Rumble, old man, rumble!
Fisticuffs were always a perfect subject for video games. However how to properly deliver the experience was a technical challenge due to limited technology the 80’s, with previous efforts opting for a side or top view of the in-ring action. Nintendo tackled this issue in Punch-Out!! by allowing players to control their pugilist from a third-person perspective with a cleverly designed wireframe torso enabling a better view of your opponent across the screen.
The controls are clean and simple to pick up: ‘A’ delivers a right-hand hook while ‘Y’ does the same for your left hand. Holding 'down' while pressing either button will deliver a body blow instead of going for the face. Pressing 'up' will raise your guard to protect your face and you can weave left and right by pressing either direction. Hit your adversary enough times while not getting hit yourself and you'll fill up the bar on top of the ring screen - you'll then be able to unlock the ‘X’ button, delivering devastating uppercuts that are the fastest way to bring your opponent to the mat. While some of weaker opponents might stay down after the first knock down, to win most of the times you will need to make them fall three times. Of course, your adversaries can take you out the same way. You will feel right at home if you ever played any other game of the series.
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For better or worse, The Way Remastered is a faithful homage to the old Delphine Software titles that inspired it and players should expect no more or less. It’s a poignant story with beautiful visuals and intricate puzzles, but your enjoyment will depend very much on your temperament. The Switch version is the pick for newcomers, though it’s hard to recommend if you’ve already played on another platform. Provided you’re comfortable with its slow, cerebral pace and can overlook the stiff remnants of its influences, there is much to enjoy here. However, if you’re after a retro-inspired platformer with all the mod-cons, the competition is fierce on the eShop.
Pirates: All Aboard! could have been something special. The top-down sailing conceit has worked wonders for other games in the past, but it’s not a set of mechanics that can sail to glory on their own. If you’re looking for something to pass the time in local multiplayer, it’s a fun premise for a while, but there’s very little to keep you carving through its unfinished oceans in the long term.
Gururin is proof that sometimes the best puzzle concepts are sometimes met with a harsh dose of ‘average’. Despite doing nothing technically wrong, it sadly falls short of other offerings on Neo Geo like the previously released Magical Drop series or the still stubbornly Switch absent Puzzle Bobble series. As such it is only truly recommended to the puzzle fan with nothing else to currently play or the rabid digital Neo Geo collector. Everyone else should just let this one drop.
Shelter Generations is a thoroughly charming combination of open-world survival and platform-adventure that provides a fresh slant on both. Beneath its adorable skin, however, there simply isn't enough satisfying meat to sustain the experience.
Infernium is a beautiful, strange first-person adventure that draws its inspiration from an eclectic range of sources. It's frequently frustrating and maddeningly vague, but those with the determination to crack its secrets will be richly rewarded.
All told, Streets of Red is a surprisingly varied and replayable game with plenty of clever ideas and riffs on the old school arcade beat ‘em up formula. Though the visuals and music may not be terribly exciting, the pop culture references crammed into every stage help to give the game lots of charm. Engaging gameplay, high replay value, and a great co-op experience make this one an easy recommendation for anybody looking for a little arcade game to play in short bursts either when alone or with friends. We’d recommend you give this one a look if you’re into arcade beat ‘em ups; for under ten bucks, this one’s a steal.
Octocopter: Double or Squids is still just as enjoyable as it was when it was originally released on the Wii U. With a number of updates that improve the overall experience and the inclusion of multiplayer, original owners who did enjoy it the first time round have a great excuse to buy it again. For first timers, what’s on offer here is a relaxing yet oddly exhilarating deep sea speed runner that will put your navigational skills to the test while encouraging you to improve each run. The new local split-screen multiplayer for up to four players is also fantastic, as we really don’t see enough of this in modern games nowadays. Either way, it’s worth taking Octocopter for a spin.
Rogue Aces is a stellar, fresh experience - even more so if you never played spiritual forerunner Wings of Fury - that has landed on the Switch eShop seemingly out of nowhere. It not only delivers an audio-visual treat but also an overwhelmingly entertaining stimulation of the senses thanks to the frenetic aerial ballets you will take part in. Easy to pickup but devilishly hard to walk away from, Rogue Aces demands just the right amount of arcade shmup skills and strategic planing with the odd lucky break when something just works out. All of this is complimented by some excellent humour in the form of audio quips from your Captain, the enemy Baron aces and the one-liners from ally pilots. Kick the tires and light the fires, fellow Switch pilots; this war won’t be winning itself with you sitting pretty on that carrier deck.
