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ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2017


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UNCOVERED!

Welcome to the seventh issue of Switch Player Magazine! This issue is all about Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle as you can probably tell from our stunning cover! It's not the first time that a Mario title has been developed by a studio other than Nintendo, however it's a very interesting take on the series in a genre you wouldn't have expected to see Mario star in. The crossover with the Rabbids has polarised many across the world, and you can get our take on the title on page 16.

ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2017

This issue's fabulous cover was designed by regular artist Steve Gregson, and was heavily inspired by the Japanese box art for Super Mario World - with a Rabbids twist. What do you think? You can follow Steve on twitter via @RoboticSteve

Get this in print! G E T B AC K I S S UES F R OM S W I T C H P L AY E R.NET /S H OP

It's not the only game reviewed this month, and in this issue you'll find a total of 16 reviews as the Switch release cycle kicked into life during a usually quiet season for releases! Particular highlights are GoNNER, Overcooked: Special Edition and Ironcast alongside many other titles, like Namco Museum, Cars 3: Driven to Win and much more. Also inside issue 7 you'll find a feature on WWE titles and Nintendo courtesy of Tired Old Hack's Chris Scullion, and Dan Murphy tells us a little bit about why Breath of the Wild gave him an experience he wasn't expecting. As usual we also speak to developers and you'll find the thoughts of Ghost Town Games (Overcooked) and Two Tribes (Rive) exiling more about their Switch titles! Alongside the latest news and the top Switch games, you'll also hear from Nintendo Basingstoke, the Nintendo Players UK community based in, erm, Basingstoke and you can find out when the next NPUK event is happening near you! That's about all there is from me this issue, now it's back to eradicating some Rabbids. At least until FIFA and PokkĂŠn arrive...

Paul Murphy

Executive Editor @PMurphy1978

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Inside

Contents FEATURES 08 WWE and Nintendo 12 Rive Interview 14 Overcooked Interview 54 Zelda Experiences REVIEWS 16 Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle 22 GoNNER 24 Overcooked: Special Edition 26 Ironcast 28 Infinite Minigolf 30 Rocket Fist 32 Slime-san 34 Namco Museum 36 Flip Wars 38 Levels+ : Addictive Puzzle Game 40 Qbics Paint 42 Implosion – Never Lose Hope 44 Mighty Gunvolt Burst 45 Shephy 46 Cars 3: Driven to Win 48 Puzzle Adventure Blockle REGULARS 06 News 50 Switch Directory 52 NPUK 56 Back Issues/Patreon Stars 58 Next Time

08 Former ONM journalist Chris Scullion talks about Nintendo's WWE history

12 Rive is co Developer Tw


e the newest issue of

oming to the Switch. wo Tribes explain all!

14 Overcooked is out now, so we spoke to Ghost Town Games to find out more!

52 Find out more about the Nintendo community in Basingstoke!

Gave me an experience I never thought I’d get!

16 Get our definitive verdict on

54 Another feature on why BOTW is brilliant!


Switch News Exclusive Battle-Cars for Rocket League Switch

MXGP3 arriving later this year

Excited for Rocket League on the Nintendo Switch? we are, and we’ve learned that when the game launches later this year it’ll have some special Nintendo-related racers to unlock, with the team specific Mario or Luigi NSR being available depending on your choice of team.

Do you love yourself a bit of Motocross? Then you’ll probably be pleased to hear that MXGP3 – The Official Motocross Videogame – which released to mixed or favourable reviews (depending on whether it was on PS4 or XB1) earlier this year – will soon be arriving on our favourite hybrid console.

Those racing on the orange team will get the Mario version whereas those in blue will race as Luigi, with the specialised boost being a “Super Star”.

Developed by Italian racing stalwarts Milestone, our press release tells us that “Players will be given the possibility to enjoy all the thrills of one of the most engaging and adrenalinepacked championships dedicated to the 2016 racing season wherever they are, whenever they want.”

Those with a penchant for Samus Aran and the Metroid series will also be pleased to learn that a Battle-Car themed around Samus’ Gunship will be available too with coloured variations, styled after her Varia Suits, and packs a “Wave Beam” boost. If, for some reason you don’t know what Rocket League is despite it’s plethora of accolades and releases elsewhere, it’s a multiplayer focused title where you control a remote-controlled car, attempting to knock an oversized (and explosive) ball into the opposition goal. And it’s immensely entertaining!

As well as being the first Motocross game to arrive on the Switch, MXGP3 boasts all of the riders, bikes and tracks from the 2016 season, a career mode which sees your rider to rise from MX2 to the MXGP Champion and complete bike and rider customisation – with more than 300 components across 75 brands. That’s before we talk about the 10 2-stroke bike models with dedicated physics and audio for use in ANY mode!

Season pass available for Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle A season pass for Ubisoft’s newest title, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, has been detailed by the French publisher. Available to purchase at launch, the season pass will feature the following content; • Available at Launch – 8 unique steampunk weapons will be available, each one with its own statistics. These items will be exclusive to Season Pass owners. • Available This Fall – Players will be able to test their skills with new solo challenges, or with a friend, through additional co-op maps. • Available in 2018 – Players will be able to play through brand new story content. The season pass will cost $19.99, and can be downloaded from the eShop when the game launches on the Nintendo Switch this Tuesday, the 29th August. 6

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Telltale Games confirm Batman and Guardians of the Galaxy headed to Switch

With Minecraft Story Mode: The Complete Adventure recently releasing on the Nintendo Switch, there has been much speculation around what other Telltale Games titles may grace the handheld. Well, we now know of two more titles that the developer will be releasing for the Switch courtesy of Nintendo of America – who revealed in a tweet that Guardians of the Galaxy and Batman are heading our way! We have no other news at this time, but will bring you it when we do!

FIFA Switch set to run at 60 FPS

When EA said that the Switch version would be built on a “custom” engine, rather than the standard “Frostbite” or the legacy “Ignite” builds, we are sure more than a few of you groaned. Thankfully (and posted on Nintendo Life), at Gamescom supervising producer Andrei Lazarescu spoke a little about the Switch version to hopefully allay some of those worries. “We spent a lot of time actually understanding what the console is. In dock, what we’re seeing right now, for example, is 1080p run running at 60 frames per second. When you plug out and you play in handheld it’s 720p. We spent a lot of time making sure that transition happens seamlessly and you still get 60 frames per second.”

(Subject to change)

S eptember

So that’s a fluid 60 FPS in both docked AND handheld modes, with native resolution to boot? We were impressed with what we saw in the Switch preview build, and thought it played similar to the current system versions, albeit noticeably lower in quality with the graphics and it did play smoothly. Are you excited for this later this month? RBI Baseball 17 September 5th LEGO Worlds September 5th Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth + (EU) September 7th Neurovoider September 7th Double Dragon IV September 7th The Bridge September 7th Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition September 7th Rayman Legends September 12th Semisphres September 13th Pan-Pan September 14th Kingdom: New Lands September 14th NBA 2K18 (Digital) September 19th Morphite September 21st Steamworld Dig 2 September 21st Pokken Tournament DX September 22nd LEGO Ninjago Movie September 22nd Dragonball Xenoverse 2 September 22nd One Piece Unlimited World Red: Deluxe Edition September 29th FIFA 18 September 29th Golf Story September TBC Switch Player

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Chris Scullion tiredoldhack.com @scully1888

WWE 2K18 IS COMING TO THE SWITCH! TO CELEBRATE, CHRIS SCULLION LOOKS BACK AT THE HISTORY OF WWE WRESTLING GAMES ON NINTENDO SYSTEMS.

UNTIL RECENTLY, NINTENDO FANS WITH A LOVE FOR PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING HAVE ALWAYS HAD A VIDEO GAME VERSION TO PLAY WHEN NOT WATCHING THEIR FAVOURITE SUPERSTARS TEARING UP THE SQUARED CIRCLE. THIS STOPPED IN 2012 WHEN 2K SPORTS TOOK OVER THE LICENCE, BUT WITH THE NEWS THAT WWE GAMING IS FINALLY RETURNING TO NINTENDO SYSTEMS LATER THIS YEAR, I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE APT TO LOOK BACK AT THE HISTORY OF NINTENDO WWE GAMES. AND IF YOU AIN’T DOWN WITH THAT, I GOT TWO WORDS FOR YA: UM, SORRY.

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In the late 1980s, the WWF (as it was known then) gave Acclaim the licence to make wrestling games based on its unique brand of sports entertainment. Believe it or not, Acclaim chose to hire none other than future legendary Nintendo developer Rare to make its first wrestling game, WWF WrestleMania on the NES. It was an awkward side-on brawler that didn’t exactly set the world on fire (or should I say the US: it was

never released in Europe), but Rare was given another crack it and its sequel, WWF WrestleMania Challenge, fared a little better. WrestleMania Challenge was notable for one particularly odd playable character: along with the obvious appearances by the likes of Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant, players could also choose a generic-looking chap simply called Yourself.

Acclaim would go on to hold the WWF licence for an entire decade, but its relationship with Rare wouldn’t make it past the NES. In 1992 it formed a new partnership with Utah-based developer Sculptured Software to release WWF Super WrestleMania, the first SNES WWF game. Even 25 years ago players were slightly let down by its slow and clunky gameplay and its extremely limited movesets, but since it was a WWF game it still sold a bucketload. This was enough to convince Acclaim that Sculptured Software should keep working on wrestling games.

ropes to win. This new mode, along with the addition of finisher moves, made Royal Rumble a better game but it was still fairly average in the grand scheme of things. As was the third Sculptured Software game, WWF Raw, which offered a refreshed roster (including female wrestlers for the first time) but was criticised for being more of the same.

Sticking with the Super WrestleMania engine, the pair went on to release a follow-up – WWF Royal Rumble – which included the famous titular match type in which you have to chuck your opponent over the top

Meanwhile, NES owners refusing to make the jump to 16-bit were kept busy with WWF WrestleMania: Steel Cage Challenge and WWF King Of The Ring. While the former included steel cage matches for the first time in a console game and the latter added the King Of The ring knockout tournament format, both were pretty forgettable.

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As polygons made their arrival in the shape of the PlayStation and N64, Acclaim decided it was time for a change. The 16-bit WWF engine was never really critically acclaimed (pun always intended) so Sculptured Software – now fully owned by Acclaim and renamed Iguana West – got to work on a brand new wrestling engine for the polygonal generation. Acclaim bought some time by porting Midway’s coinop title WrestleMania: The Arcade Game to home systems, including the SNES, while Iguana West developed its brand new engine. Finally, in 1998, the engine was ready and WWF War Zone made its debut on the N64 among others. While the game looked

THQ wasted no time in making the most of its new WWF licence, splitting it into two ‘brands’. On PlayStation, developer Yuke’s started the SmackDown series, while the Tokyo-based AKI used its existing Virtual Pro Wrestling engine to get cracking on some N64 WWF games. The results, WWF WrestleMania 2000 and WWF No Mercy, are considered by many to be the best ever WWF games to this day, thanks to their technical grapple-and-reversal based mechanics. Sadly, by the time the GameCube came around

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fantastic at the time, it used a bizarre control system in which all but the most basic punches and kicks were performed with different button combos (want to do a suplex? That’s Down, Left, A). Some players put the time necessary into learning these endless combos, but most were infuriated by how needlessly complex it was. Not even its 1999 sequel WWF Attitude – which had an impressive roster of over 40 wrestlers and further improved graphics – could make up for the annoying control system. For Acclaim, the decade-long deal was over: the WWF signed a new licensing agreement with THQ.

AKI had moved on to other projects, so THQ got SmackDown devs Yuke’s to start making what would now be WWE games (after their name change) on the Cube. WWE WrestleMania X8, WrestleMania XIX, Day Of Reckoning and Day Of Reckoning 2 were all decent GameCube exclusives, but given that Yuke’s was dedicating most of its focus to the SmackDown games players couldn’t help shake the feeling Nintendo’s system was playing second fiddle.


When the GameCube died, THQ decided to stop splitting Yuke’s into two different teams, and instead put the main SmackDown series on Wii. A total of six WWE games made it to Nintendo’s motion-controlled system, starting with WWE SmackDown vs Raw 2008 and ending with WWE 13.

There was a problem, though. THQ was in financial difficulty, and shortly after WWE 13 was released it declared bankruptcy and was liquidated. The WWE licence was taken over by 2K Sports, who promptly decided that the newly released Wii U wouldn’t be getting any wrestling games. As such, Nintendo-owning WWE fans have gone a full half a decade without the likes of John Cena, Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt gracing their consoles.

That all changes this October, when – after five years away – 2K Sports finally brings WWE back to Nintendo systems with WWE 2K18. Promising a bigger roster than its predecessor’s ridiculous 138 wrestlers and every modes that’ll feature in the Xbox One and PS4 versions, it looks like the WWE will be ready to scream “this is MY house” on Nintendo once again.

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Two Tribes

twotribes.com @TwoTribesGames

Hello Two Tribes, thanks for talking with us! Can you tell us a little bit about your studio and how you got into developing games? Two Tribes kind-of started with our cofounder’s teenage hobby game project Eggbert for the MSX, in the early nineties. When we became a business around the turn of the millennium, Eggbert became the Game Boy Color game Toki Tori in 2001. After that we did some work-forhire projects, but we really hit our stride when digital game stores like Steam and WiiWare popped up. We became known for our puzzle games, like RUSH and Toki Tori 2+. A reputation we ditched when we started making RIVE, of course! We are here to talk about your "loveletter to the 90s", RIVE, which is coming to the Nintendo Switch. What is RIVE? RIVE is an ultra-fast, super-challenging 360-degree platformer/shooter. You control a spider tank that floats, jumps, shoots and hacks, and has to fend off many, many robot enemies. Someone 12

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RIVE IS AN UPCOMING AND INCREDIBLY CHALLENGING SHOOTER THAT IS DESCRIBED AS "HEART ATTACK INDUCING". SO WE THOUGHT WE SHOULD SPEAK TO THE DEVELOPERS, TWO TRIBES TO FIND OUT WHY.

called it a “heart attack inducing crazy nostalgia rollercoaster", which is pretty accurate. The game offers a polished campaign with a huge variety in setpieces, and a humorous (yet meaningful!) storyline as well. You should check it out. How do you play RIVE? What gameplay features will gamers encounter? The main game is about 6 hours long (on average, from what we hear back from players), and can be played in additional Speedrun and Single-Credit modes. Amazingly, some people have already finished the entire game without dying once! On top of that, we have infinite Battle Arenas and daily Challenges to keep you busy when you’re done with the campaign. RIVE has been described as your "explosive ode" to action games of years gone by. Which games in particular influenced the game? When Two Tribes was founded, we talked a lot about making a game like Parodius,

Konami's side-scrolling space shooter that basically made fun of other Konami games, most of all Gradius. We never got around to making such a game, and RIVE actually started out as a first-person onrails shooter for the Nintendo DS! While RIVE’s visual style is much more serious, Parodius' weirdness can be found in the characters and dialog. RIVE has also been compared to Metal Slug and Contra a lot… but if you look for it carefully, you’ll find many other game references in there as well. Even Tetris! What made you want to develop the game for the Switch? How have you found developing for the platform? We have a long history of making games on Nintendo platforms, starting with Toki Tori on the Game Boy Color. Because of games like RUSH and Toki Tori 2+, a lot of avid Nintendo players follow us. A few years back, a Wii U demo of RIVE was even playable during E3! We feel pretty close to Nintendo and always wanted to release RIVE on a Nintendo platform. The


Switch finally allows us to do so, without having to make sacrifices in graphical detail or frame rate (it will run at a solid 60 FPS!) and so far it’s been a great experience. The Switch has many features, such as HD Rumble. Will RIVE take advantage of this? We’re definitely looking at the Switch’s unique features, and will announce later on exactly what we’ll be doing with them. In the case of HD Rumble, we’re investigating if and how we can use it to RIVE’s advantage. You website describes you as "dinosaurs" in industry terms and that RIVE is your last game. Is this to be your swansong, or is their another twist in the tail? The two co-founders of Two Tribes decided during RIVE’s development that it would be their last project. Meaning that

Two Tribes wouldn’t develop any entirely new games. There a couple of reasons for this, both business-related and personal. At the same time, we’re very committed to supporting our current games, giving them the long and prosperous life they deserve. That’s why we’re still bringing RIVE to Switch, and doing everything we can to make it the game’s best version yet.

