FOUR ABSOLUTELY FUCKING AMAZING GAMES ON SWITCH THAT YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE IMMEDIATELY.

FOUR ABSOLUTELY FUCKING AMAZING GAMES ON SWITCH THAT YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE IMMEDIATELY.

I place the blame on two very specific people for my obsession with roguelikes. Thomas Altenburger, and Edmund McMillen. Thomas is responsible for NeuroVoider, which is my favorite video game of all time, and Edmund is the man behind The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth + which is my OTHER favorite video game of all time. Those two games will forever hold court over a special place in my soul because they were my intro to the genre, and since they’re infinitely replayable you’ll be seeing me as a 72 year old man holding my Switch 7.0 Pro Edition playing one of them before I go to bed at 8:30 PM. Ah, old age.

NeuroVoider

For the kids in the back of the class, roguelikes are procedurally-generated games that usually feature permadeath (die, start over, repeat), are challenging as fuck, and are the most awesome thing in the universe. Some people love them, some people hate them, and I’m happy to be FIRMLY on the love side. Games like the two mentioned above, Dead Cells, Rogue Legacy, and countless others are just one of those things that clicked with my weird brain. I play lots of other stuff, but these are what I always come back to.

The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth +

I like to think I’m pretty knowledgeable on the subject too, the past few years have seen a metric TON of these suckers hit the market and if it’s on Switch I’ve probably played it. For HOURS. Recently, I’m very happy to report that some more all-time favorites have been released and since the holidays are all about lists and “best-of” type shit, I wanted to give you guys some good toilet reading. You’ll need a break from your family anyway, you’re welcome. Three new heavy hitters, one STRONG honorable mention, let’s do this. Your Switch is about to be VERY happy.

JUICY REALM

Juicy Realm, sweet sweet Juicy Realm. I first heard about Juicy Realm back in 2017 when it got announced for PC. The Chinese team Space Can Games (published by X.D. Network) showcased a vibrant, saturday-morning cartoon inspired, roguelike wonderland of insane fruits and it IMMEDIATELY shot to the top of my “stalk Twitter every day for 2 years” list. No shit- I looked this game up at LEAST once a day while anxiously awaiting news about the Switch version. Luckily, a few weeks ago I was able to stop stalking and START playing.

Spoiler alert, it’s fucking brilliant. Here’s the setup- something crashed into earth from deep space and has caused all of the plants to become sentient and self aware. Also, they’re pissed at us and now that the food-chain script has been flipped they’re out for blood. It’s your job to stop them. That’s it, that’s the story. You know what? This game doesn’t NEED some elaborate story cause it’s ALL about getting to the gameplay. It’s fairly standard twin-stick shooting but the joy is in the details. There are multiple characters, a TON of rad weapons, permanent progression/upgrades, and a detailed and drop dead GORGEOUS world to experience all while blowing hilariously designed sentient fruit to bits.

The biggest thing for me it the actual gameplay itself, it’s some of the best in the genre if you’re asking me, and after waiting over two years to get my hands on the game I was SO stoked for it to feel this good in my hands. The combat is SUPER tight and responsive, and it’s insanely fun learning new weapons, changing up your style, and doing it all again with another character. The soundtrack is stellar, the animation is brilliant, and it all comes together to give you an absolutely jaw-droppingly beautiful hand-drawn 2D world to come back to again and again.

There isn’t much else I can say about it other than this- it now stands toe to toe with my favorite games of all time and if you are a fan of twin-stick shooters, roguelikes in any capacity, or just FUN games in general- this is MANDATORY shit, go buy it now. $15, eShop, DONE.

SPARKLITE

Red Blue Games (published by Merge Games) has given us ANOTHER must-have roguelike/roguelite (look it up) on Switch with Sparklite. It’s another one of those games I’d been obsessing over for MONTHS, waiting on a release date and checking the internet way too many times a day. I was stoked like that N64 kid on Christmas when it was finally officially given a release date and I was super fortunate to land myself a code so I could dive in. Huge thanks to Lucas from Red Blue Games and Ross from Merge games by the way- these guys had a LOT of people to get codes to but they made it happen for me and they get eternal respect for being awesome.

