Category Archives: Game Reviews

Bridge Constructor Portal Review

bridge constrictor portal switch

If you have needed a fresh, healthy dose of GLaDOS making snide remarks and insulting your ability to accomplish basic tasks, then Bridge Constructor Portal is for you!

Also, it happens to have this decent physics-based bridge building puzzle game attached to it, so that’s something, I guess?

Build A Bridge

Now, Bridge Constructor Portal isn’t the first iteration of a game that has borrowed elements from another more popular game. It also isn’t the first time that a game uses a cameo appearance to enhance the overall user experience. However, it is one of the finest uses of both of these elements. Bridge Constructor Portal is, in essence, a physics-based bridge building game like many others, but it is a subpar version of its own series, propped up by the charm of an unstable android voice created for a more well-known puzzle series. You have girders, and wires at your disposal. You will utilize these tools to complete bridges leading from one side of a gap to another. These structures must be able to support themselves, which can be checked first by selecting the “test” option that you are given. Once you see that your bridge won’t fall apart instantly when you set the vehicle in motion, you must also hope that the vehicle can successfully traverse the level in its entirety without the bridge collapsing under the weight, or sagging to slow momentum. The best way to go about this is to make sure that your girders and wires all match up almost perfectly from the starting point to the endpoint. These points will be represented by circles.

How To Play

You can play the game docked and handheld with a controller to do this, but it is by far the most cumbersome and difficult method by which to play Bridge Constructor Portal. Ideally, you’ll want to play in handheld mode, using touchscreen controls.The frustrating part about this is that often you find yourself unable to make sure that you’re successfully overlapping your circles closely enough because you’re hiding it with your finger. So, you must do your best to match things up almost perfectly, but are not able to see to ensure this happens consistently. Destroying the components is easily done by double tapping, but it is incredibly frustrating that the largest portion of difficulty doesn’t come from solving the engineering puzzles related to span distance and proper support, but from your own inability to see what it is that you are doing. This obviously leads to a lot of irritating moments that is just you placing the same girder or wire over, and over, and over again.

bridge portal switch

There are some clever environmental puzzles to be overcome that incorporate different colored portals to spice things up a bit, but usually, the solution can be ascertained by testing the limits of the length of your girders and wires in relation to how much space you have to work with. Again, I find myself praising the tie-in with the Portal series much more than the game proper. If it weren’t for the inclusion of portals and GLaDOS constantly taunting you and cracking wise, Bridge Constructor Portal would be a completely forgettable experience, and anyone but the most hardcore of puzzle fans could overlook it without a second glance. Unfortunately, the inclusion of the Portal license has probably caused the game to carry a hefty price tag that makes it too expensive to even be a great impulse buy.

In Conclusion

There are some fun elements to the game, of course. The physics are spot on, and it is deeply satisfying to construct a bridge that is solid as a rock and supports a whole convoy of vehicles. On the flip side of that, if you forget to tap a girder to convert it to a road, it is hilarious to watch the vehicle and its occupants fall through to a pit of acid due to your negligence. It is also quite entertaining to watch how the bridge will sway, droop, and bounce after you’ve constructed it and send the vehicle over. Sometimes the droop is too much during a test run, and the whole thing just collapses. When you do these tests and watch where the weak points are, it is easy to figure out where you went wrong and how it needs to be fixed. Bridge Constructor Portal also provides a lot of levels to play through, and each feels a bit more different than the last. It isn’t a bad experience, and you can probably get used to the controls and enhance your own enjoyment, but there isn’t anything particularly great other than the great utilization of the Portal license.

Watch some GLaDOS highlights on YouTube, especially from Portal 2 (where her voice triggers my ASMR response); then, wait for Bridge Constructor Portal to go on super sale.

