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2018-01-21T10:18:33.829Z
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All told, Embers Of Mirrim is a delightful fantasy adventure with only a few notable flaws. It may be a bit on the short side and have some jarring bottlenecks that pull you out of your enjoyment, but it’s a beautiful game to experience from an artistic standpoint. We would recommend it to anyone who has an appreciation for art in gaming form. Although the gameplay sometimes misses that mark, Mirrim nonetheless stands as a worthy experience for those that are looking to try something a little more thoughtful.

When it's firing on all cylinders, running fast and smooth with massive and beautiful enemies getting obliterated by hundreds of lasers firing in all directions to furious metal guitar solos, RXN -Raijin- is everything an old school shmup fan needs, and a strong call back to what made the genre so revered in the first place. Unfortunately, the game also has some missteps ranging from the tolerable multi-pilot levelling system to infuriating slow down. The structure and chapter length suit short sessions, but may leave some players wanting more to chew on. At times thrilling, and at others confounding, it's a flawed but nonetheless enjoyable straight-up shmup.

King Of The Monsters is simple to play, but with a range of moves available as you fight your way through the different creatures. Outside of aesthetics the monsters largely play the same however, making the fights quite repetitive. The game works well with the five minute caravan mode as you attempt to smash up as much of the city as possible, whilst not losing the fight to increase your score. There's no long term appeal with the game, but turn off continues and boot it up for a few two-player fights every now and then and it can still provide some entertainment.

Opus: The Day We Found Earth is a lovely little game. At more or less the length of a movie, it’s not going to keep you entertained for the weekend, but it’s perfect for a quiet night in. Digital stargazing is a surprisingly compelling pursuit, and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with OPUS - it’s charming, affecting and proof positive that the Switch can be a wonderful storyteller.

The King of Fighters '96 offers the usual enjoyable team battles with a good range of fighters to pick from. This particular entry introduces some nifty gameplay changes to the series. Of course, all of this and more would feature in the ultimately better The King of Fighters '98, but it's a confident entry in the series nonetheless. If you're interested in the ongoing story then The King of Fighters '96 is still a competent fighter, and there's plenty of entertainment to be had in its hand-drawn brawls.

Bite-sized but very tough to chew, Yōdanji is a devilishly tricky roguelike with a fun theme, addictive, goal-based gameplay and massive replay value. Its 21 unlockable characters are the key to the latter, with each yōkai essentially acting as its own unique class, and discovering and trying to master the mechanics of each monster is pure old-school joy. Its anachronistic presentation won’t be for everyone, and clunky controls make for a sometimes confusing crawl, but anyone looking for a tough-as-nails good time with plenty of personality will get more than their money’s worth here.

Ambition Of The Slimes throws the classic turn-based RPG formula on its head, enabling you to use the underdog to capture human enemies and battle in an interesting, new way. The large variety of attacks, abilities, and techniques available to you make the battles truly exciting, but a very harsh level of difficulty across all game modes sadly results in a lot of frustration. If you enjoy your turn-based battle games, this one is most definitely an interesting option for you to consider – just make sure to be prepared for a very, very tough challenge.

Azkend 2: The World Beneath does everything it can to spice up the 'match 3' puzzle genre, boasting a narrative thread, power ups to collect and different objectives at every turn. As derivative and repetitive as the core gameplay is, it does a decent job of maintaining your engagement and does reward your efforts. Overall, it should be commended for its sprawling take on a tried and tested genre. The variety of dynamic scenarios that genuinely affect the gameplay and an overarching story with varied exotic locations make it stand out from its competition. If you're looking for a 'match 3' with more variety, challenge and narrative meat to chew on, this is a good place to drop anchor.

InnerSpace is a really intriguing title that we wish we didn’t want to ever put down; the game’s worlds give such a strong sense of amazement that you will want to spend every second flying through them. Unfortunately, you’ll likely be left too frustrated by the sometimes near-impossible-to-find story progression tasks to keep going. We really want to love this game, and we very nearly did, but we just can’t quite manage it.

All told, 60 Seconds! is a disappointing addition to Switch's growing library and one that we would recommend you take a pass on. Although the idea at its core isn’t half bad, there’s very little here that we would say is done well, and given that there’s no shortage of excellent games on the Switch eShop, you’d be better off spending your money on something else. Big fans of survival games might find some enjoyment in this one, but we’d recommend you pick up The Flame In The Flood instead, or wait for more survival titles to arrive.

