didn't remake the same game as before. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to do 600 levels and a new coat of paint but that's boring to me as a developer.

What differences are there between this and its predecessor? Story aside, the controls and level progression are totally different. You control Meat Boy or Bandage Girl using only two buttons. One button jumps, if you hit that button again in air they do a forward dash attack. The other button slides, if you're in the air and you slide you do a dive kick which serves as an attack and a way to get to the ground faster. Levels are different because they are generated a pool of 40-50 micro levels or as we call them "chunks". Each level has it's own unique pool of chunks it generates from. Each chunk is given a difficulty and we can "rank up" the levels in difficulty 4 times. So essentially you beat a level, a harder version of it now exists which you must beat. Beat the level 4 times to rank it all the way up.


How much is there to see and do in Super Meat Boy Forever? As mentioned before the levels are generated randomly from chunks so there's quite a bit. Each micro level or chunk is about the size of a small Super Meat Boy level and already just in the first chapter we have more chunks than we did entire levels in Super Meat Boy. We're doing that for 6 chapters. Chapters have bosses and tons of secrets. I think its safe to say that fans will have a TON of things to do and see in Super Meat Boy Forever! How have you found developing for the Switch? What do you make of the hardware? Switch development has been easy. Nintendo has really improved their tools. Personally I really like the hardware. I like the idea of a console I can take anywhere and play whenever I want. I wanted this instead of the WiiU but the tech just wasn't there yet. I'm really glad Nintendo made the Switch, it feels like the first really good Nintendo console since the DS.

You are also bringing Super Meat Boy to the Switch, how was the porting process for that? I'm not doing the porting for Super Meat Boy. Blitworks, the studio behind the PS4, WiiU, and NVidia Shield versions are taking care of that. Seems to be going well!

months. I've done all 120 shrines, beaten the 4 beasts, fully upgraded almost every armor set, I own every mask, I have the Level 3 master sword you get from the trials in the DLC as well as all the items in the DLC pack the only thing I haven't done is find every Korok seed because fuck that.

Can you tell us anything about the physical plans for both Super Meat Boy and Forever? I'm super surprised that physical editions of games has risen in popularity. I want everything digital, I don't like clutter so physical editions of games don't appeal to me, but I totally understand the appeal. We plan on bringing Super Meat Boy and Super Meat Boy Forever to retail in some form, we just have to make sure it's worth it to the fans. I want both versions to be something really really special and I have some ideas I'm not going to spoil just yet!

Is there anything new you can tell us about Super Meat Boy Forever? Not really! You have to keep some stuff secret. Here's something for the readers to think about and wonder about: "taped".

Which Switch Games have stood out to you? Breath of the Wild is now my all time favorite Zelda game. I actually just beat it last night after putting it off for

Finally, what would you say the Switch is to you? A handheld you can plug in or a console you can take out? Definitely a console you can take out.

Super Meat Boy Forever is due out next year. Will you be picking either this or the original up? Get in touch and let us know! Switch Player

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REVIEW

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Written by Charlie Large

@CharlieLarge

It has just passed the six-year anniversary of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim‘s release, and in those years it has been the contributor to many memes, a buggy mess (to some) and has become one of the best selling video games of all time. Skyrim has also, arguably, become one of the most pivotal RPG’s of the last decade – with the game changing the landscape of RPG’s and bringing a lot of newcomers to the genre. Winning multiple “Game of the Year” awards, Bethesda’s open-world epic was certainly well received and now, for the first time, it can be experienced on a Nintendo console! The game opens with you on the back of a horse-drawn cart being led, with fellow captives, to your death. It seems that you have been wrongly arrested, caught in an ambush while attempting to cross the border. Arriving at your final destination, you watch as your travel partners are called one by one to meet their maker. You are not on the list and, when asked who you are, you are presented with the game’s character creation screen – where you can pick which race you would like to be and your appearance. It is at this point that you will start to realise just how vast and expansive this 12

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game is. The choices available to you will help shape your character, with each race having different proficiencies in the 18 different skills available. Once you have decided upon your noble warrior, it is off to the chopping blocks and off with your head! What a waste after all that time creating the perfect Khajiit, eh? Of course, your head remains firmly on your shoulders – as moments before the axe comes crashing down the village is attacked by a dragon. This opening sequence serves as a tutorial of sorts and you are soon making your escape, fighting off soldiers and avoiding the dragon fire. The game proceeds to take you through a keep and down into a series of caverns where all you see are various shades of brown and beige, before you complete your escape and reemerge back into daylight and experience one of the game’s first (of many) jaw-dropping moments. The world of Skyrim is a thing of beauty, and even six years on the game looks fantastic. The fact that you can now experience this on a handheld console is nothing short of phenomenal. Walking out into the open-world of the game for the first time and seeing this vibrant, alive playground that has been built for you to explore is one of those gaming moments that will stick with me for a while. You can explore every nook and cranny in this game – if you can see it, you can get to it. This sense of exploration is one of the main things that makes Skyrim so brilliant, you will often find yourself sidetracked as you

make your way to the next story mission and the next thing you know you’ve completed a dozen side-quests, killed a few dragons and ended up further away from the mission marker than you started all those hours ago. There are a few issues with items popping-in when you approach – like branches on trees and smoke billowing around a keep in one early mission, but nothing that can’t be forgiven. The game also looks and runs better than the last-gen versions it is a port of, with frame rate remaining steady no matter how many villagers were attacking me onscreen at once because I accidentally slipped and Fus-Ro-Dah’d one of their kin to death. I also noticed a weird audio issue whereby I would hear a short, sharp static noise every now and then with no logical reason to it, but this didn’t have any major impact on anything and was more of an annoyance. Aside from the initial load into the game from the main menu, the load times as you transition from dungeons and cities into the open world are nice and short – getting you back into the action in a matter of seconds – meaning you are not distracted from the game for too long.

encounters that are the more terrifying – hearing the roar of one as you emerge from a cave with your health bar depleted from fighting a troll will bring fear to even the most worthy of warriors. The souls that you collect are used to unlock “shouts”, phrases of dragon language made up from words of power that can be used to unleash powerful, devastating effects. Nothing is more satisfying in this game than sneaking up on an enemy and shouting them off the side of a cliff – not only are these powers incredibly useful in the game they also make you feel like a complete badass!

The game’s story casts you as the Dragonborn (or Dovahkiin in Skyrim language). As this chosen one, you can devour the souls of dragons once you have killed them – finishing them off for good. As you make your way through the various main story missions and side quests you will face off against these beasts, but it is arguably the random

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You will need to find word walls in the game to unlock the full power of these shouts, and you will stumble across most of these as you tackle the game’s main quest and the side missions. While the main quests follow the over-arching story of the game, the side quests also have their own fleshed out stories that will further explore the lore and history of the world and all of its conflicts – sucking you further into the fantastic, fantasy sandbox that is laid before you. Unlike most other RPG’s, however, completing these quests and slaying your foes does not grant your character any experience points. Instead, you level up in Skyrim in one of the most organic ways I’ve seen. You have 18 different skills that you can level up, and these combine to form your overall character level. If you wanted to improve your archery skill, for example, the only way to do this is to equip your bow and start firing. I found this way of levelling to be a refreshing, natural approach that encourages players to experiment with all of the skills available. All of these skills and abilities are accessed via one of the best inventory systems I’ve seen in an RPG – one that still works well today, and doesn’t look too small on the screen when playing in handheld mode.

found in the game through exploration, so don’t feel left out if, like myself, you’re not an amiibo collector. Bethesda has also implemented the motion control capabilities of the Joy-Con, and you can swing weapons, raise a shield, fire your bow and arrow and pick locks using this method if you so wish. I tried this method a few times during my time with the game, and although fun and novel – I did find myself reverting back to the trusty Pro Controller for the majority of my playthrough. In all, Skyrim is still as good today as it was when it first released more than half a decade ago, if not better! The fact that this version runs well on the Nintendo Switch without any major issues – which is an amazing feat considering that

even the remastered PS4 and Xbox One versions had their fair share of with issues when they released – is truly amazing. This is a game that will take up all of your time should you decide to pick it up, you can spend well over forty hours playing and not even scratch the surface of the base game – let alone the three DLC packs that are also included in this release. I know full well that most people will know what Skyrim is all about, and plenty of you will have already played it and are only reading this to find out how it performs on the Nintendo Switch. Well, it’s Skyrim, it runs well, it works and it is portable – what more could you want?

VERDICT Like a fine wine, Skyrim is a game that has improved with age. I had mixed feelings about the Nintendo Switch version prior to playing, knowing what issues I faced in the PS3 version and wondering how it would perform on the Nintendo Switch. However, I had nothing to worry about - the game is fantastic on the Nintendo Switch and is a fantastic way to experience Bethesda's open-world wonder. If you haven't played this

Additionally, the Nintendo Switch version does also have some new features – with Bethesda making use of the console’s amiibo and motion control functionality. You can unlock the Master Sword in game, as well as a Breath of the Wild outfit for your character with the tap of a Link amiibo – these items can be

4.5 PUBLISHER Bethesda

AT A GLANCE 14

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NA: 17th November EU: 17th November 15.3 GB

DEVELOPER Bethesda E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

EXCELLE

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REVIEW

Violett

Point and click games are very few and far between these days, so when one does release I am instantly drawn to them due to spending a lot of time during my childhood playing titles such as Broken Sword. The game starts with the titular Violett being uprooted by her parents, who have decided to move to a nice house in the country. When her parents start to argue, Violett retreats to her room – where she notices something glowing in a hole in her wall. Curiosity gets the best of the young girl, and Violett reaches into the void and retrieves a glowing amulet – which causes her to fall and seemingly shrink down to fit into a strange, otherworldly dimension. It is here where you take control and the point and click adventure begins. You soon realise that you need to find the scattered fragments of this amulet if you wish to make it back to the real world and be reunited with your parents! The game plays out with you needing to solve various puzzles to find the missing pieces of the amulet, and you do this by travelling to different, themed rooms that are all accessible at any time via an Escher-esque staircase. Whereas some point and click titles of yesteryear would involve a lot of backtracking between areas to use newfound items to solve

puzzles that couldn’t be previously, Violett keeps things simple by keeping solutions enclosed in each puzzle room. Combined with a hint system that will drip feed you up to four solutions per room if required, Violett should be rather accessible to most people that pick up the game. However, the lack of text in the game – interactions are done via the use of pictures within speech bubbles – means that sometimes what needs to be done next in the sequence of events isn’t always clear. This made me lose a bit of interest at times with the game, and this lack of dialogue between characters meant that the game’s overarching story was a little hard to follow – making it feel like a bit of an afterthought to me. Starting the game up, you are told that the optimal method of control for this game is by using the Nintendo Switch’s touchscreen. You can play Violett in any of the Switch’s modes, but using the JoyCon or Pro Controller to navigate around the game’s weird world do not feel as intuitive as using your fingers to actually point and click on the scenes that you are presented with. I started playing the game with my Switch in docked mode, but soon transitioned to handheld mode and never went back due to the clunkiness of the controls when using anything other than your own digits. Seemingly influenced by Alice in Wonderland and Coraline, Violett looks great on the Nintendo Switch. This is the remastered version of the game, and the distorted, fantastical environments look good – especially when using the Switch

PUBLISHER Forever Entertainment

AT A GLANCE

NA: 25th October EU: 25th October

Written by Charlie Large

@CharlieLarge

in handheld mode to utilise the game’s touchscreen controls. There is one jarring issue with the audio, when the game autosaves (which happens every few minutes) the audio stops for a few seconds. These few seconds of silence really do detract from the experience and hopefully will be fixed in an upcoming patch. If you are fan of the point and click genre, Violett is worth a look – but be prepared for some frustrations. The game looks nice and some of the puzzles will have you scratching your head, but you may find the controls and non-descript story a bit of a letdown. If you are new to the genre, I would recommend that you give this one a miss, as although Violett does get somethings right, I would recommend you look at other titles such as Thimbleweed Park for your first point and click experience.

VERDICT Violett is a pretty looking point and click title that does have its moments but is let down by poor storytelling and some strange design choices. Fans of the genre and newcomers alike will find the game to have a certain charm, but frustrations will creep in and I found myself appreciating the stalwarts of the genre even more by the time I saw the end credits.

3.2

DEVELOPER Forever Entertainment E-SHOP PRICING £8.99 | €8.99

GOOD

761 MB Switch Player

15


REVIEW

Lego: The Ninjago Movie Videogame

Written by Ollie Reynolds @Olliemar28

By now, you no doubt already know whether or not a new Lego game is going to be your cup of tea. Lego: The Ninjago Movie Videogame does little to change this – but that’s okay… mostly. Complimenting the latest in LEGO’s everincreasing line of movies, Lego Ninjago pits players against the evil Lord Garmadon, who is intent on taking over the city of Ninjago with his hulking mechs and nefarious minions. The game largely follows the same plot as its movie counterpart, with cutscenes consisting of clips ripped straight from the film and additional scenes utilising the in-game engine. Unfortunately, whilst the cutscenes themselves are generally of a high quality (which, to be fair, they should be), it makes the game’s story feel rather disjointed. In the first couple of chapters, the chipper team of ninjas successfully defeat Lord Garmadon only for him to return with a vengeance in the chapter directly following. Diluting the film’s story into bite-size cutscenes gives little context to the gameplay itself and unfortunately makes the experience as a whole feel somewhat repetitive. 16

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Thankfully, the gameplay itself is reasonably fun for the most part, and those familiar with the franchise will know exactly what to expect. You’re given the option to control one of up to five characters at any given time, with the ability to flip between them with a simple tap of the X button. Each character has particular strengths – for example, Kai is particularly adept at wielding two swords, whilst Zane is more at home with a bow and arrow – and you’ll need to use these abilities to overcome enemies and puzzles in order to progress. The puzzles themselves are shallow, admittedly, though it’s important to remember that these games are aimed primarily at children. Elsewhere, the game makes good use of the ninja theme by allowing you to run up and across certain walls or swing on ropes to access certain parts of the levels. These mechanics are pleasantly fluid for the most part, but missing the brief button prompts will frequently have you falling to the ground below. It happened to me more often than I care to admit, and it did become quite frustrating after a while.

As this is a Ninjago game, combat, of course, plays quite a central role. You have six different attacks, and the game tries to nudge you into experimentation, although I must admit I fell into a comfortable routine of either dishing out a bunch of basic attacks or jumping and unleashing a homing attack on most enemies (if you’re familiar with the 3D Sonic titles, you can imagine how this works). It’s fun for the most part, but I would have appreciated a bit more of a challenge – I didn’t die once throughout my entire playthrough, which is kind of ridiculous. Nevertheless, it’s accessible enough to remain fun throughout, and the game also utilises a basic yet useful upgrade system to boost your attacks or allow you to gain more ‘studs’, the Lego world’s currency. On the flip side, there are occasional on-rails sequences in which you are flying through the city of Ninjago on a giant mech dragon. These sections are, in a word, horrific. There is far too much going on at once and the game struggles to keep up, with the framerate dropping to completely unacceptable levels. Similarly, it’s difficult to actually make out the enemies amongst all the carnage – the screen is constantly filled with bright colours and explosions flinging Lego bricks in every direction, I struggled to make any sense of what I was seeing (you can take a glimpse at what I mean in the below screenshot). Thankfully, these sections are few and far between, but I would frankly rather not have them at all in this state, which is a shame.

Sadly, the game struggles in a couple of other areas too. The loading times can be very lengthy at the best of times – in fact, there was one instance in which I thought the game had simply given up and crashed. I was about to hit the Home button and close the software before it finally loaded up the game. Similarly, the visuals occasionally stutter and tear, though this isn’t particularly prominent and, for the most part, shouldn’t affect the experience too much. Much of this sounds rather negative, I know, but I must admit that despite the numerous issues, I did actually enjoy my time with this game. The gameplay itself doesn’t do much to deviate from the franchise norm, but that’s okay because it does works, and the humour was strong enough to keep me going throughout the campaign. I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it for the general gamer, but diehard LEGO fans will lap this up, and children? They will absolutely love it.

VERDICT If you're familiar with the Lego franchise, you'll know exactly what you're getting into here. Lego: The Ninjago Movie Videogame is a fun, accessible title marred with some bizarre design choices and some unfortunate technical issues. Nevertheless, it'd make a great present for the kids.

