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22 DEC 2018


S U P P O RT US O N PAT R EO N p a t r e o n . c o m /s w i t c h p l a y e r


WELCOME SWITCH PLAYERS!

You are probably wondering why Dark Souls Remastered is on our stunning cover, as opposed to some game about capturing Pocket Monsters or something, but that's one of the quirks of working to a print deadline. We received a review code for Dark Souls too late to get into the last issue, and as of this introduction have yet to receive code for Let's Go, which, depending on when you read this, will be out tomorrow. Or already. Nevertheless, you can count on us to bring the definitive verdict next issue! So, back to this month and issue 22 is rammed once again with the latest reviews, features and coverage for all of your Nintendo Switch needs. Whether that's to find out more about Starlink: Battle for Atlas, Super Mario Party or even to find out what's happening with Smash Bros. Ultimate, then this issue will hit the high notes for you. On top of that, we've got a debut feature from Richard Atkinson about what he thinks needs to be in Animal Crossing for the Nintendo Switch, which is set to launch next year. Speaking of features, we have Kirsten Masters and Josh Goldie making their Switch Player debuts too, discussing Super Mario Party and NES titles respectively! We've also got a couple of stunning interviews too, including one with some chap called Masuda-san... Behind the scenes we are hard at work (well, Art Editor Jhonatan is) to make Switch Player even better than ever, which is set to take effect from the early part of next year. We've already sought some feedback from you folks on Patreon and will continue to try and build the best magazine that we can. Thanks for all of your support so far folks, it really, really means a lot. In an era where even more print-based media are falling away (RIP gamesTM and GamesMaster) having you all grab our little Switch magazine each month really means a lot. Don't miss the next issue, which will be out on December 13th!

Paul Murphy

Executive Editor @PMurphy1978

patreon.com/switchplayer

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA! @SwitchPlayerMag

@SwitchPlayerMag

Executive Editor Paul Murphy @PMurphy1978

Editor-in-chief Charlie Large @CharlieLarge

Deputy Editor Oliver Reynolds @Olliemar28

Art Editor Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro

Cover Design Justin Paul @castcuraga

Reviews Editor Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

Staff Writers Reece Heyworth @Rheyworth Ethan Hunt @genericcoyote James Sweeting @CrazyBlue

CJ Wheeler @CJWhlr Georgina Howlett @howlettwrites Nikholai Koolonavich @NikholaiChan Aaron Potter @ItsMeAaronP

Aimee Hart @honhonitsaimee Toby Mortaro @Tobes325 Nick Hanchet @NoodleSource

Contributors Richard Atkinson Joshua Goldie Kirsten Masters Andy Robertson Alan Wen

@SwitchPlayerMag

Additional Artwork Jonathan Traynor @Jofamo

Special Thanks Richie Entiknap Junichi Masuda Nintendo UK Interviewer Pretty Green Jonathan Polan Sumo Digital @JPSwitchMania The Pokemon Company International Print and Back Issues | Subscriptions - patreon.com/switchplayer | Back Issues - switchplayer.net/shop Disclaimer - Switch Player is an independent Nintendo Switch enthusiast website and magazine. All content featured is used with permission, or is considered fair use by our access to official channels and is used to promote existing and upcoming content for the Nintendo Switch. We are not endorsed or affiliated with Nintendo or any of the companies featured. Š 2017-2018 Switch Player

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CONTENTS 06

WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN!

NINTERVIEW 22 Retail Releases 22 Dark Souls: Remastered 24 Starlink: Battle for Atlas 26 Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 03 Vehicle Kit 28 Super Mario Party 30 Valkyria Chronicles 4 32 Lego The Incredibles 33 God Wars: The Complete Legend 34 Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams Owltimate Edition 36 Goosebumps: The Game 37 This Is The Police 2 38 Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse

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DARK SOULS: REMASTERED

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TEAM SONIC RACING

eShop Releases 39 Mark of the Ninja: Remastered 40 Siegecraft Commander 41 Wandersong 42 The Messenger 44 Velocity 2X 45 Ultimate Chicken Horse 46 Pinstripe

47 Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition

48 Undertale 49 Bastion 50 Game Dev Story 51 Art of Balance 52 The Room 53 Overcooked 2 Surf 'n' Turf


NINTERVIEW 08

THE LAST SMASH BROS. DIRECT

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STARLINK IS BEST ON SWITCH

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Regulars 06 Editorial - When the Saints go Marching In! 20 Amiibo Watch 54 Directory 58 Next Time 59 Patreon Stars 59 Collector's Corner

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ANIMAL CROSSING

IS MARIO PARTY SUPER?

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JUNICHI MASUDA

MAKING THE CLASSICS SPECIAL

Features 08 Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Direct 10 5 Things That Absolutely Need To Be In Animal Crossing Switch 12 Ninterview - Junichi Masuda 14 Ninterview - Team Sonic Racing 16 Starlink: Battle for Atlas Is Best on Switch 18 Does Super Mario Party Still Feel Like Mario Party? 56 Making the Classics Special

UNCOVERED! 22 DEC 2018

By now, you'd probably recognise a Justin Paul special on the front of the magazine and you'd be correct if that was your guess for this months' incredible Dark Souls Remastered effort. Every time that Justin crafts us a new cover, it becomes an instant favourite. What do you think of this issue? You can follow Justin on twitter via @castcuraga.

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EDITORIAL WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN! here’s been a real smorgasbord of Switch T news recently, so the news that Saints Row the Third will be launching at some point

next year on the Nintendo Switch may have passed you by. That’s not surprising, publisher Deep Silver moved on without so much as a release date, footage or anything else of note and moved on as quickly as they announced it. Written by Paul Murphy @PMurphy1978

Saints Row the Third is, as you’d be correct in assuming, the third title in a series quite often compared to Grand Theft Auto, although the series has long been praised for its more humorous take on the open world action trope. It’s also the more critically acclaimed title of the series, so I suppose that makes some sort of sense to for someone at Deep Silver to release on the Switch, even if it is seven years old already. And has a sequel. And has two other games before it… The Switch is already starting to attract many older (as well as newer) titles from other systems, and I’ve written before about how fantastic it is for those that never experienced these games to have their chance. I noted above that Saints Row the Third is seven years old; but that’s literal – it’ll be new to someone that's never played it before. Diablo III will have launched as you read this, and that’s news which was well received – which also saw a console bundle released – and that’s a 2012 release originally. My question is, though, why this title, and why now? And on top of that, will the game have to be moderated in any way? L.A. Noire released unscathed with its more adult content, but then you weren’t running around with “adult” toys to

clobber your enemies with. It’s worth pointing out that both games are not for kids, ahem, kids. I just personally don’t get this choice.

There’s plenty that make sense, Dark Souls Remastered, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, even Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and South Park: The Fractured but Whole (although Ubisoft released the second game before the first…) found a welcome home on the Switch. However, something like Saints Row the Third and L.A. Noire I don’t quite understand. In Rockstar’s case, surely a GTA IV – or a San Andreas port – would have made more sense and attracted more attention and sales? Perhaps publishers are testing the water to gauge Switch Players' reactions to their titles; although by using older or less successful properties it could have an adverse effect, and ultimately be detrimental to the chances of bigger and better franchises arriving. Or maybe, Deep Silver are trying to jump the gun and get their most revered “GTA-clone” onto the platform before Rockstar and 2K Games pull their finger out. If that’s the case, then it could prove to be a bold and sensible move. There’s certainly an opening for an open world action title on the Switch and being first past the post could be quite lucrative, if we actually knew more about when it was coming out. And that’s one of the bigger issues; with so many games releasing and a myriad of new games – especially indies announced and released on a weekly basis, releases of this nature could be soon forgotten. Especially with so many Nintendo big guns slated in the next 12 months. Hands up those that remembered that this was announced?

GET IN TOUCH! What do you think? Get in touch and email us and have your say via magazine@switchplayer.net

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o there we have it, folks. The last S Nintendo Direct dedicated to Super Smash Bros Ultimate before its release

on December 7th has come and gone, but not without a few notable revelations. Written by Ollie Reynolds @Olliemar28

Before we go into the details, cast your mind back to the elaborate leak that was floating around during the tail end of October. You know the one – Shadow, Banjo Kazooie, Mach Rider and more characters added to the fighting roster...? It became known as the ‘Grinch Leak’, and I’m sorry to say that, for now at least, this was FAKE NEWS. We are getting new characters, however! During the Direct, Nintendo confirmed the release of not one, not two, but three new characters: Ryu’s buddy Ken from Street Fighter, the hench Pokémon Incineroar and veteran ‘bad guy’ Piranha Plant from the Super Mario Series. We should note that Piranha Plant won’t be available straight away, but will instead will go live for early purchasers of Super Smash Bros Ultimate a few months after the launch of the game. That’s not it, though. Whilst the final roster has been confirmed for the launch period of the game, Nintendo are also planning on

bringing more characters to the line-up via DLC. These will be launched in sets containing one new character, one new stage and a selection of new music tracks, each of which costing $5.99. Alternatively, players can purchase the Fighter Pass for $24.99 which will contain five of the aforementioned sets, although doing so will require a bit of faith, as it is not currently known which characters will be added in the coming months. However, players who opt for the Fighter Pass will also gain a bonus Mii costume based on Rex from the Switch RPG Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Of course, we should note as well that the new fighters introduced in Ultimate will of course be getting their own Amiibo in the coming months. But... where's Snake, Sakurai?! One of the most prevalent new features of the game is the inclusion of 'Spirits'. These will essentially replace the collectable trophies from the previous games - a decision partly based on the amount of time it took to create the trophies. The Spirits are characters from a vast variety of games and will provide boosts to the game's fighters, including faster speed and improved melee attacks. The Spirits are gained via 'Spirit Battles', and whilst you'll be fighting against the same characters in the basic

NEW FIGHTERS

Ken

from Street Fighter

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Incineroar

from Pokémon

Piranha Plant from Super Mario


fighting roster, they will channel the 'essence' of the spirit. So to give an example, if you were to fight the spirit of Hal Emmerich from the Metal Gear Solid series, you'll be against a frightened Dr. Mario, constantly dodging your attacks whilst being protected by R.O.B, who I assume is taking on the role of a Metal Gear. It's a surprisingly complex system, and one that can fundamentally alter the flow of gameplay. I'm personally thoroughly excited to try it out and see what characters I'll end up unlocking (though I must admit, the lack of trophies is a little bit heartbreaking). Next up, the online features were elaborated upon greatly. Naturally, you can play against players locally or online, and a really cool little feature is the Smash Global Power. This is a number based on how many players worldwide you're currently above in terms of ranking. What's more, each fighter can have its own Smash Global Power, which is neat. Also, as you defeat more and more players, you'll gain what's known as Smash Tags, which are basically brownie points, I guess. You'll never lose Smash Tags, but it'll be cool to compare how many you've earned with your friends. To compliment the game - and online mode in particular - a mobile companion app known as

Smash World will be launched at a later date, which will allow players to upload and watch gameplay videos from around the world. Assist trophies once again return to help out fighters in the game modes. There are now a total of 59 trophies, including Isaac from Golden Sun, Black Knight from Fire Emblem, Thwomp from the Super Mario series, Dr. Wily from Mega Man and many more. Absurd! Finally, Super Smash Bros Ultimate comes with its very own single-player Adventure mode, known as World of Light. Announced via a pretty awesome trailer, this connects directly with the Spirit feature, detailing how all of these characters came to become Spirits. Basically, a powerful force attacks the players, forcing them to lose their physical bodies and become Spirits. Not much else was elaborated on, but it looks like you can travel an overworld and challenge the various Spirit characters. Since this is the final Smash Direct, it looks like we'll need to discover what exactly this mode is all about ourselves. And that's it! Super Smash Bros Ultimate will be out on December 7th 2018, and you can pre-purchase the game via the eShop right now. Who's excited? I know I am!

NEW modes

Spirits

A new way to play with characters from across all kinds of game worlds.

World of Light

A single-player mode where you must battle to save fighters and spirits in a world that has lost everything.

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5 Things That Absolutely Need To Be In Animal Crossing Switch intendo dropped a bombshell of an N announcement this September that had fans of Animal Crossing across the world

Written by Richard Atkinson @Ninten_mau5

(meh) and before the mobile iteration, we saw Amiibo Festival on Wii U (even more meh), so it’s only really New Leaf that graced our 3DS’ in 2012 that counts as the last proper Animal Crossing.

collectively lose their marbles with sheer excitement for their favourite anthropomorphic sim, and we at Switch Player were no different. The next mainline, console instalment of Animal Crossing will be hitting shelves sometime in 2019 which gives us more than enough time to dream up weird and wonderful possibilities and has our hype meters reaching dizzying heights.

After over a seven-year drought, the Switch version already has a lot to live up to, especially when it comes down to fan expectation – and what an expectation that is. We’ve cruelly been starved of information up until a couple of months ago, and here at Switch Player, we want it to be the best, cutest and downright sharpest Animal Crossing to date so we’ve compiled a list of 5 things that it needs to have to roar with success.

It’s no secret that the franchise has taken a bit of an unfavourable turn lately; the most recent dose we got was in the form of Pocket Camp

1. More Places To Visit

Rob Harper

Ahh… sailing the sea with Kapp’n to the elusive Island in the first title on GameCube was a thing of beauty as you connected the Game Boy Advance to your purple box of magic to visit a land where valuable coconuts were in abundance and rare fish were aplenty. But what if we had even more places to roam? Sure, the original island was all well and good, but picture even more places with differently timed seasons; foreign lands that spoke an unfamiliar language that required the player to research a different tongue to bond with the inhabitants? Having the player earn their way to a passport through reaching certain quotas back at home could hook them into playing longer and with only certain locations being available at certain times of the year, travelling by boat, train or plane could chuck up some cool mini-games in the mix too.

Will Fletcher I want a financial regulator to be introduced. Tom Nook’s behaviour is outrageous, and it’s high time someone cracked down on it before his reckless mortgage lending ends in a recession. via @WillFletchUK

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Would be really cool if they implemented the option to have a job. Whether its feeding fish at the Museum, serving coffee at Brewster or knitting clothes at the Able Sisters. via @iKeezb901

2. Proper Amiibo Functionality

We’re undoubtedly going to see a return of the amiibo craze with Smash Bros. Ultimate being released into the wild very soon and we think it’s a good opportunity – especially for those that have spent hundreds on the figurines – for AC Switch to capitalise on rewarding amiibo functionality. But we don’t want lazy integration - oh no - we want real rewards and toys-to-life customisation done right this time. Scan Mario on your right Joycon to get the house you’re in to turn into an 8-bit landscape to run around based on retro levels? Sign us up! Tap a Splatoon amiibo to cover your friends’ whole town in neon pink and green paint while the squid sisters perform their very own concert? Yes, please.


Jakeames Lugo I want to see small vehicles be implemented into wandering around the town. Things like a bike, small car/go-cart, or even a town transportation system like a bus or train I can use/watch. via @VenemousFatman1

4. Voice chat with friends, get rid of the town codes

Visiting your friends’ town on New Leaf was a feature enjoyed by most, and we can almost hedge all our bets that the ability to do it again will make a welcome return in Animal Crossing Switch. But a topic that’s more talked about than Brexit right now is the (in)ability to chat with your mates in-game. Sure, Fortnite happily boasts this seemingly standard feature, but it’s yet to be seen in any first party title on Nintendo’s hybrid console, but we think Nintendo would do extremely well to make this their debut game to showcase the freedom of speech. Bringing up the keyboard to shower your mate with praise for their lovely arrangement of well-kept fruit trees is certainly still on our to-do list, but lifting the lid on live voice chat means we won’t have to open Discord to do things the old-fashioned way. Oh, and ditch the town codes while you’re at it, Nintendo – we have to exchange friend codes as it is. Gaimen I would really like cooking and farming to be a part of the game! I think it would be great to make dishes with the fruits in your town and to be able to have some sort of crop mechanic like Harvest Moon. via @ferreting_2

Lilacheart lane I won’t mind if they added new items you could put in your town that would let you play with your villagers like a football pitch, basketball court, skateboard park or golf course. via @LilacheartLane

3. Integrated Happy Home Designer

Happy Home Designer downplayed the wider community aspect of Animal Crossing but granted players the freedom to channel their inner Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and create home designs for their most beloved townsfolk. Although the title wasn’t met with the most favourable response from game critics and die-hard AC fans alike, having the option to earn some extra bell creating interior masterpieces to help pay off your debt to greedy Tom Nook that we all love to hate, wouldn’t go amiss. The same goes for the outside, too. With Isabelle and Co. hosting seasonal garden competitions, a well-kept flower arrangement around your house enticing neighbours to spend time milling about your house and refining a campsite that plays host to some late night parties would surely help with spending more time outdoors all the more rewarding.

