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Reviews

System: Switch
Release date: November 5, 2019
Developer: SEGA
Publisher: SEGA


It is often said that there are but two certainties in life, being death and taxes. I propose we add a third billing to that list: party games on Nintendo consoles. There isn’t a single saggy financial quarter that can’t be pumped up significantly by the presence of a mini-game collection featuring Mario and company, and this Christmas, SEGA (in partnership with Nintendo) have answered the call of duty by sending Mario, Sonic, and both of their respective entourages to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The initial novelty and shock value of an official game featuring both Nintendo and SEGA’s mascots may be somewhat dulled since the franchise’s first outing on Wii in 2007, but you could say that this new entry is the series’ most fitting one: two monolithic Japanese companies paying homage to one equally gargantuan Japanese event.

System: Switch (eShop)
Release date: October 31, 2019
Developer: Atypical Games
Publisher: Atypical Games


Of all the genres most cruelly under-represented in modern gaming, I feel it’s the humble air-combat sim that tops the list. What was once a regular showing during the 90’s and 00’s has since withered away in significance, and outside of a handful of current and last-gen Ace Combat games, there has been little else to fill the void – especially on Nintendo’s hybrid console. As a result of this drought, I couldn’t deny my intrigue once I learned of Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders 2’s presence in the Switch’s release calendar. The mere mention of high octane dogfights and World War II aircraft are a sure fire way to get me interested (I may still be 12, need to check). What I failed to anticipate was the mobile heritage of the franchise that makes itself blisteringly apparent once you fire the game up.

System: Switch
Release date: October 29, 2019
Developer: SEGA
Publisher: SEGA


The Super Monkey Ball franchise naturally yields many questions. For instance: why are these monkeys locked in see-through balls? Why do they roll around at hundreds of miles per hour? Why do they live in hellscapes made up of floating physics-based obstacle courses? And perhaps most importantly, why would SEGA decide to remaster Banana Blitz, one of the series’ less popular entries, instead of the much more beloved titles on GameCube? Yet SEGA has indeed brought Banana Blitz back onto modern platforms with this new HD re-release after its first appearance more than a decade ago on the Wii. So now that everyone’s favorite primate-rolling franchise has finally debuted on current-gen hardware, the most pertinent question remains to be answered: does this new edition address the issues that plagued Banana Blitz’ first release, or does it merely monkey around?

System: Switch
Release date: October 15, 2019
Developer: Blizzard / Iron Galaxy Studios
Publisher: Blizzard


Overwatch took the world by storm when it released in 2016, and even now years later it has grown into a property worth billions of dollars. The Switch version sees its release in 2019 three years after its launch on PC and consoles, sporting newly featured gyro controls and the ability to make the experience portable. But as great as Overwatch is, are the sacrifices made to run on what is essentially a tablet worth it at the end of the day? Parity is key here, but Switch finds itself in a situation of the age old saying, “Just because you could, doesn’t necessarily mean you should.”

System: Switch
Release date: October 16, 2019
Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Game Freak


Little Town Hero is the most deceptive game I’ve ever reviewed. On the surface, it doesn’t look all that intimidating – this original RPG from Game Freak features a lighthearted story and cartoonish visuals, even claiming to be built with “the busy gamer in mind.” All that considered, it makes itself out to be a charming little experience. Yet beneath this welcoming veneer lies an extremely strategic combat system whose depth and complexity will likely prove overwhelming for all but the most seasoned roleplaying veterans. It’s vastly rewarding for those willing to dive deep into its dense mechanics, but for anyone looking for the lighter experience that the game makes itself out to be, then they might be let down.

System: Switch
Release date: October 15, 2019
Developer: CD Projekt Red / Saber Interactive
Publisher: CD Projekt Red


As I look at my Switch’s home-screen, I find myself questioning the reality of whatever timeline it is that I’ve ended up in. Super Mario Odyssey’s icon is nestled neatly between that of Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and I can’t quite figure out if I’m dreaming or if I’m just overtired. Existential nightmare aside, I’ve been tasked with reviewing The Witcher 3 on Switch, and despite having had months to adjust to the game’s presence on Nintendo’s hybrid, I still can’t quite wrap my head around the idea of it being real. Not only is it actually real, but it’s the full package too – the base game in its entirety along with every scrap of DLC – all present and accounted for, and all on a single 32GB cartridge. I have two questions: How? Followed closely by: How good?

Those that have played The Alliance Alive feel that its a standout RPG on 3DS. However, the game came out pretty late in the system’s life cycle, and may have been overlooked. It’s now getting a second shot in the public eye as FuRyu teamed up with NIS America to bring The Alliance Alive HD Remastered to Switch.

At the Tokyo Game Show, we were treated to a big interview with several developers involved with the new version. We asked about why The Alliance Alive is returning, what’s new this time around, and more.

Here’s our full discussion:

System: Switch
Release date: September 26, 2019
Developer: THQ Nordic
Publisher: THQ Nordic


Earlier this year, THQ Nordic treated us to a rather lovely Switch port of Darksiders – titled Darksiders Warmastered Edition – that proved, if nothing else, to be a bit of a technical achievement. Being a fast-paced hack and slasher that relies on precise inputs and visual cues, it gave Switch owners the choice of either playing the game at high resolution and 30 frames per second, or at a lower resolution whilst running at 60 frames per second. This choice, and the work that went into making it possible, resulted in a technically magnificent game that drew plenty of praise across the Switch community. As we near the all-important holiday season, THQ Nordic has decided to bolster its late 2019 lineup with a Switch port of the game’s sequel, Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition.

System: Switch
Release date: September 24, 2019
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami


Contra: Rogue Corps is a fever dream. It’s an unexpected revival of a long-dormant franchise in a new genre, one in which an cybernetic panda can tear through an alien horde while a shirtless soldier declares that “You know I had to do it to ’em” as he rides a rocket into said crowd of fiends. On top of this absurdity, it is also one of the blandest, ugliest, and most disappointing games I’ve yet had the pleasure of reviewing. But how did Rogue Corps go so wrong? Let’s review aggressively and find out.

System: Switch
Release date: October 1, 2019
Developer: Rebellion
Publisher: Rebellion


If you were lucky enough to first became acquainted with gaming during any decade earlier than the one we’re in now, then you’ll surely be familiar with a breed of game that has faded in prominence over recent years – “AA” or “Double-A” games. As budgets for both development and marketing have skyrocketed throughout the industry, little space has been left for plucky upstarts to cut their teeth alongside the EAs and Activisions of the world, no more so than when it comes to shooters. Developers often have to scale their projects and studios back, or submit to becoming a cog in the bigger machine through acquisitions and buyouts just to remain in operation. That hasn’t been the case for the rather aptly named Rebellion though, and their seemingly-ever-present tactical World War 2 shooter Sniper Elite. Over four main entries and a handful of spinoffs, Sniper Elite has managed to garner something of a cult following for itself, solidifying its position in the dwindling “AA” space – so much so that Rebellion has seen fit to bring not one, but two Sniper Elite games to the Switch this year. We now find ourselves treated to an “Ultimate Edition” of the third game in the series, but just how “Ultimate” it can be considered is ultimately up for debate.