Switch Indie Games 2020 (Part 2)

Switch Indie Games 2020 (Part 2)

Puzzles, action, and arcade shooting fun

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Rapid Fire Reviews on

With so many indie games releasing on Switch, it's easy for some to fly under your radar so here are my thoughts on 8 recent Nindies.

Crown Trick Review Switch ★★★★☆

Overhead dungeon crawlers aren't anything new but Crown Trick is here to liven up the genre in some very clever and interesting ways.

Crown Trick screenshot
Taking down these bosses requires a lot of strategic thinking

I love Mystery Dungeon games and Crown Trick follows in the tradition of the genre with its grid-based turn-based dungeon crawling action where you move at the same time as your enemies. What makes it unique is that it incorporates a puzzle element that adds a layer of strategy to its gameplay. This is handled via weapons that have their own distinct ranges, a system that allows you to stun enemies and render them defenceless, and a wide variety of spells that make dealing with tricky foes feel like a game of chess at times. On top of this, there are nifty stage hazards such as exploding barrels and fire and poison puddles that you can lure monsters through. Throw in a fantastic soundtrack and gorgeous visuals and you're left with one of the best examples of a modern Mystery Dungeon game.

If you enjoy Mystery Dungeon games as much as I do then you'll absolutely love everything that Crown Trick has to offer.

Crown Trick gameplay video → Let's Play Crown Trick video →

Pixel Puzzle Makeout League Review Switch ★★★★☆

With a name as silly as Pixel Puzzle Makeout League, you wouldn't expect it to be as fantastic of a puzzler as it is so let's check it out.

Pixel Puzzle Makeout League screenshot
Time for bed!

Pixel Puzzle Makeout League is half visual novel and half Picross game where you control a superhero named Pixel Girl who meets an assortment of other puzzle-themed superheroes such as Chess and Sudoku. Yes, this is a weird premise but it's all handled with silly bursts of fun that make reading the conversations a treat. Other than the silliness, you'll solve Picross puzzles that get trickier as you progress yet don't quite get as challenging as other games in the genre which is perfectly fine as it offers a more laidback and casual experience. That being said, you are timed which can make things challenging for slowpokes. Anyway, witnessing dates with the unconventional cast as a devious villain threatens the world is fun stuff and the puzzles tie everything together quite nicely.

The concept of a Picross game with quirky dating sim elements may not appeal to everyone yet it remains a cool and off-the-wall indie.

Pixel Puzzle Makeout League gameplay video → Let's Play Pixel Puzzle Makeout League video →

Tens! Review Switch ★★★★☆

Puzzle games have incorporated many formulas over the years but I bet you haven't played anything quite like this gem before.

Tens! screenshot
Dice meets Picross with a competitive element? Sign me up!

Speaking of puzzlers, Tens! has you lay tiles that have dice numbers on them onto a grid and the goal is to make rows and columns add up to 10. There's a brilliant blend of single player gameplay as well as a competitive multiplayer aspect and each mode will have you frantically placing pieces to make as many combos as possible so you don't accidentally fill your playfield. More specifically, there are oodles of single player challenges to master including a fleshed-out story campaign and when it comes to multiplayer, you compete by sending garbage tiles over to your opponent whenever you do well. For example, you might create 2 rows or columns of 10 at once which gives you a huge score boost and may hinder your opponent in the process. Also, its visuals are spot-on with lovely effects and art.

Tens! is one of my favourite puzzle games of the year with its charming aesthetic and original gameplay and it all shines in multiplayer.

Tens! gameplay video → More Switch Puzzle Games

9 Monkeys of Shaolin Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Another genre that features countless entries is beat 'em ups and 9 Monkeys of Shaolin offers some very rewarding combat mechanics.

9 Monkeys of Shaolin screenshot
These fellows look more like people than monkeys

When I first started playing 9 Monkeys of Shaolin, I was impressed with its engaging and challenging combat. You basically run around while unleashing a few types of attacks that are more effective against certain enemy types and it's rewarding stuff to watch your character smoothly flip and strike around the screen. You can even parry attacks and doing so is often necessary, especially with long-range enemies as deflecting an incoming shot might be the only way to defeat them in certain situations. On top of this, the 3D graphics are stylish and there's voice acting, too, although it ranges in quality. With all of that being said, 9 Monkeys of Shaolin is a surprisingly glitchy game and it can be ridiculously frustrating which is a tough pill to swallow because it's an otherwise great game.

