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Welcome Switch Players! Happy New Year! It's a slightly newer (and earlier) Switch Player for 2018! We have taken on a lot of feedback from you over the last year, and we heard you! We enlisted the help of the legend that is Wil Overton and he helped us to design our new look. Two columns for text, more spacing and hopefully a look that feels fresh, but reminiscent of those magazines you love and miss. Reviews in particular should be easier to read, better laid out and the whole thing should (hopefully) look a lot more professional! Of course, you are here mostly for the Switch content and we have 26 reviews in this issue, with our verdicts on many of the games from the tail-end of 2017 including Doom, L.A. Noire and cover-title Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Along with many of the latest retail games we also have a selection of the best eShop games - we couldn't squeeze them all in! We've got FIVE features in this issue, with Ryan Brown discussing the contentious Loot Crate systems which Nintendo have stayed away from while Matt Forde makes his Switch Player debut to discuss what he'd expect from a Switch Smash Bros. title. Not content with one piece, Matt also explains his top tips for Super Mario Odyssey! We interview the folks behind Limited Run Games ahead of their publishing service staring later this year. Oh, and I start a new series of editorials, with the first looking at the explosion of retail titles on the Switch! We round off the issue with a chat with the fabulous folks from Nintendo North Wales, one of the many NPUK communities within the United Kingdom. We really hope that you enjoy this new look and the content contained within, and look forward to bringing you even more Switch content and reviews throughout 2018. If you do enjoy it, remember to tell your friends and help us to reach more Switch Players! Finally, don't forget that issue 12 will be out on February 8th, if you aren't already doing so please support us on Patreon - you'll get a copy delivered to your door! See you next month!

Paul Murphy

Executive Editor @PMurphy1978

patreon.com/switchplayer 3


CONTENTS 06

16 Retail Reviews 16 Xenoblade Chronicles 2 20 Doom 22 LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 23 Nights of Azure: Curse of the New Bride 24 Gear.Club Unlimited 25 Batman: The Telltale Series 26 L.A. Noire 28 RiME 30 Farming Simulator for Nintendo Switch 31 Monster Jam: Crush It! 32 Cartoon Network: Battle Crashers 33 Lumo 34 This is the Police

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XENOBLADE CHRONICLES 2

12

PRAYING FOR TIME

SMASH YOUR SWITCH UP

eShop Reviews 36 Rocket League 38 Deemo 40 Worms W.M.D. 42 The Mummy Demastered 44 Ittle Dew 2+ 45 Party Golf 46 Rive: Ultimate Edition 47 Letter Quest Remastered 48 Cat Quest 49 Chess Ultra 50 The Bridge 52 VVVVVV 53 Uno


NINTERVIEW 08

LOOTING IS WRONG

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GOING FOR A LIMITED RUN

Issue 11 | January 2018 Executive Editor Paul Murphy @PMurphy1978

Art Editor Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro

Editor-in-chief Charlie Large @CharlieLarge

Cover Design Justin Paul @Castcuraga

Staff Writers Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy Reece Heyworth @Rheyworth Liam Langan @LiamHangover Oliver Reynolds @Olliemar28 John Reid @JohnSReid Ethan Hunt @genericcoyote Alex Luck-Power @LuckyPower_ James Sweeting @CrazyBlue

Additional Artwork Jonathan Traynor @Jofamo Contributors Ryan Brown Matt Forde Dave Aubrey James Harvey Special Thanks Rhea Cheshire Nintendo UK Limited Run Games Wil Overton and Nintendo North Wales

Print and Back Issues Subscriptions - patreon.com/switchplayer Back Issues - switchplayer.net/shop

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10 TIPS FOR YOUR VOYAGE Regulars

14 Community 15 Next Time 54 Directory 58 NPUK

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NPUK NORTH WALES Features

06 Praying for Time 08 Looting is Bad 10 Going for a Limited Run 12 Smashing the Switch Up 56 A Leisurely Voyage

UNCOVERED! Our beautiful Xenoblade Chronicles 2 cover was designed by regular artist, Justin Paul. Let us know what you think, and make sure you follow Justin on Twitter via @Castcuraga!

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! This magazine in printed in and posted from the United Kingdom. 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! 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 2017-2018 Switch Player

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EDITORIAL PRAYING FOR TIME Paul asks third parties to have a little patience

he Nintendo Switch has been doing quite well. Although I write this in early-December T - thus only guessing at the hybrid's Christmas

titles available; Nintendo's games alone will not generate significant support - see the Wii U. Which kind of places the future success performance - there's a good chance it's getting of the system into a catch 22, not unlike the close to the Wii U's lifetime sales in less than a Wii U (or even the PlayStation Vita) in that year, barring some sort of financial disaster or it needs games to attract purchases from a stock crisis. It's also apparently selling 20% above wider audience, but those games may not the Wii's figure after the same amount of time. come without the system shifting units. It's a That's a phenomenal turnaround for Nintendo. symbiotic relationship which requires Nintendo and the third parties to be in complete harmony. At the same time, the end of 2017 saw a flurry of Nintendo Switch releases, with core My second worry is that mainstream retailers Nintendo experiences intermixed with some do not appear to be fully aboard the Switchquality third-party games. That meant that in train themselves. Walk into your local GAME the space of just SIX weeks you had a choice store - it's wall-to-wall PlayStation 4 and Xbox of Super Mario Odyssey (no choice, really), Fire One with the Switch afforded a paltry stand with a minuscule selection of games. This thing has Emblem Warriors, Doom, L.A. Noire, NBA 2K18, over FIFTY retail titles at present yet the average The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Just Dance 2018, member of the public that isn't internet (or Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Gear.Club Unlimited, Switch Player) savvy may not know that. Throw LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 and a few more. in a lack of release or feature parity for games, or a lack of price equality (I'm not criticising that This support - coupled with some pretty extensive eShop releases means that there Doom Switch is 40 quid, more that it's released has been a significant burst in the Switch's at ÂŁ40 when the console equivalent is half the library in a very short period. It's an almost price) and that's not going to help either... unprecedented level of software for a Nintendo platform and despite being very welcome, does It also doesn't help when the Switch version give me cause for concern for the bigger picture. of games isn't put front and centre, which is what happened with L.A. Noire in my local My first concern is that despite the Switch's GAME. The PS4 and Xbox One versions were apparent success, that install base is still on a stand in the front of the store, with the rather small, especially compared to the Switch version stocked but not given a spot bigger boys. A prosperous selection of on that same stand. You can only interpret games only has a limited audience to reach, that as either a lack of knowledge and/or with many sales of these games potentially focus from those there or it's a message from cannibalising the sales of the others. above. That's not going to help shift Switch games or help in the great scheme of things. This explosion of titles in the fourth quarter of the year is not new. It has happened for Because the general game-buying public tend as long as I can remember with the current to be less savvy than your typical internet-using console status quo, with your annual Call gamer, which means that they tend to go into their local game shop and be swayed by the of Duty, Assassin's Creed, Need for Speed, suave salesmanship and the shelving layouts Battlefield et al all clamouring for your support in front of them. This is why we need continued and hard-earned cash. These franchises support, growing those numbers and games on continue to see iterations for gamers' platform shelves and giving retailers reason to feature the of choice because they (usually) sell significant Switch more prominently. After all, it's the only numbers. However, the Switch - despite its way we will continue to get more phenomenal initial worldwide success - doesn't have the experiences, outside of Nintendo's stable. numbers that would indicate ALL of these titles selling well enough. Not yet. So I'm hoping Which requires a little patience from these that the third parties have a little patience. publishers, something which they've ruthlessly illustrated before they haven't had for other The bigger, wider appeal of the Switch is going systems. to depend on the most varied selection of

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LOOTING IS WRONG Written by Ryan Brown @Toadsanime Ryan is the communications manager for Numskull as well as being a freelance games journalist. You can find his work at the Daily Mirror as well as other outlets.

Ryan Brown Discusses the contentious loot crates f you've been paying attention to general video game news and its controversies as Iof late, you may have noticed that the industry and gamers alike have finally woken up to one of the more despicable trends taken on by publishers in recent years: loot boxes.

For those unaware, loot boxes appear in many AAA games nowadays, usually in ones labeled as 'games as a service' by their publishers. Paying a sum of real-life money, you can buy randomised boxes filled with in-game content. Sometimes you'll get common, unwanted items, but occasionally you'll obtain a rare, much sought after item. Items can range from character outfits, to weapons, to one-use items during online matches. Chances are that if you play on nonNintendo consoles, you'll have played a game emblazoned with this feature. Destiny, FIFA, Shadow of War, Call of Duty, Overwatch... the list truly goes on and on, and whilst everyone is kicking a fuss up over this now, you'll notice many of them peculiarly make an exception for the game they happen to like. I can only speak for myself and not all of Switch Player, journalism or indeed even gamers, but I view the system to be immoral and abhorrent. It's a horrific system that preys on the most vulnerable in society; in fact, it depends on them, labeling them 'whales'. Whereas most people simply won't touch in-game purchases and never feel the urge to spend - many going so far as to proudly boast the fact whilst adamantly defending the feature - a small percentage of people get sucked into it, very much like gambling. In fact, it's for that reason that the UK government was recently petitioned to start regulating loot boxes in the same fashion as gambling. Unfortunately, gambling commissions currently only consider something to be gambling if there are real-world, tangible rewards. As digital content comes to mean more to people in this digital

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age, I dispute that it doesn't hold any value to people, but there we go. I'd personally settle for video game rating boards at least taking loot into account in their ratings and descriptions, and I think that's a much more realistic goal - one that, if enacted, may make some companies think twice about included it. You and I may be perfectly capable of not blowing our cash on this nonsense, but this system is specifically in place to take a psychological toll on people. Yes, you can often grind for the same rewards, but for the financially irresponsible, easily addicted and impatient, it's not so easy. Make no mistake, those falling for this are not usually eccentric, wealthy folk wanting to one-over other players (although that happens too - how very fair), it's mostly very poor people who are already terrible at money management and just don't know when enough is enough. What's 99p here and then, after all? Loot is rooted deep within games that feature it, constantly trying to pressure people into spending. For online multiplayer games, that's as easy as seeing other players using and wearing loot that you don't have. It plays into the elitist and hierarchy mentalities that we all like to think we don't have; if someone is running around in a rare outfit, standing out, why would you want to be seen in a default outfit? You're as good a player as them, aren't you? Aren't you? As I say, I believe it is akin to gambling and can have very similar consequences on people's lives. I've seen it happen to people, and it's horrible. Now, you may argue that it's not society's responsibility to bow to these people's irresponsibilities and weakness. I of course feel that looking after the weak and vulnerable is absolutely society's responsibility, but again,


there we go. We could sit and argue this all day, and I fully suspect some will. Although I write this many weeks before it goes to print, I fully expect to see some angry emails. Most likely from Star Wars Battlefront II fans, in fact. They seem particularly feisty and defensive. I'm not sure why. At this point, you're likely asking what on Earth this has to do with Nintendo or the Switch. That's a fair point, reader! As much as anyone will argue in favour of loot systems, and their necessity in the industry, there appears to be universal agreement in disdain for them. Funny, that. The best defense people have is 'well, it doesn't bother me', but I think most of them would still rather loot never existed to begin with. After all, it changes the fundamentalities and balance of a game; everything is designed with loot and profits in mind. There's very few places to avoid loot as every publisher is jumping on board - but Nintendo? Ah, Nintendo haven't boarded the ship at all. Heck, they've not even seen it leave the dock. Nintendo's notoriety for coming late to the party has befallen good fortune onto us, as there's not a loot system in sight for their firstparty games. I can't even imagine the system put in place into any of their core IP, with the exception of perhaps Splatoon. Will Nintendo forever stave away from the controversial feature? I can't say that with any certainty, but with their family-friendly image and the public awareness of loot hitting a tipping point, it'd be tough to imagine them taking the risk. After all, the general public and mainstream audience may not yet be fully aware of the controversy, but when video games rated appropriate for children hit the shelves with a feature that lets them gamble their parent's money away, you can be damn sure there'll be hell to pay. Nintendo may act it sometimes, but they aren't stupid. They understand their brand, their image, and how important that is.}

It's why, despite all the data and information available to them, Super Mario Run hit mobile stores with a one-off purchase. Charging ÂŁ8 or so for a game on mobile storefronts is asking for trouble, but Nintendo simply didn't want to go down the path of absorbing cash from children non-stop. Instead, they opted to have people pay once and never again something which was regrettably gawked at by the mobile audience who find more value in getting an app for free and spending ÂŁ100 on it over the course of a year instead. Again, it's psychology - what's 99p here and there? Now, before I get egg on my face, I'm aware of Fire Emblem Heroes and how its gacha-style system is effectively the very thing I'm criticising. I don't think myself to be a hypocrite, so yes, I have every much an issue with that as I do loot systems. As a more niche, adult-orientated franchise, I'm still unsure we can expect to see that sort of thing spill over to Nintendo's other core properties. I'll be incredibly disappointed if I look back at this in a year from now and turn out to have been wrong; not because I'm afraid of being wrong, but because I'm afraid of a world where Nintendo has embraced the very worst parts of the video game industry and methods of monetisation. For as long as they stay away from all this nonsense, they have my utmost respect. Hopefully the Switch will be a haven away from the awfulness for a long time yet. Now, go buy a few quirky eShop games.

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Picture credit: @comeoutpunching


NINTERVIEW GOING ON A LIMITED RUN Limited Run Games are bringing their game-boxing services to the Switch. We caught up with Co-Founder Douglas Bogart to find out more. Hey Douglas, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved with games? I am a co-founder of Limited Run Games. I first got into games at 3 years old playing Atari and NES. I first got into working with games with Mighty Rabbit Studios in 2013 as a tester. Limited Run Games have been instrumental in the limited edition physical games scene, especially for the PlayStation Vita. What made you and Josh want to found a limited edition gaming company? Josh didn't want his company Mighty Rabbit Studios to go out of business or die without preserving games he worked on. So he took what money he had left from a loan and started Limited Run Games with me as a way to preserve games and hopefully get Mighty Rabbit Studios out of the red. Thankfully it worked really well and we decided to offer our services to other developers and the rest is history!

Limited Run Games

@LimitedRunGames

limitedrungames.com

Douglas Bogart

@LimitedRunDoug

You've announced that you will be bringing Nintendo Switch games in a limited capacity, but you were initially turned down. Why did you want to bring games to the Switch, and what changed from Nintendo's perspective from your initial pitch to now? We weren't actually turned down, we were put on hold until Nintendo had some time to breathe. They clearly didn't anticipate the huge, much-deserved success that they had. Their worry was dedicating time to a publisher that was only doing smaller runs when they were behind on doing larger runs already. They've always been very welcoming and excited to work with us, it was just a matter of finding the time and staff to assign us. Have you had many discussions with developers already, regarding Switch releases? Have you got many lined up already? So far we have about 6 or 7 games signed. We've had a TON of developers reach out, but we are trying to focus on mid to high tier games. One of the wider criticisms we've seen from gamers is the frequency and calibre of some of

the games selected for the limited print. Is this something you'll be looking at for the Switch? Our goal is to start out with 1 title a month and do much bigger titles. We may increase that to 2 once we are comfortable, but ideally, that is the max. We are already making plans to slow down on the Sony front. When can we expect the first title? Sometime in Q1 next year! Can you give us any clues on which game or when it will be announced? I think our first game will blow people out of the park! How big will the print runs be? Will they still be “limited� or can we expect larger quantities? We expect them to be larger than our Sony runs due to the demand for Switch games! As well as being Limited Run Games, you folks are also essentially Mighty Rabbit Studios. Do you have any plans to bring any titles (old or new) to the Switch? We might! ;) You have a Switch yourself. What do you make of the system and which games have you enjoyed the most? I love that form factor and portability. I play in handheld and TV mode. Being able to play large games like Zelda, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Skyrim, etc on the go at anytime is extremely attractive to me. If you could hand-pick any of the existing library to get the LRG treatment, what would it be? I would love to see the Shantae titles get physical versions! Honestly, any Tribute Games titles too! The Switch is a hybrid console, but if you had to choose only one: what is the Switch? A handheld you plug in or a console to take out? If I had to choose, I'd say a handheld. Having it play on my TV is important, but being able to play AAA games on the go is more important to me.

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SMASH YOUR SWITCH UP Written by Matt Forde @Forde999 Matt Forde is an avid Smash Bros player who has spent more time than he would like to let on with the series. A freelance journalist who’s published work can be found on Nintendo Life, Push Square & Vgamerz to name a few, he is determined to prove to the world that Sonic Unleashed is a good game.

