Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists – Nintendo Switch Review

Delve into a world of alchemy and mystery in Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World, the latest title in the long running Ateliers series by Koei Tecmo

The game starts as Nelke, a young and eager noble woman, and her ever faithful maid Misty arrive in the small town of Westwald. The two have made their way there after hearing rumours that an ancient sage relic of immense power, the Granzweit Tree, is possibly in the region. Nelke’s father agreeing to support her on this quest only if she becomes governor of the town and proves herself to be a worthy leader. You must help Nelke turn this sleepy village into the bustling city of commerce her father desires, all while making new friends, meeting challenges and exploring the surrounding countryside.

Being personally unfamiliar with the world of Ateliers and it’s 20 year history of titles, Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists’ story felt a little daunting at first but all the characters introduced are also unknown to Nelke and their introductions reflect this. The game gives subtle backstories where needed through bits of dialog and character interaction. Characters are out of place and in some cases out of time, fans will no doubt love the return of series famous alchemists and newcomers will enjoy being introduced to the varied cast.

There are 3 main areas of gameplay in Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists, being broken down into turns and each turn involves weekdays and holidays with various actions for each. Weekdays include town management such as construction of various buildings or facilities, commissioning alchemy and working on town requests. Holidays on the other hand give you a chance to visit and develop relationships with towns folk, as well as a chance to explore the region, finding materials or battle monsters.

There is a lot going on in Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists, micromanagement is key to success as you need to assign tasks to alchemists and store owners constantly, depending on production demands and town needs. Tasks such as gathering specific materials or defeating certain monsters will often challenge you and keep the game from feeling stagnant. The battle system is refined yet simple with an option for semi and full auto attack modes, this means low powered enemies will be dealt with rather quickly, keeping the game’s pace moving steadily forward. That being said, there is a lot to take in very quickly between the various mechanics and sub-systems and this might put off some players.

One real stand out attribute in Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists is the anime graphic styling. The game has a beautiful aesthetic overall making it feel bright and cheerful. Most of the character interactions are told by visual novel interface with Japanese voice overs for the cast. Fans of anime and the Ateliers series will really appreciate these visual stylings and especially the gorgeous full animation sequences.

Overall, Nelke & the Legendary Alchemists is a beautiful and in depth title with a lot on offer between the multiple systems at play. Some may find it a bit too complex but others will happily spend dozens of hours making Westwald their perfect home away from home.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mat Panek
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists [Nintendo Switch] was kindly provided by Turn Left Distribution for this review.

 

 

The Red Strings Club – Nintendo Switch Review

Mix equal parts intrigue, corporate sabotage and philosophy, shake well and serve over ice to get the delicious cocktail that is The Red Strings Club, a cyber-noir adventure game of dystopian proportions.

Set in a cyberpunk future on the verge of becoming a dystopia, The Red Strings Club is an incredibly gripping and heavy hitting adventure game that manages to push all the right buttons. Playing as one of three active characters, an advanced AI android, a bartender and a freelance hacker, The Red Strings Club succeeds in pulling no punches. Asking deep and philosophical questions of the player constantly, there is rarely an easy answer to be found and the ones you do find can be shot down just as quickly. Mainly playing as the bartender and information dealer Donovan, you mix drinks to put patrons into the right mindset for questioning.

Being so driven by narrative there is a real fear in deciding exactly which questions to ask and when. Do you wish your intended target to feel guilty? Would they let slip better information for a specific question if they felt overly confident? On numerous occasions I found myself staring at two choices for great lengths; following the logical train of thought for both, unhappy with my options but also seeing no alternatives. There is hidden depth to every choice that can affect the story in a multitude of ways. After each client has left the club you are asked ten questions in relation to the conversation you just had, testing your information gathering skills. Every bit of knowledge will count in the ultimate goal of trying to bring down the implementation of “Social Psyche Welfare,” a plan to improve society by removing negative feelings and emotions completely.

Looking very much like a classic adventure game in its pixel art style, The Red Strings Club has a nice gritty feel to it. Adding to this is the sombre and futuristic soundtrack, giving a sense of tension and importance to every scene. Skylines and neon signs glow in the distance of some scenes making this world feel more modern than stories like Blade Runner but still giving off a very similar vibe. Fans of Science fiction and adventure games will appreciate the world that DeconstrucTeam has created.

A simple and very enjoyable game with narrative that really must be experienced first hand to really appreciate. The Red Strings Club is a game you will easily find yourself playing multiple times to discover everything it has to offer.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mat Panek
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: The Red String Club [Nintendo Switch] was kindly provided by Power Up PR for this review.

