Game Title: Letter Quest Remastered
Developed By: Bacon Bandit
Published By: Digerati
Released: November 23, 2017
Available On: Android, Apple, Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One.
Genre: Puzzle, RPG
ESRB Rating: Everyone for Mild Fantasy Violence
Number of Players: 1 Player
Thank you to Digerati for the review copy of this game!
I enjoy lots of different games, but one type of game I just plain suck at is word games. There is nothing like a game letting you know how bad your vocabulary is. From Scrabble to the casual Words with Friends, I am just no good. Often, I would call my wife into the room to help me find words, and in turn she fell in love with the game and downloaded it on her iPhone. The upside is that the more I played Letter Quest Remastered the more my vocabulary grew. Letter Quest Remastered is a unique puzzle game with RPG elements. It’s the RPG hooks that kept me coming back for more puzzle action.
When you launch the game and select a save file, the menu gives a few options. The meat of the game is found in the story mode. It is a simple story, not very detailed, and that is okay. I do not expect a word puzzle game to have a top-notch story. After a brief cut scene, you are taken to a map. On the map are levels, and you will notice that each level has three yellow stars, and one red star to collect. Gameplay consists of your character moving to an enemy and then he stops to battle it. Spelling out words is what damages the monster. It is a turn-based battle, after you attack, the monster attacks. You are given fifteen letter tiles to make words. Each time you spell a word, new tiles replace the ones you take. You can also get new letters and forfeit an attack. What makes this game so great is that there is generally no time limit. You can just sit there, and rack your brain for words like I did, without any pressure. I cannot thank the developers enough for this feature. How much damage your attack does correlates to the bronze, sliver or gold rating each letter has. Using letter tiles that have a higher rating deal out more damage. It is in your best interest to spell the longest word you can using the highest rated letter tiles for maximum damage. The combat is broken up by wandering merchants that you can buy items from, a gem pile, or even a treasure chest. To open the treasure chest, you must guess the missing word that is displayed by choosing different letters in the alphabet, but you only have nine guesses. You do not lose a guess though if you guess a letter correctly. If you can’t solve the word you win nothing, but if you do solve it, you are rewarded with a buff, like a shield or bacon to restore your health. Now this is all straight forward but the game gets more complicated the further you progress. Monsters will have attacks that affect the letter tiles. Some of the affects are poison tiles, cracked tiles, tornado tiles, upside down tiles, and stone tiles to name a few. As your progress in the game, enemies increase in difficulty where they can do high damage and even have special conditions, like only 4 letter words do damage. Besides just the normal levels there are hard levels and boss levels. You might be tempted to think that the stars have to do with how well you complete a level, but you would be wrong. Each star of every level is a different way to play that level. The first star is defeating all the monsters, the second is beating the level in a certain amount of time, the third is a special challenge level where monsters will have more health or do more damage and the last star is a crystal star challenge where all monsters have special conditions and are elite. All these add huge replay value across the forty stages. Speaking of replay value, you can also play an endless mode where you select your character, weapon, tile set, location and music. You have a good amount of health and each enemy defeated earns you gold to spend on the merchant every few monsters. You try to last as long as you can and is a great way to change up the normal gameplay.
In the story mode the currency you use are gems. You earn these gems by defeating enemies, breaking gem piles, beating a level, or completing quests. There are seventy quests for you to do and each one gives a fair number of gems. Some examples of quests are: defeat a mini boss, use five plague tiles, or use the shield bonus effect three times to name a few. If a quest is giving you trouble you can always skip it to get the next quest. Gems are used to enhance your character in several ways. There are upgrades where you can increase your overall health, attack damage, armor etc. The book store gives you different abilities like when you spell a word with double letters you do twenty percent more damage. You can equip up to three books to use as you battle monsters. These books gain experience each time you fulfill its conditions. Each time the book levels up the effect of the book increases. Potions are another thing to spend gems on that can help you complete a level. You can spend gems on your weapons to increase its level, which improves the stats of the weapon. Lastly, you can spend gems at the special store that gives you an ability to preview the damage you will do to a monster, as an example. Unlocking other heroes and tiles do not cost gems but are unlocked after you meet certain requirements. Spending gems and making your character is addicting and made me want to keep playing.
