eShop Explore 008

eShop Explore 008

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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.

Reigns: Game of Thrones

Manifesting as a series of “what-if” scenarios involving the Red Woman’s prophetic visions, Reigns: Game of Thrones examines what might happen if prominent Game of Thrones characters claimed The Iron Throne. From Jon Snow to Arya Stark, Dany to Gendry (and several, more unlikely rulers), it is an interesting diversion as the final season of Game of Thrones wraps up, even if the game may prove inscrutable to GoT newcomers.

Instead of telling the story of a sequence of monarchs, and the overall story of the kingdom they rule (as Reigns: Kings & Queens does), Reigns: Game of Thrones plays like a high-score chasing game, which keeps track of your top monarchs, and how long you were able to survive without being killed. Swipe left or right to make decisions and see where each choice will take you. Each decision will influence how your subjects, and cohorts, view you, and if you anger them enough, they may come for your head. While not necessarily a Switch essential, Nerial has managed to replicate the tone of the hit series, perhaps crafting the best single licensed GoT tie-in yet. If you are a Game of Thrones fan, Reigns: Game of Thrones is well worth the price of admission.

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Developer – Nerial
Publisher – Devolver Digital
Price – $4.00
Genre – Adventure, Role-Playing, Strategy, Simulation
Players – 1
Release Date – Apr. 10, 2019
Size – 458 MB

Golf Peaks

Golf Peaks is a fantastic, stylish, simple, clever puzzle game which evokes the serenity of a calm day on the green. Each map grants players several cards, which each represent a golf stroke of pre-determined strength. It is up to the player to order those strokes, and determine the direction of each one, in order to reach the hole.

Each move can be undone with a single button press, sound effects are immensely satisfying, and each puzzle is brief, so Golf Peaks is the perfect game to pull out when you have a few moments to spare. Finishing a puzzle usually takes no more than 5-10 seconds, and with over 100 puzzles, and a price tag of just $5, you really can’t go wrong. Golf Peaks is one of the best puzzle games available on Switch, and I highly recommend it, even for those who are not interested in golf.

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Developer – Afterburn
Publisher – 7Levels
Price – $5.00
Genre – Puzzle, Sports, Board Game
Players – 1
Release Date – Mar. 14, 2019
Size – 160 MB

Horizon Chase Turbo

If racing games like Mario Kart and Forza occupy the two opposing ends of the racing spectrum, representing the endlessly approachable kart-racer and the demanding racing simulator, than Aquiris’ arcade racer, Horizon Chase Turbo, is a robust package of fast-paced fun which sits comfortably in the middle. Horizon Chase Turbo splits the difference between the two dominant racing game philosophies and drives home the point that a racing game doesn’t need to have endless customization to be competitive, and it doesn’t need to cater to the lowest common denominator to be fun for everyone.

Collect tokens and gas cans as you race around each course to rack up a high score and beat your friends best times. Complete special “Upgrade Courses” in each zone to win improvements which are applied to every car you own. With tons of different race courses, ghost racers (courtesy of your friends’ best times), loads of unlockable cars and modes, Horizon Chase Turbo is a rock-solid racing game with a sharp polygonal style and a soundtrack to match, it is an easy recommendation for Switch fans looking for an arcade racer they can really sink their teeth into.

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Developer – Aquiris Game Studio
Publisher – Aquiris
Price – $20.00
Genre – Arcade, Racing
Players – 1-4
Release Date – Nov. 28, 2018
Size – 1.3 GB

Hob: The Definitive Edition

Update: The day this review was published, Runic Games / Panic Button released a patch which increased the visual fidelity for Hob: The Definitive Edition, one of our primary criticisms of the game. While the Switch version still doesn’t visually match up to other platforms, it now looks much better than when this review was written. Consequently, the screenshot below is no longer indicative of the precise appearance of the game.

Hob: The Definitive Edition is a (largely) top-down, open world, third-person action adventure game from Runic Games, the makers of Torchlight. Following in the spirit of classic top-down games like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Hob is set in a lonely and mysterious world. After being freed by a strange golem, the player becomes the last hope of a realm which has been overrun by a creeping, infectious enemy. Utilizing their sword, their wits, and their new mechanical arm, players will reactivate the ruins of civilization, piece by piece, in order to bring the world back to life and destroy the parasitic presence.

While muddy visuals detract from Hob’s otherwise arresting aesthetic (other versions look markedly better than the Switch port, particularly in handheld mode), playing the game feels responsive, satisfying, and fluid. Character movement is light and snappy, and Runic has struck an excellent balance in pace, with the more frequent exploration and platforming sections punctuated by tense combat encounters. The world is well-realized and thoughtfully designed, as are most platforming sections, even if Hob sometimes suffers from the same small issues which plague most 3D platformers (properly gauging distance, jumping at an angle to reach ledges, etc.). With combat and puzzle mechanics familiar to those who have played Zelda, God of War, and Darksiders; Hob is a truly great game, even if “the definitive edition” isn’t quite so “definitive” on Switch.

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Developer – Runic Games, Panic Button
Publisher – Perfect World
Price – $20.00
Genre – Adventure, Action, Puzzle, Platformer
Players – 1
Release Date – Apr. 03, 2019
Size – 5.4 GB

Flipping Death

After she meets her untimely demise in a mausoleum, Penny Doewood wanders the afterlife as a ghost. Quickly bumping into Death himself, she is mistaken for his new temp. In the aftermath of their meeting, Death decides to take a vacation, leaving Penny in charge of the dead until he returns. Explore the world of the dead, then possess the living and control their bodies to navigate both worlds and solve puzzles. Use Penny’s newly minted Death-ly powers to help resolve the final affairs of the deceased, so they can move on to their eternal rest.

Set in a joke-filled, absurdist world, this charmingly macabre adventure channels the tones of both Grim Fandango and Zoink’s previous adventure game, Stick It To The Man. While slightly wonky platforming (still a definite improvement over Stick It To The Man) holds the game back mechanically, Flipping Death boasts a stylish and delightfully well-realized adventure game sandbox filled with quirky, idiosyncratic characters. Whether eavesdropping on the internal monologues of ridiculous characters, finding absurd solutions to problems, or simply watching characters fumble around as Penny controls their bodies, Flipping Death is a flipping good time. (For those who find adventure games tedious, I am happy to report Flipping Death includes robust fast-travel and hint systems which can be accessed at any time)

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Developer – Zoink Games
Publisher – Zoink Games
Price – $20.00
Genre – Adventure, Puzzle, Platformer
Players – 1
Release Date – Aug. 7, 2018
Size – 2.8 GB

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