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Reviews

System: Switch
Release date: April 8, 2021
Publisher: Top Hat Studios


We’re always used to being adventurers – going out into the world to slay monsters, learn new spells, collect newer and better equipment, and keeping our party’s health up with items. After all, who doesn’t love a new adventure and fulfilling quests for rewards? But I have to stop and think sometimes: what is life like for all those supporting NPCs that you meet in every town? What’s it really like to be a blacksmith, an armorer, a magic instructor, or dare we ask – an alchemist? Well, luckily, Potion Party is here to answer that last question in the form of an alchemy simulator with cute pixel graphics with bright colors and fast-paced tasks.

System: Switch
Release date: March 30, 2021
Developer: Ghost Dog Films
Publisher: Wales Interactive


FMVs, much like visual novels, have always had that sort of stigma where those that weren’t open-minded enough wouldn’t really consider them to be true games, yet I guarantee every genre, regardless of what one’s feeling towards them are, has at least something for everyone that may surprise you – it’s just a matter of finding that right piece of media that’ll open the doors to help further spark an interest. While I haven’t played many FMVs, I can count quite a few that have all been fairly different from each other. Even if its live-action foundation may make it seem like a movie more than anything else, games like Erica, the controversial Phantasmagoria, and more set revolutionary ideas into place that made them much more than an interactive film. When it comes to the new Switch release I Saw Black Clouds, it finds itself in an odd in-between that goes from being mostly pure film to one with quite a few neat ideas that make it much more than a simple “choose an option” experience, and while I wouldn’t necessarily consider it fun in the traditional sense, as a film it can be immensely enjoyable.

System: Switch
Release date: March 26, 2021
Developer: Arzest / Balan Company
Publisher: Square Enix


When Square Enix revealed Balan Wonderworld to the world in 2020, I immediately felt that fans of 3D platformers would soon be experiencing something special. Not only did the game’s trailers exude a bold sense of style and charisma that felt genuinely endearing, but the game was also being helmed the creator of the Sonic the Hedgehog and Nights franchises. I was sold on the concept before I had even seen any gameplay – after all, with such an industry heavyweight leading the game’s development, what could possibly go wrong?

System: Switch
Release date: March 19, 2021
Developer: Kadokawa Games
Publisher: PQube


There aren’t many games out there that attempt to use the world of filmmaking and video production as a narrative backdrop. As someone who has spent his whole career working in said industry, I was excited to see Root Film – the latest visual novel from the up-and-coming Kadokawa Games, who also released Root Letter in 2016 – attempt to explore what I had hoped would be a unique spin on the murder-mystery genre. While the title attempts to craft an interesting narrative progression for this type of game, the game ultimately failed to hook me on its premise.

System: Switch
Release date: March 12, 2021
Developer: Artdink
Publisher: Artdink


The city simulator style of gameplay has been around since SimCity released on various platforms back in 1989. Since then, the formula has been used in a variety of ways to give players the chance to customize their own towns, homes, farms, and explore the concept of planning and managing bustling communities over the decades. Believe it or not though, A-Train’s series has been going on since before the Sim craze began, releasing its first game back in 1985 on the beloved NES among other platforms. Artdink’s long-running franchise has become a beloved staple of urban planning, and this release on Switch brings the storied history of the title to more people than ever before – but is will this management adventure become a tedious grind, or a relaxing past-time?

[Review] Gnosia

Posted on 2 weeks ago by (@LyonHart_) in Reviews, Switch | 0 comments

System: Switch
Release date: March 4, 2021
Developer: Petit Depot
Publisher: Playism


There’s an intriguing aspect to deducing fallacies, misconceptions, and lies that constantly keep us thinking deeper and trying to uncover any sort of truth in places where it’s difficult to do so. Crime thrillers and detective work have consistently been a genre and style of narrative that we gravitate towards as we feel as if we’re playing a part in what’s happening. Gnosia, which is being localized for the first time on Switch, offers that exact kind of experience. It brings with it a unique and fascinating dive alongside a new perspective into the visual novel genre by implementing elements not normally seen to keep it further engaging. Gnosia’s sci-fi visual novel mystery amalgam is excellent in every sense of the word, and its brilliance shines the further into it you get with each of its gameplay sessions.

System: Switch
Release date: March 16, 2021
Developer: 38 Studios / Big Huge Games / Kaiko
Publisher: THQ Nordic


Some games are like fine wine and age better with time whether through sheer nostalgia, groundbreaking ideas, or art direction while others are lost in the wind or just manage to barely stay alive through a small but dedicated fanbase. Despite originally being published by EA, Kingdoms of Amalur leans more towards the latter of having that cult following. While there are many reasons for this, the game was well-received at the time, though it wasn’t exactly brought up in conversation when discussing popular western or medieval RPGs. But now thanks to THQ Nordic, Kingdoms of Amalur gets another shot in modern times with a remaster that’s worthy of a second chance, even if it is visually untouched outside of polish – at least on Switch.

System: Switch
Release date: March 26, 2021
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom


Monster Hunter Rise has been a long time coming. With the continued success of the series on 3DS and the immediate, roaring success of Switch as a handheld and home console hybrid both in Japan and around the globe, a new entry in the series early in the console’s life cycle seemed like a given. While the system did receive an enhanced port of Monster Hunter Generations awhile back, the original Monster Hunter so many expected eluded the system for a number of years. Now finally, four years later, Monster Hunter Rise is set to deliver on those expectations.

System: Switch
Release date: March 23, 2021
Developer: Marvelous
Publisher: XSEED Games


Farming simulators are games that you either get or you don’t, and the evolution of technology has led to an expansion of the genre that has gone beyond the typical routine that involves simply planting a seed and selling crops. We’re now visiting these worlds where farming is complementary to everything else you can do rather than being the core focus. After having revisited the likes of Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town and Return to Popolocrois: A Story of Seasons Fairytale, it’s clear that Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is moving forward and embracing growth and change now more than ever, which mostly works to its benefit. However, there are clear inspirations from other titles that feel like a dull copy rather than a platform to launch off of. Either way, Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town does well to incorporate new ideas and polish up the old, while having a serene time playing in an environment I keep thinking about and coming back to, even if it’s far from perfect.

System: Switch
Release date: March 4, 2021
Developer: Jo-Mei
Publisher: Quantic Dream


After making only the faintest of splashes in its initial release on other consoles in 2019, the emotional indie game Sea of Solitude has returned on Switch. However, bearing the familiar “Director’s Cut” subtitle that can be found on so many other Switch ports, this re-release promises to add new features like rewritten scenes, additional voice acting, and refined mechanics to the base game. Whether this will be your first time setting sail or you’ve already voyaged with the game, the question remains: does Sea of Solitude’s Director’s Cut make waves in its Switch debut, or is it best left stranded at sea?