Finally, if you have to call one, what is the Switch? a handheld you plug in or a console you take out? That’s a tough call! It’s definitely closer to Nintendo’s consoles than its other handhelds. So far it really feels like both, though, almost the ultimate all-in-one Nintendo machine!

When can we expect to see RIVE? We haven’t specified when, but this year for sure. We'll announce a release date as soon as we can, and release the game as soon as we can too! The game will feature exclusive content on the Switch, can you share anything on that? Nothing to announce right now, but again, soon!

We would like to thank Niels from Two Tribes for his time with this interview. Rive certainly looks exciting and we can't wait to find out more. Switch Player

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Ghost Town Games ghosttowngames.com @Overcookedgame

OVERCOOKED IS A MULTIPLAYER FOCUSED GAME ABOUT CO-OPERATION, REQUIRING TEAMWORK, COMMUNICATION AND ORGANISATION. IT'S ALSO PRETTY FUN, SO WE CAUGHT UP WITH BATA-AWARD WINNING DEVELOPERS GHOST TOWN GAMES TO FIND OUT MORE.

Hi Phil, thanks for talking to us today! Can you tell us a little bit about your studio and how you got into developing games? Oli & I used to work for Frontier Developments (Makers of Kinectimals, Lostwinds, Elite etc.) I was a designer and Oli was a coder. We worked together on various projects as well as a number of prototypes for games in our spare time together. That's where we both cut our teeth in terms of game development but also where we played a lot of different multiplayer games together.

What was the inspiration for the game? We knew we wanted to make a game about co-operation, a game where your success in a level depended on the ability of the team to work together, rather than necessarily the skill of the individual team members. Having working in various kitchens cooking seemed like a great analogy for this experience: a group of people working against the clock but depending on each other to get a specific dish out as quickly as possible... with lots of shouting thrown in for good measure :)

We are here to find out more about Overcooked. What is Overcooked? Overcooked is a co-operative cooking game for 1-4 players. It's a game about team work as much as it is about cooking, a game where you have to co-ordinate to achieve all the various tasks required in the kitchen (chopping, cooking, doing the dishes etc.) all while working around some of the most bizarre kitchens ever built.

How much is there to see and do in the game? In terms of dry numbers there are 30 co-op kitchens and over 6 competitive levels (not to mention 14 additional coop levels with the DLC) but in my opinion there's always a different experience playing the game with a new groups of people which is where I think a lot of longevity comes from.

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The Switch version is labelled as Overcooked: Special Edition. What does this entail, will it be getting additional content? Special Edition refers to the inclusion of all our previously released DLC (The Lost Morsel and The Festive Seasoning) as well as our experiments with The Switch HD rumble feature.


What made you want to develop for the Switch? We love Nintendo, there are lots of ways that Overcooked is a love letter to the local multiplayer games we enjoyed so much on their previous consoles. Having played with the console over the past few months we're genuinely very excited knowing our game will soon be amongst all the other great titles available now and coming soon. Have any Switch games caught your eye? So, so many, already my backlog of games for Switch has gotten silly. Right now we're playing a lot of Mario Kart in the office but I don't know what I'll move onto next... I'm really looking forward to Splatoon 2, I sank a lot of time into the original on WiiU.

Will you be making use of any of the Switch's features, like HD rumble? HD Rumble is what we're experimenting with at the moment, it's very exciting and something I'm looking forward to seeing more developers experiment with in the future. Finally, what is the Switch to you? A console you can take out or a handheld you can plug in? I have to admit I play it a lot in handheld mode at the moment, when I'm travelling or even when I'm just sat on the sofa, heck I even manage to squeeze in a few minutes of gaming when I'm waiting for the kettle to boil.

We would like to thank Phil from Ghost Town for talking to us about Overcooked, which is out now! Check out our review on page 24. Switch Player

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REVIEW

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but a game featuring Rabbids is one of the best games I’ve played this year! I will admit, I was a bit dubious when the leaks started surfacing around the Mario + Rabbids crossover game, however any doubts were soon cleared when Shigeru Miyamoto and Yves Guillemot took to the stage at E3 to officially announce that the rumours were real. Not only did they confirm that Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was a thing, but they also shocked the world by showing us all a Rabbids game that actually looked pretty good!

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Starting off in the real world, we see a young girl working on her latest invention – the SupaMerge. This device is a pair of goggles that can be used to merge two objects together, but currently there are a few teething issues with the piece of tech. The girl is clearly frustrated with these technical issues, so decides to call it a day and leaves her basement work station. No sooner has she exited, the Rabbids arrive in their time-travelling washing machine and start causing chaos. It doesn’t take long for one of the Rabbids to find the SupaMerge and somehow merges it with himself. Mayhem ensues, and soon this Rabbid (who later gets named Spawny) starts uncontrollably merging everything in sight – including his fellow Rabbids with various Mario themed memorabilia

Written by Charlie Large

@CharlieLarge

that decorates the girls workshop. In an attempt to escape the havoc, the Rabbids get back into the washing machine and prepare to time-travel, but not before Spawny and a Mario poster join them – sending them catapulting to the Mushroom Kingdom. Spawny continues on his merging spree and most of the Rabbids go rogue – leading to Mario and friends to teaming up with Rabbids in Mario costumes to try and restore order to the Mushroom Kingdom. Once the opening cutscene is over, the rest of the story is delivered mainly through the dialogue of a friendly AI called Beep-O – who you control as you lead Mario and two other party members through the four worlds that you will need to play through in order to complete


the game. The story itself is very simple, and the humour is very much slapstick – seemingly aimed at the younger audience, although there were a few times where I found myself chuckling at the self-referential humour on display. Appealing to the younger audience is no bad thing though, and it does make Mario + Rabbids a great introduction to the turn-based strategy genre. When the first footage of the game was revealed, comparisons were instantly made to the XCOM series, however Mario + Rabbids is a lot more welcoming to newcomers and uses simple presentation and an unobtrusive menu system in a way that helps you understand the effects of your actions in battle. As mentioned earlier, you have a threestrong team to take into battle against the Rabbids (plus environmental enemies that occasionally pop up such as Boos and Chain Chomps). Your starting party is Mario, Rabbid Luigi and Rabbid Peach but as you progress

further through the game you will find and recruit other team members – such as Rabbid Mario, Princess Peach and Luigi. Each of these team members has specific skills, and more can be unlocked by spending collectible Orbs to upgrade each characters skill tree. You can swap between party members on the fly when not in battle, and you will need to carefully consider how best to approach each battle as your party members are not returned to full health until you complete a stage. Some of these stages can have multiple battles, so being good at party management is crucial – especially later on in the game when healers and tank characters are introduced into the Rabbid ranks! As you delve deeper into the game, you will soon find that you have a wide range of skills at your disposal – and it is great when you

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Mario

Peach

Luigi

Yoshi

Mario's offensive talents make him a natural choice to lead the charge in battle. He is a mid-toclose range fighter with excellent mobility.

In her new role as a 'defender in a dress' vs. 'damsel in distress', Princess Peach strikes a nice balance between offense, defense and mobility.

A master of long-range attacks (due to his familiarity with nozzlebased weaponary), Luigi has bravely led many 'fighting retreats' thanks to his advanced mobility.

Yoshi is a long-range specialist who belongs behind the front lines where he can deliver a powerpacked punch from afar.

will have seen the likes of Mario and Rabbid Peach wielding in the game’s promotional shots. There are Blasters (standard guns), Bworbs (a futuristic yo-yo that acts like the Blasters), Boomshots (read Shotgun), Precision (a sniper rifle) and the gatling gun-esque Rumblebang. These guns are all specific to certain characters, so you will need to experiment with your party and plan your attack based on the effectiveness and range of your arsenal. Not only do these weapons pack a punch, but they also can have elemental effects that include Honey (sticking enemies to the spot so they can’t move), Fire (causing As well as using orbs to unlock more a burn effect at will make enemies skills, there are also coins that you will find lying around the world and will also run around randomly trying to put the be awarded for completing stages. These flames out -drawing them out of cover) and Ink (blinding enemies and removing coins can be used to purchase new weapons for your heroes once you have their abilities) among others. unlocked them by either finding them Secondary weapons are only secondary in the chests that are dotted around by name, and I would encourage you to the world or by progressing through use them as often as possible! The only the main game. Each character has downside with these is the cooldown two weapon slots, one for a primary period between uses, meaning that you weapon and one for a secondary. The can only use them every couple of turns. primary weapons are the guns you successfully manage to chain attacks together in order to gain the upper hand. Characters can slide tackle foes before using a teammate to springboard to higher ground prior to taking cover and shooting another enemy – and you will feel like a boss when you pull of a perfect round. There are a lot of skills to be acquired as you earn more upgrade orbs, and working as a team is encouraged throughout – with some fantastic team moves that will see your party work together to make short work of your foes.

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These secondary weapons include melee style mallets for both Marios, homing sentries that explode for Rabbid Peach and Luigi, exploding rubber Grenaducks that Peach and Rabbid Luigi use and Rockets for Rabbid Luigi and Yoshi. I found most of these secondary weapons packed as much of a punch as their primary counterparts, and evened the odds in some of the harder battles. Not every stage is the same “defeat x amount of enemies” – some of the eight stages that make up each world will see you tasked with reaching a safe zone at the other end of a map that is filled with respawning enemies or escorting a character (usually Toad or Toadette) from point A to point B without them taking too much damage. This keeps proceeding fresh, although for some reason the difficulty does seem to ramp up pretty quick after world two. The boss levels at the middle and end of each world are also great fun, and often add environmental puzzles into the mix to make battles more than just who can dish out the most damage.


Rabbid Mario

Rabbid Peach

Rabbid Luigi

Rabbid Yoshi

A big league brawler with exceptional luck, a dependable defense, solid moves and massive case of imposter syndrome.

A proficient healer and damage-denier, when this defense-oriented prima donna takes the battlefield she keeps one eye on the enemy, and one on Mario.

Rabbid Luigi is a defensive specialist who can leverage the unpredictable elemental forces that surround us all to great strategic effect.

Rabbid Yoshi is best utilized lashing out with heavy weapons at long range. His arsenal includes melee skills, solid defense and a cool victory dance.

I particularly found the game’s first major boss battle, against a Rabbid version of Donkey Kong, to be an example of a boss that took brains as well as brawn to beat. I spent the first five minutes shooting him, taking small amounts of HP off him – only for him to eat a banana from a pile in front of him that refilled his health. The penny soon drops and you will realise you have to move your party across the map to the green area where the bananas are placed, causing them to fall through a trap door so you can attack him and do some permanent damage.

If you do find yourself getting troubled by the game’s difficulty at any point, you can switch to “Easy” mode at the start of any battle by pressing the Y button. Doing this will see your party’s health restored and gives your team fifty percent extra health – so if you do find yourself getting stuck on a particular stage you can always fall back on this mode. Once you have beaten a stage, you will receive a rank based on how many turns it took you to complete the level and how many party members survived the battle – the higher the rank, the more coins you are rewarded with and these are used to purchase more powerful weapons for your squad.

Outside of battles, you will guide your trio around the vibrant, colourful worlds of the Mushroom Kingdom. The game looks fantastic and feels like a Nintendo-crafted Mario title. Looking in all of the nooks and crannies will see you find treasure chests that will yield orbs, weapons and items to view in the game’s gallery as well as finding catapults that will shoot you off to take on bonus challenges and the like. There are also environmental puzzles dotted around that break up the action and are used to proceed to new areas or to gain additional unlocks – these are often quite straightforward but working out the solution is great fun!

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Speaking of fun, it is clear that Ubisoft clearly enjoyed their time working on this game, as so much love and passion has gone into making Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. There are countless references hidden away here that Mario fans will enjoy uncovering and I found myself playing this game with a smile on my face throughout. There were times when I felt the difficulty was a little off – I was clearing battles within ten minutes with “Perfect” ranks but some stages took me an hour of trial and error tactics to get full marks. Overall, I think these spikes did improve me as a player, but I dread to think how younger players will handle this unexpected rise in challenge.

There are also co-op missions in the game that are unlocked once you finish each of the game’s differently themed worlds. These levels up the party limit from three to four, and see you and a friend take turns during the action. Aside from this nice little addition once you have beaten each of the worlds, I don’t feel Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle offers much on the replayability side – so once you have unlocked everything you probably won’t go back to the game unless you purchase the DLC that is due to release for the game at a later date. That aside, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a fantastic addition to the Nintendo Switch’s library. Ubisoft has come up with a winning formula that many people doubted would work. The Italian plumber seems to be able to adapt to any genre and the turn-based strategy genre is another one he can add to his ever expanding repertoire. Whether you are a fan of the genre or not, I would wholeheartedly recommend this game to anyone who likes Mario – and who knows, like this writer, you may end up liking those raucous Rabbids after all!

VERDICT Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a mashup that shouldn't work, but does! Taking Nintendo's beloved mascot and combining him with their own, love them or hate them Rabbids - Ubisoft has made a Mario game that feels every bit a Nintendo first party title. Aside from some odd difficulty spikes and a lack of replayability, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a fantastic turn-based strategy title that both newcomers and fans of the genre should definitely experience!