5. Mini-games! Grabbing easy bells is something that all Animal Crossing players want to do after a hard day of selling fruit, fish and unwanted presents. Squeezing some short, but fun mini-games into the mix to earn extra dosh and other goodies like rare furniture and clothing would go down a treat. To keep things fair and sickeningly ‘Nintendo’, an arcade that pops up now and then (or circus, perhaps?) would be the ideal mechanic to offer such festivities. Teaming up with other townsfolk, choosing animals that you know you have a good rapport with to help out in a frantic game of ‘whack-a-Nook’ to cash in some hefty prize money for snazzy wallpaper is an exciting prospect. Another idea would be to help a fellow neighbour move out of their house by playing a Tetris-esque mini-game that doubles up as loading a removals van; the quicker you stack and the less space you use, the more cash they’ll tip you - a much better way of waving goodbye to your townsfolk rather than wishing them on their way with a cold goodbye and a passive aggressive “see you around”.

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NINTERVIEW JUNICHI MASUDA Interviewer Paul Murphy @PMurphy1978

Junichi Masuda

@Junichi_Masuda

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us! How did the idea for Let’s Go come about? Initially we looked at how kids interacted with Pokémon. For many, their touchpoint with the brand was the anime which is now being broadcast in over 80 countries! We also saw a lot of parents and older players playing Pokémon GO, but many children do not have a smartphone so could not interact with that part of the franchise. We wanted to make a game that was accessible for kids that they could say ‘ this was made for me’ and one that allows a relationship between Pokémon GO players and the main series. Pokémon Yellow was created to be close to the anime - Jessie, James and Meowth from Team Rocket appear, Pikachu being the first partner Pokémon etc and was designed as a starting point for new players joining the core pokemon games. It is also the 20th anniversary of Pokémon Yellow being released so all of this together helped us decide on what the Let’s GO games would be.

What will be the main changes between the original “Yellow” iteration and these remakes? There are a lot of changes for fans of the franchise to enjoy in these games which differ from Pokémon Yellow. For starters, we have 2 versions so now players can also choose to have Eevee as their first partner instead of Pikachu. The story remains similar to that of Yellow, but has a few surprises and differences which we don’t want to spoil but we think fans will like. One of the biggest changes is being able to play Let’s Go with a Pokéball one-handed thanks to the new Pokéball Plus. This controller allows players to feel like a real life Pokémon Trainer and can be used to catch Pokémon, control the game and be used outside the game to take your favourite Pokémon round with you on your real life adventures. The games also work with Pokémon GO so players can catch Pokémon in the real world

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and transfer them via a place called ‘GO Park’ into Pokémon Let’s GO. In GO Park, you can play with the Pokémon and see them interacting with each other in a whole new way. It really helps to deepen the bond between the player and their Pokémon. Another big difference is that these titles are HD and able to be played on the television, which is a first for a core Pokémon title. Exploring the Kanto region in full 3D and high definition is an amazing feeling. There is a lot of differences to discover - I could talk about the new changes all day haha. Which Pokémon will be exclusive to each edition? As with all core Pokémon titles, there are two versions of the game which contain different Pokémon. In Pokémon: Let’s GO Pikachu! you can encounter Pokémon like Oddish, Growlithe and Sandshrew where as in Pokémon: Let’s GO Eevee! you will see Pokémon like Bellsprout, Vuplix and Meowth. For hardcore fans of the series, quite a few Pokémon may not appear where they previously appeared in Pokémon Yellow. We hope fans will enjoy discovering their favourite Pokémon in new places As these are core titles, how will they interact with future, Switch-based titles for battling and trading? We don’t have anything to announce about compatibility with future titles at this time. We want people to enjoy all the new experiences that Pokémon Let’s Go offers at the moment. Because there are no wild Pokémon battles, how will IV training work? There are still traditional trainer battles in Pokémon Let’s GO which will train your Pokémon. In addition, similar to Pokémon GO, you can transfer Pokémon in Let’s GO to the professor to receive Candies. These candies can then be used to help power up


your Pokémon stats and make them stronger. You will need to capture as many Pokémon as possible to create a strong team. These titles obviously are remakes of Gen I, but since then many Gen I Pokémon have seen new evolutions, pre-evolutions and forms. How will these additions feature, if at all? As these titles are inspired by Pokémon Yellow which was set in the Kanto region, the games will only contain the original 151 that were available within those games. Of course, we have introduced the Alolan forms of these Pokémon and Mega Evolutions of those who have them in the 151 – these Pokémon were not in Pokémon Yellow so I am sure long time fans of the series will be excited to see them. You may have also seen a brand new Pokémon called Meltan debut in Pokémon

GO last month. This is actually the first time a new Pokémon has been revealed outside of the core games for us. The mysterious Meltan will be available for the first time in a core Pokémon title in these new games! Can you see future "Let’s Go” titles, for each generation? These games aren’t out yet and I need a remake of Crystal, Let’s Go Ho-Oh and Lugia! Haha – at the moment we do not have any plans but we will have to wait and see how the audience receives these games before we discuss the future. Mew is obtainable via the Pokéball Plus, will this be the only way to obtain the mythical critter? We thought it would be really cool for the Pokeball plus to come with a special pokemon inside it for players who get it. With this in mind, we thought that Mew would be the perfect mysterious Pokémon to come with the Pokéball plus and make it feel really special. Mew can learn almost any move in the game so it is a great Pokémon to have on your adventure. The only way to get Mew in your Let’s GO Pokedex is to either get one in the Pokéball Plus or trade with another player who has a Mew of their own in Let’s Go.

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NINTERVIEW TEAM SONIC RACING

If you want manic multiplayer racing, you’re going to turn to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which continues to do well in the game charts. Nonetheless, in the blue corner, Team Sonic Racing is going to try and take it on when it launches this Winter. With a focus on team-based racing, our test-drive at EGX proved to be tougher than expected. We also sat down with the design director Derek Littlewood from developer Sumo Digital to find out more of what players can expect.

Interviewer Alan Wen @DaMisanthrope

Sumo Digital

sumo-digital.com @SumoDigitalLtd

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Can you tell us about the team mechanics in Team Sonic Racing that make it stand out? Having tried it a few times, it proved to be more challenging than I expected! One of the main changes that people do seem to struggle with is adapting and coordinating as a team. When you’re playing with AI you have to keep an eye on them to see how they’re doing. There are team actions that are more focused on being near each other but what you can also do is pass items - you can do it wherever you are on the track. If they are struggling, you can pass items, and they become more powerful, you can request them as well, and that builds up your Team Ultimate points and when that bar is full you can unleash a Team Ultimate, which is a massively powerful boost. The subtlety of that is the further back in the pack you are the longer your Team Ultimate lasts. The demo gave me fixed teams (e.g. Team Sonic = Sonic, Tails, Knuckles) - is that the case for the final game? We do have a Team Adventure mode where the teams stay fixed because that’s part of the story. But in all other modes, particularly online, you can mix and match, so if you want a team of all Sonics, or Big the Cat, you can. There’s three character types in the game - the speed type (Sonic), the technique type (Tails) and the power type (Knuckles). Each type also has a special ability. For instance, the speed type can create a burst to knock projectiles out of the way, technique types can pass over rough surfaces without slowing down so they can cut corners, and power characters can break through hazards without slowing down. What you find, if you have one of each in your team that allows you the broadest range of options in a race, you could have say a power character break through walls and open shortcuts you can’t access

otherwise. So while you can mix them in anyway, having each character type is good balancing. How does this work in multiplayer? You can choose how you want to mix and match. We have 12 players online and up to four-player splitscreen. You can mix the fourplayer splitscreen with online, and you can slice and dice those teams however you like, so you can be in a team on your own against human players in another team, or human players in their own teams or with AI. Given the Switch Online Service’s not-veryideal method of voice chat, is there going to be a challenge communicating with online players in a team-based game? We deliberately made sure that all of the team actions have in-game UI and audio hooks so you wouldn’t rely on voice chat. It’s useful if you’re playing as a team in splitscreen to closely coordinate but if you press to request an item, you’ll see that pop up and a countdown bar to give them the opportunity to send you an item or ignore it. Let’s talk about the driving. I noticed from the demo you can do stunts in the air to boost, which has its own risk/reward element? Yes, we kept the stunt system from Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed. We built on the foundation of the handling system from and enhanced it. We still have the same systems where if you drift for a long time you can build up to a level 3 boost. Similarly if you perform up to 3 stunts, you can build a level 3 boost from that. One of the new things we’ve added is you can interleave these things so if you can do a drift then go over a jump and do a stunt in the air, that will build you a higher level


boost combining those together. It allows more options for people to play skilfully in the game. Slipstreaming is also a skill in Mario Kart but I noticed it only works with teammates in this game? We call it the team slingshot. The front-placed member of your team will leave a yellow trail behind them and then if you’re following them, you can sit in this trail and charge up to a level 3 boost. It’s another way you can help your teammates who are catching up behind you. You need to drive a reliable path for them to make it easier for them to follow you. Can you tell us about the number of tracks and characters to expect from the Sonic universe? There’s 21 tracks in the game. We’re still revealing characters - we’re going deeper in the Sonic universe, though the trade-off is we don’t have characters from the wider Sega universe. But if post-launch people demand certain types of characters, we might be willing to respond to the fans. What modes can we expect? There’s the Team Adventure mode which mixes all event types as well as challenges. We also

have local grand prix, and time trials. While online is where the pinnacle of team experience is going to be, there’s lots of stuff for people to do offline as well. There’s also solo races without any teams. We wanted to include that just to allow people to have that experience. But when I go to those non-team races, I always feel like I’m missing something so I’m always going back to the team races. It’s there just to give people that choice, it’s relatively easy to support and the tracks still work, it would be mean of us not to include that. But I hope people will tend to focus on the team racing because that’s where the special experience is. This is coming to all platforms but you’re ensuring it’s going to run well on Switch. Can you say much about what you’re aiming for in terms of resolution and performance? We’re still optimising so we’re not talking specific numbers regarding resolution. But we know that the best racing experience is the smoothest possible framerate so as far as I’m concerned that is the most important thing in racing games.

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IS BEST ON SWITCH or many, the toys-to-life trend of Skylanders, F Lego Dimensions and Disney Infinity has passed. But those that watch this space know that publishers are keen to work out the next step in this lucrative toy-game crossover. Written by Andy Robertson @geekdadgamer

For a while we have seen toys-to-life games like Skylanders coming from console to tablets, without much luck, because that’s where youngsters spend more time playing. Tablet games like Lightseekers failed to find an audience big enough to support its toys. However, the advent of the Switch has seen a return to playing on consoles as the hardware also ticks that tablet gaming box. The planets seem aligned for a new toys-to-life game for a new generation of youngsters, then. Enter, Starlink: Battle for Atlas. This game from Ubisoft takes elements of Destiny, No Man’s Sky and Skylanders (coined by some as No Man’s Skylanders) to create an impressive space exploration adventure. Into this it injects high quality animation and storytelling, the Snowdrop engine that allows players to move seamlessly

from space to planet’s surface and, of course, the aforementioned toys. If you think you’ve seen it all before you need to see the toys first hand. They are unlike other toys we’ve seen in this category. For a start, that are actually toys rather than collectible figurines. The spaceships are modular and can be combined in different ways. You can attach an array of guns and pop in different pilots. It’s perfect for the sort of imaginative play that children enjoy. But it’s when you plug the toys into the controller holster that things really come to life -- if you’ll excuse the pun. The ship, pilot and weapons in the game match the configuration in real life. If you want to switch weapons for a particular boss fight, just snap on your preferred firepower. The ship’s engines even light up. The game makes use of this fast customisation by requiring players to use specific weapons to defeat different enemies. Cleverly though, it doesn’t lock areas of the game behind the need to buy particular characters or add-ons. You can see everything with just the Starter Pack. This much you may have read elsewhere, but I wanted to offer some practical advice on how best to buy Starlink and which system to buy it on. Firstly, writing

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in the magazine here, it’s probably no surprise that I’m suggesting the Switch is the way to go. But there are a number of clear reasons. The Switch controllers power the spaceship tech directly from the Joy-Con connector so you don’t have to be tethered to your console like you do on the PlayStation 4. This is important to the feel when playing and to avoid cluttering up the lounge with wires. The Switch also boasts unique Star Fox content that comes with the Starter Pack. This much is common knowledge. But less well known is that this means that you can play two players with just this pack without having to both control the same ship like on Xbox One or PlayStation 4. You get a digital code for the other ships included in the other Starter Packs. Finally, there’s the portable aspect. As I mentioned, younger players really do want to play on the go in tablet style. With the

Switch you get the best of both worlds. Starlink supports this by letting players unlock digital versions of any toys they have so they can play when out and about. If I’ve convinced you that the Switch is the definitive version, you still have some decisions to make about digital or physical. The digital option is far more generous than Skylanders or Disney Infinity and is worth close inspection. There is a Starlink Battle for Atlas Digital pack (£69.99) that unlocks 4 ships, 12 weapons and 6 pilots. This is many more options than the Starter Pack with the physical toys. In pure value it’s the way to go, although it’s worth bearing in mind how much fun the toys are to play with if you have younger children. However you buy the game, this is an experience really worth sharing with your kids. Because of the toys it’s easy to write off as a children’s game and it really isn’t. There are a few sections where my pretty proficient son needed a but of help with. He asked me, but in the end his older brother cracked it. Also, in co-operative mode it’s simply a lot of fun to explore and fight together. This is like time we’d spent playing No Man’s Sky, previously. But here the planets and story are much more hand crafted rather than generated. Whether playing the Star Fox or main missions there is a real sense of drama and occasion to the unfolding narrative. This bled over not only to the combat and exploration in the game, but means that children value the physical toys more in the real world too. Time will tell whether Starlink: Battle For Atlas succeeds or not. Many are pointing to slow initial sales (although it was strongest on Switch) as a problem. But instant success isn’t as crucial in the toy world. The real proof will be after the Christmas period once children have their holiday money to spend. Getting the game into toy stores as well as video game outlets could make all the diference.

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Old-school fans are concerned about the latest instalment. ario Party has been ruining friendships M since 1998. Working in cahoots with the Super Smash Bros. franchise, Written by Kirsten Masters @kirstenlouisex

Nintendo’s minigame Monopoly has been a staple in family destruction and nothing has changed in its 2018 title.

Super Mario Party hit the Switch on October 5th and brought with it more ways than ever before to cause mayhem with its four new modes: Partner Party, River Survival, Sound Stage and Toad’s Rec Room. The game also includes three ways to play the minigame-only mode and a Challenge Road that is single-player specific. And yet with all this new content, some long standing fans still feel the game is lacking, including myself. Is it nostalgia goggles? Or is there some validity to our outcry?

Mario Party fans were disappointed when Mario Party 9 decided to rid itself of players moving individually around the board and instead all climbing in a car, traversing the board together on some bizarre road trip, collecting the most Mini Stars and then beating the final boss battle. The trend continued into Mario Party 10. Personally, I was more offended by the replacement of end-of-round minigames for minigame spaces/events which meant if you were a truly unlucky soul an entire board could be completed with only one minigame being played.

kind of. The problem I, personally, have with the latest instalment is that the whole game feels shallow. Some Redditors have even labelled it ‘incomplete’. The boards, on the surface, are good. They look good; but they lack that old-school Mario Party charm that older fans of the series were looking for. They’re small with little to no interactivity and therefore become tiresome with no replayability after a second-third playthrough. One board, Megafruit Paradise, even has the ability to get players stuck on the same island in an endless loop if their dice rolls are unfavourable in lategame. I witnessed a Bowser do this twice. Kamek’s Tantalizing Tower as the final unlockable board is incredibly lackluster. It’s arguably the smallest board and with nothing changing except the Star prices it instantly becomes monotonous after your third time around the board, which can easily be done in a 10-turn round. One fan, koolaidmoonwalk on YouTube, has even dedicated an entire video to critiquing this singular board.

Likewise, there appears to be no threat on the boards in this title. With Bowser sick of being left out and deciding to join the party, his reign of terror is then left to Kamek who is quite possibly the least threatening Koopa of the lot. His Unlucky and Super Unlucky spaces don’t strike the fear that Bowser once did when there was the possibility of him taking away your Stars or forcing you to partake in minigames for coins. Kamek is more of a straight-to-the-point So we, as long-term party lovers, rejoiced when Nintendo announced the newest title would be a nuisance; he can still take your Stars in the last more traditional version of the game. And it is... three turns but with the price of them in this

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game it’s not too much of an inconvenience, especially on his own board. Irony. Bonus Stars are also a cause for concern for the old-school fans. Super Mario Party has the smallest amount of Bonus Stars to date and they are completely random. In some cases, no one wins them. Mario Party has always had a ‘game of chance’ air about it (it’s why we love it) but one thing had always stayed the same: win the most minigames - win the

Minigame Star, horde the most coins - win the Coin Star. Two stars I have yet to see make an appearance in any of my parties. In previous instalments, every round felt like it counted and the best player would inevitably come out on top until the final random Bonus Star (if we’re talking Mario Party 7 onward) came to ruin everyone’s day. Now, it’s anyone’s game. You could win every minigame and have the most coins but if you don’t have the right allies or moved the right amount of spaces, it counts for nothing; suddenly Grandma’s won. Is this a move made by Nintendo to make it easier for children to win and to specifically anger everyone against change? Or is it just a minor upset for those of us who always come out last despite having some of the highest numbers in the final charts? For me, it’s definitely the latter. Arguably the best mode is Sound Stage according to fans on Twitter and Reddit. It’s far more competitive than the main Party mode and you can get a great workout from it too. Others have expressed how they feel the boards were designed with Partner Party in mind and that the main mode was shoved in as an afterthought. Lots of newcomers to the series/less hardcore fans are extremely pleased with the game. Personally, I really want to love it but there’s just something lacking in the board design and whether that is my rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia talking or a valid complaint with the game is yet to be decided. However, the Sound Stage modes and Minigame modes are fantastic and I’d thoroughly recommend them if you’re ready to watch your family and friendship groups crumble. And isn’t that really the only reason we play anyway?

