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Reviews

System: Switch
Release date: June 25, 2019
Developer: Artisan Studios / Compile Heart
Publisher: Idea Factory


Have you ever wanted Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, and SEGA to be personified as anime girls? If for some bizarre reason you answer “yes,” then the Neptunia franchise should be right up your alley. Since the release of the first Neptunia game in 2010, this Japanese RPG series has presented fanciful takes on the age-old console wars. With Super Neptunia RPG, the franchise finally makes its debut on a Nintendo system, as well as its first foray into 2D game design. While this latest entry features all the charm and fast-paced gameplay that make the series so endearing, the larger package feels so rough around the edges that it can be hard to recommend.

System: Switch
Release date: June 25, 2019
Developer: ArtPlay
Publisher: 505 Games


Castlevania has been an incredibly important series for the entire medium of gaming. It has also had a long, illustrious life and popularity due in part to longtime series producer Koji Igarashi. The terms Metroidvania and “Igavania” had since been coined thanks to Castlevania’s unique direction of gameplay that usually requires the players to uncover large sections of a map by simply exploring. A huge portion of the fun comes from uncovering the area and seeing how seamlessly it all connects with each other as you run into locked doors and keys in various rooms and levels that intertwine before progressing even further. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, the newest creation from Igarashi, would be a return to form to a more nostalgic time in video game history, with very little hand-holding and a freedom of exploration only interrupted by a player’s lack of curiosity. It’s without a doubt one of my favorite games to come out this year, but unfortunately, the Switch version of the game should not be the platform of choice when deciding to tackle an otherwise truly fantastic experience that’s been long overdue for fans of the genre.

System: Switch (eShop)
Release date: June 24, 2019
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom


The series has had a lot of ups and downs in the last decade, but there is no denying that as a whole, Devil May Cry is seminal – and arguably the godfather – of stylish action games that have been so popular to this day. The easy to pick up but equally as hard to master (and nonetheless an extravagant feeling while playing and joy to watch) hack-and-slash genre begins here, now playable for the first time on Switch. Having the ability to play Devil May Cry at home or on-the-go is as wonderful now as it was back then. It’s smooth, it’s nostalgic, and it’s as fun as ever on Nintendo’s console.

System: Switch
Release date: June 21, 2019
Developer: Beenox
Publisher: Activision


As far as remakes go, Crash Team Racing is top notch. The trick with this particular remake is that the team didn’t have to significantly change anything aside from the visuals. Originally pegged as the PlayStation’s response to Mario Kart 64, Crash Team Racing has always been the more evolved kart racer. The tracks remade from the original PlayStation 1 Crash Team Racing are faithfully laid out, and its original mechanics preserved. Even with the most recent game in its rival franchise, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe might be the more refined game – some might call it stagnant – but Crash Team Racing, faithfully remade, still feels fresh and ultimately more interesting.

System: Switch (eShop)
Release date: June 20, 2019
Developer: DeadToast Entertainment
Publisher: Devolver Digital


Let me begin with a full disclosure: I have never used hallucinogenic drugs in my life, and after playing My Friend Pedro, I don’t think I’ll ever need to. It’s a game where you can take commands from a talking banana, explore the inner psyche of said banana, and slow down time to gun down your enemies with all the grace of a ballet dancer. This latest release from darling indie publisher Devolver Digital is unabashedly weird, violent, and, in its own strange way, beautiful. The experience may be over far too soon, but this potassium-packed shoot’em up still manages to create a truly appealing experience.

System: Switch
Release date: June 11, 2019
Developer: King Art
Publisher: THQ Nordic


Nintendo has always stood apart in the games industry for its dedication to creating games that can be enjoyed by players of all skill levels. Brilliant titles like Super Mario Odyssey can spark joy in players regardless of whether they’re five or fifty-five years old. However, there are also developers who adopt a contrasting mentality. Their games aren’t designed for everyone – instead, they’re created for very specific audiences with very specific preferences. Battle Worlds: Kronos is a prime example of this. This turn-based strategy game is designed explicitly for longtime fans of its genre, featuring hardcore difficulty and massive scale. Its sprawling complexity is sure to please its audience, but it doesn’t do much to appeal to anybody outside this demographic.

System: Switch
Release date: May 21, 2019
Developer: Gust
Publisher: Koei Tecmo


Since 1997 the Atelier series has seen yearly installments that have given us a world of magic and alchemists alongside the adventures they go through. Each game has followed a new character and her evolution into becoming a legendary alchemist while learning about themselves along the way. Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland continues that trend but also changes things up in a lot of ways compared to other titles by introducing fresh new mechanics with its synthesizing, exploration, and battles, while also incorporating quality of life enhancements from the recent entries in the series.

System: Switch
Release date: May 21, 2019
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft


Do you remember your first experience with Assassins Creed? The inaugural entry in Ubisoft’s hit series was a driving force of the Xbox 360 and PS3’s launch – a bold new idea with ample room to innovate and expand over the course of a generation. Since then we’ve sliced and swan-dived our way through key moments in history, with a personal highlight being the swashbuckling antics of Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag. We’ve also seen a near complete shift in the franchise’s framework with recent entries Assassin’s Creed Origins and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which renewed interest considerably for current-gen console owners. With such a wide ranging suite of ideas, concepts and executions at hand, it strikes me as odd that Ubisoft have chosen to bring such a divisive snapshot of the series’ history to the Switch.

System: Switch
Release date: May 21, 2019
Developer: Sumo Digital
Publisher: SEGA


By its very nature, a Sonic racing game is a strange prospect. If Sonic can run around at the speed of sound, why would he even need to use a racecar to go fast in the first place? However, this discrepancy hasn’t stopped SEGA from pumping out Sonic-themed racing games over the years, from Sonic R all the way back on the ill-fated Sega Saturn to 2012’s acclaimed Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. Team Sonic Racing is the series’ latest motorsports effort, and while it certainly won’t challenge Mario Kart’s status as the supreme kart racer on the market, it still provides plenty of racing thrills for everyone to enjoy, as well as some special nods for longtime fans.

System: Switch
Release date: May 28, 2019
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America


Games are often praised for the depth and variety of their content. Nintendo fans will surely remember how Breath of the Wild was widely praised for shaking up the Zelda series by providing incredible amounts of different things to do and experience. But not every game has to provide such diversity; some can thrive by doing a single thing and doing it well. Lapis x Labyrinth, the latest anime action RPG from Nippon Ichi Software, aims to be an example of the strength of streamlined game design with its single-minded emphasis on loot grinding combat and character-stacking party formations. Unfortunately, while there is a solid core gameplay loop to be found here, it’s let down by the game’s incredibly repetitive structure and boring level design, leading to an experience that frequently feels more frustrating than focused.