Submit a news tip

Endless Ocean Luminous review

System: Switch
Release date: May 2, 2024
Developer: Akira
Publisher: Nintendo

As thoroughly as humanity has managed to explore the surface of our planet up through the present day, it’s a well-known fact that the vast majority of Earth’s oceans remain unexplored. And while plenty of games have sought to make tangible the feeling of exploring an underwater realm, Nintendo’s Endless Ocean series remains one of only a handful that focuses on our planet’s biology first and foremost. It’s been over a decade since the last game in the series, Endless Ocean: Blue World, released on the Wii; that game has held a special place in my heart ever since, so I was excited to see Endless Ocean Luminous announced for the Switch. In some ways, it manages to bring the series forward in exactly the ways I had hoped – its expanded focus on multiplayer helps the sprawling seas feel a little more lively and dynamic, and enhanced controls and visuals make the act of exploring more pleasant than ever. Unfortunately, as an overall experience, Endless Ocean Luminous is a significant step backward from its predecessor in many ways, resulting in a package that feels significantly shallower than I had hoped.

Princess Peach Showtime review

System: Switch
Release date: March 22, 2024
Developer: Good Feel
Publisher: Nintendo

I’m not sure if Princess Peach has a rivalry with Kirby or something, but she’s picked up a shocking amount of skills in the nineteen years since her last solo game. In short order, Princess Peach: Showtime tasks the Mushroom Kingdom’s longstanding ruler with displaying all sorts of feats of talent, from figure skating to baking to lasso-wrangling – well, either that or she’s apparently a really good actress. Peach’s second-ever starring role is an approachable, varied, fast-paced adventure with plenty of memorable moments, and while it didn’t exactly leave me hoping for an encore, it’s refreshing playing a modern Mario-verse game that shines the spotlight on someone other than the plumber himself.

Roman Sands RE Build preview

Roman Sands RE:Build is one of the strangest games I’ve played in a while, and that’s saying something, because I’ve played a lot of weird games lately. On a surface level, this first-person adventure appears to be an eccentric experience about performing menial tasks for the entitled guests of a strange luxury resort. It quickly becomes apparent that there’s much more going on behind the scenes: time seems to be looping, and also, the apocalypse might be nigh – or did it already happen? Despite having demoed this game twice now, I’m still not entirely sure what it’s about, but I can confidently say I’ve never played anything quite like it.

Two Strikes preview

Typically when I’m playing a fighting game, it doesn’t take much to recover from a sloppy combo or a mild beating from an opponent; there are usually plenty of chances to get my fighter back on their feet when my skills inevitably lapse. Two Strikes, on the other hand, isn’t quite so merciful. This upcoming fighting game from Retro Reactor promises exactly what it says on the tin: take damage twice, and you’re dead, often in gloriously gory fashion. I had the chance to demo the game briefly at Day of the Devs in San Francisco, and while I didn’t have enough time to get wholly acquainted with the nuances of battle, I enjoyed familiarizing myself with the tense, careful dance of Two Strikes’ vicious combat.

Botany Manor interview

Back in 2022, a cozy-looking first-person puzzle game named Botany Manor was highlighted during one of Nintendo’s Indie World showcases. I had an opportunity to preview the game at PAX West last year, and enjoyed its gardening-based puzzles and the warmth of its lush locale.

Ahead of its release for Switch on April 9, I met with the game’s creative director Laure de May at Day of the Devs San Francisco to chat more about her inspiration for the game, its development, and more. You can read our full discussion below.

Llamasoft The Jeff Minter Story review

System: Switch
Release date: March 13, 2024
Developer: Digital Eclipse
Publisher: Digital Eclipse

There have been some outstanding documentaries about video games released over the past few years, chronicling the development of major games like Psychonauts 2 and The Last of Us at a level of transparency that is quite rare in the secretive modern industry landscape. And while I adore these types of projects, what better way is there to experience a slice of gaming history than by playing through it? Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story is the latest attempt at an interactive history lesson from developer Digital Eclipse, and this project focuses on telling the story of the rise of the studio behind classic score-chasers like Gridrunner and Tempest 2000. This package compiles over 40 of Jeff Minter’s programs – not all of them are games, interestingly – alongside a swath of video interviews and documents to pore over. While I didn’t find every piece of the package inherently interesting, overall this a great glimpse into the mind of one of gaming’s earliest avant-garde developers, and there’s plenty of fun to be had along the way.