4.2 PUBLISHER Ubisoft

AT A GLANCE

20

Switch Player

NA: 29th August EU: 29th August 2.4 GB

DEVELOPER Ubisoft E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

EXCELLE

NT


Paul Murphy

@PMurphy1978

Sometimes Nintendo have this knack of taking a genre, adding their own spin and everyone applauds their creative vision for pulling something off that many thought wouldn't work. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is another example of something that you may have thought wouldn't work; but this time it's Ubisoft that deserve the plaudits. Challenging, with balanced characters, colourful and imaginative take on the mushroom kingdom and - more importantly - fun, this turn-based strategy title is quite simply genius.

It isn't perfect, however and many times I've been frustrated with the difficulty, cursed myself for a poor choice or noticed a few little graphical niggles. The controls, especially outside of battle when moving or engaging with puzzles have also been a little annoying and it just takes that "Nintendoesque" sheen off the package that you feel the house of Mario would have applied themselves. It doesn't detract from the overall experience though, and with an array of weapons, skills and characters to choose from you will have a lot of choice to develop your own team as you look t0 repair the damage caused by "Spawny" and the other Rabbids. I've seem some lament the fact that it has only four worlds, but those four worlds will take you some time and with abilities unlocking late-game you'll have the opportunity to return to areas and unlock new secrets, and the obsessive among us will no doubt be keen to obtain all of the collectibles strewn around. If you are looking for a strategy title on your Switch, or something Mario-flavoured to fill that itch until Odyssey arrives, or even love a challenge then you should give this a look.

Switch Player

21


REVIEW

GoNNER

Written by Dan Thompson @shadowforks

As someone who considers themselves a very passionate gamer, I also tend to identify as someone who’s better than most people at video games. While that may seem egotistical, or even unsavory, I’ll have you know that the game GoNNER has shifted this perspective; definitively hampering my personal opinion when pertaining my skills as a gamer. It has taught me humility in a way no game has for quite a while.

GoNNER is a randomly-generated roguelike where you take control of Ikk – a sentient water drop who’s seeking a gift for his friend, a harmonious whale named Sandy. On his journey, he’s met with horrific cave monsters, intimidatingly infernal machines, and even Death (a concept which you should expect yourself to become quite familiar with throughout your various play sessions) himself. The story is one that while not explicit, is assuredly interpretive with its torturously rare stills of art. With the aesthetics of an abstract children’s book, GoNNER features four distinctively unique worlds that are coated in a ghastly cacophony of colours. Amongst these worlds I shot, collected, and platformed through 22

Switch Player


mazes of enemies – eventually reaching a boss level at the end of each of these transcendental worlds. Regarding those bosses, I fought bats which resembled splotches of flying red, a decrepit golem which was akin to a patched plush toy, and even snakes which were streaks of bright and alarming colours. However, the abstraction in GoNNER isn’t just an aesthetic or story choice, it’s a thesis to how the game functions as a whole amongst every facet. This abstraction is also inherent with GoNNER’s difficulty and design. As with many roguelikes – such as The Binding of Isaac and even the most recent Dead Cells, each run feels purposeful, and with the similarities of previous runs you eventually get a handle on the familiarities within the game’s design. You’ll become a better player not just by leveling up different parts of your character, or ensuring that your store has better items when you come across it next, but mostly through personal knowledge of the game as a whole. While GoNNER doesn’t have as much variety in terms of the choice in gameplay difference and gun-type, it makes up for this with each level feeling threateningly unfamiliar with each attempt. As I ventured into the caves (the game’s first set of levels) for what seemed like the 50th time that day, conquering it many times before, I still had the worry that I could easily die due to not being attentive to the ever changing labyrinth.

As for the weapon and gameplay variety which carries past each run, there are no descriptions to rely on for each new item you receive. Not a single word is written for any of the game’s various pieces of equipment. As such, a lot of your time will be spent finding and testing new weapons, buying and trying new headpieces (which drastically change gameplay with Glyphs – the game’s currency), and acquiring and experimenting with new backpacks (which cause your jump function to work differently). At the beginning of each run (and if you die and have enough Glyphs to re-spawn) you’ll be able to choose which of the various items you’ve collected beforehand you’d like to take right back into the shooting and platforming action. I can’t stress this enough; GoNNER is one of the most difficult games I’ve ever played on my Nintendo Switch, and this is even after attempting to delve into the recently released Master Mode in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. While it never comes off as aggravatingly frustrating due to the quick and brief play sessions (it fortunately plays into the “one more run” mentality quite easily), I’ve died many times due to the ever unfamiliar level design and overwhelming amount of enemies. Every death doesn’t feel like it’s the game’s fault, but an error in my own skills – which purposefully puts me towards the mentality that I have to be able to perform better. Whether that means pulling the trigger faster, having tighter awareness of the controls (I can’t stress enough how splendid they are), or making small changes to my equipment set; I was always able to progress in the game by imparting more awareness with what the game could possibly throw at me.

PUBLISHER Raw Fury

AT A GLANCE

NA: 29th June EU: 29th June

DEVELOPER Art in Heart

GoNNER is a game full of hardships and difficulty, both within its gameplay and story. Its enchanting dreamlike aesthetic may have definitely piqued my interest, but for the unforeseen future I’ll be decidedly shooting and jumping through its many worlds each day. Its many secrets, game design, and calculated abstraction provide testament to the type of independent games the Switch should strive to make a home for. Plus, as GoNNER is an ambitiously replayable game full of individuality, and being that it fits greatly within the portable’s versatility, diverse library, and core message of great games, it should be one to keep in mind for a long time coming.

VERDICT While GoNNER may be brutally hard, there’s plenty to find rewarding if you’re someone who doesn’t get frustrated too easily, or who can appreciate the diverseness that the randomly generated roguelike can exhibit. Underneath the game's pastels of bright and intense coloring, there’s great gameplay systems waiting to be explored. If you’re the type of person who loves tight 2D platforming and shooting in your games, then GoNNER isn’t something to be slept on.

4.4 EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £8.99 | €9.99

300 MB Switch Player

23


REVIEW

If you’ve worked in any aspect of the catering industry, or indeed any sort of hospitality then you are immediately going to identify with what is needed to be successful in Overcooked: Special Edition: Teamwork. This game can be played solo, but has been developed with a core – and arguably essential – team-based ethic in order for you to progress, let alone reach your full potential. Each level sees a succession of orders arrive on the top left of your screen, and it’s down to you and your fellow chef-types to fulfill these requests and satiate the appetite of the punters you cater for. You’ll not only need to prepare the items needed, you’ll have to cook them, prepare them, serve them, and then clean the dishes left behind – getting ready for the next dish. Initially, it’s a rather simple affair – with onion soup the sole choice on the menu. Three of those chopped up and stuck in the pot ensures that a lovely broth of 24

Switch Player

Overcooked: Special Edition

slop will be ready in no time. Having an assembly line will really make things easier, and playing with my better half and my kids we soon had things in order – no doubt helped by my managerial fast food background, and my bossy nature. One chopped, one cooked, one served, and the last one was the one in charge of ferrying all of the ingredients around. It worked a treat and we achieved maximum stars (three) on the level, as is the target for all. At this point it’s probably good to note that the points target for the stars varies depending on the number of players; the more of you there are, the more points you’ll need… This will continue over the rest of the campaign and becomes increasingly more fiendish and more challenging, with different items on the menu becoming available, along with more hectic challenges in the kitchen. Gone are the open expanses – replaced with pedestrians, bottlenecks, galleons, and even moving vehicles coming into play. These things are there to really test your abilities (and resolve), to see how effective you can truly be. I haven’t even mentioned the mice, or the haunted (not to mention poorly lit) stages, or the futuristic space kitchens – with moving sections and pressure activated doors!

Written by Paul Murphy

@PMurphy1978

Oh, and take note of the fire extinguisher in each kitchen. It’s not there for decoration – leave your ingredients on a heat source for too long and watch your kitchen, not to mention your attempt on the level go up in smoke!

Overcooked: Special Edition sports a simplistic look that will be familiar to those that have played similar style games on mobile devices over the years, but it’s one that suits the game and genre perfectly. You can see what’s going on well enough, but it doesn’t boast the most fluid frame rate. I’m no Digital Foundry, but at times I noticed a few issues. It’s certainly playable, and nowhere near as bad as some quarters of the internet are suggesting, but you could say it’s a little under-cooked. Or half-baked, if you will. Ahem. One thing I would say is that as a colourblind individual I did find it difficult to differentiate between the burger buns and the cooked beef patties – so if you’re reading Ghost Town Games, a tweak to that would be appreciated for folk like myself! The game plays consistently well across all three modes of Switch play, and although I was able to enjoy it on the smaller screen before bed, it does lend to a better experience on a bigger screen. It’s still perfectly playable in tabletop/handheld mode though.


The controls are also simplistic, with the four main face buttons used to pick up (A), chop (X), dash (B) or shout (Y) – the latter of which seems to serve no real purpose. I did find that it could be difficult to pick things up easily, especially when things are really hectic. If you aren’t correctly lined up then you can easily make mistakes. The characters are controlled with the analogue stick on the Joy-Con or Pro Controller, when it may have been better suited to the D-Pad or directional buttons. As you’d hope for a local multiplayer orientated title on the Switch, the game can also be played with split Joy-Cons; players able to utilise one each, with the controls transferring to sideways play easily. The music is very simple, yet effective. As well as blending in well with everything going on, it also adds to the tension. You immediately feel under pressure in the kitchen, and that is before the music speeds up as you start to run out of time. The aforementioned spooky levels were a particular highlight for me. If you get a chance to take it all in, you can hear everything around you; approximations of customer conversations, the hustle and bustle… it all adds to a fabulous atmosphere.

You’ll no doubt have noticed that the game is adorned with a “Special Edition” moniker, so you are no doubt wondering what’s so special about this version – right? It comes with all the of the DLC previously released for the game, which means that you get two extra DLC packs with The Lost Morsel and Festive Seasoning. In the end, you’ll have a total of 44 campaign levels with 22 different chef visages to choose from – spanning across a range of crazy kitchens. There are also 9 different versus levels to play on, specifically asking for 2-4 players. Where the campaign requires tremendous teamwork and communication to work towards a common goal, Versus Mode switches this on its head by putting you into competition with each other. Sure, there’s still teamwork required, but by working against an opponent and the clock simultaneously that pressure is really ramped up. I’d spent most of my time with this review playing the campaign, and only got involved with this mode a little bit, but it’s arguably the best bit of the game. Aside from the minor issues with frame rates and controls, the game does sport some noticeable loading times. These can vary from thirty seconds, right up to a minute. In between levels you’ll occasionally encounter the Onion King as he explains more about your journey (there is a basic story about saving the Onion Kingdom from tragedy), and you’ll notice momentary freezing of the game when leaving his hut.

and R bumpers to switch between two characters, but it’s not the same. Whilst still challenging, it’s simply nowhere near as enjoyable. I cannot stress enough how much fun I’ve had playing Overcooked with others, but I can’t help but feel disappointed that it’s offline only. For balance, I do have to say that it’s not just the Switch version affected; all systems lack online multiplayer. However, it’s not enough to detract from the overall experience for that do have others to play with locally. If you enjoy a perverse challenge, then Overcooked: Special Edition might be for you. It’s an incredibly addictive, compulsive, and enjoyable title – and one that’s well worth that asking price. Boasting a large variety of kitchens, and filled with character, it’s another fine addition to the Switch’s party-focused repertoire and does well to show us exactly why it’s becoming the favourite multiplayer console of many (this writer included). If you have others to play with, buy this. You will not regret it.

VERDICT There's a tremendous amount of fun to be had with Overcooked: Special Edition, and it's another great little party gem that's guaranteed to generate some hilarity - if not arguments. It's a joyous little game, and if you love fun it's essential.

I suppose the biggest gripe with Overcooked: Special Edition is a similar one that befalls other couch-styled cooperative games; it’s only as much fun as the number of people you have to play with. It can be played solo, using the L

AT A GLANCE

PUBLISHER Team17

DEVELOPER Ghost Town Games

NA: 27th July EU: 27th July

E-SHOP PRICING £17.99 | €19.99

4.0 EXCELLE

NT

750 MB Switch Player

25


REVIEW

Ironcast

Written by Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro

As the game industry grows, it becomes harder to make something unique and innovative within some genres – up to the point that when you hear about the newest iteration of a famous franchise, you already know exactly what to expect from it. This situation is even more extreme when you consider genres prominent on the mobile platforms, such as the match-three system. So, what is needed to make an overused genre new again? Ironcast answers that by adding RPG and roguelike elements to the match-three formula. Before we take a look at how this strange formula works, the first thing that really catches the eye when the player starts Ironcast is how interesting the game setting is. The player controls the commander of a mecha-like biped robot – the eponymous Ironcast – in a fictitious, Victorian steampunk version of the 19th century. It is your objective to help Britain in its war campaign against the French, and you do that by taking missions that generally revolve around engaging in combat with other Ironcasts. The campaign follows a very similar structure to the indie hit FTL – Faster Than Light, due to the fact that in each round the player can select between up to three missions – each with its own distinct difficulty, objective, and plot. Choosing the harder missions will reward you with more experience and resources, which can be used to upgrade your Ironcast. Nevertheless, risk must be carefully calculated because – as in FTL, – Ironcast has permadeath. If you die in a mission you will lose almost (we’ll get to that later) all of your progress, and will then have to restart the campaign from ground zero! As you may guess, this permadeath system can be a hindrance for some players, but Ironcast makes this more bearable thanks to its enjoyable combat system. After the mission briefing – which determines if you must destroy your enemy, survive a set number of turns, or gather resources – you get into the full glory of Ironcast’s twisted match-three turn-based combat. At each turn you can perform as many actions as you wish, but only if you have enough resources to do so. Each Ironcast (both yours and your enemies’) has many subsystems built in – such as weapons, shields, a drive system, and a cooler. It is here that the match-three system comes into play. Twice per turn you must match gems of a set color in order to gather resources to power up each system; purple nodes are ammo for your weapons, yellow nodes power up your defense systems, and so on. 26

Switch Player


This may be seen as a very complex and perhaps even difficult approach to a turn-based system. Surprisingly however, it perfectly suits the game’s main theme. During combat, you really feel as if you’re controlling an intricate machine. It is not only important to get resources for the system you’re wanting to use at any one moment, but there are many interchanges between all the systems that will force you to improvise and think differently. It is also encouraged by the match-three system itself, as you often will be in a situation where you won’t have the required resources for the desired subsystem.

skills, both passive and active, to use in combat. There are slots for these on each of the subsystems, as well as slots for your pilot and mecha. Therefore, you can focus on making your entire Ironcast bulky, or get a sizable improvement on your main weapon.

are well-animated too. There’s very little to pick on presentation wise, and I think anyone picking it up will be pleasantly surprised.