By: Sodamancer

Super Toy Cars Review

As a kid, one of my favorite things to do on a Saturday was to take my matchbox cars
outside and play with them in the dirt, in the driveway, and in my dad’s garage. I would make
all kinds of tracks with chalk and make my cars race, all the while getting lost in my play time
thinking of how fun it would be to drive these toy cars. How amazing would this world look
from a 1:64 scale perspective. Well, the days of fantasizing are over, thanks to eclipse
games, arcade racer, Super Toy Cars, that released on Nintendo Switch March 2, 2018.

super toy cars screen

Who made this big mess

At first glance, Super Toy Car looks like your kids have ripped their room apart, but after you
take off from the start line you begin to see how beautiful the race track environment is and
how much detail was actually put into each track. As you speed around the toy room you’re
treated to an amazing soundtrack, that really got me in the mood for some good old fashion
arcade racing. The main way you will be playing through Super Toy Cars will be, in the
career mode where you can unlock and buy new cars. You will also be able to buy
upgrades, to improve your car. There is no shortage of races with fifteen different track
variants over eight episodes or six races each. There are also five different race types. There
is your traditional race, time trial, checkpoint race, knock out race, and a different type of
knock out race called evade where it’s the same as a knock out race, but the track is littered
with mines.

It’s play time

One of my favorite things about this game is how much it reminds me of one of my
favorite games, Micro Machines. Super Toy Cars have a great top-down view. I also enjoy
how much Eclipse Games focuses on making this game fun to play, and nice to look at. This
game really comes to life when you’re able to play four player couch co-op.
Wait a minute
There are some things left to be wanted in Super Toy Cars. I had issues with my car flipping
out of control, and no I didn’t hit on of the trap laid by another racer. Getting stuck on walls
and not being able to get back to the race without restarting the race. The biggest missed
point is no online multiplayer. In today’s day and age games like this really need an online
multiplayer.

super toy cars 1920x1080

Time to go home

At the end of the day. If you enjoy arcade racing games this is for you. If you enjoy great
visuals in a game this is for you. There’s a little bit of everything in this game for someone.
This game is a great palette cleanser when you’re looking for a game you can just turn on and
relax

By: Joel Brooks

~Nintendo Family Gaming~

 

Read More Reviews Here!

 

Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf Review

Skyrim The Novel

Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf is a throwback to choose your own adventure books. This title instantly reminded me of Skyrim, but in the form of a novel. Lone Wolf is made up of two sections; the novel, and the action segments. The game progresses as you read the story and make choices. Some of these choices will lead to things like a battle or picking a lock. When one of these action segments takes place, the game moves from the novel to a 3D world. Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf surprisingly works well and will keep your interest. The story is captivating and has a way to connect with you right away.

The In’s and Out’s

One of the first things that jumped out at me was the graphics style. The game is gorgeous, between the hand-drawn depictions in the novel and the 3D world that you’re in during the action segments. The music in the game is okay and helps develop the atmosphere the game wants to create. One thing that does bother me though is the saving system. Right from the beginning the game never mentions autosaves, and never shows you how to save the game. I’ve found that whenever you are done playing you can choose from the menu to return to the main menu. When you come back to it the game will pick up right where you exited from. The saving needs to be explained at the beginning of the game to prevent people from being worried about turning the game off.

lone wolf

Time Your Actions

When I say time your actions, what I mean is attack as quickly as possible before the timer runs out. The battle system is my main gripe with Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf. The battle system is based on a timer, you have to perform your actions before the timer runs out. During the timer, there are quite a few actions for you to choose from, and as long as you are quick you can perform a few different actions. Each action depending on which category it comes from will use mana or energy. There is also a special that you can perform, though it seems arbitrary when that special is available. The battle system definitely needs much more explanation as I found myself just choosing actions without planning. Also, the items that are available during a battle are limited to what you have placed on your toolbelt. You start with three slots to place items for battles, which works fine, but items can be scarce at the beginning of the game. You need to make sure you use the rest feature before moving on with the story to avoid using up all of your potions.

lone wolf battle system

In Conclusion

Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf is an excellent choose your own adventure story with decent game elements. The fact that your choices affect the story adds replay value to the game and makes you want to go back and see what will happen if you make different choices. The battle system could use more explanation to make it flow better for the player. The art style and story are the shining stars of this game. If you like story’s then Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf will be a perfect game for you.

Serial Cleaner Review (Nintendo Switch)

Lets Clean!

Serial Cleaner is a game that I previously covered for its PC version as part of my 31 Days of Halloween series from October. I went into quite a bit of detail there, but I’ll refresh everyone on much of the details, and then discuss how the game translated over to the Nintendo Switch.