Matt Forde gives his thoughts on a Switch Smash Bros. he rumour mill continues to churn for Super Smash Bros. on Switch - with anticipation T for the cult fighting series rising by the day.

any more sequels. Thus, I really can't deny the chance for another. However, as for myself, I don't think there will be." Understandably after Nearly twenty years have passed since the spending a large proportion of his adulthood original wowed critics and players alike by pitting polishing the IP, it sounds unlikely he would Nintendo’s “kid friendly” mascots against one want to undertake such a big project once another in an all-out rumble. Now the prospect more. Although, if assumptions are correct of Smash coming to Switch already seems and the next interpretation will be a port of Smash Wii U with bonus extras throw in like a foregone conclusion, even Nintendo themselves recently added GameCube controller (Mario Kart 8 Deluxe-esque), is it possible support for the console (in their v4.00 update) to see him in more of an advisory role? - inevitably fanning the flames. Many believe a port of some kind is on the horizon among The man has contradicted himself in the past the commonly touted 2018 holiday release but though, stating in the same Game Informer what would Smash Switch actually look like? interview that “I also have trouble picturing someone else taking my place and providing all this value-added content without me." So could For years the Smash community declared Sakurai-san be tempted back for one last fight? Melee as the quintessential version, yet on its release, a sizeable proportion quickly agreed Considering Smash Wii U released in 2014 and that Smash Wii U is now the gold standard – of which I’m inclined to agree. Going forward what knowing Nintendo there’s a high chance the can series producer Masahiro Sakurai do to next Smash game is well underway, though improve upon his near-perfect formula that he in what capacity is still arguable. Does Smash has not already iterated on before? Besides this really need a full overhaul anyway, surely a the elephant in the room is that Sakurai-san few tweaks here and there and Smash Switch may not want to continue, stating back in 2014 could easily become the perfect package. Not that “With both Melee and Brawl, I made those only this, but in an ideal world it could become a platform. Taking Overwatch for an example – games with the thought that there wouldn't be refining the experience year after year, therefore keeping the momentum going without that much work needed when compared to a brand new entry. So many tremendous games are trapped on the Wii U; it would be criminal not to let Smash receive a second life on Switch.

Including all released DLC the current roster of characters is something spectacular. You can often overlook that already this impressive roster consists of Mario, Link, Pickachu, Samus, Sonic, Pac-Man, Mega Man, Ryu and Cloud - that’s barely a fifth of the full line-up.

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Let’s first explore how many newcomers could be set to appear. Starting off with 12 characters in the original followed by 26 in Melee, 39 in Brawl and on release a whopping 51 in Wii U/3DS respectively, there is a small trend with each iteration. 14 mascots joined in Melee before the roster increased by 13 in Brawl and most recently (excluding Mii Fighters) 12 more in Wii U/3DS. Taking into account that 7 characters were released as DLC that means theoretically 4 more slots are up for contention; if history is anything to go by. Remember Mario


Other Potential Characters: Kart 8 Deluxe bundled 4 new characters to entice both veterans and newcomers alike. King K. Rool Type his name into Google and you’ll see that one of the top returns is “Smash Bros”. Fans are clamouring for more heavies and villains; King K. Rool fits both criteria.

Yooka-Laylee Due to Microsoft owning the rights it’s unlikely that Banjo-Kazooie will make a triumphant return to a Nintendo console, though we could get the next best thing.

Crash Bandicoot We can all dream. There is the small possibility of Crash N’Sane Trilogy making its way to Switch meaning the door could be open to everyone’s favourite marsupial.

Fan favourites Ice-Climbers are a strong candidate, bearing in mind that confirmation was given that the duo were up and running on the Wii U, however due to technical limitations on the 3DS they were opted out. Now seems ideal timing for Nana and Popo to make their frosty return.

no doubt be featured in some way, although which combatant will step up? Poster boy Spring Man is a good bet, if not Ribbon Girl is a lock. Now we come to the wildcard. Third-party characters are always top of player’s wish list, nevertheless some are just unfeasible. Solid Snake is an example of this due to Konami ostensibly not wanting to play ball, so a more obvious replacement would be one of Nintendo’s more regular partners. This brings us to Ubisoft whose relationship with the company has always been solid; most recently lending out Mario and co for an escapade with the Raving Rabbids. So building from this could we see Rayman finally make his debut along with the Rabbids in a similar concept to say Duck Hunt Duo? Alternatively a final smash that uses the crazed mammals could be brilliantly bizarre.

Another clear choice (that have already swapped ink guns for kart racing) are the Inklings from Splatoon. The popular squid-like humanoids have been highly requested ever since their introduction back in 2015 and were rumoured to join as DLC somewhere down the line. It’s plausible that they were held them off until the Switch version due to the fact that Nintendo’s newest IP has huge leverage. Having both Inkling Apart from this, little inclusions like “Break the Boy and Inkling Girl (As alternative costumes Targets” or “Board the Platforms” returning of one another) show up just seems to make in their original form, fleshing out Smash Tour sense and is the closest to a dead certainty. (just giving us the option to play as different characters every life is a cool idea) and Tourney It’s fair to assume that accompanying these Mode being offline capable are all improvements. fighters will be new stages giving each more After all the Smash competitive scene is thriving of a presence. The interesting prospect is and to keep this growing an online rank system whether we could see an amalgamation of the with competitions (Think Rocket League) could Wii U and 3DS stages pulled together whilst throwing in some new stages. Arenas like Spring be superb for not only Smash but eSports in Stadium and Urchin Underpass are pretty much general. Going big - a single player campaign is a given but how wonderful would it be to see the only other absentee, though The Subspace the Great Plateau from Breath of the Wild or Emissary had its issues gameplay wise, the cut scenes themselves were amazing and is even New Donk City from Odyssey. 42 stages certainly deserving of another attempt. The are currently available on the 3DS whereas fact that Smash Switch would require barely Wii U has an eye-watering 55. Combining the lot along with new additions and we could be any changes to its core gameplay to reaching over 100. As terrific as this would please fans is testament to be, taking the best 3DS stages and giving us Sakurai’s labour of love, around the 70 mark would more than suffice. but with that accolade Better yet, giving us the option to turn off comes a major drawback; stage hazards (ridding us of that horrendous the marvellous series is Yellow Devil) would be just as welcome. a victim of its own success and its devoted fan Smash has always been used to help promote base will, IP - proven by countless of us discovering Fire inevitably, Emblem and Earthbound - thus, Nintendo’s always be other brand new IP that coincidentally focuses hungry for on fighting is surely a cinch to take a spot. Yes, more. the extendable boxing title known as ARMS will

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CHANNEL! discord.gg/JgFwXP

The Pixel King @SimonPotticary

We asked our Twitter followers which Nintendo published game was their favourite in 2017. This was the result!

From a technical standpoint, maximising what a system is capable of, and shaking up not only a thirty-year franchise, but also an entire genre, clearly its BOTW. But what filled my brain with endless swathes of endorphins and my heart with lashings of nostalgic goodness? Maaario! Billdanks83 @WDanks Mario Odyssey. Love Breath of the wild but didn't get that warm, funny, nostalgia felling that I got when playing Mario. Adam Dugdale @Underdug_gaming

Source: Twitter (581 votes)

Breath of the wild, never really played a zelda game before this. But 150+ hours later im still not tired of it. And I haven't even tried any of the dlc yet.

S TA R S AJ Salvatore

Sage

Sami Holopainen

Adam Corela @AdamCorela

@keybearer

@Slowking6

markdean2012

@markdean2012

twitch.tv/markdean3012

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4362-2049-8422

Jeff Herity

Joseph

rooftopgambler

@rooftopgambler

0629-8506-8589

Brad Hachez

@BradFromIT

Darts

@DartsEnthusiast 6090-2738-3711

Ammar Al Naimi @AlnaimiAmmar


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XENOBLADE CHRONICLES 2 An adventure of titanic proportion! hen Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was announced back at the Switch W Presentation, it brought some serious

At a glance Developer Monolith Soft Publisher Nintendo Release Date December 1st Price £49.99 | €59.99 Size 13.9 GB

questions: How can they make it so soon after X without sacrificing quality? Will its anime style demean the narrative? Can the Switch run a game with such ambition smoothly? I can say with certainty that any doubts I had going into it were very quickly quashed – Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is the massive RPG of incredible quality we were hoping for.

of side quests you’d expect in a game like this. On that note, an absolutely brilliant feature is the ability to overlay a translucent map without accessing a menu. Simply click the left stick in and you toggle between no map, minimap, or an overlay. This is seriously handy for side quests!

As you progress through the chapter based story, different titans are available to explore like miniature open worlds. Following the story exclusively will make the journey on each titan seem somewhat linear, as the majority see you dock at a port and travel to a town or Set in the cloud sea with titans as landmass, other destination to progress the story. Even you follow the story of a young salvager called if you stick to the set path, there’s no avoiding Rex as he suddenly goes from doing his day job the beautiful scenery. Every titan has such an to getting caught up in conflicts that have farreaching consequences. Within the first chapter original design, with moving parts rendered Rex meets a Blade called Pyra, who he promises way off in the distance that just constantly to take to Elysium – a paradise of plenty atop the reminds you that the world really is alive – and World Tree, the only land not situated on a titan. there are logical reasons for the diversity in each titan’s ecosystem too. There might be Blades are living weapons that are bonded to an open nature to the worlds, but certain field a Driver, and Pyra happens to be the legendary skills learned through affinity with your blades Aegis Blade whose great power is sought by prevent access to certain places. Typically, these people all over the world. Titans are dying out, are just tiny areas with some really nice loot or so resources and territory are scarce amongst a tough enemy, but there are a few cases where the different nations. Poverty, power and even certain attributes are required fascism have profound effects on the cultures of the people, evidenced by the abundance for story progression.

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While it’s implemented quite well across the game and does a good job of ensuring you’re using out of battle techniques, there came certain part I had to stuff the almighty Aegis with several 100 brioches so she would focus enough to open a door to make up for neglecting the system… a rare exception, but it highlights that you should use the system to your advantage throughout the whole playthrough.

respectively, with signals to your other party members given with ZL and ZR. In combat, Drivers can pair with up to 3 Blades (though this number is 2 until Chapter 4), each allowing you 3 Arts at a time. Then you’ve got a Special attack that has 3 (eventually 4) different iterations increasing in power. Between a party of 3 Drivers each with 3 Blades, that’s upwards of 60 moves in your arsenal at any given time! And that’s just the stuff on the If you’ve played the previous games in the surface. Factor in the different kind of combos series, you’ll be aware of how complex the battle and Blades, real-time and position based system is. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 plays on some commitments – all alongside a large hierarchy of stats, abilities and buffs and you’ve got of the same mechanics as its predecessors one complicated RPG. Even with the intuitive while adding several more layers of depth, yet interface and friendly tutorials, there will be the entire experience seems really refined in a steep learning curve for those not attuned comparison. One of the best things this game to intricate systems. Once you understand does is ease you into it, with a friendly and it, overwhelming enemies with well planned well-spoken narrator that introduces only one or two mechanics at a time. In certain situations, and implemented strategies is so satisfying. The first time I pulled off a Chain Attack with where you gain an ability that requires you to elemental bursts from my previous blade charge something, the narrator lets you do it combos while having my foe simultaneously once without the charging just so you can get toppled from my driver combo was so rewarding a feel for how it’s done or how it can integrate for me – not for defeating a boss with an with other parts of the battle system. It’s an impressive amount of damage, but because I incredibly intuitive experience, that is if you knew I gained a proper grasp of the system. actually follow along. Unfortunately, there is no way to repeat tutorials – so if you accidentally Trailers for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 had me miss a vital bit of text, or have a break from the game before Chapter 4 (when you have access worried the characters and story were going to everything in the system), chances are, you’ll in the direction of a mediocre shounen anime, miss something fundamental to the gameplay. which would be a far cry from the thoughtprovoking themes of the original game. The Done are the days of tedious menu based opening scenes, however, made me combat – Arts and Blades are assigned a bit more optimistic. The range of to the face buttons and D-pad regional accents and the quality of the voice acting makes for believable, genuine personality – even if a select few cast members don’t suit their voice too well. Some nations sound Scottish, others Australian and there’s a variety of northern and southern English dialects, which is refreshing in a game. Animeesque expression really works with the characters too, especially compared to the lifeless robots used in Xenoblade X. Over-exaggeration is kept to a minimum by only being used as an occasional comedic device, while all the rest of the time it lets

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I've no doubt that I'm in the minority when I say this, but I absolutely loved Xenoblade Chronicles X on the Wii U. It didn't get everything right, but I fully appreciated the effort Monolith Soft took to mix things up a bit. With that in mind though, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 brings with it a comforting sense of familiarity, reminding us all of what made the original so great to begin with.

Written by Ollie Reynolds @Olliemar28

diverse cast of characters, a more developed combat system and a host of interesting side quests, all lovingly crafted within a massive open world environment. Once it grabs you, you're in it for the long haul. It's a natural evolution of a series that - right now - is in no need of a drastic overhaul just yet. There are admittedly some cracks showing here and there, including a struggling frame-rate and a rather messy display when playing in handheld mode, but both veterans and newcomers will be fully satisfied with a title that undoubtedly caps off an amazing first year for the Switch.

Returning to a more narrative driven adventure, the true sequel to 2010's JRPG behemoth expands on the series' tried and tested mechanics in meaningful ways, including an immensely

characters convey a wide variety of expressions that haven’t been done in the previous games. The story itself takes a while to get anywhere as the overarching direction is predictable for a while until things really pick up. Regardless, the characters are diverse and most develop well. Some emotional drives are a bit generic and lacking too, but Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is far from the Blade Arts on Titans it could have been. How the game performs is generally positive, but isn’t without its flaws. The game loads incredibly fast in all instances, almost instantly in most cases – no more waiting for object properties to load like in X. In both docked and portable modes, the game either has a dynamic resolution or a very extreme level of distance – things can often seem blurry when you’re close to the screen. Framerate is a little jittery in densely populated areas and battles with a lot going on, though it’s never enough to break your immersion. In handheld mode, the resolution lowers and framerate drops are more pronounced, sometimes joined by audio popping (though not if you use headphones). It may seem like there’s a lot wrong with the game from what I’ve listed, but the ‘Switch Factor’ rectifies a lot of it. As someone who preferred Xenoblade Chronicles 3D to its home console counterpart for portability, I can say the difference between the modes the Switch

offers are minimal in comparison. And unlike the low-res viewing and illegible UI of X on the Wii U Gamepad, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is still a treat for the eyes in handheld mode. And just before I wrap this up, I couldn’t end without a quick mention of the music in the game. Put shortly, it is perhaps one of the best-written scores for any form of media that has existed. Each piece so accurately captures the feeling of its environment or purpose. Well designed melodies are implemented across the board with catchy battle music, peaceful ambiance, inspiring orchestral and choir pieces and all in between – it all comes together to let you escape into an amazing fantasy with its timeless soundtrack.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a lot of things for me: it’s a true successor to the original that refines and improves elements of the series and the genre as a whole, it has worlds that are a joy to delve into and a combat system that is engaging and requires a lot of pre-battle strategies and real-time action. Despite this, I felt the story wasn’t as deep or well explored consistently throughout the entire game as I was hoping – it’s still good in its own right, it just had a lot to live up to from the original for me. Even then, this is still one of the greatest RPGs ever made and a personal favourite.

Verdict - ESSENTIAL!

Reviewed by Alex Luck-Power @LuckyPower_

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is the true successor to the original. Monolith has once again demonstrated how refining and innovating RPG elements in a world crafted with quality can continue to push the genre. Like previous entries, a potentially steep learning curve may put off some onlookers, but even the tutorials are welcoming and improved. Not to mention it has one of the greatest soundtracks out there. I would highly recommend this game to anyone regardless of whether they own a Switch or not.


DOOM Demonic presence at unsafe levels. Handheld hell in effect. espite the short time between its announcement and release, there’s been D plenty of time to speculate on the Switch

At a glance Developer id Software Panic Button

version of Doom. Would it be the same fastpaced FPS released last year? Would it have the same mature and blood-soaked content? Hell, would the Switch be capable of running it smoothly at all? Despite some minor technical concessions, Doom on Switch is still the same violent, frantic shooter that will make the blood pump inside your veins… and now it’s portable. Panic averted, thanks to Panic Button!

of the weaponry in your ever-growing arsenal has its own effect on combat and feel unique to each other. You can almost feel the weight and knockback of when you fire a shotgun, for instance, and your enemies feel them in a much more intimate way, I’d say. This adds an almost tactile feeling to combat, which is strongly accentuated by Doom’s glory kill system.

Inflicting enough damage to your opponents will make them staggered and will highlight them for a brief moment, which is the visual cue that Publisher you can perform a brutal finishing move. Instead Bethesda Softworks of being just a violent and satisfying reward for If you are unfamiliar with id Software’s 2016 Release Date executing an enemy – like in a Mortal Kombat’s resurrection of its famous title, you are in for November 10th a treat. It shares the name with the genrefatality or one of God of War’s finishers – these defining 1993 title for good reason, as instead of come into play as one of the key elements of Price being a straight-up sequel to the survival/horror Doom’s combat. Unlike other modern first£49.99 | €59.99 styled Doom 3 this “new Doom” takes the most person shooters, you do not regenerate health Size automatically. Health packs can be found memorable elements from the classic shooter 21.3 GB scattered around your environment – albeit not series and reinvents them with more a more particularly plentiful – but they also appear as a modern twist. While traversing the high-tech, demon-infested installations of a Martian base, reward for performing glory kills. Thanks to this system, the game constantly encourages you you’ll be shooting, gunning and chain-sawing to move forward and dispose of enemies with any infernal creature that may cross your way. glory kills in order to keep yourself alive. This And this time, you’ll have at your disposal a aggressive approach is enhanced by Doom’s series of gameplay systems that encourage a fast, brutal and aggressive approach to combat. astonishing heavy-metal soundtrack, which blends perfectly with the non-stop action. This is evident from the very beginning of the approximately twelve-hour campaign. While this frenetic action creates an enjoyable, As the Doomguy, you’ll awaken on Mars and fast-paced experience (somewhat resembling a brutal, non-stop infernal dance), Doom also does a good job in creating moments for Doom on Switch is still the same violent, frantic shooter that will make the blood pump you to breathe. The main campaign is full of expansive, open levels, and each one of them inside your veins… and now it’s portable. has plenty of room for exploration – with many immediately dispatch some demons before hidden passages and secret collectables to interrupting a transmission that was explaining be found. There is a level of customization what has happened. The game does actually to your equipment which not only applies to have a solid narrative, but initially it plays as a your suit, but also each one of your weapons little joke; an invitation to throw you into the too. All can be upgraded in unique ways with thick of things and embracing the fun which some upgrades adding a second ability to your is tearing the demonic horde to pieces. weapons – which not only makes you more powerful and prepared for the demon hordes, It’s incredibly enjoyable because of how well but also adds depth to the combat, allowing built Doom’s gunplay is. The act of shooting in for different strategies and innovative ways to engage your enemies. While not fundamental to Doom is pleasurable enough by itself, as each

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Campaign

In Doom's single player campaign, you'll venture on thirteen chapters, ripping an tearing through the army of hell while you try to stop the demonic invasion on Mars.