 

 

Battlloon – Nintendo Switch Review

Bursting with fun onto the Nintendo Switch is Battlloon, a balloon bashing battler of adorable proportions.

Who doesn’t remember the halcyon days of vollying balloons at each other as kids? Noname Studio certainly does and has distilled the fun of hurtling balloons at other balloons into its latest game Battlloon. You and up to 3 friends can locally battle it out in this simple and intensely colourful balloon bursting battler. Players can choose from 6 different balloon characters, each of which have a different defining characteristic. Some balloons are quick and nimble but very light and easily knocked about, others are the exact opposite and plod along but once they have momentum are nearly unstoppable. 

Controls are simple meaning that pretty much anyone can pick up a controller and give it a go. Holding “A” will cause your Balloon to inflate.Controlling your character with the stick and releasing the button propels you forward. Each arena is randomised in various ways with walls or spikes lining the exterior, while hitting a wall section will turn it into spikes meaning you have only one saving chance per section of wall. There are also randomised events in each arena, matching its general theme including piranhas or ice balls that will pop or freeze you. Getting popped isn’t the end though, with ghost balloons assisting in trying to defeat other players. After finishing a round, points are awarded for finishing position and bonus points for taking out the current winner or other players. 

The game uses retro styled graphics and music very well, helping to create a very light hearted and cheery atmosphere. Apart from a few varied stages with unique additions to the arena walls, there isn’t much else happening gameplay wise though. Essentially, what you see is what you get with Battlloon. It’s a fun game for short bursts but I wouldn’t suggest going in with any fewer than the maximum player count since this really helps the fast and frantic nature of the game. There are no unlockables as far as we have seen and no real match options to change things up, which can be slightly frustrating. 

Battlloon is a game that is packed full of charm with cute characters and colourful levels. While it may not have much depth on its own, it is certainly a fantastic addition to any games night!

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mat Panek
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: Battlloons [Nintendo Switch] was kindly provided by Stride PR for this review.

 

 

Nintendo Switch Review – Super Chrome: Bullet Purgatory

A low musical drone welcomes you to a black filled background with a lone spaceship, WAVE 1 appears and enemies swoop down firing off pixelated projectiles. Welcome to Super Chrome: Bullet Purgatory, a new space style shooter from Stumphead Games.

From the get go, Super Chrome: Bullet Purgatory evokes waves of nostalgia, bringing to mind memories of arcade classics like Galaga, Galaxian and Gorf. Feeling like it would be more suited to play on an upright cab than on a PC, Super Chrome: Bullet Purgatory is an extremely pure arcade space shooter. Early waves can be deceptive, luring you into a false sense of security. Underestimating the deadly efficiency of the enemies you encounter can be deadly as the screen is quickly filled with colourful projectiles. Unlike the classic arcade shooters it resembles, each wave is randomised meaning enemies and bosses will vary from playthrough to playthrough. While this may seem unfair to those chasing high scores, it certainly makes each playthrough uniquely enjoyably.There is a really nice clean aesthetic to Super Chrome: Bullet Purgatory; visuals are crisp and the colours are vivid, this makes enemies and projectiles really pop off the black background. 

Apart from the normal snappy and responsive controls you expect from a game like Super Chrome: Bullet Purgatory, there are some nice additions like special weapons and a warp function. There is a meter for each special weapon and enemies will randomly drop small recharges for them. The specials include a charge shot, auto firing drones that orbit your ship and a shot that splits on impact to home in on nearby enemies. The warp function is the real stand out addition though, it acts as a dodge and will shift you across the screen, allowing you to move through projectiles a short distance without being hit. This can be a real lifesaver, especially with bosses that fill the screen with waves of particles. As you progress through the waves, your ship will also get slightly more powerful standard weapons.

Fans of classic shooters, high score driven gameplay and a nice challenge need look no further than Super Chrome: Bullet Purgatory. It is a fun and frantic space shooter that definitely deserves your attention.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mat Panek
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: Super Chrome: Bullet Purgatory [Nintendo Switch] was kindly provided by Pixel River PR for this review.

 

 

Nintendo Switch Review: Assault Android Cactus+

Blasting its way to the Nintendo Switch is Assault Android Cactus+, an arena based, multiplayer twin stick shooter with loads of charm and projectiles.

