Nintendo Switch Review

 

     After years of experimentation, Nintendo has finally hit onto something with their latest console.

     The Nintendo Switch had an uphill climb from the word go. Nintendo hasn’t done itself any favors in recent years in combatting their biggest criticisms, and as the Wii U had shown, gamers weren’t entirely on board with their experimental approach to console design anymore. Sure, the Wii sold just under the PS2 world-wide in terms of sales, but Nintendo hasn’t had a hit since. Well, unless you count the 3DS.

     See, despite their shaky stance in the home console market since the start of the 2010s, they dominated the dedicated handheld market with an iron fist. Even the “low” selling 3DS managed 60 million units its six years on market. I’m sure one of the higher ups noticed this trend. “Take what we’re good at, apply it to what we’re not,” seems to have been the design mantra behind Nintendo’s latest piece of tech.

(The Switch with the Joy-Con Controller, assembled in the included Joy-Con Grip. Yeah, it’s tiny.)

     Enter the Switch, a handheld/console hybrid that somehow manages to take everything Nintendo was ever successful at (motion controls, multiple controller configurations, portability) and mash it into one Frankenstein of a machine. And I mean that in the best possible way it could be taken. What the Switch is supposed to do it does FLAWLESSLY. Switching control schemes or going from docked console to portable mode is as easy as the cool little ads targeted at millennials makes it look.

(The tablet pictured is the console itself- the dock merely outputs it to a TV at 1080p.)

     The Joy-Con controllers are certainly well designed (if a bit small), and miles ahead of what the Wii Remotes or PS Move controllers are capable of producing. Yes, they are motion controllers, but if you’re more of a traditionalist the bonus Joy-Con grip that’s included or the separate Pro Controller offer perfectly fine alternatives to the motion mayhem. I didn’t have the opportunity to test the controllers in a two-player game, unfortunately, so I can’t speak for one of its biggest selling points. Though the idea of having a competitive showdown somewhere out and about while the console is in tabletop mode is certainly a cool idea, I doubt this will happen to me very often. Your mileage may vary, particularly when Mario Kart 8 Deluxe drops.

(The Joy-Con controller.)

      The actual hardware of this device is certainly nothing to scoff at, but be warned: This does not buck Nintendo’s habit of using well-worn tech for their devices. Your standard PS4 or Xbox One will still run laps around this thing, but we’re at a point now in gaming tech where the lines are becoming increasingly blurred. The difference between gaming generations has shrunk, and beyond the nitty gritties of framerates and HDR, you’re not going to see a substantial difference.

     Let’s not forget something important though- despite how Nintendo is marketing this thing it is more of a portable gaming tablet with the ability to be docked on a TV than the other way around. And when you consider that- it’s something to behold for sure.

(The console in portable mode, with the Joy-Con attached.)

     I had recently mentioned in a belated New Nintendo 3DS review I had done that it was Nintendo’s most confident product to date. Scratch that, because I truly believe the Switch can take that crown and run with it. In every way, it oozes the “it” factor that the Wii U lacked. It does exactly what it sets out to do (and does that incredibly well) and the big N can’t be faulted for that. Time will tell if this machine really saves Nintendo from gaming oblivion, but if the early sales numbers are to be taken as any type of indicator, they may just finally have another well-deserved hit on their hands.

 

FINAL VERDICT

     If you don’t mind the lack of power in comparison to the other gaming giants, then the Switch has a whole lot to offer. It is essentially the Nintendo Fanboy’s dream machine- a hefty throwback to the confidence and “cool” factor Nintendo still had back in the 90s. Not since the N64 have I savored over a new Nintendo machine quite like this. Welcome back guys- after a couple of misses you finally nailed it.

8.5/10

Pros:

  • PORTABLE!!!
  • The 720p 6.2-inch screen is vibrant enough and games such as Breath of the Wild look gorgeous on it.
  • The Joy-Cons are surprisingly comfortable for their small size, and the included grip accessory makes it dead simple to enjoy traditional controls- if you don’t want to shell out $70 for the pro controller, that is.

Cons:

  • Accessories are borderline offensive in their pricing. Go ahead, look them up.
  • The battery life isn’t fantastic- six hours’ tops, less if it’s a bigger game. I’m lucky to net 3 on BOTW.
  • Though not a problem for me, there have been reported connectivity issues with the left Joy-Con controller.

 

Kero Blaster: Who you gonna call? The Cleanup Frog!

   

   Kero Blaster is an indie title that I recently played and beat in normal mode that I thoroughly enjoyed. The indie game was developed by the same company who made Cave Story+ on steam, so it comes from a pretty good background.

