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  1. Arachnophobes rejoice: here's a game that lets you take out all of your aggression on eight-legged creatures in increasingly ridiculous ways. From swatting them with a clipboard to wielding a rocket launcher, Kill It With Fire from developer Casey Donnellan and publisher tinyBuild Games takes the common fear of spiders to absurd extremes with simple physics mechanics and destructible environments. But while the premise is funny, it might not have much staying power. There's no plot in Kill It With Fire, you're simply taken from one location to the next, starting in a humble little ho
  2. Part point-and-click adventure, part platformer, and all irreverent humor, Lair of the Clockwork God is a satirical, self-aware blend of video game genres that delights in breaking the fourth wall just about anywhere it can. By switching between the two protagonists, you'll tackle either classic adventure game puzzles—find items and combine them to progress—or traditional 2D platforming with all of the spikes and hazards that entails. Although the experience gets undeniable points for originality, the execution of this premise leaves something to be desired. You play as Ben and Dan—c
  3. Even as someone that owns a Wii U and played all of these games on it, it's nice to see so many of the Wii U's gems get a second chance in the spotlight with Switch ports. The hardware may have failed to find broad reach, but the games themselves provided fantastic experiences, and in the case of this game, a chaotic and wonderful multiplayer experience. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury offers Switch owners a chance at playing possibly the best multiplayer Mario platformer out there, as well as a sizable bonus mode that provides a more sandbox Mario experience that is no less compelling.
  4. It took several years for Ori and the Blind Forest to leave behind its Microsoft-exclusivity and make the leap to the Switch in 2019, and thankfully fans haven't had to wait as long for its sequel to also land on Nintendo's hybrid console. Ori and the Will of the Wisps, available just months after its Microsoft system debuit, brings players back to the gorgeously designed forest environment, home to Ori and his friends, for another engaging Metroidvania adventure and another heartfelt tale. It's easy to see that, if you liked the first game, you'll love Will of the Wisps just as much.
  5. Six years ago, developer Mografi Kickstarted their mystery adventure game, Jenny LeClue - Detectivu. Last year the game released on PC and mobile devices, and now Switch owners have the opportunity to experience the mystery as well. Was the game worth the wait? The clues in this case are impeccable writing filled with humor and heart, stylish presentation, and engaging mystery gameplay, leading to only one logical deduction. Our protagonist, Jenny LeClue, is a confident, precocious young girl determined to follow in the detective footsteps of her mother. But Arthurton, their sleepy h
  6. While everyone eagerly awaits the next big name title from their favorite developers, it might be best to look to the indie world for fresh takes on familiar genres. Blue Fire, from developer Robi Studios and publisher Graffiti Games, wears its inspirations on its sleeve, drawing upon the adventure elements of Zelda, platforming of Mario, and tone of the Souls series to create a challenging 3D action-adventure. That wide blend of game design may also be why Blue Fire oftentimes doesn't feel as polished as it should be, though. You play as Umbra, a diminutive warrior who awakens in a
  7. What would it look like if you put the gameplay of Metroid Prime in a comedy setting? You'd get Journey to the Savage Planet, a first-person adventure game that sees you exploring an uncharted planet with a wise-cracking AI companion, all on behalf of an oddball interstellar exploration company. Between collecting new equipment to explore further and battling the occasionally aggressive alien fauna, Savage Planet has all the makings of a solid 3D Metroidvania, though some rough edges do prevent it from standing toe to toe with the Prime series. You play as an employee of Kindred Aero
  8. Are you the type of gamer that wants fast-paced combat and exploration, or the type that prefers slow, meticulous sim gameplay? Well, with Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, you don't need to choose between the two. Of Rice and Ruin combines side-scrolling action with a richly detailed farming simulator centered entirely around rice. Although the two halves ultimately complement each other quite well, neither one feels quite as polished as it could be. You play as Princess Sakuna, a spoiled goddess of the Lofty Realm who is banished to the Isle of Demons after an accident destroys a store of