The graphics are simple but diverse. There is a good mixture of different looking monsters, heroes, and locations. They are not bad by any means, but really take a back seat to the excellent gameplay. The sound is on par for this type of game and is what you’d expect. I would encourage people to read the descriptions of the enemies as they play because they usually are hilarious.
At the end of day there really is nothing like this on the Nintendo Switch and is by far the best word game I have ever played. While the graphics and sound will not wow you, the deep gameplay with the varied ways to enhance your character spell success for this game.
Stick It to the Man
Developed by: Zoink Games
Published by: Zoink Games
Release date: November 23, 2017
Available on: Nintendo Switch, iOS, PC, Ps4, Xbox One, PS Vita
Genre: Puzzle, Platformer
Number of players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Everyone for Alcohol Reference, Comic Mischief, Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Use of Tobacco
Pros: Great cartoon cut out graphics, unique gameplay with your “spaghetti hand”
Cons: Dialogue can be overwhelming and grabbing things with your hand can be inaccurate.
Thanks to Zoink Games for the review copy of this game!
The acclaimed puzzle platformer, Stick it to the Man, has finally made it’s journey to the Nintendo Switch. This game has gathered several positive reviews and has been released on many other consoles, including even a mobile port. The game released on Thanksgiving and I couldn’t help but be thankful that this game has come to the Nintendo Switch eshop. The game is outstanding in its writing, graphics, unique gameplay, and is a high-quality port.
Stick it to the Man has ten chapters and each chapter has its own distinct level. Your main goal is to exit the level, which is easier said than done. In the second chapter, something happens to Ray, the main protagonist, that grants him a hand that grows out of his head. Crazy right? You then learn to use this hand to grab pins and tear things down to see what is in buildings. A level later and you learn you can use your hand to read people’s minds and this is the key to successfully exiting a level and progressing the story. The gameplay hook here is platforming, solving puzzles, and light combat. After you read a person’s mind, which are hilarious at times, often a sticker will pop up above their head that you can grab. Other times it will reveal that that character or thing needs a sticker. Your job is to match the stickers to the proper people or things. This is the puzzle part of the game. The way I handled it was by exploring each level and reading every person’s mind, then backtracking to match the stickers to the needs of the people or things. Once you place the stickers in their proper place, you will complete the level and move on. There is even light combat, as agents are sent to kill you because of the power of your pink hand. Most levels will have them, and you must either avoid them, or read their minds, to get a combat sticker. When you read an enemies mind, sometimes you will get a sticker that helps get around them. One is a sleeping sticker and when placed on an enemy he will fall asleep for a few seconds. Another combat sticker is your face that you can place on an enemy. The other agents will then follow that enemy with Ray’s face on him, letting you sneak around them. If you run into an agent you will die and be sent back to the last check point you activated.
Each level is polished and looks fantastic. The graphics are sharp and have a cardboard box or paper cut out look to them. Some levels have a darker tone to them than others. Ray and all the characters look different and unique. Cardboard cut outs of lights will have a nice light glow that comes off them. Your hand that comes out of your head has a neon pink look to it and reminds me of this sticky hand you would get as a kid. You know they are stretchy and you could throw the hand to stick to things. The background is all varied and a lot of work into setting the scene for each chapter.
The writing is top notch and is no surprise as Ryan North from Adventure Time wrote the story. I found myself laughing out loud often. The game opens with Ray at his job as a hard hat tester. Later, you find out why he as such a passion for hard hats. Different things get dropped on him as he tests different hard hats. Of course, on his way home from his long day at work, something drops out of the sky and knocks him in the head and gives him the power of the pink neon hand! Of course, no one can see it but you, so people think you’re crazy! The main villain, called The Man, and henchmen know what it is that gave you that power. You will run into many wacky and funny characters on your journey. The music is worth mentioning as it has a jazzy feel to it especially when being chased by bad guys.
My criticisms are small. Even though the writing is top notch, some of the dialogue of the characters would go on for a bit and I fast forwarded it at times just to move things along. Another thing is that sometimes moving your hand with the right stick wasn’t as accurate as you would like it to be. Sometimes I would read another person’s mind when I was aiming for the character right next to them.