The basic idea of the game is pretty simple in a way, you play as a frog in a side-scrolling  game shooting guns, defeating monsters, and bosses in a few different levels. However there is a lot more in the game as well when it comes to power-ups and more that you can purchase, both gun upgrades and life upgrades. Each time you ‘game over’ you end up in the hospital where you have a chance to buy from the medical store, or if you encounter the store in a level you can shop from both the medical and weaponry ones.  The weapon upgrades are your typical ones, though the max upgrades are very powerful where as if you focus on one early in the game you can most likely make it through the game pretty quickly.  The medical ones are a bit of the usual, though there is one that I find fascinating. The game’s life system runs on a  heart-based hitpoint, plus the usual lives as well. You can add how many lives you have of course, but also you can get a one time use jar that when you run out of hearts on that life it will give you a certain amount of hearts back. It actually reminds me a lot of the ‘guardian angel’ that you can get in League of Legends, where you don’t get all of your life back but you get enough to last  you to make it past the obstacle usually.

Some may say there are ‘only’ 7  levels in the game, however  these aren’t short levels. Many of them have mini-bosses for you to kill, though luckily after you kill them once they don’t reappear, making it a bit easier to get through the level. The length of the last level is one to drive you crazy though, at least it did for me. It took me a very long time to get through it because of how far back it throws you if you get a gameover in the last level.  For many of the levels and areas you can use any of the guns, but certain obstacles require certain ones. For example you have to use the fire gun to kill most of the ice enemies and to destroy the iceblocks. So as you can pick a favorite gun sometimes you will have to switch, luckily you can switch anytime with a push of a button.

I don’t want to reveal too much about the game though, because I highly recommend you guys try it . I had a lot of fun in the game and beat it during my stream,  and when that happened it unlocked a hard mode which I did not check out. The game features replay ability just because of how the difficulty system is. Also the graphics are simple ones, but I enjoy them, they remind me of older 8  bit games.  There are some frustrating areas but nothing game breaking, and nothing that stopped me from playing the game. So to sum it all up, this game is a great buy especially with the controller support! So check it out on steam for 9.99!

Champions of Breakfast

champions of breakfast

 (Image from their facebook, click the image to go to it)

  Do you like bullet hells? Well Champions of Breakfast is a game that will definitely deliver! I received an early copy to try out the game on stream, it only had a couple of the characters available even so I was entertained for a few hours. The game has an arcadey feel where you start at the beginning each time you die, and you get powerups throughout it. I’m pretty sure if I was playing this on a machine I’d be broke by now out of addiction to the game.

championsofbreakfast whisk fight

In this game you actually fight as different cooking items, for example what is unlocked right now is a toaster and a whisk, and you have to fight against other household objects. You start in the bathroom fighting against  razors, toilet brushes, hair dryers, hairbrushes, a mini boss of a hair straightener, and a boss of a bathtub.  The whole idea follows the usual idea of bullet hells where you have to constantly be dodging and kill  everything on the screen to get to the next one, while you can randomly get different passive items as you kill things. All of the passive items are food items, some give you health such as the butter slab returns a health while butter-sticks raise your max health, and then there are different items that will up your damage in some way.  As you get through each level you’ll run into a mini boss half way through, and when you beat it you will receive a special power. Most of the special powers fire off a powerful attack, and are usable roughly every 10 seconds  which is really nice when you are fighting off what seems like a million items.

championsofbreakfast precise moving

The controls in this game are simple, you use either WASD or the arrow keys to move around and then left click to fire. You can of course hold down the left click for constant firing. Also, in the original version I got you can hold down space bar to slow down when you need to make precise movements. However because of the issues with my space bar it was switched to shift for me, so I imagine when the game comes out it will be changeable to whatever key you need. Also once you get the special power you will be able to use it with right click, and when it refills you will hear a ding so you don’t have to keep an eye on it and just focus on the game. According to the person I was working with to get this version of the game there will be controller support as well, which I definitely can’t wait for I always tend to use controllers better then keyboard and mouse.

Champions of Breakfast is an amazing game that is very addictive, and I highly recommend getting it when it does come out on Early Access on steam. For now though if you want information on the game or the developers, their links are below:

Twitter: @PirateSoftware_

Tumbler: gopiratesoftware.tumblr.com

Website: gopiratesoftware.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gopiratesoftware/?fref=ts

If you want to watch gameplay of it I streamed it last night, and will be streaming it more often so make sure to check that out for now its saved in past broadcasts!

