After trying out 8 nifty arcade-style indies a month ago, I figured it's about time to review another 8 so here we go.
OlliOlli: Switch Stance Review Switch ★★★★☆
Debuting as a PlayStation Vita exclusive back in early 2014, OlliOlli is now available for Switch with its sequel in one convenient bundle.
OlliOlli: Switch Stance includes both OlliOlli and OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood just like OlliOlli: Epic Combo Edition for PlayStation 4 did. The basic gameplay involves performing skateboard tricks within fast-moving 2D stages. This sounds easy but the controls are highly unconventional and require a ton of practice to master. Being able to string tricks together while landing perfectly feels awesome and watching your skills grow as you play is satisfying stuff. Of course, it's easy to get frustrated at first so gamers who are not willing to learn will likely get turned off after repeated failed attempts. However, if you stick to it then you'll find loads of rewarding stages and challenges to master within these two games and you may just make it to the top of the leaderboards if you train hard enough.
OlliOlli may be a tricky series to master but it's very rewarding to do so. Plus, this Switch Stance bundle is the best way to play it so far.OlliOlli: Switch Stance gameplay video →
Pumped BMX Pro Review Xbox One ★★☆☆☆
With so many 2D Trials-like games on the market, does Pumped BMX Pro have what it takes to stand out in the crowd?
Pumped BMX Pro is a rather generic take on the Trials formula. For starters, its visuals are underwhelming to say the least and its music is incredibly repetitive and annoying. However, gameplay is what matters most so let's discuss that. Unlike its genre contemporaries, momentum plays a huge role in Pumped BMX Pro as many of the gaps force you to jump quite high or far in order to make it to the other side. As a result, you have to try and maintain your momentum while performing tricks which is admittedly challenging but it's also far from rewarding. Even when I managed to ace a stage after landing plenty of cool tricks, it almost always felt like a hollow victory due to the amount of annoyances that I had to endure to reach that goal. It honestly made me want to just play Trials again instead.
Getting good at Pumped BMX Pro is like mastering the cup-and-ball; even when you do it, you still kind of look like a dumbass.Pumped BMX Pro gameplay video →
Agartha-S Review Switch ★★★★☆
You'd think that it's all been done when it comes to 2D platformers yet here's one that truly stands out as unique and challenging.
Agartha-S has you play as your character of choice in order to simply reach stage exits. You start with a character named Gunner who has an array of weaponry that you can use to destroy the environment, make water freeze or evaporate, and of course, kill dastardly enemies. Many of the stages have multiple exits and the campaign consists of an 8-by-8 stage grid so figuring out how to unlock them all is a huge part of the fun. Speaking of unlockables, you collect minerals and meat as you play that can be redeemed for additional playable characters such as a wizard, ninja, alchemist, farmer, and robot with each boasting their own array of weapons and abilities. Aside from the highly rewarding gameplay, you'll be delighted by the beautiful retro visual aesthetic and charming chiptune music.
Agartha-S reminded me of the times I'd blindly rent a NES game as a kid then become pleasantly surprised upon playing it. It's truly a hidden gem for Switch and I highly recommend it whether you're into retro-style games or just looking to play something unique.Agartha-S gameplay video →
Stunt Kite Party Review Switch ★★★★☆
Local multiplayer games come in all shapes and sizes but have you ever played one all about kite-based mini-games?
Over a year ago, I played and reviewed a PlayStation VR game called Stunt Kite Masters VR. It was a barebones and somewhat disappointing game where you fly a kite within a few different modes. Well, HandyGames took their established formula and blew it up into a full-fledged party game and let me tell you, I'm impressed! You basically fly a kite as your character of choice and up to 4 friends can compete within 10 mini-games. The gameplay is chaotic enough to create thoroughly exciting multiplayer matches and the collection of power-ups can allow trailing players to catch up. It's played by steering your kite and tapping buttons to dash, unleash a power-up, brake, and even shoot in some modes. There is a whole single player story mode, too, but the AI can be exceptionally irritating.
If you're looking for a local multiplayer game to add to your collection then Stunt Kite Party is a fantastic competitive party game that'll keep a couch full of chums entertained. However, don't expect to play it solo because it's simply not as fun.Stunt Kite Party gameplay video → Stunt Kite Masters VR Review
#killallzombies Review Switch ★★☆☆☆
Twin-stick shooters and zombies go together like peanut butter and jelly so let's see if this hashtag will trend or not.