Generally speaking, the game as a whole may not be as impactful as the shots from your machine, but it is certainly Money has different uses within the enjoyable and fun while it lasts. Add to game. First, you will want to have a that the good use of Switch’s HD humble constant reserve of cash to be able feature, and in the end Ironcast may feel to repair your Ironcast after a difficult like the experiment of a crazy scientist. encounter. There are many other ways It’s as if someone threw the many to spend your money though. After each ingredients included here into a gigantic battle, you may get blueprints for the cauldron, mixing us up a combination pieces your enemies were using, and you of RPG, turn-based strategy, roguelike, can rebuild those for your own use by and match-three (among other hints spending your hard-earned dosh. The In order to control this behemoth of a and spices). Fortunately, the result was success or failure of your next mission machine, Ironcast does a competent not an ambulant freak show, but a game may depend on those improvements, that is definitely better than the sum of job by mapping each subsystem to a so it is always a hard choice to be made. its parts. Due to its permadeath system button. For instance, the two weapons After all, you don’t want to lose almost all and difficulty, it may try the player’s are activated by using L and ZL, the patience – but it’ll be a fun and enjoyable drives with R, and the shields with ZR. your progress. experience once you’ve gotten the hang Other unlockable skills can be activated of it. with the directional buttons, and you I say ‘almost’ all your progress because select the nodes from the match-three Ironcast does have a smaller persistent stage using the left stick and A. However, feature to be improved between from the time I spent with the game, I campaigns. Each time the player must say that the optimal control option gets a “game over,” commendation has to be the touch controls. The entire points will be given depending on the game is designed to be played with touch progress on that run. Not only that but controls, and the make the game easier, sometimes you may see a special gem With Ironcast, Dreadbit mixes up faster, and more comfortable option in on the match-three stage that also some elements from other genres my humble opinion. awards you with these points. On the to make a match-three that is main menu, you can unlock new pilots, both entertaining and complex. Combat aside, Ironcast has deeper roots Ironcasts, skills and improvements for Its permadeath system may the upcoming campaigns. It is a very when it comes to its RPG elements. In hinder the experience for some fact, each mission awards the player with cool feature that add some value to your players, but lots of fun will be resources such as money and experience spent time and improves your odds of reserved for those who persist. survival during each new run. points. Once you gather enough XP your Ironcast will level up – gaining more I can’t close my review without giving HP. Not only that, but you also can get a small nod to Ironcast visuals. All the characters and backgrounds are beautifully presented in a stylish 2D art style, and – even if it isn’t really the main focus of the game – the steam machines

VERDICT

4.0

PUBLISHER Ripstone

AT A GLANCE

NA: 10th August EU: 10th August

DEVELOPER Dreadbit

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £12.99 | €12.99

575 MB Switch Player

27


REVIEW

Infinite Minigolf

Written by Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro

I don’t know much about golf. It isn’t a popular sport where I live, so I have never watched an actual game (never mind going out and actually playing it). Everything that I know about it – and about its “mini” subcategory – comes from the funny Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker classic episodes, in which sneezing plays a huge part in the game strategy. Considering this background of mine, when I started to play Infinite Minigolf I was a bit skeptical whether it would have any appeal to me. Gosh, I’m glad I was wrong. In a similar manner to those aforementioned cartoons, Infinite Minigolf is a colorful, fun, and creative take on the minigolf formula. The core objective of hitting the ball into holes with as few strokes possible is here, but it has many little twists to make it all the more interesting. For starters, there’s the minigolf premise. The levels are usually short and self-contained, so you can’t expect to take those high-altitude sniper shots. Instead, you must find the optimal path between obstacles, trying to gather as many bonus items as you can. In the end, it all comes to building up your score. Finishing the level in only one shot gives you the most unaided points possible, but you can pick up gems on the path to the hole to 28

Switch Player


increase your score even more. The game also incentivises risky plays, awarding more points for shots that bounce off the walls or jump through obstacles. Infinite Minigolf makes those quirky plays more frequent by scattering power ups throughout levels, which (once collected) make your ball jump higher or gain a speed boost. To do so, you have controls that are very simple, but too sensitive. Every level starts with the player being able to position the ball inside a start zone. With this, you can set up the best angle for your first shot, and you do perform this by simply moving your left stick and pressing A when you’ve got the perfect spot. Next, the player avatar gets in position for the shot. It’s here that the controls get rather sloppy.

What you don’t get used to though, is the variety of levels – which is an extremely good thing. All the levels are divided into three bigger themes; Giant House, Nightmare Mansion, and Santa’s Factory. Each one of them has its own set of characters and hazards, adding new unique flavors to the match. Each theme has four tournaments (with three varying difficulty levels), and each tournament has ten levels, so if you multiply that out you can certainly see that Infinite Minigolf has a huge amount of content to offer.

As if that wasn’t enough, Infinite Minigolf also has a very robust level editor. It allows the player to build levels using one of the three different themes, adding in hazards and goodies, and customizing to your heart’s content. This is a mode executed in a very robust and simplistic way – meaning you can build complex The idea is that you move the left stick to levels with ease in practically no time at the right or to the left in order to decide all. Better still, there’s an option to upload the direction of the shot. You then move your custom levels for other players to your right stick down – simulating the use, and to download levels created by movement of the club – to decide how the community. You could say this game strong your shot is. The problem with lives up to the Infinite name! this setup is simply that both these controls are excessively sensitive, to the Infinite Minigolf also does a spectacular point of making you fail. I felt that a the job with its online modes. All the levels faintest of touches on the stick to any from the main game and the level editor side was enough to move too far in the can be played locally, allowing up to eight direction you were aiming for. Getting players to share the Joy-Cons while precise with the applied force was even playing either tournaments or single harder, as it seems that it gets from a levels. There is also the option to join weak shot to a strong shot far too fast. other players online, although I had some Fortunately, the game has options to connection errors trying it. Zen Studios is lower the sensibility of the controls, so it aware of this issue, so it should be fixed gets better – though never perfect. It is soon. something that you get used with time though, so there’s hope for those who Looking past the playable bits stick with it. themselves, the entirety of Infinite Minigolf’s astonishing content is wrapped up in a very pretty package. The graphics are colorful, sharp, and pleasing to the eye. Each theme is different and unique, organized in such a way that you keep PUBLISHER Zen Studios

AT A GLANCE

NA: 28th July EU: 28th July

DEVELOPER Zen Studios

looking forward to seeing the different elements that are going to be added. On top of that, the game also runs smoothly (both on handheld and big screen), with fast loading times that put you back into the fray almost instantly. To keep the player wanting to play more, Infinite Minigolf has a persistent player level too. Getting through the tournaments rewards the player with in-game currency, and by completing missions and leveling up you will unlock new attire at a shop within the game. This way, you can buy all sort of new items to customize your avatar. Those are all cosmetic changes that don’t affect the gameplay, but they’re very nice to include as they add value via a call for replaying and changing things up. All things considered, Infinite Minigolf surprised me with a solid package and an entertaining gameplay loop. In fact, it may be one of those games that I keep coming back to in short bursts, as it really stands to its name. It is infinite, after all.

VERDICT In spite of having some minor teething issues, Infinite Minigolf compensates with entertaining gameplay built inside an evergrowing package. It is fun, creative, and certainly gives you your money’s worth - even at the title's launch price.

4.0 EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £12.99 | €14.99

1.1 GB Switch Player

29


REVIEW

Rocket Fist

better as a pirate or a teapot, you’ll be ready to jump into the action.

The Nintendo Switch lends itself perfectly to games based around a very simple set of controls, short bursts of multiplayer action, and – ultimately – fun. We’ve seen games such as De Mambo and Overcooked: Special Edition hit the Switch’s eShop in recent times, and they’re two great examples of this mantra. Bringing Rocket Fist to the console seems to be an attempt at continuing this trend, so let’s see if it’s a success. The game features a solo-player adventure mode and a VS local multiplayer mode, although the controls and your ultimate aim are always the same no matter which of these you pick. You take control of a robot – a customisable robot in fact, as you can choose from a selection of different colours and costumes including Santa Claus, a unicorn, and a fez (If that hasn’t already won you over then I don’t know what will). Once you’ve spent slightly too long debating whether or not you look 30

Switch Player

You are then placed in a small arena alongside enemies, ready to start the ultimate game of dodgeball (one that most definitely wouldn’t be allowed in the school gym). Dotted around the arena are fists, and the idea behind gameplay is simple; pick up a fist and launch it at your opponents before they can do the same to you. The reality however, is not so simple – there are a finite amount of fists available, and anyone can pick any of these up at any time. This means that it is a constant race to grab a fist before someone else, trying to line up a shot if you got one, or running away as fast as possible if you didn’t. The magic lies in the fact that once a fist has traveled a fair distance after being launched, it will cool down – becoming ready to be picked up once again. Therefore, if you are able to narrowly dodge an attack, you’ll likely be in a position to pick up their weapon; and if you pick up their weapon, you can send it right back at them whilst they’re vulnerable. It’s fast paced, rather chaotic, and a whole lot of fun in the right setting. As previously mentioned, adventure mode is a solo experience. Consisting of

Written by Ryan Craddock @ryancraddock

five sectors (plus Sector Zero which is a tutorial), this mode sees you travelling through various stages full of enemies in the quickest time possible. Naturally, each sector is tougher than the last, with new enemy types being introduced as you progress. Starting with very basic types that travel slowly and die with one simple contact, the game soon ramps things up with enemies that have stronger attacks, ones that can only be defeated by punching them in the back, and even some spider robots that multiply when you first hit them. These different types are a very welcome addition since otherwise the “adventure” would be very repetitive – the fact that you have to keep an eye on which enemies are placed in the arena with you certainly keeps you on your toes. Each sector has a boss level should you make it to the end, which is easier said than done as you’ll lose lives with every hit you take. Losing all of your lives puts you back one stage in the sector you are currently in (unless you’re in the first stage), so to make it to the boss you need to keep as many of your lives intact as you can – hopefully arriving there with most of them still remaining. You can choose to play through this mode on either Easy, Normal, or Hard difficulty; the latter being a real challenge. For


posterity sake, the game even keeps track of how you perform in each sector and on each difficulty independently, saving your best times across the board for review. The VS Local mode is perhaps where you’d be expected to spend most of your time in Rocket Fist, as it’s the option your cursor is ready and waiting on when the game loads up. Gameplay is exactly the same here, so expect to see familiar arenas and play much the same. The difference here is that you are now against up to three of your friends (or a combination of friends and CPU players) in a crazy fight to the death, meaning anything can happen (including tons of fun). There are two types of match you can play, each of which have slightly different set-ups. In Deathmatch, you choose how many kills a player needs to win (up to a possible 15). For clarification, this means that as soon as a player reaches 15 kills across all other players, they are declared the winner. In Survival, you choose how many lives the players have instead (again up to 15). The best thing about this multiplayer mayhem is that a round will keep going until only the last robot is standing, at which point you are all thrown back in to start the next round. So for example, if you are wiped out first in a round, you’ll be sitting out until only one person is left – your opponents racking up kills while you ride the bench. This structure means that it is essential to stay safe rather than just attacking anything that moves, as you don’t want to be eliminated at the start of every round.

You can also opt to throw items into the mix at varying degrees of franticness (which is a real word apparently). These appear as squares on the battlefield for you to pick up – although interestingly, appear to go flying should they be hit by a rocket fist. Contained within them are powers such as a protective bubble that acts as a shield, a power that makes your movement much faster than other players, and even a slow motion item that works on every player left in the arena. These powers actually work much like the items in the Super Smash Bros. series, should you be familiar with them. As well as all this, the option to appear as a ghost should you be eliminated is also available. This allows you to interfere with play whilst you wait to be thrown back in, and will certainly help to keep you occupied during your “down” time. With a variety of costumes and arenas to choose from to keep things fresh, as well as the fact that the controls are incredibly simple (literally just moving with the control stick and using B to either dash or fire a rocket when you have one), Rocket Fist is a great game to stick on when you have friends round and want something that everyone can enjoy immediately. Of course, experience will still help you defeat newcomers on the whole, but the frantic pace of the game and its “pick-up-and-play” nature means that anyone could easily win a round.

The visuals and soundtrack add to the experience too – suiting the gameplay nicely. That said, this writer found that the game looked much more crisp on the Switch’s screen as opposed to its appearance when docked. As such, you’ll definitely want to use your TV and have everyone huddled around it for multiplayer madness, but for solo sessions I’d recommend playing in handheld mode for the ultimate experience. So should you get Rocket Fist? I’m going to say yes (for the most part), but hopefully you’ll have already come to that conclusion somewhere during the course of reading this review.

VERDICT Rocket Fist is the type of game that almost everyone can jump into and have a good time. As with many games of this nature however, recommending the title to players who primarily play alone is tough. The adventure mode is enjoyable - but it's also short, and perhaps not worth the asking price alone. That said, multiplayer is where it's at. All you'll have to do is hand a friend a Joy-Con, and soon you'll be beating each other senseless with rocket-propelled robot fists - laughing like crazy.

