I almost skipped Celeste. It’s just that I tend to get burned out of the lo-fi, retro-looking indie games that are always coming out, and I’ve been playing a bunch of those lately on the Switch. But Celeste was very highly recommended to me, so I decided to buy it, and holy crap am I glad I did. This is a very simple platformer on the surface, but there is a ridiculous amount of depth here, both in its gameplay and narrative.
Furi is an action game by developers The Game Bakers. It came out on other systems in 2016, but just recently hit the Switch in January. I picked it up purely because I’m a sucker for stylish games like this. To my surprise, there is an engaging, hardcore experience to match the gorgeous visual presentation.
Furi is a weird mix of bullet hell and hack-and-slash. This is, in its core, a boss rush game, where you tackle a succession of difficult bosses one after another. The mechanics are actually very simplistic, and don’t change throughout the course of the game. Everything revolves around a simple set of core actions: you can shoot enemies with your gun twin-stick style, attack them with your sword, dodge and parry attacks.
A quick glance at this blog will tell you that I’m a pretty big Zelda fan. I am especially a fan of the 2D Zeldas, such as Link’s Awakening and A Link to the Past. That’s why Blossom Tales jumped out at me. While many games try to replicate aspects of Zelda, not many try to capture the feeling of playing one as Blossom Tales does. The game is self aware and confident enough to even make a tongue in cheek reference to Zelda in its opening moments, but can it really back it up with its gameplay?
Well, yeah. This is a great Zelda clone. It doesn’t quite hit the same highs as any of the classic 2D Zelda games of the SNES, Game Boy and Game Boy Advance, but for a $15 indie game, it doesn’t have to. It’s good enough to be more than worth the money, and mechanically, it hits all the boxes to give anyone a crazy nostalgia rush.
I started replaying Monolith Soft’s Xenoblade Chronicles at the same time I was playing Xenoblade Chronicles 2, in order to better understand the differences between the two games. Naturally, I had an itch to keep playing this fantastic game after beating its sequel. Xenoblade Chronicles is an RPG developed by Monolith Soft for Nintendo’s Wii system. It first caught my eye back in the day due to the fan outcry that finally brought it over to North America in 2012.
Xenoblade was a spectacular game for many reasons. As a JRPG that was developed for a system that was very underpowered by 2012 standards, Xenoblade shattered expectations by being a humongous and expansive experience. The world of the Xenoblade managed to be one of the most visually unique and beautiful settings I’ve ever seen in an RPG, despite the hardware limitations of the Wii.
Welcome to the last major Switch game of 2017! Just when I thought we were out of the woods, we get yet another gargantuan experience to add to this year’s tally. This time, it’s Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the latest game from RPG developer Monolith Soft. While I unfortunately never got around to playing Xenoblade Chronicles X on the Wii U, I loved the hell out of the original Xenoblade Chronicles, and I was looking forward to this game.
Like the original, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a JRPG with a twist. It has all of the traditional narrative-driven progression the genre is known for, and throws in aspects more commonly found in MMORPGs and western RPGs. That includes large, open environments and lots of side quests to fulfill for gear and cash. The first game was excellent, thanks to its visually memorable and unique zones, as well as the well fantastic characters and mature, refined story. The sequel really wants to catch that lightning in a bottle a second time, and while it doesn’t quite reach the same level as the first game, it still managed to be well worth the time I put into it.
Playing Doom on the Nintendo Switch is kind of a surreal experience. This is the full Doom experience here, and while some concessions have been made in the visuals, it still walks the proverbial demon-slaying walk. It’s easy to see the parallels to 1995, when the original Doom was ported to the SNES, with its own hits to visual quality, frame rate and resolution. And while today it is not the most ideal way to play Doom, it was an impossible port that brought the game to a wider audience.
Of course, things aren’t as dramatic for this port of last year’s Doom reboot. That said, there’s still an undeniable magic in playing a game like this on a portable system. This is a polished modern AAA experience, in the palm of your hands. This is really what the Nintendo Switch was made for, and it’s an important port that shows what this system is capable of.