Serial Cleaner starts off with a very stylistic, and cinematic cut scene reminiscent of the great seventies cops and robbers action movies. The cheesy, but pulse-pounding movie score sets the mood perfectly, and the hand-drawn paper craft like graphics make the game less grotesque than it ought to be and add a lot of charm and personality. The autumnal shades of oranges, greens, and browns lend themselves well to the era, and the game play is well tuned.

You use your analog stick to move around, A to interact with most items (besides bodies, Y to pick up bodies, ZL to activate cleaner sense (allows you to scan the map for bodies and items of interest), and ZR to activate the vacuum used to clean blood away.

Stealth Cleaning

Serial Cleaner is a stealth puzzle game that tasks you with recovering dead bodies, cleaning up puddles of blood, and collecting evidence at brutal crime scenes, usually populated by enemies of the locally organized crime syndicate. iFun4All has even scattered collectibles throughout the levels that will net you clothes changes and bonus contracts to extend your gameplay experience. Hiding these collectibles around the stage adds replayability, and as is usually the case, adds to the difficulty of the game.

The game has a fair amount of difficulty, but there are a few things that make it somewhat easier than it could be. For one, finding a hiding spot instantly stops your pursuers from looking for you. Obviously, this isn’t unique to Serial Cleaner (I’m looking at you, Grand Theft Auto series), but it can be immersion breaking for some. If you repeatedly get busted during a contract, the location randomly places the bodies around the crime scene again. Sometimes this makes it easier, sometimes harder. Collectibles and evidence don’t have to be located again on a body moving fail, but if you don’t complete the contract before shutting the game down, you will have to find the evidence again.

One minor gripe that I didn’t address before, is that if you walk away from the game and come back to it from a fresh load, you have to watch the opening cinematic that sets up the contract again. No big deal, because it lets you experience the world with the story and characters fresh in mind, but it would be nice to have an option to just skip that portion and start at the contract itself. The world is well fleshed out by having pop cultural references in newspapers delivered to your doorstep, and by having your mom prompting you to watch the news or latest television show with her. It’s a nice touch, but the story and characters are mostly inconsequential since the game is really all about the stealth puzzles.

Conclusion

How does the game run on the Switch? Perfectly. The controls feel very intuitive, and zipping around the stages cleaning up blood with the vacuum is much better on the Switch’s Joycon than with mouse and keyboard. HD Rumble is utilized in the game to enhance the experience. When you get busted, which is shown on screen with a cop whacking you with a nightstick, there is an intense rumble. When you pick up and drop a body into your car or out of a window, you get little rumbles simulating the action of picking up the body and the thump that would accompany dead weight.

I feel like the vacuum cleaner not having HD rumble was a missed opportunity, as it doesn’t even activate the motors at all, so I’m hoping for an update that patches that in for the future.

In my original review of the game, I pointed out that the gameplay may get a little tedious during long play sessions, and that it would be well suited to the Switch’s pick up, play, and then suspend and go style of accessibility. While it is true that being able to suspend the game and later jump back in instantly does make the game a better experience compared to the PC, I actually found the gameplay itself less tedious because of this. I’ve personally never been one to play games on PC, but when I did it tended to be long haul simulation games. Things like Sim City or Civilization. A game that you will be investing hours on end into. Serial Cleaner is a quirky puzzle game best suited for short play sessions, but addictive enough that those short play sessions can turn into an hour very quickly. Puzzle games have always been a better fit for handheld consoles, and so Serial Cleaner really shines on the Switch because of this. I love this game more each time I play it, and cannot wait to get into the bonus contracts. This is the best version of the game.

4 out of 5 stars

*Originally published at Soda’s Fountain Arcade

Caveman Warriors Review (Nintendo Switch)

Back to the Stone Age

Caveman warriors is a side-scrolling action platformer that is intended to be played as a couch co-op title. The game has a bright and cheerful art style and an okay, but completely forgettable soundtrack.

caveman warriors logo

You play as a caveman family that has set out to save its prehistoric brethren from invading aliens, that have discovered earth, and are abducting cave people left and right. You can choose between 4 different characters, each of which has their own ability and play style and can swap between them as you go.

Each character in Caveman Warriors has an ability that makes them either useful against the enemies sprinkled throughout the level, or in the ability to navigate a stage’s obstacles.

