Welcome back! It’s been a fair few months since my last Indie Variety Hour, so I figured it was high time that another be published. This time there are six featured games with a theme of availability on the Nintendo Switch. The Switch has become a haven for indie games, so let’s delve into some interesting titles that can be played there.
Have you ever wondered what The Legend of Zelda would look like with a much greater emphasis on puzzles, self referential humor, and an alcoholic sidekick? Wonder no longer thanks to Ittle Dew.
Ittle Dew is very much inspired by the classic 2D Zelda games. There is a much greater emphasis on the puzzle solving. While there are three key items used throughout, the entire game is designed to be beaten with only two. It isn’t a long game, so there is a lot of replay value to be found in using each combination of key item pairs. This also forces players to think about puzzles differently as the obvious solution isn’t always available. If you’ve ever found yourself wishing that Zelda games pushed the envelope further with their puzzles then Ittle Dew is definitely worth checking out.
Also available on: PC, Wii U, Android, iOS, & Ouya
Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King
In a similar vein to Ittle Dew, have you ever found yourself wanting more Zelda? Well Blossom Tales is here to provide just that.
To say Blossom Tales borrows very liberally from its inspiration would be an understatement. If you’ve ever played The Legend of Zelda you know exactly what kind of experience Blossom Tales provides. You’ll be crawling through dungeons using special items, defeating giant bosses, exploring, and finding health upgrades along your adventure. It is derivative, but that doesn’t make it bad. Each aspect of Blossom Tales is executed very well. In addition, the whole game is framed as a bedtime story, so there is room for a little player agency. This manifests as simple binary decisions, but the options are usually quite comical.
Also available on: PC
It seems like a good portion of this Indie Variety Hour is being dedicated to games which wear their influences on their sleeves. Next up is the Super Metroid inspired Axiom Verge.
In Axiom Verge you’ll explore a labyrinth of interconnected areas, collect new abilities, and use said abilities to trek further. While a lot of Axiom is a callback to Metroid there are a few key distinctions. The first is that Axiom very deliberately gives you tools for sequence breaking. With some clever execution players can tackle a variety of the game’s challenge outside the intended order. Secondly is the assortment of optional weapons to find along your journey. Each has unique properties so there is a lot of added combat variety to be had. If you’re keen on Metroid, I highly recommend giving Axiom Verge your attention.
Also available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, & Vita
Now time for a bit of an oddity – an RPG I actually enjoyed. Chroma Squad is a tactics RPG where you’re directing a power rangers styled television program. It is as quirky as it sounds.
Chroma Squad is equal parts tactical RPG and management sim. You manage a group of five friends who are working on a sentai television program. You’ll be budgeting for advertising, costumes, and props along with choosing which scripts to film. Filming is when the tactics and RPG elements come into play. Equipped costumes and props provide stat bonuses and your group of “heroes” will be fighting off “baddies” in tiled turn based combat. Additional mission objectives are also present to boost ratings with your fans. The result is a cohesive package where both combat and the overarching management blends seamlessly together.
Also available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Android, & iOS
Having now reviewed Steamworld Dig 2 and Steamworld Quest, I think it is time to give a shout out to my favourite of the Steamworld games: Steamworld Heist.
Steamworld Heist is a turn-based tactics game where you guide Captain Piper Faraday and her ragtag crew through several heists. You’ll move through steampunk, and neo-futuristic environments while ducking behind cover and gunning down opposition. What makes Heist stand out is the way that the shooting is handled. You’ll be (mostly) free aiming your weapons and firing them at your opponents. The environments allow for bullets to ricochet off surfaces creating tons of trick shot opportunities. It is immensely satisfying to line up a headshot after bouncing the bullet off of the ceiling. Plus you can steal people’s hats. What’s not to love about Steamwold Heist?
Also available on: PC, Wii U, 3DS, PS4, Android, iOS, & Vita
Jotun: Valhalla Edition
Finally, a game with massive boss fights: Jotun. The art-style of Jotun is what originally brought me in, but it was the fantastic design of the game that made it so memorable.
The strongest aspect of Jotun is how it teaches the player. There are so many games that drown players in tutorials that fail to teach mechanics in a meaningful or memorable way. Jotun instead elects to use no words and teaches mechanics through level design. After completing a level, and demonstrating you understand the mechanics therein, you’ll fight an enormous boss who will test all of the knowledge you’ve learned. This makes these epic fights feel fair despite the challenge they present. Jotun is fun to play, but it’s the beautiful design that really stands out.
Also available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, & Wii U
There we have it. Six Switch game spotlights. I also included the other platforms the games are available on. Hopefully something here peaked your interest so you’re able to find new games amid the sea of filth on the e-shop. If so let me know in the comments below.