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Seven YouTube Channels Worth Checking Out

Nowadays I spend probably as much time watching gaming content on YouTube than I actually do playing games myself, whether I am tidying up around the apartment or writing an essay, I always have something playing in the background. These are seven YouTube channels that have personally brought me joy and that I think you may be interested in. I am always looking for more unique content to dive into so if you have any suggestions on gaming-centric YouTube channels that I should check out feel free to drop links in the comment section below.

Brian Gilbert (Polygon)

Polygon’s content is not something that I have personally clicked with on the whole, but Brian Gilbert is a wonderful exception, as his Unravelled series is simply some of the best gaming content I have came across. Self-referenced as “absurdly comprehensive game lore”, if you want to have a complete breakdown of the Zelda timeline in fifteen minutes, figure out who is the best cuddler in the Mortal Kombat series, or even discover which monster in Castlevania is the hottest, Brian has you covered. If you have a spare thirty minutes, stop reading this and watch his live performance from PAX East in which he tries to create the perfect PokeRap, because it is one of the best things I have ever watched.

The Completionist

As per the name-sake, Jirard Khalil – The Completionist – takes a game and completes every possible task in it before writing a lengthy review on it from the perspective of a completionist, which leads to an incredibly comprehensive breakdown of the pros, the cons and the hidden surprises that a game has in store for you. His main episodes feature the same, concise formula discussing several different aspects of the game – the story, the presentation, the gameplay and the overall difficulty involved in reaching 100% completion – wrapping up with a rating ranging from “Complete It” to “Donate It”. Whilst he does not play every new release, often diving into retro titles, it is great delve into titles of present and past days and well worth a watch if there is a title you are interested in or want a lengthy discussion on a title you love.

BeatEmUps

BeatEmUps surprisingly features very little content about, y’know, BeatEmUps. Actually now that I think about it I cannot recall a single video that is about the genre. However, Wood does have a lot of content centred around Nintendo, bringing you all types of Switch related goodness, which makes subscribing to him a very good idea if you own one. It is hard to pinpoint his content to a singular style as he bounces effortlessly from reviews, gameplay and discussion videos on top of a number of regular series he has on the go. If you want something to check out first then my personal favourites are his series on the top ten recent indie games released or the videos of his girlfriend, Kim, and him buying one another weird Switch accessories.

People Make Games

Whilst Chris Bratt was mostly preoccupied with watching VR porn and giving awards to sandwich stands when he worked at Eurogamer, he also began working on Here’s a Thing, a semi-regular series which became a passion project of his. The content was fantastic, bringing you short mini-documentaries showcasing some of the more unique stories within the games industry, such as the Fallout sex formula, why Dwarf Fortress started randomly killing cats, or how a Kinect may have been used to stage an art heist. Creating content like this proved to be rather time-intensive, not to mention challenging whilst working full-time at Eurogamer, so he made the bold decision to start up his own channel. People Make Games is the result and if you would like to know how Neopets was sold to Scientologists… well, we have you covered.

Girlfriend Reviews

Before I met my girlfriend it is fair to say that she was not all that enthusiastic about video games, but as time has gone on she has began to really enjoy watching me play through games like Resident Evil 7 or Celeste, and we do so regularly. Whilst there is an abundance of reviews that tackle what it is like to play a game, very few look at what it is like to be a passive participant in a game, and that is precisely what Girlfriend Reviews is tapping into. Most videos from Shelby and Matt are from Shelby’s perspective on what it is like to watch her boyfriend play through a game, occasionally with her jumping in and playing co-op, and with a very comedic, tongue-in-cheek approach to describing what she liked, disliked, and thought was interesting from the viewpoint of someone who is watching. If you are looking for reviews with a twist this is a channel to check out.

JackFrags

An outlier in this list, JackFrags is one of only a few channels I watch regularly that is primarily gameplay focused, and for good reason. Whilst he is definitely a very competitive gamer – his content revolving mostly around online first-person shooters – he has a very approachable, relaxed and friendly personality that really stands out among the crowd making him great to watch. He has a dedicated fanbase that is very much Battlefield focused but Jack has done regular content on a number of different games from Fortnite to Sea of Thieves to PUBG, alongside a couple of one-off videos on titles that are a little bit off the beat for his channel. Last year I had the pleasure of playing with Jack during the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 beta and as a big fan of his and the battle royale genre it was a pleasure to take on Blackout alongside him.

Oddheader

Oddheader is best described as peak late night YouTube. If I want to cuddle up under the covers, turn off all the lights, and veg out on YouTube this is definitely one of my channels to go to as list video after list video showcasing the creepiest secrets, most surprising glitches, or the best easter eggs found in video games. With a 90’s, retro skate-punk vibe coming from the visual style and voiceover, Oddheader’s videos feel somewhat unique among the backdrop of the highly curated content that we are used to watching nowadays.

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V&A Dundee: Design/Play/Disrupt

Three years ago today I was very lucky and went on my first date with what turned out to be the love of my life. As an early celebration of our anniversary, Gabriel and I decided to go down to Dundee last Sunday to visit the Design/Play/Disrupt exhibition at the V&A, and these are some brief scribbles on what my personal highlights were for what was an incredible display of video games and they way in which they can inspire many.

