OlliOlli Switch Stance – Nintendo Switch Review

Kickflipping their way onto the Nintendo Switch is OlliOlli and OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood in the new collection OlliOlli Switch Stance.

Much like the multitude of skateboarding games that have come before it, OlliOlli Switch Stance is all about racking up multipliers and high scores. Unlike its predecessors though, OlliOlli Switch Stance is a 2D side-on skateboarding game with a very simplified art style. Each run has a mix of 5 specific point, or objective- based challenges to be completed. To proceed the player only has to make it to the end of the run without bailing. Along with the standard levels there is a “Daily Grind” mode in both games and other additional challenges including multiplayer in OlliOlli 2.

Both games in OlliOlli Switch Stance have similar yet different visual styles. OlliOlli has a pixel art style with levels that span a multitude of urban environments. Whereas OlliOlli 2 has an updated yet equally clean 2D style that takes place on and around movie sets. The very simplistic art style works in favour of the quick gameplay, most notably in OlliOlli 2 where jumps and grinds stand out. The soundtrack in OlliOlli Switch Stance is very much the opposite, being purposefully subdued yet still catchy and suits the games perfectly.

The controls are what will really set this series apart from other skateboarding games that most players are familiar with. Everything from jumps to flips to grinds are all accomplished using the left analogue stick. By holding, rotating and finally releasing the stick, players can carry out a multitude of tricks to build up their score. What really makes the game technical is the timing required when carrying out every action, including landing. Starting up OlliOlli Switch Stance, the player is warned that “OlliOlli is a super-fast game” and this is no understatement. Pulling off a lengthy series of chained tricks can all be rendered moot by the act of a “Sloppy” landing. Retrying stages over and
over is almost a necessity but snappy menus and instant restarts mean there is no waiting between rounds and you can get straight into the action.

OlliOlli Switch Stance plants itself perfectly on the Nintendo Switch, whether you want to knock out a quick run or chase high scores. The technical and precise nature of these controls may be a little off putting to some but others will find it incredibly enjoyable and rewarding.

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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: OlliOlli Switch Stance [Nintendo Switch] was kindly provided by POWER UP PR for this review.

 

 

Nintendo Switch Review – YIIK: A Postmodern RPG

Face the impending millennium in YIIK: A Postmodern RPG from ACKK Studios. Not just a new approach to RPGs but a whole other dimension!

Unlike any RPG I have played, YIIK: A Postmodern RPG (pronounced Y2K) is an interesting take on a well-trodden genre. You play as Alex, an entitled 20 something that stumbles on a mystery bigger than him or his bachelor’s degree. The game takes place in a small town called “Frankton” in the year 1999, a very unassuming place for a mystery of these proportions. You will team up with old school friends, arcade employees, pacifists and more on your journey.

The story in YIIK loves throwing curve balls at the player and will have you constantly questioning what is going on, drawing you further into the plot. Even though YIIK looks rather quirky it also delves fairly deep into themes such as the metaphysical, depression and anxiety. Don’t fret though as the game is full of humour, subtle pop culture jokes and references. YIIK pokes fun at cartoon characters, internet culture and a certain JRPG series on multiple occasions very effectively.

The soundtrack in YIIK has an amazing blend of music including chiptune, electronic, jazz and arty pieces. All of the tracks are extremely catchy, I found myself humming along to them while playing and even when I wasn’t. The art style is fantastic and suits the gameplay and story to a tee. Lush colours and striking visuals help bring YIIK to life and flesh out this seemingly ordinary world. YIIK captures a perfect sense of 90s nostalgia, from the birth of the internet subculture, POGs and payphones. The in game online message board “ONISM1999” plays a major role in advancing the story and giving hints on side quests and secrets.

The little details make the biggest impact even in battle as you will fight rodents, bats, rogue stop signs with Vinyl records, Keytars and Hula-hoops. The battle mechanics in YIIK are a fantastic combination of standard RPG elements and quirky quick time events that make you feel far more responsible for every action in battles. Long gone are random die rolls and mashing through standard RPG battle menus. In YIIK you contribute to every action from attacking to defending yourself in carefully timed action sequences.

Having clocked almost 30 hours, to tell too much of what makes YIIK so very charming and special would ruin the impact of seeing it first hand for yourself. If you love a good solid RPG, great story and long for the 90s then YIIK is the perfect game for you!

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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: YIIK: A Postmodern RPG [Nintendo Switch] was kindly provided by Stride PR for this review.

 

 

Review: Solar Flux – Nintendo Switch

Save some suns in Solar Flux, the latest Switch release from Firebrand games. A unique and challenging puzzler that feels a bit out of place on the Switch.

Solar Flux is an interesting little puzzle game that follows the age old premise “Easy to learn, difficult to master.” You control a ship that collects plasma to shoot into dying suns, saving them in the process. Each level is ranked by either time taken, shields depleted or fuel used. You are then given a ranking out of 3 stars depending on how well you perform. The game itself can be quite tricky but once you get that “Ah ha” moment getting at least one star is quite manageable. The real challenge comes from trying to get a perfect 3 stars in each level.

Listening to the sparse soundtrack and simple audio cues give the game a nice relaxing atmosphere. This really helps to create a sense of isolation in each level. Visuals are nicely contrasted, making each object clearly visible and easily recognised. Overall the look of Solar Flux is very minimal which works in its favour as a puzzle game. Level design can range from twitch reflex or timing based puzzles to pure patience and precision puzzles. Solar Flux’s level and puzzle design certainly make it well suited for some quick pick up and play sessions.

When it comes to controls, Solar flux is a mixed bag. Playing in docked mode the game uses twin stick style controls for thrusting and firing plasma. These controls feel nice and tight, making the game responsive and rewarding. Playing in handheld mode the game defaults to touch only controls, which seems very strange. The touch screen controls do feel fine but a few controls simply don’t work or feel finicky. If you are anything like me, touch screen controls are not exactly first choice when it comes to the Switch.

Solar Flux is a well-designed puzzle game that will have you hunting perfect runs and challenging friends. Puzzle fans will get some real enjoyment out of it at home but may want to give it a miss as an “On the go” title.

Developer: Firebrand Games
Publisher: Firebrand Games
Release Date: December 11, 2018

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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: Solar Flux [Nintendo Switch] was kindly provided by HomeRun PR for this review.