Foo. In addition to hating being ill, I’m kind of really hating on the general level of discourse we’re often forced into on random occasions when one is not even thinking of doing any feather-ruffling and someone you barely nod at gets their feathers quite ruffled. Boo. Anyway, some games are actually quite perfect at boinging away the nonsense thanks to crafty devs who just want to share what they’ve created with anyone and everyone who wants to have a good old time and maybe end a day with a smile. Submitted for your approval are the following indies, all at a nice enough price point to recommend to even the cheapest of cheapskates:
IHUGU (Nintendo Switch, $3.99): The first time I turned on Kool2Play’s simple and offbeat game, I was greeted with a quote from Ronald Reagan about peace that made me nearly spit out the sip of water I’d just taken. The second time I fired up the game, it was a quote from Jimi Hendrix that was in the same peaceful vein. While more or less a basic memory match game, the concept works well enough thanks to a wacky factor that more than makes up for its repetitive nature. Hug as many different folks as you can in assorted levels set around the globe and try for high scores by not hugging the same person twice. A few brief mini-games of the non-violent sort are dropped in every so often and are the same simplistic fun, but complexity and depth aren’t supposed to be strong points here.
Then again, the idea of a simple hug making someone’s day is almost a luxurious thought these days, a pipe dream of sorts if you think about it in this climate. But some of you may be very surprised to know that in real life this action (when done in a non-creepy and pure manner) is actually a great way to greet friends new or old. The game’s positivity and bright, cheerful visuals make it something to dip into if your day has been chick full of gloomy types angst-ing at your ankles with their low attitudes. Besides, you can custom create a bizarre looking character that only a mother would love who gets to spread a bit of joy as it zips from stage to stage spreading the love. What’s to hate about that? Also, the new 2-player mode is pretty neat for what it is even though the game never sets its sights above novelty status.
Score: C+ (75%)
Review code provided by the publisher
Awesome Pea (PS4/Switch/Xbox One, $5.99): Remember the glory days of hard as hell but stupidly cute Game Boy games galore? Well, Pigeon Dev Games and always-busy Sometimes You have got you covered but good with this infuriatingly great budget-priced gem. From the (optional) retro CRT look, excellent retro sounds and tunes, and pinpoint platforming skill necessary for success, this slice of cheap fun is quite the throwback where it counts.
Granted, if your run ‘n jump skills aren’t so hot, you just love hating old-school games with their cheapy-cheap instant deaths, or hell, you just hated peas ever since you were a child (your loss, pal!), you may want to pass on this. But I say take a chance and maybe if you have skilled kids around who like games in general, let them show you how it’s done so you can feel both a sense of failure as a parent in the age of gaming but also a total sense of accomplishment as your kids have skills they can likely build and and turn into a lucrative form of money generation should they pursue a successful career in game streaming online. Hey, you gotta plan for the future, right?
Score: B+ (85%)
Review code provided by the publisher
Tetris® 99 (Nintendo Switch, Free to Play, sort of): Well, if you thought an ever-expanding library of old NES games were going to be the sole reason to pay $20 for a year of Nintendo Online, surprise! Out of nowhere, Nintendo has released one game that justifies that fee and makes it worth running out and snapping up a Switch (well, provided you love Tetris and playing against the world in a rapid-fire series of matches).Veteran developer Arika has whipped out a game that’s almost too good to be true as well as one that will hopefully pop up on other platforms just so non-Switch gamers will pipe down about the exclusivity thing and enjoy it on some other system (with crsoss-platform play, hopefully).
While things can (and will) get hectic here, there’s nothing quite like pulling off a win or at least placing respectably high enough to end your day with a big ol’ grin plastered on your face. Yes, the competition is indeed fierce and expect to be tested every time you log in for a spell. But the experience is so engrossing that you won’t mind those utter defeats because they make you want to get better at all that block dropping stuff. Whether you’re new or old to this classic game, it’s worth the download just to see how brilliantly it flows no matter when you log in to try a session.
In fact, the game reminded me that my old friend Carol (Hi, Carol!) who I haven’t spoken to offline in years would probably absolutely LOVE this game because she was quite the Tetris expert back in the day and I bet she’s a bit rusty and might welcome the challenge this new installment brings to the table. Hey, Carol! Go get a Switch and I’ll be prepared to be totally bested online every darn time (ouch, ouch!).
Score: A+ (100%)