Nintendo Reviews

eShop Explore 011

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.

Crystal Crisis

Crystal Crisis is an engaging puzzle battle game developed and published by Nicalis which supports up to four players. Manipulate falling pairs of colored blocks to create clusters of the same color, then use matching crystals to clear those blocks. With a host of modes and characters, which can be unlocked by playing Story and Arcade modes, there is a lot to love in this addictive puzzle game.

Each character (from Astro Boy to Cave Story’s Quote) has their own defensive and offensive Burst ability, which can be charged up over time by clearing blocks and creating combo chains, which gives character selection a compelling purpose beyond the aesthetic. Local and online multiplayer options are available, and Crystal Crisis can become truly brutal as new difficulty options are unlocked. Color-blind options are available, and the soundtrack by UMI*KUUN and Toshihiro is fantastic. Although the price tag is a bit steep, Nicalis would do well to address the long, frequent load times, because Crystal Crisis has the potential to be the strongest puzzle offering on Switch.

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Developer – Nicalis
Publisher – Nicalis
Price – $30 (Digital), $40 (Physical)
Genre – Puzzle Battle, Arcade, Puzzle, Fighting
Players – 1-4
Release Date – May 28, 2019
Size – 1.8 GB


Hell Is Other Demons

Hell Is Other Demons is a tough-as-nails, bite-sized, wave-based, single screen shoot-em-up action platformer (WHEW) where players assume the role of a demon hell-bent on killing their way through the underworld. Easy to pick up and difficult to master, Hell Is Other Demons’ campaign features a node-based map with increasingly challenging stages filled with waves of varied enemy types, with themes and color-schemes changing based on sub-area.

Gather gems dropped by fallen enemies and complete map challenges to earn currency you can use to purchase and equip new passive abilities, weapons, and ultimate skills to match your playstyle. It also includes an arcade mode (much like Downwell’s) where players will automatically go from one stage to the next, picking up random weapon drops and collecting bonuses when leveling up between stages.

With an awesome, pulsing synthwave soundtrack (reminiscent of NeuroVoider), stylish neon-soaked visuals, tight controls, and lots of customization options (including fully customizable controls), there is a lot to love here. Feeling like a fusion of OVERWHELM and TowerFall’s single-player campaign, Hell Is Other Demons is an absolutely fantastic, intensely challenging arcade game, and a steal for $10.

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Developer – Cuddle Monster Games
Publisher – Kongregate
Price – $10
Genre – Action, Arcade, Platformer
Players – 1
Release Date – Apr. 18, 2019
Size – 398 MB


Redout: Lightspeed Edition

Redout: Lightspeed Edition is a tough futuristic arcade racer developed by 34BigThings and published by Nicalis. Choose from a handful of different hovercar archetypes, each of which has slightly different stats, then compete in several different event types (Time Trials, Race, etc.). Place higher to win more money, which can then be used to upgrade specific stats for each hovercar, or unlock new vehicles altogether.

While the premise, style, and even execution aren’t unique among racers, and the price tag is a bit steep, Redout offers a relatively full-featured package. Similar to other floaty & futuristic racers (like WipeOut), Redout’s speedy, always-drifting vehicles can be difficult to control, especially at first. Because of this learning curve, and because vehicles explode if they bump into the walls too often, it can get frustrating quickly. Players may need to experiment with different hovercars, different POV, and practice using the Strafe and Pitch techniques before the game starts to feel good.

There are more approachable (or fun) racers on Switch (Horizon Chase: Turbo, Mario Kart, etc.) but there really isn’t anything else like Redout. If you are looking for a fast-paced, futuristic, demanding racing game with a techno/trance soundtrack (or you are a WipeOut fan) this might be the one you are looking for.

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Developer – 34BigThings
Publisher – Nicalis
Price – $40.00
Genre – Arcade, Racing
Players – 1-6
Release Date – May 14, 2019
Size – 3.6 GB


VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action

Sensitive Content Warning: While a game about bartending necessarily contains alcohol-related content, VA-11 HALL-A also contains extensive sexual language, including both descriptive and suggestive content. It also contains many references to transhumanist themes common to the cyberpunk genre, so be warned if you are sensitive to these or similar issues.

VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action may be a mouthful, but it is also an excellent futuristic bartending sim where players assume the role of Jill, a down-on-her-luck bartender in a cyberpunk dystopia. Mix drinks for interesting or abrasive patrons, then chat them up to learn about their lives and the world at large, and even influence their decisions through the drinks you choose and the ingredients you use. Take breaks between shifts and use your hard-earned tips to buy music and more, or read up on world events, including the exploits of patrons or the hacker/hacker group known as Alice_Rabbit.

Leaning heavily on excellent drink-making mechanics, VA-11 HALL-A also paints an intimate, human picture of the small number of patrons who frequent the bar. With an appropriately diverse electronic soundtrack (which players can influence through the jukebox menu) befitting the cyberpunk genre, retro visuals inspired by PC-98 adventure games, and branching story paths, VA-11 HALL-A is a fantastically engaging, must-play experience.

(Tip: If you are having trouble figuring out how to “blend,” just mix until the drink starts shaking faster!)

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Developer – Sukeban Games
Publisher – Ysbryd Games
Price – $15.00
Genre – Adventure, Simulation
Players – 1
Release Date – May 02, 2019
Size – 558 MB


Muse Dash

Sensitive Content Warning: While the game appears very kid-friendly, it is rated T for Teen for Suggestive Themes, and the game does include some provocative costumes on young-looking characters.

Muse Dash is a two-button music action game where players jump or slash in time with the rhythm of songs to fight off cute monsters and bosses. Higher accuracy in hitting notes means higher scores, fueling your Level and allowing you to unlock new songs, customization options, and characters. Take it easy for a relaxing musical experience, or ramp up the difficulty to Hard or Master to challenge yourself with music from a variety of peppy genres from Pop and J-Pop to Trance and Vocaloid.

Songs don’t take long to complete, making Muse Dash an excellent choice when you have a few minutes to kill. While the price tag may seem a bit steep at first glance, there are nearly 100 songs in the launch version of the game, the digital Switch version includes DLC, and the developer has teased “continuous free updates” to add more. Even if you aren’t a rhythm game enthusiast, Muse Dash makes for a fun diversion, so check it out if you are looking for something different on Switch.

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Developer – PeroPeroGames
Publisher – X.D. Network
Price – $30.00
Genre – Action, Music
Players – 1
Release Date – Jun. 20, 2019
Size – 540 MB

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