Release Date: February 24, 2023
Developer: Square Enix / Acquire
Publisher: Square Enix
The original Octopath Traveler inspired me to create a now sprawling fan group on social media, one that morphed over into a Switch RPG community when the original game’s fire finally died down. Personally, I loved the unique art style the most – beautiful 3D backgrounds and windswept plains, icy tundras and winding cities each punctuated with cute 2D sprites that felt alive in this strangely unique world. Octopath Traveler II is much of the same, but does this entry simply continue with the formula of the first one, or are the changes enough to keep one immersed more than its predecessor?
[Review] Fire Emblem Engage
Posted on 9 months ago by Dennis Gagliardotto(@LyonHart_) in Reviews, Switch | 0 comments
Release Date: January 20, 2023
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Fire Emblem Engage comes just three years after the success of Three Houses, and though this seems like a quick turnaround for a series that has been known for its richness and depth, the new game streamlines a lot of mechanics and capabilities to make it much more intuitive and approachable without having to sacrifice any of the quality the franchise has seen with each new entry. It’s certainly a different flavor, tone, and direction, so those new to the series – or even long-time fans – may feel an odd sense of having to “relearn” Fire Emblem this time around. However, it’s yet another fantastic addition to a series that seems immune to any type of mediocrity.
[Review] Rhythm Sprout
Posted on 9 months ago by Nicholas Serpa in Reviews, Switch eShop | 0 comments
Release Date: February 1, 2023
It takes a certain type of creative mind to look at the vegetables on display in their grocery store produce aisle and decide, “finally – the protagonist for my story-driven rhythm game!” That level of kookiness is the driving force behind Rhythm Sprout, a delightfully bonkers rhythm-action game in which an onion wearing headphones and a tracksuit slaughters various edible enemies to the beat of a wide range of music. As the debut release from Norwegian developer SURT games, Rhythm Sprout’s creative concept has maintained my interest ever since its initial reveal, but how does its beat-based gameplay live up to the rest of the experience?
[Review] PowerWash Simulator
Posted on 9 months ago by Edan(@@Virtualboi92) in Reviews, Switch | 0 comments
Release Date: January 31, 2023
Publisher: Square Enix
At various points during my time with FutureLab and Square Enix’s PowerWash Simulator, I was struck by a sort of banal existential dilemma. During these episodes of clairvoyance, I’d become blisteringly aware of the fact that in the only physical lifetime I will ever have – in my one and single corporeal opportunity – I was opting to blast a digital stream of H2O across a fictional individual’s RV/bungalow/penny farthing. Did these sudden jolts of awareness drive me to get up and do something “worthwhile” with my time instead? No, no they didn’t. PowerWash Simulator has its hooks in me now, and I’m shackled to these blue overalls by a mix of catharsis and compulsion – but boy does it feel so good. Truth be told, this isn’t even a new development. I’ve been a slave to the machinations of the game’s grubby world since it originally launched into Steam’s Early Access model. Valve’s digital storefront seemingly recognized how dull of an individual I am, and algorithmically shoved the game in my face on the day of its release – so that was my original date of incarceration. With the game now arriving triumphantly on Switch, it feels like PowerWash Simulator has reached its final form. It’s ready to engulf your attention in ways we haven’t seen since paid actors sat slack-jawed in front of SNES’s during 90s video game commercials.
Release date: January 24, 2023
Developer: Piranha Bytes
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Risen is a peculiar beast. This action RPG originally graced our consoles back in 2009, where it served as something of an amalgamation of various different western franchises. It featured moral conundrums akin to Mass Effect, a lush open world reminiscent of Fable, and systems that wouldn’t seem out of place in an Elder Scrolls title. The game has garnered a bit of a cult following across the community since its original release (and the release of its two sequels). With Risen’s arrival on Switch – along with the measured benefit of hindsight – have THQ Nordic and Piranha Bytes graced us with a hidden RPG gem? Or has age diminished the game’s quirky, ethereal appeal?
