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Best of Switch Indies – 05 Dec 2021

by stowball 6 months ago in product review · updated 5 months ago
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A look at the best indie games released on the Nintendo Switch over the past week

After last week’s slower release schedule, the Nintendo Switch eShop is ramping back up with another 35+ releases. Interestingly, there are a few distinct themes with the indie releases this week: platforming, adventure and weird release dates. So, depending on where you live, there are (up to) 6 games you should add to your collection.

6souls

Released: 04 December 2021

Price: AU$12.99 / US$7.99 / GB£7.99 +20% additional launch discount

Genre: Adventure / Platformer / Action

Developer: BUG-Studio

Publisher: Ratalaika Games

6Souls is an exciting 2D pixel-art action-adventure platformer. Join Jack and his dog, Butch, as they embark on an adventurous journey to find the abandoned Clifford Castle and uncover its secrets and the fate of the Clifford family.

Why this excites me

Ratalaika Games is quickly becoming a favourite budget publisher of mine. With games like Daggerhood, Devious Dungeon 1 & 2 and League of Evil under their belts, they clearly have a keen eye for decent, indie action-platformers. 6Souls looks to fit that mould perfectly while also taking additional inspiration from the excellent Celeste, Caveblazers and Axiom Verge to a lesser extent.

You play as both Jack and his backpack-happy dog, using their unique skill sets to traverse the castle with some clever platforming, nifty air-dashes, CSI Enhance binoculars and bacon. I mean, who doesn’t love bacon?!

Also, the game is only 75MB! That’s similar to the photos of the staged, smashed-avocado-duck-face-selfie you had for your Insta breakfast. Madness!

Archvale

Released: 03 December 2021

Price: AU$22.50 / US$14.99 / GB£11.99

Genre: Action / Adventure / RPG

Developer: idoz & phops

Publisher: Humble Games

Face the relentless forces of the Undying and discover the truth about the fabled realm of Archvale in a bullet-hell adventure that puts your combat skills and reflexes to the test.

Journey across diverse regions, looting and crafting your way to better weapons and equipment to defeat the host of enemies that stand between you and the truth about the said-to-be-mythic arch of Archvale.

Why this excites me

Archvale is the result of putting early Zelda games and Enter the Gungeon in a blender, then emphatically pressing “On”: a glorious, twin-stick, bullet-hell, dungeon crawl, RPG mashup. Holy crap, that’s a sentence that instantly maxes out my credit card 💸.

Being published by Humble Games is also a clear signal because, oh boy, do they know good; their Switch catalogue is phenomenal.

Beyond a Steel Sky

Released: 01 December 2021, 07 December 2021 in NA

Price: AU$59.95 / US$39.99 / GB£34.99

Genre: Adventure / Puzzle

Developer: Revolution Software

Publisher: Microids

Beyond a Steel Sky is a dramatic, humorous, cyberpunk thriller in which engaging puzzles drive a fast-paced narrative set in a dynamic game world.

You play as Robert Foster, investigating a brutal child abduction in Union City: an impenetrable utopia in which people live happily under the surveillance and control of a benign AI. But all is far from what it seems.

Why this excites me

25 years after the release of one of my favourite adventure games, Beneath a Steel Sky, Charles Cecil revisits this universe in the much-anticipated sequel, Beyond a Steel Sky.

While it swaps the traditional 2D pixel art point-and-click for free-roaming third-person 3D, it still maintains the classic game’s sensibilities and mechanics. Legendary artist, Dave Gibbons, also returns and has given Beyond a Steel Sky a modern facelift with a comic book visual style akin to recent Telltale Games adventures.

Sadly, the Switch version experiences some visual performance issues, with character pop-in and low-resolution textures causing some story immersion issues, but hopefully, these glitches can be patched soon 🤞.

Released first in PAL regions, it should be available everywhere by the time you read this.

Clockwork Aquario

Released: 01 December 2021, 14 December 2021 in NA

Price: AU$29.99 / US$19.99 / GB£16.99

Genre: Arcade / Action / Adventure / Platformer

Developer: Westone

Publisher: ININ Games, Strictly Limited games

Jump and run through a colourful fantasy world with up to two friends to take down Dr Hangyo in the rebirth of Westone’s hidden arcade treasure.

Why this excites me

I’m ashamed to admit that I’d never heard of this once-cancelled, almost forgotten arcade game, but I’m glad it’s finally been brought to light after almost 30 years! ININ, in cooperation with Strictly Limited games, dug up the unfinished ROM and finished it with the input of the original developers.

Like with the Amiga games, Ultracore and 1993 Shenandoah last year, this trend of revitalising lost relics is one I’m thrilled to see continue.

While it’s probably a tad expensive for a short, arcade platformer, the beautiful, vibrant pixel art smacks me with glorious nostalgia. Damn, the early 90s were great. BRB listening to Arrested Development’s Mr. Wendal.

North American readers will need to wait until its release next week, however.

Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders

Released: 03 December 2021

Price: AU$19.50 / US$12.99 / GB£11.69 +50% additional launch discount

Genre: Adventure / Puzzle / Education / Simulation

Developer: Nupixo Games

Publisher: RedDeerGames

Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders is a point-and-click adventure with an extensive, immersive story. Take on the role of ancient China’s famous detective to solve the serial murders of young women during the Tang Dynasty.

Why this excites me

While Beyond a Steel Sky shied away from the conventional point-and-click style, Kickstarter success, Detective Di, wholeheartedly embraces it.

Coming out 2 years after its Steam release and 5 years after its original, optimistic delivery date, prolific indie publisher, RedDeerGames, thankfully graces Switch owners with another highly regarded, story-rich, puzzle-adventure to add to their collections.

And at 50% off until early January, what are you waiting for?

UNREAL LIFE

Released: 03 December 2021, 19 November 2020 in NA

Price: AU$39.14 / US$22.99 / GB£22.49

Genre: Adventure / Puzzle

Developer: hako life

Publisher: room6 / SelectaVision

Follow the memories and follow the path of discovery in this surreal puzzle-adventure where you play as an amnesiac girl whose strange journey begins when she meets a talking traffic light.

Why this excites me

With its haunting, introspective story, a cast of unusual characters and muted blue colour palette, this distinctly Japanese-developed adventure sees the protagonist try to make sense of the world around her in a game that will stick in your memory for a while afterwards.

I’m not sure why it’s taken UNREAL LIFE a year to appear outside of North America and Japan, though, but as always, better late than never! It’s previously seen multiple 30% off sales, so if you like a bargain–and who doesn’t?–it may be worth keeping an eye on for a later purchase.

As I wrote at the start, platform and adventure fans have been showered with great games this week, so it might be time to ask Santa for some eShop credit and a new SD card.

Read last week’s round-up

product review

About the author

stowball

I design: digital, craft, board games.

I write: code, fiction, reviews.

I play: games, guitar, football.

See my: complete Best Of Switch indies list

Say hi: twitter.com/stowball

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