High Strangeness, Indie RPG

Not too long ago I tried out an indie RPG game that was given to me called High Strangeness. The game luckily has controller support, though it was only partial which made it a bit awkward at times causing me to hit the wrong buttons often since it was registered as an xbox controller.  Even so the controls were pretty good, the rest of the game was a bit of good and bad.
highstrangeness moving    The basic premise of the game is that you are a guy, Boyd, who is moving and has to chase down his cat,Abydos, when it runs away. However when you do find your cat you end up being taken to an alternate world where everything looks ‘odd’ to you, which I will explain in a moment. In this place you are made to find a few items for a sick man, and then you are told about things called Crystal Skulls. It turns out that the Crystal Skulls are filled with extreme power and you have to find them in order to save all of the universes. The storyline is relatively simple and pretty easy to see through at times figuring out the basic ending, however the dialogue is set up pretty well. You have your cat, who can actually talk, and your old boss at the cd store who were both sent to  watch over you in your world. The cat tends to be rather rude at times, which just seems to match the way cats act usually. They can be all lovey dovey but at times they are just like ‘ugh you’, which Abydos matches perfectly with his dialogue. His boss,  Anna, in the beginning is just his friend however when he is taken away she  acts a bit jealous and unsure of him it seems. The twists and turns in the personality of the characters is rather interesting, often it can be pretty humorous at times as well.

highstrangeness transition

     The characters are interesting ones, however there is quite a bit to cover over the gameplay. As I mentioned before the controller support isn’t the best, which makes choosing your weapons and such a bit awkward because the actual selection button is not the one you would think it was. Personally I would think when you select your weapon you would use the button that you use to use that weapon, however you use the main weapon button instead the other button just exits out of the menu. Beyond that though the game is a bit actiony and puzzle based however most of the puzzles once you figure it out the first time it becomes very easy to solve the puzzles later on. The fact that they basically reuse the premise of some of the makes a few of the puzzles very annoying because they are long, using one of the most interesting features I’ve seen.  One of the main features in the game is the ability to switch perspectives in the game, from 16 bit down to 8 bit and back. As  I mentioned before things looked ‘odd’ and that is because when you get to that world you see everything as 8 bit. The transition  feature is interesting and makes for some nice puzzles, however the ones where you just have to switch to see a very long path is annoying because you can not switch back until you are through. I love this feature in the game however  there are issues I have with it, sometimes when it switches over the bright colors hurt my eyes quite a bit. For example towards the end of the game there is a nice area that is full of blues, however when you switch to 8bit it hurt my eyes terribly and I had to get through it quickly.

 

All in all this game was pretty good , even if it was a short one to play. It is one that in my opinion is worth the 5 dollars, there are some twists and turns in the game and interesting changes in gameplay throughout it. From action to stealth this has quite a bit of decent gameplay available for you to try.  I highly recommend trying it out, click here to check it out on steam.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Top 5 Roguelike Games

One of my favorite types of games are described as roguelike, where you typically have one life and each time you start again everything in the world changes making the games addictive.  Here is my top five roguelike  games that I love, there are many more out there but these are the ones that come to mind. If you want to see these game’s steam page, it is linked in the title of each game in the article.

5.Dungeon Souls

dungeon souls

    Dungeon Souls is a 16 bit art style game where you can play as 8 different characters, 3 of which you start with the other 5 are unlocked as you do certain things in the game. The basic idea of the game is you have to unlock the marks in each floor to get to the next one. Also along with a character select they have a difficulty selection at the bottom of the character select, however at the beginning you can only select from 2 difficulties.

   The way you attack depends on who you pick, but I prefer the keyboard control scheme where you use WASD to move and the mouse to attack. One thing that makes this different then others when you play the game you can level up, but your levels only count for that play through and you actually have the chance to level up different skills as you go. The way it is set up kind of makes me think of a moba where you have 4 different skills that you can use. One  main gripe I  have of this game though is the enemies tend to appear randomly on top of you which makes it easier for you to die randomly to something you didn’t know would be there. The enemies like to spawn constantly even to the point that when you have been on a floor too long you get an ominous message, which seems to mean a big enemy is coming but I haven’t stayed on a floor long enough to find out. 

4.Spelunky

spelunky preview

   This is one game on this I feel like everyone probably knows about . This roguelike is a 2nd game where you have to go through mines and more to find the all mighty treasure. It even pokes fun at the fact the game is ever changing, having one of the characters in the story mention they kept dying and reappearing at the entrance yet the rooms were changing each time. The self aware this game has makes me rather happy,  I love it when games are self aware it always makes things interesting at least to me.

