Review – Celeste

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It would be an understatement to say that the retro-style indie platformer market is over saturated. That’s why it’s easy to forget that we’ve gotten many great games coming from this field, such as Braid, VVVVVV, Fez, Cuphead and Shovel Knight, just to name a few. Now, we can add Celeste to that list. Celeste is a platformer developed by the creators of TowerFall, and it looks deceivingly simple. Under its simplistic visuals lies a superbly designed game, filled with tons of fun challenges and a really touching narrative.

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The Nintendo Switch, One Year Later

Last March I was overwhelmed with hype, just like any other Nintendo fan. The Switch had just dropped, and it showed a lot of promise. Not only did it release with one of the best Zelda games ever, but there was the promise of one of the meatiest launch years Nintendo has ever had. So now, a year later, did Nintendo deliver on the hype?

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For the Love of God, Please Play Celeste

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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.

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Review – Furi

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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.

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Review – Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King

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.

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Review – Doom

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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.

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Review – Arms

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Arms is a game that has taken me for a roller coaster ride this year. I was a little skeptical upon its initial reveal, but as subsequent information about the game came out, I got a little more excited. However, that excitement was quickly deflated after getting to play the game over the summer, and it got quickly demoted from a must-buy to a rental for me.

Now that I got to spend some time with the final product, I can’t say I regret my decision. Arms has its fair share of problems, which causes the game to float somewhere between really fun and very frustrating. Through all of this, though, Arms still manages to be a breath of fresh air coming from Nintendo. At its best, it’s a superbly designed online experience that requires complex, on the spot thinking. It takes some risks, some of which don’t pay off, but it has many good ideas that I hope are not abandoned here.

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