3.9 PUBLISHER Bitten Toast Games

AT A GLANCE

NA: TBA EU: TBA

DEVELOPER Bitten Toast Games

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £8.99 | €9.99

339 MB Switch Player

31


REVIEW

Slime-san

Written by Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

You know in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, where everybody loved going inside Jabu-Jabu’s belly? Well imagine a pseudo-NES-style game entirely set inside a ghastly worm. That’s what we’ve got here in Slime-san. There’s a short bit of backstory about how Slime-san managed to get himself inside a worm – well, nothing more than “Slime-san was minding his own business, sliming around in a peaceful forest when suddenly…A giant worm appeared and gobbled him up!” Quickly into it, then – but it’s a pace players had better get used to keeping. The aim of the game is simple; guide Slime-san – a protagonist who is literally a blob of slime – towards the end goal. You’ll want to do so in as timely a manner as possible while dodging and jumping around a series of obstacles, as they can have you escorted back to the level’s beginning faster than you can see them coming. Here’s the thing, though; it’s dead hard. The level of precision required to make some of the platformer’s jumps, – whether you’re going from horizontal ledge to horizontal ledge, vertical wall to vertical wall or a combination between the two – is simply off the scales. The gameplay is incredibly tricky and takes an age to get to grips with, but it provides an immense level of satisfaction when things start to click and you start to feel like you’re finally actually in control of your slime. To describe it at its most basic, the composition of the main series of levels in the game involves a new way of moving the environment to make life difficult for the player, and each takes a fair bit of getting used to. There are over a hundred levels in the game, so finishing the game too quickly certainly isn’t a problem here. Each takes on a fairly unique slant too, which is nice to see. Bearing in mind that the controls are rather minimalistic, the developers have found a lot of things to do with just a small number of button combinations in order to pull them off. Holding either of the two left triggers will slow down time, allowing Slime-san to blend in with and pass through anything that is the same green colour. This blending can be with enemies, walls, or other moving objects, and slowing time makes a great amount of difference in levels with plenty of moving objects to dodge. 32

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This pass-through ability doesn’t apply to anything that’s red in colour, however – one touch of them, and splat; you’re back to the start. Meanwhile, there’s of course A as the jump button, but the right triggers make things more complex as they allow you to dash in one of four directions. This helps you to scale normally non-traversable gaps, but you relinquish your sense of safety and control while doing so. It’s a lot to take in, and a lot to master. By the way, there’s also a harsh time limit on each level. You simply cannot stand about pondering your next move – you have to get going before a sea of red stomach acid covers the room. Getting as good of a time as you can on each of the levels is the name of the game, and any small slip-up – including touching an enemy, touching a red wall, falling below the level, or moving too far wide of it – will result in you returning to the spawn point. This can get pretty irksome at times, but not enough that you can’t appreciate that the game’s beauty comes in its challenge. The challenge level ramps up when you figure out that in each unique part of any one level (they’re usually divided into four clear sections with respawn checkpoints in-between) there is a collectible to pick up, hanging out in some ridiculously awkward place to reach.

enough air into a standing jump and collide with a red obstacle immediately after take-off. It’s these kinds of accidents which can get you so infuriated you’ll need to go and take at least an hour to compose yourself before trying again, but once you do start to maintain a level of perfection this becomes a perfect game for speed-running (if you fancy the challenge). Pitch-perfect precision is clearly needed if you’re looking to pull off respectable times, but it’s clear that the developers had this in mind from the start. As such, the target times which you see at the end of each level are deathly unforgiving for novice players, but Slime-san addicts will get an extra sense of longevity from the game. The perfect runs are attainable, but only with the utmost skill. The soundtrack – like most like it in the 8-bit category – is groovy. You’ll find yourself bopping away during levels to a mix that works much like the brilliant one used in Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures on Wii U and 3DS. Soon, you’ll even feel like you’ve known these tunes since your childhood. The pretty NES-era visuals aren’t entirely accurate to how they may have looked in the 1980s, but what is a nice touch is that through the in-game shop you can purchase backgrounds to occupy the widescreen borders of your TV as you play. Some of the designs are quite breath-taking, and you’ll likely be sticking to them as soon as you have the coins to afford them.

There’s a good chance you’ll be perfecting your Slime-san skills for some time before managing to get through an entire level with zero deaths – some jumps Other unlockables include play styles. look safe, only for Slime-san to not get More trajectory power for dashing in a certain direction, or boosting your jump power are amongst the many benefits you can add to keep your experience just that little bit fresher. You can also buy cutesy costumes for Slime-san – and PUBLISHER Headup Games

AT A GLANCE

NA: 3rd August EU: 3rd August

DEVELOPER Fabraz

bearing in mind that each are just a few small pixels, you can tell a lot of love has gone into designing them. While the main game is for single players only, a two-player local mode can also be unlocked, and with the Blackbird’s Kraken DLC now confirmed as a free future update on Switch there’s certainly more content to come. This is pretty impressive for a game with 100 levels from the off, and a further 100 levels in the unlockable New Game+ mode. As a whole, Slime-san is a great match for the Nintendo Switch. It’s the sort of game which looks beautiful in its NES-style glory on the big television screen, but looks just as glossy when you’re carrying the console around as a handheld. It’s an incredibly solid franticstyle platformer which you will want to power through to the end, and it’ll be sure to bug you if you don’t.

VERDICT Slime-san is certainly worth a purchase, both for its charm and its addictiveness. It’s impressive how much personality Fabraz managed to convey with just a few pixels, and it’s here in droves. That said, with your mind on the clock there may not be as much time as story-fans would like to take it all in, but thankfully the gameplay makes it worth playing either way.

3.8 GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £10.00 | €11.99

741 MB Switch Player

33


REVIEW

Namco Museum

Written by James Harvey @AgileHarvey

When it comes to video games, I’m about as nostalgic as they come. You’ll often catch me flicking through the pages of a 90’s gaming magazine, or swearing in frustration as I fail at Ghosts ‘n Goblins for the millionth time. I jumped on the opportunity to own a NES Classic Edition, and will no doubt buy Super Mario World again at some point on the Switch. So when I heard about Namco Museum, I just had to experience what was on offer. Included in Namco Museum is a fairly generous offering of 11 games. These are Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig Dug, The Tower of Druaga, Sky Kid, Rolling Thunder, Galaga ’88, Splatterhouse, Rolling Thunder 2, Tank Force and the much desired Pac-Man Vs. Whilst on paper this is a really solid line-up, there are a few glaring omissions – such as Xevious or New Rally-X. At the same time, you can’t help but feel that they will be included in an inevitable Namco Museum Part 2 (should this release sell well enough). Each of these games genuinely offers you hours and hours of entertainment, and there is a fair amount of variety to be had; from shooting ships in space, to smashing monsters over the 34

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head with a 2×4 in a haunted mansion. Whilst Namco can’t offer the lovable IP’s that Nintendo themselves can offer, their classic library has just as much diversity to keep you entertained when you want your pixelated fix. As with a lot of older games, they’re also extremely difficult; at least, by today’s standards. For new players experiencing classics like Splatterhouse or Rolling Thunder for the first time, it’ll likely take them a good few continues before they get past the first few levels – or even the first few screens. Keep your coins in your pocket, for as luck would have it each depression of the L button inserts a new coin for another fresh start. The main attraction in the collection (at least as far as Switch owners are concerned) is the inclusion of the reworked 2003 release; Pac-Man Vs. In this former GameCube-exclusive, player one controls Pac-Man whilst the other three players control the ghosts in the maze. What was once achieved by multiple Game Boy Advances, a heap of cables, and a GameCube console, can now be enjoyed with just a single Nintendo Switch. Multiple Switch consoles linked together allow all the ghost players to use one screen with a limited view of the maze, whilst whoever controls Pac-Man has a screen and a full-view of the maze to themselves. Whichever ghost manages to catch Pac-Man gets to control the yellow chomper in the next match. It really is fantastic fun, and has proved to be yet another superb party game on Nintendo’s console – perfect to dig out

when family or friends are around. Where Namco Museum really excels however, is with the extra touches that it offers. You’ve got multiple different display options – including the ability to rotate your Switch in handheld mode 90 degrees, to then play on a vertical screen (like some of the arcade cabinets from their day). You can also add scan-lines to get that lifelike CRT feel, and increase the size of the screen as much as you want. Additionally (and perhaps most importantly), each of the games includes an online leaderboard where you can compete against other players around the world. A big part of arcade gaming is focused around high scores, and this is a nice way to add some longevity to the package. Save states are included – both manually and automatically, but curiously you only get the option to store one save file per game. It’s not a huge deal, but it is somewhat limited, and may restrict your progress on some games. Too many states would be unnecessary, but I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect a few per title – giving you a little more flexibility in how you tackle your games over time. With its beautifully designed UI, the biggest compliment that I can give Namco Museum is that it feels considerably similar to the NES Classic Edition presentation-wise. Navigating from game to game is as pleasurable as you’d hope; each title showing you some box art-style visuals, followed by actual gameplay – doing its best to help you decide what to play next.

launching their latest reincarnation of the Virtual Console to join the party. For retro fans waiting for this to happen, Namco Museum could be considered somewhat of a stop-gap. Picasso once said “give me a museum and I’ll fill it.” Namco have built their own museum, but filling it is something that they fall short of. What is on offer is of excellent quality, and clearly a lot of time has been spent presenting these classics in the absolute best light that they can be – but despite this, it all still feels a little light. Whilst no doubt some will pick up Namco Museum just to play Pac-Man Vs., others will simply not be able to justify the price tag.

VERDICT Namco Museum does a lot of things right - but despite the wonderful presentation, it’s still only focused on a limited audience. Putting a value on retro games can often be difficult given how easy it is to obtain and play these titles elsewhere; that said, Namco have put together an extremely desirable package that fits very nicely on the Switch. If it was cheaper it would be easier to recommend to everyone, but as it stands you’re only likely to pick this one up if you’ve got some retro-tinted specs like me. For those of us who do though, it’s a fantastic trip down memory lane.

With Namco Museum now sitting alongside the vast Neo Geo library already on Switch, you’ve got to wonder just when Nintendo is planning on PUBLISHER BANDAI NAMCO

AT A GLANCE

NA: 28th July EU: 28th July

DEVELOPER BANDAI NAMCO

3.7 GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £29.99 | €29.99

876 MB Switch Player

35


REVIEW

Flip Wars

Written by Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

With Snipperclips a stellar first first-party entry into the Switch eShop catalogue, Flip Wars – released in midJuly – is the next offering. While it does employ the same pick-up-and-play ethic of the cutting-out puzzler, that’s where the similarities end between the two titles. Flip Wars places the focus on the battling, the head-to-head multiplayer which crowns the best as the winner and the rest as the alsorans. To give the best effort possible at trying to sum up exactly what Flip Wars is, this is a Nintendo title which takes bits from many games already on Switch. We get from Splatoon the idea of covering the field in as much of your colour as possible, Othello the concept of flipping tiles in order to do so, and Bomberman‘s viewpoint of the grid – with players frantically running across the tiles to try and blast their opponents off the board. Up to four players can take part both locally and online, and gameplay involves running from tile to tile, hitting the A (or right-most button if you’re playing with a single Joy-Con) to leap into the air. Once you come crashing down, you shift the few tiles vertically and horizontally around you from white to your colour (either red, green, yellow, or blue). Of course, up to three other players will be looking to do the exact same thing, so as they jump and land your tiles could become their tiles – and vice versa. In Panel Battle (the game’s most quickly approachable mode), the person with the most tiles when the time limit hits zero is the winner. It sounds basic – and it is, but there are a few discerning factors to give the wars some tactical nuance. For instance, some weapons can speed you up (movement is quite slow unless you walk on tiles which are already your colour), while others can change your blast radius to diagonal. Another mode to select from is Knock Out, a format which reeks of the multiplayer seen already on the Switch in Bomberman R. The onus here is not on covering the field in your own coloured tiles, but blasting your opponents off the board as much as you can before the clock strikes zero.

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The third and final mode is a slight expansion on this, as Life Battle has you given a set number of lives. When you’ve been relieved of all of those however, your game is over. You can amend the time limits and live counts yourselves, so games can last from thirty seconds up to five minutes.

it’s likely that a lot of people will take the plunge with Flip Wars in the weeks to come – but for the time being in its first two weeks of release, it’s proven tough to get an online match with any random opponents (let alone a full set of three). I’ve tried at different times of the day, but still the same outcome.

A series of different boards give a variety to the play. They’re divided into blue, green, and yellow; the first and last of which elementally affect gameplay in their own way. The watery blue sometimes has waves pass under the board knocking everyone off balance, and yellow sees lightning surge through the arena striking all in its path. These three all have four separate choices. “Normal” is just a plain battlefield, “Electric Shock” has a central button which flips all tiles around it, “Beam Cannon” has a blaster in the middle which can be set off with a ground stomp, and “Expert” throws a few dead blocks in the way to lower your flip radius.

Even without many real-life opponents to take on though, the action is challenging and still very much fastplaced with COM players. They can be picked from a choice of three difficulty levels, and even the lowest gives you a chaotic match which can swing in an instant.

It’s enough to suggest that online matches won’t be overly repetitive; dealing with the elements gives the game some of the complication needed to attract a bit more committed of an audience. Sadly though, the online community at launch appears to be sparse. Of course, being that it’s at such a cheap price point

Thankfully for this reviewer, a key update to the game came on August 3rd – adding a number of new and important features. On the main menu, the “Achievement” option (formerly greyed out with a coming soon sign over it) is now “My Room” – and serves to tally up all of your records and rankings for both local and online multiplayer battles. It was the same greyed-out story for the ranking option, until the update. Local area battling between multiple Switch units is still out of action however, and listed as coming soon. While the game is of course still incomplete, it’s aesthetically pleasing to see that it’s no longer the case that half of the key menus are filled with options that you can’t make use of yet.

The music of Flip Wars harks back again to Bomberman as glitzy, bouncy techno riffs fill the menus and the main action. Sound is conspicuously absent when selecting options in the menu however, and as you see the screen flit from menu to menu through a shifting camera you expect to hear some kind of sound effects. Instead, all you get is dead silence. Normally it’s a nitpick, but it is very noticeable here. In all – and now that it’s closer to finished, Flip Wars is a game which is at its best when taking on three friends in the same room for fast and frantic battles. At its worst, it’s an infuriatingly difficult game as far as the top COM players go, and not one that you’re going to dedicate too much time to – especially if you have the more pressing matters of ARMS and Splatoon 2 to tend to. Whether that means Flip Wars is for you is ultimately up to you to decide, however; I’m just the messenger.

VERDICT Flip Wars is a good bit of multiplayer that's fun in short bursts, and does offer something of a challenge to single players - even if the game itself is incomplete for the moment. It’s certainly one to keep an eye on as the features start falling into place, especially since you can expect Nintendo to support this one with content for months to come.

3.2 PUBLISHER Nintendo

AT A GLANCE

NA: 10th August EU: 6th July

DEVELOPER Over Fence Co. Ltd.

GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £8.99 | €9.99

206 MB Switch Player

37


REVIEW

Levels+: Addictive Puzzle Game

Written by Ryan Craddock @ryancraddock

Levels+: Addictive Puzzle Game started life as a game for mobile devices, building upon the very standardised concept of matching coloured tiles to make them “pop” and accumulating high scores with new ideas. Now, with a sparkly new plus sign in the title, the game has made its way to Nintendo Switch – but is this version worth the spending of a little of your hard earned cash when its mobile counterpart is free to download? Let’s kick things off with a rundown of the gameplay. As previously mentioned, at its core Levels+ is all about moving tiles around the screen, taking out other tiles in the process, and adding to your score. What allows this game to detach itself from countless, forgettable clones of puzzle games gone-by however, is its hierarchical system. The game utilises a truly addictive concept that has the “easy to play, difficult to master” quality many gamers crave. There are three types of tile; blue, red, and yellow. The blue tiles are the heroes – warriors that are fighting on your side, the red tiles are the enemies that the heroes are up against, and the yellow ones are treasure (or points to you and I). You can take control of either a blue 38

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or yellow tile, and move it in any direction by one space. If you can’t make a move, it’s game over. The goal is to capture as much treasure as you can with your blue heroes, whilst taking out enemies and building up the levels on your tiles. You see, this is where it gets interesting. Each tile has a level – starting from one and rising upwards – which indicates the strength of the blue heroes, the difficulty of the red enemies, and the value of the yellow treasure. Your blue tile must be the same level or higher to take out an enemy or collect treasure from the other tiles, and to get higher level tiles you must move identical tiles on top of one another. A level two blue tile being placed on another level two blue tile would create a level three blue tile, for example. The same logic applies to the yellow tiles too, meaning that you will have to keep track of building both your heroes and treasure at the same time. Whilst you’d be forgiven for feeling slightly lost by reading these rules written on paper, it is very easy to pick up and get playing – at a basic level. The real challenge comes from wanting to achieve the best scores possible, as deciding on the best course of action can be very tricky. Do you build up the levels of your treasure tiles to acquire more points – but risk having your heroes be too weak to move around the board, or build up a strong army – but not get as much of a financial reward? It’s a toughie! The game’s visuals are extremely simplistic, but this is a good thing. With no distractions from unnecessary mascot characters or stages that move in the background, the focus is

put directly on the tiles themselves and you are able to give them your full attention. The colours of the tiles are thankfully vibrant, and as such are easily distinguishable from one another. Likewise, the music is also a simple little melody played on repeat – slowly building with more layers and intensity as the levels ramp up. At times, particularly when I would spend a long time deciding on a move, I would find the music distracting – although with the sound not being essential to the gameplay you could always turn this down if you prefer.

