Happy Alien Day, to those who celebrate it. To coincide, the Switch gains a cloud release of 2021’s co-op shooter Aliens: Fireteam Elite. We gave the Xbox Series version a 7/10 at launch, praising it for offering a whistle-stop tour of the Aliens universe, while scorning it for feeling a tad generic. If you just want to blast Xenos with buddies, it’ll suffice. Just don’t expect much in the way of surprises.
The rest of the week’s releases are par for the course – a couple of RPGs, a smattering of Metroidvanias, and a handful of games with retro flair.
From Idea Factory comes Fairy Fencer F: Refrain Chord – sneakily referred to as ‘FFF Tactics’ in the product description. Yes, the divas have gone turn-based strategy. While reviews are generally positive so far, critics claim that we shouldn’t expect much in the way of innovation.
eastasiasoft are behind this week’s Mugen Souls re-release, meanwhile. Originally released in 2012 on PS3, it received a mauling at launch, gaining some very low review scores. Maybe we’re more open to JRPGs these days.
Metroidvania Afterimage has gained mixed reviews so far – for every 7/10 there has been a 5/10. It’s reportedly something of a looker, but this Switch version suffers from long loading times and small text – two things critics hope will be patched in the future. Eerie action adventure Strayed Lights seems to be going down better, even gaining a few 8/10s. Short but sweet is the consensus.
Then there’s Bramble: The Mountain King, a dark Nordic fantasy adventure. The PC version gained a respectable 75% from Checkpoint Gaming thanks to “engaging storytelling” and “impactful core moments.” Switch version screenshots appear scrappy in comparison, so it might be worth waiting for more reviews to surface.
A couple of retro-style puzzlers are upon us too, including a surprise return from a long-running series. Magical Drop VI comes from Forever Entertainment, with a lineage that can be traced to the Super Nintendo and NeoGeo. VideoChums found it “thoroughly entertaining.” Then there’s Gematombe from Ratalaika Games – a gem-breaking puzzler with a Greek mythology theme.
We can also expect the vampire-filled Varney Lake – a follow-up to Mothmen 1966, featuring similar low res art – the pixel art retro psychological horror The Creepy Syndrome, monochromatic Metroidvania Mangavania, and Aksys’ arcade-style Spooky Spirit Shooting Gallery. Nobody to play it with? Now you know how a skeleton feels.
New Switch eShop releases
Fairy Fencer F: Refrain Chord – £44.99
FFF Tactics?! – Strategize to capitalize with an all-new Tactical RPG battle system! Use terrain, and objects such as rocks, boxes, and grass to your advantage. Strategic positioning on the battlefield can raise your evasiveness, or lower your movement speed, among other effects. Plus, Avalanche Attack and Fairize battle mechanics return!
Fairies, Fencers, Furies…and Muses? – With the introduction of the two Muses, all-new battle mechanics are at your command. Use the power of their song to buff allies or combine both area of effect boosts for an even more DRAMATIC buff! But beware, enemies within the area can also benefit.
Hidden Fairies, Locations and Treasure! – Break new ground with this fresh take on “”World Shaping.”” With “”Location Shaping,”” use your collected Furies by stabbing them in various locations of the world map. Doing so can unlock items, hidden locations, or even Fairies. Activate a chain to stab more locations without using up your limited Locate Energy!
All-New Story With Multiple Routes! – Follow Fang and his friends through multiple routes in this all-new story, as they continue their search for Furies in order to resurrect the Goddess. Will you find harmony or dissonance when fate lies in your hands?”
Aliens: Fireteam Elite – £25.99
Endure a dangerous universe and fight for survival together!
Aliens: Fireteam Elite is a cooperative third-person survival game set in the iconic Alien Universe. Battle through hordes of different types of Xenomorph, customize your character and gear, and level-up as you try to contain this ever-growing threat
Play with up to two players or AI as you battle through four campaigns to explore the mystery of a new planet, LV-895. Discover what hides in the ruins and caves beneath in this third-person survival shooter set in the Aliens universe.
Afterimage is a hand-drawn 2D action adventure that emphasizes fast-paced combat with diversified character builds, non-linear levels, and a gripping storyline set in the ruins of a fantasy world. Years after the cataclysm called “The Razing” nearly brought an end to the human civilization, an amnesiac girl named Renee awakens among the ruins of the city’s capital. To recover her lost memories, she embarks on a journey to rescue her mentor, inexplicably setting into motion a series of events that will determine the fate of the new world.