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If you were wondering why there was a substantial drought (compared to previous years' amiibo output) of the Nintendo NFC figurines, wonder no more. The Smash Direct introduced us to a plethora of new characters joining the line up next year, with Ken, Ice Climbers, Daisy, Young Link, Pichu, Isabelle, Piranha Plant and King K. Rool figures showcased properly for the first time, and some of these look stunning. Still, echoing Ollie's words, where's Snake? If that's not enough, it was revealed that Diablo III (reviewed next issue) will also be getting a themed amiibo in the guise of a Loot Goblin. Packaged differently than standard chatterers, this devious little creature releases in December. We will have more news on a worldwide release as we have it.

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OUR SCORING

GOOD

OUTSTANDING

MEDIOCRE

ESSENTIAL

POOR

EXCELLENT

BAD

VERY GOOD

AWFUL


DARK SOULS: REMASTERED The real Dark Souls starts here.

At a glance Developer FromSoftware Publisher Bandai Namco Release Date October 19th Price £34.99 | €39.99 Size 4.2 GB

hen Dark Souls was first released W back in 2011, it was hard to imagine that it would become such an important and

to this day. The kingdom of Lordran branches into many different interconnected areas. While there is a path more suited to your initial level and gear, you’re pretty much free to explore the world as you want. The game never holds the hand of the player, but it’s surprisingly satisfying to explore a challenging segment and discover a welcoming shortcut to one of the previous areas. Even with no map to help you, the world of Dark Souls feels like a cohesive and expansive place – a menacing place that gets more familiar as you start to learn about the many dangers that lurks within.

Before facing the many challenges that wait for you in the land of Lordran, you’ll be presented to an ominous CG introduction that kicks in when you start your first playthrough. If you’re a veteran Dark Souls player, you probably watched this sequence many times. If you’re a newcomer, though, you may want to pay close attention. The talk about the concepts of souls, lords and darkness may all sound a bit nonsense, but this is one of the rare moments where the game tells you about its world and lore in an explicit way.

While these dangers can be represented by the environment itself at times (with bottomless pits, traps and hazards at every corner), the many enemies that populate each region will be your most common threat. Fortunately, in order to deal with them, you have a very flexible and robust combat system. Your character’s arms are mapped to the shoulder buttons. So, if you choose to play in a more standard knight-like style, L allows you to hold your shield, ZL to parry, R to perform a light attack, and ZR the heavy attack. It is also important to learn when to roll with A, a movement that gives you some invincibility frames to evade the most powerful attacks. With this basic set of movements, Dark Souls adds a lot of depth to its combat thanks to two additional factors: the stamina bar and your current build.

influential title. Sure, there was already a small community waiting for the spiritual successor of the 2009 cult title Demon’s Souls, but it was with the first Dark Souls that FromSoftware really managed to elevate their game design philosophy to another level, creating a truly fantastic world to be explored. Now, after what seemed to be a very long wait due to an annoying delay, we can play the Remastered version of the best game in the series on the go.

This doesn’t mean that Dark Souls lacks when it comes to the narrative department. On the contrary, it has a deep and extensive lore that gives life to its well-constructed dark fantasy world. However, Dark Souls chooses to tell its narrative in an unusual and obtuse way. In order to piece together the most obscure details about its narrative, you’ll have to do things like reading carefully through item descriptions or paying attention to details on the environment itself. The result is a game that has many secrets to be discovered, but only the most curious player will dare to uncover them all. Consequently, you can have zero interested on Dark Souls’ narrative and have equal enjoyment of its mechanical elements alone. On this matter, the fact that Dark Souls can hold itself entirely on its gameplay aspects tells a lot about the superb job done by FromSoftware. Despite being a title from the last generation of consoles, Dark Souls’ level design is unparalleled

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Some actions you perform in the game, be it an attack, a jump or a roll, will eat part of your stamina. When you’re idle though, it will naturally recover at a certain speed. How much stamina you spend depends on your gear. Consequently, using a heavier weapon or rolling with a bulky armor will put limits to how many attacks or evasions you’ll be able to perform. As a result, the combat in Dark Souls is much more methodical than in other action adventure games, because even some of the most simple enemies may demand you to watch carefully for the timing of their attacks, while you manage your stamina bar.


can face the dangers of Dark Souls in different | DARK FASHION SOULS | Youways. Here’s is a few options you can choose.

The Wall – Using the heavier The Shadow – Fancy a high risk- The Mage – Spells are powerful armor available will hinder your reward build? Fast rolls allows tools that allows you to fight rolling skills, but who needs you to evade most attacks, from the distance. However, they to dodge when you can simply and parrying is a particularly have limited uses, and demands take everything face on? powerful move when mastered. constant management. Due to its slower-paced combat, there’s a lot of talking about how hard Dark Souls can be. Most players may come across difficult spikes on certain areas or bosses, depending on their play style. Nevertheless, in general, Dark Souls is a game that does a good job in providing a challenging, but extremely rewarding experience, without becoming too frustrating or rage-inducing. This is specially true when you start to explore the many ways to deal with each situation or enemy.

Dark Souls has a huge number of armors and weapons to be wielded. The most surprisingly aspect is that pretty much every single build you can imagine is viable, as long as you learn to use them properly. Do you want to smash your enemies with a giant club, wearing an armor thick as a wall? Want to be a nimble assassin, one-hit killing everyone with a knife? Or maybe a wizard ripping everyone with mighty bolts? That’s all doable. It’s just a matter of adapting to each weapon’s speed and move set, and leveling up your character properly. Just like most RPG games, Dark Souls has a robust leveling system, in which you spend your souls (a currency you earn by defeating enemies) to increase your values on specific attributes like strength, endurance, faith and more. Each status will not only make you stronger on certain aspects, but also are prerequisite for certain weapons and spells – hence the importance of leveling up ‘correctly’. Connected to the souls system you’ll also find one of the most punishing aspects of the game. If you die, you’ll temporally lose all the souls in your possession. In order to recover them, you’ll need to go back to the place where you died to retrieve them. If you die again, though, it’s gone forever.

Dark Souls also has a unique approach to how its multiplayer works – both on its co-op and competitive modes. From the very beginning, you’ll be able to find messages that other players can put all over the world, be it jokes or

helpful tips. Similarly, once you’ve met a certain criteria, you’re be allowed to find summon signs that allows you to summon NPCs or other players. This way, you can get help for some more demanding bosses. However, as soon as you’re able to summon friends, you’re also opened to invasions from hostile enemies, that can drop in your game as red phantoms, whose only objective is to defeat you. Multiplayer has been considered improved on this Remastered version, and now allows up to 6 players simultaneously (it was 4 before). Other welcoming upgrades can be seen in the steady frame rate of 30fps on the Switch version. The original Dark Souls had some serious performance issues, where places like the infamous Blighttown were plagued with some serious frame rate drops. Being a Remastered, not a remake, means that this version still has some of the rough edges here and there, like collision bugs and some less inspired areas – yes, Lost Isalith, I’m talking about you. It also has some oddities on Switch, because the menus inside the game use B to select and A to cancel. This doesn’t take away the shine from this rough gem, though. When you consider all of its aspects, the original Dark Souls was one of the most influential games from its time, and it is a worthwhile title to be played up to this day. This Remastered version takes everything that made that game an unparalleled experience, and improved on some of its more problematic drawbacks. With the inclusion of the amazing DLC Artorias of the Abyss, this can be seen as a definitive edition of a game that you’d die to play.

Reviewed by Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro

Verdict - ESSENTIAL!

Dark Souls: Remastered is the improved version of one of the most influential and unforgettable games ever made. It delivers a mysterious and expansive world to be explored, which will reward with many wonders those who brave enough to face its dangers.


STARLINK: BATTLE FOR ATLAS Life in Plastic, it’s fantastic

t’s fair to say that Starlink: Battle for Atlas Iit. Not has a fair amount of pressure riding on only is the title attempting to revive

At a glance Developer Ubisoft

the flagging toys-to-life genre – which has seen the bigger guns seemingly withdraw from the space, or, in Nintendo’s case, reduce the number released – but it also marks the second time that Ubisoft has been handed the keys to an iconic Nintendo IP.

amount of exploring if you feel that the pressure of the storyline isn’t that important with a huge variety of flora and fauna in abundance, with the planetary inhabitants (mostly Dinosaur types) available for researching. The scope and scale of the game is very impressive, and it all looks rather stunning on the Switch.

As you crush your foes, you’ll accrue experience points and earn/unlock modifications for any If you’ve been paying attention pre-release, you’ll ships you have, or weapons in order to enhance Publisher have noted that although Starlink: Battle for their effectiveness and, to this end, there is Ubisoft Atlas is a multiplatform release, the Nintendo a huge array of options available to suit your Release Date Switch version is home to some exclusive needs. Each pilot also has a development tree October 16th content, in the form of Fox McCloud and his Star which unlocks a range of differing abilities. All of Fox buddies. My biggest concern for the title this will make you more effective as the games’ Price was always whether adding in the team would difficulty ramps up and presents you with more £69.99 | €74.99 be detrimental to the overall experience; having challenges. It’s all a huge amount of fun. Size him there for the sake of it. But, oh my, it works. 12.7 GB The presentation of Starlink: Battle for Atlas I’ll get to all of that toy stuff later, and I’ll kick is brilliant, the setting works incredibly well this off from the top. A bunch of misfits on a and the music is eerie, atmospheric and spaceship called The Equinox are attacked and suits the whole experience. Travelling from one of their own is captured by the nefarious planet to space and back again is incredible, Grax and his “Legion”, for their own end. The and almost seamless – I’m told that it’s a lot remainder of the team, a clichéd group of like No Man’s Sky, although it would be This misunderstood characters have to work together Man’s Lie if I said that myself, having not in order to first rescue their father figure and played Hello Games’ renowned space epic. then stop the resurgent enemy force from taking control of Atlus, the vast solar system in play. Of course, one of the more obvious elements of As you explore a variety of alien landscapes, Starlink: Battle For Atlas is that it attempts to you’ll be defending them from enemy attacks, rejuvenate that toys-to-life space, with a rather setting up bases to cultivate resources, money unique take on the genre. The physical release comes with a custom Joy-Con grip upon which a pilot, ship and weapon (or two) is equipped, and I got to sample various weapons and many more are available to purchase beyond ships, essentially played through the those that come in the default package. The game as if it were a Star Fox title. To Nintendo Switch version is unique among the Starlink’s credit, it never felt forced. three releases in that it comes with an Arwing and Fox McCloud – as well as some exclusive and modifications for your vessel/weapons missions entered around Fox’s long-time as well as tackling the legion forces head-on, adversary, Wolf O’Donnell. These missions are a including the impressive Prime units which welcome distraction from the main helping and, will take a huge amount of skill to defeat. truth be told, left me wanting so much more… The game also features a few puzzles too, imaginatively presented platforming sections (whilst still in your spacecraft) and a huge

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There’s something incredibly cool about the toys, which are well made and click together incredibly satisfyingly and easily but they are just… well,


As Starlink's narrative begins, the Switch version has a few familiar faces on the periphery.

The cutscenes play out with members of the Star Fox team present, which was unexpected and welcome.

redundant. As cool as they are, it’s just a bit of a gimmick; as well as a bit of a pain. Physically, these ships in physical form are your “lives” If you get blown to smithereens by the legion, you’ll need another ship. If you only have one – or lose them all – it’s game over; well in the sense that you go back to your last save. Conversely, the digital version of the game comes with more options (the deluxe edition is only slightly more than the physical and packs almost all of the equipment in-game) although whether you think it’s worth the outlay without the toys ultimately comes down to you. If this was a route interested to you, former ONM journalist Chris Scullion noted that you may be better off using a different eShop region as you could save some serious cash. Anyway, I’ve gone off at a tangent here. The toys are fabulous and clever, especially the Arwing, but aren’t essential to play. As you may have noted (and as I suspect most folk that played the Switch version did) I played through the entire game as Fox, and although I got to sample various weapons and ships, essentially played through the game as if it were a Star Fox title. To Starlink’s credit, it never felt forced, and the team certainly felt part of the core experience: and there was even campaign dialogue right to the end. It certainly seems that it was intended and meant to be in – essentially meaning that the other two console versions are worse for it. You can also call in a member of the team when you ability meter is full, which kicks in an incredibly nostalgic and rousing

The Star Fox specific missions ultimately lead to a faceoff with this villainous chap, the only negative is that it's all over too soon.

rendition of the classic Corneria theme from the original SNES title, although it does get a little annoying after about the twentieth time. It’s not all brilliant here, though. There’s a huge amount of repetition within the game, and although each planet looks and feels different enough to each other, the essentials of what is needed becomes a little monotonous after a while, especially post game when that’s all that’s left to do, liberate what you haven’t yet done. The campaign also takes a disappointing turn at the end and the “final” boss was easier than many of the primes I faced, and the actual “final” encounter was over in seconds – literally. After making some good moves throughout it was certainly a massive let down. It does end with a little post-credits stinger though, so I’m expecting a future for the franchise, at least in the form of DLC. These little annoyances are really my only real grievances with the game, which I otherwise surprisingly enjoyed. The cost of the game is going to put many off, although I suspect you’ll find it cheaper at a later point like many other games in this field do. It is a little repetitive, and, dare I say it, derivative of many other games, but it is fun. Plus, Star Fox stuff. It’s the closest thing to Star Fox that we have on the Switch so far, and probably isn’t too far away from something I’d want a Star Fox game to be. If that’s something that resonates with you, then this could be worth a look. Maybe when it’s a bit cheaper.

Verdict - VERY GOOD! Reviewed by Paul Murphy @PMurphy1978

It's a clever take on a somewhat redundant genre, and it's hard not to be impressed initially with Starlink: Battle For Atlas. Despite some serious repetition there's a whole lot to like here and the Star Fox content makes the Switch version the one to get, if you want it. Its the closest thing to a Nintendo Switch Star Fox but I suspect you could see it in bargain bins before too long.


More cardboard for your games room he sheer ingenuity and accessibility of T Nintendo Labo cannot be overstated. When it initially released back in April 2018, it was

At a glance Developer Nintendo Publisher Nintendo Release Date September 14th

met with a decidedly muted response from the gaming community – seriously, they’re charging how much for bits of cardboard?! – but when you actually lay your hands on the different kits available, its appeal becomes clear as day. It’s clever, charming and deceptively complex. That said, my own personal experience with the new Labo release, Toy-Con 3 – Vehicle Kit, was a bit of a mixed bag. I had tremendous fun building the new cardboard sets included, but actually using them within the games included proved to be a frustrating, repetitive and altogether boring experience. But then again, I’m fully aware that these games simply aren’t for me – I am pushing 30, after all.

followed by an animated sequence displaying the cardboard folds inserting into one another. To accompany this, each step includes text to aid you even further, but to be honest I didn’t pay too much attention to this (I am a visual learner, so I’m told). You can also drag your finger along the screen to rotate the image displayed, so if you’re confused at any point, you can take a closer peek at what you need to do. Naturally, the game also allows you to go backwards a few steps if you happen to make any mistakes.

