After thousands and thousands of bugs killed, the infestation is seemingly never-ending. Rebooting the series with EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 5 is likely for the best, making it an excellent entry point, but also a familiar place to return to. It feels right out of a Syfy movie, but its lack of gravitas is what makes it all work. Sure it’s a little unbalanced, a little uneven, but it’s a whole lot of fun. Whether EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 5 is your first or fifth time with the series, you’re in for a great time.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is an excellent game in so many ways. It delivers on its promises and sets the stage for what I hope is more content to come in this new incarnation of Igarashi’s masterpiece formula. There has been a lot of outcry about the Switch version of the game, and it definitely isn’t perfect, but it’s playable for the most part. Would I recommend it over other platforms? Probably not, unless being able to play on the go is a priority for you. If Switch is your only system, then you should still absolutely play Bloodstained, but set your expectations accordingly. If anything, Bloodstained is a strong enough game that it is still worthwhile despite the technical issues it has on Switch, which is a testament to the highs it can achieve.
Depending what difficulty setting you select, Blazing Chrome can either be too easy or too hard, thankfully it is endlessly replayable alone or with a friend. Blazing Chrome is my favorite from JoyMasher yet, and it is on-par with the challenge of their other releases. This is a 16-bit game with an 8-bit challenge that makes for an instant classic. In turn, it stays authentic to the era in terms of difficulty, presentation, and feel. In Blazing Chrome's case, this is an exciting game that nails the era with an 80s and 90s feel that's perfectly complimented by its gameplay and even end-credits song.
F1 2019 has so many improvements, changes, and a overall fantastic feel. It doesn’t make you feel like anything was left out, and the extra DLC is just that – this is value-packed offering. Codemasters have blurred the lines between broadcast and gameplay, and it offers immersion on a whole new level. The interspersed drama heightens the stakes in all the right ways. F1 2019 is the spectacle it should be, just like its real-life counterpart. This is the best it’s ever been.
It’s hard to say much else about the game without giving away some fun story beats, but overall Mainlining is a fun game with great, consistent art direction and some very clever (and mostly faithful) old style hacking mechanics. While it almost certainly plays best elsewhere, the Switch version is impressively competent and it’s a great themed adventure that is both challenging and satisfying.
DeadToast Entertainment has made a game that builds on the systems and mechanics it introduces incrementally to the player. This is a game where you feel like John Wick, (or maybe Neo for a more accurate Keanu Reeves reference) by game’s end. The late game annoyances in platforming don’t sour what is otherwise and incredibly fun game where you’re in direct control of the action. The tagline is “Blood. Bullets. Bananas.” and that couldn’t be more accurate. Though, I’ll never look at a banana the same way again after experiencing the final level. My Friend Pedro is equal parts substance and style, with emphasis on the style.
There’s nothing cooler than seeing a Ferrari F40 re-imagined as a LEGO vehicle that you can not only drive but customize in Forza Horizon 4. In a lot of ways, this feels like a test for Playground Games to do a standalone LEGO racing game someday. As it stands, this is a great expansion for people of all ages, despite how displaced it seems from the rest of the game. LEGO Speed Champions doesn’t disappoint in its delivery, but it does feel like it’s taken a few missteps in the build process. Ultimately, this is a childhood fantasy come true.
Duck Game is out on multiple platforms, but with it being on the Switch now, you can take the Ducks on the road. So if you have extra joy cons or have friends that do, this is one of the perfect games to pick up and play at social gatherings. It’s a solid port for all your quacking needs.
MotoGP 19 has so much new going on that makes this a must-own for those following the franchise. The series still manages to lack a personality, but is now forming its identity with this release. The before and after TV-style presentation is really solid, but I wish there was more. Fans and historians of the sport will love the challenge mode, and everything it offers. If you've never played the series before, this is the year to get into MotoGP. MotoGP 19 has no shortage of simulation racing to be found in its multitude of well-rounded modes.
