Review: Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Switch)

 

mario and sonicSega, on a roll, II: While its appeal might seem to be more towards super-fans and younger gamers, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 ($59.99) is quite a fun game overall for all ages. That said, you’d better have a few Switch controllers in tip-top shape and prepare to do a bit of of a workout with your fingers in some of the trickier events. 24 zippy mini-games are here with bright and colorful visuals and a soundtrack that’s suitably Olympic-sounding.

Nostalgic fans who may be a bit older or keen on old-school visuals will very likely love the retro 2D goodness found in the time traveling (via oddball game console trap) Tokyo 1964 storyline and its additional 10 events. The nice thing is the game lets you play through its story modes in order and also lets you have at it in any mini-games here if you just want to grab a few friends and family members (up to 8) and play together. Online play and cloud saves are of course, all aboard if you want to play with a few folks online. That said, it’s good to see the game supports couch play (something more games need).

While it’s kid-friendly, and only supports the less fancier means of control (well, Joy-Cons, motion controls, and some first and third-party game pads), the game doesn’t skimp on the challenge for new players in some events where every bit of precision counts. The 2D retro mode’s games are far easier, bit everything here is well done any guaranteed to get you grinning. You can stay on the couch, too in either mode, but prepare to work those controllers in some events where a bit of precise button pressing, some rapid jamming and other moves need to be pulled off. Notably, there are no voices for the characters outside some generic grunts, but there’s enough of a plot that ties things together if you’re into it and prefer not to skip through short cut scenes and dialog segments.

Switch_Mario&Sonic2020_02v2

Featuring… a cast of DOZENS!

Continue reading

Advertisements

The Wanderer: Frankenstein’s Creature – Arte For The Masses

Logo_Red

This one’s special, folks.

Publisher and co-producer ARTE and indie game studio La Belle Games have a really surprising treat for gamers and non-gamers who just might be intrigued by a wonderful take on a literary classic. The Wanderer: Frankenstein’s Creature ($15.99) is out now on PC and Mac on Steam and coming soon to mobile platforms in November. In addition, ARTE is bringing the Nintendo Switch version of the adventure in Q1 2020. There’s a playable prologue here (click, scroll, enjoy) that does a wonderful job of giving you a taste of the experience as well as introducing the writer and a few important acquaintances on one fateful night where a few terrifying tales were told.

Here’s a trailer to peruse – screens and game info are are below the jump.

Continue reading

Ghost Parade: If Ever There Was a Game Made for Halloween, It’s This One

ghost parade title

As soon as I saw Aksys Games‘ gorgeous looking game Ghost Parade (created by the fine folks at Indonesia’s Lentera Studio), I knew it was going to be something extremely cool and very Halloween themed with its mix of Tim Burton meets Vanillaware style artwork at the forefront. It’s also a peek into another culture, as Indonesian ghosts are the subject and yes, it’s a great thing to see some more of what’s scary overseas coming to US audiences. Granted, I’ve played a few games with some of that countries’ terrifying spirits or horror themes in them (DreadOut and My Lovely Daughter being the standouts), so this game is going to be right up my dark alley once I get to playing it.

GP block

Love the art style here.

Here’s a look at the trailer. The game is out NOW for PC, PS4 and Switch and Aksys has run a nice digital comic on the game’s official site.

I hope this gets a wide enough audience, as I’d love to see Lentera become a household name among gamers here. As usual, we shall see.

-GW

Review: Into the Dead 2 (Switch)

Switch_IntoTheDead2_01

Well, it’s a good thing that forklift isn’t a zombie. Uh, that’s a Killdozer reference, sort of.

ITD2Confession time (again!): I’d never heard of the mobile game or its sequel here until I fired up the review code I got for Into the Dead 2 ($34.99 digitally, base game), but that really made a difference when it came to my overall enjoyment of what’s here. Developer PikPok and publisher Versus Evil’s game is a pretty good one overall, with simple to grasp mechanics, great looks, plenty of levels and a few modes to kick back with for endless zombie-killing fun. The removal of the F2P elements is also a big key here because despite the cost, it’s actually a case where one is getting a better value on the Switch once you whip out a calculator and tally things up.

Yes, on mobile, it’s a free to play experience… at least if you want to play wthin the limits imposed on you and buy in for more weapons and content with cash. From a few spins with the mobile version this week thanks to a friend who’s got it on his phone, that mobile game jumps on your face with ads and offers for new content (as mobile games do to get you to spend more than that “free” you didn’t spend). Argh, but so goes some mobile gaming on devices.

