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Reviews

System: Switch
Release date: March 15, 2022
Developer: Mages
Publisher: Rocket Panda Games


Phantom Break: Omnia comes at a time when I believe there’s a resurgence of fighting games that not only revel in creativity and content, but take pride in bringing in a wider audience as to not feel left out. This doesn’t just mean making it easier to button mash – because accessibility does not equate to that – but the combos themselves and the understanding of the inputs have become streamlined and much more logical. Now with Phantom Breaker: Omnia, the game thankfully finds an incredible sweet spot of keeping things equal parts fun and approachable for all sorts of players while still retaining that exhilarating feeling and rush for those that want to excel in their style and focus on more ranked, competitive play.

System: Switch
Release date: March 10, 2022
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix


It takes some guts to release a Switch-exclusive kart racer on the same platform that houses the sales juggernaut that is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe; it takes even more guts to ape Nintendo’s kart racer so closely at a mechanical level that comparisons will be all but inevitable. Chocobo GP is the latest entry in Square Enix’s Final Fantasy-themed series of racing games, and it tries to set itself apart from the competition by including a fully-voiced story mode, a unique approach to power-ups, and oodles of Final Fantasy charm. Unfortunately, the slim track count and safe but unremarkable racing mechanics makes Chocobo GP feel inessential at best.

System: Switch
Release date: February 25, 2022
Developer: Gust
Publisher: Koei Tecmo


While the Atelier series continues to grow and bring in fans both new and old with each new colorful outing, protagonist, and luscious worlds we find ourselves on a journey with, there has also been a resurgence in some of its more seminal titles that helped bring the series to where it is today. With so many entries, characters, and overlapping stories set within particular worlds, each brings its own flavor and personality to the table. One such installment of the many Ateliers centers around Sophie Neuenmuller, the star of Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book. While games within the franchise have all been standalone, some of them have also followed a certain theme and world that they share. Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream now brings Sophie back into the spotlight and tries to offer a conclusion to the answers she was still looking for years ago. Not only does everything look great in this new engine, but it’s the most well-optimized and beautiful Atelier game to date on Switch, also containing some of the cleanest interfaces, polished battles, and vibrant worlds yet.

[Review] Monark

Posted on 2 months ago by in Reviews, Switch | 0 comments

System: Switch
Release date: February 22, 2022
Developer: Lancarse
Publisher: NIS America


The air hangs thick with mist, the shrouded school halls hard to navigate in the ever-present haze. You don’t remember anything. Not your name, your grade, or anything about what caused this to happen. You descend the stairs to clean air and students like yourself attempting to remain calm. Panic does no one any good, after all. The Shin Mikado Academy is enshrouded in a mysterious barrier, and its going to take a lot of work to get to the bottom of this ordeal in Monark.

System: Switch
Release date: February 15, 2022
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Koei Tecmo


Around four years ago to the date, Dynasty Warriors 9 released globally and introduced a new perspective for the franchise with an open world format, though the feature seemed partially unnecessary. It was a neat idea that was unfortunately poorly implemented and left a bad taste in a lot of players’ mouths. Could an Empires edition – which many thought would be skipped – be able to unlock the original game’s potential? I truly believe that was the plan, and though this is a version that’s packed with all the content and changes Dynasty Warriors 9 spent years building post-launch, Empires is just a stripped down reminder that the title had a lot of its issues deep-rooted in its foundation that simply can’t be changed by adding more stuff as a distraction, and to make matters worse, the Switch version is borderline unplayable with how it runs.

System: Switch
Release date: January 28, 2022
Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Nintendo


The Pokemon games have always been traditionally known for their turn-based “catch ’em all” mantra that sees a trainer take on a new adventure set in a region with many different types of creatures, attaining badges and friends along the way before making it to the Pokemon League and inevitably becoming champion. For over 25 years now this has been a steady formula with each new generation that has been consistently released in two separate versions containing different Pokemon in each, with sometimes a third tagged-on entry, and has also brought with it many new spinoffs to take Pokemon into a different direction. However, nothing has ever been done so drastically different as it has now with Pokemon Legends: Arceus. For a formula that has become tried with little known innovation outside of debut generations on each new platform (despite consistent fun) from entry to entry, this new Switch game reinvents the wheel of what Pokemon has become and can be moving forward in the most exciting way possible. It’s not just a matter of catching them all as a personal goal, but it’s also become a gameplay element that incorporates research into it as well.

[Review] Maglam Lord

Posted on 3 months ago by in Reviews, Switch | 0 comments

System: Switch
Release date: February 4, 2022
Developer: Felistella
Publisher: PQube


As a Demon Lord, Killizerk is a bit unique in that they can equip legendary Maglam weapons, a skill that is seemingly unique to human heroes. After being hunted down as a threat to all existence for this ability, Killizerk awakens in a peaceful future after being resurrected by loyal retainers. Gone are the gods and demon lords of old, and Killizerk is promptly labeled an endangered species that must be preserved at all cost. No longer can they hunt humans for magical energy or cause chaos for fun – this world now focuses on peace for all, and that means keeping icky monsters out of towns and working towards harmony for the humans, heroes of yore, and our surviving demon lord.

System: Switch
Release date: January 28, 2022
Developer: Team Ladybug
Publisher: Playism


Record of Lodoss War is one of the oldest still-running Japanese series a lot of people have probably never heard about. With media that includes not only video games but novels, manga, and anime, the franchise’s history dates back over three decades to 1986. While Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth is the newest installment in the series, it’s also nostalgic in a lot of ways, from its beautiful 2D pixel art style to its story.

System: Switch
Release date: January 5, 2022
Developer: Galdra Studios
Publisher: Galdra Studios


It’s hard not to respect a game that tries to punch above its weight and bring fresh ideas into a crowded genre; that alone was enough to get Arcadia Fallen on my radar. Developed by a small team and originally funded on Kickstarter, the game appears at first glance to be just another visual novel about magical beings trying to save the world, but Galdra Studios created something special by adding layers of decision-making and puzzle mechanics to what otherwise would have been a by-the-books experience. And while the individual elements of Arcadia Fallen’s presentation and systems lack the polish and nuance to match its ambitions, its heartfelt narrative and lovable cast of characters elevate the experience to something greater than the sum of its parts.

System: Switch
Release date: December 7, 2021
Developer: Deck Nine
Publisher: Square Enix


While the choose-your-own-adventure genre has evolved and continued to grow over time, its increase in popularity over the years has resulted in it becoming a dedicated place to tell some of the most emotional stories. These games offer tailored experiences thanks to the multiple routes, events, and endings that can happen from player to player. Life is Strange was a fresh take at the time from newly formed studio Dontnod Entertainment that told a slice-of-life story with slight superpower-esque flavoring. It also featured a teenage main character that immediately set itself apart from the other gritty, more fantasy-based stories within the genre, connecting with tons of players on both a personal and emotional level. With unparalleled writing and plenty of jaw-dropping moments that constantly had the internet talking about what was coming next, it quickly catapulted to the forefront of the industry. Life is Strange: True Colors now marks the latest entry of the franchise almost seven years later and does a few things differently from past entries, but this also marks the series’ debut on a Nintendo system and a relatively impressive showing at that.


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