#killallzombies debuted back in 2014 for PlayStation 4 and like almost every indie game ever released, it's now available for Switch. It's played like your average twin-stick roguelike where you move with the left stick, shoot with the right, and activate a perk whenever you level up. The coolest feature about #killallzombies is that it takes place within a hexagon-filled arena and the hexagons can raise or lower which can either put you in a tricky situation or separate you from the zombie horde. This randomness is present throughout as stuff will fall down from the sky, you'll gain access to plenty of powerful firearms, and you'll acquire some interesting power-ups, too. That being said, the core gameplay is so generic and monotonous that you'll likely get bored after only a few attempts. There are a few modes to choose from (Survival, Vault Defence, and Cooperative) but they don't do much to keep the gameplay fresh and exciting.
Considering #killallzombies released about 5 years ago, you'd expect it to have some sort of longevity to deserve a Switch port but instead, it's a by-the-numbers twin-stick roguelike that you'll probably forget about shortly after giving it a few tries.killallzombies gameplay video → More roguelike twin-stick shooters
Mercury Race Review Switch ★★★☆☆
Mercury Race may look like an '80s neon wireframe version of the classic racing series Wipeout but is it as fun?
Mercury Race isn't really a racing game like you'd expect. In fact, you don't race opponents at all. Instead, it consists of a series of time attack challenges where you must play efficiently and carefully as the tracks are usually full of dangerous hazards. Thankfully, your vehicle has the ability to shoot and all you have to do is aim an onscreen cursor to do so. Some may find the blend of racing and shooting a bit complex at first but as I progressed, it really started to click and I began to play a lot more effectively. In fact, I'm #3 on the first stage's leaderboard right now! Anyway, the most annoying part of Mercury Race is its camera because turning around corners frequently results in surprises that have the potential to ruin an otherwise perfect run. So, you have to carefully brake when turning corners in order to slow the action down which takes a lot of the fun away. Speaking of fun, I absolutely love the synthesizer-heavy soundtrack.
It feels like a strange game at first but once you realise what Mercury Race expects from its players, you'll definitely have a good time.Mercury Race gameplay video →
Food Truck Tycoon Review Switch ★★☆☆☆
Ever since Overcooked debuted a few years back, there have been a lot of food-based indie games and here's another one.
As a half-Polish Canadian, I have an instinctual fondness for bread, sausages, and mustard. So, when I booted up the Polish-developed Food Truck Tycoon and saw that those were the exact same food items that you begin the game with, I couldn't help but laugh out loud. Forget tacos, shawarma, and hamburgers; a slice of bread with a side of mustard for dipping, please! Anyway, the gameplay is incredibly simple as you choose food items to prepare and assemble plates then give them to customers to receive coins. Sure, things get more hectic as you unlock new food types but it's all perfectly manageable. With games like the exceptionally fun co-op Overcooked and the super-addictive Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! already available, it feels silly to play such a basic take on the genre instead.
Food Truck Tycoon is a simplistic restaurant management game that can be fun if you're looking to pass the time while waiting for a bus or something. However, it definitely won't keep you engaged for long with its basic gameplay and goofy presentation.Food Truck Tycoon gameplay video →
Estiman Review Switch ★★★☆☆
Some games are all about having a chill time and Estiman accomplishes that in a very clever albeit minimalistic way.
Estiman is a very simple game. All you basically do is select whichever onscreen group of objects is the most numerous and they disappear then you choose the next most populated group. Once the screen clears, you're presented with another screen full of things. This might sound brain-dead easy but I found it to be very relaxing and somewhat challenging as well considering it throws a few curveballs at you such as making all the onscreen objects the same colour, etc. As you play, you'll unlock different selectable shape themes and backgrounds which do a great job of mixing things up. Plus, there are a couple of power-ups to purchase as well: one that stops the multiplier countdown and one that clears the next group for you. It's quite a beautiful looking and sounding game, too.
It may be a simplistic game but Estiman offers enough variety and presentational flair to keep you trying to beat your high score.Estiman gameplay video →