The good news is that this week there are no real stinkers, because we try to get you a bit of the good crop, with occasional warnings to send. Let's take a look at detail.
A unique concept that offers some really fun local multiplayer gameplay, Black and White Bushido sadly suffers a bit of a shallow pool of content, in addition to a seriously woeful single-player AI. In this monochrome, samurai experience you fight against fellow fighters or bots in the standard modes that you would expect; deathmatch and catch the flag, next to a training mode to sharpen your skills. Although the variety in modes is very limited, it is a fascinating local multiplayer experience, similar in some respects to the popular TowerFall, providing that & friendship; & # 39; pleasure (if you play with three other people).
Like TowerFall, you fight on stages where you pass through the screen, to get out on the other side of the card, which makes a number of tactical movements possible always your guard must get up. The operation is also tight and really enjoyable; the wall jump, parkour action and the ability to splash aside for an extra jump make gameplay with multiple players hectic and fun.
The main hook of Black and White Bushido comes from the former half of his name; the stylized, black-and-white palette not only makes the game look super cool, it also allows each team to mix in half the background at any time to use stealth. The screen will also change to hide players at different times, which can be crucial if you go for the kill. There are also items to use, although you do not know what you picked up at that moment, so it's a bit random. The main problem comes from the really poor single player AI. One match we played, all three opponents had just jumped up and down for the entire match while we took the flag three times. Disappointing.
The images of Black and White Bushido are great, but they are hard to see when you view the whole screen in tablet mode. The use of the monochrome palette, with every now and then a splash of blood, is really satisfying, which makes the gripping even more pleasant. The art style is in fact (perhaps not surprisingly) very much Samurai Jack animated series, which is anything but a bad thing. The four characters and seven stages (including one unlockable) are all well designed, with the use of unique taunts by the latter, a very nice addition. It is therefore a shame that Black and White Bushido feel a bit of bare bones when it contains some great elements, together with a unique premise. It's fantastic for an hour as a local multiplayer party game, but not recommended for long-term use of one player.
If you are someone who suffers from déjà vu, then Necrosphere Deluxe can make this problem worse, because you will spend 99% of your time in this game with dying, immediately look for a checkpoint and try to find out how incredibly difficult it is to to puzzle, only to die again. You take on the role of the recently deceased agent Terry Cooper, who tries to get you out of the afterlife and back into the world of the living. Along the way you will find scrolls that reveal more of the plot, although the focus is definitely more on the simple gameplay.
About that game; Nercrosphere Deluxe only uses two buttons, using Terry both right and left. It is up to you as a player to navigate the dangers for the environment and to use objects (usually in the form of a bubble) to jump, climb or bend to the end of each section. As a mini metroidvania experience, the world is one huge, ever-expanding map, although there is no minimap to help you navigate.
The backtracking element comes from finding upgrades such as a jetpack, which give you a few more options and allow you to reach areas that you previously could not. However, what is frustrating is that you have to complete some of the more difficult puzzles for the second time. Frustrating is a good word to describe Necrosphere, as are some of the puzzles it offers cheeky annoying to find out. However, the solution to solve them is worthwhile, and requires both solid thoughts and quick reflexes. The use of a button on one of the Joy-Con is initially pretty shocking, although you get used to it. The option to use the Joy-Con individually would have been nice, given the incredibly rudimentary control scheme of the game.
Aesthetically, Necrosphere Deluxe is fine, but not remarkably brilliant. The pixel-like images in 8-bit style serve to support the increasingly brutal puzzles, but are not inspiring. However, the soundtrack is fast, retro and whole cool, maintaining the insane momentum on all fronts. Necrosphere Deluxe is a short and hard platform for nails where you scream frustrated, but defeating them is very rewarding. The retrieval of previously completed puzzles is frustrating, but hey, at least it gives you more value for money.
A hide-and-seek multiplayer shooter, at Sundown: Shots in the Dark shares many features with the exquisite Screencheat, which we discussed a few weeks ago. Both of them hide you from opponents in tense deathmatches, with only limited possibilities to see them. In Sundown this takes the form of light spots and movement paths, as well as the obvious shots. The control can be a bit tricky at first, especially when using the Joy-Con, but once under the knee, this can be one serious fun and addictive party game.
You have all the standard modes you'd expect: deathmatch, timed match, arena matches and the like, although they all look very similar, without crazy creative modes. The weapon choice is also a bit tadier than that of the first person's cousin, with your standard range of real pistols to choose from. However, the top-down perspective really works charming, making it feel like a mix of the best parts of both Screencheat and Wondershot, which are both excellent in themselves. The steering initially feels a little hampered, but as mentioned, you get used to it quickly, and at that moment the multiplayer offers top class pleasure. There is also an online component if you want to test your skills on players around the world. Finally, the range of cards may seem weak, but each institution has a variety of different spaces where the action can take place, adding at least some kind of diversity, even if the landscape remains the same.