Strayed Lights is an atmospheric action-adventure with fluid combat and an intricate world imbued with mystery. You are a tiny, growing light seeking transcendence.
Face giant creatures who went rogue, deformed by their emotions but yet feel familiar, unravel the story of your newborn light on its mystical lifelong journey and explore wild nature and ruins while your inner demons try to hinder your progress.
Bramble: The Mountain King – £24.99
Explore the beautiful yet dangerous and twisted land of Bramble in your endeavour to rescue your sister. Traverse a wondrous landscape and survive deadly encounters with Bramble’s many hideous creatures.
Bramble The Mountain King takes you on a gripping and unsettling journey through stunning environments. Take on the role of Olle, a young boy setting off to rescue his sister, kidnapped by a dreaded troll.
Not everything in Bramble is exactly how it seems – in this strange land with creatures big and small, you must be careful when to approach and when to hide. Many hungry and spiteful beasts lurk in these forests and caves. Watch your step….
Call upon the Spark of Courage, an enchanted fragment granting the gifts you need to endure the pitfalls and trials in your path. Defeat the horrid creatures you encounter in different and unique ways. Be warned, courage without kindness can take you down a dark path.
Join Chou-Chou on her mission to conquer the universe and its seven worlds! In this anime-style JRPG, you’ll take command of trusty companion Altis, loyal peon Ryuto and more, as Chou-Chou turns the heroes and demon lords of each world into her personal servants and thus frees the universe of conflict under her ultimate control. But will it all go as planned?
Mugen Souls features turn-based combat on a free-roaming battle map, party and skill customization, expansive worlds to explore, and plenty of that “moe” aesthetic fans adore! Destroy crystals on the battlefield to activate Hyper Mode, execute combos and use Moe Kill techniques to enslave enemies, transforming them into items by exploiting their weaknesses. Create a unique cast of minions by customizing body parts, facial expressions, job classes, and more!
This updated version of Mugen Souls includes all prior extras while faithfully adapting the content of the Japanese original, making it the definitive way to experience this cult classic JRPG!
Something new is hitting the mobile markets and taking the world by storm! An augmented reality game called Dragon Connection (DraCo) allows players to collect and battle with hundreds of dragons!
Dulce, after spending a few weeks saving up for a new phone, can finally participate in the craze! As she builds her collection of virtual dragons, and a circle of new friends grows with it, how will her summer vacation unfold?
DROP is an action-strategy hacking simulator with puzzle and roguelike gameplay elements. Challenge yourself to the unique gameplay and intensity offered by Developer Etherfield Studio.
The future is disconnected. The world has recoiled and fractured into countless digital enclaves and virtual fortresses in an era of digital isolation, suspicion, and espionage. In this world, there’s only one truth: hackers get fame, money, and dead if they’re not careful.
You are a promising hacker with huge ambitions, an empty bank account, and the burning desire to prove yourself. When your actions attract the attention of a notorious hacker group, The Swarm, life gets complicated – real quick.
Take on the role of a car mechanic who starts their first car workshop.
The game features a day and night cycle, which introduces a specific rhythm and requires organizing your work accordingly. By accepting more and more complicated orders, you can develop your skills. Along with the development, a number of additional possibilities open up to you. You can collect and tune up cars and take part in a number of complicated racing challenges.
Smile For Me is an unconventional Point-and-Click Adventure Game that puts you at the center of an abstract world! Nod and shake your head to chat with new friends, and solve their mysteries to cheer them up.
The People are bizarre, the Puzzles are Wack, and the World hides a sinister secret…
Droid Trivia is fun for everyone! Challenge your friends or family to over 800 questions spread over 15 categories! Go head-to-head in local couch multiplayer or play against the AI. Choose to Play 4 or 8 rounds or just the individual rounds you like. Droid Trivia includes 4 round types: True or False, Multiple Choice, Memory & Picture-based questions to mix it up! There’s something for every trivia fan!
Follow the story, battle a cast of whimsical characters, set new records, solve puzzles, engage your friends and family in local multiplayer, or compete against players from around the world through online play.
The legendary Japanese Arcade game is back!
