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This Week in the Nintendo eShop (Dec 14)

by the NWR Staff - December 15, 2017, 4:37 am PST
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Our first impressions of this week’s lineup, including pinball, character platformers, and hard-as-hell games.

After last week’s onslaught of games, this week is slightly less busy. Maybe. I don’t know, we’re still trying to claw our way out of the holiday rush. By the way the Zelda DLC is out, too. We miss our families.

The End is Nigh (Released December 12; $14.99)

“In The End is Nigh, you control a little black blob named Ash as he explores a post-apocalyptic world. The game’s structure is essentially that of Super Meat Boy, but without the stage menu. Here, each “stage” is a single screen, an obstacle course of varying difficulty, and after getting from point A to point B, you just wind up on the next screen. This gives the illusion of an open-world platformer, but that’s not quite right. Distinct “levels” are available, each containing a certain number of “stages.” You can, at any time, open the menu and warp to the beginning of any “level” that you’ve uncovered. [Regarding the difficulty], my feeling is that if you got through Super Meat Boy, you’ll also enjoy The End is Nigh. It scratches the same itch, but it feels like a harder game. I enjoy figuring out how to get through any given stage, but making it happen is where the challenge is. It’s a great feeling when you come to a stage and say “how in the world…” and then beat it a few minutes (and several dozen deaths) later. Personally, I love this game to death even if it does feel like beating my head against the wall sometimes.” - Zach Miller (Check out the full review)

Pinball FX3 (Released December 12; Free to Start)

“Pinball FX3 is an incredible platform for pinball tables, and while a lot of the focus is still on high score chasing, the variety of modes and options makes this deeper than the typical pinball game. The future of this game will depend on how much Zen Studios supports it with new tables, but with 30 out there to start (with one free forever and two free for the first week), the diversity is there on day one. If the craft of each table matches the presentation in the platform, this should be a regular staple of any pinball-enjoying Switch owner.” - Neal Ronaghan (Check out the full review)

The Pinball Arcade (Released December 12; Free to Start)

Having checked out both pinball options on the Switch, sampling multiple tables from Pinball FX3 and two of the tables from Stern Pinball Arcade, as much as I prefer Arcade’s real-world tables it doesn’t make nearly as positive an impression. Trying out an older classic, Phantom of the Opera has all of its looks and play intact but the quality of the audio samples makes it sound like it was captured in a closet. Moving on to something a bit more modern I decided to try out Ripley’s Believe it or Not and while that table fares better overall there’s just something odd about the experience on Switch I can’t put my finger on against how it plays on my PC or even my Vita. The elements are all there, and I’m looking to see them release some classic Bally and Williams tables I adore, but whether it is an issue with the base engine or how well it was ported to the Switch at this point it isn’t as enthusiastic a thumbs up as I would have liked.” - Justin Nation

Yooka-Laylee (Released December 14; $39.99)

Yooka-Laylee is a bit of a known commodity, as it’s the Kickstarter success from the former Rare developers at Playtonic Games. Inspired by the games they worked on back on Nintendo 64 like Banjo-Kazooie, this game brings back the 3D platformer in a big, bad way. This is my first time with the game and so far, it sure is like those old N64 platformers. Camera control is an issue (and apparently it’s been fixed since the original launch), but Yooka and Laylee’s powers are all pretty fun, especially the roll that provides for some maneuvering. As for how it runs on Switch? It runs very well outside of some longer load times. Obviously the resolution takes a hit in handheld, but it looks totally fine on the TV. Our full review should be up soon. - Neal Ronaghan

Never Stop Sneaking (Released December 14; $14.99)

From the creator of the very good Metroidvania Dust: An Elysian Tail comes this clear Metal Gear Solid homage. Well, maybe not modern Metal Gear, but this is very much a throwback to the gameplay of the first PlayStation entry in the series. It’s a top-down stealth game that features simple controls, simple mechanics, and a great sense of humor. Controls are, quite literally, just an analog stick. Your erstwhile agent deftly moves around the map, automatically using bullets or grenades to contend with enemies and security cameras when in range. The simplicity opens the door for a lot of easy-to-digest strategy that gets interesting the further you get into the procedurally generated level designs. The goofy story, featuring a plot to prevent a villain from kidnapping all of the Presidents through use of time travel, is glorious as well, with a lot of good voice-acting performances, funny writing, and absurd sequences. - Neal Ronaghan

Mutant Mudds Collection (Released December 14; $14.99)

Mutant Mudds Collection takes the entire muddy universe and puts it together in one nice convenient package. Mutant Mudds, Mutant Mudds Super Challenge, and a brand new reskin of Bomb Monkey dubbed Mudd Blocks, are included all for the price of one. Looking for a retro inspired platformer? Then this collection is for you, offering the fantastic game that started it all as well as the tough as nails follow up which puts a heavy emphasis on challenge. The lack of stereoscopic 3D takes away from some special moments, but added online leaderboards help to mitigate that. With secrets exits to new levels, there’s a great deal of replayability in these tight platformers. Throw in an arcade puzzler as the cherry on top and what you’re left with is a damn fine way to play these classic games. - Casey Gibson (Check out the full review)

