Since its announcement, I've had fairly high hopes for Nintendo's newest Garage developed game, ARMS. Splatoon, being the first such game set the bar very, very high.
Garage is basically a program where Nintendo employees can pitch ideas and concepts in a way that is outside of the traditional company structure - think of it like having a beer on a Friday afternoon with your boss and saying "Imagine if we made a game where ..." and the idea will get its due consideration. It's one of the best moves that Nintendo has made in years and so far has had brilliant results.
ARMS feels very much like Splatoon - it's a type of game you've played before, but completely different, with incredibly solid online multiplayer.
The characters are gorgeous, the environments beautiful. The game runs brilliantly. I love everything about this game... Except for playing it.
I'll be the first to admit that I hate motion controls. This game actually handles its motion controls very well and I quite like the way they've laid them out - they're fluid and responsive. I didn't find them particularly difficult to get used to. They feel right for the game. That said, I did have some situations where I performed actions that I wasn't really intending to. Motion Controls lack precision, one of the key things I dislike about them in the first place. I do like that a flick of the wrist is enough to punch instead of performing a whole punch motion, but at the same time, if I want to move forwards, I often ended up sending a grab attack.
I did try the game with the pro controller, because as mentioned, I'm not big on motion controls. Unfortunately controlling the game with a traditional controller is something of a chore. It doesn't feel 'right', and is pretty much just tedious. It might work better with a button layout different to the default.
The mechanics are simple. You can dash, jump, block, punch, grab and use a super. When you have thrown a punch, you can control the direction of the punch by tilting the joy-con. Unfortunately you can't move while you're punching.
Moving is far and away the most important thing in the game, and I found that my own movement was severely lacking a lot of the time. I didn't try any of the slow-moving characters, but I can't imagine that they would by terrifically fun to use.
Blocking feels a bit pointless sometimes. It'll nullify damage from punches, which is great, but when it eventually breaks, it'll disable your arms. On top of that, you're still completely vulnerable to grabs while blocking.
The super feels both too strong and too weak - if you manage to actually pull off using your super, it'll do a ton of damage and probably end the game. But if you get touched while using it, it's just gone.
The mechanics work well for the game, but I can't help but find them a little bit uninteresting.
The testpunch was played in party mode, which effectively means that they don't care about matchmaking or ranks, and will throw you into a lobby of ten people and then into a random game type, such as 1v1, 2v2, volleyball, basketball, etc.
The alternate game modes, like volleyball and basketball are interesting, but are ultimately just a filler to try to add content. I can't say that at any point I found myself looking forward to a coming game when it was going to be one of these matches.
I had the most fun when I was playing in a 1v1 game, which I suppose the bulk of ranked play would be. This might be okay if there is a good matchmaking system. The non-1v1 games were all just too frantic for my liking.
ARMS has me in a strange state of mind where I really like it, but I don't actually find myself wanting to play it. The combination of controls, frantic gameplay and relatively uninteresting mechanics feel like I'd spend some time with the game, but just not enough to warrant buying it.
Human Resource Machine is an indie puzzle game from the developers of Little Inferno and World of Goo. It was originally released for Windows/OSX in 2015 and has been ported to mobile, Linux and WiiU.
This is one of the Switch games that can only be played on the touchscreen, which I didn't realise when I bought it. It's not a dealbreaker, but I paid AUD$13 for it when I could have bought it for my tablet for AUD$7. So it would have been cheaper, played identically and been on a bigger screen. I'm not too upset about this, as I'm happy to show developers that the Switch is a console that's making sales, but it does feel like I got a raw deal (though $13 isn't too expensive for the game!).
For the puzzles, you're given an inbox, an outbox, a set of commands that you can queue and some spaces on the floor where you can dump tiles. I'm a little over halfway through the game at this point and I'm not finding it particularly challenging, but I'm also a programmer and this is essentially a programming game. The difficulty ramps up pretty quickly and I imagine that it could be fairly difficult for someone without a programming background, especially as there is no hint system in the game. I did notice at one point that the game encouraged me to search online for some things. While that's definitely true to the experience of programming, I'm not sure that it should be the case for a game. This is also the kind of game where you could complete the game in 10 minutes or so by copying solutions from others - theres a fine line between telling someone to search for help and having the answer 'spoiled' for them.