The first main vehicle you’ll likely make is the car steering wheel and pedal, since these are the first cardboard pieces you’ll come across. Price The steering wheel itself is surprisingly complex, £59.99 | €69.99 containing multiple parts that eventually come together to form one fully functional ‘machine’, complete with levers and other bits and bobs to When you open up the hefty packaging, you’ll use during gameplay. You also need to build the find the game box itself along with several pieces pedal, which functions remarkably well with the of cardboard (about A2 size – though a couple of simple inclusion of an elastic band – you simply them are folded in half and may be closer to A1 press it down with your foot and it springs right size), all of which are colour-coded for the vehicle back up again. Keep in mind too, that the pedal type they relate to, along with a little icon in the is also utilised with the aeroplane vehicle. top left corner to further indicate the vehicle. It also comes with a little pack containing Actually using the steering wheel during elastic bands, marker stickers and more. gameplay invokes a feeling akin to using the Wii Remote for the first time. It’s a cardboard contraption, but it genuinely works. You press down on the pedal with your foot and steer I think anyone who tries this game will left or right with the wheel (which may sound soon see that there’s actually very little ludicrous to adults who actually drive real cars, to do once you’ve built all the vehicles. but for kids this will likely be the first time they’ve ever experienced something quite like The game initially eases you into the building the real thing), and you can pull a lever on the process by allowing you to make a Joy-Con left hand side to reverse. On top, you’ll also find holder – think of it as a kind of practice run two more levers, and these activate tools on the before you get into the real thing. Straight left and right side of the car respectively. There’s away, it’s clear that the instructions available a circular saw to cut down trees, a catapult to via the Switch’s screen are truly remarkable. fling bombs in front of you, and more. It’s a neat You progress through the instructions by idea, but the novelty wears thin very quickly. pressing and holding the ‘forward’ button onscreen, and you can also drag this to the right In fact, all of the vehicles included feel great at in order to speed things along a bit quicker. first, and it’s genuinely remarkable that they Each step is presented clearly, showing you work so well, but for a guy my age with no exactly where to fold and in which direction, kids, I quickly lost interest once I got over the

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There are three main vehicles to play around with in the Toy-Con 3 set. The car is pretty basic for the most part, but you can extend various tools from either side, including a gas pump and a rotating razor.

The aeroplane is controlled with a joy stick much like what you'd find on flight simulators (except it's made of cardboard!). You can also fire rockets to take out balloons and other collectables.

initial novelty. That’s not just my own personal preference, either – I think anyone who tries this game will soon see that there’s actually very little to do once you’ve built all the vehicles. The main chunk of the game is the ‘Adventure’ mode, and it’s a kind of open-world playground for you to explore at your leisure. It’s broken up into sections depicting various themes, from an idyllic lake to Egyptian pyramids to a modern city filled with skyscrapers. Its size is reasonably impressive, and there are also a number of missions dotted around the map (for example, burst a certain number of balloons floating around, or escort some NPCs to the nearest gas station) for you to partake in. Speaking of gas stations, the game bizarrely forces you to refill your tank of gas if you drive around for lengthy periods of time. Granted, it takes a while for the meter to run dry, but it’s just a completely

Finally, the submarine can plunge the depths of a disappointingly shallow lake. It takes a little while to get used to the controls for this thing, and is ultimately the most dull vehicle of the three.

unnecessary addition to the gameplay, and one that I believe was simply shoehorned in to make better use of the Toy-Con itself. Other than the steering wheel, the package contains a flight stick for control of an aircraft, and a circular contraption used to control a submarine. Again, I had a great time building these (the flight stick didn’t take very long to build, which is slightly disappointing), but much like the car, actually controlling these vehicles becomes flat out boring. I do feel rather conflicted with the overall package, because it quite clearly an impressive idea, and it does have the potential to be expanded into proper full length games (part of the Variety Pack has been made available to use on Mario Kart 8 Deluxe), but as it is, it’s just such a shallow experience and I can’t imagine even kids would spend a great deal of time with it once the building aspect has been completed. I only hope Nintendo perseveres with Labo, because the potential is there, but they haven’t quite reached it yet.

Verdict - MEDIOCRE! Reviewed by Ollie Reynolds @Olliemar28

Nintendo Labo: Toy-Con 3 - Vehicle Kit is undoubtedly a clever idea that genuinely works. Sadly, once you've gotten past the actual building stage of the game, you'll find there's precious little to keep you occupied for long.


SUPER MARIO PARTY Ain’t no party like a Mario Party! he latest instalment in the ever-popular T Mario Party franchise is here, and the series has never looked better. Alongside its

At a glance Developer Nintendo Publisher Nintendo Release Date October 5th Price £49.99 | €59.99 Size 2.9 GB

traditional board game mode, Super Mario Party boasts a huge variety of minigames (over 80 in total), an impressive cast of characters to play as, a plethora of gameplay options and – a first for the series – the ability to play online with friends in a small selection of multiplayer minigames. But is it worth picking up? If you’ve never played a Mario Party game before – which, if you haven’t, is a travesty by the way – the concept is fairly easy to grasp. Travelling around the board, you must collect coins, outwit your foes and use booster items to your advantage in order to defeat your rivals. Most importantly, your goal is to track down the elusive Toadette and her Super Stars, and collect as many as you can; the person with the most Super Stars at the end of the game wins, so there’s no sense in being stingy with your coins. Given its nature as a party game, Super Mario Party is best played with friends. Should you have none, or have lost them to a crushing defeat in a previous Mario Party, computercontrolled characters are always available to fill the void. With three difficulty levels available – Recommended, Hard, and Very Hard – you can choose the level which best suits you and your playstyle. Additionally, you can shuffle the available characters that you play alongside, though the inability to handpick the characters you wish to play with certainly makes the experience less enjoyable.

Super Mario Party‘s Mario Party mode is teeming with potential. Each playable board has its own quirks and special features, making each run just as engaging and exciting as the last. This aside, Super Mario Party‘s Mario Party mode is teeming with potential. Each playable board has its own quirks and special features, making each run just as engaging and exciting as the last. You can never predict how your next game will turn out due to the ever-

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changing after-game bonuses, in-game events and unpredictable CPU characters. One aspect of the gameplay that can feel rather unrewarding, though, is how easily you come by coins. It never feels like you’re in a position where you can’t afford a Super Star; rather, your main concern is the luck of the die, constantly being forced to question whether your character’s unique dice is worth the risk. Still, this ease of obtaining Super Stars makes the competition even more fierce, as it really is anyone’s game. One of my favourite new modes in Super Mario Party is its River Survival mode, which forces you to work together with your fellow players rather than against them for a change. Fighting to reach the end of the river before time runs out, you must tackle countless minigames, row fiercely using the Joy-Con’s motion controls and carefully co-ordinate your route in order to succeed. The more minigames you play, the more chances you have to add precious bonus seconds to your clock, so it’s always worth taking the trickier routes in order to reap the best rewards. There are issues with this mode, however. For a start, when playing alongside the CPU, you feel like tearing your hair out while the AI characters flap their oars aimlessly in the water. They don’t follow your direction, constantly working against you, and you can often miss valuable bonuses or minigame balloons when trying to judge the optimal second to row your way out of trouble. Equally, the difficulty you select before playing can often make the competition seem unbalanced, with the easier options feeling too easy, and the harder ones feeling impossible.

Super Mario Party‘s Sound Stage mode is also a fun one, but is undermined by perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the game: its control scheme. Whoever thought that mandatory use of the Joy-Cons (as in, only Joy-Cons are compatible currently) throughout the entire game was a good idea was clearly delusional, and the constant use of motion controls can mean for tiresome gameplay – both


Super Mario Party's AI isn't always the smartest, often taking unbearable amounts of time to complete even the simplest minigames.

Finally, actual co-operative play in Mario Party that stretches beyond the minigames! Work together to reach a common goal, and be sure to get well-rested before all the intense Joy-Con rowing you have to do in the game's new River Survival mode.

physically and mentally – after a while. The motion controls simply aren’t intuitive in many minigames, and this can lead to frustration – as can the thumbs-up motions and friendship gestures within parties, as while they’re cute, even they become bothersome eventually. At least the game’s menu is intuitive, with the Party Pad offering a traditional-style navigation system if wandering around the open-plan party plaza isn’t your thing. Perhaps the most eagerly-awaited aspect of Super Mario Party, though, is its offering of online multiplayer in the form of the Online Mariothon mode. Sadly, it is a disappointment; the mode is heavily limited in terms of its gameplay and minigame selection, with very few games being on offer and its connectivity between players being poor. While I have had some very enjoyable games, others have been barely playable, and the frustrating motion controls only made my experience worse. The graphical quality of Super Mario Party is certainly to be admired, with the artists’ attention to detail going further than ever before. Improved textures and lighting effects make the board environments actually look semi-realistic, and coupled with the game’s excellent upbeat soundtrack, the overall mood of Super Mario Party is exceptionally positive. The in-game rewards

You thought Mario Party was just a child's game? Think again. Not only are there some very sly mature jokes in there, but you'll also lose sleep, friends and possibly your sanity to this game as you fight to be crowned the ultimate Super Star.

system furthers this mood, allowing you to purchase various useful tips and items with the credits you earn through playing, and it is great to see a variety of potential goals and challenges implemented in a game that is normally so minimalistic in its offerings. Gripes with the AI, online minigames and JoyCon control methods aside, Super Mario Party is certainly a game worth picking up based on its local multiplayer alone. Although Nintendo still haven’t taken the hint to add quality online multiplayer options, the online minigames are at least a step in the right direction, and point to a positive future for the franchise that will extend beyond the comfort of the home. The only thing I have to wonder for this installment is whether we will see additional maps and characters added to the game in future updates, as this could truly enhance the experience being offered.

Reviewed by Georgina Howlett @howlettwrites

Verdict - EXCELLENT! Super Mario Party is the Mario Party title we've all been waiting for, offering a fun and exciting experience for all the family. Although you may lose a few friends playing it, and the control scheme and online offerings leave much to be desired, there is plenty of content on offer and endless hours of fun to be had. Be sure to give all of the new modes a try, and explore all that the interactive plaza has to offer. Just don't spend all your coins at once, or you could be all out of luck..!


VALKYRIA CHRONICLES 4 Squad E, move out!

At a glance Developer SEGA Publisher SEGA Release Date September 25th Price £49.99 | €59.99 Size 11.4 GB

alkyria Chronicles 4 was, for me, a V wonderful surprise. Going into this game, I was utterly convinced that I’d hate it.

Once you get into a battle, this is where things get really, really good. It’s a turned-based tactical RPG, and how many times you can manoeuvre during a phase depends on how many Command Points (CP) you possess. Deploying so-called ‘leaders’ into battle grants you additional CP, so it’s wise to take extra care with who you take into battle. Starting off in a birds eye view of the battlefield (displayed like a map), you pick one of your troops to control. Then, the camera shifts into a third-person perspective of said character which you then have direct control of.

Set during the fictional Second European War, you take command of Squad E, a group of soldiers part of the larger Federation Army. Tasked with taking on the Empire, the game plays out very much like you’d expect from a large-scale war, and it’s impressive how it manages to weave multiple characters into its overarching plot. It must be mentioned right off the bat though, that whilst many of the characters are endearing and engaging, a few proved to be quite irritating. Raz, in particular, is just a straight-up bad character: arrogant and borderline predatory when it comes to women, he stands out like a sore thumb in 2018, and dampens an otherwise decent plot.

You can move about the battlefield at will, but only until your Action Points (AP) deplete. Then, your chosen character will stay static until you’re able to choose them again from the map view. Pressing R after you’ve positioned your character will then allow them to aim their weaponry. As with any shooter, aiming for the enemy’s head does additional damage, but depending on your distance and skill level, you’ll need to think before you shoot – will you take out the enemy in one go? Will it fire back? There are so many potential outcomes to think about with each miniature skirmish, and it makes the moment to moment gameplay incredibly exciting.

I’ve never particularly been into tactical RPG games, and not even the mighty Fire Emblem series has been able to change my mind. But there’s just something about Valkyria Chronicles 4 that hooked me immediately and refused to let go. Its gameplay, visuals and storyline all come together brilliantly to form a genuinely unique, unforgettable experience, whether you’re a fan of the genre or not.

The story itself is set up via mini vignettes in a book – you simply pick the next section within your current chapter, and you’ll either be treated to a plot driven cutscene, or a battle to engage

You’d expect a game focused on the horrors of war to be dark and dreary, but Valkyria Chronicles 4 takes more of an upbeat, optimistic approach to its visual design. in. It’s a lovely way to set up the gameplay itself, but I found a lot of the sections were a bit too short. It’s good if you want to dip in and out every now and then, but when the game threw me back to the book again and again, I must admit that it got slightly irritating at times.

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You’ll have multiple different classes to choose from when going into battle. The main character, Claude Wallace, commandeers a tank, which is very useful for going up against other tanks or mortars, but not particularly adept at traversing the battlefield. You’ll also have Snipers who can sit back and pick off enemies from a distance, and Lancers, who may be slow but can pack a punch against armoured tanks. There are several more, and it’s important to deploy a diverse set of classes to the battlefield if you’re to survive. Oh, that reminds me – if one of your characters does happen to take a few too many hits during gameplay, they’ll fall to ground and be incapacitated. You’ll have only a few turns to get one of your other character’s to assist, otherwise your fallen comrade will die – and I mean die, as in, they ain’t coming back. It’s not a particularly new gameplay mechanic (Fire Emblem fans will


With plenty of classes to choose from in Valkyria Chronicles 4, it can be hard to pick from them. The Shocktrooper is agile and boasts a rapid rate of fire. A firm favourite!

The Sniper can keep away from the chaos of the battlefield and pick their enemies off from afar. Be wary though: the further away you are, the harder it is to aim!

know), but it makes certain moments even more tense, particularly if you’re facing up against overwhelming odds. To mix things up, the game will change weather conditions to throw you off balance – you may have to fight in a blanket of thick fog, meaning you can’t see your enemies on the map or in the third-person view (unless you get real close). In addition, instead of mounting an assault on your foes, you may occasionally find yourself having to escape from a superior enemy, or forced to survive for a set period of time. It mixes things up enough that you’ll rarely, if ever, feel bored.

The Lancer wields a monstrous rocket launcher, perfect for taking down tanks or artillery weapons such as mortars. They can be slow, however, so watch out for sneak attacks!

Visually, the game looks absolutely beautiful. You’d expect a game focused on the horrors of war to be dark and dreary, but Valkyria Chronicles 4 takes more of an upbeat, optimistic approach to its visual design. With scenes basically coming to life right out of a book, they have a distinct water colour quality to them, and there are so many colours popping from the screen, it really is a treat, both in cutscenes and general gameplay. Similarly, the music is also really impressive – there’s a lovely relaxing tune that plays whilst you’re viewing the book, and it shifts into more dramatic, tense music when you head into battle. Voice acting is also decent for the most part, but once again, a few characters’ voices don’t particularly match their visual design or personality. Not a deal breaker though, at all.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 is well worth a go, Out of battle, you’ll be given several options particularly if you’re a fan of tactical RPGs. to help boost your troops. You can train Anyone who might be on the fence can also try them to level up their abilities, change out the first game, which has also been released or enhance their equipment, and also on the Switch eShop at a much cheaper price. develop entirely new weaponry via the R&D Facility. Additionally, should you feel you might not be up to the task of heading straight into an important battle, ESSENTIAL! you can help your troops Not expecting to like Valkyria to train up by sending Chronicles 4, I came away loving it. them into Skirmishes, The turned-based tactical gameplay smaller battles that is constantly engaging, and the water allow you to gain Reviewed by Ollie Reynolds colour visuals look a real treat. additional EXP.

Verdict -

@Olliemar28


LEGO THE INCREDIBLES The Switch’s most incredible title. h, The Incredibles. Disney Pixar’s A crimefighting family had spent a considerable time out of the limelight since

At a glance Developer TT Games Publisher WB Games Release Date June 15th Price £49.99 | €59.99 Size 9.2 GB

their first (and for a long time only) film outing in 2004. But in 2018 they’ve blazed back; not only with a long-awaited film sequel, but also by getting the LEGO video game treatment. This game allows you to play through the story of both films, starting with the newest one, all the while fighting crime, rescuing civilians and amassing the bricks to build up some LEGO creations. The Incredibles’ home town of Metroville serves as the overworld hub, and like in so many LEGO City Undercover you can explore it to your heart’s content in between story missions, picking up short side-quests and collectathons which serve to increase your overall game completion percentage. And the game excellently captures that Disney Pixar magic that we loved going to see in the cinema when we were kids. You really do feel as

That familiar LEGO game gameplay and humour is present, and most objects can be smashed into pieces if you have some pent-up frustration to take out. if you’re in the world of The Incredibles, even if it is in LEGO-fied form. You can get a second player involved for co-op playing through the main story, and it’s the ideal sort of game that two young kids can use as an introduction to gaming. That familiar LEGO game gamplay and humour is present, and most objects can be smashed into pieces if you have some pent-up frustration to take out. You can drive just about every mobile vehicle in the game and you’re free to go wherever you like; though the structuring of the missions by the developers does tend to lean you towards sticking to the set path, with objectives often quite close together and not giving much

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space to think about turning to go elsewhere. The story levels themselves seem quite short and compact in this game, and the main story can be raced through in not a lot of time. Each of the Incredibles family can use their powers – Helen’s elasticity and Dash’s speed, for example – but they don’t offer much freedom in being used beyond the planned set-pieces, like Helen stretching through a grate to hit an out-of-reach switch. You don’t really feel too much like a superhero when heading around the city for that reason. But yes, it’s the LEGO gameplay we’re all familiar with by now. The thing is, with the LEGO games, if you’ve played a lot of them you probably know too much of what to expect at this stage. Whether it’s LEGO City Undercover, LEGO Star Wars or LEGO Lord of the Rings, each follow the same gameplay template with very little other than the surrounding character worlds to tell them apart. That’s not to say that LEGO The Incredibles isn’t a fun game when taken in isolation, but long-term players of the LEGO series won’t carry anywhere near the same wonder that they had when booting up one of the earlier titles. Getting the 100% is more of a grind than it ought to be. You’ll need to collect a heck of a lot of LEGO pieces to reach the total needed for completion – the balance should have leant further in the direction of the storyline and the comedy. Still, it’s undoubtedly going to be more than enough to keep young children entertained, and captures just enough of that Disney wonder to be worth a play.