3.2 PUBLISHER WB Games

AT A GLANCE

NA: 20th October EU: 20th October

DEVELOPER TT Games

GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

7.6 GB Switch Player

17


REVIEW

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

Written by Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

Anyone who’s a big fan of tower defence games – this reviewer spent weeks enjoying Starship Patrol on DSiWare before the service was discontinued last year – will be hoping for a great representative of the genre to join the Switch eShop offering line-up. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime could prove to be the game to fill that gap. Anti-love creatures are threatening the amorous universe to set the scene for where the game’s action will unfold. You need to pick from a range of loved-up characters to set off into space and fight off the lovelorners. The game blends your traditional tower defence with a space-exploration type adventure, and has you traversing a map in search of caged space-bunnies – which you need to free in order for the end goal to open up. You have a set number of them which you need to collect as a minimum, but levels will feature excess bunnies which can add bonuses to your score at the end of each level. 18

Switch Player


The genre combination works, and it really feels like you’re playing two games at once. It’s easy to have your eyes zone in on what’s going on inside your spaceship where, if you’re playing as a single player, you’ll have a small CPU animal at your beck and call which you can command to operate the shields and guns as you crack on with other tasks, most likely steering, elsewhere on the ship. The CPU are pretty smart, and will take out enemies which can’t even be seen on the screen. Where Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime comes into its own, however, is in multiplayer co-op. In the latter stages, things become far too heated to be able to stick with one player steering and the other legging it around the ship firing the guns and operating the shields. So you’ll have players bumping into each other and frantically calling out instructions as you try to fend off 360 degrees worth of enemy forces. Using the max of four players does make things a little easier in terms of having your angles covered, but you’ll still need to move around the ship a bit to make use of all the controls.

In addition to the shooters and shields, there’s a portal which allows you to access a map of the level, as well as a lethal rapid-fire weapon which fires automatically but has a limited charge. Gameplay sometimes strays from the ‘collect five bunnies to advance’ formula. Some stages will have you trying to survive against a number of rounds of enemies, for example. Every now and then you’ll have the opportunity to power up your ship with add-ons including laser beams and a spiked ball and chain. The difficulty level zips up rather quickly – after a short tutorial level, you’ll get a few stages into the first world before noticing a step up. The enemy numbers suddenly become rather unforgiving, and you’ll rapidly need to consider abandoning the simplistic tactic of steering while someone else takes the responsibility of firing and defending. Fortunately, there are multiple difficulty selections to choose from, so don’t worry too much about not being able to see the game’s later stages.

Fortunately, the controls do handle smoothly though – you have a wide axis to fire off shots from each of your gun ports, and mastering steering isn’t too tough. Visually things are simple but bright, and the game certainly has a sense of identity from its art style. It’s like a colourful version of Starship Patrol, actually.

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime’s twenty levels are plenty enough to keep you entertained by the price point. For the biggest challenge and perhaps the most entertainment, you’ll need to get a few friends together to take the game on in co-op – but thanks to a clever CPU, there’s fun to be had here on your own, too.

VERDICT Whether you want fun as a group or something to occupy your alone time, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime can check both boxes. Charming visuals and addictive gameplay are always a potent combination, but the game just slightly lacks that wow factor needed to be deserving of an even higher score.

4.0

AT A GLANCE

PUBLISHER Asteroid Base

DEVELOPER Asteroid Base

NA: 3rd October EU: 3rd October

E-SHOP PRICING £11.99 | €14.99

EXCELLE

NT

373 MB Switch Player

19


REVIEW

Sparkle 2

Written by Ollie Reynolds @Olliemar28

Okay, admit it – this game hasn’t been on your radar at all, has it? Well, it probably should be. From developer 10tons, Sparkle 2 is a matchthree marble puzzle game that will undoubtedly become lost in the midst of higher profile eShop releases in recent weeks. This is unfortunate though, as the game is actually one of the strongest digital titles available thus far, displaying simplistic touchscreen gameplay that is – pardon the cliché – perfect on Switch. Upon beginning a new game, you’re greeted with the voice of the game’s narrator. Here, you learn of five mystical keys scattered throughout the land. Once united, the keys are told to unlock something of great value. Naturally, you’re tasked with finding the keys or face becoming a lost soul, trapped in the land forever. The storyline is about a basic as 20

Switch Player


you can get, and whilst I appreciate its inclusion, the game would have been perfectly fine without it. As you progress through the in-game map, you’re treated to brief cutscenes as you collect the five keys, though these are limited to static images paired with the game’s narrator. It didn’t interest me in the slightest, but don’t let this put you off – the strength of Sparkle 2 lies entirely in its fantastic gameplay. The basic premise of the game is simple enough to understand, even if it does get fiendishly difficult as you progress. Within each level, you’re faced with a multitude of coloured marbles (they’re called ‘orbs’ in the game, but they even sound like marbles when they hit each other) progressing across a wavy line. You must destroy the line of marbles by matching three or more of the same colour before it reaches its end goal and consumes the screen in a sort of black hole. This is done by firing coloured marbles from a launcher either with your finger on the touchscreen, or by using the analogue stick and the A button. The analogue stick works fine and I’m glad its there as an option for people who may want to play on the big screen, though I must say the touchscreen controls are immediately more intuitive and accurate, particularly when the game speeds up during the later stages.

To mix up the gameplay a bit, you’re rewarded with certain power-ups known as ‘rune rewards’ during each level. Fire a marble at the icons to pick them up and you can immediately take advantage of the effects. One may cause the line of marbles to move backwards, whilst another will eliminate all marbles of a single colour in one go. Most power-ups offer some form of destruction to rain down on the marbles, which can prove to be extremely useful in a tight spot. The game is also quite devious at times in that it will dangle certain power-ups just out of reach behind a row of marbles, forcing you to become more aggressive in your approach if you want to take advantage. You can also gain ‘enchantments’ as you progress, which are permanent powerups affecting the overall difficulty of the game. Most of the time, I equipped one called ‘Speed Unleashed’, which makes your fired marbles reach their targets faster, allowing for more speedy gameplay. There are others I found briefly useful such as ‘Sudden Fire’ which equips a firebolt for every tenth marble fired, but for the most part I didn’t feel like I needed it.

Whilst the visuals are mostly unremarkable, the same cannot be said for the game’s soundtrack. Whilst I would have liked a bit more variety in general, the music available was quite simply brilliant. It suited the overall feel of the game wonderfully and made it feel quite tense at times – one track even reminded me a bit of Dual of the Fates from The Phantom Menace. The production quality as a whole is reasonably impressive for a title that only costs $7.99/£6.99, and I applaud 10tons efforts to add a bit of weight to what could have been an incredibly basic title. The gameplay is what truly shines though, and I can see myself coming back to this again and again in the coming months.

VERDICT Sparkle 2 is an easy game to overlook during what I like to call the 'eShop Renaissance', but for such a reasonable price you're getting hours of genuinely fun and addictive puzzle gameplay, complimented with a stellar - albeit repetitive - soundtrack. I was truly caught off guard by its quality, and I have a feeling you will be too.

4.2 PUBLISHER 10tons

AT A GLANCE

NA: 28th September EU: 28th September

DEVELOPER 10tons

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £6.99 | €7.99

115 MB Switch Player

21


REVIEW

Sine Mora Ex

The side-scrolling shooter shoot em’ up (shmup) is one of the oldest video game genres and just by the virtue of its continued presence today demonstrates the versatility and longevity that it provides for players. Sine Mora Ex might not rewrite the core genre mechanics, but it sure knows how to contribute to them.

Sine Mora Ex isn’t just a port for the Switch, as it represents a slightly updated version over the original, the additional modes are minimal, but it is the introduction of a “normal” difficulty mode that makes all the difference. Schmups perfectly epitomise the notion of easy to grasp but difficult to master, meaning that players unfamiliar with the genre can quickly find themselves overwhelmed. Sine Mora Ex still adheres to this, but by giving players the option of an easier setting for the Story Mode makes it far more accessible and provides a more gradual learning curve as well as the satisfaction of seeing the story through to completion. Although the Story Mode isn’t particularly long, taking around one to two hours depending on how many times you die and repeat sections. Shumps are all about destroying as many enemies that come onto the screen as possible, but Sine Mora also has a “bullet hell” quality to it, meaning that avoiding projectiles would appear to be an equally

crucial element to consider. But here is where Sine Mora’s unique mechanic comes in, instead of a static health bar that only depletes when you are hit, you have a constantly decreasing time limit that represents your health. When this runs out, you lose a token (each playthrough starts with eight on normal and five on challenging) and start from the previous checkpoint. However, you regain time whenever you defeat an enemy as well as through time pickups. The other time-based mechanic is the capsule system which can be used to slow down time making it easier to dodge projectiles as you target enemies. A consequence of this setup is that the game encourages you to be aggressive in how you play, otherwise you are literally wasting time and your life. The narrative of the game has ties to the use of time, making it more than just a gameplay gimmick. Sine Mora is Latin and translates into English as “without delay” which perfectly describes how you should approach the game, but it also gives some insight into the story. Sine Mora revolves around exacting revenge on the totalitarian Layil Empire, but from the perspective of two different time periods. This sees you visiting the same areas twice, but in vastly different states, so much so that at first, you don’t immediately recognise them. Being part developed by Grasshopper Manufacture, it’s no surprise that aspects of the story are not straightforward, and at times take some dark turns. For a shmup, the narrative is surprisingly engaging and

PUBLISHER THQ Nordic

AT A GLANCE 22

Switch Player

NA: 10th October EU: 10th October 1.0 GB

Written by James Sweeting @CrazyBlue

contributes to the overall experience. There is a range of stunning locations that appear in Sine Mora, from breath-taking green vistas to Blade Runner-esque cityscapes. These are accompanied by the superb designs of the various planes, both the ones you control and of those you’ll be shooting down, all of which have a Studio Ghibli feel to them, but with a look that both feels nostalgic and futuristic; fitting given the time-shifting aspect of the narrative. Then there are the many bosses that you’ll encounter, which aside from offering the main challenge of the game, provide the greatest demonstration of the game’s creativity. Each one is a graphical delight that you look forward to meeting and subsequently dismantling.

VERDICT Sine Mora Ex provides a forgiving entry point for those wanting to get into shmup’s, but also has plenty of challenges waiting for you when you’re ready. The game is a visual treat on the Switch and has some of the narrative hallmarks one would expect from a Grasshopper Manufacture game. There might not be a considerable amount of depth, but you won’t feel like you’ve wasted your time, the only time you’ll be losing is to the time travel machinations of Sine Mora.

3.8

DEVELOPER Digital Reality E-SHOP PRICING £24.99 | €29.99

GOOD


88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition

REVIEW

As more and more pixel-style platformers are released, each one has to try and find its own angle to help it stand out from the others. As generic as 88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition looks, it does have an interesting gameplay mechanic. What’s on offer are 88 different playable characters over 88 different levels, which must be completed in 88 minutes. The 98 Heroes Edition also includes a bonus 10 heroes and 8 levels which are new to the Nintendo Switch version. On paper it sure sounds interesting enough, but when you start playing your interest soon begins to vanish with extremely samey level design throughout and a character roster that changes so frequently, you never feel like you can bond with any given one.

Written by James Harvey @AgileHarvey

It all starts off fairly well, with a random character chosen for you at the beginning of each level; ranging from pixelated army marines to characters clearly inspired by pop culture icons. When you inevitably do end up dying, you lose that character and you’re offered a new one. Each character has a slightly different attack – some have none – which keeps things somewhat fresh. Freshness is not a word you’ll use a lot when talking about 88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition, though.

There isn’t really a lot else to say about 88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition. I’ve played games that are much worse and that’s probably the best way to sum the entire experience up; without being awful, it was almost completely forgettable. And I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than a straight-up bad game. If there’s one thing that isn’t needed on any Nintendo console, it’s a mediocre platformer.

Levels feel too similar and indeed their completion mechanics don’t change enough to keep you hooked. Gameplay is very simple with one button to jump and one button to attack. Fine in theory but this level of simplicity only works well when the playing field in which your character resides is oozing with creativity and challenges that can be overcome using your skill thanks to the tight controls.

VERDICT

The level design in 88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition is unfortunately extremely uninspiring and, as someone who grew up in the wonderful 16-bit era of platform magic, most of the levels on offer here felt like more of a chore to get to the end of rather than offering a real challenge. Put it this way, the extra 10 levels were completely unnecessary!

88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition is another game that fits into my “belongs on a tablet” bucket, which is worryingly starting to fill up fast. Whilst it does nothing wrong - and is actually fairly enjoyable in places - it just doesn’t feel like the sort of game that I want to play on a console. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, the Nintendo Switch’s portability does offer this game somewhat of a new lease of life but I’d still find it hard to recommend - especially with the sheer volume of quality releases currently sitting on the eShop.

3.0 PUBLISHER Rising Star Games

AT A GLANCE

NA: 12th October EU: 12th October

DEVELOPER Rising Star Games

GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £29.99 | €29.95

400 MB Switch Player

23


REVIEW

Squareboy vs Bullies: Arena Edition

It’s difficult to decide whether Squareboy vs Bullies: Arena Edition is simple genius or overly minimalist. This 2D beat-em-up features level after level of bullies trying to punch your head off your shoulders (not literally – it isn’t a graphic game.) From the plain standard bullies to the toughened-up mohawk bullies and the more dangerous gangster bullies – who can fire guns – the game offers challenge by intensity rather than complexity, as when five bullies are on the screen at the same time it’s easy to find yourself surrounded before taking a pummelling. You have to be upfront – it’s a little basic. Inspired by the beat-em-ups of old, the game has you take on the role of Squareboy, who takes on the lexicallychallenged titular bullies, who you can tell are mean by the almost illegible daubed graffiti in the background of each level. It’s mostly spelt incorrectly, and it’s on the level of an “I woz here” inscription – it’s not going to offend someone, particularly if you’re thinking about this game as one that the kids can try. But at the same time, more hardened players can learn the skills needed to pull off some more complicated fighting manoeuvres. You can hit the pause button to bring up a display of all the

button combinations that you’ll need to hit in order to check off some of the main menu’s achievement challenges. While some of the attacks, including the dropkick and spin attack, are prettier than your basic arsenal of punching and kicking, the actual damage they deal out is only marginally more. Every now and then you’ll come across a health pack which will nurse you all the way back to 100% – but make sure you clear a room of enemies before you use it, or you’ll likely be needing another sooner than you’d expect. Weapons and projectiles appear here and there – but make sure you’re standing directly in line with the enemies when you try to throw them, or they’ll sail sheepishly out of harm’s way. A Co-op mode reduces the challenge of the main mode somewhat – you’d hope for double the number of baddies on the screen to compensate for the extra set of fists for punching, but I found it much more difficult to see the game over screen when I had a friend in tow. As this is the Arena Edition, it features Arena mode – a mode where you head to any of the stages from the main campaign game, and take on an endless avalanche of enemies until you’re finally beaten into the ground. The game tots up every single enemy that you off and provides you with a final score, and if you meet or beat the target score, you’ll be allowed to try your hand at the next level.

PUBLISHER Ratalaika Games

AT A GLANCE 24

Switch Player

NA: 12th October EU: 12th October 80 MB

DEVELOPER Ratalaika Games E-SHOP PRICING £4.49 | €4.99

Written by Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

It’s a shame that it all seems so repetitive. Each level, upon starting up (the load times are basically instant), has you wade into the centre of the room before waiting for the enemies to pile in from the left and right before proceeding to kick lumps out of them. While you can’t make it through just by spamming the punch button, you can defeat all the enemies using a tiny number of moves out of your moveset – a bit more variation is what this game needs.

VERDICT While the morals that the game tries to tell are good ones – since when is kicking almighty lumps out of bullies not a good thing – it would have been nice to see a bit more complexity added to the arsenal of attacks. It feels like a game that a mobile device would be able to handle with no trouble – and the Switch needs to be above that level in order to sway families away from mobile gaming and back to a trusty console.

