Greetings, Ghosties! It’s probably becoming cliche at this point, but I hope you’re all staying safe, healthy, and sane during this pandemic. I have no answers, no idea what the fuck is going on, and no real sense of what’s ahead for all of us. I know that we should ALL be staying home as much as humanly possible, some people disagree with that for some reason and think they’re awesome for shirking the rules but they are assholes. Me? I’m not risking it, not for my wife, not for my kids, and not for anyone else. This shit isn’t about me, it’s about the greater good.
What a concept.
Anyway, there’s enough doom and gloom floating around so I thought I’d get this article up about a few rad games you would definitely be justified in snagging for your Switch library. In the interest of full disclosure, I haven’t had as much time with these as I usually would. Simply put, the world has been falling apart all around us and my stress and anxiety levels have been through the roof. I just haven’t been able to play as much, period. That being said, I’ve spent enough time with these four to know that they’re awesome, and worth your time, so it is what it is.
These will be fairly short in length, cause I can feel another panic attack coming on, but hopefully you enjoy nonetheless!
BUBBLE BOBBLE 4 FRIENDS
Taito‘s Bubble Bobble is a long-running arcade series about a little lizard (or is he a dinosaur? I’m never quite sure) who has to blow bubbles to knock out baddies. Bubbles are popped, jumped on, and grouped together to make chains, and that formula hasn’t changed a hell of a lot over the lifetime of the series. I didn’t have much experience with these games, when they were in arcades I was obsessed with Road Blasters and Rampage, but I did play some Bubble Bobble on my NES and it was a good time.
Plus, bubbles are dope.
I got asked if I wanted to check out the brand-new Bubble Bobble 4 Friends on Switch and I jumped on the opportunity. It looked fun, and at the time the world wasn’t going down the toilet, so all seemed well. Taito has done a phenomenal job here, and they’ve succeeded in injecting new life into the arcade/action/platformer series for a new generation of players.
Your little lizard is thrown back into the fight when Bonner (main bad dude) gets smacked with magic which turns him back to his old ways of villainy, and from there it’s over 100 levels of bubble popping happiness, platforming, and really rad boss fights. Ironically enough given the co-op focused nature of the game, I don’t play with other people, so I’ve been going through this one solo.
It’s great fun, and the formula never strays too far from a series of levels and a boss fight. You blow bubbles to trap enemies, pop them to say goodbye to said enemies, and you can collect E-X-T-E-N-D bubbles to upgrade the unlockable powers you get after boss fights. Those also grant you an extra life, which comes in handy as 1 hit will knock out a life. It’s never too much of a worry though, the difficulty is just right and this is an extremely accessible game for ANYONE to pick up and have fun with.
As far as looks go, it’s SUPERB. It’s nothing that’s gonna break the chipset but it is extremely well done, super colorful, and everything you see embodies the spirit of fun that has been a staple of the series since its inception. Animations are adorable, and the game performs perfectly docked OR handheld. The audio is pretty much what you’d expect for a cutesy arcade platformer and that’s, again, not a bad thing at all. Bonus points for including the arcade original too by the way, it’s in an arcade cab on the main screen between levels.
I’ve worked my way through about 3/4 of the game and while it’s not the longest or deepest game, it is DEFINITELY worth picking up if you enjoy fun. If you don’t enjoy fun, then pick it up anyway. While you are reassessing your life choices that made you so averse to fun things it’ll be the perfect gateway back in./eShop- $39.99
(I’m aware that this one might not QUITE qualify as an “indie”, Taito’s a fairly big studio but the other three ARE indies, so hence the title of this post.)
Grimvalor is awesome. Done.
That was easy!
Just kidding about the “done” part, but Grimvalor IS awesome indeed. If I’m being real honest with myself and you guys, I’m not always down for a complicated, 200-hour epic that will ruin my life. I wanna hack some shit up, have some fun, and be out. That said, I DO want it to look good, feel good, and BE good and Grimvalor (Direlight) delivers on all points and this one gets VERY high marks from me.
Grimvalor started out as a mobile game, but PLEASE don’t let that dissuade you. Not all mobile games are trash, and this one proves that point all over the place. Your mission to take down King Valor has you doing some robustly uncomplicated hack-and-slash moves- you have a regular attack, a heavy/charge attack, and a SUPER rad dodge roll. You also get a few more moves up your sleeve before it’s all said and done, but not much. That’s COMPLETELY not a bad thing for me, because it keeps things simple and focused on the kind of fast, fluid action that caused me to spend an irrational amount of time playing Dead Cells.
Like, REAL irrational.
There’s a skill tree to upgrade your way through, a trinket system to add more buffs to the palate, and everything is SUPER easy to understand and get a grip on. The weapons are fun to use even though there isn’t a metric ton of them, and the controls were moved to Switch perfectly.