Switch_IntoTheDead2_02

“Hold up a sec, pal! I’m NOT a zombie – I just spilled my coffee before I could even take a sip!”

The Switch port drops this in favor of unlocking content as you go with no payment needed (outside the 2 DLC packs) and you can play all 60 story missions and 36 side missions as as the previous areas are cleared, In Arcade mode, 21 levels await getting a set number of kills per mission to proceed. The two spends for digital users are the optional Night of the Living Dead and Ghostbusters-themed missions ($4.99 each), but those come in the physical version as part of the package for $39.99. You can actually save $5 by not buying the extra content separately and buy the $39.99 Bundle that has both the game and extra DLC as a digital or physical version, if you like.

Continue reading

Review: SEGA AGES Columns II: A Voyage Through Time (Switch)

Columns II artHoo boy, I’d forgotten how very hard the Columns series of games can be. But yes indeed, this port of Columns II: A Voyage Through Time ($7.99) from the SEGA AGES lineup comes highly recommended if you want a match-3 game that’s constantly entertaining while you get used to the ropes. Also included in this solid M2 port is a a Mega Drive/Genesis port of the original Columns, so you can get schooled by the AI in two games. The coolest thing about the sequel is M2 has wisely added a tabletop mode feature where the co-op play switches Player 2’s screen 180 degrees for face-to-face battles, quite a nice thing to see as an addition.

The game lures you in with some gorgeous art (a bit of lovely Mucha-like imagery for the senses is the first thing that greets you), but even at the easiest setting the game will beat you like an angry drummer or a polite Gene Krupa doing a rapid fire solo. Nevertheless, when the pace gets speedier you’ll be beaten like an egg here as you learn to play. This turns out to be a good thing, as the only means of seeing more here is by getting better. It’s funny that I’m using “git gud” for the second time this week, but like the last time, it fits the case. It’s a game that masters will appreciate, but those who haven’t the skills down will find themselves going to until (and past) the ending. Like it should be, coming back to the game that was giving you grief to one where you’re seeing how the AI responds to a better player doesn’t ever get old.

Columns II gems

Uh-oh, unless you can clear some gems out…

Continue reading

Review: SEGA AGES Ichidant-R (Switch)

Switch_Ichidant_03

“It’s a puzzlement…” (but a good one!)

ichidant_R coverAh, so that’s what it is – an arcade game that’s neat to play whether online on off, but playing with a friend is better overall when you share the fun. I actually have the Mega Drive import version of SEGA AGES: Ichidant-R ($7.99) here in the collection, but the Japanese was daunting and I’ve not touched it in a few years (Well, I know a little of the language since, but I need to practice more). Thankfully, finally getting the chance to play this (thanks, SEGA!) has made for quite the appreciation for its inclusion in the ongoing SEGA AGES lineup. In a great touch, there’s a Japanese Mega Drive port included in the price, so now I’ve been playing it and having a blast thanks to getting a handle on how to proceed flipping back to the new English arcade version when I run into a mini-game I have trouble with if the language barrier stops progress.

Some will think of the US Sega Genesis and Bonanza Bros., but that was a more  a straightforward side-scrolling shooter with the same quirky art style here (and some major story changes from the Japanese version that changed the main characters from criminals to detectives).

Switch_Ichidant_02

It’s the 90’s again (time travel works!).

Anyway, Ichidant-R is an arcade game where the same two characters get a medieval makeover and the setting is now changes to a castle where there’s a princess to be rescued. The gameplay also changes into a mini-game filled fun-fest that, thanks to it’s timed nature, keeps the pressure up throughout. While it’s a great game, having a friend to face off with makes this all the more enjoyable. M2 keeps it as the original arcade version, but adds the usual choices of scan lines and screen fit scaling if you want them as well as a few backgrounds to choose from. I played with then off because the game looks better without them, I think – but it’s your call if you like them.

Every mini-game requires quickness and most are fun to play, but the tense time limit sometimes makes figuring out what to do in a few seconds pretty tricky until you calm down and zen out a bit. Here’s a little sample of that to expect. The game rolls out and mixes up quite a few games randomly, but I want to save the fun for you to discover. For newbies, think of it as a Warioware or similar game, bit released long before. Yes, one caveat is the puzzles will get old for those who get too jaded to this stuff, but to me, the fun here never gets old with a game you can go to for some quick fun in short bits. I’d write more, but this one’s a no-brainer because the games adds some cool cleverness to the genre and is a more than recommended buy if you like these these types of games.