  9. A Metroidvania starring a ninja protagonist already sounds like a winning combination, but if you make that ninja a tablet in a world of robots, well, you've got something special on your hands. Kunai isn't afraid to get silly, but it also backs up its goofy moments with top-notch adventure gameplay that proves difficult to put down. The game's story begins with a surprisingly somber explanation that the world has been ravaged by an evil AI named Lemonkus who almost wiped out all of humanity. You play as Tabby, a tablet with the soul of an ancient warrior, awakened to help fight Lemo
  10. The oddball mashup of pinball physics and roguelike progression in Roundguard might prove that roguelike elements really can be applied to any other game genre. From developer Wonderbelly Games and publisher The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild, Roundguard combines the gameplay of Peggle with randomized levels and items to create a unique "dungeon-baller." It's an unlikely combo that works shockingly well. There's not much story-telling in Roundguard but you are treated to occasional scenes of quirky and cheesy humor between characters. Otherwise, this game is all about gameplay. You ca
  11. You may have played an MMO before, but have you played a game within an MMO? CrossCode is set within a fictional MMO called CrossWorlds and, as you might imagine, gets a little meta at times as it explores the relationship players have with a game world. Along the way, CrossCode challenges players with a wide variety of puzzles and real-time combat, with all of the trappings you'd expect from an RPG—side quests, gear to collect/buy, level up perks, etc. All of this is wrapped up in a 16-bit era art style and sweeping soundtrack. It's an incredibly ambitious indie developed project and showcase
  12. Developer Thunder Lotus Games already has two games under its belt, but aside from the beautiful hand-drawn visuals you wouldn't expect those action-heavy games to be related to this quiet, pensive management game focused on dying. Spiritfarer takes players on a thoughtful journey of reflection wrapped up in a tidy gameplay loop of crafting, collecting, and completing quests for your passengers. It's an utterly charming experience that only makes it all the more difficult to say goodbye when it ends. You play as Stella, the new Spiritfarer who takes over for Charon as the ferrymaster
  13. After a 2015 Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, the creators behind Skullgirls brought their 2D artwork and animation talents to an unusual mashup of gameplay genres. Indivisible combines side-scrolling platformer environments, Metroidvania backtracking, and action-RPG battles for a pretty unique experience. Not all of the game's elements are perfectly fleshed out, but there's still a lot to enjoy in this hybrid adventure. The story follows Ajna, a hot-headed but friendly young woman who sets out on a quest for revenge after the evil warlord Ravannavar destroys her village. Equipped wi
  14. If you follow the indie gaming scene at all you've probably heard of Kentucky Route Zero at some point, given its extended release schedule. Originally Kickstarted in 2011, the first part of this episodic adventure was released in 2013, and the fifth and final part was only released at the beginning of this year. But whether you've been a fan since the beginning or are just jumping in for the first time, this story-driven exploration of community, the self, and the surreal is well worth the drive. If the developers were hoping to capture a certain undefinable glimpse of the mundane through mag
  15. When Immortals: Fenyx Rising was initially revealed, plenty of people joked about how similar it looked to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Now that the game is out, I can safely say that…well, it's really similar to BotW. That's not inherently a bad thing, though. What Fenyx Rising has going for it is a massive open world packed with challenges and items to discover, a simple and snappy combat system, and the joy of gliding through the air as you leap from a mountain down into a grove of trees, climbing over everything in your path. The downside though is that this isn't nearly as pol
  16. Christmas is just around the corner and Halloween is well past us now, but you can still get into the holiday spirit for both celebrations with the recent Christmas update to Pumpkin Jack, a 3D platformer from one-man developer Nicolas Meyssonnier and publisher Headup Games. With a mix of combat and platforming challenges in a cartoonishly spooky world, Pumpkin Jack is a charming mix of classic concepts seen through a fresh lens no matter what time of year you're playing. The Devil, bored by the calm and carefree lifestyles of humans, sends all manner of monsters to wreak havoc and d
  17. After thirty years, Fire Emblem fans finally have the chance to play the game that started the entire series—not as a DS remake, but as a port of the NES original (plus a couple of modern additions to make the experience a little more palatable). Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light started it all, the series that had six installments before one was finally localized in English, and then only truly soared to its current popularity after another six. But this is the original, before any fancy additional features were included, when all you had was an 8-bit battlefield and your wi
