Such is the release schedule for the Nintendo Switch, there was a point that it seemed unlikely I’d ever go back to Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Yet, playing through Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom for a recent freelance project proved to me that I can get through meatier games if I put my mind to it. And so I decided to revisit this while I was in that frame of mind.
I was a huge fan of the original Xenoblade Chronicles, which I played through a few years ago on New 3DS, and while this follow up is also very good, it’s bogged down in a number of ways that the original simply wasn’t. Pacing is a particular problem, it drags at points, even halting progress with skill checks against abilities you didn’t know you needed to upgrade. The story also takes a while to get there, but it does, and I was fully invested by the end.
A Normal Lost Phone is a super-interesting concept that sees you poking around the messages, emails and accounts on a phone found in the street. I can’t really say more than that as it would spoil pretty much everything that makes it unique.
It’ll rub some people up the wrong way, I’m sure, but I enjoyed it. Bargain price too.
If you’re a regular listener to Switch Focus Podcast, you’ll know that Kirby Star Allies is my first ever Kirby game. I’m not sure why, but I’d either never happened upon a Kirby game in my youth, and didn’t have the interest as an adult.
Still, as a Switch super-fan, I finally wanted to give it a go and really enjoyed it for what it was: a low-investment, low-challenge, relaxing b-tier Nintendo platformer. It’s not mind-blowing, but fun and pleasant. I’d happily play more Kirby in the future.
The original Ni No Kuni is easily one of my favourite JRPGs of all time, not just because of its charming plot and enjoyable mechanics, but because its themes of coping with depression really struck a chord with me as a former sufferer.
While I was excited for a follow up, I have to admit that I did have a secret worry that the sequel would suck and not live up to what I’d experienced before.
Sadly, while it didn’t suck – Ni No Kuni II is a great RPG – it just didn’t resonate with me in the same way.
It simply lacked the emotional punch the original had in spades, and the characters never really developed in the ways I’d hoped. Maybe because I had such a deep personal connection with the first game it was unfair of me to expect a repeat, but it’s natural I’d find a little disappointment there.
Otherwise, it’s a lot of fun, is way charming, and its fast-paced combat makes it a refreshing genre entry. I completely recommend it.
If you want to know more about its systems, check out the two IGN videos I wrote and captured footage for below.
Much like with the original, I’ve ran through this game a few times before, so won’t say much more other than to reiterate that it’s a great sequel that improves massively on everything I already love.
Much like Bayonetta 1, it’s still in my top 10 of all time. I adore it.
Night in the Woods is a weird game with a ton of complex layers and subplots to unpack, and therefore is in some ways exactly what I expected, and, in so many others, absolutely not.
I’ll avoid spoilers, but most of the discussion about NITW revolves around the protagonist Mae and her worth as person. She’s certainly flawed, in her own words ‘a jerk’, but I see a lot of my younger self in her – I used similar mechanisms as her to cope, I acted in similar ways in the social situations that she finds herself in – and I found that pretty confronting.
That’s a testament to the writing, as she’s a believable human in spite of being an anthromorphic cat, and the dialogue is brilliantly sharp, witty and brutal throughout.
Not going to talk about this one a great deal as I’ve beaten it multiple times before. Some elements have aged less than perfectly, but it’s still a great time overall and it’s still easily in my top 1o.
Play it, love it. Play the sequel too, it’s also great.
Played this over two days and really enjoyed it. Previews had it down as some sort of Zelda/Metroid-like in structure, but I found it had more in common with the likes of Journey or Abzu (and not just because of those beautifully stylised visuals), but with greater player agency.
There’s no real combat, the mechanics centre around singing to communicate with the world’s wildlife and using them to assist or attack for you. The puzzles are pretty light and focus more on getting around the world than having an impact on it.
Minor complaints involve the controls feeling a little finicky and oversensitive, which can frustrate those coming off the back of more tactile controls, such as Mario Odyssey or even 2D games like Celeste, but it doesn’t detract from what is, overall, a lovely experience.
As someone that’s not massively into the type of platformer that Super Meat Boy opened the floodgates for, this wasn’t on my radar at all when it was revealed on the Nintendo January Direct Mini. However, I picked it up because of such a positive buzz, and boy does it live up to it.
Not only is the platforming action absolutely top-notch, without going into spoilers, it deals with subjects very close to my heart and in ways I could not have possibly imagined from its aesthetic nor its trailers. It’s terrific. Highly recommended.
Also, it does this, which I adore in so many ways:
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