Reviewed by Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

Verdict - GOOD! LEGO The Incredibles doesn't do anything new as far as LEGO games are concerned, but the Disney magic seeps through. These games work for their sense of adventure and their comedy, but they should have less focus on the grinding for bricks.


GOD WARS: THE COMPLETE LEGEND Sometimes more is not a good thing. od Wars: The Complete Legend comes to G the Nintendo Switch as an expanded port of God Wars: Future Past, which was released

At a glance Developer Kadokawa Games Publisher NIS America Release Date September 4th Price £35.99 | €39.99 Size 4.7 GB

last year. This version contains multiple story content across several campaigns, numerous improvements and several end game additions to offer players with a tactical experience that spans hundreds of hours. With so much to offer, can the gameplay hold up to keep the experience enjoyable for all those hours? The story of God Wars takes place in a world that features elements of Japanese history and mythology to tell the tale of fated princesses, powerful enemies and plenty of battles. Though the story starts with its focus mainly on Princess Kaguya, offering a compelling narrative to see you through the early moments of the title, it quickly becomes generic and dull as more characters are introduced. It’s not to say that the story in God Wars is bad, but it isn’t the best you’ll find in an RPG such as this.

You’ll find battles quickly become repetitive and as you will need to grind for experience, you’ll be doing a lot of them throughout your time with God Wars. The battle system offers more engaging moments as you lead your forces to victory in tactical turn-based combat in small floating battlefields. All making use of a grid system, players will be able to move, attack, cast and defend with a wide variety of characters, weapons and jobs that change up the strategy and gameplay massively. How you choose to develop and grow your character, be it through their skills or equipment, will have a serious impact on the gameplay and keeping a balanced team is key. Things will quickly become overwhelming though as you try to manage the main job, sub-job and unique-job of each

character all while leveling them up to stay in line with the ever growing challenges. You’ll find battles quickly become repetitive and as you will need to grind for experience, you’ll be doing a lot of them throughout your time with God Wars. Though small features such as the continuously refilling MP bars during battle mean you always have tricks up your sleeves, it is never really enough to keep battles from becoming dull. Thankfully, the visual and audio side of God Wars work well for the most part, if you overlook some of the voice acting which at times feel flat and emotionless. Characters look interesting, battlefields are readable, artwork is strong and the animated cutscenes are well produced. This makes the overall presentation of the title one of the stronger points about it, complete with a soundtrack that is fitting and enjoyable. Though there is no touch screen support, performance is solid throughout both in TV mode and handheld. Even with all the content that is packed into the title, God Wars makes it a serious chore to get to the good bits but relying to much on repetitive, lackluster design to fill out the otherwise boring narrative. The presentation might be nice for the most part and the core gameplay is functional, but the numerous systems on top of that over-complicated and drag out the experience bringing God Wars down to much. The title works, is fully functional and packed with content but sometimes quantity shouldn’t go before quality.

Reviewed by Nikholai Koolonavich @NikholaiChan

Verdict - POOR! If you can power through the dull and repetitive design of God Wars: The Complete Legend you'll find plenty of content. Sadly, this doesn't make up for otherwise lackluster title.


GIANA SISTERS: TWISTED DREAMS – OWLTIMATE EDITION Nothing but sweet dreams.

iana Sisters: Twisted Dreams Owltimate G Edition is an adventure/platforming title that owes its roots to the Commodore 64,

At a glance Developer Black Forest Games Publisher Handy Games Release Date September 28th Price £26.99 | €29.99 Size 1.3 GB

this entry is the follow up to The Great Giana Sisters which was released way back in 1987. I’ll confess, I had to do my own research on the original knowing very little but it definitely isn’t needed as the decades that have passed since make this sequel a new game in its own right. You play as Giana in your quest to rescue your sister Maria who’s been kidnapped by Gurglewocky – he’s that giant dragon you can see below! The game takes place in a dream world which is briefly explained just before you begin your adventure. There are 40 levels on offer plus additional content right from the outset, multiple game modes and collectables and one pretty unique game changing feature; the ability to morph between dreams. The game is presented in vast 3D landscapes ranging from idyllic beaches swarming with jellyfish to medieval castles home to a few dusty old knights. It’s a real treat for the eyes and you’ll be forgiven for getting distracted by the lush scenery. Giana has somewhat of a split personality though, she has the ability to switch between two different dream worlds and this is one of the most unique features the game has to offer. This changes the entire environment around you, including Giana! One side is filled with giant colourful mushrooms and

The theme throughout your time in the dream world is very cohesive. fluffy clouds and the other is a much harsher and darker environment where everything is withered and decayed. The switch (pardon the pun!) is completely seamless and there’s no disruption in game, you can activate this at any point during by tapping the ZR trigger. It’s really something special and watching a tree transform from a friendly green giant into a menacingly leaf barren monster never gets old.

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Whilst in the two different dream worlds Giana has different abilities, one is a spin jump which allows you to pirouette your way safely across larger gaps and the other is a burning fireball that helps you reach higher ground or otherwise inaccessible areas. Both abilities come in handy depending on the situation and you can only use the ability associated with whichever dream state you’re in. As well as changing the scenery and environment your enemies will morph as well, you’ll find doors opening, platforms vanishing and deadly traps appearing right before your eyes in one fluid motion. As you progress across each of the stages you’ll always be coming across new gameplay elements that keep things fresh and exciting such as a gumball machine that gives you the chance to float in a giant bubble, or tiny trampolines that give you immense jumping power. Each stage has collectable gems and they range from anywhere between 300 to 900 in total which is honestly quite an overwhelming number just for one stage at a time. If you’re out to get every single one it’s really going to test your platforming and sleuthing skills looking for the many hidden areas on offer here. As you progress across the four worlds the difficulty in possessing them all does become significantly harder and you may find yourself short sometimes. This provide a great sense of replayability for all you players out there who go crazy for collectables! As well as those you’ve also got hidden artwork pieces you can unlock by reaching secret areas and finding a larger cluster of gems in the form of a giant crystal. There’s usually around 5 or 6 of these on one stage, sometimes more, sometimes less but it’s a nice addition to include. Chuck in four differing difficulty levels, two of which are only available through meeting certain conditions, a Score Attack and a Time Attack mode and you’ve got a nicely rounded package that will keep you coming back for months. In order to unlock the Time Attack and Score Attack modes you have to complete each level


For those of you who aren't familiar, The Great Giana Sisters came out in 1987 for the Commodore 64 and I don't think you'll need to be a gaming expert to spot the similarities between this and a certain Italian plumber's debut. You collected gems (much like the latest iteration) and tried to gain the highest score by doing so once reaching the end of each level. Standard platforming for its time!

Jump forward 22 years and Giana Sisters DS is released in 2009 around Europe, featuring similar gameplay but with updated visuals but much of the same gameplay. The hook here was the added functionality of being able to use the touch screen and microphone making use of a variety of power ups. It received relatively good praise upon release.

on the Hard difficulty setting and this will then unlock each level within that mode. To unlock Hardcore difficulty you have to earn 4 stars on each of the end of world bosses and to unlock Uber Hardcore mode you have to beat every level in Hardcore difficulty. If you want to get every last penny out of this game, there’s absolutely gallons of content to uncover and explore and it’s clear the developers, Black Forest Games, have put a lot of thought into each aspect of Twisted Dreams.

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams launched in 2012 for all the current gen platforms including PS3, Xbox 360 and the Wii U. Breathing new life into the series with enhanced visuals and gorgeous scenery and that all important switch mechanic I talked about down (up) there. It's a credit to the gaming community as the game started off as a Kickstarter campaign, successfully managing to reach the $150,000 target!

with green toxicity, old tree’s become fossilised dinosaur skeletons and portraits depicting royalty become hideous monsters. The way they incorporate the music is very clever, when switching between dream states you’ll notice there’s a heavy rock undertone brought in with guitars and on the flip side you’ll get a very soft, generic fairytale sounding instrumental.

At the core of this game, you’ll find a deeply rewarding platformer with bucketfuls of charm and content to enjoy. It has a gradual learning The theme throughout curve and will provide a good challenge in your time in the dream parts for even seasoned experts, the music world is very cohesive, is a joy to listen to and watching the world you’re in a fantasy land transform before your very eyes never gets and the attention to old. Each new area you discover gives you new detail is most apparent sights to look at and new ways to play and when switching between if you want to see everything the game has the two dream states. to offer, unlocking every mode available and Even the smallest collecting all the gems will keep you playing details are incorporated, for months. In this package you’ve also got 5 ornate fountains become additional levels themed around Christmas and dilapidated and filled Halloween, a perfect October purchase I’d say!

Verdict - EXCELLENT! Reviewed by Toby Mortaro @Tobes325

Giana SIsters: Twisted Dreams is a fantastic platformer that will keep you on your toes, with multiple modes to unlock, hidden gems and artwork plus additional themed levels you've got the best package in the Owltimate Edition.


GOOSEBUMPS: THE GAME This is an R.L Crime.

don’t even know where to begin with this Iveryone. The Goosebumps property holds a special place in my heart. I, like many

At a glance Developer WayForward Publisher GameMill Release Date October 9th Price £29.99 | €29.99 Size 402 MB

other people in their mid to late 20s, devoured ghoulish tales written by R.L Stine in the early 90s. I loved stories such as Welcome to Horrorland, The Haunted Mask, Monster Blood and many, many more. I also watched the TV show religiously after school (and I still catch a few episodes now and then – thanks Netflix!) and seeing some of my favourite stories come to life on screen was, at the time, an incredible experience. Before Harry Potter came along, Goosebumps was my life, and kick-started an obsession with horror books and movies that has lasted to this very day. Now, I knew going into Goosebumps: The Game that it wouldn’t exactly be a masterpiece. Originally released as a prequel to the 2015 Jack Black movie, I wasn’t quite prepared for just how bad this game really is. It’s heartbreaking,

This is a perfect example of a game rushed out the door purely for the cynical purpose of squeezing just a bit more money out of fans. really. Developed by WayForward Technologies, it’s quite clear to me that Columbia Pictures approached the studio and basically said, “here, make this, and make it quick”. There’s no passion put into this game, no respect for the property. WayForward aren’t a bad developer, either – anyone who’s played The Mummy Demastered can tell you that. But Goosebumps: The Game is a perfect example of a game rushed out the door purely for the cynical purpose of squeezing just a bit more money out of fans. Taking place within a typical suburban neighbourhood, you choose to take control of either a boy or a girl which you can name yourself. The gameplay is very much a standard take on the

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Reviewed by Ollie Reynolds @Olliemar28

point and click adventure – you progress from screen to screen and move a painfully slow cursor to click on anything and everything that looks even remotely useful. Admittedly, there are a few ‘quality of life’ shortcuts available – rather than pressing A to bring up a mini menu prompting you to either look at an item or interact with it, you can simply press ZL to look at an item, or ZR to interact with it. Similarly, you can use the Joy-Con’s directional buttons to move to other areas with relative ease. The problem is, it’s just so bad from start to finish. Much of the experience revolves around reading text as you interact with the world, and it’s so unbelievably poor, it makes me cringe just thinking about it. R.L Stine will never win any awards for exquisite prose, but I don’t think even he would be able to cope with what’s written here. To make matters worse, the puzzles presented are shockingly executed – you’ll be using items in ways that make little sense, picking up other items that genuinely serve no purpose, and you’ll need to progress through dialogue options in just the right way in order to survive. One wrong move and you’ll die – but don’t worry, when you click on ‘retry’ you’ll be plonked right back onto the same screen, having lost absolutely no progress. No incentive, no consequence… no point. I could go on and on about how much this game disrespects the Goosebumps property, but all you need to know is that you really shouldn’t buy this game. Go read a book instead, you’ll enjoy it more.

Verdict - AWFUL! Goosebumps: The Game is the epitome of cynical cash grabs - a game riddled with poor writing, nonsensical puzzles and bland visuals, you'd be better off just reading the books.


THIS IS THE POLICE 2 Good cop or bad cop – it’s going to be hard anyway. hen the first This is the Police arrived W on Switch last year, it attracted some attention thanks to its unique approach to the

unlocking further traits. This adds lots depth to your day-to-day activities, but it comes with a terrible drawback. Certain situations will micro-management genre. Now, its sequel takes require very specific skills, but the game doesn’t pretty much every element from the first game give you enough information in advance. and makes them even more complex. Being a At a glance cop will be harder this time, especially when you Unfortunately, this also plagues the newest addition learn that having more isn’t necessary better. of This is the Police 2. Certain missions now Developer require your squad to work as a tactical team, and Weappy After events from the first game, the formerthey take place as turn-based segments in which Police Chief Jack Boyd went into hiding, you control each cop directly within a top-down Publisher but some events lead him into the police perspective. This welcoming addition plays similarly Nordic Games department of Sharpwood. There, he’ll try to to games like XCOM and Mario + Rabbits, however, Release Date help the sheriff Lilly Reed, who’s been struggling it suffers from the same excess of elements. September 25th with a violent town and an unsubordinated squadron. To perform the task, you’ll have to Your cops have traits that can be used during Price deal directly with the police squad, designating the turn-based missions, and they can also be £26.99 | €29.99 who’s going to work on each shift, who’s equipped with items such as batons, Tasers, and Size going to attend each call, and who’s going to guns. Thanks to that, you can really customise 2.6 GB investigate complicated cases. There’s a lot to your squadron to have cops with very distinct take care of, and each one of these activities play styles, which sounds amazing on paper. In has its own small details to be considered. reality, though, the lack of information obliges you to go on missions with characters unfit for the situation. What could be a fun strategic Certain missions now require your squad to work as a tactical team, and they take place as mission, then, often becomes a frustrating turn-based segments in which you control each attempt, doomed to failure from the beginning.

cop directly within a top-down perspective.

Just like in the first game, all the tasks you must perform will be represented within a scale model of the city. After you decide which cops will work on the day, and deal with all their excuses to skip work, you then must wait until calls from all over the town starts to pop-in. When they appear, you’ll have a short fraction of time to choose which cops to deal with the situation. Different than the first game, though, this time some very specific traits from your cops may alter the outcome of the situation. This happens because This is the Police 2 invests heavily on certain RPG elements. Cops not only have a star indicator for their general efficiency, but also unique attributes that can be upgraded individually,

Despite its failures, This is the Police 2 is still capable of creating some truly compelling moments, specially concerning its narrative. The distinct 2D art style from the first game is back, and now full animated sequences help to tell the story of Sharpwood. Sadly, in an attempt to add more to the basis found on the first game, This is the Police 2 losses some of its appeal.

Reviewed by Jhonatan Carneiro @JhoCarneiro

Verdict - GOOD! This is the Police 2 tries to take every single element from the first game and turn them into something more complex and compelling. While its distinct art style brilliantly portraits a narrative about crime and corruption, the new addictions result in a convoluted game, more frustrating than its predecessor.


BROKEN SWORD 5: THE SERPENT’S CURSE Murder in the art world. At a glance Developer Revolution Publisher Revolution Release Date September 21st Price £24.99 | €29.99 Size 5.6 GB

he Switch is becoming quite a little home T for adventure games, with the likes of The Wardrobe, Thimbleweed Park and The Inner

World releasing in fairly close proximity to one another. With so much to choose from, Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse needs to be extra special in order to stand out. As it is, it’s a perfectly okay adventure title that sadly falls way short of being a modern classic.

A little caveat before we get into things: this is the first Broken Sword game I’ve played, so I’ll be reviewing it purely on its own terms. Please bear in mind though that if you’re a fan of the series, you may get a lot more out of the jokes and references made throughout.

Broken Sword 5 starts off with our intrepid heroes hanging out in a lovely, quaint Parisian art dealership. A pizza delivery man enters and suddenly whips out a gun, taking out the gallery owner before stealing a rather valuable piece of art. So starts a rather longwinded investigation process, one firmly grounded in retro gameplay tropes.

Whilst the gameplay itself leaves much to be desired, the characters were pretty delightful and spurred me on to keep going.

you in the right direction, these ‘hints’ basically just tell you exactly what you need to do). I have to admit that whilst the gameplay itself leaves much to be desired (why do the characters move so slow?), the characters themselves were pretty delightful and spurred me on to keep going. I particularly enjoyed chatting to an elderly police officer who’s dedication to guarding a crime scene is admirable. However, talking to certain people is necessary to solving particular puzzles, so don’t be surprised if you hear the same lines of dialogue multiple times whilst you figure out what to do. Furthermore, the game actually forces you at some points to exhaust all possible dialogue options with a character in order to open new ones that further the plot. It’s needlessly lengthy, and I found myself losing interest rather quickly.

