Despite that, the sum total of my experience with Daemon X Machina is positive. The combat is amazing, the game is bright and colorful, the framerate mostly holds up in either docked or handheld mode, and the hangar is great to tinker around in, checking out all the different configurations of my mech. That's what I'm going to remember out of all of this, which is safe for me to say because most everything else in this game is pretty forgettable.
Flight School Studio has created an exceptional world to explore in Creature in the Well. Its prodigious art direction is enticing, wooing players into a unique puzzle game that very much feels like a history lesson on the medium itself. It combines ideas and concepts found throughout gaming into a single, dynamic experience with a memorable antagonist eerily watching your every move. I absolutely love it, but I recognize there is room for improvement. With a bit more variety in design and a fine-tuned difficulty curve, it could have been one for the ages.
Whether or not the fanservice is too much for players or just a natural evolution of the boundary-pushing booby game genre, one thing that is certain about Omega Labyrinth Life is that it is not that good. The dungeon crawling, which is how you'll spend about 75% of your time with the game, simply isn't up to snuff with its contemporaries and tending to the Grand Garden lacks the depth an activity like that should have. It's just a top-to-bottom boring experience, and no amount of lady spray on my Switch screen can change that.
But that toolkit is only half of the equation. The other half is a platform game with no quality control, no impetus for putting legitimate effort into your original designs, and no way to weed out poor content creators other than trusting that players will be able to discern the difference between a bad level and good level and rate them accordingly. Given how many positive messages I've seen attached to genuinely bad stages, I don't have much faith in the Mario Maker community right now and I question whether it'll get better down the line.
It's easy for me to say Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a good game because it'd be a lie for me to say otherwise. The groundwork laid by the first title is still sound, but it just didn't grab me the same way its predecessor did. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop playing anytime soon -- I still have my home island to complete -- but it does mean it's not going to get my undivided attention for weeks-on-end like the first game did.
Marvelous and Honey∞Parade Games' biggest mistake with Senran Kagura: Peach Ball was treating it as a budget title because it deserves so much more: more tables, more girls, more everything. Combining the cheeseball sexuality of Senran with pinball is perhaps the most brilliant idea this franchise has ever had and the execution of what is here is nearly flawless. But the lack of a diverse set of pinball tables and a curtailed cast keep Peach Ball from reaching the excellence it could have so easily achieved if the developers had more time and more ideas for what they wanted Peach Ball to be.
Outside of those pesky load times, it's hard to find fault with Crystal Crisis. This is just a well-made game, a genuinely fun puzzler that challenges players to imagine new strategies with every character they try. And with memory mode beckoning me to play again and again, I don't imagine I'll be taking up any of the other Switch puzzle games for a long, long time.
There is far more I can say about how much I love this game, including the audial delight that is Ludowic and Bill Kiley's soundtrack or VHS visual tricks the game employs as the narrative grows more fractured, but at this point, I've already gushed enough. It can be frustrating at times. It made me want to break my Switch in half. But even in its most aggressively exasperating moments, Katana Zero remains bleak, beautiful, bloody, and brilliant.
Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon Every Buddy!, with its thoughtful additions, is simply a better version of it. Hardcore roguelike fans may find it too forgiving, but for anyone unfamiliar with the genre, you won't find a better jumping off point than this.
Despite being in development for eight or more years, Dragon Marked for Death could have actually used more time in the oven. I'm sure there is a great game buried somewhere in there but between its lack of balance, less-than-ideal controls, boring levels, and unfortunate co-op requirements, the end product isn't nearly up to the level of the rest of Inti Creates's catalog.
It’s easy to look at Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn and still see the same whimsically inventive game Nintendo and Good-Feel gave us nearly nine years ago. The cherished basic formula is still there and it’s as charming as ever. Most of the new content only adds to what is otherwise a fantastic experience
Playing this game is equivalent to downing some orange soda and Cool Ranch Doritos while watching Rocko's Modern Life with the Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff playing on my parents' six-CD player. With a little more variety in objectives this could be the killer co-op game to end all co-op games, but even with the same basic goal each run, ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove is one of the illest, dopest, most hella fly experiences I've had on my Switch. And while I know that vernacular is terribly dated, it totally works when talking about this game.
Reverie originally released on the PlayStation Vita and PS4 in 2018. In the year since its launch, Rainbite added a new “nightmare” difficulty, item select wheel, new sprites, updated dialogue and a new mini-game for the Switch's Sweet As Edition. Those extras are nice, but they don't give the world the anomalous personality it needs. There's no part of Reverie I can point to and say, “This is bad,” as nothing it does would warrant such a label. In fact, most of the game is rather pleasant, but it's a type of pleasantry that dissipates the moment I set down the controller.
Could I have done that playing any other fitness game with the same intensity, or just by going outside and jogging every day? Probably. I know I could lose more weight if I paid out $50 a month for a gym membership, but the last thing I want to do after I get home from work is hit up a local 24-Hour Fitness. My life just isn't equipped to handle that right now. Fitness Boxing is a better fit for me and while I may not get the body of my dreams using it, anything is better than what I'm working with now.
As wonderful as the art and soundtrack are, and for as much as I enjoy the story, they can't quite save what is otherwise a pretty standard puzzle-platformer. The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince only ever comes close to meeting its potential in the final stage of the game, and that's not an exaggeration. Every time it flirts with some creative concepts, it quickly retreats to its quotidian comfort zone. I personally love this game because I enjoy a good fairytale, but unlike the titular prince, I'm not so blind I can't see everything that's wrong with it.
Not rocking the boat is actually a great way to sum up Etrian Odyssey Nexus. Atlus didn't set out to create a new, series-defining game with this entry, but rather a recap of the everything that's come before it. Being able to replay my favorite classes from the past is a treat, but it's really that spirit of adventure percolating through the entire package that has me hooked. That excitement, that sense of wonder, is why I gravitated towards the series nearly a decade ago and it's why I'll be there day one when it finally makes the jump to Switch.
It's tough to recommend this release to anyone who already owns the DS version, a game that is still completely playable no matter which member of the 3DS family you own. Everything that was great about the original is still great here. But if you're one of the dwindling number of people still rocking a 3DS and you have yet to take a trip to the bowels of Bowser, it's an unforgettable adventure full of wit, charm, and comedy. Bowser Jr's Journey may not add anything worthwhile in regards to gameplay, but it does reaffirm that the strength of the Mario & Luigi franchise lies in its writing.