The music is great, the presentation is beautiful, and it performs without a hitch whatever way you choose to play. if I have anything “meh” to say about Grimvalor it’s just that the levels design could have used a little more variety. Honestly though, who cares? This is the kind of game you’re playing to enjoy fast hacking and slashing with a little exploration and Grimvalor absolutely NAILS it where that’s concerned.
There are tons of games I’ve WANTED to love, but they just fucking DRAG me through too much crap that weighs down that visceral fun factor. Not Grimvalor, it’s meat and potatoes in ALL the right ways and you should just go to the eShop and buy it right now. Go do it, but keep this window open too. :)/eShop- $12.99
HyperParasite (from Troglobytes, Hound Picked Games, and Qubic Games) is RIGHT up my alley. I’m a massive fan of roguelike twin-stick shooters and this one kicks serious ass in that department. The setup- an alien parasite has invaded Earth and the President will stop at nothing to rid the planet of the alien scourge. You play AS the alien scourge and you possess your way into anyone that gets near you to ultimately take down the President and send the human race to our maker.
Imagine that, a world where the President DOESN’T want us all dead.
Sounds like the stuff of cheesy 80’s action/sci-fi movies and it IS, and it’s AWESOME. No run is ever the same because you never know what enemy you might get to possess. There’s multiple character classes, skill-based progression, abilities that are specific to certain hosts, tons of objectives, and even co-op in this soup of awesomeness. Big-ass bosses, permadeath, you know the drill.
This one though, is COMPLETELY soaked in that grimy 80’s synthwave vibe that seems to be all the rage these days (fine by me!) and the atmosphere feeds the fun til it’s bursting at the seams. The music is killer, the pixel art is absolutely stunning, and it plays fantastically. If games like NeuroVoider, The Binding of Isaac, and Nuclear Throne are up your street than this is a MUST have. I don’t really know what else to say about it, I’ve spent a good deal of time with this one and I’m nowhere close to beating it- but that’s the fun of these games, you die and die and die until you FINALLY pull it off. HyperParasite deserves a spot in your roguelike rotation for sure, and once again-you should just go buy it now. Don’t worry, I’ll wait./eShop- $17.99 (it’s on sale at the time of this writing for $11.99 but my Switch is charging and I’m not sure when the sale ends so I suggest jumping on it!)
100% Honesty- I super-suck at Snakeybus (Stovetop/Stage Clear Studios/Digerati). Some games just don’t make sense to my weird brain/fingers and this was one of them. The premise is pretty much the whole deal-you’re piloting a bus through city streets. As you pick up more passengers your bus gets longer, and you score points for dropping the passengers off at designated destinations. Thing is, since your bus is always getting longer you have to think on your feet and make sure you don’t get stuck on yourself as stopping motion ends your run.
Kinda like life, but instead of your hopes and dreams it’s just a long-ass bus.
That’s it, the game plays out over 11 maps, 5 unlockable buses, multiple game modes, and the shreds of your sanity that are left over. The game is absolutely batshit crazy and it’s incredibly fun for a game that cops to being fairly casual in nature. It’s one of those games that I’m just NOT good at, but I keep trying anyway cause I’m also very well-versed at laughing at myself.
The game looks great in action, and it (thankfully) performs like a dream. The sound design isn’t anything that’ll win a Grammy but it serves the purpose well. This is the kind of game that does one thing but does it really well, its essentially a reimagining of Snake for a new generation and it accomplishes that to become a thing of it’s own in the process.
I’ve managed to be able to get out of the starting area and out onto the streets, but as in real life I’m clumsy as hell and I always end up tripping on myself at some point. Maybe Snakeybus is secretly a metaphor for life in 2020- no matter how hard we try, we’re gonna fucking trip over ourselves SOMEHOW. I like that idea, and now I want to go play Snakeybus. Digerati always manages to get behind rad projects and they made another good call publishing Stovetop’s excellent score chaser here. I might not be any good at it, but you probably will be- and I’ll never give low marks to something just cause I’m an idiot. Buy Snakeybus, have fun, done./eShop- $11.99 (once again, this one is on sale for $9.59 right now and I don’t know when that ends, so save yourself a couple bucks and pick it up expediently).
That’s the whole cow, folks.
I’m not sure if that’s a saying, but it is now. There are some changes coming to The Ghost Generation which I’ll be sharing in my next post on Friday, maybe sooner if I feel like it. All positive for me, 100%, and for now I hope you guys enjoy those new games you’re on the eShop buying right now and PLEASE STAY THE FUCK HOME and take care of yourselves.
A blog/website where these happily married, 30-something parents of 2 little minions rant, rave, and speak in tongues. Raw, honest, and riddled with profanity. Get on board and let’s make The Ghost Generation awesome together! http://theghostgeneration.com Twitter.com/Gh0stGeneration