Broken Sword 5 undoubtedly looks absolutely stunning. The scenery bursts with colour and the characters themselves are so well designed – it genuinely looks like an animated movie. That is, until people start moving around – the animation in this game is stiff at the best of times, and it’s really a shame because it conflicts with the overall visual aesthetic so much. Thankfully, however, the voice-over work is pretty decent for the most part, and quite frankly I doubt you’d be interested in playing this kind of game for its technical prowess.

With each scenario that comes, you simply move As it is, Broken Sword 5 is a classic pointthe camera around with the right analogue and click adventure through and through. stick, and move a cursor with the left in order It feels both new and old at the same time, to examine various objects and interact with thanks to the lovely visuals and clunky the NPCs (though you can use the Switch’s gameplay. Fans will no doubt love it, but touch screen too, if you wish). So much of the newcomers may want to look elsewhere. scenery is basically useless, and it’s only through trial and error that you’ll eventually GOOD! come across something that Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's might help you. Thankfully, as Curse is a decent adventure title with many adventure games that fans of the series will no doubt of this nature, you can pop into appreciate. It looks gorgeous, but the pause menu and check Reviewed by Ollie Reynolds clunky, long winded gameplay design out the game’s hint system @Olliemar28 holds it back from greatness. if you’re struggling (although rather than gently nudging

Verdict -

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MARK OF THE NINJA: REMASTERED Ninja mastery. At a glance Developer Klei Entertainment Publisher Klei Entertainment Release Date October 9th Price £17.99 | €19.99 Size 3.7 GB

rguably the most important factor of the A stealth genre is allowing the player to feel they are both outsmarting each enemy that appears before them, all whilst feeling a bonafide badass. Very few games live in the upper echelon on the stealth world with the competency that, for me, Metal Gear Solid and Tenchu manage to achieve, but Mark of the Ninja: Remastered sits confidently aside them as one of the greats.

Being able to achieve this lofty task is no small feat. Considering the more restrictive 2D look that Klei Entertainment used, the masterful execution of the core gameplay loop – working out the optimal way to overcoming a challenge, followed by precisely operating your plan to perfection – is one that sinks into you and never lets go. Whether you opt for a stealth approach or go ninja stars blazing, that’s left to you; either path is viable at all times, and whilst one may be easier than the other in given situations, both feel just as good in the end. Visual aids of audio cues smartly penetrate the sturdy foundation laid out, and mitigate any need for audio to be enabled, a common necessity in others of the stealth genre.

Whether you opt for a stealth approach or go ninja stars blazing, that’s left to you; either path is viable at all times.

Whilst the gameplay isn’t easy by any means, added difficulty can be found throughout the levels’ additional optional challenges. These can range from the tried and tested “complete without being seen” to the more bespoke “interact with an object” varying from level to level. The rewards gained from obtaining a high score and completing said optional extras are in the form of medals, a redeemable currency that grants perks when exchanged. These can range from additional stealth-kill options to granting useful items that provide a unique spin on the gameplay formula, with my personal favourite being a Metal Gear Solid-inspired cardboard box. For all that shines within Mark of the Ninja, there are a few minor blemishes that linger in the shadows. For all the beautiful and gory animations found throughout, I was always left feeling that the variation between them was few and far between. The game also feels more at home docked, where the reflective screen of the Switch coupled with the dark environments make being mindful of your environment harder than it needs to be. Raising the gamma does alleviate this issue slightly, however. Whilst relatively minor grievances, they’re grievances all the same.

Mark of the Ninja: Remastered beautifully blends tight gameplay and bewitching visuals to produce the best 2D game in its ilk. In a year of stellar releases on the Nintendo Switch, it speaks volumes to say that this is a musthave, and you won’t regret the experience that Klei Entertainment gracefully present to you.

The story is interesting, but never carries the weight that other in the same category manage to achieve. This isn’t to say it’s not interesting, though; through the use of gorgeous animated cutscenes, the story is entertaining to watch but never quite engaging. It never evolves past its opening scenes, and the ending leaves a lot to be desired.But it’s Reviewed by never the driving force behind Nick Hanchet @NoodleSource your actions, so it’s easy to both forgive and forget.

Verdict - ESSENTIAL!

Beautifully animated and a dream to play, Mark of the Ninja: Remastered rightfully stands next to the greats of the stealth genre. Intelligent design choices build the foundation to what is one of this generations best releases, let alone remasters.


SIEGECRAFT COMMANDER Ready, Steady, Build! At a glance Developer Blowfish Studios Publisher Level 77 Release Date September 19th Price £17.99 | €19.99 Size 1.3 GB

he RTS genre by in large is one that is T largely uninviting. Deep and complex, often archaic in design, menus lay before you,

As you build your structures throughout Seigecraft’s copious landscapes, each come to life almost immediately and begin carrying out and seemingly build up a vast wall that only their designated task. Barracks start producing the most dedicated dare climb. Siegecraft knights that, should an enemy unit get to Commander doesn’t quite knock those walls close to them, attack on sight, whilst Mortars down but instead opts to make them that scan from left to right, looking to see if enemy bit less daunting whilst also offering various buildings or units are within a certain range; metaphorical ladders to help you scale the if so, they fire. The overly simplistic nature of surmountable task at hand. The design the various constructions mechanics makes philosophy seems to be one of accessibility, but way to unique strategic decisions, such as by a sense of depth is certainly present for those placing your units in a specific shape you’re that look hard enough. Rough controls juxtapose awarded stat bonuses to your troops. Oftthe rest of the experience, however, and as such awkward controls can make the experience can quite often making the method of controlling cumbersome, though, which lessons the gains your fortifications more hassle than it’s worth. made by implementing a low barrier of entry gameplay hook. Operational and camera controls The entry point for many within Siegecraft feel at odds with one another, and whilst you Commander will be the campaign mode, of which do get used to it, it’s not to say that the level of there are two separate campaigns to choose discomfort first experienced is ever forgiven. from. The campaigns don’t manage to differ drastically enough to be of any consequence, Multiplayer is where most of the enjoyment bar the choice of units and buildings to deploy, is to be had, and with two separate modes – and both follow the same structure with Real-Time and Turn-based – there’s something little variation. Starting with your base of for those that are accustomed to RTS’ and operations, you launch a range of pods that newcomers alike. It never varies enough spawn selected fortresses at chosen locations, to be a fully fleshed out experience, but it’s building connected walls that, in the latter sure to entertain, if only for a brief while. moments of campaigns, resemble intricate With elements of Siegecraft Commander webs of destruction. Certain rules follow the as a whole feeling at odds with each other, formation of further fortifications, such as it’s difficult to fully recommend. Whilst the walls not being able to overlap. To this point, main gameplay hook is both accessible and positioning is – for the most part – your number enjoyable, content feels light on the ground one priority when starting off. Should the and clumsy controls are found throughout. angle of the walls to two separate units be too acute, you won’t be able to build anything successfully in between due to the wall not being able GOOD! to fit. The game doesn’t inform Siegecraft Commander is a colourful, you of this through graphical easily accessible take on the RTS genre queues and will, therefore, be that beautifully blends elements of Tower something to judge for yourself. Defence titles. Unfortunately, variations Reviewed by Nick Hanchet in matches are few and far between, The aforementioned low entry @NoodleSource and awkward controls juxtapose the point can much be attributed easily accessible nature that Blowfish to the many Tower Defense Studios have managed to accomplish. genre inspirations that lay throughout your adventures.

Verdict -

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WANDERSONG It’s a Wanderful Life At a glance Developer Greg Lobanov Publisher Humble Bundle Release Date September 27th Price £17.99 | €19.99 Size 2.0 GB

andersong might be one of the most W joyous games on the Switch, and for a system that includes the likes of Super

Mario Odyssey where you can control a T-Rex with Mario’s iconic red hat and mustache, makes this quite a statement to proclaim. Greg Lobanov, the games creator, describes Wandersong as “a game where you use singing to save the world”. For an elevator pitch, that encapsulates the main objective of the game, but it is also so much more than that. Wandersong was such a surprise to experience, sure, it can be compared to other “art” games that are available, but it still feels like what we might expect from 2D platform adventure game. Almost immediately you discover that the initially nameless bard is not the hero of this world, in fact, you can’t even successfully defeat an enemy with the hero’s sword. All is not lost though, as it is possible, although by no means guaranteed, that you could save the world by putting together the “Earth Song” which might stop the universe from coming apart; but no one is sure if this will work. Throughout your

How does a bard, who isn’t a hero, and can’t handle a sword, use song to save the world? The short answer is magic! time with Wandersong your poor innocent – yet steadfastly optimistic – bard will be constantly reminded that they are not the hero, and to make matters worse there actually is a hero and her interpretation of saving the world is rather different to that of the bard. How does a bard, who isn’t a hero, and can’t handle a sword, use song to save the world? The short answer is magic! Yes, the bard is granted magical powers that utilise his singing skills. In practice, the singing mechanic

Reviewed by James Sweeting @CrazyBlue

is an interesting one as it is surprisingly versatile. In the earlier sections of the game, this basically equates to a “Simon Says” style of play where you match the colour of the notes to what is displayed by another character/ creature or from the environment. As you explore more of the world and its fantastical locations the depth of what you can do with the power of song expands; at times living up to its magical sensibilities. This gameplay, specifically the puzzles, aren’t perfect as quite a few tend to break down to educated guesses. But the logic behind them is mostly consistent, and it is always visually appealing. Through its musical based mechanics, Wandersong succeeds in providing something that borders on a pacifist experience that still manages to play upon tropes from different video game genres. This isn’t necessarily a critique, although it does disregard the notion of the hero that is typically portrayed in other games. The bard’s use of song instead of combat reflects the peaceful optimism that permeates this adventure in the face of adversity. Whilst there are moments that provide a slight challenge, this is mostly a laid-back experience, you are never punished for failing and are just allowed to continue as if nothing happened. There is no in-universe justification for this, but as the Western world becomes more toxic, Wandersong’s bright optimism is an immensely welcomed treat that verges on feeling like it is providing you with a form of therapy. Ultimately, Wandersong is the game we need, but not one we deserve; it’s almost too pure for this world.

Verdict - ESSENTIAL! A kind-hearted jaunty adventure that sees you try to bring the best out of those who inhabit the world. It’s not all song and dance though as it is a reflective experience that might just see you learning a bit more about yourself.


THE MESSENGER Zigged when you should have zagged?

At a glance Developer Sabotage Publisher Devolver Digital Release Date August 30th Price £17.99 | €19.99 Size 1.2 GB

shoot the messenger. I’m D on’t just here to give the review.

Yet another exciting console exclusive for the Switch, The Messenger from Canadian developer Sabotage Studio is another finetuned platformer with classic sensibilities. It’s been garnering a lot of attention and acclaim lately, and deservedly so, as it explodes the common traits of classic platformers, before meticulously reorganising them using modern techniques and methodical improvements.

The Messenger, much like similar indie hit Shovel Knight, is inspired by classic action-platforming games of the 8 and 16-Bit era. As expected you’ll be doing a lot of running, jumping and slashing, and there are multiple levels with traditional boss battles, but the game throws curve balls in its design with the way it subverts expectations. An early example of this is that alongside the well placed lanterns throughout, you can use incoming projectiles to give you an extra jump, forcing you to fight your intuition and jump towards them rather than ducking or avoiding. Mechanics and design choices such as these are refreshing and challenging to your preconceived cognisance of what is happening on-screen.

A classic 80s title retrofitted and augmented with modern trimmings and historical hindsight. Perhaps the easiest and closest comparison to The Messenger would be Ninja Gaiden, not least of which because of the protagonist’s garb, but this comparison is also illustrative of the strides the genre has made since then, and how this new game has taken classic elements and improved upon them. For example, whereas enemy placements in Ninja Gaiden could be annoying and unfair, with the knock back after hits resulting in you falling to your death, The Messenger transforms taking hits into an up-gradable skill, a ‘comeback’ mechanic that allows you to spring back into action when you would have otherwise tumbled to your demise.

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Clever solutions like this to niggling yet notable flaws make The Messenger a game that’s more forgiving and reflective of the modern day; still challenging but in the right ways.

The Messenger’s awesome soundtrack fits the screen-to-screen momentum of gameplay, making your increasingly skilled movements a rhythmic dance, but things get a bit more interesting when you shift into the 16-Bit aesthetic, as it ushers in those familiar Mega Drive twangs… A fundamental and purposeful spanner in the works, The Messenger‘s gameplay crux is a two-act structure that teaches you brilliantly. The first act is a linear experience, garnering skill in different abilities, environments, enemy patterns and alike. After completing the main map and fulfilling your prophecy as ‘The Messenger’, the second half then takes those lessons and remaps them into a branching exploration ‘metroidvania’, forcing you to use techniques differently in order to progress. Whereas originally you know exactly where you’re going and in what order, with this mode you at times have no idea which direction to go, and with the game opening up multiple portals at the beginning of its second act, there’s no right or wrong answer. Despite at times being a bit difficult to figure out what to do, the devs do a good job of subtly removing the training wheels before dropping you in at the deep end, and you’ll also discover new areas and collectibles via new time-shift environmental puzzles. The Sunken Temple stage is a great example of this, with the 500 year time shift switching between platforming that is on land and underwater. The latter half of the game introduces a ton of replay value with its branching paths and map, and as with any good platformer these days there’s also some lovely scalable difficulty for those wanting to test their chops. Power seals scattered around the map provide some controller-clenching challenges, similar to the optional strawberries in Celeste.


| MARK OF THE NINJA |

Those projectile-firing enemies too hard to hit? Shove them a shuriken from afar.

The tricks of the trade.

That platform just out of reach? Use your rope dart to grapple towards victory.

A young ninja sent on a quest through foreign lands to stop an evil demon by fighting his cronies and collecting musical notes to break a curse, The Messenger’s story is pretty trite, but it’s aware of such, and makes fun of itself along the way with some humorous dialogue and meta references throughout. The hooded shopkeeper, a character who will sell you upgrades and give you pointers during your journey, is written well and interacts with the character in a way that creates a fitting, lighthearted tone. The same is true of the other varied characters and bosses, who are each unique and funny in their own right. The gameplay should be taken very seriously, but it’s nice to know that the narrative doesn’t have to be.

Treacherous platforming ahead? Play it safe with the slow and steady glide ability.

points the loss of points is a better consequence of failure than a simple ‘game over’, and it’s funny getting some pretty discouraging and rude messages from Quarble every time you fail to stick a simple triple-somersault. Also, speaking of save points, The checkpoints are perfectly suited to the Switch’s handheld portability, allowing those on the go to jump in-and-out of gameplay without having to repeat sections.

The Messenger is an NES game perfected, a classic 80s title retrofitted and augmented with modern trimmings and historical hindsight. From fluency of animation, to more forgiving and fair challenges of skill, to simple nuances such as parallax scrolling and the little underwater effect the audio has when you go for a swim, it’s a delight. Parallax scrolling. I just wanted to say that.

Items and abilities that you gain along the way from the shopkeeper help you to interact with the platforming in different ways, eventually learning to pull off feats that truly make you feel like a ninja. Powers include shuriken stars, gliding, and even a rope dart, and it’s gratifying seeing your save file screen fill up with all your perks as you progress. In addition to this, The Messenger throws lives out the window in favour of Quarble, a demon that will bring you back to life if you Reviewed by die at the cost of your next bunch Ethan Hunt @genericcoyote of shards, or coins, or points, or whatever these arbitrary things are you’re collecting. It’s a brilliant update, as with the frequent save

Verdict - ESSENTIAL!

The Messenger stands alongside the likes of Shovel Knight as an example of classic platforming mastered. By retrofitting modern sensibilities, finetuned controls and deep replay value into the heart of a traditional game formula, it creates an experience that's nostalgic, yet new and exciting.


VELOCITY 2X Frantic space action at its finest. At a glance Developer FuturLab Publisher Curve Digital Release Date September 20th Price £14.99 | €19.99 Size 1.9 GB

f it were up to me, we wouldn’t segment IIt would eras of games into merely ‘retro’ or ‘modern’. still fall into two camps, though, but

something a little more like: the time before Velocity 2X was released and then the time after. How can a game warrant such high praise? Simply because once you’ve dived into the frantic, pulse-pounding shoot ‘em up action FuturLab’s game so expertly provides, you won’t be able to deny that what’s on display here can only categorised as a stone cold classic. The Switch version of Velocity 2X packs one hell of a punch. At its core, the game is a riff on the old top-down space shooter games of old – albeit with a few tweaks packed in. Those tweaks however, in this case, elevate this concept into something far greater. Rather than simply captaining a ship tasked with blasting away as many enemies as possible, you’re given the ability to blip and boost throughout 50 ever-scrolling levels. All these abilities combine to place you in full control of the action, outright testing your dexterity, manoeuvring ability and reaction times.