This game is a fantastic puzzle, platforming adventure. The writing, graphics, and unique gameplay with that neon hand set this above other puzzle platforming games that just sticks. If you are in the market for an awesome puzzle platformer, look no further than, Stick it to the Man.
Developed by: Psyonix, Inc.
Published by: Panic Button
Release date: November 14, 2017
Available on: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One
Number of players: Single-player, 1-4 multiplayer, 1-8 online multiplayer
ESRB Rating: Everyone for Mild lyrics
Just over two years ago a new kind of sport game was created. To be honest, when I first heard of the concept of Rocket League I was not sold. Wait…cars plus soccer? And you know what, I was wrong, so wrong! I must give credit to my brother, he is responsible for introducing me to the game about a year ago. I played several hours and fell in love with the idea of Rocket League. Psyonix made the game back in 2015 on steam, then ported it over to PS4 and Xbox One about a year ago, and just last week released it on the Nintendo Switch. This game is an absolute steal at under twenty dollars. Over the last two years they have added additional game modes such as hockey (snow day), basketball (hoops), Rumble (soccer with powerups) and Dropshot, which is like a tribute to a brick breaker game. These have all been added as free updates which is amazing. The only DLC that you can buy is for cool looking cars which is totally okay in my book. How is the Nintendo Switch port fair?
It’s awesome and a real match for the Nintendo Switch. The port itself is good quality. There are minor graphical limitations, but the gameplay, modes and fluid gameplay all made it over. Those of you who do not know, Rocket League is a blend of driving and Soccer in its most basic mode. You basically take control of a car and play soccer. You can do a 1v1 up to 4v4 match. The player will drive the car and hit the ball into your opponent’s goal. The car you drive has some tricks up its sleeve though. You can accelerate, reverse/brake, boost, jump, and drift. You can even combine your jump with your boost to shoot your car into the air. You can also jump and press forward to flip forward and hit the ball. There are many advanced moves to learn that add a layer of depth to playing. These you use to help steal and control the ball. It is so much fun, and each match is quick, lasting only five minutes.
You can choose between a few different game modes. There is exhibition, just a one-off game against the computer or AI, Season where you play through weeks of games, or online against other players. Those that want more of challenge can enter the ranked online mode. When playing online it has cross play which means you can play against PC players as well as PS4 and Xbox One players. There is even a tutorial mode that teaches you the basics and advanced moves, and has a free play mode to practice in. Soccer mode comes with over twenty-one different maps and even more with variations on the maps such as, a map is at night, or stormy or has snow. The core game play is the same in the other modes, you just score differently so it feels different. In the snow day mode, you have the two goals, but you are hitting a hockey puck instead of a soccer ball, which forces you to play differently. Hoops has two goals and a basketball, but the hoops have a ramp leading up to the hoop, so you cannot just shoot head on at the goal, you must bounce it off the back wall into the hoop. Rumble mode lets you play soccer but with powerups that let you attack the other team’s cars. You can stall them, even blow up the other team’s cars. Finally, in Dropshot mode, the field is cut in half and when the ball drops onto either side it lights up where the ball hits, and if it hits the same lit up spot, it disappears and creates a hole. The next time you hit the ball into that hole, you score. These modes add lots of playing styles and variations in gameplay.
A leveling up system exists as well. As you play you level up and unlock new cars, backgrounds, hats, banners, decals, wheels, boosts, antennas, trails, engine sounds, and you can change the explosion that happens when you make a goal. You can totally customize your look and even save different cars as presets for easy choosing later.
Rocket League is not the most graphically demanding game to port on the Switch and it transfers over well. Obviously, anything in handheld mode is at 720p as opposed to docked at 1080p, which means it doesn’t look as good as other systems ports. They also used a dynamic resolution which was used in Doom and Skyrim. This means that it has a decent resolution when rendering anything close to you, but things further away are rendered at a slightly lower resolution. It basically scales and is a neat trick. You do not notice it most of the time. In docked mode sometimes, things can look a little blurry, but everything for the most part looks good like the pc version. And most importantly it runs great. It is smooth like butter, is fast paced and I never saw a framerate dip. The sound in the game is what you expect though some of the songs in the menus are above par.