Got an SD card?

You may need an SD card for Doom, even with the physical copy.

Multiplayer

In a reminiscence of the oldschool arena shooters, you can join friends - or fight them on battles featuring the most famous multiplayer modes, like deathmatch and team play.

Arcade

Arcade mode will challenge you to replay every chapter, with different enemies and equipments, while you try to aim for the highest scores and bloodiest combos.

your progress, these little extras are handy when converted into new outfits, weapons, and even facing the new and more powerful demons that playable demons. Yes, playable demons! While in its basic form multiplayer more resembles appear as you progress through the campaign. some of id’s classics – like Quake or Unreal Tournament – Doom does has some twists, like With both its thrilling combat and rewarding exploration intact, we have pretty much the the aforementioned ability to transform and same Doom experience built for Switch, at play as one of the campaigns more powerful least content-wise. When it comes to visuals, foes. While not as attractive an option as its single-player counterpart, it is a solid mode Doom has a detailed photo-realistic artstyle. in which you may sunk dozens of hours. Although some sacrifices clearly were made in order to fit Doom on a portable device (on Switch it runs at 30fps, while it is 60fps on other When it’s all added up, Panic Button has platforms), the game runs smoothly for the managed to deliver the complete Doom most part – having a solid performance overall. experience on Switch. It has come at a cost of It seems to be a little blurry here and there, and a lower frame rate and visual quality – not to the framerate may drop a bit during the most mention a few minor issues (audio glitches) here heated moments. Still, the level of detail is and there, but it’s decent. The multiplayer will impressive, and the game stands up quite nicely keep you occupied and the arcade mode can be to the other platforms counterparts. While Mars’ replayed to achieve better combos and higher installations may not be the most beautiful nor scores and the game looks and plays exactly how varied of places, there are some visual surprises, you’d expect Doom on the go to play. It’s almost with breathtaking scenarios here and there. unbelievable that it’s available and plays so well. If the campaign is not enough for you, Doom also comes with a fully-fledged multiplayer mode. In this mode you can join friends and take on the different game modes that can be found on many multiplayer shooters, like Team Play, Free-For-All, Deathmatch, among others. It does has its own separate leveling system, and your performance on each match is rewarded with points that can be

Verdict - EXCELLENT!

Reviewed by Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro

Doom is a fast-paced, blood-soaked first-person shooter which pitches you in an exhilarating war against the hordes from hell. While some concessions have been made in order to make it run on the Switch, it is still pretty much the same Doom game. With almost exactly the same content as the console version, it's made all the better for its portability.


LEGO MARVEL SUPER HEROES 2 Not quite marvelous. EGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is the third LEGO title to hit the Switch after LEGO City L Undercover and The LEGO Ninjago Movie, so

At a glance Developer TT Games Publisher WB Games

you should be pretty familiar with the LEGOstyled action by now. This time it’s the sequel to one of the better LEGO experiences from TT Games, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. Styled more after the comics rather than the hugely successful Marvel Cinematic Universe, this means there’s a larger pool of characters to draw from, including the baddies to make the story more interesting and ramp up the action. That said, not ALL of the characters from the Marvel brand are here, with the X-Men and Fantastic Four notable absentees.

Predominantly for those of a younger persuasion, the combat within the game is relatively simple and essentially comes down to beating enemies by repeatedly mashing buttons, smashing LEGO pieces and building new ones to progress and using the characters you are given (in the story) or available (in freeplay) to solve puzzles and locate the huge number of collectibles within the game. Long after the story has finished there will be plenty of characters, mini-kits and gold bricks to discover.

The thing is, it’s all starting to get a bit stale. The story is pretty decent and throws various characters together in non-standard team combinations, while the narrative is driven Price along by the Daily Planet’s J. Jonah Jameson in As far as the story goes, it’s typically dramatic. £49.99 | €59.99 a web-cast (ahem) video blog. There are a lot of Kang the Conqueror fancies creating his own Size city, which he calls Chronopolis. Traversing both different characters but many of them play the 13.3 GB space and time he conquers the various cities he same; there is little to choose between strong characters, those that shoot, those that fly, fancies and effectively merges them together, forming this “super city” which acts as your open shoot gold objects and so on. Many effectively just act as re-skins for the existing lot. world hub between missions. As you’d expect, our heroes must then take on the missions How much you’ll get out of the game really in each mini world in order to save the day. depends on your viewpoint. Marvel aficionados will probably enjoy it, and if you are particularly LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 does have a fond of LEGO games and haven’t begun to tire decent amount of presentation; it’s all starts in of the formulaic design (or it’s for a younger a manner you’d expect from Guardians of the player) then it’s hard not to recommend. For Galaxy with the appropriate fanfare in place me, however, it is becoming repetitive, and no before throwing you right into the mix. Despite amount of Mr. Blue Sky popping from the plastic Star-Lord’s Walkman (although a particular No amount of Mr. Blue Sky popping from highlight) is going to change the fact that I’d the plastic Star-Lord's Walkman (although a like something more from these games. Or particular highlight) is going to change the fact perhaps a Marvel game that ISN’T a LEGO one. that I'd like something more from these games.

Release Date December 1st

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being styled with Danish plastic, it certainly feels very Marvel; with a large variety of locations to encounter during your travels. Asgard, Wakanda, Egypt, Hala, Lemuria, multiple guises of New York and many more familiar environments are in play here and as is the norm with LEGO tie-ins these days it’s all voice-acted – with Peter Serafinowicz lending his voice to Kang.

Verdict - VERY GOOD!

Reviewed by Paul Murphy @PMurphy1978

It's all become a bit "paint by numbers" with LEGO styled games, but what's on offer in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is enjoyable. There's plenty of content and Marvel fans young and old will no doubt enjoy it.


NIGHTS OF AZURE 2: BRIDE OF THE NEW MOON Let’s make this a night to remember? Games developed in Japan often have very different themes and morals from G those developed in the west, this is more

At a glance Developer Gust Publisher Koei Tecmo Release Date October 27th Price £49.99 | €59.99 Size 7.3 GB

apparent than ever in Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon. Azure 2 is a strange beast mixing together a lot of gameplay ideas that left me dazed and confused, and ultimately left a bad taste in my mouth.

Nights of Azure 2 takes place multiple years after the first game in the series. The game’s world is inhabited with creatures infected with mysterious blue blood and a group known as the Curia have been tasked with defending innocent people from these creatures who’re constantly getting stronger thanks to the fact the world has been shrouded in darkness. The main character of this story is Aluche, a member of the Curia who is tasked with guiding her childhood friend (who just so happens to be the Bride of Time) to the Curia headquarters,

Nights of Azure 2 plays like a standard hack and slash game, think of it as a Dynasty Warriors game with a more in-depth story. where she is to be protected from the Moon Queen – an evil entity who is controlling the creatures infected with blue blood. When Aluche and Liliana arrive at the Curia Headquarters they are attacked by the Moon Queen. Aluche is killed and Liliana goes missing.

Nights of Azure 2 plays like a standard hack and slash game, think of it as a Dynasty Warriors game with a more in-depth story. Using the A button will perform a standard attack while the Y button allows for a slower but more powerful attack. You can string these attacks together to perform combo attacks and using the B button will allow you to jump – which can also be used in combat to perform aerial combos. I personally found the game’s combat to be too repetitive, meaning that it became stale rather quickly. What didn’t become stale however were the game’s visuals, which were a standout point in the game for me – the anime art style looked fantastic in both docked and handheld modes. There were, however, some issues with performance as the framerate would drop in a lot of cases where there was a big group of enemies on the screen.

Nights of Azure 2 soundtrack also turns out to be a mixed bag, filled with gothic rock instrumental songs that sound energetic and engrossing in battle. However, in areas such as the Curia headquarters – where you’ll spend time upgrading XP and continuing the story – it can become quite repetitive. Nights of Azure 2 is a by-the-numbers Action RPG which never really enticed me. Some of the ideas such as the combat could have been more elaborated on but, instead, they feel very bare bones and the story didn’t grip me as much as other Action RPG’s before this one have done.

Waking up in a mysterious laboratory several days later, Aluche realises she has been reborn as a half-demon with Vampire tendencies. Learning that she has become weak, Aluche decides to adapt to her new body and rescue Reviewed by Liliana before the world Liam Langan is destroyed by the Moon @LiamHangover Queen.

Verdict - MEDIOCRE! Existing fans of the Hack & Slash genre may find some enjoyment in Nights of Azure 2, but what awaits for newcomers is a by the numbers hack and slash game that does nothing to make itself unique.


GEAR.CLUB UNLIMITED Can it reach top gear? a little apprehensive when I first loaded up Gear.Club Unlimited. Prior to inserting Ithewas cart into my Switch, my expectations were

At a glance Developer Eden Games Publisher Microïds Release Date November 21st Price £44.99 | €44.99 Size 5.7 GB

that this game was going to be little more than a mobile port trying to be something it was not; a realistic racing game. It probably didn’t help that I’d just finished up a Forza Motorsport session on my 4K OLED TV. Expectations can sometimes be dangerous.

To be brutally clear, Gear.Club Unlimited is an arcade racer through and through. Making this distinction has a huge impact on how much enjoyment you’ll get from the game. Yes, it has real cars and it looks like it could be dressed up as something a little more serious. But it isn’t; which is absolutely fine as long as that’s what you’re expecting. The handling feels off at first but think back to the first time you ever played Ridge Racer – that felt off too. It’s the same thing here; the sooner you stop trying to apex corners like a proper racing driver would, the better. And when you do, the game becomes super enjoyable. Cars here don’t feel as realistic as they look, so once you have your expectations in check you will find yourself drifting around corners with the best of them. There is a lot of content here to keep you busy for a fair while. You’ve got multiple vehicle classes, consisting of real licensed cars from manufacturers such as Lotus and BMW and a whole range of different tracks from

To be brutally clear, Gear.Club Unlimited is an arcade racer through and through. Making this distinction has a huge impact on how much enjoyment you’ll get from the game.

circuit racing to rally stages. Doing well in races unlocks new events and new garage upgrades which you can in turn use to upgrade your vehicles to have a chance at winning

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said events. There is plenty of replayability on offer as well, as budding racing champions aspire to hit three stars in each event. Being candid, playing Gear.Club Unlimited on the TV whilst docked is not particularly alluring. We’ve gotten used to racing games looking ultra-realistic in recent years and so by comparison, this game simply doesn’t make the cut. In portable mode, however, the game looks great. As soon as I started playing portably, all of my gripes about how attractive the game was went away. Few portable racers have actually been as fun to play, actually. Multiplayer is unfortunately restricted to local split-screen only. Whilst the split-screen does perform amicably, the lack of a true online multiplayer mode is a real chink in the bodywork of a modern racer. There are some online time trial events to take part in to compete against your online friends, but it’s just not the same.

Gear.Club Unlimited does a lot right and given the lack of alternative racing games on Nintendo’s console, it is easy to recommend to gamers who enjoy the genre. With a little more spit and polish, some tighter handling and a little more detail in car and track models, Gear.Club Unlimited could have been great. As things stand, it’s still recommended to racing fans, but absolutely not an essential purchase.

Reviewed by James Harvey @AgileHarvey

Verdict - VERY GOOD! Gear.Club Unlimited is never going to cut it if you’re in the market for a portable Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo, but if treated like an arcade racer which you can pick up and put down liberally, you’ll absolutely find some lasting enjoyment with Eden’s racer. With lots of variety on tracks, championships, cars and upgrades, the value of the overall package becomes more desirable every time you boot it up.


BATMAN: THE TELLTALE SERIES Batman’s epic yarn. ver the years, we’ve had plenty of games and films focusing on what it means O to be the Batman, but with a surprisingly

At a glance Developer Telltale Games Publisher Telltale Games Release Date November 17th Price £39.99 | €39.99 Size 6.5 GB

pleasing twist on the formula, Telltale predominantly casts aside the cloak to take an intimate look into the world of Bruce Wayne. What follows is a mostly thrilling ride encapsulating some of Batman’s most iconic villains, but ultimately Batman: The Telltale Series falls into safe, familiar territory in order to please long-term fans of the franchise. Those familiar with Telltale’s work will likely know what to expect here. Batman: The Telltale Series collects five episodes (initially released separately on a roughly monthly basis), each of which will take you around 1 – 2 hours to complete. In typical fashion, Telltale limits player interactivity mostly to dialogue options and quick-time events, weaving a carefully curated story that can be moderately altered by player choices and actions. This is mostly handled very well, although there are admittedly some choices that initially felt consequential, however they ended up having little impact to the overall plot. The series kicks off with Bruce Wayne (played here by industry veteran Troy Baker) throwing an appropriately extravagant event for his friend Harvey Dent’s mayoral campaign. Following a rather unwelcome visit from crime lord Carmine Falcone, Bruce begins to unravel a conspiracy involving his deceased parents, who may not have been quite the upstanding citizens Bruce was lead to believe. To say anymore would

By now, you should know what to expect from a Telltale experience. spoil the plot for newcomers, but I was surprised to see Telltale make bold alterations to some of Batman’s staple characters. Whether this is a good thing or not would depend on your own personal experience with the franchise, but I was thrilled to see the formula mixed up a bit.

In addition to the dialogue paths presented to you throughout the experience, you’ll occasionally need to make use of Batman’s detective skills in order to piece together cold crime scenes. By identifying clues scattered throughout the environment, you can link them together to ultimately form a play-byplay recreation of the crime. This all sounds fascinating in theory, but I often found these sections would bring the flow of the experience to a grinding halt, and I’d soon be itching to get back to the tried and tested Telltale formula. Technically, Batman: The Telltale Series holds up reasonably well on the Switch for the most part. I came across minimal bugs and glitches in my time with the game, but it’s clear at this stage that the engine is in dire need of an overhaul. For a game that looks so basic (albeit, stylish) in appearance, it’s inexcusable at this point to experience dips in frame rate throughout, let alone game-breaking bugs. Optimisation is poor regardless of what system you’re playing on, and this needs to change. By now, you should know what to expect from a Telltale experience, and whether or not you purchase Batman: The Telltale Series is dependant on your interest and/or experience with the Batman property. There’s little here to change up the formula that the developer has honed over the past few years, and it is arguably in need of a drastic shake up, but it’s nevertheless an enjoyable ride that fans and newcomers will soak up. Bring on Season 2.

Verdict - VERY GOOD!

Reviewed by Ollie Reynolds @Olliemar28

Batman: The Telltale Series brings together some of the franchise's most iconic heroes and villains, weaving a story that is intriguing and thrilling for the most part. It can be predictable at times, and the game engine is well past its sell by date, but fans and newcomers alike will love what Telltale have crafted here.


L.A. NOIRE Not everything is blanc and noir eing a cop is hard work. Sure, most people are helpful, law-abiding citizens but B others don’t want to snitch to the cops. Hard

At a glance Developer Rockstar Games Publisher Rockstar Games Release Date November 14th Price £44.99 | €49.99 Size 29.4 GB

to blame them, given Cole Phelps’ demeanour when it comes to talking to people. Sure, sometimes he’s sensitive and slow, mindful of the traumas people have been through, but then other times he’s driving on the pavement and accusing innocent people of murder just to pry a reaction from them.

With L.A. Noire, we learn that sometimes being a bit rude and forceful is, at times, exactly what a cop has to do to get the information they want. Cole Phelps, a former Marine who fought in Okinawa during World War II, has turned to the comparatively quiet life dealing with mobsters and petty thieves in Hollywoodland. Of course, the seedy underbelly of showbusiness runs deep, and Phelps soon learns a lesson or two about the “quiet life.”

L.A. Noire is a fun Grand Theft Auto-style crime drama, told alternatively from the perspective of the law man, instead of the career criminal. This causes a few issues of its own, but for the most part, L.A .Noire tells a fascinating story about a morally grey cast and their pursuit of their own personal brand of justice.