2.8 GOOD


REVIEW

Yono and the Celestial Elephants

It is easy to be dismissive of games that, on the surface, appear to take one to many cues from another series, especially one as beloved as The Legend of Zelda. Whilst that feeling never truly goes away, Yono and the Celestial Elephant is not just another derivative. The basic premise is that you play an elephant named Yono who falls from the stars and immediately wants to help make the world a better place to live. Quickly you discover that elephants are even rarer than they are on our own planet, to the extent that they are deified; but for good reason. Turns out elephants are literally gods that walk amongst the populace, except, Yono is the first to have graced the world for a millennium. Whilst the overarching story isn’t extensive, I was not expecting to be greeted by consistent exposure to political philosophy. At first, it was just Thomas Hobbes’ description of life being “nasty, brutish, and short” being quoted as Robogoblins are introduced, before long townsfolk are discussing the extent of political power as an extension of the physical power of violence.

Yono is a mini adventure game filled with small puzzles. Each town provides Yono with the stereotypical RPG style quests of giving item x to person a

AT A GLANCE

for item y to give to person b and so forth. As superfluous as that is, the characters that you interact with make these tasks worthwhile and in their own small way contribute to the feel of the narrative, even though they don’t directly contribute anything. Outside of the towns is where the bulk of the action is to be found. Connecting the towns are linear interconnected areas that require some solution to proceed. Combat is also present, but it is the weakest element of the game, as whilst functional there is very little development to this, plus Yono later espouses his aversion to violence as he pleads with enemies to avoid physical confrontation. The core of Yono is found in the games three “Levels” (AKA dungeons), with each one aesthetically matching its overworld location, making them not just visually diverse, but also providing thematically relevant puzzles. What’s commendable is that each level contains attributes found in the one before it without seeming out of place, as well as succeeding in adding to the complexity of the puzzles. Absent, however, are maps (which aren’t needed), unlockable weapons, and boss keys. Not that this matter, as the environment contains everything you need, including usable elemental “projectiles” that Yono can fire from their trunk providing both combat and puzzle solutions. The levels are concluded with a boss fight, which relies more on timed puzzle solving than generic combat, offering more of a memorable challenge.

PUBLISHER Plug In Digital

DEVELOPER Plug In Digital

NA: 12th October EU: 12th October

E-SHOP PRICING £12.99 | €14.99

Written by James Sweeting @CrazyBlue

Who exactly Yono and the Celestial Elephants is aimed at is not easy to determine. The pastel colour scheme adds to the whimsy of the world, whilst also covering the underlying rumblings of dissent from across the kingdom. The political leanings and plights of some of the major side characters will likely go over the heads of most children that might play it, but there is a solid core thread to follow of Yono’s journey to develop as a celestial elephant and in helping the inhabitants of the world, culminating in a quite a touching story. The journey also isn’t particularly long, but it is a satisfying one. It might seem a bit too short for younger players, but for adults, it offers a bite-sized adventure.

VERDICT Yono and the Celestial Elephants is more than just a Zelda clone. It offers a steady stream of puzzles that gradually increase in complexity providing you with a satisfying challenge. The comforting art style adds to the experience, especially to the characterisation of the different inhabitants that feature in the world. Then there is the endearing and thought-provoking story that helps to give the game its unique charm.

3.8 GOOD

1.0 GB Switch Player

25


REVIEW

Fire Emblem Warriors

Written by Ryan Craddock @ryancraddock

Believe it or not, I have never played a Fire Emblem game. Nor have I ever played a game in the Dynasty Warriors series. Jumping into this blend of those two giants was a daunting prospect; games with such a rich history can be hugely overwhelming when you throw yourself headfirst into a newer series entry and this time I was tackling twice the normal amount. Thanks to this, though, this review should give anyone in a similar position all the advice that they need.

Fire Emblem Warriors has an awful lot going on. The main story is split into chapters, each of which sees you battling through waves of enemies with the aim of completing an ultimate goal. These goals change depending on the storyline but usually consist of defeating a particular opponent, reaching a specific area, taking control of every fort on the map, and so on. Each chapter is laid out beautifully across a map screen, allowing you to see the progress of the game’s story in a linear view. In between each of these chapters, the game’s huge cast of characters pop up to have conversations, essentially introducing the next part of the story. Fire Emblem’s signature ‘permadeath’ system (where if you lose a fighter they are lost forever) is an option in this campaign, but can be turned off if you prefer. As well as this main story, you can also play through History Mode. This option allows you to play through classic battles from past Fire Emblem titles in the same style as the main game. This can serve as a nice break from the main story; at times the plot can get so bizarre that you’ll want to just step away and have some less intense battles to play through. This craziness in the main game’s plot is kind of necessary, though; the game features an incredibly large cast of Fire Emblem characters that span multiple different original games and, in theory, these characters shouldn’t be able to fight alongside each other. New characters arrive regularly and it quickly turns into a complete mess of children coming back from the future to fight alongside their young parents and random people arriving from alternate universes. Despite this, though, the pure gameplay is good fun. Many people, myself included, look at a Warriors game and think that it appears to be made up entirely of mindless button-mashing with no real strategy to it. In a way, that is kind of correct; you can go a long way by simply hammering your (X) or (Y) buttons and, on Easy difficulty, you’ll be able to complete over half of the game by doing this alone. Ramp up the difficulty a little, though, and everything becomes rather different. The game still sees you rather humorously playing ‘keepyups’ with several tens of soldiers but there is method to the madness. 26

Switch Player


You enter each battle with other members of your ever-growing squad of allies and using them to their full potential is the key to success. The classic weapon triangle featured in the core Fire Emblem games plays a role in this game too; if you come up against a tough opponent who is using a swordtype weapon, you’ll need someone (either yourself or a squad member) with a lance-type weapon to have the best chance at defeating them. By pausing the game at any time, you can give commands to your comrades to attack particular enemies or aid specific allies – keeping an eye on the advantages and disadvantages that are in play for both you and your targets is essential on the harder challenges. This is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what can be done to aid you in battle; the game is full to the brim with stuff to learn. New characters are constantly being added to the roster – each of which has their own skill tree to develop, weapons to assign, levels to grow, and more; characters can perform better if their bonds grow with other allies (something that can be achieved by utilising the pairing up system during battles); there are special attacks that need to be charged in order to be used; and so much more that we simply don’t have the room to talk about. Even now, after playing the game for many hours, I know that I’m still not making use of everything that the game’s extensive menu options can provide for me and that my strategies aren’t nearly as refined as they could be. There is just so much to take in.

Fire Emblem Warriors looks great in both Handheld and TV modes. Interestingly, this is the first game on Switch that allows users to alter the performance of the game to suit their preferences. By choosing ‘Quality’ (which is the default), the game will display in 1080p when docked and run at 30fps; by selecting ‘Performance’ instead, the game will sacrifice some graphical power and drop to 720p, but ramp up the frame rate to 60fps. In all honesty, both modes work just fine; the differences are small enough that you won’t have any issues on either and the game runs beautifully whichever way you go. I would probably recommend going for the ‘Performance’ option, though, as in my opinion the smoothness of a game’s frame rate is almost always more important than graphical perfection and that’s definitely the case for a game like this. My initial fears of being completely overwhelmed by Fire Emblem Warriors have strangely both come true, and been quashed in equal measure. The game has so much information to throw at you that, without a deep understanding of both franchises, you will likely be a little lost at times; the action is fun to play through, though, regardless. The story is a bit of a mess in truth and, whilst it is just another part of the Fire Emblem universe, the overly-dramatic seriousness that surrounds every small detail gets tiresome very quickly. The gameplay can feel repetitive too; your objectives are usually very similar to other chapters and it feels more like a level-based game than one that revolves around a story.

amount of fan-service in this title will likely win over any of the Fire Emblem ‘hardcore’ and the game does stand up in its own right. It isn’t perfect, but if you’re interested in what it has to offer there are much worse things you could spend your hard-earned cash on. One to definitely consider, then.

VERDICT Fire Emblem Warriors has an incredible amount of depth and an awful lot of content to whittle away your spare time. It is let down slightly by its weak story and repetitive nature but there is still a lot of enjoyment to be had. Fans of the series will no doubt get a kick out seeing their beloved characters in a new way and, whilst it might be a little daunting for some, newcomers will be rewarded if they have the time and patience to soak up everything the game has to offer.

At its best though, Fire Emblem Warriors does provide an enjoyable fundamental experience that can be played through multiple times over. The incredible PUBLISHER Nintendo

AT A GLANCE

NA: 20th October EU: 20th October

DEVELOPER Koei Tecmo Games

4.0 EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

14 GB Switch Player

27


Wulverblade

Written by Ollie Reynolds

lets you get to grips with the controls, but once you come across your first boss, the gloves are well and truly off. Wulverblade pulls no punches and will undoubtedly beat you to the ground multiple times. Much like Dark Souls though, Wulverblade utilises its difficulty as a way of showing you what not to do. Each death comes with its own lesson and its up to you to tweak your strategy accordingly in order to succeed.

also use your fallen enemies’ limbs and severed heads to your advantage, hurling them at new foes to gain the upper hand. Some may find this a bit too much, but thankfully the cartoon style does blunt the effect somewhat.

REVIEW

My time with Wulverblade admittedly didn’t immediately turn me on to the side-scrolling brawler genre (of which I have limited experience outside of Streets of Rage and Scott Pilgrim Vs the World: The Game). In fact, if anything, it initially put me off with the sheer brutality of its gameplay and the often ludicrous difficulty spikes. However, underneath all the blood, limbs and thick northern accents lies a game of surprising complexity, and I’d wager that if you stick with it, you’ll have a blast.

The combat itself is deceptively deep and rewarding. Every kind of attack is Wulverblade takes place in 120 AD during mapped to the Y button, but how you a bleak Roman occupation of Britain. You pull off each attack is dependent on your movement and position on the take the reigns of one of three playable characters: Caradoc, who’s relatively even screen. Running towards an enemy will allow you to raise your shield and bash stats make him the default choice for beginners; Brennus, a hulking beast who them to the ground, whilst jumping up and then pressing down will cause you sacrifices speed for power; Guinevere, to slam your weapon onto the ground, a fiery lass who’s speed makes up for creating a pulse that will send nearby her lack of power and defence. After enemies to the floor. You can also use a sampling of all three, I stuck with Guinevere for the most part – her athletic the A button to block – doing this at ability makes it reasonably easy to chain the right time will not only protect you, it will also parry the enemy’s attack, together attacks whilst also making a causing the game to slow down and hasty retreat from overwhelming odds. allow you to dish out a chain of meaty counterattacks. The aim of the game is simple – you must navigate from left to right whilst fighting off wave after wave of enemies. Graphically, Wulverblade looks lovely. Make no mistake though, this game The cartoon style makes the characters is anything but simple. The opening wonderfully distinct and the animation is level almost lulls you into things and silky smooth. I must admit though, I was quite taken aback at how violent it all is. Granted, I suppose it should be expected to a certain degree, but trust me, there is blood everywhere in this game. You can PUBLISHER Darkwind Media

AT A GLANCE 28

Switch Player

NA: 12th October EU: 12th October 2.7 GB

DEVELOPER Darkwind Media E-SHOP PRICING £14.99 | €19.99

@Olliemar28

Did I enjoy Wulverblade? Yes and no. I admittedly found the game a bit too unforgiving at times, particularly with the harsh checkpoints – but I always felt compelled to try again, so I can’t in good conscience allow that to reflect in my score too much. This is a game that looks great and plays great, and that’s really all it comes down to, isn’t it?

VERDICT Wulverblade is a fine achievement for developer Fully Illustrated. It displays top quality gameplay design and some truly gorgeous animation. Some, like myself, may find the difficulty a bit overwhelming, but if you're willing to stick with it, you'll find a game packed with content and thrills.

4.0 EXCELLE

NT


REVIEW

Earth Atlantis

Earth is underwater and machines have become mechanised fish intent on destroying mankind. Your mission is to pilot a ‘hunter’ submarine to destroy the monsters. This is Earth Atlantis. In the “shmup” genre, Earth Atlantis isn’t just a simple horizontal left to right affair. You’re exploring the caves beneath the surface whilst battling gradually stronger robo-fish. A small mini-map in the corner of the screen guides you on your way to find the monsters that you’re hunting and powerups to help you on your way. As you traverse the caverns you steer your hunter with the stick and just two buttons: shoot and turn around. Beyond the exploration, where this game really shines is the gorgeous art style. In an era where every indie game seems to be a homage to 8 and 16-bit gaming, Perfect Pixel has decided to take a different tack and used a sumptuous hand-drawn style. This isn’t just Doodle Jump underwater though; creatures in the background move around and the 3D depth is something that screenshots simply don’t do the game justice. The whole effect is as though a piece of parchment is coming alive to tell your story. The design itself feels very Jules Verne-esque, giving this a timeless quality that will still look great in another ten or twenty years. It’s a shame that the

action is so frenetic you really don’t get to appreciate it all as much as you’d like. Starting the game, you have a single cannon which is gradually improved by picking up powerups that fallen enemies randomly drop. Gain enough and you’ll have cannons stacked on your hunter shooting in multiple directions. These are essential to progress in the game otherwise, when you come up against a boss monster, you’ll feel like you’ve brought a pea-shooter to the Somme. The second kind of power-up is the addons which are hidden in canisters. These are missiles, bombs and homing missiles which fire off alongside your main cannons. Once you shoot open the canister, the powerup appears. If you find the same power-up in the case then your power-ups stack just like the main cannon. Alternatively, collect the new secondary and then it will replace your current loadout. This is where Earth Atlantis gets frustrating. Often, you’ll find powerups that mean losing the stacked ones that you horde. There’s no sensible reason why it’s random and feels more of a hindrance than a useful boost. Gaining strength, you’ll find progressing through the maze is easier and easier. Right until you hit the bosses. They are hard in a classic gaming sense. The sizes and attacks vary and keep you on your toes for forcing you to learn the patterns. Some charge at you which is almost always instant death. Unless you’re kitted up, it’s a struggle to defeat them.

PUBLISHER Headup Games

AT A GLANCE

NA: 5th October EU: 5th October

DEVELOPER Pixel Perfex

Written by John Reid

@JohnSReid

Should you see the Game Over screen, you’re sent back to your last “start point” sans power-ups. Now you have to find your way to the boss again, while also going back and forth forcing enemies to respawn, grinding over and over until you’re back to the power you were. This is what lets down Earth Atlantis for me. The game is a challenging shmup but the checkpoints are few and far between. It reminds me of those 8-bit days where you would battle to a boss, get beaten, then play the game all over again. It isn’t quite as infuriating but it does feel like it asks for unnecessary time to be wasted, making the action start to feel repetitive.

VERDICT Earth Atlantis is a fun, competent and very challenging shooter. The three difficulty modes will keep even hardened shmup fans occupied, while more casual players will enjoy dipping their toe into this gorgeous world just to see it in action. But if you want to see this through to the end, you’ll need to be real shmup fan.

3.8 GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £13.49 | €14.99

589 MB Switch Player

29


REVIEW

Stardew Valley

Written by Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro

Every so often an indie game will arrive and captivate the audience, become a successful hit and build – and sustain – its own fan base generated by the hype surrounding it. This is exactly what happened with farming life simulator Stardew Valley when it was first released last year on PC and now, Switch owners can experience the calm life of the countryside by themselves, figuring out the many ingredients which make this game an unforgettable experience. A lot of what makes Stardew Valley special comes from the fact that it resurrects a very nostalgic and beloved style of game. Instead of going for a more realistic take on the farm genre like the annual Farming Simulator, or a more casual take like so many simplistic mobile games, Stardew Valley takes direct influence from the Harvest Moon and Rune Factory franchises. If you’ve played any of those games, you have a certain idea of what to expect. However, Stardew Valley doesn’t only mimic these farming life simulator games; it improves on the formula, adding an astonishing amount of content and amazing things do to and to discover. It all begins with a simple, but heartwarming premise. Your grandfather gave you a letter as his last gift in life and said that you should only open it when you are tired of the burden of the modern life. Years after his departure, after becoming over-stressed with your current corporate job, you opened the letter to discover that you inherited your grandpa’s farm. Upon moving to the Stardew Valley, you start your new countryside life, in which you must engage with all the farming activities, whilst befriending the many members of the community.

Stardew Valley could be seen as an overwhelming game at first. There are many things to do on your farm, and in the beginning it is in a very poor state. The game does a good job of introducing you to the many activities gradually and features some RPG-style elements, such as a quest log and this helps to guide the player through the main controls and requirements. Therefore, you learn how to make use of your basic tools – hoe, axe, pickaxe, and watering can – in order to start cleansing your farm and planting your first seeds. Using them will also add to a hidden experience meter, and you get better using them with time, spending less energy and unlocking new items to craft.