The programming in the game is very low level. There isn't, for example, a multiplier command and the only 'if' comparisons you're given are 0 and negative comparison. This means that to multiply, you put both tiles on the floor, subtract from one of the tiles and add the other to your result for each subtraction that you're doing. This means that for code that multiplies two numbers, you end up with 15+ commands.
In all I'm enjoying the game, but just over half-way in, I have a bit of a feeling of "ugh now what?" when I start a level rather than wanting to actually do it. This is probably just because it feels like I'm at work, which is admittedly why I didn't try the game out when it first came out.
I havent tried writing a game review before, so forgive this for being terrible! I don't want to give review scores, and in general would prefer to focus on the positives of a game. This game will be an exception to how I'd like to write these in the future.
It's hard to review this title without focusing on its negatives and comparing the games to other games, so before I get too far into the negatives of it, let me preface this by saying that I like this game.
It's split into 5 sports (soccer, tennis, golf, baseball and horseracing) with an additional amiibo game and a horse care game built into it.
Generally speaking all of the games are fairly mediocre, cut down versions of more fleshed out games. I expected this going in, so didn't mind. Given that you're getting five games in the one package at a fairly low price (I paid AU$49), it's not too bad at all. I feel that the games themselves are fairly lacking in content, there are only four golf courses, for example.
All of the games (save horse racing) are a series of three knockout tournament cups and a freeplay mode.
The first sport I tried was tennis. It controls well and I like it. You hit the ball back with a standard strike or, if there is a coloured circle on the ground, run to the circle and press the corresponding button for that shot type. Or press your cheat button, X, which automatically acts like it's the right button. Why would you press anything other than X, then? I'm not sure. Perhaps it's disabled in multiplayer.
Mario Tennis Open is also on the 3DS, and is probably a better game, but if you're just after a simple tennis fix then this is pretty solid.
Next up was soccer. I had a little bit of difficulty with the controls in this game, but still found it not too bad.
The soccer game is actually very balanced and fairly hard to fault. Occasionally the ball will have a rainbow flashing effect, meaning that anyone can do a special shot with it. This mainly serves to intensify the game a couple of times if the other team has possession of the ball.
While playing it, I found myself wishing I were playing Mario Strikers Charged Football instead, but this is a lot easier than finding all of my Wii stuff. This is a much simpler game, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Each golf game is played as 1v1 competition. The controls are fairly standard for a golf game. There's not really much else that needs to be said about this. It does the job of a golf game well, but if you're after a more 'complete' golf experience with more courses, etc, Mario Golf: World Tour is also on 3DS. I prefer Mario Gold for course variation and more game modes (including a standard golf game mode...).
I didn't particularly enjoy the baseball game. When batting, you have a red box with yellow sides. You can move the box horizontally with the analogue stick. If the ball is in the red area, you press A. If it's in the yellow, you press B. I found it really difficult to work out where the ball would be to actually hit it. Pitching was okay, though there wasn't really a lot to it. You select a type of throw and press A when the indicator is in the right spot. That's pretty much all there is to it. Field-work is handled automatically, which is nice. In the game, you have a couple of special moves that you can use. These feel completely pointless while pitching as it's just a normal throw. They're nice when batting, as you don't need to worry about hitting the ball with the right button or in the right spot.
Horse racing is fairly enjoyable. For starters, it's the only game that isn't a knockout tournament. Each of the three cups is a series of four races and scored similar to Mario Kart. Racing itself is fairly slow. There is a carrot bar, which allows you to push your horse a small amount and a star bar, which gives you a turbo boost. There is also a slipstream effect making it better to stay in a pack rather than racing off ahead. So racing is a little bit technical, but easily managable given the slow racing speed.
There is also an area to bond with your horse, involving petting, brushing and a free walk around a paddock.
The game also introduces a new series of Amiibo cards. There is another game which uses amiibo cards. The game comes with one in the box, but it seems like the amiibo game requires three amiibo cards. So why not give three of them?
I haven't had a chance to play the amiibo game just yet, so I can't really talk about it.
I bought 6 packs of amiibo cards and only got a single duplicate card, which is pretty lucky. I don't know if the game is going to hold my attention long enough for me to want to get the whole collection of cards.