Choose your favorite character – will it be World, the Overseer of the Magical Land, the mighty Justice or the devious Black Pierrot? – and play in one of the numerous game modes available.
Solve diabolical puzzles or beat strong opponents in versus matches.
The Excrawlers is an action-RPG slasher game in which you and other heroes will have to plunge into the dark atmosphere of dungeons filled with monsters and madness. Find out how you got here, complete all the challenges and fight five deadly bosses to be able to get out!
A little kitty’s friend has gone missing, and it’s up to you to guide the frisky feline to rescue them! Presented in side-scrolling pixel art style, Neko Rescue Tale is a traditional action platformer where you guide a heroic cat through seasonally themed stages filled with enemies, traps, pitfalls and more. Run, jump and always land on your feet!
Desta: The Memories Between – £16.49
Fall into the dreamscape. Relive memories, rediscover friends and repair relationships in this turn-based exploration through surreal worlds.
Experience a story of broken relationships, words left unsaid and the chance to explore your dreams for answers in this character-driven roguelite!
Join the adventure as Yuhiko, a young ninja who has gone to the underworld to find a cure for his brother. Free the lost souls to advance to the next level. Find Spirits in secret places – they will tell you a story or give you advice. Explore dungeons, fight monsters and meet new friends!
Smash opponents off the arena and score goals in this lightning-fast 3v3 footbrawler. Sling slimes, toss tofu, and rocket boost to victory as one of 15+ stylish Strikers. Squad up with friends and outplay your rivals to become an Omega Striker.
While chasing the fortune worthy criminal Lamos on their Alloy Ranger, Space Hunters Kelly and Rambos were trapped by the protective field of the abandoned planet Tanwada. Just as they were struggling to find a way out, robot sisters “No.2” and “No.3” appeared out of nowhere and had asked to join them on their adventure!
Meanwhile, a mysterious program infected the mechanical army on planet Tanwada and led to their continuous self-evolution.
44 Minutes in Nightmare – £5.90
The game is a roguelike horror in which everything is random: a different dungeon each time you play, items that are constantly being rearranged, four different types of enemies with different characteristics and special enemies that appear rare, and three different escape routes.
The main character is synchronized with a girl’s nightmare in order to save the daughter of a wealthy man who has fallen into a coma, and the objective is to find the girl and escape within 44 minutes while hiding from the threats that lurk in the nightmare.
The difficulty level is high, and since the game employs permadeath, in which you lose everything if you die once, you must explore the dungeon with a constant sense of urgency.
How many steps does it take to change a light bulb? If your answer is 10 or more, then you are ready for “Contraptions” – a game where the goal is to fix whacky contraptions that perform simple tasks in indirect and convoluted ways, Rube Goldberg style.
Use camels as trampolines, champagne bottles as cannons, balloons to lift objects, fireworks wheels to drive conveyor belts, magnets to attract metal objects, and many more gadgets to solve the puzzles and clear the levels.
Help your little noodle stall by running, jumping, sliding, and teleporting to deliver noodles as quickly as you can in this high flying, breakneck speed, fast paced 2D platformer. Become a speedrunner and discover intuitive routes, fluid movements, and dodge traps to beat record times and unlock rewards.
In this fresh take on ninja-based action games, use your ninja to battle the monster army!
Get ready for some excitement in your life with this fast-paced action game, filled with the type of exhilarating energy that only ninjas possess!
From katanas, to throwing knives, to ninjutsu, you must master your ninja skills in order to save the kidnapped princess!
Are you ready to redefine convenience?
Step into the shoes of a convenience store manager in this charming business sim. Arrange and customize the store using a wide variety of products – candy, drinks, even hot meals. The choice is yours!
Add a news stand to sell the latest magazines, comic books, and more. Just remember – this is not a library!
Sometimes the fastest way to your customers’ hearts is through their stomachs! Stock hot snacks to entice passers-by to fill their bellies and lighten their wallets.
Running a good store is a team effort. You’ll have to recruit new employees to make the most of your working hours. Before you know it, you’ll be offering 24-hour service all year long!
The ominous Lord Tusk is up to his tricks again and threatens planet domination! Lord Tusk and his dark magic is controlling the planet’s citizens and is wreaking havoc in every corner!
Professor Ellie, the planet’s key advisor acknowledges this threat and seeks for Super Trunko, a space elephant for help!