If it had all of its issues ironed out, 9 Monkeys of Shaolin would be a prime example of rewarding beat 'em up gameplay.

9 Monkeys of Shaolin gameplay video → More beat 'em ups

They Bleed Pixels Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Here we have a tough-as-nails 2D action game that features intuitive yet tricky controls but is They Bleed Pixels any good?

They Bleed Pixels screenshot
Yes, they definitely bleed pixels...

I remember playing They Bleed Pixels on Steam back when it released in 2012 and I had a good time with it and it's now available for Switch. You play as some strange troubled girl who's transforming into a demon with huge claws and it's your job to fight your way through your nightmares. Its combat is extremely intuitive as you tap the same button while standing still or running to perform different attacks. Plus, holding the button allows you to launch enemies in the air which is just cool. Another nifty component is the fact that you generate your own checkpoints whenever you stand still and have a full gauge. On the downside, it can be a very frustrating experience, especially with stage layouts that don't make it clear where you should go next so you end up falling into a pit of spikes.

They Bleed Pixels is a simple and challenging 2D action game but one that ultimately feels dated with plenty of cumbersome moments.

They Bleed Pixels gameplay video → More 2D Switch Games

Shoot 1UP DX Review Switch ★★★★☆

I can never get enough shoot 'em up action and Shoot 1UP DX is here to give genre fans a unique formula of arcade shooting action.

Shoot 1UP DX screenshot
Do I have to defeat this boss or inseminate it?

To be frank, I didn't think much of Shoot 1UP DX after watching its trailers. With its weird assortment of bosses, somewhat cheesy visuals, and lack of satisfying sound effects, it definitely doesn't leave a promising first impression. However, after playing a few stages and getting accustomed to its distinct gameplay systems, I found myself completely hooked. Whereas most shoot 'em ups simply have you dodge enemy fire as you hold a button down to blast enemies, Shoot 1UP DX has you amass a wealth of ships which you can expand and contract into various formations. If you want to focus your fire or weave through clouds of projectiles then contract and if you want to spread bullets all over the screen then expand. It's so simple and brilliant that it's one of my new favourite shmup mechanics.

Expanding and contracting formations of ships is the name of the game in Shoot 1UP DX and who knew doing so could be a ton of fun?

Shoot 1UP DX gameplay video → More Switch Shoot 'em Ups

Terror Squid Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Arcade-style shooters don't have to offer elaborate stages and intricate mechanics to be fun and with that in mind, here's Terror Squid.

Terror Squid screenshot
Whoa... am I my worst enemy?

Terror Squid is a very simple game where you fly around a sphere while shooting projectiles in the opposite direction. Of course, this means that you'll have to dodge your own bullets because these projectiles only disappear when you detonate which you can do whenever your gauge is full. You can also dash but doing so can also make you vulnerable so there's a certain strategy to dodging projectiles. This all adds up to a fulfilling score-chasing formula but it also gets repetitive very quickly because it's a real one-trick pony. Plus, there are strange subliminal messages that flash on the screen which made me feel nauseous. On the plus side, progressing to new projectile types adds a welcome sense of variety although the gameplay does remain rather samey even with these shot types.

It's a simple game at its core but mastering Terror Squid will require a lot of strategy and fast-thinking so it'll appeal to score-chasers.

Terror Squid gameplay video → More Pick-Up-And-Play Switch Games

The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny Review Switch ★★★☆☆

SNK has been slowly releasing their Neo-Geo Pocket Color catalog on the Switch and this little fighter is a welcome addition.

The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny screenshot
Jump-slash to the face!

After enjoying SNK Gals' Fighters, King of Fighters R-2, and Samurai Shodown! 2, it's time to check out The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny. It originally released for Neo-Geo Pocket Color back in 2000 and is an adaptation of the lesser-known The Last Blade series of arcade fighters which only saw 2 games. Having never played its arcade counterparts, I enjoyed The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny in the same way that I did its Neo-Geo Pocket Color siblings. Squishing an arcade fighter down to such a little screen with only 2 buttons must be difficult yet it remains quite a fun and challenging little game. There's a wide variety of characters and mastering each one with the weapons-based combat is a ton of fun. Plus, its focus on combos instead of one-hit kills makes practice all the more rewarding.

If you have nostalgia for portable fighters then The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny will be a welcome addition to your Switch library.

The Last Blade: Beyond the Destiny gameplay video → Samurai Shodown! 2 Review
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Gameplay video playlist for Switch Indie Games 2020 (Part 2) 40:22
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