Bleed (Released December 14; $14.99)

If you’re down for a challenging shooter/platformer Bleed is set to deliver. You’ll be (triple) jumping, dodging, slowing down time, and shooting up a storm as you work your way through a hit list of the world’s top (soon to be former) heroes. I like difficult shooters but this one has caught me by surprise with its overall speed and challenge level, something about the control scheme isn’t clicking for me but will be giving it more time. Weapon upgrades are helpful though and it has a feel and flow different than anything else on the console currently. - Justin Nation

One More Dungeon (Released December 14; $8.99)

With its unique 2D-objects-in-a-3D-environment look One More Dungeon certainly stands out. The play about 6 runs in has generally been difficult so far and while it isn’t a complex game there is a learning curve to how best to attack and deal with certain enemies. Aiming and hitting foes can sometimes be a bit tricky and aside from finding new equipment there doesn’t appear to be a leveling system, just hacking and slashing to get deeper in the dungeon. - Justin Nation

Black: The Fall (Released December 14; $14.99)

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery than Sand Sailor Studio must be a huge fan of the indie developer Playdead. Many of the ideas and aesthetics present in Black: The Fall will feel familiar if you’ve ever played the title Inside. The water cooler pitch could be applied to either title: In a dark and foreboding environment, a nameless protagonist looks to escape an industrial complex designed to experiment with mind control techniques in this unique puzzle-platformer. Thankfully, from what I’ve played so far I’ve come to the assessment that most of the similarities between the two titles are skin deep. Although the platforming will feel similar, the puzzles required to make your way through the environments do differentiate Black: The Fall from its spiritual cousin. - David Lloyd

Enter the Gungeon (Released December 14; $14.99)

Roguelike fans, rejoice! Yet another fantastic dungeon crawler/roguelike is launching on the Switch in the form of Enter The Gungeon. From what I've played of it so far, it's oozing with charm and spirit as you shoot your way from room to room. Playing a little like Neon Chrome, the twin stick shooter control scheme works well as you explore to find new guns, accessories and attachments to beef up your attack for the several different characters to choose from. The enemies are super wacky, the bosses are even wackier, and the written dialogue is also packed to brim with absurdness. If you love pixel art than you're in for a treat as the spritework and animation is totally out of this world, and what attracted me to the game in the first place. With so many games releasing on Switch, make sure not to miss out on Enter the Gungeon. - Perry Burkum

Poly Bridge (Released December 14; $14.99)

Poly Bridge is a physics based puzzle game where constructing a bridge strong enough for vehicles to pass over is the goal. While the idea seems simple, there are plenty of clever ideas throw in to keep things fresh. Hydraulic draw bridges and elevator bridges are just some things you can expect as well as building ramps for cars to launch over gaps to the other side. With a budget and limited resources, it provides enough challenge to keep even the most seasoned players scratching their heads throughout its many stages. There’s also a sandbox mode where you can let your imagination run wild building both fun and interesting bridges. However there are a number problems plaguing Poly Bridge, primarily with the controls, which are limited to pointer controls in docked and touch controls in handheld. Pointer controls are flat out bad especially in a game that requires precision, rendering docked mode almost unplayable. The touch controls are infinitely better, but still lack the level of control you’d hope for. There’s also a game altering bug which won’t allow split joints (which are necessary for completing many puzzles) to be made in handheld mode. The developer is aware of this bug and currently has plans to fix it via patch, but we will have to wait and see how long that takes. Couple all this with poor explanations on some game mechanics and this is proving to be an incredibly frustrating endeavor. - Casey Gibson

Unholy Heights (Released December 14; $4.99)

One of my crazier addictions is the game Unholy Heights. You step in the shoes of the Devil as you rent out apartments to various monsters. It is your job as the landlord to keep your new friends happy, and help them in all their weird needs. Water based creatures, for example, would like a lot airconditioning to keep them cool. By tackling this correctly, these creatures will be willing to fight for you when some sneaky adventurers arrive. Unholy Heights is a strange mix between a tower defense and simulation game that never stops. It takes a bit to get things started, once you are in the flow, you will be hard pressed to something this simple and satisfying. I never found myself this invested in a bunch of cartoon monsters, but somehow Unholy Heights makes it work. - Daan Koopman

Party Planet (Released December 12; $39.99)

Especially after the era of Wii waggle-ware and Mario Party declining in quality, I think people let out a groan at the prospect of a family-friendly party game. While it lacks a metagame, Party Planet does a respectable job of providing its take on some classic arcade, popular casual, and a few mobile titles to create a diverse package. Quality may vary a bit from game to game but it has managed to provide for a fun experience for just about any age or skill level and supports some single-player exclusive games as well. - Justin Nation

Unepic (Released December 15; $9.99)

“Unepic is a standard dungeon crawler with standard combat, enhanced by its goofy characters and story. If you’re in the mood for a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and don’t mine the occasional weed/D&D/Star Wars joke, then Unepic might be for you. However, if you’re looking for an engrossing RPG with deep mechanics, your time is likely best spent elsewhere.” - Justin Baker

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