eShop Explore 007

eShop Explore 007

Tired of combing the eShop for good games? Find out what’s worth playing and what you may want to avoid in eShop Explore! More episodes.

The World Next Door

The World Next Door is the story of Jun, a young girl who won the chance to visit another world for a short time. When she misses her chance to return from the magical world, she learns a dark fate awaits those who overstay their visit, and her newfound friend’s band together to try to find Jun another way home. Unlike other “match” type puzzle games, players traverse top-down puzzle areas in real time, avoiding enemies who slash and shoot at them. Keep moving while rearranging tiles of various colors and shapes, then activate them to cast different types of spells (fireballs, healing spells, slowdown spells, stuns, etc., each assigned to a particular color/shape).

Although encounters with multiple melee enemies can create difficulty spikes (especially in small arenas), The World Next Door is a fun, largely approachable new puzzle adventure game which had me anticipating the next conversation just as much as the next battle. Recently, games like Battle Chef Brigade have taken the puzzle genre and incorporated engaging characters and interesting worlds, and The World Next Door riffs on this model in a fantastic way. Although it is not without flaw, The World Next Door is a delightful game and a great choice for Switch players who are hungry for something different.

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Developer – Rose City Games
Publisher – VIZ Media
Price – $15.00
Genre – Action, Puzzle, Adventure
Players – 1
Release Date – Mar. 28, 2019
Size – 2.5 GB


Odallus: The Dark Call

Odallus: The Dark Call is a moderately challenging sidescrolling Metroid-style action adventure game, created by Brazillian indie dev JoyMasher, which tells the story of Haggis, a grizzled swordsman whose son has been abducted by a demonic cult. Gameplay (as well as environmental and UI design) channels old school action platformers like Castlevania in a delightful way, and players will obtain new subweapons and powerful relics as they explore. New items, like a bracer which bestows the strength to move boulders, allow the player to revisit levels and explore new areas, adding a degree of replayability.

Most modern Metroid or Castlevania-inspired indie games add unique spins on the classic formula, such as Shovel Knight’s destructible checkpoints, or Guacamelee’s lucha libre combo system. Moreover, most draw environmental and structural inspiration from more modern Castlevania games (such as the Super Metroid-inspired Castlevania: Symphony of the Night), but Odallus channels the spirit of older Castlevania games, like Castlevania III. Button remapping and camera distance options would improve the experience, but if you’re looking for a hard-boiled action platformer which would feel right at home on the NES, Odallus: The Dark Call is a good choice.

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Developer – JoyMasher
Publisher – Digerati
Price – $12.00
Genre – Action, Adventure, Puzzle, Platformer
Players – 1
Release Date – Feb. 8, 2019
Size – 553 MB


BATTLLOON

Battlloon is a quirky and charming multiplayer party arena battle game where players duke it out as various inflatable warriors. From balloons to bats to aquatic kittens, there is no shortage of adorable avatars. Players hold a button to breathe in, then release to putter across the battle arena, softly bumping into opponents in an attempt to knock them into the spiky walls. From sharper turning radii to quicker movement, different avatars grant different bonuses (the puffer fish was particularly hard to beat, with its hardy disposition).

Round leaders wear crowns, and popping a leader will award bonus points, so players are awarded for taking on the competition, no matter how full of hot air they may be. Rounds are short and sweet, and while players may feel they are fighting the controls as much as the arena or the opposition, it never gets frustrating. Additionally, players who have been knocked out can continue to battle as tiny inflatable angels, so there is no lull in the action, even for players who end up losing. Acting as a more approachable, laidback version of frenetic arena archery game, Towerfall, Battlloon is a fantastically fun time, and will be a mainstay at every party I throw for the foreseeable future.

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Developer – noname studio
Publisher – Unties
Price – $7.00
Genre – Action, Party, Multiplayer
Players – 1-4
Release Date – Feb. 28, 2019
Size – 211 MB


The Red Strings Club

The Red Strings Club is a stunning cyberpunk adventure game where players inhabit an uncanny bartender (and information broker) who is able to create different cocktails to bring out the emotions of his patrons. Leverage his peculiar bartending skills to gain information on the secret (and sinister) dealings of a tech giant which manufactures emotion-altering implants. The bartending minigame can get tedious (by requiring small, calculated movements in a liquid physics engine with no quick “undo” function), the story, writing, dialogue options, music, and atmosphere in The Red Strings Club are excellent.

With adult/sexual themes and language, profanity, pixelated nudity, corporate espionage and sabotage, and a focus on manipulating people to extract information, it is certainly not for kids. That said, The Red Strings Club may be the best and most fascinating adventure game I have ever played. It is an absolute must-buy for those looking for a new twist on adventure games, or those interested in examining the transhumanist and ethically ambiguous social themes the cyberpunk genre tackles best.

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Developer – Deconstructeam
Publisher – Devolver Digital
Price – $15.00
Genre – Adventure
Players – 1
Release Date – Mar. 14, 2019
Size – 240 MB


Drawful 2

Note: In Drawful 2, each player needs their own web-connected mobile device, such as an iPhone or tablet, to use as a controller.

For those who have played the Jackbox Party Packs, Drawful may be a familiar title, but those who are unfamiliar are in for a treat. Drawful is a 3-8 player drawing game where each participant is secretly given a phrase or saying they have to depict with a drawing. Their drawings are then put on the screen, where other players are required to submit possible answers for what the picture could depict. After the possible answers are collected, they are displayed on the screen, along with the real answer. Guess the correct answer, or trick your opponents with your fake answer, and win points.

While Drawful 2 hasn’t changed much from the original, it did add the ability to create user-generated prompts to take the craziness to the next level. It also added expanded streaming tools, for those who want to play with a large audience. Regardless, Drawful 2 is a great time, a fun party game, and an excellent pick for those who frequently play with large groups. The more, the merrier!

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Developer – Jackbox Games
Publisher – Jackbox Games
Price – $10.00
Genre – Party
Players – 3-8
Release Date – Jun. 21, 2018
Size – 103 MB

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