Velocity 2X is a more fullyformed experience than the first in every way. Velocity 2X sees you step into the shoes of Lt. Kai Tana, an amnesia-afflicted space captain in search of her past. There’s a surface-level story here that centers on her attempt to make it back home and break free from the control of an outside alien force, but this is all secondary to the bombastic and fast-paced gameplay at its core. It would have been nice for Nintendo fans to get the first Velocity game in this package, but they shouldn’t think they are missing out – rest easy knowing that you can jump in Reviewed by Aaron Potter and enjoy this slick, space-action

shooter. Velocity 2X is a more fully-formed experience than the first in every way. When played from a top-down perspective in your ship or in any one of the handful of side-scrolling missions that play out on foot, Velocity 2X places emphasis on getting you to move fast; gathering pods and destroying enemies while making it from one end of the level to the other in the best possible time. All this sounds very simple from the outset, but by the time Velocity 2X has slowly unveiled most of the tricks it has in store, only then can you start learning levels and perfect the nimbleness required to achieve the highest score. This is a tempting prospect to fall into, as levels never outstay their welcome and are easily restarted. I’d be remiss to not talk about Velocity 2X’s kinetic soundtrack: an outright feast for the ears that is best listened to in handheld mode, with headphones, in the heat of a bombastic run. As with a lot of future-set games the music is primarily synthy – but here it helps you to fall into the required flow of the flow generated, and not just simply superficial set dressing. Twitch arcade-style shooters like Velocity 2X are a dime a dozen these days, and part of me wants to think that it’s because Futurelab’s second outing with the format proved too perfect. If you’re craving a challenge that is frantic but fair, with a rhythm and flow that rewards time dedicated to honing your skills, there’s simply nothing else out there like Velocity 2X. It’s simply a crucial addition to every Switch player’s game catalogue.

@ItsMeAaronP

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Verdict - ESSENTIAL! Velocity 2X fires on all cylinders in every way, providing frantic yet fun space shooter action that is always a thrill to jump back into. Get the first game in the series onto the system, stat.


ULTIMATE CHICKEN HORSE With a “cluck cluck” here and a “cluck cluck” there. At a glance Developer Clever Endeavour Publisher Clever Endeavour Release Date September 25th Price £13.49 | €14.99 Size 849 MB

ltimate Chicken Horse is a multiplayer U party style game which will see you and your opponents racing across different

stages to try and reach the red flag. Of course, things aren’t so simple when you put it into action – there’s a host of deadly traps and pitfalls you’ll be having to avoid and they’re set up by you, the players. You can play with 2-4 people locally and then you’ve got the option of venturing online in single player. You’ll be playing 12 rounds, at the start of each one you’re given a party box which will have between 4-6 items and all you have to do is pick one. It’s here that things will start to get interesting, each player can only pick one item. In the party box you’ll find different environmental hazards that will either help or hinder your game. The aim is to place things across the stage to make other players journeys a lot more difficult.

Ultimate Chicken Horse is a niche title in the same way as games like WarioWare D.I.Y or Super Mario Maker. You can choose from four characters at the beginning and two stages, this will increase the more you play in the form of floating ‘?’ boxes appearing in a stage. You can unlock different outfits for the characters as well

but as they all play the same, it’s all purely aesthetic. The control method is very easy to get to grips with, all you need to do is run and jump and make sure you don’t die. The menu is a little awkward to navigate given the fact you can tell it was on Steam first, you have a mouse cursor and you move it with the control stick which isn’t the quickest or most intuitive much like the same style as Hover. Unfortunately the four game modes aren’t too dissimilar from one another either; you’ve got Creative, Party, Freeplay and Challenge and the only difference really is that Party and Challenge modes are a lot more competitive. Freeplay gives you the opportunity to scope out a stage and test out any traps or routes you may want to take and Creative is where you’re given the entire inventory as opposed to a select few. You’re able to customise your own stages which is a great feature. Even if you’re not that creatively minded you will find a lot of fun to be had taking on other peoples work. Your able to place whatever you want, wherever you want it and you can even extend the parameters of the stage to make them smaller or larger providing new challenges for players. It also gives the game a lot more longevity once you’ve unlocked all fifteen stages of the main Party mode.

Ultimate Chicken Horse is a niche title in the same way as games like WarioWare D.I.Y or Super Mario Maker. You will get out as much as you put in and for the creative minded you’ll have a field day. However with that said, the gameplay isn’t all that fun after a few rounds so provides light entertainment in short bursts.

Verdict - MEDIOCRE! Reviewed by Toby Mortaro @Tobes325

Customisable game modes and the option to create your own stages give Ultimate Chicken Horse a nice starting point but the gameplay on offer does wear a little stale after a few rounds.


PINSTRIPE Parental hell. At a glance Developer Atmos Games Publisher Serenity Forge Release Date October 25th Price £13.09 | €14.99 Size 1.2 GB

ow far would you go to save the one you "H love?” It’s a question that protagonists in video games seemed to get asked a lot. This

is most often due to the overt sense of altruism they typically need to exemplify; which, if written and presented convincingly, we as players should have no problem aligning with. Pinstripe is a 2D puzzle adventure game that throws us into this familiar scenario, albeit with a noticeably darker edge than what we’d expect to see – where things aren’t always as they seem.

Pinstripe sees you step not the shoes of former minister Teddy, whose everyday train journey is suddenly cut short after a demonic presence – the eponymous Pinstripe – kidnaps his three-year-old daughter, Bo, and he finds himself transported into the harshness of hell. From here it’s all about making your way through Pinstripe’s five or so hellish stages, solving puzzles and interacting with characters along the way. The brilliant thing about Pinstripe is that, for how dark and unsettling its world can initially seem, its story is an emotional one. Right from the off do you feel determined to soldier on and live up to your duty as a father, if only to prove the ever-taunting Pinstripe that he is wrong about you. The soundtrack and art style

Most of the delight found in Pinstripe comes from the eclectic cast of characters.

reinforce this, working as a cacophony of gloom that comes together to depict a version of hell we don’t too often see. Compared to the red heat and brashness of most other versions, this is a much more fairytale and folk inspired rendition. While Pinstripe may only clock in at around two hours’ worth of game, its puzzles are varied and challenging enough that you never feel short-changed. From collecting the full amount of frozen drops needed to charm over a train ticket salesman to shooting the correct code word needed to dislodge an extravagant Rube Goldberg machine using your slingshot – there are plenty of times you’ll find yourself scratching your head while trying to overcome the next obstacle, but never to the point of annoyance. Most of the delight found in Pinstripe, outside of the emotional through line, comes from the eclectic cast of characters you bump into while undergoing your hellish descent. Each is well-written, fully voiced, and have their own reasons for finding themselves within Pinstripe’s ghoulish world. This actually encourages you more so to succeed in the rescue of your daughter, as they continually gesture you to avoid succumbing to a similar fate to theirs.

Pinstripe may only be a short experience, but that doesn’t stop it from being an incredibly heart-wrenching and memorable one. By the time the game’s story comes to an end you feel like you’ve been on a journey yourself, fully taking up the responsibility felt by Ted in-game to redeem himself of past sins. It’s one of those rare indie adventure games that doesn’t feel tedious to the point of frustration, instead placing its heart on its sleeve and coming off all the better for it.

Verdict - ESSENTIAL! Pinstripe is a deliciously dark 2D adventure that places heart at the centre of hell.

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Reviewed by Aaron Potter @ItsMeAaronP


GUACAMELEE! SUPER TURBO CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION Guac is back for another dip At a glance Developer DrinkBox Studios Publisher DrinkBox Studios Release Date October 8th Price £11.99 | €14.99 Size 677 MB

hen DrinkBox Studios’ Guacamelee! W was first launched back in 2013, it was rather fortunate in that is was one of very few modern metroidvania games to be available at the time. Skip ahead five years and you’ll no doubt have seen that the genre has taken some hefty strides.

As such, with the release of Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition on Switch, it sees itself in the frankly daunting company of such games as Hollow Knight, Axiom Verge, Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon and The Mummy Demastered, all of which are stellar examples of how to do a metroidvania game right. Thankfully, however, Guacamelee! remains to this day a near masterful experience – one that is arguably at its absolute best on Switch.

is with its stunning gameplay mechanics. As with most metroidvania games, you gain various abilities as you progress, all of which are designed to allow you access to previously gated off areas and lay the smackdown on your enemies. Rest assured, though; Juan is no weakling at the start of the game – immediately after gaining the luchador mask, you’ll be effortlessly hurling enemies left, right, up and down. The game does a fantastic job of introducing you to the various movesets, allowing you ample time to get used to your current abilities before giving you a brand new one.

Outside the standard combat mechanics, there are various other bits and bobs to keep you busy. Part way through the game, you’ll gain the ability known as ‘Intenso’, which basically makes you super powerful, defeating enemies with ease. Upgrading this will also allow you to Guacamelee! sees you take control of Juan regenerate health, which is nice. You’ll also get Aguagate, an entirely unassuming farmer something akin to Metroid’s morph ball ability, and with an infatuation with El Presidente’s lovely using Intenso during this transformation turns daughter, Lupita. However, the evil skeleton you into a plucky chicken. Fair enough! Killing Carlos Calaca kidnaps Juan’s love interest and enemies also bags you coins, which you can use kills our budding hero. Sent into the land of the to either purchase new abilities, or a various array dead, Juan gains a magical ask, transforming into of costumes, all of which apply certain boosts a powerful luchador and sent back to the land or limitations as well as looking super cool. of the living to save El Presidente’s daughter. Graphically, Guacamelee! is absolutely gorgeous. The game does a fantastic job of introducing It’s one of those rare games that has such a unique visual flair, I don’t think it will ever age. The you to the various movesets, allowing you amount of detail put into the world is wonderful, ample time to get used to your current and the towns in particular are teeming with life, abilities before giving you a brand new one. with various shops to visit and people to speak That’s the general gist of the plot to get you to. If I had anything to complain about with the going, and you’ll see all of this occur within the game, it’s just a little bit too easy. Otherwise, this first five minutes or so. To say more would spoil is a game you need on your Switch – immediately. an otherwise wonderful story filled with outrageous characters. Make no mistake – Guacamelee! ESSENTIAL! is a hilarious game from start to Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship finish, and everything from the Edition on Switch is the best way to design of the characters to their experience DrinkBox Studios' best game. dialogue is made to make you I would have liked it to provide a bit more laugh. Mission accomplished, Reviewed by Ollie Reynolds of a challenge, but it's nevertheless a DrinkBox. @Olliemar28 stellar metroidvania from start to finish. The true magic of Guacamelee!

Verdict -


UNDERTALE A metroidvania focused on exploration! At a glance Developer 8-4 Publisher 8-4 Release Date September 18th Price £11.99 | €14.99 Size 181 MB

hree years since its original release, T Undertale remains a unique masterpiece. A game rooted in classic JRPGs but developed

by an American, a JRPG that doesn’t demand a hundred hours of your life, and an innovative take on turn-based combat despite the key message being that no one has to die. At first glance, the game may look basic, even ugly, but it has more charm and beauty than most cutting-edge AAA titles can dream of matching. Playing a human child who has fallen into the Underground, it’s up to you to find a way back up to the surface while encountering this world’s diverse population of monsters, who aren’t necessarily trying to hurt you. There’s traditional random battles but the way they unfold is anything but. Your attacks are fairly straightforward timed QTEs but when it comes to the enemy’s turn, these have their own unique variations which turns into a mini-bullet hell as your soul, represented by a red heart onscreen can avoid damage by dodging the white pellets and later a whole other barrage of shapes and colours.

But even though it spends a great deal of its time making you laugh, it also isn’t afraid to cross over to much darker tragic tones.

see multiple endings depending on your choice of play style gives you plenty of reason to play through it at least a few times, without the bloat of the grind. For those who grew up loving JRPGs but unable to commit the same length of time towards them, this is a huge blessing. And the jokes. There’s honestly not been a game that’s had me genuinely laughing out loud at such a regular rate as Undertale, whether it’s all the meme-worthy gags from skeleton Sans to the moments it playfully subverts JRPG tropes, from the first time you try to sell your items at a shop to how even the supposed big bad is by all accounts a furry pushover. That the presentation is overall lacking is of little concern when basic dialogue boxes and basic animations are still able to communicate comic timing and sight gags so effectively. But even though it spends a great deal of its time making you laugh, it also isn’t afraid to cross over to much darker tragic tones – in fact, the beauty is how well this is all balanced without any element distracting from or undercutting the other. This isn’t the game’s first port to a handheld device – that would be the Vita last year – but once again, I know I’ve said this ad nauseum now, Undertale is a perfect fit on the Switch, all the more so given how the game’s eccentricities are so reminiscent of classic SNES JRPG Earthbound. If you haven’t already fallen in love with Undertale before, now is the perfect time to get to know all the denizens of the Underground.

But if this wasn’t enough to show up the old-fashioned turn-based battles, what really makes Undertale special is that you don’t even have to harm any enemies. This game really does let you ‘talk to the monsters’, or indeed a whole bunch of other silly contextual actions that may get them to leave you alone Reviewed by Alan Wen altogether. Given that @DaMisanthrope it’s an overall short tale, the options to

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Verdict - OUTSTANDING! One of the most original modern JRPGs of all time, and beatable at the fraction of the time. Once you get over its primitive aesthetic, you’ll soon realise why everyone else has been so captivated by Toby Fox’s creation.


BASTION No, not that Bastion. At a glance Developer Supergiant Games Publisher Supergiant Games Release Date September 13th Price £10.99 | €14.99 Size 1.0 GB

astion is an action RPG set in a dystopian B world that is slowly crumbling away thanks to an event called ‘The Calamity’. You

play as a young boy who’s led on a journey by a mysterious narrator, all to restore a machine called ‘The Bastion’. Along the way you come across people like you, survivors, who are doing their best to live in a harsh world.

Bastion is the very first title from Supergiant Games, and one of their best. From the get-go, you are pulled into a story where you not only don’t have all the answers, but get a rampant desire to look in every nook and cranny to find them. Each level provides something different; a new enemy, a new challenge, a new weapon and a new part of the puzzle that will help complete the Bastion. If you’re worried about getting bored, then don’t be. You’re forever pushed to the limit, and with the level of variety you encounter, you’re simply never allowed to stagnate. Whether that is exploring, playing mini-games to get better gear or speaking with other survivors, there is always something to do.

There’s nothing more thrilling than fighting through the scraps of a destroyed civilisation. As you progress, the enemies you encounter will get more difficult – the perfect indicator that you’ll need to upgrade your arsenal. What’s more, the game doesn’t punish you for what weapons you choose either. Each weapon in Bastion is a solid pick – so take your time in choosing the loadout that’s best for you. Of course, if you complete the game and you feel like you’ve not had enough time to experience everything the weapons have on offer, New Game Plus fixes that. But what makes Bastion stand out from the crowd is how its

story, music, and gameplay blends together. Supergiant Games’ music has always been good, but with Bastion and its story, it is downright haunting. There’s nothing more thrilling than fighting through the scraps of a destroyed civilisation, uncovering terrifying truths and having a whimsical, heartwrenching song in the background. It’s rare for games to make the player cry and feel as though they’ve learned something about humanity. Bastion does that and more. There are just two complaints. After playing games like Pyre and Transistor, character interaction in Bastion is rather limited and usually revolves around you finding a certain item each level. While it gets you to talk to other survivors, the conversation feels more like world-building than an actual relationship. Because of that, conversations often feel static. The second is that the decision making feels like it has been tacked on late-on. Decision making in RPGs is to be expected, but Bastion’s implementation of it is so sloppy that I didn’t feel connected when making the decision. If I’d had the option to decide which route I’d go down earlier on in the game, I’d have felt as though my decision would have mattered more. Nonetheless, Bastion is a game that feels as though it was made to be played on the Switch. It has everything that makes up a great game but goes an extra step further to give you an emotional, exhilarating experience that makes it an essential.

Reviewed by Aimee Hart @honhonitsaimee

Verdict - ESSENTIAL!

Bastion is a thrilling action RPG. Supergiant Games' fans will love it, but it's definitely for those who want a story with incredible music, fascinating characters and incredible gameplay.


GAME DEV STORY Beat the industry at its own game. At a glance Developer Kairosoft Publisher Kairosoft Release Date October 11th Price £8.99 | €12.00 Size 197 MB

ave you ever wanted to make your own H video game? Well, now you can, sort of… Okay, well not really. But you can take

your fantasy that little be further with Game Dev Story. You might not have an actual videogame to show for your time with Game Dev Story, but here you can play around with different concepts for a video game and hope it can be as successful as possible. The core gameplay loop of Game Dev Story primarily revolves around the conceptualisation of a video game and then getting your handpicked development team to make that game for you as you make subtle inputs as the game is put together. Once the game has been completed (and preferably bug tested) you can sit back and watch the money come in; hopefully, as your game might have received terrible review scores, which could have a negative impact on sales. Regardless of how your game does, essentially you repeat the same process again and again and again. Yet, in practise Game Dev Story is not a tedious exercise in boredom like it might sound.

