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Pepper Grinder review

System: Switch
Release date: March 28, 2024
Developer: Ahr Ech
Publisher: Devolver Digital

Cute girls and giant drills are like the ultimate combination of adventure, cuteness, and the ability to get through just about anything. Pepper and Grinder are an incredible duo: a young pirate, Pepper has a dream to amass mountains of treasure. Her side arm and companion, Grinder, is just the one that can help her get it all done – able to blast right through the earth and find gold and gems galore. Together they make a pretty tough pair, but is their adventure worth all that sand?

Star Wars Battlefront Classic Collection review

System: Switch
Release date: March 14, 2024
Developer: Aspyr
Publisher: Aspyr

Back in the early to mid 2000s, Star Wars games were everywhere. Opening your bedroom window was enough to illicit an invading swarm of new software set in a galaxy far far away. Despite the influx of combat adventure games, kart racers (Super Bombad Racing, anyone?) and film adaptations, it was Pandemic Software’s Battlefront series that rose above the rest for nostalgic old sods like myself. The opportunity to freely explore movie-accurate locations and do lots of shooting in them was novel, and the original two games in the series were evidently made with a whole lot of love. While Pandemic themselves (and the Battlefront series) may be a distant memory for most, Aspyr has packaged those original two titles into a single collection for Switch known as the Star Wars: Battlefront Classic Collection – and the resulting experience is a bit of a mixed bag.

[Review] Unicorn Overlord

Posted on 4 months ago by in Reviews, Switch | 0 comments

Unicorn Overlord review

System: Switch
Release date: March 8, 2024
Developer: Vanillaware
Publisher: Atlus

It’s not very often you find a developer that is so truly passionate about their game that they will fund it out of their own pocket when the budget runs out, so determined are they to realize their creative vision that money ceases to be a factor. But this is par for the course for Vanillaware, who have delivered consistently excellent titles for over twenty years now. With Unicorn Overlord, a game ten years in the making, the company has crafted one of the most intricate, engaging, and mechanically dense tactical RPGs I’ve played in years.

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.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley review

System: Switch
Release date: March 7, 2024
Developer: Hyper Games
Publisher: Raw Fury

Finding out that The Moomins is not only still an active franchise but is in fact still doing quite well for itself is one of the more surprising things that has happened to me this year thus far. As a child of the 90s I have fond memories of The Moomins (both the novels and the 1990s TV series) and I was eager to revisit that world in Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley, which appeared to capture the essence of Tove Jansson’s original works perfectly through its beautiful hand-drawn art style and relaxed, adventure-focused gameplay with a melodic twist that complemented the titular Snufkin. The “cozy gaming” space is packed with top quality titles at this point, and although I couldn’t necessarily recommend Snufkin over some others to those without that sense of nostalgia that drew me to it on the basis of its gameplay, it is nonetheless a title I find difficult to fault and would urge people to pick up as few are as immersive or charming as this one.

Mediterranea Inferno review

System: Switch
Release date: March 5, 2024
Developer: Eyeguys / Lorenzo Redaelli
Publisher: Santa Ragione

Mediterranea Inferno is an intense visual novel to play through; despite technically being a slice-of-life story, it revels in its own nihilism and hedonism relentlessly, never letting up during its short runtime. Well, at least some of that nihilism seems to have rubbed off on me by the end of my playthrough, as I found myself wondering: what was the point of witnessing all of the suffering that Mediterranea Inferno so eagerly shovels at the player? For a game seemingly so focused on trying to utter profound social commentary on heavy themes like sexuality, psychological abuse and mental trauma, it disappointingly seems to have little to say beyond depicting just how low people can stoop and how crappy they can be to each other. A strong sense of visual identity aside, Mediterranea Inferno was a game that I actively did not enjoy experiencing, and I struggle to understand who this story is even for.

Bandle Tale A League of Legends Story review

System: Switch
Release date: February 21, 2024
Developer: Lazy Bear Games
Publisher: Riot Forge

In the wake of its tenth anniversary Riot Forge Games has taken League of Legends into some interesting places with a variety of single-player games giving us some alternate (and for those of us not into the MOBA, far more palatable) looks at the expansive world of Runeterra and its Champions. Partnering up with Lazy Bear Games, the studio behind the delightfully macabre Graveyard Keeper, now comes Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story, a life sim that forgoes the frenetic combat synonymous with the IP in favor of a more relaxed and cozy experience. Within the confines of the franchise it is certainly a welcome and refreshing change of pace, but when compared to its peers in the genre there are a few knots that will test your patience if you choose to attempt to untangle them.

Penny's Big Breakaway review

System: Switch
Release date: February 21, 2024
Developer: Evening Star
Publisher: Private Division

When the initial reveal trailer for Penny’s Big Breakaway debuted last year, it felt like the stars were aligning. Here was a small development team of die-hard platformer fans delivering a wholly original IP, fresh off the back of crafting Sonic Mania for SEGA. Killer looks along with subtle, stylish nods to their prior work enamored a clamoring and captious demographic. Even as a relatively new team, developer Evening Star has prestige streaming from their ears, and an expectant fan base to go along with it. Now the game has finally dropped, and the resulting experience might not be all we had held our breath for.

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.

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