30

Switch Player


From there, Stardew Valley gives players the freedom to explore and try things out for themselves in order to discover all the range of activities available. You can play the game at your own leisure, choosing which will be your main focus – or even trying to be the jack-of-all-trades, if you’re up to the challenge. Following this idea, you then can get into farming, foraging, raising animals, finishing, cooking, mining, and even get into combat against some monsters (while you explore some random-generated caves), among many other possibilities.

Stardew Valley certainly isn’t lacking when it comes to content. There’s a ton of stuff to do, and each one of those activities has its own subtle systems and tricks to learn. Part of the fun resides in discovering how to improve your skills and get the best results. Everything seems worthwhile because each one of these activities is interconnected somehow. Due to this, there’s precious little downtime; every little thing you do has a meaning and can be converted into improvements for your farm or your relationships. Here lies another important aspect of Stardew Valley: it’s so charming and full of charisma. Your farm is settled near Pelican Town, a small village inhabited by many interesting and diverse characters. Each person has their own unique personality and behaviours. As you make friends with them and take on the different events that happen in the town, new possibilities open up to you. You can even choose one of them as your boyfriend or girlfriend, ultimately getting into marriage, and forming a loving

family. Every single character has its own mini-story, though, so it is always rewarding to try to be in good terms with everybody. Being a farming life simulator, the passing of the year – with its very distinct seasons – is also one of the most definitive factors for how to engage with the game. The range of activities vary drastically from season to season, and Stardew Valley portraits each of them in a beautiful way. During spring, you may encounter flowers blossoming on the camp; in autumn, all the threes will get beautiful unique colourations, and you will see leaves falling on windy days. Sunny and rainy days will also help (or hinder) you in different ways, so the passing of the game is constantly changing. It is all portrayed with a beautiful pixel art style, and each season has its own distinct music, which blends perfectly with the desired mood.

All said, Stardew Valley is everything I would want from a farming life simulator game – and more! It is a beautiful and charming game, which is the perfect marriage for the Switch’s portability. With tons of content, it’ll keep you hooked for a very long time. Being a game that’ll never leave my Switch, I won’t be surprised if it becomes my most played game on the platform. Even though the game is already more than worth it as it is, it’s also worth mentioning that a free patch is in the works that will add a co-op mode to the game too!

Stardew Valley doesn’t have a proper main storyline, as progress is more about the sum of everything you’re able to do. That said, after two in-game years you’ll get evaluated by your achievements – which is a close to an “endgame” as there is. Still, you’re allowed to continue with your farm if you desire and if you’re not satisfied with the 60+ hours it’ll take for you to reach this point and still crave more, you can even restart the game choosing a different farm layout. Besides the standard farm, you also have the riverland, forest, hill-top and wilderness variants, each with its specific focus: fishing, foraging, mining and combat, respectively.

The farming simulator genre is back and better than ever! Stardew Valley provides you an experience that just grows more and more as you play. Every little thing, from planting to befriending the community, becomes surprisingly meaningful as your hard works comes to life in front of you. With tons of content, it’ll keep you hooked into living this calm, pleasurable and magical second life, all made better with Switch’s portability.

VERDICT

Not to say it is all flowers, Stardew Valley has some minor thorns: combat is very simplistic, and sometimes resumes into you smashing the attack button; the crafting menu has some minor issues,

PUBLISHER Chucklefish

AT A GLANCE

where it becomes difficult to access some items, depending on its disposition; and the games takes a long time to save on the Switch. Nevertheless, I don’t think any of these detract from the pleasure enjoyment you’ll have while playing.

NA: 5th October EU: 5th October

DEVELOPER Concerned Ape

4.5 EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £10.99 | €14.99

922 MB Switch Player

31


Unbox: Newbies Adventure

REVIEW

Unbox: Newbies Adventure should most definitely remain boxed. The game has a host of problems and whilst the concept of the game is admirable it’s not enough to save this game. In Unbox you play as a self-delivering parcel, a sentient cardboard box if you will. Your task is to navigate the various worlds, collect stamps and defeat the evil rivals called the Wild Things. It’s all nonsensical and is definitely aimed at a younger audience, unfortunately the story and concept is where this game peaks. On the gameplay front, the game aims to be a fluid 3D physics-based platformer – you roll your box around and utilise momentum and jumping to get around. You’re tasked with completing challenges to get Stamps which will allow you to progress. All these challenges fall into similar themes, collect some items before the time runs out, race around a course and beat a time or just straightforward platforming

32

Switch Player

@rheyworth07

challenge. The game does little to mix things up and the challenges start to feel really repetitive quickly.

ominous Mysterious Box, they’re a varied bunch and perhaps deserved a better game than this one.

The main problem the game faces though is the poor controls. Moving the box around is unpredictable at best, downright frustrating at other times. Because of the momentum and general lack of control, any sort of precision platforming is a stressful experience. This problem is amplified in timed exercises where small problems can force you to start the challenge over and, more often than not, this will feel out of your control. If you thought it wasn’t bad enough yet then fear not because you can add a poor camera into the equation. Often when quickly changing direction, either through being attacked by an enemy or trying to pull off a quick jump in another direction, the camera will just give up and pick the worst possible position. For the most part, it’s workable but when small issues like these consistently arise, it adds up and starts to tarnish the overall experience.

Finally, I should mention that the game also has a multiplayer mode where you can take on friends in crazy game modes. This is probably the game’s one saving grace, here precision platforming is less necessary and it is all about the chaotic fun. I couldn’t recommend this game on that alone but if you ever find yourself owning this game you’d be remiss to not give the multiplayer a go.

Visually the game is unimpressive and can look pretty rough at points, even handheld mode struggles to make the game look sharp which is strange considering the characters are boxes. Speaking of which the game does have a nice cast of characters – despite being boxed into using cardboard boxes as characters. They all manage to have their own unique look and personality from Hop – the rabbit looking prankster to the

PUBLISHER Merge Games Ltd.

AT A GLANCE

Written by Reece Heyworth

NA: 11th October EU: 11th October 3.5 GB

DEVELOPER Prospect Games E-SHOP PRICING £24.99 | €29.99

VERDICT Unbox: Newbies Adventure is a rough 3D platformer which is let down by poor controls and repetitive gameplay, whilst there are charming characters and fun multiplayer, the game's flaws are glaring and hard to overlook. Unless you have an innate hatred for Italian plumbers I can't recommend this game to anyone looking for something to scratch the platforming itch.

2.3 POOR


REVIEW

Putty Pals

The approach Putty Pals takes to multiplayer gaming is similar to the Switch’s launch puzzler, Snipperclips. On the main menu the first option is 2 players, with single player being tucked away underneath. Depending on who you’d like to play this with will factor in on how much enjoyment you’ll get out of either mode. Each of you takes control of one of the pals, guiding the titular coloured blobs to their home. Each level is littered with obstacles that require you to overcome using the abilities the pals have. These include bouncing off each other and holding hands (because they’re pals after all). As the levels progress through the worlds you have to learn how to effectively us these skills to bounce, swing and slide your buddies to the end. Coloured platforms and blocks appear in the levels, and only the correctly coloured blob can touch them. This is where you need to cooperate to reach your goals.

AT A GLANCE

If you’re the sort that doesn’t have any friends, then I can only liken playing Putty Pals to tapping your head, rubbing your tummy, riding a bike and reciting the alphabet backwards. That’s not to say it’s more difficult because in some ways it is easier than 2-player mode when you have to time your jumps with your friend. The problem is that each putty moves and has three different actions buttons. When you’re trying to coordinate this with two different coloured blobs at the appropriate welltimed moment, a minor civil war erupts between the left and right side of your brain. You’ll inevitably press the wrong button, move left instead of right or completely wreck your timing. Putty death is guaranteed. Each stage is made up of individual puzzles separated by checkpoints in the style of Box Boy on the 3DS. You’ll find yourself regularly making mistakes in each puzzle, so it’s a relief that you don’t have to re-tread over any previously complete sections. If one of the pals reaches the next checkpoint without the other, you can just send the straggler to his doom. He’ll then respawn past the puzzle. Unfortunately, this shortchanges some of the puzzles a little.

Written by John Reid

@JohnSReid

My only gripe is that the stages are padded with somewhat generic puzzles. It’s a relief when the game introduces a new mechanic as there’s only so many times you can swing across the ceiling or jump off sticky walls without a sense of repetition dawning upon you. The levels could be a little tighter as a consequence. Despite the need for some more interesting puzzles, Putty Pals doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. You can choose to attack those more tricky challenges or walk away after completing the main quest. Either way you shouldn’t feel short-changed by what is essentially a competent and fun game.

VERDICT Don’t let the bright kid-friendly colours or the cute Wormssounding voices or the name fool you here. Putty Pals is challenging little platformer that uses its charm to draw you in and its gentle difficulty curve to keep you invested. It would be nice to have more variety throughout the levels, but it’s a fun, gentle puzzler with a steady challenge throughout.

The game only has three worlds in which you can unlock a bonus stage for each level by collecting hidden tokens. This in turn allows you to unlock a time trial as well – extending the longevity of the otherwise short game if you’re willing to take on the challenges.

PUBLISHER Harmonious Games

DEVELOPER Harmonious Games

NA: 18th October EU: 18th October

E-SHOP PRICING £7.59 | €9.99

3.7 GOOD

409 MB Switch Player

33


Jydge

Written by Liam Langan

before unlocking these new weapons you need to earn medals. Each mission contains three objectives with a medal attached to each objective; these include one main objective and two optional objectives that aren’t required to complete the mission. Once you get a specified number of medals you’ll then be able to purchase the weapons using in-game currency earned from killing enemies or looting chests found around levels.

Jydge is set in a dystopian future a lot like classic Sci-Fi films such as Blade Runner, and it certainly pays homage to this such as the hover car you’ll start and end missions in, the graphics also do a good job of emulating this feel as does the games techno filled soundtrack.

REVIEW

Jydge is the most recent title from 10tons to make its way to Switch. Following on from the recent release of Neon Chrome, and set in the same universe as the aforementioned title, Jydge offers the same style of gameplay, but what is it that makes Jydge different from its predecessor? First up is the game’s story, Jydge sees you playing as an android police officer under control of the Jydge initiative. Equipped with a weapon known as the Gavel, you are tasked with rescuing hostages, wiping out gangs and collecting valuable intelligence to take out criminals. I found the story to be quite bare bones, but I also felt that it didn’t need to be expansive. Gameplay is very similar to Neon Chrome in that it is a third-person shooter withn a top-down view. Using the left stick you’ll move your character and with the right you’ll aim your weapon. The L button performs a melee attack, R fires and ZR fires your primary weapon. ZL fires your secondary weapon, which is considerably more powerful than your primary but also limited to 2 or 3 shots per mission. There are plenty of upgrades to unlock within Jydge – with the game boasting billions of load out combinations – but

The game features a total of 17 missions split into four acts. Each act introduces new mission types and objectives to complete and upon initial completion of each act you’ll unlock a new difficulty mode boasting a new set of objectives. There is a total of four difficulty – modes meaning there are over 200 medals that can be unlocked in Jydge. I did find the amount of content available here to be quite overwhelming, almost to a point where I felt put off from wanting to 100% the game. Local Co-Op is also an option here, so teaming up with a friend and working together to clear any mission of your choosing is an option. This mode is fun and non-restrictive and can often make those difficult missions a lot easier. This will come in handy as Jydge is no picnic in terms of difficulty – you’re probably going to die, a lot. As I mentioned earlier, some of the missions later on in the game, even on standard difficulty can be quite challenging, this often became more frustrating than fun at times.

PUBLISHER 10tons

AT A GLANCE 34

Switch Player

NA: 19th October EU: 19th October 658 MB

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

@LiamHangover

There’s a lot to like about Jydge, I found it to be fun, fast paced and extremely customisable, its difficulty can often lead to a lot of frustration but taking a step back, rethinking your strategy and changing your load out can lead to completing a level you’ve found yourself stuck on, if you’ve played Neon Chrome already then this will be a perfect follow up game for you.

VERDICT Jydge is a fun yet difficult twin stick shooter brimming with customisation and content, it can be difficult at times but its varied mission types and unlockables should keep you busy for a good while.

3.7 GOOD


REVIEW

The Flame in the Flood

Years ago, survival games were one of the most popular genres. Although not as common these days, there’s still plenty of room for them in the Switch’s library and The Flame in the Flood comes to fill this gap, and brings with a unique experience, if imperfect. The introduction to The Flame in the Flood sets a sombre tone. You see a dog take a bag from a dead corpse and it delivers the item to a young lady, named Scout. She finds a working radio within the bag and it becomes her only hope of encountering a safe place, as you learn during your adventure that something very bad happened and you must traverse down the big river that flooded the country. Then, using an improvised raft to go from pier to pier, you scavenge items needed for survival and to help deal with the many things that may cause your demise, from poisonous food to wild wolves. Scout’s most basic survival concerns come in the form of four different

meters: food, water, warmth and sleep. Most of the time you’ll struggle to maintain each of these meters at the higher end, so you must find and stock items within your inventory such as bottles of clean water, and any type of edible nourishment you may find on your way. As you go down the river, you may also see small icons to the different places you may stop at. Some of them will give you a hint about whether you’ll be able to find some shelter to rest, or more specific stuff, such as a marina in which you can upgrade your raft, or an urban territory, with workbenches to help you craft better equipment. Along with your survival needs, crafting and inventory management also takes a huge importance in The Flame in the Flood. Scout, her dog and the raft have individual inventories, and your crafting menu will only allow you to craft items with what you have in range. Due to that, you must think carefully about what you’ll bring to the land. Workbenches and campfires will allow you to craft and cook different things, but you can’t use on them any items that have been left on the raft. Here lies one of the few problems of The Flame in the Flood: you’ll spend most your time within menus, moving things around.

@JhoCarneiro

charisma. Scout, her dog and other wild animals have all a cartoonish appearance that resembles something straight out of a Tim Burton movie. Add to that an original soundtrack with many country rock songs, which blends too well with the atmosphere of the countryside.

The Flame in the Flood doesn’t have much when it comes to a proper narrative, as the river and places you stop at are all randomly generated. It adds a rogue-like feel to the game, but, if you die, you can always go back to your last checkpoint. That said, it is still a very brutal survival game. If you’re up to the challenge, then you may be rewarded with a poignant subtle adventure. If you manage to avoid finding the bottom of the river, that is.

VERDICT The Flame in the Flood comes to fill the survival genre gap on Switch. With a unique and enjoyable art style and soundtrack, it is a very brutal experience, that may not hit the target due to a cluttered inventory and crafting systems, but still delivers a poignant adventure.

On the other hand, when you’re walking through the mainland, or going down the river with your raft, you’ll enjoy one of the most unique and impressive art styles on the Switch. The Flame in the Flood has a 3D style that shines with

PUBLISHER Curve Digital

AT A GLANCE

Written by Jhonatan Carneiro

NA: 12th October EU: 12th October

DEVELOPER The Molasses Flood

3.5 GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £14.99 | €14.99

1.9 GB Switch Player

35


REVIEW

Spelunker Party!

Spelunker Party! from Tozai Games is a revamped re-release of Spelunker World, which is itself a free-to-play sequel to Spelunker HD, the remake of original Atari title Spelunker from way back in 1983 – phew! Rather than retain the same free-toplay model of its predecessor, Spelunker Party! ditches all micro-transactions in favour of a more complete experience, boasting over 100 levels. This decision alone immediately gains a jolly good thumbs up from me, but sadly the game itself is not without its issues. You start the game in the shoes of female protagonist Spelunkette, although the option to change gender is there from the start if you wish to do so. The differences between the two are absolutely minimal in terms of gameplay, so I did just stick with Spelunkette for the most part, but it’s nice to have the option available regardless. Both characters – and the game as a whole – display an overly cute aesthetic that does suit the experience, although some folks may find it all a bit sickly.