Anyway- Sparklite is fucking amazing. Sparklite is gorgeous, and Sparklite is a Zelda-inspired roguelike that just WORKS. Ada is an intrepid explorer who uses rad gadgets to get shit done. The world of Geodia’s main source of pretty much everything is Sparklite, in fact the actual CORE of the world itself is MADE of the stuff. There are also frequent earthquakes which cause the core to shift, and this is making the Baron extremely unhappy. The Baron wants to control the Sparklite core and harness it to power his mining operations and it’s Ada’s job to make sure his plans go south.

Ada is a bad-ass and Ada is SUPER fun to control. You’re essentially navigated an overworld, gathering as much Sparklite as you can, and using it to upgrade yourself and your floating hub-world so you can keep going down and kicking more ass. Sounds simple, and I suppose it kinda is, but the devil is in the details and Sparklite NAILS it, on all counts. This game looks like Zelda got into steampunk and had a baby with Owlboy. Yeah, it’s pretty. It’s REAL pretty. Chunky, colorful pixel art gets me JAZZED and the folks at Red Blue Games are masters here. It’s stunning.

The bosses are gargantuan, the exploration never gets stale, and Ada is just fucking adorable. The combat is endlessly fun and fluid, and really quite nuanced under the surface. Games like this, for me, live and die by the combat and Sparklite has got the moxie. After about 10 minutes with Sparklite it was abundantly clear that this one would be in my rotation for a LONG time to come and it proudly joins the upper-echelon of favorites I mentioned above. Sparklite is a fresh take on the roguelike/lite genre that does what not too many have done- it takes the Zelda formula and actually does something kinda different with it.

Ada rules, Sparklite rules, and this is another essential so once again, I apologize to your wallet but this is mandatory shit too. Physical, digital, whatever- just make sure you own it.

CHILDREN OF MORTA

Children of Morta is brain-meltingly amazing. Children of Morta is a benchmark for all pixel art moving forward. Children of Morta has an enthralling and emotional story that gets dispatched to you between AND during runs.

Children of Morta might be the most perfectly balanced, equal-opportunity roguelike/roguelite ever, and in case you haven’t noticed- I really REALLY like Children of Morta.

Long story short, the Bergsons are a family that is tasked with saving their world from something called The Corruption. I’m not saying anything else because:

  • A) It’s been out for a while and you probably already know the story and…
  • B) If you happen to have NOT gotten the lowdown about the story I don’t want to give away a SINGLE detail because, for me, even the setup stuff was really fun to discover as it happens. I avoided reading about the story on purpose before it came out cause I heard it was really rad to watch unfold and I’m glad I did it that way.

Through the course of the game you have the opportunity to play as and level up SIX different characters. Each one has a completely unique playstyle and after having unlocked all of them I can confidently say that they are ALL completely awesome to play with in their own way. You have ranged, close-quarters, big-ass hammer, and more and learning each one is an absolute thrill. You have upgrades galore, all kinds of ways to tweak stats, and an absolute BARRAGE of stuff to discover. There’s also NO permadeath which is super-refreshing for one of these, and I know some of you will be very happy to hear that. You’ll discover the finer details when you play it, because you absolutely WILL PLAY IT. I’m damn near wasting your time by making you read this instead of being on the eShop fucking buying it immediately.

The story is gripping, and I hope more games like this will take a hint from Children of Morta and implement story in the masterful fashion that Dead Mage Inc. (published by 11 Bit Studios) has done here, cause the main complaint about the genre from A LOT of people is that they don’t feel fully invested in these games cause there isn’t alot to invest in to begin with. I get it, I’m just usually so laser-focused on gameplay that I don’t tend to care as much about story. Children of Morta has changed that completely, and I applaud everyone involved for creating a masterpiece that has reinvigorated how I look at my favorite genre of video games.