Nightmare Boy throws a whole heap of platform-adventure ideas at the wall, but only a few of them manage to stick. It's a Metroidvania with a distinctive style all of its own, but there are some glaring issues with its narrative, controls, pacing and performance. If you're after something completely different in the platformer category and have a high frustration threshold, however, there's a certain amount of quirky fun to be had here.

Art Of Fighting 2 takes the first game and improves on it in a number of ways. There's a slight increase in available fighters and some visual improvements too. More importantly the game plays better with the multiple strength attacks implemented in a smoother fashion and special moves being more effective. Use of special moves is again limited, your swiftly depleting spirit gauge is depleted forcing you to resort to basic attacks. This could be seen as encouraging other methods of play (no fireball spamming here), but generally it just lessens the enjoyment. That mainly applies to the two-player mode as in the single-player arcade mode you'll mostly be concerned with survival. There is satisfaction in defeating the tough opponents, but the fights themselves are not as entertaining as they could be. Art Of Fighting 2 isn't a bad game, but there are better options on Switch - including the superior third instalment.

Romancing SaGa 2 is a really intriguing JRPG. The combat system has a great sense of depth thanks to its distinctive take on levelling, the inclusion of formations and how the player is held accountable for each party member. The kingdom management aspects also provide a greater sense of player agency and helps set it apart from conventional role-playing games. Due to this design, the story and character development – including the dialogue throughout – aren’t quite as refined as other Square Enix titles. Regardless, the entire concept has aged surprisingly well – even by modern standards.

World To The West is a nicely put-together adventure game, making use of a good roster of characters with different abilities to provide the player with enjoyable puzzles and combat. Some pacing issues and the odd niggle here and there prevent this game from being truly special but, if you are a fan of 3D adventure games full of humour and exploration-based puzzles, you’ll definitely have some fun here.

If you threw a party and invited all of the adventure/roleplaying games along, Unepic would be the one in the center of the room blurting out jokes, laughing too loudly and making sarcastic comments about all of the other guests. Take the time to look past that however and you might learn a little more about what's beneath the surface; a fairly rewarding RPG system and more than a few clever ideas that make for an enjoyable, old-school adventure title that just tries a little too hard. If you don't mind some divisive humour and some repetitious exploration, then having this sprawling adventure on a portable actually helps alleviate some of its limitations. Just try not to keep it away from an open bar. 

Get past the iffy localisation and maybe the cutesy characters if you have to, and DragonfangZ is a fun and interesting genre mash up. The roguelike element makes it ideal for a quick pick up and play session, but you'll also be rewarded if you invest more time to build up stats and learn the increasingly deep systems that are more in line with traditional JRPGs. All in all, it's simple-looking yet increasingly deep experience, one that can be as absorbing as it is perplexing.

Despite a few niggles with the implementation of its drawing mechanics on a button-based handheld, Draw A Stickman: EPIC 2 remains one of the most creative genre mashups we’ve played on Switch. With a splash of RPG, a sprinkling of puzzle solving and a generous dollop of creativity, you end up with a recipe for family friendly entertainment that feels fresh and new on Nintendo's hybrid console (even if it has been out on PC for over two years already). Add in the Down Below DLC as standard and it’s not hard to draw your own conclusions on this little gem.

At its best, which is when a level is at just the right difficulty for the individual player, Nuclien provides a very smooth, fast-paced, and satisfying number puzzle experience. The aesthetic is pleasing for the most part, and blasting your way through intricate layouts feels great. With only a couple of hours’ worth of content on offer, all of which is based around the same concept, Nuclien does feel a little bare-bones (although, in fairness, this is reflected in the asking price). It won’t wow or amaze you as you play, but it isn’t a bad way to pass the time, either - especially if you enjoy quick reflex puzzles on the go. 

Furi's series of dauntingly challenging boss fights are capable of turning all but the most committed of player into a gibbering wreck. It's a deceptively clever game that combines shooter and and beat-'em-up mechanics, all wrapped up in a stylish anime-influenced shell. It's not for everyone, with numerous difficulty spikes and an over-reliance on repetition. But it's refreshing to see a game rewards patient observation and persistence, as well as mastery of a carefully calibrated control system. 

The Escapists 2 is an ingenious, multi-layered clockwork sandbox that offers you a wide range of routes to freedom. Its tough demands and myriad competing systems can lead to frustration, but a winning sense of humour and knock-about fun always brings you back for another jailbreak attempt.