So should you spend your own hard earned coin on Blazing Beaks? Yeah, I do think it’s worth a home on your Switch. It’s a simple game to hop into for quick play sessions and if you got friends in the same room, why not give the co-op some loving. The game is polished, it’s entertaining, it’s got a quirky soundtrack, and controls well so why not let this bird out of its cage and into your Switch’s heart, or something bird pun related.
Shakedown: Hawaii is better than Retro City Rampage in just about every way, but they find a way to compliment each other. The game’s biggest strength is not relying on references, even though I miss them. The story is very guided by being very hand-holdy. I wish you were given more creative latitude, but that’s where the free roam and arcade modes come into play. With a styling akin to a Super Nintendo or Genesis console, Shakedown: Hawaii looks and plays amazing. It’s being ported to literally everything, and no matter where you play it: you absolutely should.
Overall, Rock of Ages 2 is a solid strategy game wrapped in a lighthearted package with a well-tuned sense of humor and some very well thought-out ideas. Whether you played the first game and are hungry for more, or are just getting into the series for the first time, Rock of Ages 2 will keep both your brain and your funny bone tickled.
Void Bastards is among the very best of the genre, and my favorite game of the year so far — it’s an instant classic. It’s as if you have infinite lives, and upon death you realize your save is 15 minutes old. Sure, you can’t pick up from where you left off, but it’s never anything to feel defeated about when you have to start anew. Blue Manchu has thought of everything when it comes to its systems and how they interact with each other. Centered around the story and progression, this is a wonderful experience. Without hesitation, Void Bastards is exceptional in every sense of the word.
Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain is more of the same Earth Defense Force, and that’s great for fans. You will still spend your time battling giants, trying the save the Earth from certain doom. Even for how cheesy the acting can be, for how slow it feels, and for how janky the animation looked, I still had fun doing it.
Hell is Other Demons offers two great, differing modes that will grab your attention, and hold it for hours. The aesthetic will almost hurt your eyes, but you’ll never want to look away from it as the soundtrack and accompanying effects both visually and audibly are tantalizing. Cuddle Monster Games has achieved something special with Hell is Other Demons. This is a devilishly clever bullet-hell shooter that you need to see for yourself.
If there is one primary take-away you should have, it’s that Image & Form’s attention to detail in their game design is exquisite, as it is hugely evident that they set out to create an RPG that focuses on the fun aspects of the genre and thoroughly eliminates the tedium which can so easily bog it down. Your time spent with SteamWorld Quest is time actually playing the game; doing battles, collecting loot, and advancing the story. The fun is all there, easy to access and unhindered in its execution. You have only to pick up your Switch and press start to experience it.
RAGE 2 is doused in neon, bright colors, and blood. This post-apocalyptic punk-wave world is an absolute blast thanks to the co-development of id Software and Avalanche Studios blending styles and ideas. I wish there were more main missions as they are often the most exciting part of the game, but this is a game where you make your own fun. It has a better and satisfying ending over the previous, and has a fully-realized open-world with things to do that doesn’t ever waste your time. RAGE 2 has been worth the wait. When combat is in full swing, its kinetic energy and momentum is the most stupid fun you can have.
Sniper Elite V2 Remastered has dated gameplay that’s a stark reminder at how much the series has improved with Sniper Elite 3 and Sniper Elite 4. When examining this game as a purely standalone experience, Sniper Elite V2 Remastered is a solid game that benefits from improved visuals and a way for those who haven’t experienced this series with a better way of doing so. This game’s influence is one to be remembered, and is captured so well with this remaster.
I feel like Starlink: Battle For Atlas has been overlooked, and very much underappreciated. It offers a fantastic space arcade experience whether you’re on a planet or in space, and the smooth transitions between each is ever so satisfying. I do consider the PC version the best and definitive way to play the game, with the exception of the Star Fox content you’d find on the Switch. It is also otherwise in full parity with the other console versions to include the support of the physical toys if you wish to go down that route. Starlink: Battle For Atlas is great for all ages, and has no shortage of content or enjoyment.