What you have in Children of Morta is a masterclass in how to make a roguelike engaging, emotional, and completely addictive in the best way possible. Like every game I’ve mentioned above, this sits in esteemed company at the very top of my “best of all time” list and may slowly creep its way into #1. It’s the game I never thought a roguelike could become, a cut above the rest and something you can really LIVE with. It’s available digital OR physical and as SOON as you’re done with this article you should be procuring this game immediately.

HONORABLE MENTION: BLACK FUTURE ’88

Black Future ’88 has a very interesting setup. You’re in an alternate-universe 1988. You have 18 minutes to fight your way to the top of an ever-changing procedurally-generated tower and kill the maniac architect of the whole thing to stop apocalyptic shit from happening. Cue manic, electric, and completely exciting action/platforming roguelike awesomeness.

Black Future ’88 (developed by SUPERSCARYSNAKES and published by Good Shepherd Entertainment) has wonderful, cortex-meltingly beautiful pixel art, and a super rad neon/80’s/cyberpunk aesthetic that fits the genre to a T. The combat is fast, fluid, and batshit crazy every single second you’re playing. As with the games above, you have upgrades, buffs/debuffs, and tons of weapons to discover. Permadeath is the name of the game here and every run starts fresh after you die- and you will, in fact, die. It’s OK though, cause you’ll want to keep coming back to get better cause it’s such a rad game. It’s thrilling shit so you’re probably wondering why the hell I have it as my “honorable mention” of the list. Here’s why:

  • The combat/gameplay, though really fast and slick, is also just a TOUCH floaty (the jump specifically). I’m just not a fan in the slightest when it comes to floaty-feeling jump mechanics so I have trouble fully getting into games where it’s a thing. It’s not HUGELY prominent with this game but if you’re like me it COULD be a thing for you. Not a dealbreaker but it is something that has somewhat prevented me from giving it as much of my time as the others.
  • It’s chaotic as hell, and when combined with the SLIGHTLY floaty feel of the jump plus everything happening onscreen it can be really difficult to fully keep track of what’s going on. Again, not a dealbreaker but this stood out to me over the course of many runs so I wanted to make sure I pointed it out.

Don’t get me twisted- Black Future ’88 is absolutely worth your time and definitely a must-buy if you’re into a slightly more platformer-y take on roguelikes. It’s tough as nails, heavy on atmosphere, and gorgeous as fuck so that’ll probably be all most of you need to know. If you’re super-OCD like me there might be a couple of details that you have trouble with but I plan to keep going so I can get better. I WANT to get better, cause this game is a class-act and if I can quit being such a shithead about a slightly floaty jump I bet it’ll become yet another all-time favorite for me. What can I say? Neon is dope.

So there you have it folks, this has been a banner year for the Nintendo Switch and these 4 games are where it’s at. To have so many top-notch games in my fave genre drop within weeks of each other is fucking bananas and it’s a true testament to the electricity and passion in the indie gaming scene. These devs and publishers are national treasures and The Ghost Generation WHOLEHEARTEDLY recommends these amazing games to you.

Now get off the toilet before your legs fall alseep, and don’t front like you DON’T know what I’m talking about.

Rage on,

AJH

JUICY REALM- Twitter.com/JuicyRealm Twitter.com/spacecangames Twitter.com/XDNetworkTwi

SPARKLITE- http://redbluegames.com/games/sparklite/ Twitter.com/redbluegames Twitter.com/MergeGamesLtd

CHILDREN OF MORTA- ChildrenOfMorta.com Twitter.com/ChildrenOfMorta Twitter.com/deadmagestudio Twitter.com/11bitstudios

BLACK FUTURE ’88- Twitter.com/GoodShepherdEnt www.superscarysnakes.com

Merge Games very graciously provided a review code for Sparklite and I bought the rest of them myself.

A brand new blog/website where this happily married, 30-something father of 2 little minions rants, raves, and speaks in tongues. Raw, honest, and riddled with profanity. Get on board and let’s make The Ghost Generation awesome together! www.theghostgeneration.com Twitter.com/Gh0stGeneration

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