One negative aspect was that I couldn’t do local multiplayer split screen as say in Mario Kart or Kingdom New Lands. Having split screen multiplayer in this would be fantastic as the matches are quick and intense. It really seems like a missed opportunity. Why offer one Joy Con controller support? I cannot see the point, it’s a small controller and uncomfortable to use in long periods of time. It’s perfect for split screen as you and your opponent each have a Joy Con. Why would anyone play with one Joy con when you can just use both as that is more comfortable? Hopefully they can add an update so that you can play split screen.
Overall this is a faithful port of Rocket League and perfect fit for Nintendo’s hybrid console. It is amazing to play this game anywhere and the fun never stops with online cross play. There are always matches to find. This game is perfect for quick bursts of play but also easy to sink hours into in a single game session. Rocket league shoots high and scores in my book.
Developed by: Four Horses
Published by: Four Horses
Release date: November 23, 2017
Available on: Nintendo Switch, 3DS, iOS
Number of players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Everyone for mild fantasy violence
Thank you to Four Horses for giving me a review copy!
There aren’t that many games that I would describe as being tough as nails. Super Meat Boy comes to mind or even geometry dash on mobile and PC, but this easily describes a new release on the Nintendo Switch eshop called, Kid Tripp. This game is a little on the short side, but given its $3.99 price point I cannot complain. If you enjoy being punished and pushing yourself to get the best time on that one level, then this game is for you.
There is something addicting about these action platformers. The lure of failing repeatedly may not sound like fun to you, but the satisfaction of pulling of a perfect run and getting to the end of the level is satisfying. They have a saying that practice makes perfect and that applies here. Some levels only took a few minutes of trying before completing a level. Others took over thirty minutes of trying repeatedly.
Sometimes I had to take a break for a bit and then come back to the level. There are twenty levels here and about a couple hours of content. Getting through the levels is one thing and a short experience. The longevity comes from replaying the levels to get every coin. This adds another challenge to go after at which you will receive a gold medal if you are successful. Another challenge in every level is trying to beat your best time. Each level times how fast you are and gives you that loop of trying to get your best time in every level. I wish that it had leader boards, so you can try to beat others best times, but really that is a minor gripe. There are additional challenges to complete like having over fifteen lives at once and beating a level without hitting an animal, surviving if you fall into water etc. These add to the replay value and I appreciate that.
As far as gameplay is concerned your character auto runs from left to right. There are buttons to jump and buttons to throw a rock to hit animals in your way. Timing your jumps is a big part of the game but also having patience and knowing when to jump, run, or throw a rock is key. The levels are short, but packed with crazy jumping feats and enemies. You will die a lot, but that is part of the fun. Kid Tripp never felt unfair. When I died it was because my timing was off or didn’t throw a rock fast enough.
The graphics are adorable and very clean. It has a retro feel to it in the graphics and music. The different worlds all have different backgrounds, enemies, and one even has snow falling! It pays tribute to games of old very nicely. The stages are all colorful and none of them seemed bland. The music is fantastic as well with a great 8bit soundtrack. Each world has its own song that keeps playing until you run out of lives and get a game over.
There really is no story except a brief cut scene when you first boot the game of your plane crashing and animals chasing you. The game controls well with physical buttons, which is much better than the touch controls on the mobile version.
Morality is on the light side. The only thing I found is very mild violence against animals. You do have rocks that “kill” the enemies but they just disappear into stars. You may fall into a spike but again you just disappear, and stars shoot out. There is no blood, no language, no graphic violence.
There are not too many Nintendo Switch games that can scratch the itch for a challenging platformer. It is inspired by Super Meat Boy type games and succeeds in giving that platformer challenge. It feels short, but several challenges add to the reliability of the title. If challenging platformers are your type of game do not hesitate to buy.
Game Score – 80%
Game play – 15/20
Graphics – 8/10
Stability – 5/5
Controls – 5/5
Strengths: Fast platforming action, lots of reliability, excellent graphics and sound.