Spelunker Party! is a bog-standard puzzle platformer in which you must explore the depths of the underground in search of treasure. It’s pretty basic stuff, with the majority of tasks limited to finding coloured keys in order to progress

through locked doorways, all the while dodging a number of deadly obstacles along the way. The levels gently increase in difficulty as you progress, although you’d be forgiven for finding the game a tad frustrating from the get-go. Your cute little character is actually a bit of a weakling, and it only takes the slightest error to cause instant death. Fall from a certain height? Dead. Trip into a trap? Dead. Get hit by bat droppings? DEAD. No, I’m not joking. Bat droppings can kill you. I don’t know if they’re toxic or if the sheer velocity of the fecal matter is too much for our intrepid little explorer, but there you go. How much of an issue this is may depend on your overall gaming experience. As someone who has grown up with a multitude of platform games at my fingertips, I’ve become accustomed to being able to make death-defying leaps of faith and live to tell the tale. Dying from a two-foot fall in Spelunker Party! was immediately jarring and it admittedly took me a long while to get to grips with the mechanics. This isn’t to say the game is bad, as such, because it’s not. It just feels like it was made more difficult than it necessarily should be to compensate for a lack of variety between the levels. Once you’ve seen a few levels, you’ve seen them all, and they’re not all that complex. Branching tunnels take you to hidden treasures and keys, but ultimately you’re funnelled down a fairly linear path with

PUBLISHER Square Enix

AT A GLANCE 36

Switch Player

NA: 19th October EU: 19th October 3.5 GB

DEVELOPER Tozai Games E-SHOP PRICING £24.99 | €29.99

Written by Ollie Reynolds @Olliemar28

no wriggle room for exploration. Thankfully, Spelunker Party! is given a breath of fresh air when played with friends in either online or offline modes, and I think this is how it is meant to be played. The experience flows a lot better than in the single-player mode, although it should be noted that my time in the online mode was marred by severe lag. All in all, Spelunker Party! is a reasonably competent platform game that is unfortunately held back by frustrating gameplay and severe lack of variety and complexity. It’s fun for a little while, but at a rather steep price of £24.99/$29.99, it’s hard to recommend this game when there are better and cheaper platformers on the eShop.

VERDICT If you're after a fun little multiplayer platform game, Spelunker Party! will briefly fill that void. Sadly, it falls short of a recommendation thanks to its steep price and outdated design choices. For now, you'd be better off either waiting for a price cut, or looking elsewhere.

2.8 GOOD


REVIEW

Revenant Saga

Nintendo has been a loving home to many quality JRPGs over the years. Big names like Final Fantasy, Xenoblade Chronicles, Bravely Default and The Last Story have all contributed in making Nintendo hardware the go-to systems for JRPG fans worldwide, with the Switch looking set to continue that lofty reputation. Now, let me be as clear as possible – Revenant Saga deserves absolutely no place among these great titles. Originally released on mobile devices by Kemco, Revenant Saga has all the potential to be a great JRPG title, but poor design, ugly graphics and an overreliance on character dialogue make it an entirely forgettable, almost painful experience. The premise revolves around the threat of so-called ‘Revenants’ – dark beasts intent on destroying civilisation. They bring with them an apparently incurable plague that has already claimed many lives, including the parents of the main character Albert. Our naïve young protagonist sets off on an adventure to rid the world of Revenants, cure the plague and save his friend Anna. It’s a surprisingly dark premise, but set against such a colourful and bright backdrop does not give the story the justice it deserves. I never felt any urgency to the proceedings and the

characters were entirely forgettable. To make things even worse, the plot grinds to a halt before it even has chance to find its footing. JRPGs are known for their heavy exposition, but Revenant Saga takes it to absurd levels with an abundance of overlong dialogue sessions. It’s not out of the ordinary to come out of a dialogue scene and walk a few feet only to trigger yet another one that lasts for a good five minutes or so. Think of the Codec sessions from Metal Gear Solid, only without the voice acting. The issues don’t end there. The graphics are both dire and glitch-ridden, with only a spark of quality present during the game’s battle sequences. Traversing the landscape will bring you across a multitude of towns and caves, but nothing shows even a hint of inspiration, it’s all just so dull. Buildings and trees all look as if they’ve just been copied over and over, with little to differentiate themselves from each other. The entire landscape lacks any character, reinforcing a general disinterest in what could have been an intriguing and engaging adventure. Graphical issues extend to the character sprites themselves. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the way they look, but the animation is just bizarre. The protagonist looks as though he’s floating across the ground as you navigate the environment, and the NPCs are in a constant state of walking animation even when they’re completely rooted to the spot. It’s such a jarring

PUBLISHER KEMCO

AT A GLANCE

NA: 19th October EU: 19th October

Written by Ollie Reynolds @Olliemar28

thing to see and it completely takes you out of the experience. Thankfully, as mentioned earlier, the game fares slightly better when you’re battling against enemies. Much like JRPGs of the PS1 era, these are depicted within basic 3D environments, but the character models here actually look all right. The battle system itself is pretty standard for a JRPG, but there’s a decent amount of customisation options available as you progress. You can also ‘transform’ during battle, a nifty feature that boosts your abilities and gives your character a bit of a fashion overhaul. Sadly, whatever promise this game does exhibit is lost amongst a sheer mess of an experience that could have – and should have – been much better. If I were judging this as a mobile title, I might have been a bit more lenient, but the Switch is a console that deserves a much more polished experience than Revenant Saga can offer.

VERDICT Revenant Saga contains a worthwhile story premise that tragically gets lost in the midst of an altogether poor experience. JRPG fans may find some enjoyment in the combat mechanics, but for everyone else, not even its reasonable price should tempt you into this.

1.8

DEVELOPER KEMCO E-SHOP PRICING £11.69 | €12.99

POOR

203 MB Switch Player

37


REVIEW

The Count Lucanor

Written by Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

With so many titles hitting the Switch’s eShop around Halloween, it can be really difficult for any game to stand out. The Count Lucanor, fortunately, has managed it. The game combines exploration with stealth and puzzle-solving. What is nice is that each room of the castle has a unique puzzle. Some will have you working out an order to pull a set of levers in order to make a door open to a chest; others have you lighting flames across the room to bring in light and also reveal deathly spikes and enemies which are impossible to see when you first enter. Without giving away too much of the plot, after setting off on your adventure from your mother’s house (our protagonist, Hans, falls out with his mother after she fails to buy get him anything for his birthday), you’ll soon see 38

Switch Player


things taking a grisly turn, up until you eventually arrive in the castle home of the mysterious Count Lucanor. Filled with shock and awe moments, from asking a headless farmer to set his devil goats on other NPCs, to seeing a one-peaceful field of farm animals mutate into death-crazed freaks overnight, this is a prime game for the Halloween market. Along the way you’ll meet a host of borderline-psychotic characters, including an unnamed phantom who sets you your main challenge – solve puzzles all around the castle to reveal chests which contain a letter of his name, and eventually rearrange them in his room to come up with a solution that will open the final door to reveal the path to the Count himself. The characters are memorable and each have their own personality – one or two will be prepared to help you, while others will look to take vengeance against you if you choose to wrong them earlier on.

There are four possible endings, each with their own grim and ghoulish elements. You’ll have a very short window to head to some of the NPCs and provide them with specific items which will allow them to make your quest slightly easier for you. For example, you can access keys to extra rooms in the castle which will get you to otherwiseinaccessible items in the game, as well as unlocking bits of storyline which you might miss on some playthroughs. Look at it as a sort of Decide Your Destiny book – the decisions you make along the way will decide the story you see. Things can become easier and conversely harder all as a result of your own doing.

Sound is something the game does really, really well. Plug in some earphones (the best way to play any horror title on the Switch) works magic. The whirring of the wind both out in the field and with the castle builds a wonderful atmosphere, heightened by the fact that the entire castle is nearly pitch-black unless you get a candle out. You can get spare candles which you can leave to illuminate corridors in the castle, particularly handy later on when enemies patrol them. Other key items can be moved between rooms to solve puzzles – for instance, a ladder will come in handy in one room where you need to get to higher ground.

The length of the game isn’t huge, so it would be fair to describe it almost like a sadistic Halloween bedtime story. You could quite possibly play through the whole thing in one evening, but that doesn’t affect the enjoyment one bit. One thing that has to be said for it, though – when playing through it for the first time, and breaking it up into short play bursts every day, it’s a game that really retains your attention, and has you eager to dive back into it.

For what it’s worth, The Count Lucanor is a great All Hallow’s Tale and is right at home on Switch. An engaging story and interesting subplots, a level of suspense consistently maintained throughout the storytelling and some enjoyable puzzling all factor in for a bundle of fun.

VERDICT The Count Lucanor is definitely worth a place in your Switch eShop library. Comprising a castle of a range of different puzzle challenges in each room, it's like a scarier version of the Crystal Maze. Wellwritten storytelling also helps its case, and while it may not be long, it certainly is memorable.

4.4

AT A GLANCE

PUBLISHER Merge Games

DEVELOPER Merge Games

NA: 18th October EU: 18th October

E-SHOP PRICING £11.99 | €13.49

EXCELLE

NT

363 MB Switch Player

39


REVIEW

Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle

Written by Alex Luck-Power @LuckyPower_

For those who aren’t familiar, Touhou games are known for their immensely difficult ‘bullethell’ shoot ’em up games with incredible soundtracks and a cast of anime girls. How well does this translate into a 3D fighting game in Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle? Let’s dive into the review of its release on Switch. The characters, settings and references in this game come from Touhou 6, and if you’re coming in fresh to the series, the content of this title will go over your head and the sequencing of events in the Story will feel very alienating. All 9 playable characters go through a similar series of events, consisting of 5 fights between AI opponents and a boss in the form of a giant head. Though it hardly feels like a story, since all of the fights feel forced and nothing is ever contextualised or justified. Insignificant things lead to ‘I guess I’ll have to force you’ in almost every section of dialogue, proceeded by chucking you into a ‘danmaku’ battle. You get an incredibly lacking story which gets repetitive 40

Switch Player


after the first few run-throughs, which is an atrocious absence of content for a retail release. Moving on from the worst aspect of the game, you’ve also got an Arcade mode (seeing how many opponents you can defeat consecutively), Score Attack (defeating endless opponents to aim at a high score), Vs Com (Training or AI battle), Vs Human (split-screen multiplayer) and Vs Online (online play, and for some reason local wireless is categorised in here too). Considering the awful Story, painfully easy AI and (almost) nonexistent online lobbies, the best mode of the game has to be local multiplayer. It supports single Joy-Con play, though oddly all other modes don’t, and will force you into using 2 Joy-Con or a Pro Controller. A lot of small things like this make the game feel unfinished, such as no tutorial, noticeable audio crackle, a dodgy camera and obviously the scarce amount of content. Though the music remixes are really nice!

to do, but overusing these actions will make you Fatigued and unable to move. Manoeuvrability and fluidity between using different attacks and techniques gives the game a solid combat system and it is a joy to play between more skilled players. That being said, for a franchise that’s notorious for being difficult this game is far too easy and unbalanced. Some characters can nearly destroy others in a single hit of a regular attack, whereas your Spell Card (your most powerful move that has to be charged) may only do a scratch whilst an even more overpowered character is available as paid DLC – which I feel is incredibly cheeky, given the limited roster. The highest-level AI can’t perform basic things like Quick Fall and can be punished just as easily as a low-level AI. On top of this, the only boss in the game has barely any collision, so you can actually hide and attack it from the inside!

Despite the questionable legitimacy of the cause of combat, it is undoubtedly the best aspect of the game. Armed with 3 types of attacks which can be modified depending on how you’re moving and which other buttons you combine with them. Some modifications drastically change the properties of the move, while most just alter the trajectory or path of your projectiles (of which make up the majority of your arsenal). You only have a few melee attacks but in most cases you’ll be fighting from a distance, dodging and dishing out hell storms of magical bullets. Dashing and flying at high speed when your Action Gauge is full is so fun

Overall, this game feels unfinished and is missing key elements and content that could have developed it into at least a decent title worthy of its price. Even my friend who is a die-hard Touhou fan (who helped me test multiplayer) told me how he got the impression it was more of a demo or beta build, and pales in comparison to the 2D fighters in the series. I have no idea how it got through Quality Assurance, unless they were only looking for accurate Touhou references and decent combat, because that’s all that the game delivers.

VERDICT Despite accurately interpreting a respected franchise and having solid foundations for a fighting game, Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle delivers a slither of content that is not only disappointingly lacklustre. but also unwelcoming for newcomers and littered with inconsistencies and glitches that further hinder the quality of the experience. Local multiplayer is where this may redeem itself, but even that's stretching it for a retail game. For the price, it's not something I'd recommend..

2.5 PUBLISHER NIS America

AT A GLANCE

NA:13th October EU: 13th October

DEVELOPER NIS America

POOR

E-SHOP PRICING £13.99 | €29.99

1.0 GB Switch Player

41


REVIEW

NBA 2K18

Written by Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

After a taster with NBA Playgrounds, NBA 2K18 offers the first true 2K basketball experience on a Nintendo console in just about five years.

NBA 2K13, the last game, was a Wii U launch title, and actually was a lot of fun. It offered options to carry your players through postmatch press conferences, even blaming janitors if you wanted to if things had all gone pearshaped out on the court. But, with five years of yearly updates elsewhere, surely the formula is drastically different by this point. In reality, it’s a bit of both ways; the game has certainly added features predominantly off the court, but the actual meat and potatoes of the sport itself could well be the same game. But the impressiveness of the immersive stuff away from the arenas which feel like things have been stepped up several notches. Conquering the streets, as the promotional material has implored us to do, takes place in the My Career mode, where you design a player and take him from 3vs3 street matches to megabucks under the lights for the pro teams. You can also hit the gym to play minigames to improve your stats – this gets you more playing time from the coach, and is really worth doing as much as you can. The cutscenes here are 42

Switch Player


great and add to the realism – why EA removed these bits from FIFA for Switch is still bemusing. On the court, things are a little easier for newcomers than on other sports games that we’ve seen on Switch so far. Pressing a certain button to pass, another to go for the hoop and another to intercept is great for an audience that may be unfamiliar with basketball, and then after a bit of practice you’re able to complicate things. Experienced players aren’t at a huge level of disadvantage when it comes to taking on newbies, either – I’ve played in numerous multiplayer games where the person tapping buttons overcame the one trying to use the finesse that the shoulder button controls offer. But that’s not to say things are easy – you’ll need to adopt an approach of strategy. There are tutorials to help you along the way – something that was sorely lacking in RBI Baseball 2017 a month ago – and this helps to get you up to speed.

Sadly, NBA 2K18 has two crippling disasters which threaten to gazump the blow-you-away effect that the overall package has worked so hard to achieve. Firstly, the memory issue. Each of the packaged versions of the game comes with a glaring warning on the cover that a MicroSD card is required. To stop and think about that – this is a game which costs, at minimum, about £50 to start with. The Legend Edition will set you back £30 more. To then have to go out and buy a memory card to even start up the game is a kick in the teeth. The Legend Edition Gold which came to North America physically and the eShop only elsewhere prompts an even more unreasonable spend. The other issue is also money-related. The emphasis on micro-transactions is creeping in sharply to sports games nowadays, from FIFA’s Ultimate Team to a ton of things on offer in NBA 2K18. The fact that the Gold Edition costs well over a hundred quid on the eShop is a joke – no sports title should cost that much. Sports titles are the sort of games you’ll see on second-half shop shelves for peanuts just a few months after release, so it really is a cheek to continue to ask so much from them.

Sound-wise it’s the same rap and related genres that you’d come to expect from an American sports sim – Jay-Z’s not here to deliver the soundtrack like he was in 2013, but it hardly affects the overall sound in any way. Visually, though, it’s pretty, and looking beyond the obvious product placement, this is the closest most will get to feeling like a star of the courts. It’s probably worth waiting for the inevitable sports game price drop that this will experience in a few months. But for the basketball fanatics among you, go grab it. Feeling a part of the community when running around the “neighbourhood” is a great experience, and while online modes are of course out of reach for the most part when you’re on the go, you should try it for yourself on Switch.

VERDICT As part of a wave of sports sims to be hitting the Switch right now, it's once again a great time to be a sports fan who just plays Nintendo systems, like me. Just like FIFA, WWE and the like, NBA's absence has been sorely felt by Nintendo fans, so you ought to go out and add this stellar entry to your shelves.

4.0 PUBLISHER 2K Games

AT A GLANCE

NA: 15th September EU: 15th September

DEVELOPER 2K Games

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £54.99 | €59.99

7.3 GB Switch Player

43


REVIEW

Splasher

it makes your jumps longer and keeps your character moving at all times. You have to tactfully utilise the red paint you have mastered earlier to slow your character down to help navigate the various traps.