   The game has decent controller support for older controllers, however it doesn’t seem to register my ps4 controller so it’s one I haven’t gotten to try out the controller with yet. Your character from what I can tell does not change from each try, however you do get chances to go to stores at time and steal. Though when you harm the shopkeep he goes rather berserk and tries to kill you. The only way your travels show progress is as you find new things they are added in your journal that you keep , including new enemies and items.

3.Rogue Legacy

rogue legacy

  When you check out Rogue legacy there are quite a few things to notice at first. For example there are shops that you can use your gold from the last life in, not only that but there are ways to lock the castle so it doesn’t  change for that life.  When you are playing it there are several different types of characters you have a chance to be. Each time you enter there are 3 different people, who will carry on any upgrades you buy and are a part of your family tree. There are different size characters, and they even have different skill sets so they can have different magic etc.

The way the game is played is very typical of roguelikes, however the fact your attempt before affects the current try is interesting. If you had a good run you could buy items to help you get more health,  more armor and more. There is also a skill point tree that can help you through your journey, the game consists of 5 main areas with a vast amount of rooms per area. The growing of your character and skills greatly increases the replay value until you have all the things you want on your character. The 2d gameplay makes it feel like a bit of a blast from the past, with bright colorful graphics.

2.Binding of Isaac (Specifically the Binding of Isaac: Rebirth) 

bindingofisaac

  The basic premise of Binding of Isaac is you are are originally playing as Isaac who is trying to kill his mother who believes she needs to kill him. You are stuck in a set of dungeons below your room, and your weapon is shooting your tears which can be upgraded as well as having special item weapons and companions.

   Many things separate Binding of Isaac from other roguelike games. For one it has 4 rooms that are in every dungeon level, the golden room, the store, and a secret room for you to find , and of course the boss room as well. Binding of Isaac is a game that has evolved quite a bit, new versions coming out with quite a bit added to each one. For example one of the biggest additions in one of the new versions, The Binding of Isaac:  Rebirth, is the controller support that helps a lot when playing the game.  One of the nice things about Isaac is the fact that each time you beat the game it gets longer and there’s a chance of unlocking new characters. Yet even if you don’t get through the main set of dungeons there are enough items and enemies that you are practically guaranteed a unique run each time.

Honorable Mention: Magicite

magicite preview

   Magicite is the indie game that deserves an honorable mention in my opinion. The game is pretty fun, when I first got it with my friends it was because we thought it was something like Terraria. However we soon discovered it wasn’t. At the beginning you get to start was one species, however as you progress and achieve different things you earn different species and different accessories that give you special traits.

   One of the main reasons this is only a honorable mention is that the crafting is one of the main things in this game, and the crafting system is horrendous.  The recipes are awkward and you have to separate out materials to get just one of something otherwise you’ll most likely end up with a lot of handles without the materials to make a part to go ON the handle.  Besides that everything else is something I can deal with,   though I do wish the inventory and crafting was better. Though if you are wanting to play it in multiplayer good luck, last I tried it tended to phase out where one person would  get unsynced with the other players causing it to be unplayable because you couldn’t progress to the next  area.

1.Dungelot: Shattered Lands

dungelot 2

   Dungelot was a game that came out recently by the indie team Tinybuild, who have made quite a few amazing games. My first encounter with the game was when I watched some streams that had a promotional version of the game that gave out codes to viewers as the stream played.  To put the game simply its a roguelike minesweeper game set in dungeons. You move from space to space to find the key to get to the next floor, and when you have to fight it’s a quick turn based battle . Within the game there are four characters, three you unlock as you play through the game, so you start with a paladin who is pretty tanky.

   The unique gameplay in the game is what caught my interest in it immediately. It doesn’t take high reaction skills making it a more relaxing games. However it does take quite a bit of mental power because some of it becomes a bit of a puzzle to figure out how to avoid dying before reaching the level dungeon you need to get to to clear the area. Like in Rogue Legacy though there are ways to update your characters, because in this game every 5 levels you get a ‘break’ floor which gives you a chance to heal up etc. You can have items added to the break area that helps you out, or you can get things that will help update your character  or change how it starts the set or floors.

   All these rogue games are different from one another in some way, and I do recommend them all though they all of course have their own drawbacks as each game does. One very nice thing about this game style though is it has replayability because of how things change each time you go through the game. Are there roguelikes that I didn’t include that you like? Let me know down below I would love to try more!