Cons: May be too challenging for some
Rayark Inc are on a roll this year with releasing high-quality games on the Nintendo Switch. Deemo, Voez, and Implosion: Never Lose Hope are all available on the Eshop. This third release is a drastic change from their music rhythm games on the Switch. Implosion is an action RPG that was first released about a year ago on mobile. When it was released it was a huge hit on mobile, and a premium game. It was priced high at $9.99 on mobile which is almost un-heard of these days, as the model for most games are free to play. Flyhigh published the game on the Switch in early July. Implosion is a quality offering in the action RPG genre offering high quality graphics, cut scenes, music and gameplay.
One of the first things you will notice about Implosion is its attention to detail. The opening movie sets up the premise of the game in an exciting way. There are many cut scenes that move along the story usually seen at the end of a completed level. The scenes themselves are never super long, but just the right length. The animation and style of the game is pleasing. Each level is hand crafted and feels unique. You will be in research labs, different military facilities, to the Artic. There are many little details, like if you walk up to a screen sometimes an audio log will play that will fill in the story. Other times there are wires and cables on the floor that have sparks of electricity. It all immerses you into the game. Enemies are called xada in the game. The enemies are varied and even colorful at times. Some look like zombies, other enemies resemble a mutated animal. The look really helps in the immersion of the game.
Gameplay mostly resolves around hack and slash gameplay. You do get skills, and even a gun to do long distance damage. This helps it stand out from just your typical hack and slash romp. Your basic set up is one button for low damage attacks and one button for high damage attacks. When you combine these two attacks in different patterns you get different combos. There are many variations and make it feel like there are many combos to execute. You also have a button to dodge attacks. Your mech will level up on its own but what you can control is the ark system. On the level selection screen there is an ark menu. Inside the ark menu is a middle ring surrounded by another six circles. This is where you can customize your mech’s abilities with passive upgrades. Some give you more attack power, raise your endurance, some even let you access restricted areas with a hack ability. The center ring gives you access to your skills. There are different arks that look like animals or other weird things. They all have different skills you can equip and then use when playing through a level. You come with a standard machine gun that’s attached to your right joy stick. Throughout the levels you will come across a chess that has a new gun that you can equip like a shotgun, flamethrower or rocket launcher. These are only temporary so once you’re out of ammo it switches back to your machine gun. All of these, the skills, attacks, and gun provide multiple ways to attack the enemies on screen. The levels are on the short side taking less than ten minutes a level and are straight forward but feel significant because there are bits of story before and after each level. Sometimes I wish the levels were longer but there is some replay value as you can complete bonus missions on each level. Essentially, they are badge missions, where if you complete the task you will earn a badge. These will unlock more perks for the ark system or if you collect enough enable you to pilot a different mech that plays differently. Badge missions vary with tasks like completing a level in a certain amount of time, no damage taken in a level, to accessing secret rooms in a level. This helps extend the life of the game and give you something new to do. The enemy A.I. is dumb at times where the xada (enemies) kind of stand around at times. They do have varied attacks and behave differently. Most of the enemies you will just push your way through easy enough. There are some later though that are almost like mini bosses that get thrown in with the easy xada and present a challenge. The bosses always felt over powered to you and require you to go back to previous levels and level up. You could push your way through as you get up to five revives in each level. If you die you can revive at the cost of your end of level score.
The story I felt was entertaining. I do not want to give too much away so I will be brief. You are part of a population that left Earth after the xada came and wiped people off the planet. Of course, when you arrive back at Earth because you are on an investigation, you find out that maybe there are survivors left. You basically stay on the ship and your mind goes into a mech that you control on the ground. Your mission will take you across different places on Earth. Again, the cut scenes really help in telling the story and is interesting. There is certainly a science fiction vibe.
The sound helps tie everything together. It has several tracks and usually fit the vibe of the scene or the action on screen. The controls work well and are a significant upgrade over using a touch screen. The graphics look better and honestly just having physical controls are worth double dipping if you already bought it on mobile. It also has some extra story missions you unlock while playing through the main story.
If you’re looking for a new action RPG with hack and slash game play look no further than here. The production values are super high, has fast and fluid combat with a decent story. At under $20 this game is a steal and can fill that action fix on your Nintendo Switch.