Death of a Wish

System: Switch
Release date: March 11, 2024
Developer: melessthanthree
Publisher: melessthanthree

As I journeyed across the nightmarish, apocalyptic world of Death of a Wish, slaughtering through the countless waves of monstrosities that crossed protagonist Christian’s path, my journey to help him hunt down the forces that had decimated this place became a substantially more mysterious one than I had expected initially. This may be a combat-action game through and through, but beyond its narrow and polished gameplay focus lies a narrative web of opposing forces that’s just as compelling to untangle, even when the power of its relentlessly brooding atmosphere begins to fade. Death of a Wish is tightly-designed, fiendish action experience that rewards players who fully engage with its mechanics and world building, and despite some missed opportunities here and there, I enjoyed the time I spent with it.

Ufouria: The Saga 2

System: Switch
Release date: March 1, 2024
Developer: Sunsoft
Publisher: Red Art Games

Back in 1991, video game developer Sunsoft – perhaps best-known these days for its Blaster Master series – was trying to get a new franchise off the ground, in part to help cement a new mascot for the company. Ufouria: The Saga was the result – a quirky 2D platformer whose main gimmick was its ability for players to swap between four different characters. While the game did well enough to spawn a series of puzzle games featuring the same oddball cast and charming presentation, the original title been almost entirely unavailable for western players outside of a now-inaccessible Virtual Console rerelease and a limited run in Europe. That’s why it’s such a delightful surprise that now, over thirty years later, Sunsoft has released a sequel – and fortunately, an excellent one. Ufouria: The Saga 2 not only tightly modernizes the satisfying gameplay of the original, but imbues its world and characters with a sense of whimsy and humor that had me smiling from start to finish.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong review

System: Switch
Release date: February 16, 2024
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

For as much as Mario’s continued success can be traced back all the way to his debut in the 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong, outside of the occasional professional sporting tournament, kart race or fistfight, he and the famous ape rarely share the screen these days as much as they used to. And it really isn’t Mario’s fault, now is it? How concerned can we expect him to be with a banana-obsessed gorilla while Bowser is off transforming into floating sentient castles in Super Mario Bros Wonder? That said, I’m pleased to report that the characters’ rivalry is still alive and well, brought to the forefront once again with this release of Mario vs. Donkey Kong. A remake of the titular 2004 Game Boy Advance puzzle-platformer that spawned its own series, this game sports both enhanced visuals and some new stages and modes. But is that enough to warrant a revisit and bring in new players, and how does this enhanced package hold up twenty years after the original?

Another Code Recollection review

System: Switch
Release date: January 19, 2024
Developer: Arc System Works / Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

It’s really a bit remarkable that, of all the long-dormant franchises Nintendo could have chosen to resurrect next, it was Another Code that they decided to give another chance. I’m totally here for it, both as a fan of narrative-driven adventure games, and as an advocate for the preservation and accessibility of older titles; I’m just surprised that it actually happened. Another Code: Recollection is a full remake of the 2005 DS game Another Code: Two Memories, as well as its Wii sequel, Another Code R: Journey into Lost Memories – the latter which never released in North America. While these puzzle-tinted mystery games have always been well-regarded by fans for their compelling premises and overall atmosphere, they never sold particularly well globally and generally received mixed reviews from critics; furthermore, the original development studio no longer exists, and both games were built around hardware features unique to their original platforms. Well, against all odds, we now have a reimagined collection of both titles sporting improved visuals and presentation, and even some narrative and gameplay changes. While I ultimately enjoyed my time getting to know the game’s charming protagonist and unraveling a moderately captivating mystery, Another Code: Recollection’s toothless writing and shallow moment-to-moment gameplay makes it a slightly niche recommendation.

Manage Cookie Settings