Like its predecessor, Earth Defense Force 5 is a fine jumping-off point for newcomers to the series. The shooting remains as solid as ever, and the concept of mixing in loot drops with blasting large enemy hordes remains enjoyable, even if the whole package isn't as polished as expected from something with a cult following. However, EDF5 doesn't surpass the heights of EDF4.1 due to its flaws detracting from the progress of its improvements.
The Switch is already home to a variety of shooters, but Pawarumi makes a solid case for being a worthy addition to a shooter fan's library. The gimmick of having three different-colored guns and enemies makes the game more cerebral while also not punishing players who just want to stick with one weapon type. The three main game difficulties make it accessible to everyone, while the difficulty levels determining the number and order of the stages mean that playthroughs may feel familiar but not exactly the same. It could have used a few more modes to round out the package, but thanks to it doing just about everything right, Pawarumi is worth playing for shooting fans.
When compared to the other entries in the series, Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain is a major low point. The various changes that improve on the formula are outweighed by other design choices that actively hurt the title's overall appeal. The actual combat still has some of the magic the series is known for, and even if online co-op is barely there unless you coordinate with others beforehand, the game is still fun to play with friends. If you're new to the series, playing Iron Rain won't be so bad, but if you've already killed bugs several times before, this title won't be able to scratch that itch again.
Old School Musical is worth checking out for rhythm fans, especially those who adore chiptune music. The tracks are plentiful, especially once you conquer the second storyline, and each tune rocks. The controls are easy enough to master that anyone can jump in, and while the story can be all over the place in terms of tone, it remains satisfying once you beat the game. So long as you stay away from co-op, you'll have a good time with Old School Musical.
As stated in the beginning, Senran Kagura: Peach Ball is hampered by a lack of content. The five different storyline paths are fine, but the presence of only two tables hurts the game. The two tables are designed well, even if they're similar to one another, and the ease with which one can achieve high scores makes it encouraging for both pinball newcomers and veterans alike. At the moment, you need to be a huge franchise fan to pick up this title, but if you're a pinball fan who doesn't mind the overly suggestive look and the ridiculous story, Peach Ball is worth checking out if it goes on sale.
Even if Away: Journey to the Unexpected weren't a roguelike, it still has issues that would put it in mediocre territory. The main melee combat would be awful, the level designs would be boring, and the boss fights wouldn't be exciting. While some people may be fine with that, the forced repetitive nature of the roguelike makes Away feel unnecessarily padded, especially since parts of the title are too forgiving for the genre. It may look nice most of the time, and the story is so off the wall that it's endearing, but Away should only be on your radar if you can purchase it on sale and don't mind its baggage.
Neptunia Shooter gets the core mechanics right for an 8-bit shooter, and it adds bullet hell mechanics and character-switching to spice things up. It's length also isn't a bother due to the lack of continues, stretching out a very short experience to a more acceptable one for the $5 price tag. What makes the game feel hollow is its bare-bones approach, including the lack of music and a dearth of enemy variety. If you're willing to overlook this, you'll find Neptunia Shooter to be decent enough for a quick spin. If you're expecting something grand with the trademark Neptunia charm, you'll come away disappointed.
If you dismiss the more apparent flaws, then you'll find The Wizards: Enhanced Edition to be an average adventure title. The quest itself plays out fine and enemies are fun to defeat, even if they don't pose too much trouble. However, the accuracy issues are simply too great that they transform what could be a game-changing VR wizard experience into an exercise in flailing limbs. It isn't a terrible game, but don't expect something top-tier in the VR space.
Run the Fan does a good job of running with its concept. It's a simple game in execution, and it may not be the flashiest title, but it provides some good challenge without feeling impossible. It may not have anything beyond its campaign mode, but the level size is decent, and the fact that there's no other puzzle game like it on the Switch makes it intriguing. Given the title's very low price of $4, puzzle fans can enjoy Run The Fan as a good appetizer leading up to meatier puzzle fare.
Woodpunk is mechanically sound in the roguelike and twin-stick shooter elements that it mashes together. Its presentation is fine, and the difficulty is much higher than expected. It doesn't do anything that could be considered unique, and the co-op feels rather imbalanced. While Woodpunk may not be the first game to run to for a roguelike twin-stick shooter fix, it's a safe enough title that you won't feel so bad for giving it a shot.
American Fugitive is fine if you can overlook its slew of flaws. From shaky AI to an overzealous crime detection system and spotty controls, there's enough here to make one quit the game rather quickly. It helps that the core aspect of the open-world gameplay and the small town setting are enough to keep some people interested. If you really want a throwback to the old GTA system, then this will do, but don't expect something as polished and varied as Retro City Rampage.
The Switch already has a number of terrific fighting games, and Blazblue: CentralFiction Special Edition is certainly in the upper portion of that list. The more offense-minded system, along with the different control styles, make it great for fighting fans of all skill levels, and the deluge of modes means that it can take a very long time before you come close to exhausting it all. The best part is that relatively little gets sacrificed in the port, so there's nothing to reacclimate yourself should you decide to play this on multiple platforms. In short, CentralFiction is a must-have for fighting fans.
The SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is an essential title for retro enthusiasts. It may be very heavy on shooters, but most of the shooters here are decent. Meanwhile, the other genres represented have compelling entries of their own, but Street Smart can be seen more of as a curiosity rather than something you'd actually want to play constantly. It is the Museum mode, however, that makes this collection shine, as there is a ton of content here for retro historians. Anyone who likes retro games should absolutely own this title.
The story in Layers of Fear 2 is decent, even if you can see the narrative twist coming, but you need to sit down and analyze the pieces for it to really come together. The same tricks used in the original to distort the environment still work here, as do the jump-scares despite their predictability over time. The longer playtime robs the title of the crispness of its predecessor, while the element of an active pursuer doesn't mix well with the game's need for more involved door and switch mechanics and the precision needed to activate those action spots. It's still worth checking out for fans — but sometime later, as opposed to immediately.
The Hong Kong Massacre teeters between magnificent to mediocre quite often. Its gunplay mechanics are good, but the dodgy AI will ruin the experience due to your very high fragility and their impeccable aim. The levels look awesome at first, especially when the action gets kicked up, but the environments blend into one another after a while. The trial-and-error nature can get tedious, but if you don't mind that, then you'll find lots of high-tension action here. The Hong Kong Massacre isn't a must-have, but it isn't a bad title to play, either.
Rad Rodgers: Radical Edition has the basic building blocks to be a good throwback platform shooter, but it doesn't put it together very well. The shooting seems fine until you realize that most of the enemies are there only so you have something to shoot. The platforming is fine until Dusty gets temperamental in deciding whether to climb a platform. The Pixelverse sections are frustrating, the presentation feels badly done, and the extras don't add anything significant to the game. On a system with so many other better options in this genre, it's difficult to recommend this one.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 does everything right for a sequel to an excellent title. The core mechanics have been improved, so basic building remains engaging, while the minor issues with deconstruction and weapon management have been ironed out. This is especially true of combat, which feels much better than before. The addition of multiplayer is absolutely welcome, but it's limited to one island and there's no way to play the whole campaign this way. DQB2 is a treat that is just as good as the first game, and it's highly recommended for RPG fans with an itch for building and lots of time to burn.
Cursed Castilla EX remains a fantastic and tough platformer. The look is authentically retro, and the controls are as tight as ever. The challenge is ever-present, but nothing feels unfair, except for the requirements to get the "good" ending. The game feels like it comes in at just the right length. For adventure platformer fans, Cursed Castilla EX certainly belongs in their library.