Switch_Ichidant_04

Ray Milland would probably have hated this mini-game (ha-ha)

Score: B+ (85%)

-Review code provided by the publisher

The Witcher 3 on Switch: Some Sort of Demon Magic at Work Here

Floored. I am totally floored at how the heck CD Projekt Red and Saber Interactive got The Witcher 3 squeezed onto Switch. Yes, it’s 30fps (mostly, but expect a few drops here and there) and yes, docked mode looks like the best way to play, but wow. While there are flaws to it, its simply amazing to see in action AND it has every drop of DLC content whether you get it physical or digital.This proves a few things about the hardware and ports, but as usual, some folks won’t see them because they’ll be busy kmcking this port instead of being knocked out by what went into getting the experience down on the system as intact as they could.

I’ll defer to the masters of over-analyzing, who give to you straight. Here are a handful of screens to look at:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

-GW

Qubic Games Is Having Quite A Sale

Qubic Sale 2

Got a Switch? Scratch that itch! Get some fun games from this list.

Nice, and nicer if you like deals and have other Qubic Games titles on that Switch, you can get other Qubic titles not listed here for half off on the Nintendo eShop. Don’t wait, though – these sales are only up for a limited time.

Blazing Beaks
NA – (October 11 – October 31)
EU – (October 11 – October 30)
50% off
7.49 EUR
7.49 USD

Warlocks 2: God Slayers
NA – (October 11 – October 31)
EU – (October 12 – October 30)
66% off
5.99 EUR
5.99 USD

Mini Trains
NA – (October 11 – October 31)
EU – (October 11 – October 30)
50% off
2.99 EUR
2.99 EUR

#RaceDieRun
NA – (October 11 – October 31)
EU – (October 11 – October 30)
50% off
4.99 EUR
4.99 USD

Wreckin’ Ball Adventure
NA – (October 11 – October 31)
EU – (October 11 – October 30)
50% off
2.49 EUR
2.49 USD

Akane
EU only- (October 11 – November 7)
60% off
1.99 EUR

Shipped
NA – (October 11 – October 31)
EU – (October 11 – October 30)
25% off
4.49 EUR
4.49 USD

Puzzle Book
NA – (October 11 – October 31)
EU – (October 11 – October 30)
25% off
2.99 EUR
2.99 USD

-QubicGames Team

As noted, there are some good deals here, so get yourself something (but don’t forget the kids if you have them, of course).

-GW

Review: The Tiny Bang Story (Switch)

The Tiny Bang Story_04

“Ma’am, could you tell me where you keep the puzzle pieces, please?”

Tiny BangWant a teased brain and some very pleasant and relaxing tunes to chill out to? Do you like puzzles and hidden object games? Well, here’s a game for you, then. Colibri Games’ The Tiny Bang Story ($9.99) finally comes to Switch and while it’s quite lovely to look at, some older gamers  (raises hand) might want to play it docked thanks to some very intricately detailed environments that make playing in portable mode a little tricky.

That’s not to say it’s unplayable undocked, mind you. This is a game where a larger TV screen not only shows off the great art to its fullest, some of the tiny details are harder to spot if you can’t see them (and there are a lot of tiny details here). I did make it through a hour or so through in portable mode before going docked and not looking back, but your own mileage may vary.

That and the onscreen pointer is super small, which helps seeing things, but also hinders things a bit because it’s so minuscule and you need to do a bit of hunting and pecking here. This is really the only “bad” thing about the game. Some of the search bits are yes, a lot of trial and error searching or tapping, but that’s par for the course in this sort of game. The puzzle portions are set up and balanced overall between those that make you think and a few where you might pull a few hairs figuring them out, but that’s also part of the deal you get with these games.

Continue reading

The Tiny Bang Story Makes the Switch

TTBS_artwork

Time to be royally puzzled!

Russian developer Colibri Games and publisher Ellada Games have a neat puzzler for Switch owners with The Tiny Bang Story, a game that’s had some solid success on mobile. As I don’t play mobile games these days (I play way to many console and PC games and have quite the backlog here), it’s the first I’ve heard of this. But it sure looks mighty impressive and yes indeed, my Switch is humming for the chance to play this.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The hand drawn artwork style is lovely here and the games wordless accessibility means just about anyone can enjoy what’s here. I’m into this, that’s for sure.

Here’s a trailer to tempt you with:

A review is in the cards, so check back for that, please.

-GW