Splasher looks like your run of the mill indie 2D platformer, it has its gimmicks sure, but this game is just really enjoyable to play. It may not be unique but the execution of gameplay here is what helps this game stand out. So, back to those gimmicks. Your special power is your paint gun which sounds lame but thankfully is much better in practice. There are various different colours of paint, each with their own power. Red paint, for example, is sticky – great for running up walls but awful for going fast. You’ll gain the ability to fire these paints from your gun and it becomes a challenge using your paint gun to create a route through the levels. The platforming itself is wonderfully fast and fluid, it almost feels on par with the likes of Rayman. The levels are carefully crafted and each one focuses in on a specific feature and explores it fully, requiring you to understand the ins and outs. The game then utilises this knowledge and builds upon it to really flesh out later levels. One level features a strong wind blowing across the level,

AT A GLANCE 44

Switch Player

All in all the game isn’t particularly hard, most levels are straightforward to get through, though for those looking to challenge their skills a little more there are various workers for you to save (collect) and these are often placed in more difficult to reach areas and, as such, require a bit more precise platforming. Completionists will have their skills tested going through all the levels trying to save all these workers, the only real pain here is the checkpoints. These can be placed far apart in some instances and dying restores the workers to the level so you’d have to re-save them and this can be tricky at the best of times. It works against the feeling of fluidity in the rest of the game but all in all is a minor setback. To emphasise how much the game leans into the fast and fluid style of gameplay, the game also features a speed-run mode which ditches the workers to save and simply tasks you with getting from beginning to end of the level as fast as you can.

Written by Reece Heyworth @rheyworth07

really minor issues when the gameplay excels as much as it does. I spent more time enjoying the soundtrack than I spent noticing the same robo-bulls (I have no idea why a factory has these either) trying to kill me. On the whole, Splasher is an excellent example of how a platformer should feel and it seems to take a lot of lessons from the likes of Rayman. I’d personally like to see what could be done with a sequel with a larger scope and, at the end of the day, what better praise can be given than wanting a sequel.

VERDICT Splasher is a platformer that wears its influences on its sleeve from a story taken straight from Oddworld and gameplay that can almost match Rayman. The game offers a nicely refined platforming experience that really nails the fast and fluid style, the game is a great showcase of how these games should play and the only praise this game needs is that I would like to see a sequel that expands on these ideas.

Visually the game looks clean and crisp with its vibrant art style but quickly runs out of fresh looks as the games go on, enemies start to repeat quickly. Levels all have a samey feel as they’re confined to being set in a single factory with seemingly limited variety but these are

PUBLISHER Plug In Digital

DEVELOPER Plug In Digital

NA: 26th October EU: 26th October

E-SHOP PRICING £12.99 | €14.99

1.3 GB

3.8 GOOD


REVIEW

The Jackbox Party Pack 4

Yes, they already had all of the content ready and waiting to use at their disposal, but something’s got to be said for how quickly Jackbox Games have managed to put together four Party Packs’ worth of contributions to the Switch eShop. So let’s rattle right into the games, which of course are the bread and butter of the package. Fibbage 3 opens us up – this one is unchanged, minus the content of the questions, of course, from the Fibbage offerings in the other Jackbox Games. Each player needs a phone, and you’ll enter incorrect answers with the aim of convincing the other players they’re genuine. Then, all submitted answers will be added to the correct answer and one wrong answer created by the house – and then each player will need to choose the one they think is the correct one. It’s all very easy to grasp, but not quite as easy to figure out the correct answers, as the general knowledge is very niche. A new subset of Fibbage, Enough About You has you guessing facts about your fellow players in a slight adjustment to the formula.

Survive the Internet is the second main game, and again this has you taking cues before you can generate as funny an input as you like. The ultimate formula is the same though – everyone submits their answers, and then the group each

decide which answer made them laugh the most.

Monster Seeking Monster is up next, and here you are taking part in what is basically an online dating game but one where you’ll need to come up with answers to try to impress a potential match – you’ll target the character you want to attempt to woo, and eventually you’ll end up pairing ghosts with humans. It’s all rather weird. Bracketeering has a Virtual Boy-esque retro gaming feel – a 3D-looking isometric grid provides the background, but the main attraction here is a game formed around a bracketology which generates popularity contests, sometimes mixing things up by not showing you answers you’re competing against. Audience votes come into play to decide progression; this one’s better the more players you have on board. Lastly, Civic Doodle has you townplanning in the form of drawing. From scribbling your name onto a “Hi My Name Is” badge to designing things for a mural in the town, this one can be interesting and is a welcome alternative from the other games in the package – which are all comparatively similar. Tragically, there’s no return for the wonderful Blast Corps game from the second Jackbox Party Pack, and in fact, there’s nothing here whatsoever that one person can get stuck into on their own. I found fault with that in my reviews of the earlier games in the

PUBLISHER Jackbox Games

AT A GLANCE

NA: 19th October EU: 19th October

Written by Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

collection; unless you’ve got a group of people together, which for a lot of people is not a viable option for much of the time, you’re not going to even think about touching the game. Sadly, that is a flaw here too: Fibbage 3 can be played with two people, but if you want to play anything else you’re going to need a minimum of three. You’re also going to need an internet connection – there’s no playing this in the car – at least, not on your Switch, without getting into the fiddly business of hooking your Switch up to a phone hotspot. However, if, for example, you had friends somewhere else who were livestreaming a game, you could take part remotely from your car using your phone’s data – but you’d likely need a second display phone for showing the livestream, alongside the one that you’re entering your answers into.

VERDICT As I've previously maintained, these games' worth can only really be determined if you have loads of people handy, and people who can think of entertaining answers at that. Sadly, the price point is far too much for what it is - you're going to need to fork out about £100 for all four of the packs. The sum of the parts isn't worth what's being charged for the whole.

2.4

DEVELOPER Jackbox Games E-SHOP PRICING £19.99 | €24.99

POOR

1.0 GB Switch Player

45


Moon Hunters

Written by James Sweeting

What separates each playthrough the most is the different character classes that can be chosen from, each with different load-out and play style. You are able to choose which village your character comes from which dictates where in the world you start the game and subsequently the surrounding areas you will likely visit after during your quest. Some classes are better suited than others depending on whether playing solo, two player, or part of a full team. Combat performs well, but often it is better not to take risks, as death will waste any meaningful progress made, resulting in a weaker character. If you find yourself in this situation, then the end of the playthrough is either going to be a drawn-out slog or a very quick takedown.

Each playthrough ends with a fight against Sun Cult Leader King Mardokh, making good on his promise of action. The main problem with this though is that it still feels too sudden, what’s more, he has an over exaggerated idea of your “exploits” when seemingly you haven’t achieved anything of note. Plus, during the playthrough the game fails to explain why the Sun Cult is so bad, it’s only later that you learn their goal is to eradicate all worshippers of the Moon Goddess.

REVIEW

Moon Hunters describes itself as a “personality test RPG”, a bold claim, but not unachievable. Unfortunately, the extent to which the game is altered by your playstyle is minimal and underwhelming. The optimal way to play Moon Hunters is in a party, as the game supports up to four players locally. The intended premise is something resembling a tabletop adventure, where each player is a different class – resulting in a cohesive team unit – and the actions of the players dictate how the story unfolds. Each playthrough – which lasts no longer than an hour – will, therefore, be different to the one that came before. The overarching story starts the same for each playthrough with a feast celebrating the moonrise – a custom for worshippers of the Moon Goddess – only to discover that on this occasion the feast has failed, and the moon has not risen. It is up to you (and your team if playing co-op) to visit the other villages to try and learn why. This also happens to coincide with the rise of the evergrowing Sun Cult and their leader King Mardokh who will declare war within five in-game days.

AT A GLANCE 46

Switch Player

There are interactions with NPCs, mostly in villages and sometimes in the wild, but for a “personality test RPG” the ramifications of dealing with these people is disappointing. Your character’s traits will change as a result, such as becoming more patient, bold, or foolish, but the impact on the world is minimal. Though there are times where an NPC – often a magical animal of some sort – will give you a choice, you’ll either be rewarded or punished. The punishment can see your character’s attributes greatly diminished, significantly reducing your chances of success against the boss at the end.

PUBLISHER Kitfox Games

DEVELOPER Kitfox Games

NA: 26th October EU: 26th October

E-SHOP PRICING £9.99 | €14.99

1.8 GB

@CrazyBlue

Whether or not you succeed is almost irrelevant as the game will provide you with an ending regardless. Finishing a playthrough is when the most interesting aspect of the game presents itself, as new starting locations are unlocked, as well as additional character classes to choose from. You also have access to an overview of your previous playthroughs, as past characters become constellations where you can read a short bio about their experience. It’s a novel visual touch that gives a forgettable quest some gravitas.

VERDICT Moon Hunters is more than the retrostyled action game that screenshots would lead you to believe, but it is also less than the “personality test RPG” that it sets out to be. A fun evening with friends could be had, but don’t expect to find a lasting experience.

3.3 GOOD


REVIEW

Knight Terrors

What stands out to me about Knight Terrors is how true to its roots it is, creatively combining elements of the retro era with the simple and addictive formats of mobile gaming. An endless runner that requires some skill, unashamedly inspired by the likes of “birds that are flappy”, to quote the eShop description, and a certain shoot ’em up that sounds similar to ‘K-Type’ (a game mode). You take control of “The Knight”, who constantly runs through endless monsters and demons with the objective of slashing each and every one. Letting three of them past you or losing all your health will result in a game over. Scoring certain amounts of points will net you new power-ups and unlock the four game modes other than Normal. The gameplay is smooth and works wonderfully, integrating a ‘flap’ with tight controls and an attack with a hitbox that extends just where you’d want it to be to skillfully slice enemies

in front with a little vertical leniency. Simple enough so that most people can pick it up and play, but effective enough so that skillful players will get challenged as the difficulty seriously ramps up. Though I wish they would have made the face button layout line up diagonally since you have to stretch your thumb (or finger) across from Y to A. There are still eight other ways to input between jump and attack, but none of the options feel intuitive for this style of game. Unless you’re a big mobile gamer, because you can actually use the Switch’s touchscreen to do everything (though it isn’t stated anywhere, I just discovered it by accident), which explains the mysterious gap at the bottom of the screen. Content-wise, you get a lot for what you pay. Though the modes seem rather iterative using largely the same assets and mechanics, the way they’re implemented keeps each one moderately distinct and fresh enough that you actually have to adapt and learn about each one. You have two where you have to keep flying, including K-type where you always have a projectile, and three variations of platform runners. Each enemy has different behaviour and the power-ups are varied and can be used quite strategically. And levels are procedurally generated too, so things are always mixed up even within a single mode.

Written by Alex Luck-Power @LuckyPower_

sequence and similar melodies, even in the menus. Every four levels it shakes it up a bit to make it more tense, and it’s all really catchy. Even my younger brother who doesn’t like retro stuff couldn’t stop banging his head to it, and I couldn’t imagine anything else playing to it! The platforms, spikes and platforms make up the background and even though they frequently change colour, having the screen mostly black all the time is quite bland. Ultimately, it’s a fantastic blend of retro gaming with mobile formatting and mechanics. I can see it appealing to many audiences, and feel that the Switch is the best fit for this multi-platform release due to its mobile potential.

VERDICT A fantastic combination of the old and new. Small in content, but Knight Terrors gives a quality experience that you can pick up and play any time. It's really cheap, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone that takes their Switch on the go a lot and wants something to pass the time.

The music is also rather iterative, with all of it being based on the same chord PUBLISHER Nicalis

AT A GLANCE

NA: 24th October EU: 24th October

DEVELOPER Nicalis

3.6 GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £2.69 | €2.99

56 MB Switch Player

47


REVIEW

Elliot Quest

As you can expect from a Metroidvania, your progress is tailored by your current set of skills. In order to access new areas, or find secrets in maps you’ve already visited, you must gather a series of equipment, skills and magic powers – which will expand your ability to manage the The eShop release rate shows no signs of challenges you face. The main challenge, slowing down anytime soon and the latest however, is that Elliot Quest is a very Metroidvania game to try to tempt you is stubborn game and will annoy you frequently as it doesn’t really explain Elliot Quest. Is this one of the little gems anything to you, and does a bad job of on the eShop or one to avoid? indicating where – or what – your next objective is. Due to this, you’ll often Not solely restricted to the Metroidvania wander aimlessly, exploring already genre, Elliot Quest also mixes up many visited places again in order to figure out RPG elements into a side-scrolling action game. It looks and feels like an ode to the what exactly you’ve missed. often-neglected Zelda II: The Adventure of You could argue that an adventure that Link, and brings more to the table than it may seem at a first glance. You control the encourages exploration is exactly what titular hero Elliot, who, in possession of his makes a good Metroidvania, but the bow and arrows, must travel all over Urele problem with Elliot Quest is that it is very island, exploring dungeons, finding new harsh when it comes to checkpoints. skills and beating the all-mighty guardians. Every time you come back to a previously visited area, you will be required to The game features a top-down map of complete the same map once again. the island, and you must explore it to Some of them are very challenging, so find caves, temples and even cities. Once you may see yourself dying and redoing you enter these locations (highlighted the same map three or four times, just by an exclamation mark on top of Elliot’s because you had no clue that you needed head), your perspective changes to the a new skill for that set scenario. 2D side-scrolling, in which you’ll engage into platform challenges, combat against When it comes to narrative, though, enemies, and puzzle solving. Elliot Quest is much deeper than you may have expected from this kind of game. Elliot’s motivations are gradually presented to you in form of thoughts and flashbacks, what he did in the past. This is what drives him into this big and PUBLISHER PlayEveryWare

AT A GLANCE 48

Switch Player

NA: 19th October EU: 19th October 169 MB

DEVELOPER Ansimuz Games E-SHOP PRICING £8.99 | €9.99

Written by Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro

dangerous quest, and it gives you mixed feelings about whether he is doing the right thing after all. The game also has a karma system, so the smallest action may have unexpected consequences, ultimately triggering different endings for our hero’s journey. Everything is portrayed in a very simple 8-bit visual style reminiscent of a NES title, and is accompanied by a simplistic chiptune-like soundtrack. This doesn’t make Elliot Quest particularly remarkable, unless you’re really nostalgic-driven. That said, it still presents an enjoyable adventure that may be just what you need, if you’re still looking for a more hardcore and challenging Metroidvania game.

VERDICT Elliot Quest looks like a lost sidescrolling game from the NES area. Very nostalgia-driven, it takes form as a hardcore side-scrolling action game, which may be too for some tastes. Those up to the challenge, though, will be rewarded with a surprisingly deep game.

3.4 GOOD


REVIEW

Wheels of Aurelia

option. Whilst evolving the story you’ll also be expected to navigate past traffic, you can do this by using the left analogue stick – with forks in the road which you can choose to turn off if you wish. There are many different people who come into the story depending on which paths you take, each with there own dynamic personalities that can change depending on the dialogue choices and the turns you make. For example, in one playthrough I saw an instance in which one character turned particularly nasty based on the choices I made which affected the game’s ending dramatically.

Wheels of Aurelia is an interesting take on the visual novel genre. Set in 1978 it follows the story of two girls travelling from Rome to Ventimiglia – the ItalianFrench border – as they try to run away from their life problems. Along the way they’ll meet strangers, each with their own backstories and, depending on the choices you make, each of them changing Speaking of endings, Wheels of Aurelia the conclusion to the story. has 16 different endings to unlock which What separates Wheels of Aurelia is great considering each playthrough only lasts around 10-15 minutes. Upon from other visual novels is that you’re completing my first run through I was expected to actually drive the car as incredibly disappointed by the length the story unfolds, adding a gameplay mechanic that adds something different of the game, this same disappointment was reconfirmed after subsequent from the usual reading blocks of text playthroughs took the same amount of surrounded by static images that you’d time. Before I knew it I had unlocked five associate with the genre. of the endings and was well on my way for the sixth. The gameplay here is quite simple to grasp, the car will normally drive itself, but you can speed up the car by pressing The presentation leaves a lot to be the B button. Whilst driving the car, text desired, I couldn’t connect with the art will pop up on the screen – when it’s your style at all and while the environments you travel through do change; none of characters turn to speak you can press them look like places I’d personally want the Y button to change your dialogue to explore. The soundtrack, however, is filled with Italian rock songs that play in the background as you travel, and while they do sound catchy they’re too quiet to enjoy properly. PUBLISHER MixedBag

AT A GLANCE

NA: 2nd November EU: 2nd November

DEVELOPER Santa Ragione

Written by Liam Langan

@LiamHangover

There are plenty of twists and turns throughout the story that might interest others, but I found it very difficult to care about the characters and events going on around me. Maybe if the game was longer I might’ve had more time to warm into the story and I may have been able to enjoy Wheels of Aurelia a little more. At its current price tag I would say there isn’t much here in the way of value for money: it may be better to wait for a discount before picking this one up.