Lilliana has the least health of the characters but has a spear that can be thrown a good distance to attack enemies. This also doubles as the only means of getting over super high cliffs, because you can throw her spear into a wall, which makes it act as a temporary platform to balance on.

Moe has a little bit more health, and his attacks are weaker, but he has greater range. I almost never found myself using Moe, but there are quite a few jumps that are more easily done after using Moe’s ranged attack to clear the way. Brienne has the second most health, and strong attacks. Her special is a gigantic whack that sends your opponents flying. She also saw very little use from me.

Brienne has the second most health, and strong attacks. Her special is a gigantic whack that sends your opponents flying. She also saw very little use from me.
Jack is your powerhouse. He has the most health and has the strongest attacks. He also throws his axe, much like Lilliana, but his axe can’t be used as a platform. It is very useful for eliminating multiple enemies in front of you.

caveman warriors screen

In Conclusion

The level design in Caveman Warriors is redeemed by its challenge but falls short of being clever and intriguing. The levels just feel like recycled ideas that anyone growing up in the 8 and 16-bit eras have played through dozens or hundreds of times before.

The controls are well thought out and feel very intuitive. Collision detection is accurate, and the only thing that feels cheap about the game is how the water sports behave sometimes

My biggest tip here is to make sure you watch the pattern of the fountains before you just jump forward.

If I could change one thing about the game, it would be to give everyone a separate health bar so that it depleted individually, instead of as a percentage of the overall health for each player.

I keep going back and forth on this game over its formulaic design, and it’s simple, but fun and kind of addictive gameplay.

3 out of 5 stars

3 out of 5

You can also find Ricky at http://www.fountainarcade.com

*Review originally published at http://theswitcheffect.net/2018/01/review-caveman-warriors-nintendo-switch/

Fe is a Masterful Piece of Art

By Sheldon Benedict

Where am I Fe?

No words, no explanation, just you, in an almost alien world, left up to your sense of exploration. That is Fe in a nutshell. Developed by Zoink Games, Fe is an open world, exploration platformer that tasks you with finding gems to fight back against the “evil” that is trying to consume the world.

My first thought when firing up Fe for the first time was “wow, this game is beautiful!”. The graphics will not disappoint, though they are not your typical Zoink Games style graphics. Zoink still managed to work their personality into the game with sounds, and the look of the creatures, especially the what I call “Dementors,” the evil creatures that roam around and capture the animals around the world. The sounds and ambient noises in Fe help pull you into the world and give you a sense of wonder, as well as a bit of fear as you run and hide trying to escape the dementors.

breathtaking fe
“wow, this game is beautiful!”

That Gameplay Though

The gameplay is simple, yet managed to grab my attention. Platforming is a big part of Fe, as well as the sing mechanic. You are able to interact with the wilderness around you by singing to parts of the environment. This mechanic allows you to alter the world to access new areas, get plants to open up and give you “fruit” that you can then fling at the netting that is blocking paths and holding animals hostage. You can also call upon animals that will come to your aid and show you the path to your next objective. You can also check the map which shows you where to head next. If you prefer just to wander, you can turn off the map markers and discover the world on your own. As you play and progress you meet new animals, and acquire new voices to sing in which lets you communicate with the different animals.

A Slight Miss

A downfall of the game is that sometimes its hard to see where to land due to the color scheme of the game. The game is made up of dark shades of reds, purples, blues, and blacks. This color palette can make the landscape somewhat hard to navigate. One other small issue I’ve run into is getting stuck in specific areas due to the hit boundaries. This issue I can blame myself for, by trying to take a path across a region you would typically go around. I managed to climb halfway up a mountain and got stuck in a valley. This is an area where you wouldn’t usually be. Aside from those issues, the game controls and plays very well.

Conclusion

In the end, Fe has continued to pull me back in to keep exploring. The gameplay is captivating, and even with the lack of any dialog, I feel a connection to this world. I want to help restore it to normal, and rid it of the evil that is attacking it. The art and sounds are just beautiful, and breathtaking! I found myself stopping and just looking at the landscape. If I had to sum Fe up into one word, it would be masterful. This game is definitely worth your money and time; Fe another solid game brought to us by the super creative minds over at Zoink Games! I give this game a 4 out of 5!

4 out of 5 stars