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Reviews

lost ruins review

System: Switch
Release Date: June 6, 2022
Developer: Altari Games
Publisher: Dangen Entertainment


As I navigated the dark, sprawling catacombs and trap-filled dungeons of Lost Ruins, I was always deftly aware of the stakes at play. My protagonist – a plucky, somewhat oblivious schoolgirl who had somehow gotten herself transported to this strange land – was almost always a few missteps away from a grisly demise, be that via a hidden environmental trap or by the claws of a fast-moving zombie-like beast. Inevitably, I would falter and reload at my last checkpoint, often frustrated at myself for getting cornered or something similar – but every time, I was eager to jump back into the challenging world of Lost Ruins to explore more of the map and uncover its many secrets.

Neon White review

System: Switch
Release Date: June 16, 2022
Developer: Angel Matrix
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive


A couple of months ago, we had the absolute pleasure of being invited by Annapurna Interactive to a private showing of Neon White with creator Ben Esposito to showcase everything the game had to offer and pick his brain about all of the creative inspirations. It was a telling and exciting preview event that increased excitement tenfold about what to expect. The game was immediately striking thanks to its flashy art direction and fast-paced nature of platforming and speedrunning that saw a group of people referred to as Neons that were formally alive be introduced into heaven and having to compete to prove their worth by ridding of all the demons that have been plaguing heaven. The most impressive part about it all is that Neon White feels like a divine adrenaline rush that is proud of its finesse and panache without ever feeling like it’s being cocky or overbearing, creating a seamless speedrunning experience that surprisingly lends itself to the Switch beautifully.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba - The Hinokami Chronicles review

System: Switch
Release Date: June 10, 2022
Developer: CyberConnect2
Publisher: SEGA


Demon Slayer is just the latest to tag alongside the likes of My Hero Academia to record numbers for its manga and animation distributions, and by this point in time, anyone who has even the smallest of interest in anime has probably heard about it. It’s no surprise then that its popularity has led it to getting a game. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaibi – The Hinokami Chronicles showcases most of what’s been presented in the anime and manga at this point, including its feature film, Mugen Train. With its cast of over thirty characters present and compiled in what is effectively the definitive version of the game with all DLC included, The Hinokami Chronicles gives a hearty round of content for both fans and newcomers alike a great way to play on Switch with an exceptional port.

OPUS: Echo of Starsong - Full Bloom Edition review

System: Switch
Release Date: May 11, 2022
Developer: SIGONO
Publisher: SIGONO


OPUS: The Day We Found Earth introduced me to the wonderfully talented SIGONO and the studio’s clear ambition to tell stories in a way that was equal parts refreshing, wholesome, and evocative. Roughly a year later and not long after its PC release, the developer brought us a follow-up of sorts (though not a direct sequel) with OPUS: Rocket of Whispers, which was more of an atmospheric point-and-click experience where you’d look through a telescope and locate different planets utilizing and coordinates and data you had at your disposal. The ambition for SIGONO was clearly to push their talents forward while still being able to tell this extremely palpable and moving story, and they excelled once again. Now comes along OPUS: Echoes of Starsong, which is once again vastly different from the other two entries in the series they’ve produced, but the gap in time and growth within the studio is put on display in such a way that the game is not only the best of an increasingly joyful series so far, but could easily be considered one of the most stunning, emotionally-driven, and unique visual novels of all time.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising review

System: Switch
Release date: May 10, 2022
Developer: Natsume Atari
Publisher: 505 Games


CJ is on a coming-of-age quest handed down to her from her family’s storied history as treasure hunters. Seeking out fabled riches in the recently booming adventurer destination, New Neveah, she finds out that the town is in a bit of a pinch. Using her talent for fighting and exploring, CJ begins to chase not only treasure, but the sense of community in helping the town rebuild after a recent quake. Mending the town’s ties between the villagers and the newly-arrived adventurers, a story unfolds that introduces us to the Eiyuden Chronicle universe, which is set to feature a turn-based RPG, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes from a legendary development team featuring Yoshitaka Murayama (Suikoden I, II) and Junko Kawano (Suikoden I, IV,) of Rabbit & Bear Studios. While this is not the main feature, they do have a lot of fans picking up this smaller companion game. So how does Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising reveal to us this new frontier of adventure?

The Centennial Case A Shijima Story review

System: Switch
Release Date: May 12, 2022
Developer: h.a.n.d.
Publisher: Square Enix


Say what you will about Square Enix, but it’s impossible to deny that they’ve got a knack for publishing offbeat experiences that few other major publishers would touch. Their latest oddity, ­the lengthily named The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story, is an ambitious interactive detective story framed almost entirely through full-motion video (or FMV) – a style of presentation that really thrived in the 90’s but is only now experiencing a small resurgence in popularity. Despite its niche presentation, the game delivers an intimate and intelligent mystery that is well worth seeing through to the end, if players can endure its slow pacing and only moderately interesting characters.

Nintendo Switch Sports review

System: Switch
Release date: April 29, 2022
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo


If, like me, you grew up when the Wii was current, you no doubt put some time in on Wii Sports. Packed in with each new console here in the west, the title was a lot of players’ first introduction to the console’s motion controls, as well as their first time being able to engage with family members who wouldn’t usually think of playing video games. Wii Sports itself became a system-seller and its popularity is still raging to this day, with many homes still dusting off their Wii for play sessions at family gatherings to entertain kids and adults alike. Now with Switch’s success, a new entry in the series has arrived – but will it reach the acclaim of its predecessors?

Tormented Souls review

System: Switch
Release date: April 14, 2022
Developer: Dual Effect / Abstract Digital
Publisher: PQube


Tormented Souls is next in line in wanting to revisit and recreate some of the classic moments that catapulted the horror genre to where it is today. It’s arguably one of the best attempts in recent memory to do so, with a design that’s clearly made from a place of passion, respect, and immense desire to bring back the likes of fixed camera angles, intense resource management, and a deeply detailed playground where immersion is absolutely key. Though Tormented Souls’ heart is in a good place, however, there’s no denying that it stumbles quite a bit, and the Switch version of the game isn’t also without sacrifice.

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim review Nintendo Switch

System: Switch
Release date: April 12, 2022
Developer: Vanillaware
Publisher: Atlus


If any game is a shining example of the artistic potential of video games as a medium, I cannot think of a better recent example than 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim. It is that rare type of narrative-driven experience that could only really exist as a game: a sprawling science-fiction epic with no less than 13 playable protagonists, that somehow manages to be both a beautiful side-scrolling adventure and a deep, exhilarating real-time strategy game. With so many moving pieces and a lengthy 40-hour runtime, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim could have very easily been a confusing, unfocused mess of a game, but somehow, all of these disparate elements fuse into nothing less than a masterpiece.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land review

System: Switch
Release date: March 25, 2022
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Publisher: Nintendo


Since 1992, Kirby has brought along a multitude of adventures on just about every generation of Nintendo hardware with many planets, worlds, and creative levels. Despite the series’ lengthy history and popularity, however, it never really seemed to get proper recognition until entries on Wii and 3DS where an installed base of millions were finally able and willing to try out just what franchise had to offer. Now in 2022, Kirby is back on his biggest and most beautiful adventure yet with Kirby and the Forgotten Land, and it’s exceeded all expectations with incredibly deep levels, fluid gameplay, an evolving hub, tons of replayability, and a joyful, memorable time from beginning to end.


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