L.A. Noire’s appeal isn’t in its action sequences though, it’s in detective work, pure and simple. You’ll be looking at lacerations on dead bodies and pulling evidence out of the trash in order to piece together clues. The biggest problem with being built on the same foundations of Grand Theft Auto is that many of the mechanics of that world just don’t translate properly when you play as an upstanding citizen. This can either be a minor issue, such as being forced to gun down petty thieves, without any option of non-lethal takedowns, or far more serious, such as removing much of the interactivity available in the world. It’s truly staggering how lifeless L.A. Noire’s world actually feels in comparison to a GTA game, where each

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NPC walking the streets can offer a different interaction. Here, each NPC walking the street is set to walk, and then run away if you attempt to run them over. That’s pretty much it. The side missions are a massive missed opportunity, too. There are 40 side missions in the game, and they can only be accessed while driving your patrol car. The radio might call for back up, and then you have the option of backing them up. These missions can be fun or funny, but more often than not end up being a shoot out from a rooftop or in a car park. The biggest problem with them though, is that they must be accessed from your patrol car; and you cannot just jump into a side mission – you have to wait for the radio to give you the opportunity. This would be fine, jumping into side missions while driving about the city, if the game didn’t actively discourage you from driving about the city. It’s yet another leftover from the GTA foundations of L.A. Noire. In those games, exploring the city and interacting with NPCs is a key mechanic, one you can spend hours on either robbing people to cause trouble or hunting down special collectables. Here, driving is bad, because accidentally crashing or scraping up against another vehicle will see the police department charged at the end of your case, and will deduct points from your total score. To counteract this, you can have your partner drive around the city, who will never crash, and will essentially fast travel you to each mission. Of course, if your partner drives, you’ll never be able to activate side missions – but they will take their time so you can hear some banter between partners.

L.A. Noire’s appeal isn’t in its action sequences though, it’s in detective work, pure and simple. You’ll be looking at lacerations on dead bodies and pulling evidence out of the trash in order to piece together clues and find out what happened, in addition to interrogating witnesses, of course. Interrogations are the main draw of L.A. Noire, back when it first released the detailed facial animations and expressions were state of the art and, for the most part, hold up


Good Cop

If your witness sounds honest, is making eye contact and is staying very still, it’s likely that they’re telling the truth and you should choose the Good Cop option.

Got an SD card?

You may need an SD card for LA Noire, even with the physical copy.

Bad Cop

If your witness sounds like they’re telling porkies, and they can’t hold a facial expression for more than a second, they probably have something to hide. It’s time for the Bad Cop option.

very well today. After asking questions, you’ll be analysing your witness’ face and body language to deduce whether or not they have something to hide. At first this is quite novel, until you start to understand exactly how the developers built these interrogations. Essentially, if your witness is making unflinching eye contact and hardly moves their head, you respond with Good Cop. Otherwise, you Accuse, see if you have appropriate evidence, and if you don’t, you back out of the accusation and pick Bad Cop. Rinse and repeat until you’ve found your perpetrator. The interrogations, and the distinction between the Good Cop and the Bad Cop feel so integral to the game that it boggles the mind that this isn’t taken a step further. Sure, some missions have different outcomes, or different ways of solving a

Accuse

If your witness tells you a blatant lie and your evidence proves it, pick Accuse. This is the only option you can back out of if you can’t find evidence, and sometimes they’ll give you a hint as to what you should present.

case, but never a clear-cut good or bad ending, so to speak. Sure, in a certain mission you might accidentally have a suspect fall to his death, instead of being arrested, but the fact that there were even different possibilities or eventualities isn’t clear at any point. It feels like the decisions you make hold very little value, because this is still a linear story, and your actions aren’t allowed to change that story too much. But, despite all its problems, L.A. Noire does things no other game has, either since or before its original release. It’s a genuinely unique take on the cop genre, and its slow methodical approach to “action” is a welcome change. Sometimes tension can be built through dialogue instead of explosive setpieces, and L.A. Noire understands this so much better than most games, then or now.

Verdict - GOOD!

Reviewed by Dave Aubrey @ODDERZinnit

L.A. Noire isn’t quite an action blockbuster, but more of a serialised crime caper. The slow approach and moments of intrigue are welcome, and ends on an incredibly memorable note. DLC fills out the experience for Phelps fans.


RIME Through hardships to the stars. ime is one of those infamous video games that is perhaps more well known for its R turbulent development than the experience

At a glance Developer Tequila Works Publisher Grey Box Release Date November 17th Price £29.99 | €29.99 Size 7.4 GB

itself. For a long while, the game was scheduled to be one of Sony’s exclusive titles on the PlayStation 4. Straight from the start, its tone and gameplay brought comparisons of title’s such as Ico, Journey and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, bringing with it an unprecedented level of expectation. Developer Tequila Games wanted to deliver on this lofty goal, and so made the title multi-platform. This decision, however, didn’t sit well with gamers, who were quick to assume that the game being dropped from PS4 exclusivity meant that its quality was not up to scratch. The reality is somewhere in the middle. Rime is absolutely not the disaster that many gamers were predicting at one point, but it also fails to meet the high expectations the developer was so clearly striving to meet thanks to some truly unacceptable technical issues.

In terms of pure design, the game looks and sounds wonderful – waves gently crash against the rocks, and seagulls squark as they fly about the island. Rime kicks off in fairly typical fashion for a game of its nature. You awaken on the beach of a gorgeous, exotic island with no context or explanation of why you’re there or where you need to go. In terms of pure design, the game looks and sounds wonderful – waves gently crash against the rocks, and seagulls squark as they fly about the island. You’re also treated to a lovely day and night cycle as you explore, with the stars lighting up the night sky and the sunrise displaying beautiful burnt orange colours. Unfortunately, if you’re playing in handheld mode, much of this is going to be wasted on you. The game looks utterly atrocious on the portable screen, with scenery and characters blurred and washed out, the colours dulled and textures completely lost on the smaller screen. This is

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heartbreaking considering I tend to play my Switch almost exclusively in handheld mode, and I know many other folks do, too. Going from games like Super Mario Odyssey and Stardew Valley – where the colours really pop on the Switch’s screen – Rime is a bit of an eyesore. Not only this, Rime also subjects you to some of the most choppy frame-rate I’ve ever experienced in a game – whether playing in handheld mode or docked. It tries to level out at a steady 30FPS for the most part, but then also struggles around almost every corner, with frame-rate dips so severe that they actually impact the core gameplay. There were multiple occasions where I’d attempt to jump across a ledge, only for the game to abruptly chug along for a few seconds, causing me to completely miss my mark and plummet to the waters below. I know the game does has frame-rate issues on other platforms, but after a bit of research, it seems the issue is far more prevalent on the Switch. It’s such a shame that these technical problems are so front and centre, because buried beneath them is a game that is genuinely worth the experience. Much like that other open-world adventure earlier this year on the Switch (you know… that one..!), there is very little handholding in Rime. It encourages you to go off the beaten path to see what you can find, and more often than not there will be a hidden cave or a collectable item for you to pick up. The environments aren’t quite as open as you might initially think though – your character can only jump and hike so far, with the game taking cues from the Uncharted series by placing obviously climbable ledges in easy-to-reach spots. Similarly, the puzzles are not very ambitious for the most part, but they are reasonably engaging. Throughout the game, you’ll be hitting the X button to emit a shout, thus causing the objects around you to shift or change according to the puzzle (and if you’re not in the vicinity of any objects, a tap of the same button will simply cause your character to hum a brief


Your first puzzle in Rime sees Doubling back a bit, you'll come to a clearing full of cute baby your path blocked by a rather stubborn looking wild boar. You boars munching on some fruit. can't run around it and you can't Shaking a nearby tree will grant jump over it. So what do you do? you possession of said fruit.

tune). A mixture of shouting and moving blocks around is pretty much the extent of what you’ll need to do in Rime, which is unfortunate as I would have enjoyed something a bit more taxing. Then again, I feel like the developer wants you to focus more on the sights and sounds as you progress – which, again, is why the technical problems are so frustrating. Is there a patch coming to fix Rime’s problems? I don’t know, but I sincerely hope so. If you must pick it up on day one, then you should absolutely stick to playing it in the docked TV mode, if you can. Otherwise, I’d wait and see if an update comes to fix its glaring issues. Nevertheless, it’s an adventure I do recommend you experience at some point – it’s a well-designed

Bringing the fruit back to the bothersome boar will distract it from its 'guard post', allowing you to slip by and complete the puzzle.

game boasting some lovely art design, moving music and a genuinely revelatory ending, and whilst it will likely only last you around 4-5 hours, I feel making it a longer experience would be doing it a disservice. It could be a classic, but sadly, right now, it’s all bogged down and buried beneath technical flaws that – in this day and age – are simply inexcusable.

Verdict - GOOD!

Reviewed by Ollie Reynolds @Olliemar28

Rime is one of those games that has all the potential to be one of the all-time greats, but falls short at the last hurdle. Choppy framerate and poor visuals in handheld mode hold it back from being a day one recommendation, but it's also an adventure that, one day - despite the flaws - you'll be glad to take.


FARMING SIMULATOR NINTENDO SWITCH EDITION Make hay while the sun shines arming immortalised in gaming form isn’t really a crazy concept. Household names like F Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing have been

a few times, before your crops are ready to harvest and sell. Of course, to sell them you have to transport them yourself to a shop or popular amongst the Nintendo masses for years. somewhere similar to actually make the money. Heck, even games like Facebook’s FarmVille If you couldn’t tell already, this game is deep. ballooned in popularity almost overnight with At a glance mass appeal. Yet, despite these facts, an actual bona-fide farming simulator wouldn’t If I’m honest, when I started treating Developer be something that gamers would want, right? Farming Simulator more as a tycoon game, I Giants Software Wrong. Turns out, millions of gamers want to started to enjoy it a lot more. The endgame play just that. Enjoying commercial success on is to be as profitable as possible and so Publisher almost every current gaming platform, when that has your focus, everything else Farming Focus Home becomes much easier to prioritise based on Simulator now arrives on Nintendo Switch. Interactive the return on your investment. Doing this, Release Date you can start enjoying the gameplay itself If this is your first experience with Farming November 7th by perfecting how you plough a field, for Simulator, you’re offered the opportunity to example; it’s a lot more fun than it sounds! learn the ropes of being a successful farmer Price via the comprehensive tutorials. Essential for £37.99 | €49.99 Before long you’ll be browsing the different anyone who hasn’t dabbled in crop sowing Size farm machinery with the same delight as before, these tutorials cover every element 2.9 GB you once had browsing the Argos catalogue of being a good farmer in great detail. before Christmas. There is always something more you could be doing in Farming Simulator With your newfound farming knowledge, you’re free to start a new career by selecting and as your equipment gets better, so one of two different farm villages to take does your potential rewards. This game is control of. The crux of the gameplay is nothing a slow burn – and definitely a “grower”… dissimilar to other tycoon games where ultimately the aim is to expand and make As I’ve said many times before about Switch as much money as you possibly can. Only in games, the portability of the system makes this more appealing. Because of its depth, Farming Simulator, though, can you jump into it works really well to pick up and play for a tractor and do the hard work yourself. half hour or so in between whatever else you’re doing. I found playing a game like There is always something more you Farming Simulator this way was far more could be doing in Farming Simulator enjoyable than in 2-3 hour bursts on the TV. and as your equipment gets better,

so does your potential rewards.

And to be clear, growing crops is no simple task. Ploughing and cultivating the field is just the start. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready for seeding. In addition to the standard offerings of wheat, barley, corn, etc.; this version also adds new crops such as sunflowers and soybeans. Once you’ve planted everything, you need to fertilise; probably

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Verdict - VERY GOOD!

Reviewed by James Harvey @AgileHarvey

Farming Simulator is not something that you can recommend for everyone but there is something here that offers a really unique and enjoyable experience. If tycoon games of any variety tickle your fancy, I’d like to think you’ll find something in Farming Simulator that you’ll enjoy for a fair amount of time.


MONSTER JAM: CRUSH IT! Monster Jam: Crushed it? onster Jam: Crush It! is the first M Monster Jam themed video game to be released on Nintendo Switch, based on

At a glance Developer Team-6 Publisher GameMill Entertainment Release Date October 31st Price £29.99 | €39.99 Size 1.2 GB

the American monster truck events and television series. I’ve never driven a monster truck before, and I’m a bit reluctant to learn now if it’s anything like controlling one in this game. Strap in, we’re in for a bumpy ride. Upon first impressions, the difference in gameplay actually surprised me in a positive way, combining ideas evocative of the Tony Hawk games, Trials and Burnout throughout the 4 different game modes. Each mode has numerous different levels and unlockables, challenging you to race, flip and smash through objectives in your chosen truck to get to the next stage. The modes are varied, but none of them nail what they are reminiscent of and ultimately make you wish you were playing the games they were based upon. The Hill Climb mode, for example, is a cool Trials themed change of pace and environment, however, the constant jutting of the camera as it’s trying to keep up with your truck laced in WD-40 is not ideal, it must be said. The levels also don’t provide much challenge, allowing you to beat them by simply holding accelerate.

The constant jutting of the camera as it's trying to keep up with your truck laced in WD-40 is not ideal, it must be said.

in both docked and handheld mode, it runs without frame-rate drops and the load times are refreshingly short. The sound is not good though, every time you come back into the menu it replays the same repetitive music, and the commentary you receive over the freestyle mode is tinny and annoying. The controls are also pretty monstrous. I understand and can get behind the idea of the hydraulics and suspension on the massive wheels, but I ended up turning and flipping insanely easily and the controls weren’t satisfying or seemingly accurate in the slightest. To contrast the bad, the game has a wide range of different monster trucks you can unlock, and whilst purely cosmetic, they look AWESOME. Megalodon, for example, puts you in control of a GIANT SHARK ON WHEELS, and there’s even a truck that looks exactly like the Mutt Cutts wagon from Dumb and Dumber. Additionally, the game features online leader-boards for every game mode and level, a component that adds a genuinely competitive edge. These are great inclusions from the developer, and it makes it that bit more saddening that the game is not fun to play. There are some promising features in Monster Jam: Crush It! that may make it fun for some monster truck enthusiasts, but from a gameplay standpoint it can’t hold a candlelight to the physics of Rocket League and alike.

The Crash mode is reminiscent of a similar style of gameplay from Burnout 3, at least in premise. The limited explosions from little barrels and cars are underwhelming, and it’s almost impossible to drive your truck off a ramp without it veering to the left or right. Performance wise, the game runs fairly well on the Switch hardware. Whilst the graphics look a bit blurred and muddy

Reviewed by Ethan Hunt @genericcoyote

Verdict - POOR! Monster Jam: Crush It! is a disappointment that takes many inspirations from great games yet doesn't quite nail any of them, resulting in an unsatisfying experience with monstrous control.


CARTOON NETWORK BATTLE CRASHERS The blandest of brawlers. hen it comes to games like Cartoon Network Battle Crashers, they’re hard to W review. So much of the appeal is in the licenses

At a glance Developer Magic Pockets Torus Games Publisher GameMill Entertainment Release Date October 31st Price £29.99 | €39.99 Size 166 MB

that they are portraying and in this case, these are cartoons for the current generation of kids and, as such, I have no connection to these characters. With that in mind, I can still safely say that Battle Crashers is a pretty poor game that most people can happily avoid.

Battle Crashers sees you in control of up to six cartoon characters from various franchises such as Steven Universe or Adventure Time. Using their various abilities you fight your way through 2D side scrolling stages, beating up dozens of weird enemies in the process. The combat is incredibly simple with your basic attacks being more than enough for any given situation, great for kids, less so for anyone else looking for more challenge. Eventually, as you level up, you gain access to more abilities such as Clarence’s exploding head. They’re a neat way of making you feel rewarded for levelling up but, as I mentioned, they’re mostly unessential

The levels are incredibly dull and repetitive and, since the game seems to think backtracking is a good idea, you can expect to see a lot of the same environments again and again. additions. Interestingly, the game does try to mix up characters’ roles in the game. Steven, for example, is brilliant at taking down shields whilst Gumball can clear poison from allies and enemies. Whilst these seem small they create an interesting, if underutilised, meta game to the 2D brawling that makes up the bulk of the game. Unfortunately, that is as interesting as the game gets. The levels are incredibly dull and repetitive and, since the game seems to think backtracking is a good idea, you can expect to see a lot of the same environments again

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and again. Every character has a super move they can perform that fans of the respective shows will recognise but these are brief moments of fan service that happen with such little fan fare making it hard to feel the love and excitement. Even the bosses of the game lack any real spectacle, just keep hitting them and avoiding the simple attack patterns and eventually they’ll go down like the 100 odd enemies you fought to get here, there’s nothing overly special about the entire experience. That just about sums up the whole game unfortunately. The story is almost non-existent and the characters have little chance to shine outside of the fighting – it almost feels wasted having these characters at all. They appear to be the window dressing meant to entice you into the game and nothing more. The only upside to the experience is that it can be enjoyed with friends. Up to 4 players can play through a level, each controlling their own characters and at the end each player is scored and ranked – although the real challenge here is convincing 3 friends to play this game with you. Whilst there’s certainly some enjoyment to be had here for kids that are fans of the shows represented here, for the majority of us Battle Crashers is a drab experience with few redeeming features. If your kid is itching to play a game starring the likes of Gumball or Finn & Jake then it might be worth a shot, otherwise save your time and money.

Reviewed by Reece Heyworth @rheyworth07

Verdict - POOR! Cartoon Network Battle Crashers is so clearly aimed at young kids and the gameplay on offer here is fine for that audience but, on the whole, this is a dull brawler with little to offer. If you have no idea who Clarence is then you're probably better off looking elsewhere.