Release Date: February 2, 2023
Publisher: Astrolabe Games
Active DBG: Brave’s Rage is a little misleading. With cute characters and popping colors, what I expected to be a walk in the park pocket RPG is actually a grueling system that takes time and significant effort to master. Fast-paced fights coupled with roguelite mechanics makes for a bit of a steep learning curve, but the tutorial’s combat and defensive basics are drilled early – and there’s a reason you’re forced to play the tutorial when first starting the game: you need to learn these mechanics. You need to know all of the tools in your arsenal to make it through and come out victorious. The “perfect block” is especially useful in aiding survivability, but is that alone enough to get your champion(s) through with their lives?
[Review] SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake
Posted on 10 months ago by Edan(@@Virtualboi92) in Reviews, Switch | 0 comments
Release date: January 31, 2023
Developer: Purple Lamp
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Of all the platforming juggernauts that come to mind when I recall the early 2000s, SpongeBob SquarePants is not among them. In 2020, THQ released a remake of Battle for Bikini Bottom – a 2003 game in every sense of the word. After selling over two million copies, it landed us with an all new spiritual sequel to that game in the form of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake. The main hurdle this sequel has to overcome is being unshackled from the weapons-grade nostalgia that propelled its predecessor to success. To be fair to The Cosmic Shake, this is a difficult act to follow. How exactly do you craft a follow-up to a remake of a twenty year old game? Developer Purple Lamp has two decades of platformers to draw inspiration from, and the one it chooses to wear on its sleeve is unfortunately the remake that preceded it.
Release Date: January 19, 2023
Releasing originally on the PlayStation 2 in 2008, Persona 4’s small town of Inaba is not unlike my own home town. A small, sleepy community with one grocery store, one gas station, and if you drive by it and blink, you might miss the town altogether. Small communities are generally safe, right? Moving there, one might feel secure leaving their doors unlocked, with no real worries about what could happen while you run to the convenience store. Inaba, though, has a murderer on the loose – one that seems to kill through very non-traditional means. First, a local TV personality, and next a teenage student… Is anyone safe anymore in Inaba? How does one catch a killer that leaves no trace of their crime? Why do the victims show up beforehand on the eerie Midnight Channel when it rains? Why are students being targeted in the first place? Persona 4 Golden’s murder mystery has many layers, and by taking control of our Protagonist and his friends can we really solve this situation and save the lives of those targeted?
[Review] Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion
Posted on 11 months ago by Nicholas Serpa in Reviews, Switch | 0 comments
Release Date: December 13, 2022
Developer: Square Enix / Tose
Publisher: Square Enix
In the 25 years since Final Fantasy VII originally graced PlayStations around the world, this monumental RPG has amassed a legacy that few other games have, and has fittingly been rereleased on a wide range of platforms; it is still, even today, the best-selling entry in the Final Fantasy series of all time. The same can’t quite be said for its many spin-offs, which have typically been trapped on their original systems, but that changes with the launch of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion. Once a PSP-exclusive, this action-combat title serves as a comprehensive prequel to the events of the original game, and its remastered version attempts to bring the visuals closer to the style of the recent Final Fantasy VII Remake. But how does this enhanced version of a 15-year-old game hold up on Switch?
[Review] Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet
Posted on 11 months ago by Elias in Reviews, Switch | 0 comments
Release Date: November 18, 2022
Developer: Game Freak
After impressively selling over ten million copies in just three days, trainers around the world have been exploring Generation 9’s new Paldea region in Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet. With a completely different open-world and open-choice approach to the longstanding and rather traditional series formula, the new games aren’t afraid to break the mold. How does this completely different take on Pokemon work out for the modern player, not to mention series veterans that have been around since before Pokemon GO took the world by storm? Diving into our own journey across Paldea, what will we find? As always, a world where dreams, adventure, and friendships await, of course.