Levels+ can be played in all modes supported by the Nintendo Switch; Handheld, Tabletop ,and TV. Even more luckily than that however, is that all of these modes work a treat. Going back to my initial question of the difference between the mobile version of the game to the Switch port, this is easily the biggest deciding factor. Handheld mode offers touchscreen control, meaning that just like on a mobile screen you are able to swipe the tiles with your finger. Naturally, the Switch’s gorgeous display and screen-size are far superior to standard mobile devices for gaming – meaning that this is perhaps the ultimate way to play the game. Having the option to transfer the game over to the TV however, is just as good. Chasing high-scores can result in a session lasting well over an hour, which suddenly makes the idea of flopping on a sofa with your pro controller incredibly appealing. The strange thing is, there is nothing else to it. With a leap from mobile to a dedicated gaming system it would be natural to expect added features, but this is just not the case. There are a couple of things that flesh it out slightly – like how at the end of each attempt you are rewarded with a rank, and the

PUBLISHER flow

AT A GLANCE

NA: 13th July EU: 13th July

DEVELOPER flow

presence of achievement-style missions to accomplish in the game’s menu – but there are no other modes, no online functionality, nothing. In fact, there isn’t even a title screen. Upon loading the game you are thrown straight into the puzzle board (there is a tutorial when you load it up for the first time), with the only option present in the menu being to reset the tiles and score. This does result in a truly awesome feature however, which is that at any point you are able to return to the home screen (even close the software and put the system to sleep if you wish) and when you start up the software again you will be thrown right back into your previous game; tiles and score intact.

VERDICT Levels+ does exactly what it says on its digital tin; being quite literally an “addictive puzzle game”. The ease and satisfying nature of the gameplay make you want to keep going and the ability to take the Nintendo Switch with you wherever you go for short bursts of play justifies a purchase of this title slightly more than it would otherwise. Despite not having a wealth of features and not having improved that much from its mobile form, the Switch version is still the superior option and players who love puzzle games with a need for thinking strategically will consider this a sound investment.

3.3 GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £4.99 | €6.99

79 MB Switch Player

39


REVIEW

Qbics Paint

Written by Ryan Craddock @ryancraddock

By having so many different play-styles and control options, the Nintendo Switch is naturally suited to a wide variety of games – small or large, traditional or quirky, or even just downright odd. Qbics Paint falls into that latter category. The idea is to sculpt and paint 3D, blocky figures – a simple enough premise, yet some strange decisions let the whole thing down slightly. The game offers two different modes, the first of which is made up of several menus. Each menu has a theme – farm animals, zoo animals, toys and transport for example – and a selection of blocky paintings to unlock under each category. Upon loading one of the paintings, you’ll be presented with a large, white cube which contains the figure you are hoping to unlock. Your job then is to dig out the painting from inside this cube, chipping away at the white blocks surrounding it until it is free. Once it has been released from its blocky prison, your object is ready to be painted. This whole excavation process is the first of those aforementioned strange decisions. On the one hand, it’s an interesting concept; you are actually scored on how well you manage to 40

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dig out the figure – getting three stars if you manage to dig around the figure without touching it too much, and being penalised if you accidentally hit the poor cat, chicken, or whatever it is that is residing inside. These stars then build up to unlock access to new paintings, and eventually new categories. On the other hand, the whole procedure feels incredibly tedious – especially after you’ve already done it fifty times, and all you want to do is create some new paintings (and hopefully stumble across a 3D hot-dog or something). In theory it should add something to what would otherwise be a rather repetitive game, but in practice it just adds a new kind of repetition to replace the old one. When you get down to business and start painting the figures, things start to improve. You have a palette of 24 different colours to choose from, and painting is as simple as touching the colour you want before touching the block you want to colour. You are free to paint the objects however you wish, although there is a handy guide available on each level – giving you a picture to copy, should you want them to look perfect. This is particularly useful when you’re struggling to imagine which blocks make up which part of the object. Every action you can perform is done on the touchscreen (naturally this means that handheld mode is the only one available – you cannot play this game on your TV). The actions are mostly intuitive; swiping with one finger rotates the figure, and you can zoom in by using two fingers on the screen – just like with modern smartphones. The only negative

point here is that it can be a little fiddly when you are trying to touch a block that is rather tucked away. You can always zoom in to try and help with this, but people with larger fingers may still struggle at times. The second mode available is called “My Qbics.” Here, you get to create and save ten of your own 3D masterpieces (or abominations) from scratch. You start with a completely blank canvas, and have the option to create whatever you like (as long as it can fit within a 20 x 20 cube grid). You’ll start by drawing out your creation with blocks – refining it as you go along, and then swapping over to the paint option (which works exactly how it does in the other mode). Handily, you can swap back and forth between the two with ease; if you start painting and realise your not-so-perfect statue of Mario has an eye missing, you can jump straight back to the creation screen and sort that out. The interface and options available to you aren’t perfect as there are several features missing that would have been welcome, but for a harmless bit of fun it does the job. All of your paintings across both modes can be put on a backdrop of pre-installed pictures, such as forests or beaches. From there, you have the option to hide all of the menus and tabs to get the perfect photo opportunity – the idea being that you can hit the screenshot button on the Switch and save your creations to your album, or prep them further for sharing to social media. This is the next strange decision in this writer’s opinion, as the game seems to be (for the most part) aimed at a younger audience. Whilst the sharing option is another welcome feature, it is unlikely to be used that often; children that are playing this game will be less prone to having and using social media accounts,

PUBLISHER Abylight

AT A GLANCE

NA: 27th July EU: 27th July

DEVELOPER Abylight

so having something different that they can do with their finished creations might have been a better avenue to take. In the end however, Qbics Paint is a nice little package. There is a wide selection of pre-made figures available to get stuck in to, and the option to create your own from scratch is very welcome. The painting interface is decent, and seeing your creations come to life through colour can be enjoyable. The game won’t satisfy those who want a professional, artistic experience full of features like Art Academy and Colors! 3D for Nintendo 3DS – but this was clearly never the game’s intention. Instead, what we have here is something that you can dip in and out of just for fun. Too bad that fun is somewhat flattened in places.

VERDICT Definitely one for the kids, Qbics Paint is something that will provide some enjoyment for a younger audience - or simply those wanting a simple application to pass the time. The features included do the job to a decent standard, although other titles have managed to provide a more streamlined artistic toolkit in the past. There are perhaps better alternatives available for art-based games, although the premise behind Qbics does stand out as being its own identity, and this cetainly isn’t the worse purchase you could make.

3.0 GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £4.49 | €4.99

66 MB Switch Player

41


REVIEW

Implosion – Never Lose Hope

Written by Kyle Wakeling

@teflontactics

Set two decades after the fall of Earth, Implosion – Never Lose Hope is a sci-fi hack and slash action game – putting you in the shoes of a survivor wielding an advanced War-Mech suit. It’s a very good looking game, but looks aren’t everything, and this game wouldn’t be one to judge by its cover. Implosion is an okay game covered in a pretty shell, and you should probably know what you’re getting into before you pick it up. When you start the game and you’re introduced to the very thin story that Rayark Inc. have crafted, you realize that you’re taking control of Jake; a mech pilot who escaped Earth in the wake of the XADA invasion, and has come back in order to kick all their alien asses. You’re introduced to your level 3 mech suit, taught a bit about how your sword and gun work, and then set off to complete objectives in the just over thirty missions contained within. Most missions will have you either fighting your way to a checkpoint or defending an area from invasion, though boss missions where you take on more difficult enemies are situated at the end of each of the game’s four chapters. On your way there however, you’ll regularly be locked in areas with electric fences, or shut in via the multiple doorways – forced to fight a group of enemies before you’re able to progress. Don’t worry if you die though (at least on the easier difficulties), as you’ll be able to revive pretty much in place; the game’s forgiving nature taking a bit of the urgency and danger out of it all. Fighting itself takes the form of hack and slash gameplay, with a normal and heavy attacks mapped to the Y and X buttons respectively. You can also dodge with B, and if you manage to fill your power gauge enough you can use the on-screen prompts to unleash special attacks based on your equipped Ark fragments. Attacks range from armor breaking swipes, to boomerang-like bouncing energy attacks, or even time slowing area effects – the different specials requiring different amounts of gauge to execute. It’s all very standard for this type of game, though you can of course change things up with your equipped fragments. Fragments themselves come in many varieties and you can equip up to seven at a time, with minor fragments accompanied by one that dictates your special attack. You can earn them from missions, find them in supply boxes, or buy them at the store – each having a level requirement and unique effects on your stats. As for your enemies, they’re fairly bland. You’ll fight zombie-esque creatures called Mutaforms, other mechs, a range of unique creatures, beings resembling the Xenomorphs from Alien, and of course giant boss creatures with heavy attacks. You’ll come up against 42

Switch Player


landmines, fire spouts, spinning fire sprinklers, and spinning saw blades embedded in the floor – but they really aren’t a problem if you’re quick and you pay attention. I’m talking about all of it by the way, not just the traps. At least it looks pretty though, as the game is quite a looker in many ways. The cut scene art and animation are very stylish, and the effects and textures in the active gameplay are all very shiny and crisp. Some of the areas look really pretty, and though there are quite a few bland bits by design the bits that aren’t so bland really pop. It’s rare to see a game that’s really nothing special in the gameplay sector but also looks this pretty (especially in this genre), but that’s what Implosion is. Pretty is probably the best thing I can say about Implosion however, as it was fairly mundane to play aside from the boss battles. The story didn’t catch me one bit, and though I really enjoyed the art of the cutscenes they were mostly wasted on me due to the fact that I simply didn’t care about anything that was happening. I’d almost have quipped that the story was an add-on, but it was just too well done art-wise to have been an afterthought. Too bad whoever wrote it didn’t know what a “hook” is.

If you do happen to enjoy your time with the game though (my opinion isn’t the word of God), you will find a fair amount of gameplay content for your purchase. There are Normal, Hard, and Expert modes to take on for the main story, and an unlockable mech suit to aim for if you’re ambitious. You’ll have to complete a certain amount of Badges to get it however, and they’re laid out as tasks you can optionally complete across the story levels. Aside from the main bits though, there’s also “Another Story” and “Special Mode” options to continue your unique gameplay. Another Story offers a secondary scenario with a unique character, while Special Mode is a mode designed to test your endurance with combat set to an ever counting timer (the longest time alive being the goal). The only problem with all this extra content is that if you aren’t feeling the rest of the game you certainly won’t

be feeling this bit either. It’s really just more of the same in a slightly different package, or with slightly different rules, so those (like me) who found the game to be a bit of a slog might not want to even try them. In the end, Implosion is simply a competent – but not necessarily special – hack n’ slash action game. It doesn’t really offer anything to draw the player in, and its only truly enticing factor is how good it can look at times (both in-game and in cutscenes). The story is mediocre, the action is fairly standard, and the upgrade system is just a slight variation on so many others. The only reason I can think that anyone would buy Implosion is if they straight up need this type of action game on their Switch. That said, it’s one I probably wouldn’t have finished if it wasn’t for this review.

VERDICT Implosion is a hack 'n' slash action game that looks - from a distance - much better than it actually is. Once you start playing however, you'll find a fairly average (if not downright mediocre) title with some great looking graphics. There's simply nothing unique or enticing about this one aside from its shiny appearance, so you're probably best to look elsewhere if you're looking for something that engages you in any meaningful way.

3.0 PUBLISHER Flyhigh Works

AT A GLANCE

NA: 6th July EU: 6th July

DEVELOPER Rayark

GOOD

E-SHOP PRICING £10.79 | €11.99

3.1 GB Switch Player

43


REVIEW

Mighty Gunvolt Burst

After the colossal failure of Inafune’s Mighty No. 9, many would imagine the series would be dead in a slimy pool of amniotic fluid. That’s not the case however, and developers Inti Creates and Comcept decided it would be a fantastic idea to combine both the Mighty No. 9 and Gunvolt series into one game, and much to my surprise it actually pulls it off with decent results.

Mighty Gunvolt Burst puts you in the role of Beck or Gunvolt from their respective series to shoot and jump through eight levels based off stages from Inafune’s demon child. Most of these stages are fairly standard for a Mega Man-esque adventure featuring invisible blocks, changing environments and the everinfuriating dark rooms with limited visibility, but they are fairly inoffensive and offer an adequate sidescrolling experience on Nintendo’s console. While the stages do vary from each other quite nicely with beautifully crisp pixel art backgrounds and decent—if unexciting— level design, enemy variety leaves much to be desired. Enemies repeat themselves far too frequently throughout the course of the game and once you learn their extremely limited movesets the game becomes an uninteresting slog only an hour or so in. With only a handful of foes to fight from beginning to end, Mighty Gunvolt Burst lacks the combat variety that other platformers, such as Shovel Knight or even Mega Man, do so well.

Written by Lewis White

@Lewis_D_White

Level design is much more focused around trial and error, an aspect most definitely taken from the original Mighty No. 9 but without the original game’s infuriating enemy placement. Levels, thankfully, don’t take long to learn and there’s joy to be found in replaying stages to earn upgrades and find secrets. What was at first a rage-inducing run of constant death becomes incredibly fun and satisfying as you kick ass from start to finish in minute-long runs.

will inevitably become easily exploitable, especially when you get the option to alter the amount of invincibility frames you have. At the end of your hour-orso journey you’ll be able to pretty much stand right next to a boss and spam the shoot button if you want to, but the ability to make the game more difficult by tweaking your character on the fly means that you’ll always be able to make the game as easy or as challenging as you wish in these later stages.

Where Mighty Gunvolt Burst excels is in its high level of character customisation. Using skills and an extremely generous Character Point limit, you’re able to tweak everything from shot speed to knockback distance and craft an experience more suited to your playstyle. Oh, and you’ll want to change that knockback distance, with enemies able to shoot through walls it’s a big ol’ pain in the rear.

