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Reviews

System: Switch (eShop)
Release date: February 20, 2020
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom


You wouldn’t be blamed for being dissatisfied with much of Capcom’s output on Switch. Many of the company’s releases are mere ports of older games that often offer little to no improvements upon their previous editions, all while being overpriced compared to other platforms. The recent ports of the first two Devil May Cry games are solid examples of that. With the third DMC port on Switch, however, Capcom has taken a different approach. This new release of Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition is more than a simple port. Rather, it features a few simple additions that completely shake up the way the game is played. For series veterans and newcomers alike, the Switch version of DMC 3 is perhaps one of the best ways to experience this action game classic.

System: Switch
Release date: December 10, 2019
Developer: Techland
Publisher: Techland


When it comes to first-person shooters, it’s fair to say that the market has taken a very distinct direction over the last decade or so. Multiplayer, map packs, and monetization are frequently touted as the core ingredients of a fun and successful modern shooter, but if you cast your mind back to the days before Call of Duty ruled the roost, you’ll quickly find that games of the genre weren’t always marketplaces or live services – they were once self contained experiences with creative flair and value. My time with Call of Juarez: Gunslinger has served as a realization that thankfully, this can still be the case today.

System: Switch
Release date: December 6, 2019
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft


Back in May, Ubisoft pulled a rather curious move by releasing Assassin’s Creed III – and its counterpart, Liberation – for the Switch. The port was widely criticized for being poorly optimized and somewhat irrelevant, especially considering the leaps and bounds that the franchise had made in scope and polish since the game’s original release. Many reviewers (myself included) longed to see the series’ fourth entry, Black Flag, released for the Switch instead – albeit without the low frame rate and ropey audio present in Assassin’s Creed III. Fast forward to today, and Ubisoft has only gone and done, well, exactly that.

System: Switch (eShop)
Release date: December 5, 2019
Developer: Creative Assembly / Feral Interactive
Publisher: SEGA


The Alien franchise has had a long history that’s inspired countless properties from a wide array of mediums since its release in 1979, and has remained a seminal work of science fiction within film, games, and books alike. This year marks its 40th anniversary, and with that sees the Switch debut of what is, to me, one of the finest horror experiences ever made. Between crafting items, defending yourself by using various components you find throughout your survival, and the deep progression with hidden areas and rewards, Alien: Isolation is without a doubt one of the most faithful adaptations of any property and is certainly a labor of love.

System: Switch (eShop)
Release date: November 21, 2019
Developer: Shin’en
Publisher: Shin’en


The Touryst is the most refreshing vacation anyone could ask for, complete with surf, sun, and decaying monuments left by a mysterious long-lost civilization. Shin’en has made a name for itself by offering high speed and impeccable visuals and performance on Switch through titles like the Fast Racing series, but with The Touryst, the company is taking a distinctly more laid-back approach. Gone are the high-speed antics that defined the studio’s other works – instead, The Touryst is all about taking it slow, playing some sports on the beach, and then kicking back and soaking up the sun. It’s relaxation pure and simple, packed with a bountiful variety of gameplay ideas and wrapped up in a stunningly gorgeous presentation.

System: Switch
Release date: November 8, 2019
Developer: Playful
Publisher: Playful


When many think of Nintendo, they see a single word pop into their minds: platformers. Nintendo has remained steadfast in its commitment to the platforming genre for decades, even as the gaming landscape has shifted and evolved around them considerably. Third-party and indie developers have long relied on this association too, and have routinely seen the lion’s share of their success on Nintendo consoles come from releasing platforming adventures with mass appeal. As a result of all this, you could say that the watermark for platforming excellence is considerably higher on Nintendo consoles than it is elsewhere, considering the long lineage of quality that already exists. I’m here to tell you that this watermark has been adequately met – and in some ways even exceeded – by New Super Lucky’s Tale.

System: Switch
Release date: October 29, 2019
Developer: Gust
Publisher: Koei Tecmo


With yearly releases, certain franchises can sometimes grow complaisant and acquiescent when there’s a formula that works and becomes a signature, almost symbolic, to an IP’s legacy and name. In the case of Atelier, you know what you’re getting into with its slice-of-life approach to story, turn-based gameplay, fantasy world, and magical recipes. It’s what made Atelier what it is today with likeable protagonists, wholesome stories, and the chance to feel young and free. Each entry usually has a bunch of small tweaks that make up a larger whole that cause the games to feel distinct from each other despite the core approach effectively being the same, but when Atelier Ryza was shown earlier this year, you could tell right away that this was a big leap not only from Lulua, but from Atelier’s general direction as a whole. It still looks like Atelier, and it still feels like Atelier, though time and effort has clearly been made here for a new chapter and life that brings with it a fresh coat of paint, a new battle system, more intuitive interfaces, and just an overhaul of gameplay features and quality-of-life tweaks. All of these elements make Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout not only the best looking Atelier to date, but one of the most refined and refreshing entries in its history of over two decades.

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?