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Reviews

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.

System: Switch (eShop)
Release date: May 19, 2019
Developer: Noble Muffins
Publisher: Forever Entertainment


Its 2 AM, it’s dark, and I’m trespassing on my neighbor’s property (again). Quiet as a mouse, I delicately paw my waist until I’m met with the familiar shape of my flashlight. In the interest of decibels I apply as little pressure as I can and like magic (or torches), the room is illuminated in a divine glow. “Remarkable”, I mutter to myself. “Everything I stole three hours ago has already been replaced.” As I slowly survey the room I’m immediately drawn to the prize catch – a flat screen TV. “That’s a flat screen TV,” my internal monologue confirms. As I stand there slack jawed and aghast, I fail to take heed of my surroundings for a single crucial moment – I’ve been spotted. How could I have been this stupid? I had surveyed the house, taken note of the tenant’s routines and I was absolutely certain they wouldn’t be home until 4. None of that matters now. I gather myself momentarily before making a run for it.

System: Switch
Release date: April 30, 2019
Developer: Square Enix / Virtuos
Publisher: Square Enix


If you’ve ever watched the Star Wars prequel trilogy and thought “Man, this would be so much better if it were a Japanese role playing game,” then Final Fantasy XII is the game for you. With its fusion of medieval and sci-fi ideas in its setting and its heavy political overtones, it easily draws plenty of comparisons to George Lucas’s iconic space operas – it even comes complete with an evil Senate-led Empire and a plucky young orphan destined to take it down. Also like the prequel trilogy, Final Fantasy XII has been a point of contention for its series’ fans ever since its first release on the PS2 in 2006. Its unconventional real-time combat was a far cry from the classic turn-based battles that had defined the franchise up to that point, and the entire core structure of its politically charged storytelling and combat management felt like a dramatic change from traditional Final Fantasy experiences.

System: Switch
Release date: May 10, 2019
Developer: Volition / Deep Silver
Publisher: Deep Silver


There are certain genres that Nintendo consoles have historically missed out on. During the Wii generation, the Call of Duty style shooter was sorely missed – if not for an actual lack of ports (and well-forgotten games like The Conduit), then at least for the Wii’s inability to impressively render HD set piece spectacles. Open world games in the vein of Grand Theft Auto found similar enough success to spawn countless formulaic imitations, but the open world genre saw almost no representation on the Wii, and a handful of really bad ports on the Wii U. Perhaps the Wii’s greatest legacy was the perception that Nintendo consoles are bound to miss out on those “hardcore” blockbuster experiences.

System: Switch (eShop)
Release date: May 2, 2019
Developer: Landon Podbielski
Publisher: Adult Swim Games


Duck Game has definitely taken its time finding its nest on Switch. First developed as an Ouya exclusive all the way back in 2014, it’s seen numerous upgrades and re-releases over the years, including the announcement of a version for Nintendo’s hybrid console in 2017. After a two years’ incubation, this chaotic brawler has finally hatched onto the Switch. But after all this time, is Duck Game still all it’s quacked up to be?

System: Switch
Release date: April 23, 2019
Developer: Square Enix / Virtuos
Publisher: Square Enix


It’s just another ordinary day: Hell has frozen over, pigs are soaring across the skies, and you’re playing Final Fantasy X on a Nintendo console. What was once thought impossible has become a delightful role playing reality. The series infamous for its break with Nintendo has come back home with plenty of classic games in tow, and this remarkable trend continues with the release of Final Fantasy X and its direct sequel on Switch. So many years after these games defined a generation of RPGs, they continue to hold up in fine form on Nintendo’s newest system, retaining every bit of their strategic and storytelling brilliance with a few modern enhancements thrown in to sweeten the deal.

System: Switch
Release date: April 25, 2019
Developer: Rayark
Publisher: Flyhigh Works


Music has always been essential in games since the beginning of time, spanning from chiptune to various forms of electronic based music with MIDIs, synths, and beyond, to the more contemporary live orchestrations. It’s no shock then that rhythm games – where the core focus is music itself – would gain popularity and only continue to grow thanks to the likes of Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero. Recent hits help remind us about what makes the rhythm genre so great, not only giving us tons of great songs to play through, but introducing clever and inventive ways to play. That trend continues on Switch with Cytus Alpha – a re-imagining of one of mobile’s most enjoyable and highest grossing games.

System: Switch (eShop)
Release date: April 25, 2019
Developer: Image & Form
Publisher: Thunderful


The SteamWorld franchise has to be one of the most ambitious and varied IPs in indie gaming today. Since its inception on DSiWare in 2010, the series has stretched from Metroidvania platformers to tower defense games to real-time strategy, and with SteamWorld Quest, the latest entry on Switch, they’ve made the natural progression to the card-based RPG genre. But of course, we have to wonder: does Image & Form have another ace up its sleeve with SteamWorld Quest? Let’s shuffle our deck and see what hand the game has dealt us.

System: Switch
Release date: April 23, 2019
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom


Imagine waking up, going down to your kitchen and seeing every utensil you own now suddenly has a different color and function. Your whisk? Slice your bread with it. Potato peeler? No, pizza cutter. That’s Dragons Dogma: Dark Arisen, a game that somehow manages to feel totally familiar and utterly unrecognizable all at the exact same time. There are flashes of familiarity to its design – Dark Souls, Skyrim, Monster Hunter and many others – but they all manage to exist as just that, flashes. Underneath the welcoming facade of these similarities there’s a game that will stick in your memory for the foreseeable future, for better and (sometimes) for worse. Originally released in 2012 for the PS3 and 360, Dragons Dogma: Dark Arisen was Capcom’s offering to the action RPG pantheon. Now, in 2019, it has made the jump to the Switch in a move almost as peculiar as the game itself – and remarkably, it works.