After the immensely disappointing Mighty No. 9, I thought that I would instantly feel repulsed by any game set place in that universe. Much to my surprise, Mighty Gunvolt Burst takes everything that Mighty No. 9 did right and designs an enjoyable, albeit generic, action-platforming experience with fun character designs, intriguing boss fights and a great ability customisation system to craft your gameplay around your specific playstyle.

The main draw of any Mega Man style game for me however, are the bosses. Thankfully, Mighty Gunvolt Burst takes the cool character designs of the Mighty Numbers and crafts more traditional— and much better, less broken—battles than those found in the original game. For example, the teleporting Countershade uses portals to ricochet sniper fire at you and drop faux health pickups, and the Gatling-Gun wielding Battalion dismantles himself into various projectiles that you’ll have to dodge whilst dispatching spawning enemies.

VERDICT Mighty Gunvolt Burst isn’t a fantastic action-platformer, but it is a relatively enjoyable one and miles better than Mighty No. 9-Stages-of-Hell. With a cheap enough price tag and a decent amount of replayability, there are worse options you could choose on Nintendo Switch than this.

As you add more upgrades these bosses PUBLISHER Inti Creates NA: 15th June EU: 15th June 34 MB 44

Switch Player

3.6

DEVELOPER Inti Creates E-SHOP PRICING £8.99 | €9.99

GOOD


REVIEW

Shephy

When I reviewed New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers, I wanted to make clear that it was an enjoyable townbuilding simulation game – despite its overall lack of quality. Arc System Works’ newest game Shephy isn’t much different. It is another likable little experience, built in a not so pleasant box. This time though, it’s their take on the single-player card game genre. At a glance, Shephy’s premise is as simple as it is buffoon-y. You start each match with a single sheep, and it is your objective to use the event cards on your hand to make them multiply – ultimately searching for that 1000 sheep count. You lose on two distinct conditions; the first being if all of your sheep die, and the second being if the enemy sheep count gets to 1000. All the complexity that Shephy has comes from the fact that your deck is consists of both positive and negative event cards. In order to progress through the match, you must use every single card, as only then will your deck will be replenished. It is very unlikely – if not impossible – to win the match with a single go through your deck, so it is very important to know how and when to use the bad effect cards. Despite having a competent tutorial, Shephy is quite overwhelming at the start. It takes trial and error until the player starts to learn the effect of each

Written by Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro

card, and getting to know your deck is crucial to increase your chances of victory. The game compensates for that first difficult spike with its simple and straightforward controls. With the analogue sticks you move between the cards on your hand, and you select them with A. At any time, you can press the R shoulder button to preview the highlighted card – giving a full description of its effect. If you are playing on handheld mode, you also have the option of using the touchscreen to play, which is a nice little addition.

Unfortunately, Shephy is short in content. The story mode isn’t that long, and the gameplay becomes pretty repetitive once you have learned the entirety of your deck. As mentioned before, it also falls short in the presentation department. The card illustrations follow a simplistic sketchy manga style, and the menus aren’t too pleasant to look at. On top of that (and for the worst) it’s soundtrack is monotonous, repetitive, and likely to make you want to play with the game muted.

When it comes to content, Shephy offers four distinct modes. The first of them is Basic Mode, which allows you to play the game with the standard decks and rules. Challenge Mode removes the 1000 sheep count cap, allowing you to use all the three reshuffles to get the highest score possible. Practice Mode on the other hand, removes the penalties of the main game; becoming the testing ground for you to learn the full match course.

If you’re fond of card games though, it may be worth a try. There aren’t many on Switch, and the launch price ($4.99) is quite palatable. If you’re not, then this one simply might not be for you.

Oddly enough, the story mode here is called Post Loves, and it is the most interesting of them all. It starts with a manga-style presentation that goes off on surprisingly deep and poetic paths. The goofy story line is somewhat fun due to the fact that it takes itself too seriously, and because the fate of the stranding dimensional sheep are in your (cards) hands. It adds some variety to the gameplay too, as each chapter of the story has its own unique twist on the card game’s rules.`

PUBLISHER Arc System Works NA: 6th July EU: 6th July

DEVELOPER Arc System Works

VERDICT Shephy is a goofy, short, singleplayer card game that is quite entertaining for its genre. It doesn’t stand out graphically nor musically, but may be a cheap option to spend your time with.

2.3 POOR

E-SHOP PRICING £4.99 | €4.99

159 MB Switch Player

45


REVIEW

Cars 3: Driven to Win

Written by Adam Cook @jebusf

To be honest with you, I won’t pretend I’ve kept up with all the minutiae and deep lore contained within the Cars universe. Lightning McQueen is a cool guy (car?) without question, but I only vaguely remember the second movie, while the third seems like milking it a bit. Regardless, none of this ambivalence towards the greater narrative stops Cars 3: Driven to Win from being a surprising game. It’s surprising for two main reasons: firstly, it’s not terrible. Yeah, you heard: a movie tie-in that’s not a blight on the gaming landscape. Secondly, and this ties very closely into my first point: it can even be pretty decent, sometimes. 46

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Initial impressions are that of a bizarrely off-brand Mario Kart-like game, but Cars 3: Driven to Win is something different entirely. Taking to the track as Lightning McQueen or Guido (there are loads of unlockable cars but let’s face it if you’re not racing as McQueen or the fantastic Guido, what’s the point in racing at all) you can jump and do tricks, boost, drive backwards, go on two wheels, and in some cases even use power-ups to smash your opponents to pieces. All of the tricks will build your turbo, and you’ll need that to win a race because this game is really hard. Seriously, even on medium the rubber-banding is a nightmare. You can never get far enough ahead to feel comfortable, and in battle races you’ll need to save boost for the last stretch to get first place. Easy mode is actually not that easy, but it’ll at least let you get your first few wins in. It’s clearly a game aimed at fans of the series (read: a younger audience) so why it’s this difficult is beyond me. Nailing combos that have you come out of a trick-laden jump into driving backwards (which reverses the controls), then banging a fellow driver off the road is great, but it’s going to confuse the younger players, and they won’t have the patience to build the boost up fully to unleash its full potential. But there’s plenty of content to get your teeth into, at least, even if you’ll find yourself racing on the same old tracks. Standard races, Battle races, Takedown events, Stunt showcases, boss races and more, and all of this is supported by

a set of challenges that constantly give you ideas about how to change up your actual racing. An overall progression bar moves as you perform well or complete these challenges, with each major milestone offering a boss battle which, in turn, unlocks that boss as a playable racer. The boss fights are actually half-decent, but are ruined by constant dialogue from the boss taunting you, even when you’re ahead. We don’t get too many big third-party games on Switch, so it’s interesting to see Warner Bros. putting the game out here, and while it’s a pretty enough game to look at, it doesn’t break new ground compared to games like Breath of the Wild or Mario Kart 8. What is worth pointing out, however, is that it can struggle to hold its frame-rate when under stress. From the very opening there appeared to be frame drops in a cutscene, and the racing is mostly fine, but know that it will drop from time to time. It’s better on the big screen, but it’s entirely playable in Tabletop or Handheld mode. Adding a second player is easily done via the menu, and it’s a bit more fun in multiplayer. But therein lies the biggest problem with Cars 3: Driven to Win: it’s just not all that fun. There are chuckles to be had and there’s definitely charm in the visuals, but even at its best it’s just alright. Games like this need to be rewarding, but the difficulty isn’t well balanced and the fun doesn’t last for long enough. The courses are quite open, but this means sometimes you can lose sight of where you’re trying to go which, again, will confuse younger players.

The story is thin on the ground, and involves Lightning’s place as The Best being challenged because he’s becoming an old man. Look, I can totally identify with being ousted as the best by a younger generation whose Overwatch skills make you feel borderline decrepit, but honestly, most of the tale is doled out via commentary and a few odd cutscenes before boss races. Much like a lot of Driven to Win, it’s serviceable, but could be better. It shouldn’t be a surprise in 2017 to get a licensed game that’s not irredeemable, but Cars 3: Driven to Win is actually alright. It’s hard to heartily endorse on a console that has Mario Kart 8: Deluxe on it, but if you’re hankering for yet more arcade-racing, this is a decent enough game especially if you can find it slightly discounted.

VERDICT Up against Mario Kart 8 Deluxe of course Cars 3: Driven to Win comes up short, but on its own merits, despite a few technical issues, it’s an alright time for all ages if found at the right price.

2.6 PUBLISHER WB Games

AT A GLANCE

NA: 13th June EU: 14th July

DEVELOPER WB Games

POOR

E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

4.4 GB Switch Player

47


REVIEW

Puzzle Adventure Blockle

Written by Ryan Craddock @ryancraddock

People enjoy video games for different reasons; some like to be able to escape from the real world by diving into a fantasy experience offering quests full of wonder and detail, while others like to pass the time by playing smaller, simple games such as puzzles to test and distract the mind. Puzzle Adventure Blockle is the latter (as you might expect), yet it uses up so much unnecessary energy trying to be the former at the same time. If you look past this fact however, some enjoyment can be found in the puzzles themselves. Let me explain further… The game starts with a rather lengthy dialogue sequence, introducing main protagonist; Kulu – a “Kat” who resembles an adorable cross between Studio Ghibli’s Totoro and Chansey from the Pokémon series. We join Kulu as he meets up with the mayor, the authority figure explaining that he wishes to take over the world by any means necessary. He states that he needs Kulu to travel through various worlds to collect ‘World Stones’ for some reason, before demanding that he take a girl called Arika along for the ride too. Arika appears, wearing practically a flannel to cover her chest (which is zoomed in-on during her first cutscene for good measure). The mayor calls her a “goddess,” and it’s established that she has no recollection of how she got here or who she is. Right… Even though both Kulu and Arika state that they don’t trust the mayor or his decisions, they decide to go along with his plans anyway, and set off to find the first World Stone. After what feels like several ages have passed, the action begins. That said, many levels are interspersed with this back and forth dialogue about the quest, the characters’ back stories (or lack thereof), and ramblings from new characters too. As you may be able to tell, the story is pretty pointless and gets in the way. The content of it is also horribly cringy at times, with an odd sexual tension between Akira and her cat companion that sometimes develops into actual, sexualised flirting. To me, it felt completely unnecessary, utterly bizarre, and hugely off-putting. Despite its colourful and cuddly artwork and appearance, the game is rated ‘Teen’ (with a 12 being given in the UK) which is perhaps worth noting for any parents who might have assumed it to be a more innocent title. Luckily, there is an option to skip most of these dialogue sections, so let’s do the same here and move on to the actual gameplay on offer. To collect the World Stones, you travel through several worlds solving puzzles. Each world contains ten levels, and these worlds have 48

Switch Player


their own individual themes. One has to be completed before you are allowed to move on to the next. The basic idea of each level is to get Kulu to the door; a simple enough idea in theory (and in reality in the early stages), but one that does get slightly tricky at times in the later worlds.

at a decent enough pace, so whilst the basic structure and goal of each puzzle is identical, it just about survives by not being too repetitive.

Completing each world will present you with one of the World Stones, as well as unlocking the next world to play through. The early puzzles can be completed within a few seconds, with To get to the door you’ll need a the later (harder) ones naturally taking combination of walking and stagequite a while longer to work out. To add rotation – Kulu is able to walk across a bit of longevity, each level has three any flat surface and can jump up or optional requirements to meet. If met down by one block, whilst Arika can use successfully, a crown will be provided to her special powers to rotate the stage (dropping Kulu to the floor in the process) you for that level – and if you so wish you can also backtrack to any level you by pressing [L] or [R]. Other controls have previously played to try to obtain all come in to play in later levels too, crowns. introduced as the puzzles grow in their complexity. Eventually you’ll be using the Overall, the game is rather hit and miss. right analogue stick to change between different objects to interact with, whilst a The puzzling action is enjoyable for the most part, and the mechanic of rotating press of the (A) button will perform said the stage combined with Kulu’s rather interaction. limited movement help to provide an This growth of complexity is a consistent interesting style of puzzle. The visuals are extremely pretty across all play theme throughout – puzzles advancing modes that the Nintendo Switch has at a satisfying rate, and a whole host to offer; bright colours, cute character of other objects and conditions being introduced as the game progresses. Soon design, and clear, vibrant puzzles are all present. The soundtrack boasts the you’ll be needing to collect a key before odd catchy tune too, making the overall arriving at the door, dealing with things aesthetic very pleasing on the senses. such as warps and spikes, and even working out how to manipulate the use It is a shame therefore that it is all let of different block types (both static and down by some odd decisions. There’s a movable). These blocks – as well as the environment itself occasionally – change heart-system for example, whereby you fail if you lose all five hearts by taking even further depending on which theme damage. With the puzzles only taking your current world is based on. There around five to ten moves on average, are elemental blocks such as “shock this is rather pointless as you don’t blocks” and “ice blocks,” and locations lose any progress anyway. It is even such as ‘Icicle Palace’ which provide an icy floor to affect Kulu’s walking. It moves more of a shame that the dialogue is so out-of-place and it – along with Arika’s presentation – is so vulgar. Naturally, all players have different tastes and this may not bother some people at all, but my personal view is that this PUBLISHER Intense

AT A GLANCE

NA: 3rd August EU: 3rd August

DEVELOPER Intense

game seems to throw it in for the sake of it – and in a title that presents itself as something for children no less. It is absolutely fine to have sexual content within any form of media or entertainment when appropriate, but not in something disguised as an innocent puzzle adventure for kids. For all these reasons, it’s hard for me to recommend this game to anyone. The content doesn’t seem to fit within any particular target audience, and it is hard to imagine the gameplay pleasing players enough to justify a purchase. Unless you absolutely need all these awkwardly combined elements I’ve described, it might be best just to stay away.

VERDICT With some decent puzzle-based levels, Puzzle Adventure Blockle will provide players with a few hours of entertainment to pass the time, but will likely be forgotten after a few bursts of play or completion. With some strange and out-of-place decisions regarding the direction of this game’s narrative, it's hard to recommend this to a younger audience, yet somehow it doesn’t feel like it would satisfy the majority of older gamers either. Puzzle Adventure Blockle is an odd release, and one which should be thought about twice before you make a purchase.