In terms of the visuals At Sundown is usable, with each character having cool cartoon designs on Saturday mornings and some pretty cards. Again, at Sundown is another example of a game that certainly puts its gameplay as a priority over its aesthetic, but what we get is certainly not bad. The graphics are also usable, again using the cartoon style, which is great. The soundtrack is a bit in stock, but if you play it well, you will probably not be paying attention during the intense firefights. In conclusion, At Sundown: Shots in the Dark is another example of a party experience that is best when you play with four human players. The online element is also a welcome feature, but games like these can best be enjoyed with some partners on the couch with a large package of Doritos, in our experience.
We have different kinds of genre this week, and we have the strategic RPG, Mecho Wars: Desert Ashes, which offers incredibly imaginative steampunk-drenched aesthetics, in addition to decent gameplay, which players of the Advance Wars series will be used. That said, Mecho Wars is unfortunately let down by a fairly stock and boring plot that does not match the beautiful visual style of its creatures. The dialogue mainly consists of generic commands and orders, and does not correspond to the strange and beautiful tone that is determined by the images, which is a disgrace.
Gameplay-wise, however, Mecho Wars is familiar and solid. It takes the tactical gameplay of the Advance Wars series, where your goal per level is to take enemy settlements, change them in your own country and earn gold, which you can use to strengthen your units to decimate your opponents . The AI is pretty challenging and the single player campaign has a big difficulty level that shows you mechanical level for level instead of throwing in at once; a sign of great game design. The units are what you would expect: heavy, ground, air and water based, and they all have their own advantages and disadvantages, leading to a tactical thinking about which option is best to buy, depending on your current situation. You also have the options of both local (via controller sharing) and online multiplayer, allowing you to complete arcade-like matches, which is equally fun. In general, the gameplay is functional and addictive, but also quite simple.
Where Mecho Wars: Desert Ashes really comes into its own is the wonderfully surrealistic art style. There are enough influences, from archaic, Lovecraftian horror, mixed with a bizarre cocktail of Blade Runner & # 39; s neo noir, Dishonored & # 39; s steampunk and even a hint of the cosmic idiosyncrasy of the Marvel Cinematic Universe there. It's weird, but awesome. That said, it is unsatisfactory if the story is so bad, which is a shame because the rest of the game is so good. A great knowledge with compelling characters and dialogues in addition to these visuals could have made it something really special. That said, we enjoyed Mecho Wars: Desert Ashes for what it is and it would be unfair to judge it for what it is not. It is a great strategic RPG with an amazing art style and a solid, time-honored gameplay. Good stuff.
Our last choice for today's Nindie round is an RPG with a double stick-shooter with ambitious images and plot and gameplay that can be a bit superficial. The starting point of Solstice Chronicles: MIA has released some signals from popular AAA shooters of the past decades, such as the Mars-based institution DOOM and his robot companion, Saffron, is reminiscent of AI helpers in both the Halo and Destiny series. The plot is quite standard, with a huge invasion of mutant creatures that overtake the planet, making our lone hero the only survivor. The Marine's dialogue is a little awkward and his line delivery is usually below average, but our AI friend Saffron has a healthy infusion of sass and a better voice actor that allows the dialogue scenes to breathe more naturally.
Solstice Chronicles: MIA offers you a choice of four classes before removing your equipment at the beginning of Samus Aran style. The four classes – Assault, Demolition, Hellfire and Terminator – introduce the RPG elements, allowing you to upgrade your equipment between levels. The last two are a bit boring, but the flamethrower-wielding Hellfire and the self-destructive Terminator offer some truly unique ways to play.
Saffron also plays a big role in the gameplay, with options for her to use a bomb, taunt enemies, block their attacks and scout ahead to explore the oncoming wave. The level of progress is not as extensive as we would have liked, which is a bit of a shame; the lessons seem promising, but the skills trees are a bit limited. Enemies appear on the basis of your threat gauge at the top of the screen, indicating how many are on the way. The main problem is that the making of scripted events as a main goal somewhat undermines the incentive to fight the most enemies, in addition to the fact that ammunition is spread so generously. This way the game will race to the finish and does not encourage a huge amount of research. The steering is fine, but killing does not always feel super satisfactory, not even with the melee attack, where both gunfire and hard strokes are the oomph & # 39; missing to make them catharsically attractive.
Solstice Chronicles: MIA opts for a rather ambitious, AAA style of storytelling, with fully rendered 3D cut scenes and voice acting to relive the exhibition. This does not work always These scenes are good, but more reminiscent of the latest generation graphics, instead of pushing the Switch to its limit. The perspective from top to bottom for the main gameplay segments works well, but again, a somewhat more zoomed-in approach was more welcome. To judge, Solstice Chronicles: MIA is a mixed bag. It has a number of admirable intentions, but does not always stop the landing. The dialogue is actually well written and both the aesthetics and the gameplay are more than reasonable, but there is a feeling that with a little more attention it could even be better. Yet, as we said in the Mecho Wars review, we look at games based on what they are, not what they are could be, and Solstice Chronicles can still offer a good time for anyone looking for a two-person shooter, RPG chaos.
Are you in possession of one of the above titles? Are you in agreement with our opinions this week? Let us know in the comments below.