Take control of Super Trunko in this challenging top down shooter and blast your way until you restore peace!
Immerse yourself in Super Trunko’s world, run, blast, jump on platforms and experience the stunning environments!
Mercenaries Lament: Requiem of the Silver Wolf – £16.19
Mercenaries Lament is a tactical simulation RPG set in a fantasy world.
Battles occur on quarter-view maps with height differences, where character positioning in the front, back, and side of enemy units may very well determine each battle’s outcome. Support effects depend on where allied characters in your party are positioned, allowing players to enjoy highly strategic maneuvers. Players have a high degree of freedom in character development, such as acquiring and strengthening skills and changing classes by using skill points earned in battle.
The 9th Picross S Series is the definitive edition of the hit illustration puzzle game!
Play classic Picross, as well as Mega Picross featuring Mega Numbers, Color Picross featuring colored hint numbers, Clip Picross where you complete stories, and bonus Extra content featuring large puzzles.
Supports touch screen as well as button controls. Up to four players can play simultaneously.
There are detailed tutorials and convenient assist functions so that even newcomers can start playing right away.
Try out a variety of optional features to customize your play environment to your liking.
A turn-based story-driven tactical card game with hand crafted battles — each with different rules and objectives. Build and adjust your deck with characters, spells, and items from four factions. Adapt your strategy and make wise choices to decide what ending you get…
A psychological horror adventure game. Discover the four interconnected psychological horror stories. Explore different retro pixel art 1 bit to 8 bit environments in each of the stories. From a third person view in the purest retro style to a first person system reminiscent of old labyrinth games.
In a mysterious and strange consultation with the psychiatrist, he analyses you by making you play disturbing video games, with different endings. You experience past traumas, occult cults, a cursed bunker and much more. Each of them has a meaning, and as you progress through his analysis, everything gets creepier, you don’t know why you’re there, or how it’s all going to end. Discover the mysterious relationship you have with your psychiatrist, who has something very special in mind for you.
Hello and welcome to Gematombe! the action-puzzle-vs-game inspired on classic arcades and greek mythology! Challenge your friends or follow pandora and the daemones on their adventures.
Launch the ball to hit and break consecutive gems of the same color to achieve incredible chain reactions! Overwhelm your opponents to CRUSH them or maximize your chain combos and CLEAR your screen area of gems to win with a GEMATOMBE!
Blast through challenging levels and game modes packed with puzzles and action and help Pandora, the All-gifted heroine, in her wonderful adventure to capture all the evils that were released in the world!
Meet lovely characters and see how they interact through Story mode, play through the endless challenge in either the practice mode or survival mode and unlock all the secrets!
Ship Graveyard Simulator – £11.29
Visit the largest ship graveyard in the world. A dozen kilometres of beach filled with wrecks. Hundreds of ships wrecked on the coast. Thousands of tons of steel. Choose the most valuable ship for you and start the adventure. Play as one of the workers during the most dangerous work in the world. Cut, hit, weld! Dismantle the whole ship and sell the obtained parts and upgrade your equipment.
Explore all decks of the ship for valuable items. Take advantage of the opportunity to explore the mysterious spaces hidden inside these amazing colossi.
The job of a worker dismantling ships is one of the most dangerous in the world. Demolition with only basic tools. Contact with toxic substances.
You can sell or exchange the acquired items for other items.
Skinny & Franko: Fists of Violence – £16.99
28 years after the events of ‘Franko: The Crazy Revenge’, titular anti-hero Franko returns to Poland to get his old friend out of trouble. This time also he will not go easy on his enemies…
Now, with help of his pal Skinny, Franko will wreak havoc in the streets once again.
Skinny & Franko: Fists of Violence is an outstanding and brutal 2D beat’em up game. Designed by a creator of cult classics like ‘Franko: The Crazy Revenge’ or ‘Doman: Sins of Ardan’ that were popular in the 90’s.
Mira is starting a new job in a new city, and doing her best to fit in.
But things get awkward quickly when she falls in love with her beautiful roommate and Senpai at work. Follow the growing relationship between Mira and her new Senpai over the course of a year.
Your decisions will determine not only the events that occur throughout the game, but also who you meet along the way, how you interact with them, and ultimately which ending you will receive.