LUMO Isometric joy. eveloped by lone creator Gareth Noyce under the delightfully named studio D ‘Triple Eh?’, Lumo is an isometric platformer

At a glance Developer Triple Eh? Spiral House Publisher Rising Star Games Release Date November 20th Price £19.99 | €19.95 Size 3.3 GB

harking back to retro classics such as Head Over Heels and Alien 8, resurrecting a genre that many thought long dead. Revitalised with modern controls and a generous save system, it’s a game that celebrates the past without being bogged down by it. You play as a young boy or girl who – upon arriving at a cute little gamer gathering – gets sucked into a video game system, transforming the protagonist into a charming little wizard (think of a miniature Gandalf without the beard or, perhaps more fittingly, Vivi from Final Fantasy IX). From here on out, you’ll be navigating hundreds of bitesized rooms, collecting keys and various other items in order to progress through the game. It’s a simplistic premise, but the game executes it with grace, providing a comfortable learning curve for new players and some utterly baffling puzzles for veteran gamers. Nearly every room in Lumo contains either an object you must obtain or a puzzle to overcome. Little direction is provided to you other than subtle visual cues on how to proceed and it’s entirely down to you to use your noggin to figure out what to do. This is where the game shines brightest, and it can be immensely rewarding when you finally manage to crack a particularly perplexing puzzle. It never felt too difficult though. Lumo does a superb job of throwing whatever it can at you without ever feeling overwhelming. You’ll likely die a lot in this game – mostly from falling into deadly goo, but thanks to the frequent save system, you’ll be popped right back onto the ledge from which Reviewed by Ollie Reynolds you fell. On the other hand, @Olliemar28 though, should you choose to play through the game in ‘Old School’ mode, you’ll be limited

to just three lives and no save system. Only those with an exceeding amount of confidence should attempt this mode, as death can easily come simply through trial and error. Sadly, the game occasionally falls flat thanks in part to its entire premise. The isometric view frequently threw me off guard, making me misjudge even the most simplistic of jumps. The game allows you to slightly rotate the stages to get a better view of the platforms and puzzles, but it still felt needlessly frustrating when even some of the earlier puzzles would take much much longer than necessary to overcome. Still, this issue is not prevalent enough to dampen the experience too much, and most players should eventually triumph over this obstacle. Visually, Lumo is fairly basic in design but boasts some lovely bold colours and impressive lightning effects. There’s clearly a significant amount of polish applied to the game – everything runs wonderfully smooth with virtually no bugs or glitches to spoil the experience. It’s also elevated by a brilliant soundtrack well suited to the setting and genre. If you’re in the market for a puzzle platform game, Lumo will suit your needs to a tee. It’s an adorable, well-designed game with a gentle difficulty curve for new players, but also boasts some truly treacherous puzzles to test the mettle of older players. The perspective may cause a few niggling issues initially, but this is a game well worth a spot in your Switch library.

Verdict - EXCELLENT! Lumo is a wonderful little platformer that celebrates its heritage without relying on it too much. Players of any ability will find plenty to enjoy here, and slight issues with the perspective does little to diminish such a charming, engaging experience.


THIS IS THE POLICE Bad Boyd, bad Boyd, watcha gonna do? his Is The Police lands you in the nostalgia of the 80’s, exposed to T numerous detective TV shows and movies

At a glance Developer Weappy Studio Publisher THQ Nordic Release Date October 24th Price £24.99 | €29.99 Size 1.1 GB

which carried a recurring theme throughout them. Smokey, dark offices filled with deeply flawed characters who “just want to do the right thing”. This time, though, you’re seeing the world through the eyes of Jack Boyd, Freeburg’s Chief of Police and our anti-hero. As the game launches you’re treated to a cutscene styled in a way that is similar to the polygonal style of Another World. Jack Boyd is lamenting about his career as the Freeburg Chief of Police as he finds out that he has 90 days left before he is removed from his job. This gives you everything that you initially need to know to get going. Jack’s decided that he’s had enough and wants to make sure that he walks away with a nest egg. This is the story in a nutshell. Have half a million in the bank at the end of 30 days. The game starts proper with the city represented as a scale model in Jack’s office; the police station placed firmly in the centre. You’re gently guided into how you deploy your officers to crimes and everything seems hunky-dory. The model of the city is simple yet gorgeous. At the start of the day you see the shutters in your office rise up and cast sunshine over the city. Lights flicker through the evening and weather makes subtle changes to the mood as the day progresses until it’s night time. Each day in the game is made up of watching this model and

Much like in any good HBO drama, the story escalates rapidly and this is where the real challenge of the game comes in. sending officers to each incident. The outcomes depending on their experience and how many you dispatch. You need to carefully juggle your officers with the number of calls that you have and think you’re going to receive. The worst feeling in the game is having your entire force deployed when something serious kicks off. You watch powerlessly as the clock ticks away.

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The second main task of the day is to send detectives to investigate crimes. These are some of my favourite parts of the game. You send detectives to and they come back with a storyboard, gradually adding more pictures. It’s like being in primary school and learning how to get dressed by placing the pictures in the correct order. You need to use the witnesses statements and hope that your investigators have found all of the necessary pictures. Get it right and the crime is solved. It’s gratifying to actually solve something rather than just getting reports back from your officers. Much like in any good HBO drama, the story escalates rapidly and this is where the real challenge of the game comes in. Before you have finished a week in the job you’re embroiled with the mafia and trying to bring down criminal gangs. You have to think about how to tackle these demands on your department. You’re the thin blue line between order and chaos and you’re walking a constant tightrope. At least, that’s how it feels in the beginning. You find yourself weighing up how ethical the demands are. Do you take an easy bit of cash for providing some security? Do you turn a blind eye to a crime and earn some extra coin? Or do you simply keep to your principles and try and hit your targets to make the money you need? At first, the questions feel like you’re setting yourself up to be the character you expect throughout the game. Then you get forced into a corner when the mayor’s office makes demands that – initially – seem quite unsettling. For instance, being asked to fire all members of your force of a particular ethnicity. This is where the strategy aspect of the game becomes a little lacking. If you don’t comply with these demands you get lambasted by the mayor’s office for failing to serve the public and lose funding, yet if you do comply you leave yourself short of staff and are unable to cover the crimes taking place. Unfortunately, you have no real sense of how you are performing. In a game such as Sim City, you have advisers


Your detectives help to get the evidence together, but it’s up to you to work the storyboard into the truth before you can send the boys in blue.

More serious crimes require you to tell your officers what to do on the scene. A bad decision could cost the lives of your men or the public.

telling you how you’re performing in different areas of your mayorship whereas in This Is The Police your only feedback is complaints from the mayor’s office or daily headlines which may or may not reflect what you’re doing. The narrative picks up between days where events take place in the form of cutscenes. Boyd is reluctantly chatting to the kingpin or the mayor is busting you among other stories. It’s the feel of downbeat 80’s detective shows with modern machinations and politics of TV shows such as The Wire or The Shield woven throughout. The voice talents of Duke Nukem’s Jon St John authenticity and gravitas to these scenes and I applaud THQ Nordic for putting the effort in. There comes a time in the game when you start to feel like you’re going through the motions, questioning if anything you do really makes a difference the Freeburg at all. Your moral quandaries

Reviewed by John Reid @JohnSReid

are replaced with just trying to meet targets despite being reigned in on occasion.

This Is The Police is a challenging, strategic planning game with plenty to keep your interest. I would have liked to have seen my moral choices challenged or rewarded more, but on reflection, maybe my increasingly despondent feelings about Boyd’s problems just mirror the journey he’s taking too. That’s quite possibly the lesson in all of this after all.

Verdict - EXCELLENT! This Is The Police takes the running of a police force and turns it into a strategic, management game with light RPG elements. You won't see any action here and the unreasonable, random demands made can be frustrating. However, throughout all of this, there is a narrative and a goal that can keep you engaged and entertained for many hours.


ROCKET LEAGUE Rocket in your pocket. At a glance Developer Psyonix Publisher Psyonix Release Date November 14th Price £15.04 | €19.99 Size 4.8 GB

hen the party nature potential of the Nintendo Switch became obviously W apparent, there was a list of games that I really wanted to come to the device. Rocket League was one of those that featured high up. There’s a very good reason for that: Rocket League is all about fun, and is unashamedly so. In its basic guise you control a rocketpropelled RC car as you drive, boost, jump and flail around a pitch-styled arena while attempting to maneuver an over-sized – and explosive – football into the opposition goal. It’s a game that, on the surface, seems so incredibly simple yet the premise belies the powerful physics engine in play. It may essentially be a game of football, but this is all about the ball and how it moves, and how you react to its movement. There’s a knack to being in the right place at the right time, which will come through mastery of the games’ intuitive controls. Or, in my case, won’t. I have fun anyway… The default mode in Rocket League and the one most people play is SOCCAR, an obvious abbreviation of Soccer Football and Cars. Two teams face off, with 3×3 being the “standard” option you’ll encounter but you can have 4 against 4, less or even customise numbers to have a handicap. Like football, you have a kick-

As you can probably gather, this is predominantly a team-based experience and is infinitely more fun when others are with you. off and then it’s over to the teams. Score more than the opposition within the time limit and you win; if you are level when the timer expires its Overtime; sudden death – next goal wins. It’s relatively simple to pick up, initially. Your little car accelerates with ZR and brakes with ZL, and you have a turbo-boost (topped up with Boost Pads) which is unleashed with A. Jumping is accessed with B and you can also double-jump. Y will execute a handbrake turn and the X will toggle between your default view (behind your car) or a

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ball-cam. Driving, and more specifically jumping in conjunction with the left stick will cause your car to flip, twist and wiggle (or even soar) and it’s these movements that will affect the path of the ball when you strike it: simply driving into it isn’t usually going to help you score. As you can probably gather, this is predominantly a team-based experience and is infinitely more fun when others are with you. Online play is present (and fabulous) and there you can play with your friends, through a simple and easily accessed invite system. Just press the + button. Take that EA: here’s one arcade football game you can play online with your friends! You can also play Rocket League online with XBOX One/PC owning folks too with the power of cross-system play. Unfortunately not against your PlayStation buddies, though. Boo Sony! Soccar isn’t the only mode that you can play in, however. Rocket League has been incredibly well supported since the original PlayStation 4/ PC release and now there are takes on other games too. In addition to Rumble – which brings power-up craziness into the Soccar mode – you also have Hoops, Snow Day and Dropshot. Hoops is Rocket League’s take on Basketball with baskets to aim at instead of goals, and Snow Day is Ice Hockey, with frozenstyled arenas and a giant puck. Dropshot is completely different, with no goals. Instead, you are tasked with causing destruction to the hexagonal tiles beneath you through manipulating the ball, causing more destruction as the match goes on. Hitting the same panel twice will then reveal a “goal” of sorts, from which you can then score by maneuvering the ball through it. All of these modes add something different to the standard experience. Panic Button, the team behind the excellent Doom port were also tasked with bringing Psyonix’s baby to our favourite hybrid console and it’s fair to say they’ve done another banging job. It’s taken a bit of a visual hit to squeeze it onto the console, that compromise off-set by maintaining a 60FPS frame rate versus


Hoops

Soccar isn't the only mode, Hoops is Rocket League's take on Basketball. With over-sized baskets to aim at, you'll need to master the airborne acrobatics.

Snow Day

Snow Day is essentially Hockey and you'll be smashing an over-sized puck around the arenas. That puck also behaves differently to a ball...

a 720P docket aspect ratio. It takes a bigger hit in handheld mode with a more “dynamic” resolution and whilst some stages appear more jagged in appearance than others (and screenshots really do overstate the effect) for the most part you won’t notice. Because you’ll be tearing all over the show trying to score or save certain goals, and your immediate viewpoint and surroundings are more than acceptable, at least in this writer’s view.

Dropshot

Dropshot uses the ball to remove the floor below you revealing the "goal". The more the ball is hit, the more damage it deploys. Dropping through the floor yields the point.

Gravity? Speed? Whatever your preference you can set it here or select from the presets. If you are looking for negatives then there are a few niggles, but they are trivial. The aforementioned visual compromises may be a bit much for some and the game does not come packaged with any of the previously released DLC, unlike the XBOX One version which was a bit disappointing. It’s all there to buy, but it’s a bit of a bitter pill to swallow when you know another console got a better deal. The recent update to the Switch which allows video capture in certain games has not been adopted here and there’s no confirmation that it’s going to happen anytime soon. Which is a shame because if any game is primed for that feature, it’s this one.

There’s a level of customization which runs deep within Rocket League. You can tailor the look of your car, from its chassis, wheels, antenna and the exhaust trail it exudes when boost – and this Switch port also has a Nintendo flavor with Mario/Luigi cars (with the standard These are, however, the only negatives to jump noise) and a star trail as well as Samus what is otherwise a fabulous experience. Aran’s gunship unlocking at a later point. You If you like sport – specifically football – and get new customisations after every match, racing, multiplayer gaming and fun then this and although cosmetic – none of this paid is absolutely the experience for you. It’s the advantage nonsense here) really allows you to stamp your personality onto proceedings. There best £15 you’ll spend on your Switch. is an option where you can pay for crates to unlock some rarer stuff if that’s your bag; it’s a ESSENTIAL! contentious issue within gaming It's Rocket League, and it's incredibly these days but none of it will entertaining. Static screens do not give you anyone an advantage. do this game justice; yes it's a little Also customisable are the rules, rough visually but you will hardly through the use of Mutators. In Reviewed by notice because you will be having so these, you can affect a variety Paul Murphy @PMurphy1978 much fun. It's brilliant. If you love fun, of settings, tailoring Rocket football and/or racing you'll love this. League to how YOU want it. Want to change the size of the ball?

Verdict -


DEEMO And there, I plummeted, eternally eemo is Rayark’s second Switch port of one of it’s popular rhythm games. D How does it hold up to its mobile origins and

input by tapping when and where they overlap, or hold on the line for yellow ones. You’ve got Easy, Normal and Hard difficulties with Developer VOEZ – Rayark’s other Switch offering? levels from 1 to 10 that are applied between Rayark all categories. Very few songs require more than 2 simultaneous inputs even on Hard, so A young girl falls into a fantasy castle, so you Publisher if you don’t want to play with your Switch lay play the piano as the stick-figure Deemo to Flyhigh Works down, you can hold it horizontally and use grow a tree large enough to help her out of Release Date just your thumbs – even the songs you unlock the floating window she emerged from. Sound September 28th post-game that exceed normal difficulty are weird? Well, if you’re new to games in the largely playable with thumbs only. ‘Charming’ rhythm genre, then don’t be surprised by the Price notes are this game’s equivalent of a ‘Perfect’ fact that most of them don’t sell on the merit £26.99 | €29.99 hit in other rhythm games, and while only or length of the story – their general purpose is Size having three tiers of hits (being Charming, to give the game an art direction and in some 2.5 GB cases, a little motivation to do specific tasks that non-Charming or a miss) is a refinement I don’t progress the story and unlock you more songs to mind, I am a little disappointed I can’t see how many non-Charming hits I got in the results play. Despite Deemo following largely the same to help me reflect and improve. A minor gripe, format, it has a narrative that, though strange but it’s my only one with the entire game. and short, has an emotional and unexpected revelation that made my eyes well up at the end. What sets the gameplay apart is how musically The art is absolutely gorgeous throughout too. accurate and engaging the scores are. Patterns that are implemented actually have chromatic Every few songs you play will grow the tree significance regarding the notes’ relative position a little and when it reaches certain heights, on the piano, rather than the fancy and more a cutscene plays and new rooms of the aesthetic patterns of games like VOEZ. As you castle open. You can navigate the castle in a point-and-click (touch) style and sometimes tap the notes, a virtual piano relays other notes interacting with things will net you a new song, back like a music tracker. I also noticed how but more often than not it relays dialogue the wider a note is, the more simultaneous that helps develop the story. Very few songs notes it represents, or sometimes how loud/ are unlocked this way, and most are just significant the note is. Many songs have parts given to you without being tied to the castle that aren’t piano, signified by a white stripe, and or cutscene triggers – although some are only these aren’t relayed by a tracker. While I was distributed after certain points of the story initially phased by this design choice, I came to are completed. And when you finish the game, understand how useful this is to distinguish the Forgotten Hourglass lets you start over the piano from the other instruments when to allow you to unlock a lot more content. their parts overlap in more complex scores. The immersion I get from how accurate the scores are is so absorbing – maybe it’s because I’m a What sets the gameplay apart pianist myself – but even on easier difficulties is how musically accurate and where you mostly just tap to dominant chords engaging the scores are. or the beat, it’s amazing how music can convert that dominance into a feeling of empowerment. If you weren’t aware already, this is one of few titles that require you to play exclusively Piano may be the core of the game, but that in handheld mode since you only use the doesn’t limit the amount of genres Deemo touchscreen. Notes fall down to a line at the dabbles in. I was amazed by how many times bottom of the screen where you’re expected to family and friends chipped in while I was

At a glance

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When you get a Full Combo or All Charming in a song, a silver castle or golden tree medal respectively will appear next to it.

Collections of songs are known as Books, typically grouped by artist or with relevance to the story. If you're in a room with a piano, you can browse your books and songs to play.

playing to say “Oh is that [genre] music?” with my favourite being “So when does playing the piano become dubstep?”. Like VOEZ, most of the music is from primarily Japanese and Taiwanese composers; but unlike that game, Deemo isn’t saturated with all the same kinds of music. There are a few overlapping songs between the games, yet because of the focus on the piano and being chromatically accurate, the scores are drastically different experience here. Also of note is how amazing the music composed specifically for the game is, I’ve even added several pieces to my personal playlist! The freemium model and slow progression of the mobile version has put me off for years, so I’m glad this version has been made for the Switch. Although for new players, the

An Extra difficulty can be unlocked for certain songs after finishing the game once. Some may need 3 or 4 fingers - but you can play with just your thumbs for the most of them.

higher price might not entice them to try it. All of the updates and DLC from the mobile version has made its way to the Switch aside from the PS Vita exclusive content (more songs and an alternate version of the story) which would have been nice to include, but it’s hard to complain when it comes with a song selection of well over 200 right off the digital shelf. VOEZ got a demo and has been supplied with more content through free updates, and I’d be surprised if Deemo wasn’t treated this way eventually. Reviewing Deemo has been surprisingly challenging for me. Condensing my amazement at Rayark’s attention to musical detail and still convey all aspects of the experience for the more casual audience hasn’t been easy to balance in one piece. As a musician and decently skilled player of the genre, I just hope I did my new favourite rhythm game justice with my words.