2.5 POOR

E-SHOP PRICING £5.99 | €7.99

212 MB Switch Player

49


Switch Directory

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

1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

4.8

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

EXCELLE NT E-SHOP PRICING £59.99 | E59.99

6.8 GB

4. Splatoon 2

3. Fast RMX

2. The Legend of the Zelda: Breath of The Wild

4.8

AT A GLANCE

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £59.99 | E59.99

NA: 3rd March EU: 3rd March 13.8 GB

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

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £16.99 | E19.99

5. ARMS

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

2.3 GB

7. Puyo Puyo Tetris

AT A GLANCE 20th June

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING €29.99

NA: 18th May EU: 18th May 697 MB

50

Switch Player

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

9. The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £15.99 | €19.99

4.5

AT A GLANCE NA: 17th March EU: 7th September 610 MB

EXCELLE NT E-SHOP PRICING £34.99 | €39.99

1 GB

4.6

AT A GLANCE

4.6

4.6

137 MB

8. Thumper

E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

NA: 21st July EU: 21st July

6. Cave Story+

4.6

NA: 16th June EU: 16th June

AT A GLANCE

EXCELLE NT

3.3 GB

841 MB

AT A GLANCE

4.6

4.7

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING €39.99

10. GoNNER

NEW! AT A GLANCE NA: 29th June EU: 29th June 300 MB

4.4 EXCELLE NT E-SHOP PRICING £8.99 | €9.99


11. Kamiko

12. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

4.4

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

EXCELLE

NT

4.2

NEW! AT A GLANCE

E-SHOP PRICING £4.49 | €4.99

112 MB

NA: 29th August EU: 29th August

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

AT A GLANCE 6.2 GB

NA: 13th July EU: 13th July

EXCELLE

NT

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

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £8,99 | E9,99

147 MB

4.1

NA: 3rd March EU: 3rd March

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £17.99 | E19.99

AT A GLANCE NA: 10th August EU: 10th August

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £12.99 | €12.99

575 MB

NEW! AT A GLANCE NA: 27th July EU: 27th July

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £17.99 | €19.99

AT A GLANCE NA: 13th April EU: 13th April 4.5 GB

NA: 28th July EU: 28th July

24. Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £13.49 | €14.99

E-SHOP PRICING £12.99 | €14.99

22. Minecraft

4.0

AT A GLANCE NA: 12th May EU: 11th May

EXCELLE NT E-SHOP PRICING £19.99 | €29.99

889 MB

4.0 EXCELLE

AT A GLANCE

EXCELLE NT

4.0

750 MB

23. Mr. Shifty

4.0

NEW!

21. Overcooked: Special Edition

4.0

NEW!

19. Infinite Minigolf

1.1 GB

948 MB

20. Ironcast

E-SHOP PRICING £9.99 | €12.99

NA: 6th April EU: 6th April

18. Snipperclips - Cut it out, together!

AT A GLANCE

EXCELLE NT

318 MB

4.1 EXCELLE

4.1

AT A GLANCE

E-SHOP PRICING £12.99 | €14.99

473 MB

17. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

E-SHOP PRICING £8.99 | TBA

NA: July EU: 6th July

4.1

AT A GLANCE

E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

NA: 23rd May EU: 26th May

NT

16. Graceful Explosion Machine

15. Death Squared

NT

EXCELLE

374 MB

4.1 EXCELLE

4.2

AT A GLANCE

2.8 GB

14. Disgaea 5: Complete

13. I and Me

25. LEGO City Undercover

3.8

4.0

AT A GLANCE NA: 18th April EU: 18th April 823 MB

EXCELLE

NT

E-SHOP PRICING £17.99 | €19.99

AT A GLANCE NA: 4th April EU: 7th April

GOOD E-SHOP PRICING £49.99 | €59.99

7.1 GB

Switch Player

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Could you tell us a bit about the group's history, formation, and why you got involved? Our group was founded 3 1/2 years ago by myself and my wife Vicky, I had been to a few events on game launches etc with GAME, and was attending one that happened be at GAME HQ and had Jonathan Town who worked for Nintendo and Aaron Cooper from GAME there, who are both huge Nintendo fans. They were commenting there were no StreetPass Groups in the area. So after discussing with them I decided this was something I had to do! Our first meeting was in just two months time, I had been given the use of GAME HQ chill out zone! And Jonathan Town brought us MarioKart 8 on the WiiU a full 2 weeks before it's launch! Totally amazing! How frequently and where you meet, and why that venue? Following our first event to GAME HQ we managed a couple more there before it became difficult, and we had to find a new venue. This took us a while, and used the GAME store in Basingstoke in the meantime. Until we found our community room at the Discovery Centre within the library in festival place. It is a great room with plenty of space, allowing us to set it up how we want with tables and chairs, we even bring in our own comfy chairs for the 3DS lounge. We get the use of a projector

for our tournaments too, it really is a great venue for us, and has really helped us to grow, so much so I have had to recruit helpers Jeremy Beare and Oliver Baldry just to cope, and between the 3 of us we are now able to offer multiple set ups including a retro console, and a great 8 Switch tournament table! And with Jeremy's collection we are the only group to have an Amiibo Jukebox that plays the tune of the Amiibo when placed on a panel! Although it is such a huge collection now, it only come out on special occasions! We have regular monthly meetings normally the 3rd or 4th Saturday of the month between 11am and 4pm. How many people tend to show up? On average we have 35 people attend each event from 5 years old upto 55, and everyone gets on so well, playing and sharing tips for a huge range of games. What you think about the Switch? Our entire group has completely fallen in love with the Switch. We all love the 3DS and have embraced and loved the games on the WiiU but I have not seen them get as excited as they have about the Switch, and the possibilities that it brings. What games have you mostly been playing? As a group there has not been an event

LAST TIME AT NINTENDO BASINGSTOKE...

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where Zelda or Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is not played, which is great to see people just get together and discuss progress or how to solve something, and especially linking together to race or battle. But in organising our events we always take a different game to focus on each month to help keep it interesting and also introduce games to people, if you are on the fence about getting a game, heading to an event is a great way to try it out first. What game are you most looking forward to on the Switch? A few months ago we would have said Splatoon2 it is all anyone has been talking about but now we have it, and it is amazing! I think the most anticipated game would be Mario Odyssey, the buzz about this game is simply amazing. When are you next meeting? Our next event is on the 23rd September and is titled 'Overcooked Rabbids' focusing on two very funny games. After that it's the 21st October where we will throw WaLuigi a birthday party! Interesting eh? What do Nintendo Manchester think could be done to improve Switch player? A really difficult question! But one thing might be more developer interviews or even tours of developers offices or nintendo HQ for example?


Nintendo North Wales @NintendoNWales 7th October

Nintendo Gloucester @NintendoGlos 23rd September

Nintendo Norwich @NintendoNorwich 16th September

Nintendo Basingstoke @NintendoBasing 22nd September Nintendo Brighton @NintendoBright 24th September

FOUNDER PROFILE Favourite Nintendo System I think that would have to be the Switch or 3DS

Anthony Haigh @anthaigh

Favourite amiibo It has to be the knitted Yoshi! They are soooooooo cute! Favourite PokĂŠmon Well there is only one and it will always be Squirtle.

Grey Joy-Con or Neon? Well I chose grey, but each time Favourite Nintendo Game Which ever one I have loaded up at they bring out another colour I want it! the time! Favourite Nintendo Character I have a huge soft spot for Yoshi!

Most excited for on Switch? Mario Odyssey and Skyrim. Switch Player

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Gave me an

experience I never

thought I’d get!

Dan Murphy @Murbroski

It’s a nice day atop of the mountain. The peak overlooks a great lake and the view is lovely. The rain has held off and it’s all blistering sun shine, with a gentle breeze ruffling my hair. It aint’ half the perfect scene for a battle. My arrows are primed, my swords are sharp, my clubs are tough and my shields are resilient...ish. I’ve got plenty of all of them on me, at least. I’m ready. Into the lion’s den I go. I was not ready. The battle with the Lynel is long and hard and - quite literally - deadly. I fall to the rampaging beast with glorious hair countless times. But I persevere. I need those damned electric arrows and no, before you say it, I didn’t realise you could just sneak around and procure them without even engaging in the scrap. Besides, what’s the fun in that? Finally (and it really did take a shameful amount of time) I begin to get in my groove. I’ve clocked on to this intimidating goliath’s method of attack. He’s reeling, stumbling, hurting. And he knows it. I wait for him to charge

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DAN MURPHY IS A FREELANCE GAMES, FOOTBALL AND WRESTLING WRITER. ALONG SIDE ALL THAT HE IS STUDYING JOURNALISM AT UNIVERSITY AND IS LONGING FOR THE DAY THAT SUPER MARIO SUNSHINE GETS A REMASTER. headlong towards me, for the final time, and at the last possible instant I pull off a remarkable backflip. Time slows as he swings wildly and misses. Bloody rushes and I surge towards him like a flood. A torrent of blows rain down upon thee and with one final blow I knock the beast sprawling off the cliff. Dead.

It’s the adrenaline. It’s the rush. It’s the memories. It’s the sense of fulfillment. It’s the struggle, sticking with such a difficult challenge and constantly learning and improving with every failed attempt. And then finally, after hours and hours and hours, the euphoric triumph.

I’m shaking. My first challenging fight in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been conquered. Now I know. Now I know how Souls players feel.

I made it as far as the first boss fight in Bloodborne, that massive screaming lad on the bridge. I gave him a fair old crack. On my first go I even got the blighter down to about ⅓ of health. Yet I perished. I legged it back to the bridge and tried to slaughter the horrific monster a few more times but I couldn’t do it. I finally forfeited and Bloodborne left the disc tray never to be returned.

I can’t play the Souls games. I tried with Bloodborne, but I simply can’t. They’re just too bloody difficult. My reactions are too slow, those synapses don’t crackle quickly enough and I always seem find myself being routinely battered into oblivion. It gets to the point that the fascinating worlds just aren’t worth the trauma. But with eventually being able to defeat my first (and to this point only, because sod losing all my weapons on them fellas) Lynel I finally understood why millions of people constantly put themselves through the strain and stress of the Soul series.

Yet in Breath of the Wild I was able to replicate this feeling that I’ve never otherwise had, and it made me realise that Breath of the Wild is the Souls game for us weaklings.


How to beat a Lynel

While obviously not as complex or any where near as difficult to master, I do see a lot of influence from the Souls games in BOTW’s combat. They both feel meaty and just really satisfying to hit enemies over the head. They’re both based on learning certain enemies’ attack patterns and weaknesses, then exploiting said shortcomings and attacking in the optimum fashion. Where Bloodborne has the roll, BOTW has the dodge. Where Bloodborne has the Visceral Attack, BOTW has the flip and counter. While not exactly like-for-like there are certain similarities and that leads to BOTW’s combat being yet another excellent part of an excellent game. But it also lets me, and I imagine many others, able to feel the gratification that I couldn’t achieve in Bloodborne. Although the combat may be a simpler version, I feel the simplicity is what makes it so effective and also leads to there being so many creative ways in which to deal with enemies. There are walls to bounce off and within boundaries inspiration occurs.

Nintendo cherry picked the best bits out of current open world and third person action games, then added their own fun twists to them before implementing them into their first open world. The infamous towers from Assassin’s Creed being another example. I just can’t wait to see what all the new open world games cherry pick from this master piece and elevate the entire genre. There’s a lot I love about BOTW. The mystical wonder of a fallen world which has secrets hidden behind every tree and under every rock, the unrelenting beauty and the pure, joyful imagination and creativity which can be seen in every little detail. But what I think I love the most about Breath of the Wild is that it gave me a experience that I am otherwise not good enough to earn in other games. So yeah, nice one.

Lynels are some of the toughest foes you’ll find in the entirety of the The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Of course, you don’t know that when you first stumble upon one and it proceeds to eat your hearts in record time. But there are ways to slay these well toned centaurus. Firstly, you don’t even need to fight them at all. When they first see you they won’t engage straight away, and if you don’t brandish weapons or get too close they’ll leave you be. So they are actually quite easy to avoid. But you want to face them, don’t you? In that case you need to tread carefully and be ready for some abrasive maneuvers. Usually, especially if you ain’t packing love, a Lynel can knock you dead with just one hit. So you need to be on your toes and have perfect timing to dodge its blows and then mount a counter attack. Don’t be shy in using those arrows either. You can use wind gusts created from a Lynel’s fire attack to glide up and shoot arrows from above. A shot to the head will stun a Lynel and that will give you precious time to get up close and get some jabs in. Also, if you manage to sneak up behind a Lynel you can mount them and ride the buggers like the maddest game of buckaroo ever. All strikes made while riding does no damage to your weapons. In short, be alert and prepared. Avoid as many attacks as you possibly can, have lots of food on hand to replenish health and when you have the opportunity - strike. Just don't get reckless and overreach, because if you're caught out the Lynel will eat you for breakfast. Switch Player

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S TA R S Michael "Havok" @Havok_San SW-1239-1662-2709 3DS: 5241-1918-9289

Jordan Friend

Heisenberg

Samuli Holopainen

markdean2012

@markdean2012

twitch.tv/markdean3012

4362-2049-8422

SW-3675-9630-1026

Jeremie

Brad

Jospeph Kemmer

Kyle Molloy

Jason Thompson

Vince De Angelis

SW-5628-2201-4424

Robert Slaid

SW-4379-5824-8587 56

Switch Player


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ISSUE 6 | AUGUST 2017

Chris

Benjamin Murphy SW-7571-0800-7716

Malachi

Macron

@MacronShow macronshow.com

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Adam Corela @AdamCorela

SW-0629-8506-8589

Malachi

SW-5398-3764-4007

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Next Time!

ALSO:

ISSUE 8 IS OUT ON OCTOBER 20TH! Support us on Patreon by September 24th to guarantee your print copy of issue 8! Staff Writers Ryan Craddock @ryancraddock Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy Jon Cousins @eigotaku Special Thanks Two Tribes @TwoTribesGames Ghost Town Games @GhostTownGames Nintendo UK @NintendoUK Nintendo Basingstoke @NintendoBasing

www.switchplayer.net

ISSUE 7 | SEPTEMBER 2017

Issue 7 | September 2017 Editorial Executive Editor Paul Murphy @PMurphy1978 Editor-in-chief Kyle Wakeling @teflontactics Deputy Editor Charlie Large @CharlieLarge Art Editor Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro Cover Design Steve Gregson @RoboticSteve

Contributors Chris Scullion @scully1888 Dan Thompson @shadowforks James Harvey @agileharvey Lewis White @Lewis_D_White Adam Cook @jebusf Ant Haigh @anthaigh Dan Murphy @Murbroski Print and Back Issues Subscriptions - patreon.com/switchplayer Back Issues - switchplayer.net/shop 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! Advertising To advertise in this magazine please send an email to paul@switchplayer.net. For a very low price we can promote your game to thousands of print and digital customers! Disclaimer Switch Player is an independent Nintendo Switch enthusiast website and magazine. All content featured is used with permission, or is considered fair use by our access to official channels and is used to promote existing and upcoming content for the Nintendo Switch. We are not endorsed or affiliated with Nintendo or any of the companies featured. Š 2017 Switch Player


Switch Player Issue #7  

Dedicated to the Nintendo Switch! Issue 7 is 60 pages of Switch including Mario + Rabbids, NPUK and more!

Switch Player Issue #7  

Dedicated to the Nintendo Switch! Issue 7 is 60 pages of Switch including Mario + Rabbids, NPUK and more!

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