  18. From Hello Games and the minds behind LostWinds, an early WiiWare indie platformer on the Wii, comes a new puzzle-platformer adventure with a somber and melancholic tone. The Last Campfire takes players on an atmospheric journey rife with introspection about life and loneliness, peppered with simple exploration puzzles. The gameplay may not ever feel particularly challenging, but the subject matter may make this game a must-play title for 2020. You play as an Ember, a diminutive traveler who has gotten a little side-tracked from their original journey. Your path now takes you through
  19. The original Hyrule Warriors, especially with all of its DLC additions, was a charming love letter to the entire Zelda series in the guise of a Warriors title, but it's the more narrowed focus of this sequel that might have produced a better game overall. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity explores the disastrous conflict 100 years before the events of Breath of the Wild, when Link, Zelda, and the four Champions prepared to battle Calamity Ganon. Our heroes face hordes of hundreds of Bokoblins, Moblins, and more fearsome creatures in the hack 'n' slash action that Warriors games are known for. T
  20. The latest in the Gunvolt series from developer Inti Creates, Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX carries the same fast-paced, 2D action gameplay that the franchise is known for. Although experienced players and die-hard action game fans may enjoy the flashy combat mechanics, more casual players may find this game to be more style than substance. In the future, normal humans are controlled and hunted down by a ruling class of enhanced humans called Adepts. You play as Copen—returning from the previous games—who is fighting on behalf of humans to stop the tyranny of the Sumeragi,
  21. It was a pleasant surprise earlier this year when a brand new Paper Mario game was not only revealed and released within a two month span, but also delivered a charming adventure with a unique battle system. But those of us longing for the more traditional RPG mechanics of the first two Paper Mario games are better off looking to the world of indie games, as Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling draws clear inspiration from the battle mechanics, badge system, and visual design of those classic Mario RPGs. This is far from some cheap impersonation though. Bug Fables is a lovingly crafted homage t
  22. Drawing inspiration from both George Orwell's novel 1984 and the classic 2D Prince of Persia game, Ministry of Broadcast combines a dystopian narrative with a challenging mix of platformer puzzles. It's definitely a unique mixture, though some of the gameplay mechanics could have used some fine-tuning. In a dystopian society run by a totalitarian regime, a massive wall created by the rulers has both literally and figuratively divided the people. In the hopes of seeing his family again, one man (never named, but generally referred to as Orange due to his hair) signs up for a reality T
  23. In the continuing trend of porting every major Wii U game to the Switch, Pikmin 3 Deluxe revamps the 2013 Wii U title with new side-story missions as well as co-op gameplay. Although it's somewhat disappointing to see the Wii U grow more and more pointless, it's great to see its hidden gems find new life on a more popular console, and Pikmin 3 is definitely a gem. Instead of Captain Olimar—protagonist of the first two Pikmin games—Pikmin 3 stars a trio of space explorers from the planet Koppai as they search the galaxy for new sources of food. Alph, Brittany, and Charlie crash land o
  24. Carrion puts you in the role of the monster in a monster movie: an amorphous blob of tendrils and teeth escapes the research facility holding it, and now seeks freedom while devouring every scientist and guard in its path. It's a grisly, visceral game that is utterly satisfying to crawl and slither through, even if the experience is over far too quickly. The game doesn't dwell too much on storytelling or plot, but you can piece together the narrative as the creature initially escapes confinement and explores the facility. There are also some flashbacks that fill in a bit of backstory
  25. Plenty of games let you go on a bloody rampage, destroying everything in your path, but few let you do it with every manner of weapon, from swords and guns to carrots and corpses. In the tradition of fast-paced high-score chasers, Bloodroots is a non-stop action experience where your only goal is to kill anyone you can see, and since one hit kills both you and enemies you need to be sure to strike first. When you're in the zone and deftly destroying everyone on screen, flying through levels in Bloodroots is a blast. Getting to that point can be a bit tedious though. You play as Mr. W
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