Verdict - EXCELLENT!

Reviewed by Alex Luck-Power @LuckyPower_

Deemo excels in every aspect for a game of its genre. On the surface it may seem like any other rhythm game, however its musical accuracy combined with a stellar and diverse song selection makes it an incredibly captivating experience - it even has an emotional story! The premium package will seem a lot to those not into the genre, but it's an easy recommendation for anyone who is


WORMS W.M.D. Incomiiiiiiing! At a glance Developer Team17 Publisher Team17 Release Date November 23rd Price £19.99 | €29.99 Size 4.9 GB

orms W.M.D. pits teams of pink invertebrates against one another W in a world inexplicably absent of humans

yet loaded with ridiculously and comically over-the-top weapons. Your high-pitched warriors take it in turns to perform feats of physics-based weapon launches in the hope of annihilating the enemy team. Yes. It’s Worms and for the most part, the gameplay hasn’t changed a great deal since the original back in 1995. The difference, this time, is that instead of sitting in front of my friend’s PC taking turns with a keyboard and mouse you can now take the full Worms experience on the go thanks to the Nintendo Switch. It’s not all the same game from the 90’s though. Worms W.M.D. may be looking to its roots for inspiration but it isn’t afraid to bring more crazy, over-the-top artillery to its stages. There are random placements of tanks, drillboats and even mechs. These allow your wrigglers to take shelter and traverse the terrain. When used correctly, these can be devastating to an unprepared foe. Alongside the vehicles there are a number of turrets that are placed on the map. You can mount these and launch a shocking volley of rounds at any nearby adversaries.

and weapons as well as the damage and recoil seem to feel so right. I’ve never been a huge fan of the 3D incarnations because of the changing dynamics so this is an absolutely essential point that Team17 have nailed. The single player campaign is a series of one-off levels interspersed with some comical cutscenes. There is a reasonable number of levels, with unlockable additional challenges. Plus, bonus content is included such as an Escapists stage in which you need to reach a crate to prove your innocence. They are fun diversions and have secondary objectives that any completionist will enjoy whiling away the hours with. It’s worth giving a mention to the art style at this point. Worms W.M.D. is a gorgeous game. The new engine isn’t just a physics boost. The worms themselves and drawn and animated cleanly and fit nicely against the levels. Considering that these stages are usually procedurally generated, it’s impressive to see everything fit together so seamlessly. Especially when you factor in that there is an additional feature in Worms W.M.D.: buildings.

On any given terrain there are opportunities to hide or simply take shelter inside buildings. The overlay disappears when you enter these The movement of the worms and spaces to allow you to see walls and ceilings weapons as well as the damage and while you crawl around. Of course, this reveals recoil seem to feel so right. yourself to the opposing team while you enter All this can seem a bit overwhelming when these structures, but they add another strategic you’re just dipping your toe back into the game element. It all gels together nicely and reveals which is why the tutorials are so welcome. These the additional backdrop art in these spaces, give you the lowdown on how to use the various demonstrating the extra level of care taken. weapons and tools found in your arsenal. It’s not just a simple how-to. Each tutorial has a rank Unfortunately, the ball has been dropped in one and records your best time. If you want to hone area of the game. The in-game text and menus those physics skills this is a great way to do it. are packed with information and options. It’s fine for the most part but I found myself constantly Those that have played the original games squinting at a 50” TV sat only a few metres will feel right at home as the move to a 2D away. If you’re playing on tabletop mode, you engine has brought the physics back in line and your buddies need good eyesight because to what made the franchise so successful in those weapon icons are miniscule. I cannot the beginning. The movement of the worms understand the need to cram everything into

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Dodgy Phone Battery

This toss-able item causes bolts of electricity to jump between different worms with electrifying results. You may want to hold off making that call.

O. M. G. Strike

Select where to aim the orbiting satellite, which shoots a devastating laser beam obliterating all worms and scenery in its path.

a tiny space ­like this when so much effort has been put into the gameplay. It doesn’t make the game unplayable by any means, but these elements do feel a little thrown together.

Unwanted Present

Set how many turns it takes before the present explodes. The more turns it takes, the more damage it does. It's definitely better to give than receive.

option to just have a single controller that you pass and play is also very welcome.

As with most Worms games, online is also available for those that don’t have friends nearby. When it’s not your turn, it doesn’t mean that These come in the form of ranked and unranked your worms should be idle. There’s a new modes to help you balance yourself against other crafting system in which you can find bits and players. An extra treat on the Switch is added pieces in loot crates dropped during your battles. local play. If you’re close to another WormsYour worms can upgrade your gear to create playing Switch owner, you can open up a room more destructive and dangerous munitions. and allow the zany sheep swinging, banana It allows your team to go from a zany set of bombing chaos to ensue in the very same room. weapons to something even more chaotic. Worms W.M.D. encapsulates all of the fun The multiplayer options in Worms W.M.D. are elements of the Worms series while harking well thought out. I was sceptical that you’d back to its roots to create a modern and fun be able to use the split Joy-Con with the version of the original games. Pair that up game but was pleasantly surprised to see a with its crisp art-style and various multiplayer control scheme available. Worms uses a lot of options and you would have to go a long way to find such a perfect match for the Switch. buttons on the controller, and Team17 have smartly opted to use every single trigger on a single Joy-Con. SL and SR as well as the two triggers are utilised to make sure that you can still move, pan, zoom and do anything ESSENTIAL! that your buddy using the Pro Worms W.M.D. isn't the most original Controller can. Of course, if you entry in the series. Rather, it's a don’t fancy sharing the joy, the modernised version of the earlier games. It may not be the best single player game Reviewed by either, but couple it with the portability John Reid @JohnSReid and various multiplayer options of the Switch, Worms brings a fun and frantic game that is always best shared.

Verdict -


THE MUMMY DEMASTERED Not your mummy’s metroidvania. At a glance Developer WayForward Publisher WayForward Release Date October 24th Price £17.99 | €19.99 Size 481 MB

hen a video game is based on a movie, there is always a pause for thought W about how it’s going to turn out. You always

wonder how much of the movie licensing money could have been pumped into making a better game. Enter The Mummy Demastered. WayForward must have been rocked by the reviews that hit the latest The Mummy outing. As far as critics are concerned, it’s not a great film at all. So how does the game stand? WayForward have shrewdly decided to create their own story with Demastered. Set in caverns beneath London, you have a simple mission: take out the Mummy Princess. It’s more or less the same premise as the film, but set in a metroidvania adventure. Some names are there but you’re just a Prodigum elite agent taking out the evil menace. This is what immediately plays to the game’s strength. Think Goldeneye on the N64. It had the James Bond licence but besides having Bond in it, it was its own game. In a similar way, TMD doesn’t allow itself to get bogged down with the luggage of its licence. But let’s call a spade a spade here. The Mummy Demastered isn’t quite its own game. Looking at the screenshots, you will probably notice more than a passing resemblance to Super Metroid and Contra III on the SNES. Graphically, these games lend a lot of UI elements to TMD right down to Super Metroid’s minimap with the blue squares. Don’t let this fool you though, there are fresh mechanics and ideas that place the gameplay’s feet firmly on its own two feet.

If you want a game that brings the adventure and exploration with guns and challenge, I cannot recommend this enough. As you initially descend into London’s caves you are taught basic controls. The levels begin as a linear affair, starting to open up once you begin to recover weapons and artifacts littered throughout the labrynth. At this point, you get the feeling it may be just a run and gun shooter like Contra III. However, The Mummy Demastered now starts to tick

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all of the boxes for classic metroidvania. Destroyed enemies drop health and ammo while weapons become more destructive and special abilities are gated by evil bosses. Veterans of the genre will immediately spot areas that are inaccessible early on, knowing that later you’ll be able to somehow reach that high ledge or swim down to the reservoir bed. Your moves are somewhat confined early in the game. There’s no running, so Elite Agent plods around without a real sense of urgency and his jumps leave a lot to be desired. The controls are tight though and you won’t feel that any missed jump or bad move is the game’s fault. Despite having a free-aim button, Elite Agent fires in only 8 directions. It’s handy for shooting downwards, but I guess that this limitation is the price of living in a 16-bit world. You’re probably going to feel a little handheld in some sections though, as the game will not allow you to progress too far ahead without the Prodigum director berating you for not completing your current objectives. You need to go back and complete these before moving on. Metroidvania games have to tackle this in different ways, but I felt that this was probably added in to ensure that players couldn’t get themselves into a position in which they couldn’t escape. It’s unfortunate in how it is somewhat jarring. The respawning of various enemies was also something of an annoyance. Shoot an enemy to clear space for a jump and lo and behold, it’s offspring pops up a few seconds later in the same spot. It’s like Ghouls and Ghosts but without forcing you to pop 20p coins in the machine every 10 seconds to keep going. It adds an artifical difficulty to the game and although I feel that the difficulty of the game is set just right, there must be better ways to execute this. The 16-bit art style is executed very well. There are some lovely backdrops throughout the levels, which you see initially on the surface area. It also brings with it a charm to


The bosses are varied and large enemies that take a pounding or two to take down.

As an elite soldier of the Prodigem you’d better do as your told otherwise serious face guy starts to feel uncomfortable

the game that is probably my sense of retro nostalgia being tapped into just so. The sound is also implemented very nicely. Rather than being the MIDI or beeps of the consoles from that generation, you get a feeling of those classic Amiga sound mods. The sampling and synths are used to great effect making some stand out punchy and atmospheric tunes. A nice twist in the game is your death. When you are defeated, your agent succumbs to the evil of the Princess. Now, you’re a new agent who has to go and do battle with your former self to recover all of your items. It’s a pleasant change from the normal fare of going to the save point again but it does have its drawbacks. The battle can be quite a drain on you before a boss battle if that’s where you lost your life in the first place. You can also end up losing another life and then having to fight two zombie agents. This results in that nightmare game mechanic, grinding for Reviewed by health. For whatever reason the John Reid @JohnSReid developers decided that there is no need for health stations anywhere in the game, resulting in Special Agent having to walk in and out of rooms hoping for

a nice health drop. As you gain much needed health tanks, this can take a very long time. Despite the foibles, The Mummy Demastered has a lot to justify WayForward giving themselves a pat on the back. Whatever you think of the movie, here’s a standalone game that combines rich sound and graphics in a 16-bit aesthetic. It may lack originality in places, but it’s unapologetic and starts to carve its own identity as you progress. You’ll enjoy exploring the expanding world and taking on a varied range or enemies and boss battles. If you want a game that brings the adventure and exploration with guns and challenge, I cannot recommend this enough.

Verdict - EXCELLENT! The Mummy Demastered feels less like a movie tie-in and more like a love letter to the metroidvania genre. The art style will appease a retro gamer appetite while it brings some modern elements to keep it fresh and engaging. If you're a fan of games of this ilk, then it is a must-have purchase. If you're not sure what metroidvania is, give it a go anyway. You'll be pleasantly surprised.


ITTLE DEW 2+ It ain’t perfect, but Ittle Dew. At a glance Developer Ludosity Publisher Nicalis Release Date November 14th Price £26.99 | €29.99 Size 2.4 GB

ttle Dew 2+ is an enhanced edition of 2D top-down Zelda style Action IRPGthe that initially released on PC in 2016. It

boasts new features such as new dungeons, but is it worth a look on Switch? Well yes, actually, it’s very much worth your time. The story follows Ittle and Tippsee as they’re left beached when their raft somehow gets stuck in a puddle. After an old man (who very much dislikes adventurers) tells them to leave the island immediately, Ittle and Tippsee adventure off to explore the island and find the 8 hidden raft pieces scattered across this deserted island.

to find maps that’ll unlock smaller dungeons on the mini-map, there’s an abundance of these to be found and they’ll all contain items that are imperative to helping you in your adventure. Another item that can be found in dungeons are boxes of crayons. While Ittle initially starts off with 5 hearts in her health bar, finding one of these boxes will increase your total heart counter by a quarter of a heart – these were especially helpful when fighting difficult enemies, which I found there was plenty of throughout the game.

Like 2D Zelda games that came before it, Ittle Dew 2+ is easy to control, using either the left Whilst adventuring Ittle and Tippsee will bump analogue stick or the d-pad you can control Ittle, into the island’s residents, who all have hints B will allow you to swing your sword and the and tips that they’ll give to you. However, instead other face buttons will allow you to use other of the characters being polite and courteous to items as and when you find them. The L button you they’ll speak to you in a sarcastic manner, is also used here in order to provide hints as to as a fan of sarcasm this amused me greatly. what your objective is, by pressing it Tippsee The conversations had between the two main will give you a hint as to where you need to go protagonists whenever you enter any of the or how to clear a room if you’re in a dungeon. games 8 main dungeons are especially hilarious and offer a great dynamic between the two. Ittle Dew 2+ took me around 8 hours to complete which is pretty good given its high-ish price tag, but I did find that towards Exploration is key here in Ittle Dew 2+, you’ll the latter part of the game that it started need to explore every nook and cranny in order to outstay its welcome a little bit, but with to find maps that’ll unlock smaller dungeons. that being said I was still smiling profoundly throughout the entirety of the game. Speaking of dungeons, these play out a lot like dungeons from your average 2D Zelda – you’ll Whether physical or digital, Ittle Dew 2+ is find rooms filled with enemies and puzzles definitely well worth the investment, it has and you’ll either have to defeat all enemies some flaws with bad pacing and a crazy or complete enemies in order to progress difficulty spike, but it’s charming appearance through each room, in some cases you may and world are absolutely well worth exploring. even need to find a new item in order to progress. Each dungeon will contain at least one new Verdict - EXCELLENT! item such as a wand that lets Ittle Dew 2+ is a fantastic 2D Zelda you hit items you can’t reach style experience and is a well worth due to holes in the ground or your time, puzzle solving can be spikes surrounding them. difficult at times but the charm and Reviewed by Liam Langan presentation will be enough to keep you Exploration is key here in Ittle @LiamHangover going until the fantastic conclusion. Dew 2+, you’ll need to explore every nook and cranny in order

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PARTY GOLF There ain’t no party like a golf party. At a glance Developer Giant Margarita Publisher Giant Margarita Release Date November 19th Price £13.49 | €15.00 Size 1.3 GB

been a good few weeks for golf titles the Switch. Golf Story, it’s fair to say, Ihast’sonoutdone itself with the amount of Switch libraries that it’s managed to earn itself a place in. There’s a good chance Party Golf ought to do the same.

The premise of this one is a bit more simple than your traditional golf title. Yes, the aim is to get the ball from your tee into the hole, but rather than turns, it’s a race against the clock. You have to negotiate obstacles, steep drops, uphill climbs and other hazards in order to do so, and the first one to get into the hole is the winner. It’s frantic stuff. Each of your shots leaves a trail behind it, so fellow players are able to see where you hit your most successful shots from, and the trajectory you used in order to make the shot. It’s the price to pay for being successful, but it’s certainly not a walk in the park for the other players to get their ball in the right position in order to do so. Balls can cannon off one another, hitting you in all sorts of directions that you don’t

Party Golf is definitely a great party title – certainly more likely to get people on board than the likes of the Jackbox Party Packs. want to go or becoming the stroke of luck you need to find yourself where you need to be. Those trails will soon cover the screen if you spend too long struggling to get over an obstacle. There’s a set time limit to get the ball in the hole, which can be accelerated when the first person sinks a shot. Any players who haven’t potted

within the time limit will be judged on their final distance away from the hole. It is just wonderful stuff as far as multiplayer fun goes; with a max of eight players able to take part.

Party Golf scores a 10/10 for replayability, and offers 100 modes – quite an extraordinary number of ways to put a spin on the simple game of golf. While a lot of them will feel similar, a lot of them adjust the mechanics quite a bit: you can replace everyone’s ball with fruit in one example, which will, of course, change the way your shots catch and roll on slopes. Elsewhere, you can select power-ups, which can have the effect of tying a rocket to your ball to give it that extra bit of momentum to make it across a large gap, or alternatively reducing roll and having the ball stick to impossible surfaces. You can fiddle around with all of these components in the custom game mode – say you want to reduce the light, or fill the environment with explosives – you can do it.

Party Golf is definitely a great party title – certainly more likely to get people on board than the likes of the Jackbox Party Packs. The maniacal franticness, easy-to-pick-up nature and difficulty shared across the board mean anyone can get involved and anyone can win – that’s the sign of a great party title, especially when you’re enjoying yourself in the meantime.

Verdict - EXCELLENT!

Reviewed by Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

Party Golf has loads of modes to keep you busy, and offers loads of fun to bring you back. Gather some friends together and you'll have a bundle of fun, but it's also good fun playing against some CPUs. It's perhaps forgiven at not having some kind of story mode by the sheer depth of modes available - pick it up. I'm sure you'll have fun too.