VERDICT Wheels of Aurelia is a disappointing attempt at bringing the Visual Novel genre to the Switch, it's too short to be engaging, and at its current price tag seems a bit too steep.

1.9 POOR

E-SHOP PRICING £8.99 | €9.99

425 MB Switch Player

49


REVIEW

Time Recoil

Time Recoil is a stylish top-down, roguelike allocated to you – these special moves are used by hitting the ZL button and shooter set in a series of buildings across can include electrical pulses which take a number of different time eras. out everyone within a limited radius in front of you, or smashing anyone in sight Armed with your usual options of who’s on the other side of a thin wall. weaponry – a handgun, an automatic, a shotgun and so on – most levels are set around negotiating your way across a floor If you’ve played Neurovoider already or two of a building, popping off shots on the Switch eShop, this isn’t too delicately in the direction of enemies. dissimilar. The handling is the same You’ll need to be careful about your aim – moving with the left stick and firing and the number of bullets you fire off off shots while aiming with the right, because ammo is limited but, fortunately, but Time Recoil offers a more human most enemies will only need to take a element and has a better personality and shot or two to be bumped off. You’ll need story about it as a result. to use walls and doors for cover and then plot a path throughout the floor to reach Some levels ask you to kill all the your objective with as minimal a risk to enemies in sight, while others have you your health as possible because if you capturing characters while being careful take one hit, you’re a goner. The enemies not to shoot them by accident. That’s are usually very accurate, and if you’re not no mean feat, either – the action is all careful, they’ll pop a bullet through you quick, and with the bullets spraying with aplomb. everywhere, it’s easy to get someone unintentionally caught in the crossfire That’s where the Time Recoil of the game – especially on levels where explosives are piled against every wall. Precision comes into play. Basically, scientists is key with every shot. But some quite discovered that our lady protagonist has an ability to slow down time, and does this gruesome blood effects see it spatter everywhere when either you or an enemy when picking off enemies. Striking down one enemy sets this into motion, and then is struck, leading to a quite emphatic for a window of just a few moments, time visual presentation. will slow – allowing you to dodge enemy bullets and pick off even more before they Between levels, you’ll have a briefing have a chance to react. The more that you from somebody in your home era of 1987. It’s here where the rapid load do manage to take out during the recoil, speeds of the Switch game cards come the higher a power of special move is into play. The majority of levels end with you creating a wormhole to return back to your era, and then the switch from screen to screen is instantaneous. You’ll have two or three lines of story-driven PUBLISHER 10tons

AT A GLANCE 50

Switch Player

NA: 26th October EU: 26th October 270 MB

Written by Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

dialogue from a relevant character, then you’re jumping back into the wormhole and you’re away again. It really is as quick as that, and it gives a real sense of speed to the game. There won’t be any moments where you’re sitting back waiting for the next bit of excitement to begin; you’re thrust back into the action almost as soon as you’ve left it. Music is your usual roguelike fodder, a catchy tune playing on repeat in the background that you won’t really pay much notice to. Where Time Recoil excels though is in the storytelling and atmosphere – your home era does manage to feel like home in just a short amount of time, and that makes it effective when – spoiler alert – its sanctity comes under threat a short way into the game. At £11.99 or $13.99, Time Recoil is decent value for money – you’ll get plenty of replay value out of it both with its achievement targets and simply working through each level in as quick a time as possible.

VERDICT Time Recoil is a quick-paced, enjoyable shooter-come-puzzler, which has plenty to keep players entertained. It's not quite a unique entity in the Switch eShop, which has a number of other games from the same genre, but it's definitely worth a play if you've got the funds for it.

3.2

DEVELOPER Time Recoil E-SHOP PRICING £11.99 | €13.99

GOOD


REVIEW

Morphite

Ah, the thrill of exploring the universe! Travel through many different worlds, exploring their landscape, and examine the fauna and flora within in order to gather resources to upgrade your equipment. Considering how much attention this premise attracted with No Man’s Sky, it isn’t surprising that other developers would try something similar. Previously a mobile game, Morphite is Crescent Moon Games’ interpretation of No Man’s Sky, and while it gathers many similarities to Hello Games’ title, it’s not quite the same. For starters, it has a proper campaign, with a storyline to guide your journey through the stars. You play as Myrah, a woman who lives and works on a space station. It doesn’t take much for her to discover that the titular morphite, in fact, a very rare and legendary substance that people claim to have found scattered throughout the universe. You then begin your adventure to find these so-called morphites and undercover their real meaning and how they can affect the whole space. This journey takes you to many different solar systems, each with its own space station and planets to visit and explore. You don’t have direct control over your ship while travelling between them; instead you can choose your destinations within the cockpit using a

menu that displays all the constellations available at that particular moment. How far you can go will be determined by your fuel reserves, which can be refilled slowly with time – or by spending money at space stations. This way, the game encourages you to drop by the planets, gathering resources while you wait for your ship to be ready again. The main action of Morphite takes place when you explore. Upon landing on a planet, you’re free to view it from a FPS perspective with some basic platforming and puzzle challenges thrown in, as well as combat. Initially, you’ll have a pistol and a scanner at your disposal, but you find other equipment as you progress. By pressing ZR, you can either shoot at enemies or scan plants and animals in order to gather resources. Just as you might expect, some animals will exhibit calm behavior, while others will attack you on sight. Due to this, you’re constantly put in combat situations, and, well, here lies one of the bigger issues with the game.

Morphite’s shooting mechanics are very imprecise. You’ll often see your shots going through the enemies and not connecting for some unknown reason. This gets a little worse when most of the enemies attack in melee range. They run straight at you and seem to disappear from your field of view – as if they just walked under your feet. The game acknowledges this and has an implemented auto-aim system, which can be activated by pressing R. Still, when you’re fighting multiple enemies, it

PUBLISHER Blowfish Studios

AT A GLANCE

NA: 2nd November EU: 2nd November

Written by Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro

seems that you have too many steps to take. The exploring side of Morphite compensates some of these flaws. It has both randomly generated planets as well as handcrafted ones (in which the story takes place), so you’re often finding new and interesting things. Everything is presented with a unique low poly style that may not be to everyone’s taste, but can be pleasant on its terms, especially due to the Metroid-esque soundtrack that nicely accentuates it, making you feel as if you’re really exploring alien worlds. In the end, Morphite seems like a rough gemstone. While it does have some very interesting elements when it comes to its narrative and space exploration, it also has some hard-tooverlook flaws. It is a game that could be really deep and enjoyable to some people, but I can only for those that really want this type of experience.

VERDICT Morphite is a space exploration adventure that does well in creating the feeling that you’re visiting its many alien worlds. With a unique low poly style, it falls short for having poor and inconsistent combat. Those that can overlook this will find a deep and enjoyable journey.

2.9

DEVELOPER Crescent Moon Games E-SHOP PRICING £13.49 | €14.99

GOOD

614 MB Switch Player

51


REVIEW

Sonic Forces

Written by Liam Langan

@LiamHangover

It’s no secret that Sonic has been having somewhat of a midlife crisis as of late. Since an attempt to reboot the series back in 2006, an attempt which has gone down as historically one of the worst games ever made – Sonic has never truly found his feet since. Although in 2011, to celebrate his 20th anniversary we were treated to Sonic Generations which looked like a true return to form. So, why would I be talking about a 2011 game to start talking about Sonic’s most recent adventure? Well, Sonic Forces feels like a direct sequel of sorts to Generations, a lot of the gameplay styles that made that game special make a return here alongside a new twist that changes things up significantly, but the question falls down to, is Sonic Forces a worthwhile entry to the series? The story begins with Sonic relaxing in the all too familiar area of Green Hill. Things seem to be going well before Sonic receives a distress call from Tails. Racing through Green Hill he starts to notice changes in the environment. The once green area has now been flooded with sand and a bunch of enemies and, upon reaching Tails, he’s greeted by a new foe, one that defeats Sonic. 52

Switch Player


The game then skips ahead 6 months and, with Sonic presumed dead, Eggman has taken over the world. Upon learning that Sonic is actually alive and imprisoned on Eggman’s mechanical spaceship the Death Egg, the surviving cast of Sonic’s friends form a resistance and task their newest member, you, to help them board the Death Egg, rescue Sonic and bring Eggman’s reign to an end. I personally found the plot to be overly far-fetched and complicated for a Sonic the Hedgehog game, but the gameplay remains faithfully constant. Sonic Forces controls exactly how you’d expect a Sonic game to control – you run at incredibly fast speeds, pressing B to jump over obstacles. The same button will allow you to use Sonic’s iconic homing attack on enemies to kill them, but these controls only apply to modern Sonic. Classic Sonic and your very own created character have their own set of controls that are also very easy to get used to and the game will always give you control prompts at the top of the screen to give you suggestions on how to proceed. Speaking of custom characters, these are fully customisable from the clothing they wear to the kind of Wispons they use. Wispons come in different elements, for example, fire Wispons will come in the form of flamethrowers that you can fire for extended periods of time to burn through waves of enemies, while electronic Wispons will come of the form of a whip which will take out any enemies within a close vicinity.

You unlock new customisable items for your avatar by completing stages and a list of goals, which can be found on the games map screen. These vary from gaining an S rank in stages to completing a stage within a certain amount of time. Unlocks are also hidden behind an XP system – which you earn by completing stages. You will level up as you progress, but this doesn’t provide any stat increases to your character and just appears to be in the game as an attempt to include a progression system.

Some of the levels in Sonic Forces are great fun, with a few of the set pieces being the best of any Sonic games from recent memory. One particular stage has an interesting part where it looks strikingly similar to the Death Star trench run from Star Wars and it was an absolute joy to play through. On the other hand, however, Sonic Forces has six different boss fights which were all far too easy in my opinion and these were definitely my least favourite part of the game.

The story progresses via conversations between each level that are presented in text boxes akin to those found in Starfox with spoken dialogue as well as fully voiced cutscenes which, unfortunately, aren’t very well voice acted. The cutscenes do look fantastic however and the animation is very well done.

To summarise, Sonic Forces isn’t a disaster like Sonic The Hedgehog 2006 however, at the same time, you won’t find the same nostalgic joy that Sonic Mania provided just a few months ago. What we’re left with is a Sonic game that is very by-the-numbers and, besides, the story plays things rather safe. It’s not perfect by any means but there was still enough for me to have at least some fun with. I’d say if you’re an existing fan of the series then it’s definitely worth a try but newcomers may find it difficult to enjoy.

While I did enjoy the majority of the levels in Sonic Forces, the latter third of the game seems to be rushed – with levels feeling rather uninspired. This left me a little concerned that Sonic Forces may have been rushed to market. Some of the earlier levels are also incredibly easy and seem to play like an autorunner, where the only interactions you need to do are jumping and boosting through enemies along the way. Some of the better aspects of Sonic Forces, in my opinion, were the graphics and performance of the game. Whether in docked or handheld mode Sonic Forces both looks and feels great to play. My only complaint in this area would be Modern Sonic’s jumping – which can often feel far too floaty and, in some of the poorer examples of level design, can also end up causing a few unnecessary deaths.

PUBLISHER SEGA

AT A GLANCE

NA: 7th November EU: 7th November

DEVELOPER SEGA

VERDICT Sonic Forces isn't a particularly bad game, it's just a game that never seems to find it's true potential. An overly complicated story and some design flaws stop Sonic Forces just shy of greatness, leaving a decent enough experience to enjoy.

3.5 GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £34.99 | €39.99

7.1 GB Switch Player

53


Monopoly for Nintendo Switch

REVIEW

this slipped through QA was a rather worrying start to my time with the game!

Arguably the most popular board game in existence with various licensed versions currently reeling in the big bucks for Hasbro and Parker Bros., Monopoly transitioned to video games and has seen releases on almost every console released over the last 30 or so years. Monopoly for Nintendo Switch sees the board game make its debut on Nintendo’s latest system – but will you be wanting to invest add this one to your portfolio? The first thing that many will notice upon starting up Monopoly is just how long it takes to load. This is an issue that can be easily remedied by restarting your Nintendo Switch but, if like myself, you start the game having turned on your Switch from sleep mode, you may find yourself waiting as long as twenty minutes to get to the game’s title screen! Thankfully, Ubisoft are now aware of this and a patch is incoming to rectify the issue (with a new notification added to the top of the game’s start screen advising of this) but the fact that

Once you are past that initial hiccup, the rest of the game plays like you would expect a game of Monopoly to play out. You can choose whether you want to play on “Classic Boards” which will be instantly familiar to almost everyone (there is also a Rabbids variant of this board if you want a change in aesthetics) or you can try out “Living Boards” which are bustling, themed, 3D versions of the classic board with animations that play out during the game based on the theme selected – with City, Amusement Park and Haunted Board themes available. These three living boards all function the same and are just reskinned versions of the same board. I would have liked to have seen more themed boards in the game, considering that you can get a Monopoly board based on just about anything nowadays – maybe we’ll see some added via DLC down the line? As for the game modes available, you can play using classic Monopoly rules or you can use pre-set goals/house rules to mix things up a little. The goals will task you with meeting certain criteria to win – such as the first player to build a hotel or simultaneously owning a certain number of properties. There is also a Speed Dice mode that is handy for having a quick game – as we all know a game of Monopoly isn’t the quickest of games to finish!

PUBLISHER Ubisoft

AT A GLANCE 54

Switch Player

NA: 31st October EU: 31st October 3.8 GB

Written by Charlie Large

@CharlieLarge

This leads to my main issue with the game, the fact that Monopoly isn’t a game that is known for its speediness. Up to six players (both locally and online) can play Monopoly for Nintendo Switch – with the ability to fill those slots with both human and AI players. In single player, against AI – you can quit out of a game and then return to it at a later point and carry on. However, playing solo against AI is rather boring, and Monopoly is a game best played socially. Online games can take forever to find and then forever to complete – which isn’t ideal, doesn’t have the social element and can get infuriating when someone quits out early. With friends, you can share the same Joy-Con and play that way, but honestly, I’d rather play the board game – it’s much more fun, more sociable and also a lot cheaper!

VERDICT By no means a bad game, Monopoly for Nintendo Switch just seems to miss the point a little. As far as replicating the board game goes, this title does a great job. However, the things that make Monopoly great - the arguments, the social aspect etc are somewhat lacking here. For the price of this title, you'd be better off spending your money on the actual board game and playing with friends and family - it'd be cheaper and a heck of a lot more fun!

3.0

DEVELOPER Ubisoft E-SHOP PRICING £29.99 | €39.99

GOOD


REVIEW

Just Dance 2018

Let’s get one thing out of the way from the offset – I’ve never played a Just Dance game up until recently, nor ever had any inclination to. In its eight-year lifespan, it simply hasn’t appealed to me at all. I was quite surprised then, to find that in the right environment and with the right people, Just Dance 2018 can be damn good fun.

Just Dance 2018 is about as straightforward as you’d expect. You simply follow along to the dance moves on screen as closely as possible, working up a sweat whilst reaching for that five-star rating. The songs specific to the 2018 edition are a selection of mostly pop-oriented music that I’m admittedly not too familiar with, though thankfully my partner was always there to provide an informed voice to help me out. In addition to the base songs, you’re gifted a rather generous 90-day trial to Just Dance Unlimited, the subscriptionbased service granting you access to songs from previous titles in the series,

plus a few exclusive tracks. Naturally, the first of these I gravitated towards was a charming little Super Mario medley, a celebration of Nintendo and Ubisoft’s recent collaboration. It’s nice to have such a vast selection of songs available from the start, but I dread to think how empty the game will feel when the three-month trial runs out. The songs themselves are actually a lot more difficult than you’d expect, particularly if you’re a newcomer like me. I’d break a sweat after a few songs and my arms would ache from some of the more rigorous movements. To expand on this a bit, the game’s Unlimited service contains a section specifically for fitness routines. These songs can be brutal – understandably so – and if you’re after something to burn off a few pounds whilst genuinely having fun, you could do worse than Just Dance 2018. On the other hand, the game is relatively lenient on your ability to dance correctly. I know for a fact that I’m no good at dancing – ask anyone – but I’d frequently earn 4/5 star ratings on most song titles with ease. It also comes to light that as long as you keep the Joy-Con in motion with the screen, you don’t actually need to move your legs or body at all. Obviously, this is borderline cheating and not something I’d encourage you to do, but it definitely highlights the game’s lack of proper instruction.