The player starts off Assault Android Cactus+ as the bumbling but well-meaning “Cactus,” a member of the Interplanetary Police Department, as she crashes into a rogue freighter ship known as the “Genki Star”. Throughout the course of the 25 Level campaign, more androids with various weapon types and personalities are unlocked for you to try. Interactions between each android and Boss AI are unique which really help flesh out the android’s personas. The Switch version of Assault Android Cactus+ is brimming with extra features. Apart from the story campaign there is also a Boss Rush, infinite, daily challenge and a Campaign plus mode that gives players a new challenge within the original story. Also included, there are features such as “EX Mode” options that can change game play elements and director commentary.

There is a very basic look to Assault Android Cactus+ that fits its busy play style very well. Enemies are easy to identify and colour coded to denote their threat levels. Arena design gets more complex and dynamic as you progress through the campaign and adds an extra depth to how each level should be approached. At certain points through the game it can feel like a “Bullet Hell” style shooter and with all that action going on at once the frame rate is nice and steady, even in handheld mode.

Thankfully controls in Assault Android Cactus+ are super tight and responsive, making it easy to flick back and forth between enemies. Different androids have varying combinations of weapons for you to try out, from spread shots and lasers as basic weapons to flamethrowers and missile launchers for secondaries. Certain levels will feel easier with specific character’s weapons but the game keeps track of the highest completion rank on the current stage with each android. Getting hit too many times will cause you to die and lose your secondary weapon charge but not actually fail the current stage, which only occurs when your battery depletes. Apart from standard controls with two sticks, there is also a Joy-Con mode which auto aims to the nearest enemy. This is obviously not the best way to play but is a nice addition that lets you show off the game to others without the need to carry around multiple controllers.

Shooting for high scores is loads of fun but if you are after some more in depth progression outside of those then this may not be for you. Fans of twin stick shooters will enjoy Assault Android Cactus+, especially with the help of some friends.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mat Panek
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: Assault Android Cactus+ [Nintendo Switch] was kindly provided by Stride PR for this review.

 

 

Ape Out – Nintendo Switch Review

Busting its way onto the Switch is Ape Out, a seriously stylish smash ‘em up that gives a new meaning to the term “Ape Escape.”

Ape Out is a top down perspective game with a very deliberate feel to the way it was made. You control a gorilla that must break its way out of a cage and through various scenarios to your freedom. A relative army of humans stand between you and the open jungle. At first glance Ape Out is a game that seems like a rampaging primate power fantasy of breaking ones shackles and escaping. Hidden within its simple art style and jazzy tunes there is an underlying sadness to this tale that is all too real but is never preachy. Every play through is randomly generated and upon every death the world changes so you never know what to expect around the next corner.

Every scenario in Ape Out is presented like a record, with a different colour palette and soundtrack to match. The art style uses basic contrasting colours and is very minimalistic and striking. Enemies are white silhouettes against drab coloured floors and walls that splash with bold crimson upon taking one of them down. Through all of this the soundtrack plays a pivotal role in creating atmosphere. As you burst through glass and guards the soundtrack is always present with an experimental jazz feel. Upon killing an enemy there will be a cymbal crash and an increase in tempo momentarily, upon taking out several guards the soundtrack really reaches full strength. Alternatively, sneaking around will have you hearing the steady beat of a high hat that beautifully builds tension.

Gameplay mechanics are kept deliberately simple, boiling down to simply “push or pull” style controls. You can grab a guard and use him as a shield or throw him at another guard, wall or even through a window. There are also multiple scenarios that offer different mechanics based on the location that they are set in, from a science lab to a sky scraper. Every Run is timed and at the end the amount of deaths are given. There is also a “Harder” mode for those that like the extra challenge and an Arcade mode that gives you a score based on time and kills.

Ape Out is a beautifully designed little game with lots of care put into it. Although it may feel a little short, it is definitely worth your time. You’d be bananas not to try it!

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mat Panek
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: Ape Out [Nintendo Switch] was kindly provided by POWER UP PR for this review.

 

 

The 65-inch Nintendo Switch TV

It is no secret that we are huge fans of the Nintendo Switch. It seems that there are even bigger fans of Nintendo’s hybrid console, just like Suprman9!

Suprman9 has taken their love of the Switch to a level that we reckon is really really cool – turning their bland 65-inch TV into a giant Nintendo Switch, complete with coloured Joy-Con side panels. The Switch TV is the centrepiece of Suprman9’s game room, conveniently named, Nerdvana!

Check out the photos below and then head here to check out the entire build process. Got to hand it to Suprman9, they are definitely super Nintendo fans with some gnarly DIY skills.

[story source: technabob]