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[Review] Spells & Secrets

Posted on 7 months ago by in Reviews, Switch | 0 comments

Spells & Secrets review

System: Switch
Release date: November 9, 2023
Developer: Alchemist Interactive
Publisher: Merge Games


Roguelikes and roguelites are an interesting genre of games, being predicated as they are on doing the same content repeatedly with incremental progress, in a way that would be extremely frustrating and tedious in just about any other circumstances. It takes a special kind of game to get that balance just right, to make each death feel more like a minor setback than a crushing defeat, and inspire you to venture forth into its murky depths for “just one more run” until you finally succeed. Spells & Secrets., developed by Alchemist Interactive, has some interesting ideas to contribute to the genre, but unfortunately it fails to capture any kind of real magic.

System: Switch
Release date: November 16, 2023
Developer: Inti Creates
Publisher: Inti Creates


Inti Creates has certainly earned a reputation for developing high quality 2D action titles having brought games such as Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon and its sequel as well as the Blaster Master Zero series to the Switch over the years. The studio’s latest game, Yohane the Parhelion: Blaze in the Deepblue, is based on a fantasy spinoff of Love Live! Sunshine!! The setting lends itself well to a video game and it has a solid foundation that makes it fun while it lasts, but unfortunately it doesn’t capitalize on this enough to make it any more than a middling experience at best.

WarioWare Move It review

System: Switch
Release date: November 3, 2023
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Publisher: Nintendo


One of the most encouraging things about WarioWare as a franchise, is that it’s always just been like that. Seriously – go back and play 2003’s original entry (which you can enjoy via the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pass), and you’ll see every bit of the quirky and offbeat charm that the series still exudes today, fully formed at its point of origin. Multiple entries across every Nintendo platform since the GBA haven’t dulled the appeal of playing rapid-fire five-second microgames in quick succession. Now we get a traditional WarioWare outing in the form of Warioware: Move It on Switch. A direct continuation of the motion-based waggle-fest that was WarioWare: Smooth Moves on the Wii, this one sees Wario and co. whisked away to an island resort to, let’s face it, just play a bunch of minigames.

Little Goody Two Shoes review

System: Switch
Release date: October 31, 2023
Developer: Astral Shift
Publisher: Square Enix Collective


Little Goody Two Shoes is the first game I’ve experienced that truly feels like a fairy-tale story come to life, and I’m not talking the family-friendly Disney variety. The quaint countryside village of Kieferburg may seem like your average sing-songy folk town at the surface, but murmurs of a witch in the woods and strange happenings nearby have residents becoming paranoid. To make matters worse, protagonist Elise is getting caught up in the middle of it all, after a strange supernatural encounter promises to grant her her life’s wish if she manages to complete strange tasks before the end of the week. What follows is a tense, often funny narrative adventure that frequently had me on the edge of my seat, even when the tedium of its time-management gameplay began wearing on my patience.

Fashion Dreamer review

System: Switch
Release date: November 3, 2023
Developer: Syn Sophia
Publisher: XSEED / Marvelous


It’s a bit of surprise that it’s taken so long for a game like Fashion Dreamer to land on Switch, especially after developer Syn Sophia’s Style Savvy series of games proved that there’s an audience craving laid-back games about designing clothes. The bulk of recent releases in the genre have been microtransaction-ridden smartphone games, so there’s been some excitement among the cozy-gaming crowd that Fashion Dreamer could be a more premium alternative. It’s also a bit of a departure from its predecessors, focusing more tangibly on the clothes themselves than the culture around them. But is that enough to make Fashion Dreamer an easy recommendation for aspiring clothes designers?

Star Ocean The Second Story R review

System: Switch
Release date: November 2, 2023
Developer: Square Enix / Gemdrops
Publisher: Square Enix


Star Ocean has been around for a very long time, but for various reasons it has never gained the same sort of recognition or critical acclaim as Square Enix’s other long-running franchises such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. A series that blends science-fiction and fantasy in a mix that might best be described as hit-or-miss across its six installments, it seems to be something that those who have heard of it either embrace wholeheartedly or tactically avoid. But the common consensus amongst fans is that Second Story is the best the series has been to date. After bringing Star Ocean: First Departure R, a port of the PSP remake of the first game, to Switch, Square Enix have now released Star Ocean: The Second Story R, a full remaster of the original game in a new engine with a host of quality-of-life improvements to make it a more modern experience. It is with great pleasure that I say that this is a resounding success, and captures the charm of the original while improving upon it in almost every way possible.

Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol 1 review

System: Switch
Release date: October 24, 2023
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami


Even though I’m a certified Old-Head that writes about games, it’s difficult for me to properly encapsulate the cultural importance that Metal Gear games once exuded both pre and post release. The hype surrounding anything series creator Hideo Kojima touched was intense and all-consuming. Rest assured that if there was ever a month in which a new Metal Gear game was being released, just about nothing else mattered. The franchise has always been rightly held up as an example of unbridled creativity and auteur sensibility within the games industry – following the release of Metal Gear Solid V in 2015 however, Kojima left Konami under less than ideal circumstances. Rumors swirled regarding creative disputes and budgetary constraints – and following a poorly received Kojima-less spinoff in 2018, Metal Gear was put to bed.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder review

System: Switch
Release date: October 20, 2023
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo


As I reflect on my time spent with Super Mario Bros. Wonder, there truly wasn’t a single moment when I wasn’t having an absolute blast. Any time it seemed impossible that there could possibly be any other surprises left in a game that already had been bombarding me with creative ideas left and right, to my delight, I was always proven wrong. At its core, Super Mario Bros. Wonder is the same joyful platforming adventure that Nintendo has crafted for decades. The key difference this time is that the developers have designed a fundamental sense of novelty into every stage, every new mechanic, every visual flourish. The result is a side-scroller that always feels fresh, fun and exciting in ways that few genre peers have accomplished.

[Review] Sonic Superstars

Posted on 8 months ago by in Reviews, Switch | 0 comments

Sonic Superstars review

System: Switch
Release date: October 17, 2023
Developer: Arzest / SEGA
Publisher: SEGA


Few video game mascots are as instantly recognizable as Sonic the Hedgehog, and even fewer have had such a turbulent career. It often feels as though SEGA doesn’t quite know what it wants to do with the character, and as a result it’s difficult to know what to expect from each new title. Sonic Superstars is now the latest outing for the blue blur, and although it hearkens back to the beloved 2D Genesis games that kickstarted the franchise, there are several modern elements thrown in to shake up the gameplay, both for better and for worse.

[Review] Crymachina

Posted on 8 months ago by in Reviews, Switch | 0 comments

Crymachina review

System: Switch
Release date: October 24, 2023
Developer: FuRyu
Publisher: NIS America


Although not the biggest company out there, developer FuRyu has arguably made a little more of a name for themselves over recent years, bringing titles such as Monark and The Caligula Effect to the Switch with mixed reception. Crymachina is the latest game from the developer, an action RPG that acts as a sort of spiritual successor to their previous attempt at the genre, Crystar. Unfortunately, although Crymachina has a strong, well-developed narrative, its combat fails to make a lasting impression, making it another middling attempt that may be best avoided.


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