Minabo – A walk through life – £13.20
Minabo – A walk through life is a social simulation game where you walk the path of life while your turnip grows and thrives (or not) in its social relationships.
Life starts when you sprout, time goes by with every step you take, and you can set your pace at any moment. You live and learn: surround yourself with other turnips and interact with them to forge your personality. Your acquired strengths and weaknesses will affect your future interactions.
Build your social circle by maintaining and caring for the relationships that matter the most to you, and run away from the ones that don’t. You can adopt many radish-pets and spend your life with them, start a family and breed little turnips or live fast and die young. There are thousands of ways to live and none is correct! Just live as you wish! (and assume the consequences of your decisions when you rot).
You have to solve a lot of puzzles to find out the terrible secret of the catastrophe at the nuclear power plant. The game will take you to 1986, to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. You will have to be in the shoes of one of the scientists of a secret laboratory based in the depths of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Escape the station before it’s too late! Chernobyl is a dangerous place. On the way you will have difficult puzzles, mutants, anomalies and madmen! Find out a terrible secret, who is still guilty of what happened? Make difficult decisions that will determine not only your fate, but also the fate of thousands of people who have been hit by a terrible catastrophe! Every decision you make in the game can cost you your life.
A huge fire is raging and you are sent on the spot to stop it. Business as usual for a highly-trained and experienced firefighter such as yourself. Air dropped right in the middle of this blazing inferno, your main mission objectives are to contain the fire, investigate its causes and look for survivors.
Shovel your way to success: go underground and dig for treasure like a mole on a mission. But don’t worry, you won’t get stuck in a hole – unless you forget to hire workers to boost your digging empire.
This game is the perfect blend of laziness and ambition. Your job is to sit back, relax, and let your hired diggers do the dirty work while you search for those sweet gems and diamonds. If you become the best miner around, you can even hire more gold diggers to expand your mining tycoon empire.
The follow-up to Mothmen 1966
Varney Lake is the second of the Pixel Pulps; a new series of interactive adventures created by novelist Nico Saraintaris and artist Fernando Martinez Ruppel. Pixel Pulps tell gripping stories inspired by mid-20th century pulp fiction and illustrated by 80s home computer-inspired graphics. The Pixel Pulps Collection comprises three games: Mothmen 1966, Varney Lake, and Bahnsen Knights.
Spring has arrived, and love is in the air! Get ready to fall head over heels in love with the unique characters in the fully-voiced romantic visual novel game, “Dormitory Love.”
Set in a student dormitory in Tokyo, this game follows the story of Jun Minase, who suddenly finds herself working as the dorm manager for a group of international students.
This game is an absolute must-have if you’re interested in Japanese culture and love stories featuring charming and unforgettable characters.
JOURNEY TO THE WEST
Explore seven majestic landscapes, darting through them as an agile fox spirit. Experience the world’s beauty and help save others from its ugliness. Become the ultimate Companion.
FIND YOUR PATH
Create a connection to the real world, collect Essence, and uncover Artifacts to solve this giant puzzle. If you feel lost, summon spiritual creatures to guide you.
Lets pop & move the ball and paint – you’ve got to color and paint your way across the AMAZE maze puzzles.
Watch out! AMAZE gets harder as you play, color and paint the maze, and fill in puzzles!
Painting the maze puzzles sounds easy, but you have to be super strategic to color and fill every square.
Make sure you fill in puzzles COMPLETELY! If you don’t fill even one square, you’re stuck in the paint maze FOREVER!
Spooky Spirit Shooting Gallery – £35.99
Shoot to defeat the Spooky Spirits!
Aim carefully and shoot non-stop in Carnival Mode. Fire at the goodies in the gallery or the ghosts in the haunted house – Choose either stage and take aim to defeat the spirits. Test your skills with many minigames in Party Mode and play with up to 3 players. Unlock the Spirit Stairway Challenge for more games and ghosts! The higher you go, the tougher it becomes.
Next week: Toziuha Night: Dracula’s Revenge, Pixel Paint 2, Color Pals, Super Dungeon Maker, Weeping Willow, Urbek City Builder, Pathfinders: Memories, No Place Like Home, Gruta, Terra Flame, Mia and the Dragon Princess, Fortress S, Space Gladiators, Swordbreaker: Origins, Scrap Bolts, and Poosh XL.