RIVE: ULTIMATE EDITION Savage scavenger. At a glance Developer Two Tribes Publisher Two Tribes Release Date November 17th Price £13.49 | €12.75 Size 846 MB

ive: Ultimate Edition is a 2D twin-stick shooter riding on the foundations of some R solid platform mechanics. Originally due to release on the Wii U, the project was moved to the Nintendo Switch following concerns of the game’s performance on Nintendo’s former console. Thank heavens for that – Rive is one of those pick-up-and-play arcade titles that feels right at home on the Switch, particularly when playing in handheld mode. It’s simplistic, it’s quick and it’s fun. More so than anything else though, it’s very punishing.

You take control of Roughshot, a scavenger trapped in a vast, dilapidated ship from which you must escape. You’ll navigate the environment in a Spidertank – a walking/flying hybrid that fittingly looks a bit like a spider. Developer Two Tribes has done a remarkable job of making it seem as though the ship itself is fully interconnected, but mercifully the game is split into bite-sized levels, with checkpoints generously sprinkled throughout. You’ll need these checkpoints, too. Rive is a brutal game that will break your resolve again and again if you let it. Most enemies you encounter can only shave off a fraction of your health, but they so frequently come at you in swarms that even the most insignificant error can result in an overwhelming death. The game will throw these at you as quickly as it dares, and often likes to mix things up by

to come back and try again. You’ll also come across sections focused on your platforming skills – these are a bit few and far between for my liking, but I definitely basked in the all too brief tranquility whilst I could before the game threw me in at the deep end again. Exclusive to the Switch version of Rive is the ability to play in copilot mode, with each person taking control of a Joy-Con. One moves the ship around, whilst the other has command of the weaponry. This mode is only okay – there’s no real opportunity for effective communication as the game is far too quick throwing its enemies at you. Eventually, it boils down to instinct and quick reactions, and whilst it does fundamentally work, I’d much rather stick to the single-player mode. A more welcome addition to the Switch version though is HD Rumble. The game makes great use of this feature with every weapon and every explosion sending ripples through your fingertips, really elevating the overall experience.

Rive: Ultimate Edition is a great twin-stick shooter that definitely deserves a spot in your Switch library. It’s a wonderful swan song for Two Tribes (the company announced Rive would be its final game back in March 2016) and I think the team should be truly proud of what they have created. Its difficulty may be a bit much for some folks (in which case, check out Graceful Explosion Machine), but if you’re up for the challenge, there’s a lot to enjoy here.

Rive is a brutal game that will break your resolve again and again if you let it. limiting your area of a movement to a small platform floating atop a bubbling lake of lava. This isn’t to say the game isn’t fun though, because it is. The core mechanics of moving, jumping and shooting have been nailed to near perfection, and despite the harsh nature of the difficulty, I always found myself compelled

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Verdict - EXCELLENT!

Reviewed by Ollie Reynolds @Olliemar28

Fans of twin-stick shooters will find a great deal to love with Rime: Ultimate Edition thanks to its solid mechanics and fun platform sections. Its difficulty skirts on the edge of sadism, but persevere and you'll keep coming back for more.


LETTER QUEST REMASTERED Keep the dictionary handy. At a glance Developer Digerati Publisher Digerati Release Date November 23rd Price £11.69 | €14.99 Size 162 MB

etter Quest Remastered tasks you with spelling out words to defeat enemies L and clear the path to the most precious of

treasures. Pizza. At first, it sounds like a strange combination to have an RPG and word puzzles but they work fantastically here. It’s a straightforward gameplay loop, each level has several monsters in your way and you have to spell out words using the letter tiles given to you in order to deal damage. All the letters deal various amount of damage, for example, if you use the letter J or X you’ll be dealing more damage than using letters such as A or P – a good vocabulary is vital to clearing some of the tougher sections of the game. To keep things really interesting the enemies and bosses of the game all have their own attacks and abilities, one attack may flood your letter pool with the letter Z for example or some bosses may not take damage from any words longer than 5 letters. These quirks force you to think on your feet and stop things from becoming repetitive. In between levels you spend your hard-earned gems on powering up your character and unlocking new abilities via books. Although limited, these few customisation’s help you prep your character in a way that suits you – if

favourite abilities and know what to expect from most enemies – it’s a shame but doesn’t stop what is on offer from being good fun to play. The game features nice bright enemies and locales with some fun names and bios to admire as you’re busy hacking them apart using the power of words. There are only a few enemy types present, with the game making the most of palette swaps to pad out the hordes. It becomes a little repetitive to see yet another bunny boss but this is hardly a game breaker. Every now and then you’ll be treated to a short comic strip detailing Grimm’s quest for pizza – the game likes to make occasional jokes but doesn’t try to beat you over the head with its comedy so you’d be entirely forgiven if you ignored the story entirely. If word puzzles are your thing then I couldn’t recommend Letter Quest Remastered enough, it’s blend of RPG and traditional word puzzles create an interesting concept that is fun to play and has fun playing with the rules to make things more interesting. The only downside to the game is that it struggles to keep new ideas coming throughout the game and soon you feel like you’ve seen all there is to offer.

It’s blend of RPG and traditional word puzzles create an interesting concept that is fun to play. you fancy yourself as a big word aficionado then take the book that deals extra damage for 6 letter or more words. Some of the options are duds though that feel like padding more than anything else and this begins to highlight the limits on the RPG elements present in the game. With 40 levels to clear it doesn’t take long for the game to run out of genuine surprises or game-changing elements, pretty early on you’ll have your

Verdict - VERY GOOD!

Reviewed by Reece Heyworth @rheyworth07

Letter Quest Remastered is a fun twist on the traditional word puzzle game by introducing RPG elements, although the game begins to run out of fresh ideas, the foundation of this game was such fun that it was still a blast to play through. The game needs a chance to flesh out its ideas more but in the mean time I suggest you get the dictionary out and play this game.


CAT QUEST A Purr-lesant journey or another cat-napping yarn? At a glance Developer The Gentlebros Publisher Pqube Release Date November 10th Price £9.99 | €12.99 Size 249 MB

ver looked at a cat and thought, what most RPGs are missing is more cats? E Well, like the name suggests, Cat Quest might

just be that game. After facing stormy seas, you find yourself washed ashore after your sister is catnapped – not to be confused with sleeping (which also saves the game) in this instance – by the villainous “Drakoth”. Once on dry land, you’re quickly familiarised with your new Navi-esque spirit companion Spirry; thankfully lacking annoying audible outbursts. Things aren’t as they should be in the land of Felingard, suddenly you wonder if you’ve made a wrong stop in Skyrim as suddenly there is talk of dragons returning to the land, and it’s revealed you are apparently the last of the “Dragonblood”, meaning only you can bring an end to their return. Felingard is beautifully depicted as a map like table-top diorama, and the painterly 2D characters all visually pop as they traverse the environment. Which is great, as you’re going to be running back and forwards across it a lot! Cat Quest makes use of most of the landmass that comprises Felingard, but areas of the periphery are mostly forgotten during the main playthrough of the game. Which is a shame, as these areas also bring some variety to the geography.

Thankfully, the dialogue that accompanies the side quests make it worthwhile, as it is selfaware, referential, and a-meowzing – although perhaps leans a bit too heavily on the cat puns. Combat – whilst simple – has enough depth to carry it through to the main ending. Y is used for all physical attacks, but it is the timed combination with pressing B to roll at the right time that is crucial. The true depth and learning experience come with the use of different magical spells, which can be assigned to the four shoulder buttons. Each magic type has a

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unique attribute that affects battle differently, and combining these enables alternate valuable strategies, especially later in the game. Attack, health, and defence are upgraded as you level up, but you extend this further via buffs gained by equipping different headgear and armour, as well which weapon you use. The game consists of a few main quests to move you closer towards rescuing your sister and of course dealing with that whole dragon problem. The main quests revolve around defeating individual elemental dragons, but each one is initially inaccessible, as you need to learn a specific skill necessary to reach them. However, these skills are tied to side quests, and these side quests strongly recommend that you reach a certain level, otherwise, the chances of you completing them are low, very low. Not all side quests are directly linked to the main quest though, but they do make up the bulk of the game and are absolutely required to efficiently level up. Each cat settlement has its own quest line and completing them rewards you with a significant amount of XP and gold – in addition to the XP and gold you accrue during the quests themselves. Unfortunately, side quests are mostly variations of the same tasks, too often they will consist of going to a cave and defeating all enemies inside, or just generic fetch quests with the possibility of some combat. Thankfully, the dialogue that accompanies the side quests make it worthwhile, as it is selfaware, referential, and a-meowzing – although perhaps leans a bit too heavily on the cat puns.

Verdict - VERY GOOD!

Reviewed by James Sweeting @CrazyBlue

Cat Quest is a purr-leasing experience that pits cats against dragons in tabletop action adventure. The combat provides engaging feedback whilst the cat-izens offer plenty of – mostly humorous – cat-based puns that both draw you into the world of Felingard.


CHESS ULTRA Check this, mate At a glance Developer Ripstone Publisher Ripstone Release Date November 2nd Price £9.99 | €12.49 Size 2.3 GB

here’s something enjoyable about a good game of chess. One of the oldest strategy T games in history, yet the thought and planning

move any of the basic eight directions, but only if they aren’t blocked in by their own pieces. If an opponent’s piece is in the line of movement then you will capture that piece, removing it from play. Knights are slightly different, as they have a “L” shaped move requirement but can move anywhere within these spaces. The last piece is the King, who has a pitiful range of movement, but is the most important piece – the game ends when the king cannot move without being taken, which is called “Checkmate”.

Like Pure Chess, Chess Ultra possesses a level of polish and presentation that puts it above some other board game releases, with the pieces beautifully rendered and the cozy and interesting environments you play in really enhance the atmosphere, even though they make no difference to the actual game itself. It just gives it more of a premium feel and justifies the £9.99 asking price, if you ask me. Which as you are reading my review, I assume you are.

The game plays incredibly well – you’d think it would be hard to mess chess up, but there is more than the standard game in here. You can play online with others, take on the AI or even play with a local opponent, using split Joy-Con and the game displays as a chess board, laid flat. There are multiple challenges to undertake and the tutorials here more than effectively explain the game for newcomers, and those that have dabbled previously could still learn a thing or two. I did! Also present are tournaments and even some historic matches. Have you ever wanted to rewrite chess history? I haven’t, but it’s a nice addition nonetheless and hardcore fans might actually know what happened in these matches!

that goes into strategically out-foxing your opponent is incredibly satisfying when the execution pays off. This Nintendo Switch release of Chess Ultra has been developed by Ripstone, and those of you that suspect it looks familiar will note that the same studio published VooFoo Studio’s Pure Chess a few years back and developed this iteration in-house.

As for the game itself, the rules of chess haven’t changed in the hundreds of years it has been around, and there aren’t enough words allowed for this review to explain them all, let alone effectively. Chess is a turn-based strategy game where you alternate moves and move

Chess Ultra possesses a level of polish and presentation that puts it above some other board game releases, with the pieces beautifully rendered. your pieces around accordingly. Pawns are like soldiers and move forward one square at a time. That said, you can capture other pieces diagonally if they’re adjacent to your next forward move. As for the higher profile pieces their movement range depends on opposing pieces. Bishops move diagonally, Rooks in straight lines vertically and horizontally and the queen can

If you find yourself with a few quid in the eShop account and fancy a bit of chess, you cannot go wrong with this.

Verdict - VERY GOOD!

Reviewed by Paul Murphy @PMurphy1978

It would be hard to make a bad chess game, but it's not easy to make a beautiful one and that's what Ripstone have achieved with Ultra Chess. It's priced reasonably, plays and looks fantastic and if you are a strategy or chessafficiando then it's a no-brainer. Unlike some of the matches you might play...


THE BRIDGE And there, I plummeted, eternally At a glance Developer

The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild

Publisher

The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild

Release Date September 7th Price £8.99 | €9.99 Size 187 MB

the ever growing list of acclaimed games being ported to the Switch is none Jotheroining than indie puzzle gem, The Bridge.

It feels right at home on the hardware.

Described by project lead Ty Taylor as M.C Escher meets Isaac Newton, the game starts you off in a way that you might expect given the description: by hitting you, the player, on the head with an apple. After that, you can pretty much throw gravity as a logical concept out of the window, as it’s all downhill from here. Or uphill. That’s the point.

The Bridge consists of 48 different Escher style hand drawn puzzles, each relying on you to manoeuvre not just the character, but the rooms and corridors themselves, in order to reach the door and progress. Using the house of the character (a bearded, fittingly Escheresque looking gentleman that is hand-drawn in from scratch at the beginning of every level) as a hub-world and basis for progression, the game will increasingly invent new ways to torment and confound your brain. As if an expedition of the characters’ mind, you conquer and solve each envisagement of rooms within the house, with obstacles and traps set in front of you to throw a spanner in the works.

It’s clear that The Bridge adopts much of its style from indie hit Braid, from the way it tells its abstract narrative, to the hub-world, even to the art style and rewind mechanic. But it’s not all borrowed. What makes The Bridge unique is that you don’t feel in control of the player, but rather the gravity and environment the player is within. The rewind mechanic is merely a tool to rectify mistakes and it doesn’t ultimately benefit your progress. The control scheme is simplistic in an extremely elegant way. Your character can simply walk from left to right with the analogue sticks or D-pad, whilst the two rear trigger buttons rotate each level to solve the gravity based puzzles. The lack of complexity in these inputs allows you to get truly engrossed and focus on the task at hand rather than struggling with a button combination. In the Switch version, the usage of the HD rumble is a welcome bonus, adding in subtle vibrations that align with objects such as the ball and keys as they move, resulting in a sensation that almost feels as though you have a tactile maze puzzle in your hand.

One major inclusion, as with the Wii U version of the game, is the full support of motion and touch controls, something most games do not take advantage of on the Switch. To be brutally honest, these don’t work very well. And What makes The Bridge unique is by that I mean they work well, but they aren’t that you don’t feel in control of the helpful, at least in my experience. Because player, but rather the gravity and I was doing so much in-game rotating, I felt environment the player is within. physically rotating the system was a step too far. Still, the developer should be commended Starting off slow, the experience introduces you for accommodating the hardware. As someone who has previously played the game on PC, it to its rules and mechanics, before ultimately shattering them and dumbfounding you with the was fun experimenting for a brief moment. ways they can be used when developed in later stages. The game will often taunt you by placing The presentation in the game is fantastic. The games’ grey-scale colour scheme and the exit inches away from the starting point, sketchbook style only helps to further the almost reachable if not for the extremely large themes conveyed by the gameplay. Not only are and sinister ball blocking your path. The feeling the stages themselves unmistakably facsimiles of determination and satisfaction I got when of hand-drawn Escher scribbles, but the overcoming and laughing back in the face of these challenges was unlike anything I’ve played artwork before each stage during loading looks brilliant. Curious flute motifs accompany each puzzle-wise on the Switch yet.

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The Bridge's Escher inspired art style shares similarities with other games such as Braid and Monument Valley.

With touch and motion controls available, The Bridge adapts to the Switch hardware, especially in handheld mode.

new chapter within the house and, alongside the Braid style aesthetic, create a rather unsettling, mysterious atmosphere. You start to really feel as though you are playing through a detailed scrawled notepad, a descent into madness with Escher imagery. The timepiece level is a personal favourite, it’s symmetrical design was lovely to rotate and dissect.

The Bridge's post-game content provides a great amount of replay value for puzzle fans.

most part, the game’s simplicity is effortless, but there are moments when it can briefly stumble. The inverse mechanic, for example, introduced in chapter 3, is a cool introduction, But the first level meant to naturally accustom you to this feature had me stuck walking aimlessly on a Möbius strip for around 15 minutes before I realised the alarmingly simple solution. Usually in the game, as in other puzzlers, this is a marvellous revelation, but in this instance it was just down to not being clear. Admittedly gripes such as these are fairly nitpicky and, considering my brain had been utterly entranced by the experience, it was probably my own stupidity that stopped me from progressing.

The game gives off the vibe of a tortured mind, wrestling with ideas of reality being stretched beyond comprehension. Thinking about the story or what it’s supposed to be about kind of just confuses me, to be honest. I was genuinely considering contacting the developer and inquiring Overall, it’s a big, headache incurring as to what their desired thumbs up for The Bridge. interpretation of the game was, and then it dawned on me: that’s probably the point. An isolated mind slowly drifting EXCELLENT! into insanity… and that’s The Bridge feels right on the Switch just describing myself after hardware, specifically in handheld mode. pulling my hair out for half The atmospheric music, mind-boggling an hour trying to fathom a physics mechanics and abstract visual solution for the final level. Reviewed by style all amalgamate together to produce Ethan Hunt @genericcoyote one of the best Puzzle games currently As a port of an acclaimed title available on the platform. With the that has made its way onto most games' improbable extra challenges other platforms by this point, and post-game levels, It's sure to keep there are little to no differences you going back for quite some time. from previous iterations, and Providing you don't go insane first. I feel like some sections could have been tweaked. For the

Verdict -


VVVVVV Seeing things upside down. At a glance Developer Terry Cavanagh Publisher Nicalis Release Date November 17th Price £8.99 | €9.99 Size 85 MB

he Switch is slowly becoming home to some of the best indie platform games. We’re T not only receiving amazing new releases, like

SteamWorld Dig 2, but also ports of classics of the genre, such as Cave Story+ and the upcoming Super Meat Boy. During the first year of the Switch’s life, Nicalis has become one of the most productive studios in bringing these games to the console, and they are now bringing another – the seminal platform game VVVVVV. Previously released in 2010, the hard-topronounce VVVVVV has gathered some attention due to use of a mechanic that is simple, but changes considerably the way you think about platforming. The game is very purist when it comes to gameplay. You don’t have power-ups, nor any type of level up system. The platform challenges are the only focus of the game. The difference here is that instead of jumping, what you do is invert the gravity. After a brief introduction, you learn that some kind of inter-dimensional interference occurred, and the entire crew of your space station were subject to teleportation and randomly scattered all over the place. As the captain, you must then explore an entirely connected map, trying to find each one of your friends and bring them to safety. The game provides you with what,

The platform challenges are the only focus of VVVVVV. The difference here is that instead of jumping, what you do is invert the gravity. at first, seems to be a standard 2D side-scrolling platformer to carry out this task. You can use either your left stick or the directional buttons to move your character around. What would be your jump button, however, will entirely invert the gravity of your character – moving you towards the ceiling and allowing you to walk with the upside down.