Written by Ollie Reynolds @Olliemar28

routines selected to specifically appeal to the 3-6 (ish) age range, although I must admit that I didn’t test this mode with its intended audience as I don’t want a child to swing my Joy-Con around, wrist strap or not. That’s a level of stress I’m just not prepared for. I’m sure you’ve already made your mind up as to whether or not Just Dance 2018 deserves a spot in your Switch library. It’s a fairly basic experience, and once the Unlimited subscription trial runs out, I fear the game will be made rather redundant with such a limited number of base tracks. Still, it’s definitely worth a go if you can play it frequently with friends/ family.

VERDICT Just Dance 2018 is an unremarkable addition to a tired series with little to entice returning players back into the fold. It's a shame such a large portion of the game is hidden behind a pay wall, but newcomers will nevertheless find plenty here to be getting on with for a while, particularly if you play in a party environment with friends and family.

Alongside the main mode, children are also catered for with a specific ‘Kids’ mode. This contains songs and dance PUBLISHER Ubisoft

AT A GLANCE

NA: 27th October EU: 27th October

DEVELOPER Ubisoft

3.3 GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

7.4 GB Switch Player

55


Miketendo 64 miketendo64.com @miketendo64

a love letter to the

Nintendo Switch

HELLO AGAIN EVERYONE, I AM JACK LONGMAN, AKA EDITORIN-CHIEF OF NINTENDO NEWS SITE MIKETENDO64 AND THIS IS THE VERY AWESOME SWITCH PLAYER MAGAZINE. I AM BACK TO PROVIDE YET ANOTHER SWITCH RELATED EDITORIAL.

LAST TIME I DID THIS, I WROTE THE VERY SATIRICAL EDITORIAL, A LOVE LETTER TO NINTENDO SWITCH AND I REALISED SOMETHING, I LIKE WRITING SATIRE. I ALSO LIKE WRITING MILDLY HUMOROUS STUFF SO, FOR THIS INSTALMENT, I THOUGHT I’D CARRY ON DOWN THE PATH I HAVE SET MYSELF ON, BUT THIS TIME, I’LL MAKE IT ABOUT SPLATOON.

So, care to descend into madness with me?

56

Switch Player


Splatoon, its Nintendo’s answer to what a shooter game can be, it’s really good fun and, now that it has been out since July, I like to naively think I am the Inklings equivalent to Henry McCarty. (Famous gunslinger from the Wild West. He led a group called the Regulators, is said to have killed 21 people and is better known by the name of “Billy the Kid.”) Just kidding, I’m way better than good ol’ Billy, as I’ve easily inked 22 poor helpless Inklings in my time, but since I am such a fantastic expert of playing Splatoon 2 online, I feel it is my Level 25 duty to pass on my wisdom to all of you, so here is my complete list of Do’s and Don’ts for playing Splatoon 2:

• Do Remember to pay your internet bill

It is no good planning a team gaming session for the next Splatfest, only to have half the team unable to play. (I’m talking to you Dave, that’s twice you’ve done it to us!)

• Do Take your Nintendo Switch with you into the bathroom When Splatfests are in effect, every battle counts and your team can not do with you, so if you must attend the bathroom for the long haul, you may as well make every second count.

• Do Make sure you Have a Hard to pronounce Game Tag

If there is one thing worse than being killed by the same person over and over, it’s being killed by someone with a name you have no idea how to pronounce, which makes it excessively hard to curse it. So instead of being the victim, be the player with the terrible name and leave a horde of dumbfounded victims in your wake.

• Do Get Plenty of Practise before you Play online

Jack Reacher wouldn’t trust a gun he hasn’t fired, so why should you? I know the Splat Brella is awesome and everything, but seriously, don’t go taking it into battle if you don’t know how to use it, so why not pick up the duck decorated umbrella you keep by your eggshell painted front door and give that a whirl. It might not improve your game, but at least for a second you can pretend to be Mary Poppins, just don’t jump off anything that has more than a three foot drop. And now know my secrets, it’s time to say two things. The first is good luck on the battlefield, because you’re going to need it! These Do’s and Don’ts will not make you a better player, only practise can do that. As for the second thing, if it is not obvious by now, please by no means take this list of Do’s and Don’ts seriously. This is my attempt of light-hearted humour to put a little surprise smile on your face, at the risk of potentially bringing down the level of journalism excellence Switch Player likes to give its readers. If it does lower the tone though, let the record state it wasn’t my fault. Switch Player is the one who lets anyone with a passion for Nintendo and can string two sentences together be a contributor, so let’s blame them. I’m kidding obviously, as Switch Player is inkredible and I’m very grateful to be able to add my name to their magazine, but I do have bad news for you guys. This is the end of my latest editorial, but worry not, for I will be back to do all of this yet again, because I am a terrible horror movie, like Sharknado. You know it’s bad and shouldn’t see it and yet, you can’t help but watch it when it’s on the TV!

• Don’t Blame your partner for getting you killed because they walked in front of the TV screen

If a player is annoying you because they keep killing you, you can just leave the room and look for another one. You can’t however leave your partner and immediately replace them, as understanding and caring significant others who respect your need and desires to play video games, is not an easy to accomplish side mission.

• Don’t Decide to have a Snack halfway through a session and play one-handed

We all get hungry, that’s just part of human nature, but for the love of online gaming, if you feel the need compulsion to eat that spicy chicken fajita burrito you got from the Papa Juan’s food truck from 5th street, please leave the lobby. You are no good to your team if you’re sat there stuffing your face with fatty goodness, with one hand free to play poorly. So leave the game, have your edibles and then get back into the war.

• Don’t Fall in Love with the Enemy

I know those Inklings boys are right hunks and those girls are right little cuties and all, but this is not Romeo and Juliet. This is ink warfare and everyone plays dirty. You might think you love the Inkling with the school girl outfit on and her hair down one side of her face, but that girl is packing Dapple Duallies and she is not afraid to use them and she will, just as soon as let your guard down.

• Don’t Take Playing Splatoon 2 advice from certain Switch Player Magazine contributors

Jack Longman is an overly opinionated editorial writer who has an unnecessary penchant to be oddly specific when it suits him. Also he’s only Level 25, he’s hardly an expert, so what does he know?

Until next time, keep on gaming!

Switch Player

57


Te n t i p s t o get s t a rt ed i n Dan Murphy @Murbroski

So you’ve picked up Stardew Valley, perhaps the most relaxing, peaceful game on the Nintendo Switch, and you’re raring to get to your brand new farm and start planting crops and bringing up animals.

Choose your farm w isely

Know your crops

Dig up w orms

Get your routine nailed

58

Switch Player

But slow down there, partner. Stardew Valley may look simple and straightforward but there’s a lot of hidden depth and complexity just under the surface. So before you dive straight on in pick up these ten tips on how to get the most out of your new country life and get off to the best possible start.

There are five different possibile farm types when you begin Stardew Valley, all of which provide their own benefits and challenges. Your Standard Farm gives you the most space for crops and buildings, but offers little in the way of natural resources. Whereas the Riverland Farm, Forest Farm and Hill-Top Farm provide an abundance of fish, wood and minerals, respectively, but are difficult to design around. The Riverland Farm can

be especially beneficial to newcomers as selling fish is a good source of income while you get started with your produce. If you fancy a challenge why not take up the Wilderness Farm, which has lots of good land but monsters come out once it goes dark.

Every good farmer has to know their crops. What season to plant them in, how long they take to yield and, most important of all, how much you’ll earn from them. Discovering which crops earn you the most in any given

season is a sure fire way to get the money rolling in. Berries and corn are special big earners because once they’ve grown they’ll continue to yield plants all season long, saving you the hassle of having to plant them again.

They’re very difficult to spot when you don’t know what you’re looking for, but there’s so much treasure hidden under Stardew Valley’s crumbly soil. When on your travels if you ever see a group of three worms poking their heads

out of the ground and doing a little dance, simply plough the soil where they are and you may find a hidden surprise. Or some clay.

Stardew Valley has a special way of getting inside your head to the point that you start planning your days in a farming simulator more than in your real life. Which is good, because you have a finite amount of hours and energy stored to get the most out of your day, so you have to have a routine to get the

most of it. Try a couple of routes around your farm. See which way is quickest to get all your chores of watering the plants, feeding the animals and collecting their produce done nice and early in the morning. Being efficient gives you more time and energy for all the other activities Pelican Town has to offer.

(Also, don’t name your farm, for example, Stephen’s Farm as the game adds the ‘farm’ bit for you.)


Make the most of rainy days

On that note, rainy days are your oasis in the middle of a scorching desert. Make the most of them. As you can guess, the sacred rain does half of your farm work for you by watering all your plants, which is usually

W atch your Energy has been mentioned a lot and that’s it’s probably the most important energy and make because part of the game. If you push yourself too and drain yourself dry you will pass out sure you get to far wherever you stand. You’ll wake up in your bed on time Bring people Stardew isn’t just a farming sim, it’s also a crawler, a fishing game and a dating gifts, especially dungeon simulator. You’re a newcomer to Pelican so if you ever want to make friends on their birthday Town or *whisper* find love, you’re going to have to do things the good old fashioned way.

Upgrade tools strategically

W atch the telly and read

Sell products not produce

the biggest sap of time and energy. So use these days to your advantage by exploring the depths of the mines and stocking up on stones and minerals, chopping wood, fishing or just getting your farm in order.

own bed but your wallet will be lighter and you’ll wake up with less energy. The exact same replies to getting to bed on time. If you’re not asleep by 2AM you’ll collapse and thieves will be stealing your hard earned coin.

Give them gifts of exactly what they love and buy their affection. Giving presents on birthdays works doubly well. You’ll want to do this because a couple of years down the line when you’re farm has expanded beyond what one person can handle, an extra pair of hands or three are going to be really useful.

It may be tempting to splash the cash and resources on sparkly new tools as soon as you’re able to, but that would be unwise. When you get tools upgraded you don’t just buy new ones, you hand yours other to the blacksmith who takes a couple of days to work his magic. So if you, for example,

upgrade your watering can half-way through the season you’re going to be unable to water your crops until you get it back. You need to be strategic with your upgrades, waiting until after your last yield of a season before the next one begins is a safe bet.

So many games are crammed with books and TV shows that offer little to the player other than some context or interesting world building. In Stardew Valley, however, watching your TV everyday and reading

books will provide you with farming tips, cooking recipes, weather reports and hint you towards the countless number of secrets and surprises within the valley. So be sure to watch and read whenever you get the chance.

Pretty much everything in Stardew Valley has more to it than it seems. So much so that even trash fished out of the ocean can be processed into useful items. So never think that the job ends when you milk the cow or harvest the cranberries. Eggs can be made into mayonnaise, berries into jam or wine,

milk into cheese, wheat into flour, truffles into oil and wool into cloth. You have to speculate to accumulate so as soon as you’re able to spend money and resources on getting yourself the equipment and buildings required to transform your produce into products. That’s when the real cash starts rolling in.

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

EXCELLE

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

NT

3.5 GB

7. ARMS

4.6

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

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

3.3 GB

8. Cave Story+

20th June 137 MB

60

Switch Player

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

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

AT A GLANCE

4.6

9. Puyo Puyo Tetris

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £16.99 | E19.99

NA: 3rd March EU: 3rd March

6. Splatoon 2

E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

EXCELLE

AT A GLANCE

EXCELLE NT

841 MB

4.6 EXCELLE

4.7

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. Stardew Valley

4.6

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 Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

NA: 5th October EU: 5th October

EXCELLE

NT

AT A GLANCE NA: 17th March EU: 7th September

NT

15. Oxenfree

16. Severed

4.5

AT A GLANCE

E-SHOP PRICING €39.99

610 MB

NA: 6th October EU: 6th October

EXCELLE

NT

17. Piczle Lines DX

NA: 24th August EU: 24th August

19. Kamiko

175 MB

NA: 29th June EU: 29th June

EXCELLE

NT

20. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

AT A GLANCE NA: 29th August EU: 29th August

21. League of Evil

2.8 GB

22. I and Me

NA: 31st August EU: 31st August

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £7.19 | €7.99

24. Retro City Rampage DX

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

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £13.49 | €14.99

NA: July EU: 6th July

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £8.99 | TBA

374 MB

4.1 EXCELLE

4.2

AT A GLANCE

57 MB

23. Golf Story

E-SHOP PRICING £4.49 | €4.99

4.2

AT A GLANCE

E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

NA: 27th April EU: 27th April

EXCELLE NT

112 MB

4.2

936 MB

AT A GLANCE

E-SHOP PRICING £8.99 | €9.99

300 MB

EXCELLE NT

4.4

4.4

AT A GLANCE

E-SHOP PRICING £13.99 | €14.99

E-SHOP PRICING £13.49 | €14.99

NA: 8th August EU: 8th August

18. GoNNER

NT

EXCELLE NT

148 MB

4.4

AT A GLANCE

4.4

AT A GLANCE

E-SHOP PRICING £15.99 | €19.99

2.1 GB

EXCELLE

E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

NA: 17th November EU: 17th November 15.3 GB

4.5 EXCELLE

EXCELLE NT

AT A GLANCE

E-SHOP PRICING £10.99 | €14.99

922 MB

14. The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+

4.5

NEW!

25. Disgaea 5: Complete

4.1

AT A GLANCE NA: 3rd August EU: 3rd August 24 MB

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £12.99 | €14.99

4.1

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

EXCELLE NT E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

6.2 GB

Switch Player

61


NEW LOOK FOR 2018

Next Time!

ALSO:

ISSUE 11 IS OUT ON JANUARY 12TH! Support us on Patreon by December 29th to guarantee your print copy of issue 11!

Staff Writers Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy Reece Heyworth @Rheyworth Liam Langan @LiamHangover Oliver Reynolds @Olliemar28 John Reid @JohnSReid Ethan Hunt @genericcoyote Alex Luck-Power @0luckypower James Sweeting @CrazyBlue Special Thanks Tommy Refenes www.switchplayer.net Issue 10 | December 2017 Editorial Executive Editor Paul Murphy @PMurphy1978

Contributors Jakejames Lugo, James Harvey, Jack Longman, and Dan Murphy Print and Back Issues Subscriptions - patreon.com/switchplayer Back Issues - switchplayer.net/shop

Art Editor Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro

This magazine comes in print! Head to the Patreon link above and pledge either $6 (UK addresses) or $9 (overseas) to guarantee the future issues to your door! If you are missing an issue from your collection, you can head to our web store to see if the issue you need is in stock!

Cover Design Justin Paul @castcuraga

This magazine in printed in and posted from the United Kingdom.

Editor-in-chief Charlie Large @CharlieLarge

Coverage Are you a developer/publisher? If you are working on a Nintendo Switch title and want to get it covered for FREE in the magazine and/or website then we want to hear from you! Send an email to press@switchplayer.net and add us to your press lists. Whether your game is coming out soon or in the future, we want to help get that news out there so get in touch! Advertising To advertise in this magazine please send an email to paul@switchplayer.net. For a very low price we can promote your game to thousands of print and digital customers! Disclaimer Switch Player is an independent Nintendo Switch enthusiast website and magazine. All content featured is used with permission, or is considered fair use by our access to official channels and is used to promote existing and upcoming content for the Nintendo Switch. We are not endorsed or affiliated with Nintendo or any of the companies featured. Š 2017 Switch Player


S TA R S Chris

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Switch Player #10  

Dedicated to the Nintendo Switch, this 64 page FREE magazine has the latest Switch content including a review for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyri...

Switch Player #10  

Dedicated to the Nintendo Switch, this 64 page FREE magazine has the latest Switch content including a review for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyri...

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