This format works great on Switch, even whilst docked where the crisp visuals almost sparkle on the big screen. For those who are familiar with Game Dev Story from its arrival in the West on mobile devices (originally a Windows game in 1997) the game has been polished since then and is now a streamlined experience which lends itself to the repetitive gameplay loop that is present. This format works great on Switch, even whilst docked where the crisp visuals almost sparkle on the big screen. It’s not just making video games though, as you can also take on contract work for other businesses, such as designing a team mascot or creating a scene

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Reviewed by James Sweeting @CrazyBlue

for an anime. These are useful for bringing in additional money between projects and have deadlines by which they need to be completed. The pay isn’t as much as what comes from developing a game but are necessary early on to help generate the extra income required to pay the upfront development costs required. Unlike contract work which – as far as the game is concerned – is basically profit, there are a myriad of different cost contributed attributes. First, there is the one-off (and expensive) cost of getting the licence to develop for a system, then each console subsequently has a different cost to develop on per project. Contributing to this is the different game type and theme which each vary in cost; what determines the difference in cost is unknown, but they often happen to be the more popular ones. Whilst it is up to you what type of game you concoct, ultimately it is down to your team as to how good it ends up being. For a while, your games will be mediocre because so is your team. But as you level up your staff and bring in new more talented individuals – all of which at an additional annual cost – you will see improved results. This, of course, oversimplifies the process of video game development. The repetitive loop will not be for everyone, the main visual reward is the opportunity to expand to a bigger office, but the satisfaction of making and naming your own video game can be enough of a rewarding hook for others.

Verdict - EXCELLENT! Game Dev Story might not satisfy the desire of making actual video games, but it is surprisingly good fun at playing with the idea. It has an addictive gameplay loop that has you saying, “just one more game”.


ART OF BALANCE A balanced opinion. At a glance Developer Shin'en Multimedia Publisher Shin'en Multimedia Release Date October 4th Price £7.99 | €8.99 Size 186 MB

ince Nintendo entered the digital age, S there has been one constant across all of its online stores. Art of Balance first came

to Nintendo as a WiiWare title, but since then it’s returned on the 3DS eShop and again on the Wii U. This latest arrival indicates that the game must be doing well enough to warrant a new go with the Switch audience.

weighing scales, dropping down with the weight of a shape before rising up again when you start putting blocks on the other tower.

You can’t simply pick up a shape you’ve already placed and move it – you’ll need to begin again from scratch if you want to do that, so the pressure is always on. Some shapes are clear and will either crumble from the weight It’s not exactly the same game, though – of the blocks placed on top of them, or selfdevelopers Shin’en Multimedia, of Fast RMX destruct after a time limit, so you need to fame, have now taken the game up to eight plan for where all the other blocks will land worlds and two hundred levels. There’s splitin that situation. After all, it would be far screen, local play and online multiplayer involved too easy if they were to be helpfully shaped too, allowing you to battle against each other in to just be placed at the top, wouldn’t it? a kind of frantic game of Jenga and hoping not to be the one to let the pressure get to them. Never before has a game managed to be so soothing while creating so much anxiety all at The concept of the game is simple and yet once. Art of Balance really excels in its physicals genius all at once. Presented with a bowl of work – never before has a game managed to water with a stand of varying shapes in the make such clever and realistic use of gravity, middle, you have to stack a series of differently for a start. There is a slight issue in trying to shaped blocks in a tower in the bowl paying place blocks side to side and touching each perfect attention to the balance so the tower other, which has the effect of an invisible doesn’t end up toppling into the water. Just one force pushing the blocks apart as soon as block falling off is enough to warrant a fail, so the you set them and can cause some serious placement of each block is of high importance. frustration – you need to focus on placing them In most levels, only some of your total blocks are and allowing gravity to pull them together. available to you from the beginning, meaning That aside, Art of Balance is an engaging, you’ll have to place blocks in order to have them unique puzzler (not taking into account its available, and then with each passing placed releases on previous systems, of course). It’s block, you’ll need to rethink your strategy. right up there in terms of Switch puzzlers.

Never before has a game managed to be so soothing while creating so much anxiety all at once. The formula is mixed up throughout the game’s series of eight worlds. Sometimes you’ll have to plinths in the bowl to place your shapes on, leaving the onus on you to cleverly arrange pieces to balance in between. In later stages this double plinths can act like

Verdict - EXCELLENT!

Reviewed by Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

Art of Balance is soothing yet infuriating in equal measure. You'll be compelled to power through and find the perfect balance in each of its levels, though.


THE ROOM Room for another. At a glance Developer Team17 Digital Publisher Team17 Digital Release Date October 18th Price £8.99 | €9.99 Size 911 MB

ne of mobile gaming’s major success O stories now has the perfect system on which to make the jump over to consoles for the very first time.

The focus in The Room – originally a 2012 iOS game which is under no circumstances to be confused with the 2003 film of the same name – is not on the room itself, but instead a treasure box of sorts, covered in all sorts of puzzle contraptions which open compartments. The sense of cracking a code and the level of achievement therewith is achieved quite smartly here – the game is split into levels, and you’ll see the makings of each of that level’s puzzles in their formative stages as you go, before they start to make sense later. Things like keyholes, missing cog gear slots and holes which are just begging for a shape to be placed in them are a sure sign of puzzles to come. And the puzzles the game offers are varied, despite the compact premise of everything being centred on the puzzle box. What The Room does very well is its feel of authenticity, with none of the puzzles too outlandish that you feel they wouldn’t feature on a real treasure

There’s only so much variation you can pull off with the tile-sliding. box. A looking glass contraption allows for a UV light effect, allowing you to see puzzle hints like fingerprints and other written clues. Otherwise, it’s easy to figure out what’s needed to be done in order to solve puzzles, it’s just a case of scouring the treasure box to find where the solution is hidden away. You’ll be taking on slider puzzles, guiding balls through mazes by rotating the circles which comprise them, and even

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at times peering through materials using the looking glass to pick up hints and solutions. While The Room is all about the brain work, you’ll never find yourself having difficulty to the point of being stuck. The game does let you fiddle around with puzzles for a while before the explicit option of using a hint appears, but even without using them you’re looking at a run time of a few hours. The premise is simple, but the developers are to be lauded for making the effort to fill in a backstory of how the puzzle box came to be – with notes written by its creator to be found throughout the puzzles, the game is given a distinct level of depth that sets it apart from other mobile titles of its kind. It’s clear that the Switch’s capabilities made it the ideal console for The Room’s console debut. There’s no traditional controller functionality here – on starting the game, you can choose between using the touch screen or using a Joy-Con. The touch screen was the more intuitive option if simply due to the accuracy of control, being able to quickly rotate the treasure box when needed and to pull sliders and flick levers with ease. It’s therefore a great title to pick up and take on the go with you as a means of showing what the Switch can do. The main drawback is the short run time and the compact feel, leaving the player wanting more. At £7, you can’t complain about that much, but in an ideal world, The Room’s sequels should be part of this maiden Switch iteration.

Reviewed by Oliver Roderick @olrodlegacy

Verdict - VERY GOOD! The Room offers intuitive and thoughtful puzzling, but leaves you wanting more. It would be great to see it bundled with its sequels in the future.


OVERCOOKED 2 SURF ‘N’ TURF The chaos in the kitchen continues as the chefs head to paradise. At a glance Developer Team17 Digital Publisher Team17 Digital Release Date October 3rd Price £4.99 | €5.99 Size DLC

found yourself finishing Overcooked Itestf2you and looking for more content to really your cooking skills, then you are in luck. The newly released DLC for the videogame titled Surf ‘n’ Turf takes our brace chefs on a whole new adventure to a tropic hub world where new challenges, kitchens, recipes and dangers await them.

Now right off the bat here I want to say that Surf ‘n’ Turf is hard. Be it on your own or with other chefs the difficulty level for each of the new stages is higher from the get go as opposed to the core game. For this reason I highly recommend you enter this DLC with some experience under your belt and if possible don’t come in alone. There is strength in numbers in these tropical kitchens. That said, it is refreshing to have Overcooked 2 try push the limit with what it can ask players to accomplish. The core mechanics have not changed much, meaning players can jump right in but the new kitchen layouts will test your skills and ask you to work more cooperatively than before. Maybe things will keep moving around or perhaps you need to throw items across gaps and holiday goers. Whatever the challenge might be you will need to stay on your toes to succeed.

If you need to clean plates and dishes but lack a sink then the water gun will help you there and the bellows can be used to heat up fire and speed up the cooking time. To help you out there is the new water gun and bellows tools that bring some new ideas to the kitchen and keep the action interesting and crazy. If you need to clean plates and dishes but lack a sink then the water gun will help you there and the bellows can be used to heat up fire and speed up the cooking time. Of course, this can cause a fire and Reviewed by

burn your food so pay attention and maybe have a fire extinguisher nearby just in case. In terms of new recipes, Surf ‘n’ Turf brings just enough to the table to keep things interesting without overloading players with too much information. The new combinations of existing recipes will also need chefs to pay attention as often a familiar order pops up but with a single item changed and if you are not ready it can cause chaos. As you might expect, not much has changed in the presentation department with Surf ‘n’ Turf keeping the charming look and feel of Overcooked 2. The new environments, items and new chef models all keep the cheery style going and it’s nice to see it once again. Sadly, some performance issues still seem to be present with the odd drop in framerate during play sessions. Though not enough to ruin the experience they were noticeable but hopefully in time will be ironed out. At the end of the day Overcooked 2 Surf ‘n’ Turf is a good follow up to a title that was already brilliant and chaotic. The adventure uses a separate save file and is a truly challenging one that players will need to work hard at to be able to master and come out on top. The experience is a decent size as well offering just enough without overstaying its welcome. With all that said, Overcooked 2 Surf ‘n’ Turf is a great add-on and is definitely worth checking out.

Nikholai Koolonavich @NikholaiChan

Verdict - EXCELLENT! Overcooked 2 Surf 'n' Turf continues the cooking fun with a brilliant DLC that is definitely worth checking out. Just make sure to bring some friends.


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DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS

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MAKING THE CLASSICS SPECIAL ack in September Nintendo launched its B long-anticipated Nintendo Online Service and with it, a catalogue of NES and Famicom

Written by Joshua Goldie @MrNantendo

games that those subscribed to the service got to play. Nintendo promised that these would be updated on a monthly basis. As of the time I write this, we saw our first update arrive in October with three brand-new games: NES Open Tournament Gold; Solomon’s Key and Super Dodge Ball. All classics in their own right but personally, nothing too special. But there was a fourth title added that is special, literally, and that is the Legend of Zelda: Living the Life of Luxury! which came with a big ol’ SP (Special) logo slapped on its virtual box. Now the existence of SP games was not a surprise. Back when the line-up for Nintendo’s NES Online was revealed some versions of Nintendo’s site briefly mentioned the SP titles we could see, with Legend of Zelda (SP) being listed for December. Obviously, this was pushed forward a few months, but while fans eagerly waited for this mystery to be solved, they continued to speculate on what makes this version of Zelda so… special.

Contrary to detractors, this doesn’t outright make the game pointless. None of the dungeons have been explored, none of the enemies have been made easier and you still have Heart Containers scattered around. And it doesn’t replace the original either, it is simply an easier difficulty mode that wasn’t previously present. But let’s not look back at a game that is already released but instead look forward because The Legend of Zelda (SP) isn’t the only special title Nintendo has up its sleeve. Rolling back to when this special game was accidentally revealed, The Legend of Zelda (SP) was not alone. Alongside it, spread out over the remaining months of 2018 we were also shown: Super Mario Bros. (SP); Super Mario Bros. 3 (SP); Dr. Mario (SP); Metroid (SP); Double Dragon (SP) and Gradius (SP). That is another six SP titles ready to offer players slightly new experiences and its these games I want to speculate about as some are very interesting.

As the Legend of Zelda (SP) is simply a save state that makes the game easier it’s logical to think this would be the same for the other SP games. For Super Mario Bros. (SP) the game could start players with the max amount of lives So, The Legend of Zelda: Living the Life of and maybe even as big Mario. It would require Luxury! launched and it was revealed that the some slight modification to the game’s data game was, in fact, a specialised save-state for the original Legend of Zelda that allowed players but nothing that a game genie couldn’t do in to begin with all the secrets on the map revealed the past. The same thing applies to the likes of Gradius (SP) and maybe even Super Mario Bros (but unexplored), gave Link the White Sword, 3. (SP) which could come with the added bonus Magic Shield, Power Bracelet, Blue Ring and maxed out all of Link’s collectables from keys to of offering a full inventory of power-ups (or just P-Wings like in the games second adventure). bombs to arrows. Players also began the game with six hearts and not three. In short, it was However, how would you make an easy mode an easy mode for the game, designed to offer of Dr. Mario? It could possibly reduce the games first-time players a new entry point into the speed but that’s not very interesting. It would game that was less terrifying than the originals be more interesting to do the opposite and have ‘dropping you in the wild with nothing at all’ a hard mode where the game speed is doubled, beginning. meaning players would have to think on their

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feet even more than they already do. It could offer the heart-pounding action of being a real doctor (ok probably not)! But this is a good example of one way that these SP variants could offer challenge instead of taking it away. Unfortunately, the idea above for Dr. Mario couldn’t be done with a simple save state and short of simply starting the player on harder levels (which would be really disappointing) there isn’t really any other options. So some bigger modifications would have to be made and this opens the door a bit. Like returning to Super Mario Bros (SP) for a minute. What if the SP mode was actually that modified version of the game found in NES remix. Where all the levels are mirrored and you must play as Luigi. That would be really cool to have on the Switch and offer a, slightly, new experience. They could even do this same thing for Super Mario Bros 3 (SP) and it wouldn’t require much work. It’s easier than playing the game while looking at a mirror anyway. But if we are modifying the game and not simply making a save state then Double Dragon (SP) has an obvious modification that could make the game significantly better. Due to NES hardware limitation, the original was missing one of Double Dragon’s biggest features simultaneous multiplayer. But now the game is running on an emulator on a Switch, a much stronger machine. Could we finally see Double Dragon life up to its name on the NES, 30 years after its release?

And how about Metroid (SP)? This one is a weird one as the regular version of Metroid wasn’t listed at all so perhaps it was a mistake? Well, I had one idea that could explain this. This list came from a European Nintendo site so we don’t know what the Japanese schedule is. We do know though that some originally Japanexclusive Famicom games will be coming to the NES online app thanks to the listing for Twinbee. So perhaps Metroid is taking a page from this. For those who don’t know there is one major difference between Metroid in the west and in Japan. In Japan it was on the Famicom Disk System and instead of passwords the game allowed you to save, much like the Legend of Zelda. So, what if, Metroid SP is the original Metroid game, possibly even in English, but with the ability to save Samus’ adventure. It might seem a little redundant thanks to the inclusion of save states but not everyone might use them and I find this far more interesting than the mundane easy mode, something that’s easy to accomplish simply inputting a password on the title screen anyway. Regardless of what they actually go with I am excited to see more of Nintendo’s SP games to see if they will all simply follow in the style of the Legend of Zelda: Living the Life of Luxury! By the time this issue of Switch Player Magazine actually launches we may be aware of what November offers and you may have read this article with a mocking smile as Nintendo proves I was completely wrong or maybe the opposite is true and I was right on the money with this one. Only time can truly tell and I pray Nintendo goes in the direction of interesting and unique experiences over understandable but dull easy save states.

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The day was December 9, 1993. A congressional hearing was taking place to discuss violence in video games and former chairman of Nintendo of America, Howard Lincoln, was making his statements. In a now famous quote, Mr. Lincoln declared that “[...] I want to state that Night Trap will never appear on a Nintendo system”. Fast-forward to August 24, 2018 and what game graced the Nintendo Switch eShop page? Night Trap: 25th Anniversary Edition. Thanks to Screaming Villains and Limited Run Games, many are either reliving, or experiencing for the first time, the cult classic FMV title. In addition to releasing the title digitally, Limited Run Games partnered with Screaming Villains to produce a physical version. Just recently, Limited Run Games began shipping out Night Trap physically for the Nintendo Switch as both a regular and “Classic Edition” collector’s edition. While the regular edition was an open preorder, the collector’s edition was limited to only 3,000 copies worldwide. Needless to say, it sold out very quickly! Retailing for $69.99, the collector’s edition includes the following: • Special packaging box • Night Trap regular game case with reversible cover art and full color manual • Official SteelBook case • Sega CD long-box jewel case with full color manual as well as a foam insert to hold the Switch cartridge • 18” x 24” poster • 48-minute film version of Night Trap on a VHS tape packaged in a library case

Were you a fan of the original? Is the Nintendo Switch version the first time you played as a S.C.A.T. agent? Did you pick up the regular, collector’s, or both editions? We want to know! Send us an e-mail or tweet!

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This FREE issue of Switch Player Magazine features the latest Nintendo Switch content including Dark Souls Remastered!

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