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Basically, this the only mechanic to be found in VVVVVV – which doesn’t mean that the game is repetitive or uninteresting. On the contrary, it takes up its very basic premise and progressively presents new ways to twist it, adding variety and rising up the challenge. On this matter, this is a very hardcore platformer that won’t hesitate to kill you on each one of your splitsecond slips. You’ll find spikes (whose format are Vs, who would guess?) and other hazards scattered all over the map, and must use your gravity shifting power to traverse through them without dying. VVVVVV isn’t punishing, though. You have plenty of checkpoints between the hardest rooms, and the game follows the same insta-restart philosophy of games like Super Meat Boy and Hotline Miami. This way, you’ll restart instantly from the last checkpoint upon dying. It is possible to argue that the VVVVVVisuals (sorry!) are very simplistic, but it follows an 8-bit pixel art style that is pleasant on its own, and doesn’t detach you from the actual fun of play. Better still is its electronic chip tune soundtrack, that bumps you forward even after died for the fiftieth time. With this, the platforming experience of VVVVVV is a very solid one, and if I have to pinpoint any flaw, it would be the game’s duration. You can finish the main campaign in less than two hours, and while there are unlockable challenges and collectables to find, VVVVVV leaves you wanting more. At least, for the first time, the Switch version of VVVVVV has a co-op mode, in which you can replay the entire main campaign with a friend and hang out – from the ceiling – together.

Verdict - VERY GOOD!

Reviewed by Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro

The classic indie platformer VVVVVV plays around with what seems to be a simple gravity-inverting mechanic. By evolving on the concept, it creates a platforming experience that, while short, may prove challenging for even the hardened platformer aficionados out there!


UNO Not the strongest of hands, but certainly a winning one. At a glance Developer Ubisoft Publisher Ubisoft Release Date November 7th Price £7.99 | €9.99 Size 2.0 GB

NO is the latest family game brought to the Switch by Ubisoft. The renowned U card game has been recreated in video game form before, most notably the fondly remembered Xbox Live Arcade version, but does Ubisoft do enough to differentiate this new Switch version from its forbearer?

The main element distinguishing Ubisoft’s version of UNO is the inclusion of themed card decks from the developer’s franchises including; Rabbids, Rayman, and Just Dance. These don’t just provide aesthetic changes, as they also bring with them four special cards for each pack that alter the game in a unique way when played. Some are more impactful than others, ranging from copying the card previously played to a Rabbid running around threatening to punish you if you don’t play a card in two seconds. It’s worth mentioning that these special cards are completely optional, but they are rare in play and complement the experience in a way that feels at home with the core experience. The vanilla version of UNO is still playable and performs as it should, just like the real card game. House rules are also supported,

The versatility available allows you to play how you want to, or just experiment, meaning that the base game doesn’t risk getting overly familiar too quickly. although limited, there are enough to choose from that you can mix and match; if you want any that is. The versatility available allows you to play how you want to, or just experiment, meaning that the base game doesn’t risk getting overly familiar too quickly. Unlike the card game, the video game version of UNO has a significant advantage, that being you don’t need other people to play a full game. Whilst the social element can contribute to the experience, the core game

Reviewed by James Sweeting @CrazyBlue

provides a strong enough hook that it works despite this. Of course, if you want to play with a real human, the option exists. Local multiplayer is fully supported, helped by complete control mapping to a single Joy-Con, but then there is the issue of being able to see each other’s hand. Online multiplayer is also available and works exactly as it should, unfortunately not everyone you meet will have the attention span for a whole game. Thankfully Ubisoft foresaw this and replaces those who leave with a bot so that the game can continue. Like Ubisoft’s other recent Switch game, Monopoly, UNO also suffers from an issue that causes the game to take an incredibly long time to load. Both games can be corrected by restarting the Switch, but how this bypassed QA for both games is concerning. Aside from this initial error, UNO runs along as quickly as a game using the physical cards. Whilst docked, UNO runs flawlessly and works with a range of different control methods that the Switch has to offer. Handheld mode is worth considering though, as the Switch’s portability is what makes it the biggest contender as a replacement of the card game. Again, a range of control inputs are supported, but the prominent difference is that the game can be controlled via the touchscreen. It’s a shame then that the touch controls feel like they would be more at home on the 3DS touchscreen than the multitouch functionality of the Switch display. Whilst functional you’ll soon find yourself reverting to button controls.

Verdict - VERY GOOD! With the very welcome addition of themed card decks - featuring Ubisoft characters - providing an additional flourish to the game, UNO for Switch is a digital recreation of the popular card game, which is all you can ask for.


Top 20 Retail Games

Switch Directory

Switch Directory

BATMAN: THE TELLTALE SERIES

THE BINDING OF CAVE STORY+ ISAAC: AFTERBIRTH+

NEW!

THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM

FIRE EMBLEM WARRIORS

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD

NEW!

MARIO + RABBIDS: KINGDOM BATTLE

MARIO KART 8 DELUXE

NBA 2K18

POKKÉN TOURNAMENT DX

PUYO PUYO TETRIS

RAYMAN LEGENDS

RETRO CITY RAMPAGE

SPLATOON 2

SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY

THIS IS THE POLICE

XENOBLADE CHRONICLES 2

ARMS

NEW!

DOOM

LUMO

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NEW!

NEW!


Top 20 eShop Games THE COUNT LUNCANOR

FAST RMX

GOLF STORY

ITTLE DEW 2+

KINGDOM: NEW LANDS

LOVERS IN A DANGEROUS THE MUMMY DEMASTERED SPACETIME

NEUROVOIDER

OXENFREE

PARTY GOLF

ROCKET LEAGUE

NEW!

STEAMWORLD DIG 2

NEW!

NEW!

NEW!

RIVE: ULTIMATE EDITION

PICZLE LINES DX

NEW!

SEVERED

SPARKLE 2

STARDEW VALLEY

THUMPER

WORMS W.M.D.

WULVERBLADE

NEW!

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TEN TIPS FOR A LEISURELY VOYAGE Written by Matt Forde @Forde999 Matt Forde spent the first week of Odysseys release finding every single piece of content the game had to offer, even forgetting to attend his own birthday party – he regrets nothing. A freelance journalist who’s published work can be found on Nintendo Life, Push Square & Vgamerz to name a few, he is determined to prove to the world that Sonic Unleashed is a good game.

Matt Forde explains his top tips for Super Mario Odyssey Not many games can lay claim to selling over two million units in four days, yet Super Mario Odyssey has managed to achieve just that, surpassing many critics’ expectations whilst once again proving that everyone’s favourite plumber has still got it. Now in the grasps of many budding explorers, many are quickly realising that Mario’s new control scheme is more enhanced than ever. This, along with enough collectibles to shake a Goomba at can make Odyssey quite a commitment; that is, if you’re wanting to reach 100% completion. To make this extraordinary journey that bit more obtainable, read on for 10 essential tips for making Super Mario Odyssey a leisurely voyage.

Go Pro

Before beginning the adventure, deciding on what controller to use is critical to how you traverse. Obviously do what feels most comfortable but for the best results there is no doubt that the Pro Controller comes out on top. Though Joy Cons are recommended, for pulling off all of Mario’s newest moves the Pro Controller fits best – it even has motion controls built in meaning there is never a need to switch out. Handheld Mode comes a close second, again offering considerable freedom.

Finish the Story First

You may be surprised to find out that, unlike Mario 64 and Sunshine, both carried 120 Stars/Shines apiece, Odyssey has 999 of the collectibles – taking the form of Power Moons. Playing through initially, it may be tempting to spend all of your time in one Kingdom, however opting to complete the story first will serve better; especially in the long-term. Once finished, colourful beams of light can be seen in each Kingdom. Positioned below these lights are metal blocks that when hit will release more Moons and pepper your map with their location. Purposely this can save plenty of backtracking with numerous moons being next to one

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another. Happy hunting.

Talk to Everyone (Multiple Times) Conversation is overrated. Not here. Speaking to different characters not only will give hints of where to find moons but better still some kind strangers will just hand them over without any fuss. On the odd occasion talking to an NPC more than once will result in multiple moons.

Perfect the Double Hat-Dive

As previously mentioned Mario has an abundance of moves to get equipped with. Taking a few minutes to familiarise yourself with each will make some of the tougher levels much more attainable. By going to Basic Actions (located in the Action Guide) you will find all of Mario’s moves laid out under the control scheme - of them all the double hat dive is the most important and most difficult to perfect. When running at the same time press down B and ZL, then whilst mid-air hit the Y button to throw Cappy, simultaneously repeating the B and ZL command will make Mario dive onto Cappy and gain another bounce. You can then finally dive once more by repeating the same commands mid-air (Y followed by B and ZL for the third time). This needs to be in one swift movement for success so practice is key. Predominantly the specialised move will help in particular for shaving valuable seconds off Koopa Races and reaching near-impossible jumps.

More Money, More Moons

Struggling to move onto the next Kingdom? The Crazy Cap shop has you covered. Yes, whenever you can’t find any more moons or simply want a quick win,


Crazy Cap sells Moons in exchange for 100 coins. No need to worry about them running out of stock either, as the amount you can purchase are endless. One thing to note for all completionists, is that 880 Power Moons are available to find through Kingdoms with 119 needed from Crazy Cap to max out your counter meaning any purchased after that are pointless unless used for progressing the story.

Don Every Design Paris, Milan, New Donk City. It’s all well and good spending those hard-earned coins on Moons yet, what about fashion? Mario’s wardrobe has never been so extravagant, not only adding to the whimsy of the overall experience but actually proving useful. Speak to citizens of each Kingdom and some will give not so subtle hints like “I heard there was a real caveman around here. I’d love to meet one.” - wearing said costume whilst speaking to the character will reveal a Power Moon.

Assemble the amiibo

amiibo; the gift that keeps on giving. When entering each Kingdom a small robotic droid aptly named Uncle amiibo will allow you to scan any figure before (after a short space of time) revealing a Moons location. All the more, if you managed to get your hands on the “Wedding Mario”, “Wedding Peach” or “Wedding Bowser” amiibo, each bestows a small bonus. Holding down the right D-Pad during gameplay in addition to unlocking the outfits that each character wears, Mario will briefly be given invincibility by his doppelganger, Peach will grant a Life-Up Heart and Bowser will reveal the location of Regional Coins. Not possessing any will not

become a hindrance either as all costumers are available for purchase in the game.

Talkatoo & Hint Toad

Two other extremely helpful characters are the inquisitive Hint Toad and motormouth Talkatoo. The yellow parrot sings a clue indicating a Power Moons whereabouts, whilst the blue Toad with glasses will place a marker on your map for the modest price of 50 coins. Recommended for those pesky final Moons!

Cappy and Scooter

The “Jump-Rope Genius” Moon and the “Beach Volleyball: Hero of the Beach!” challenge can both prove troublesome, easily leading to broken controllers. To reduce player stress, there are a few tricks to help breeze past each. Located in Metro Kingdom, grab the scooter positioned directly in front of the entrance, then carefully place the vehicle in the middle of the skipping ropes before commencing. Using the scooter gives Mario more of a consistent jump thus making the target of 100 more obtainable. Beach Ball is easier by simply enabling two-player mode. Even if you don’t have anyone to lend a hand, controlling Cappy alone can get the job done due to his increased speed and more versatile movement.

Explore Everywhere

It may seem obvious, nevertheless Nintendo have gone to great lengths to make sure every level is filled to the brim with hidden collectibles. So much in fact that any hidden areas discovered incredibly hide secrets within them. Finally for any other needed motivation, listening to the “Fossil Falls” music track will inspire any exploration whether in the game or not.

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NINTENDO NORTH WALES Nintendo North Wales

@NintendoNWales

Jen

Dylan

Run a NPUK community? Get in touch so we can feature you!

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We catch up with the lovely folks from NPUK North Wales! Can you tell us a bit about the group's history and formation and why you got involved: Jen - We started back in 2012. Dylan and I got married in the summer and had a Mario Kart DS tournament in the middle of it. We’d acquired a 3DS each as wedding gifts. After we got back, we found out about “Mario Fest 2012” where I competed in a Mario Kart 7 tournament with other people from all over the UK. We got the “blues” afterwards, as we wished there were local friends to play Mario Kart with. We therefore decided to make a group called “3DS Bangor”, but it mainly involved me hanging around places where I found StreetPasses and hoping I bumped into the real people! In the end I was too shy to get anywhere, so fast forward to August 2013, and we came across StreetPass Manchester’s “Big Luigi”, where we met the admin there, and also discovered “StreetPass Llandudno” run by Rhys- we decided to merge into “StreetPass North Wales” and base ourselves in Bangor due to resources and demand. Meanwhile, the Manchester guys got us connected with what became StreetPass UK, which is now known as Nintendo Players UK. Our ethos is to have a welcoming community where everyone feels included, as well as giving those in the more remote corner of North Wales a bit more of a voice when it comes to opportunities with the rest of the UK. How frequently and where do you meet, and why that venue? Jen - We used to do big events every 6-8 weeks with mini meets at the pub in between. Now we’ve settled on a much more accessible venue, we do main meets roughly once a month, and occasional mini’ish’ meets (Events without a main raffle or themed tournament), all in the one venue. We settled on the Wheldon building in Bangor University, because it’s easy to locate and a central building to town. Access is a lot easier than our original venue, and there’s also two big screens rather than one, as well as plenty of space!

How many people tend to attend? Jen - We get on average somewhere between 15-20 to an average meet, although for big qualifiers for national events, we can have over 30 people turn up! We lack students though generally, as it’s hard to get the word out with everything going on up in the university! What you think about the Switch? Jen - For me, it’s a combination of perfect! I’ve always been a bit more about the 3DS than the Wii U, but it’s nice that we’ve got the choice. I mainly play in portable mode, and I can even take Breath of the Wild etc to work with me, or have an impromptu game of Snipperclips in the middle of a foyer with some friends! Dylan - I was a fan of the Wii U, but saw the problems that came with it. I see the Switch as what the Wii U could have been without the hardware restrictions, and like that it's a home console AND a portable console. I'll miss the StreetPass function once Nintendo finally retire the 3DS, and hoped that it would have been on the Switch when it was announced. What games have you mostly been playing? Jen - You’ll usually find me on Salmon Run with a team of friends! I pop on and off Super Mario Odyssey when Dylan’s not using it too. Dylan - Super Mario Odyssey, followed by Splatoon 2. What game are you most looking forward to on the Switch? Jen - It would be nice if they brought out Animal Crossing for Switch, so hopefully that when it eventually appears! Dylan: I haven't got a game in particular, but would be good to see more virtual console games on the eShop - particularly if it would be possible for Nintendo to make the multiplayer games playable using multiple Switches. When are you next meeting? Saturday 14th January - mini’ish’ meet: May feature Worms WMD…


LAST TIME AT NINTENDO NORTH WALES... Quick Questions Favourite Nintendo System? Jen - Switch! (Although I have nostalgia for the N64 too‌) Dylan - Probably the SNES, as it's the system which I spent the most time on when I was younger. Favourite Nintendo Game? Jen - Lifelong: The Mario Kart series, but now I can’t decide between that and Splatoon! Dylan - If it counts as a Nintendo Game I'd say Super Bomberman on the SNES, but otherwise I'd currently go for Super Mario Odyssey, followed Splatoon 2 as I love the Salmon Runs! Favourite Nintendo Character? Jen - Always Yoshi, I mean, who can resist those woolly ones?! Dylan - Bowser - he has the best lines in the Paper Mario Series, and is my main in Smash Bros. Favourite amiibo? Jen - Either boo, or purple squid. Dylan - Bowser for Smash, but Wedding Bowser for design. Favourite PokĂŠmon? Jen - Dragonite Dylan - Ditto - basically it can be any of the other PokĂŠmon, so why be restricted to just one? đ&#x;˜‰ Joy-Con Colour? Jen - Love the Super Mario red ones! (But I don’t like having two the same colour, so I’m holding out for now...currently have just the classic grey ones.) Dylan - I quite like the 'SNES controller' custom one that one of our members has done - it's the controller colour, and has the coloured buttons to match.

Most excited for on Switch? Jen - The next Yoshi game, due out soon! Dylan - Not quite sure - I like a surprise, and Nintendo are known for doing this in their Directs. Favourite Switch game? Jen - Splatoon 2....Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Breath of the Wild... maybe Odyssey? Too much choice :) Dylan - Splatoon 2, closely followed by Super Bomberman R.

Nintendo Manchester

Nintendo North Wales @NintendoNWales Nintendo Nottingham

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Switch Player Magazine #11  

The newest issue dedicated to the Nintendo Switch just got better! With new features, the latest reviews and a stunning new look for 2018, s...

Switch Player Magazine #11  

The newest issue dedicated to the Nintendo Switch just got better! With new features, the latest reviews and a stunning new look for 2018, s...

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