The Adventure Pals is a truly wonderful experience that had us grinning from the moment we launched the game, right up until the credits. The platforming is tight and precise, yet relatively relaxed and easy-going on the whole, and the game’s perfect cast of bonkers characters provides humour, wit, and a genuinely loveable world to explore. A couple of little niggles stop the game from hitting the true heights that it deserves to reach, but we’d urge you to look past these and dive into the fun. If you’re a fan of platformers and cute things, you need to play this game.
Despite that glaring lack of online multiplayer - and a slightly awkward off-screen targeting system - Skies Of Fury DX brings a new slice of fun, fast and furious dogfighting to Nintendo Switch. Whether you’re playing on your own through its 100 campaign missions or shooting your friend’s biplane to smithereens in local multiplayer, it’s one of the best new additions to Switch’s digital library and further proof - if any were needed - that Nintendo’s handheld is the best portable platform there is.
Bombslinger is a decent game, but its brutal and unforgiving difficulty is sure to turn many potential buyers off. Building up a character with abilities, items, and weapons is engaging as you find new ways to deal with what’s put in front of you, but to have that all ripped away upon death is truly heart-breaking. If you can stomach the set-backs then Bombslinger is sure to please, but if you’d rather take your belongings to the grave, you’ll be in for a tougher and more frustrating time.
All told, Lode Runner Legacy is the sort of game that fails to impress, but does enough things right to be properly satisfying. Even though the levels can feel rather stale after a while and the presentation is underwhelming, there's a huge amount of content on offer and the creative suite adds a meaningful dimension to the overall package. We’d give this game a recommendation, particularly for fans of puzzle games. Lode Runner Legacy is certainly not a must-buy, but it also won’t be disappointing if you do opt to take the plunge.
From the outset, Masters Of Anima, tries its utmost to engage with a different world that’s ruled by a unique magic, bare-bones lore and a bunch of awkwardly portrayed and forgettable characters. The floundering voice acting and clunky script, coupled with a cringe-worthy story that’s more embarrassing than your drunk uncle dancing at a wedding, grates quickly. The title certainly won’t hold your hand when it comes to defeating the only enemy in the game, which could prove to be tedious for some. Masters Of Anima is no Pikmin, but if you’re looking for a fantasy land filled with tough enemy encounters and a game that's relatively straightforward, then this one is for you.
Dragon Blaze is Psikyo on top of its TATE shmup game. You might be a little disappointed that this strays so very close to bullet hell shmups instead of the more traditional games it made its name famous in this industry. However, 18 years on, the game remains a beautifully executed TATE shmup with a unique gameplay gimmick that goes beyond having the titular dragons as eye candy, effectively making them a core part of the high score chasing experience. You may be able to clear the whole game loop in under 30 minutes, but we very much doubt you will play it once and never touch it again. It's quite simply brilliant, addictive and another must-have shmup you need to add to your growing digital arcade Switch collection.
Sling Ming is a polished game with rock-solid physics and smart puzzles, all shot through with a simple, endearing story and a catchy soundtrack. Difficulty is carefully balanced with addictive mechanics that reward perseverance, leaving a game that can stand proudly with the best indie offerings on the eShop.
Super Daryl Deluxe is one of the coolest games on Nintendo Switch right now. Its skill-based combat will have you coming back for more as you unlock numerous abilities that change the game, the story will have you laughing with its witty through line, and the visual presentation is a sight to behold thanks to a stylish art style that is sure to please. If you ever need a bit of a pick me up, there’s not much better than playing Super Daryl Deluxe on the go.
Devious Dungeon is far from a bad game. Its feedback loop of exploration, levelling up and gear acquisition makes for a fun and rewarding experience for the first few hours, but its lack of tangible depth ultimately torpedoes the endless potential of its randomly built dungeons. Still, for less than £10, there are certainly worse dungeons to explore.
The Bunker puts legacy FMV games to shame, delivering a slickly produced psychological horror experience for the price of a trip to your local cinema. The Switch release offers both the touchscreen comfort of the mobile version and the cinematic immersion of the home console versions, so there’s no better place to catch up if you skipped it first time round. However, lack of pointer control is a sorely missed opportunity to improve on the original release.
While Nintendo Switch isn’t short on puzzle games, it’s still got plenty of room for those with a clever twist at their heart. Warp Shift has plenty of creativity at its own core, offering up an engaging twist on some simple principles. While it may be a little light on the narrative - a crying shame considering how interesting the world beyond its puzzles appear - there’s still plenty of brain-teasing fun to be had in its charming company.