Design

As I entered into the first section of the exhibition, dedicated to the creative process involved in making some of our favourite games, I was greeted with a quote from one Frank Lantz during his talk at the Games Developer Conference back in 2014. Quite elegantly, it states: “Making games combines everything that’s hard about building a bridge with everything that’s hard about composing an opera. Games are operas made out of bridges“. After my time floating around the Design portion of the exhibition and getting a sense of the mindset and dedication that goes into making the titles represented I would have to say it is a perfect reflection. Some of the biggest names in the industry were represented, with a mix of concept art, gameplay footage, design sketches and more on display from The Last of Us, Bloodborne, Journey, Splatoon 2 and No Man’s Sky. I was very happy to see that the indie scene was shown some love with games like Kentucky Route Zero being displayed with as much care and attention to detail as the others.

Bloodborne

I loved that among the concept art, gameplay footage and sketches there were displays dotted around of notebooks from developers containing frantic scribbles or cork-boards with sticky notes outlining storylines, providing a brief glimpse into the mindset and process that goes into creating these works of art. The Last of Us display had a board that laid out the main points of the storyline was a favourite of mine and gave me the opportunity to imagine what it is like to be a part of a team creating something so monumentally important.

The Last of Us

Disrupt

The Disrupt section was dedicated to encouraging meaningful discussion about video games as an art form. A large projection onto the wall cycled through interviews that highlighted a number of different topics such as gender, race, sex within the video game context. Visitors could go to individual screens throughout the room to engage with these topics further if they wished and I found that I really enjoyed the discussion surrounding the prevalence of violence within video games. The contributions from those interviewed were very unique, focusing less on the age-old question of whether video games make you violent, and more on the potential impact that relying heavily on combat or violent mechanics has on our ability to tell unique stories or to have unique gameplay mechanics. It was a fascinating conversation and it may just turn into a post later down the line…

Play

The Play section was dedicated to showcasing the rising DIY arcade scene. I was completely taken aback by Line Wobbler, a one-dimension dungeon crawler game from the mind of Robin Baumgarten, as it completely challenges my impression on what classifies as an arcade game. A long stretch of LED lights showcased you as a little green light, enemies as red lights, and eventually long stretch of orange lights that my mind decided was spontaneous lava. The joystick is a spring which is unique as it is designed to be wobbled and as your little green light approaches red lights you need to wobble the joystick in an attempt to defeat the enemy. This got surprisingly challenging towards the end. It may be the furthest I have stepped away from what I would consider to be a traditional video game whilst also simultaneously being some of the most fun I have had playing video games and I need one in my life. If you ever happen to discover this post Robin, hook me up with one, please.

Line Wobbler

If Found was another game I really enjoyed. I initially passed it by but seeing Gabriel play it with a big smile on her face peaked my curiosity. You play as an alien visiting Earth and who takes interest in a boy she meets. As you erased parts of the alien’s diary you reveal more scribbles and notes that bring out more of the story. It was a little bit of a challenge to find out more about If Found on Google but I am very happy to see that the experience, or something very similar, is coming to PC in the near future.

If Found

My final highlight from this section was a game called Queers in Love at the End of the World, a text-based adventure that gave you ten seconds to interact with your lover before the end of the world arrived and they perished. I genuinely laughed out loud whilst playing it and found the time-sensitive nature of the gameplay look very stressful so it is well worth-checking out if you want a unique experience. In fact, better yet, if you feel like facing the end of the world you can check it out for yourself at Anna’s itch.io page: https://w.itch.io/end-of-the-world

Operas and Bridges

As an added bonus because it was the final day of Design/Play/Disrupt being hosted at the V&A, the showcase for the Operas and Bridges Game Jam was being held in partnership with Abertay University, which gave participating teams three days to come up with a concept from scratch and develop it. By far my favourite project was Bib Goes Home, a wonderfully created 2D platformer that used a handmade pop-up book to display the levels, with your character being projected onto each page. As Bib reaches doors and goes through them, the player is prompted to flick over to the next page in real-life, providing a sense of playfulness that brought me back to the way in which Media Molecule tried to incorporate real-life origami into Tearaway. I love projects like this and I am looking forward to seeing where these guys end up in the next few years.

Bib Goes Home

As someone who has never visited any event that is centred solely around video games it was lovely to be surrounded by like-minded people who loved them as much as I do. As I wandered around the displays admiring all of the concept art and unique games I could play, I would pick up on small conversations of those equally enthusiastic individuals who would be discussing the very developers that have inspired me and games that I have adored and it was wonderful. It has inspired me to one day make the effort to visit an expo and fingers crossed my goal is to attend EGX next year.
A big thank you if you have gotten this far through all my thoughts and scribbles about my trip to the V&A. If you ever get the opportunity to visit Design/Play/Disrupt or something similar I would highly recommend doing so. And I would like to say a quick thank you to Gabriel for being really thoughtful and booking our trip down to Dundee so that we could experience this. The last three years have been perfect and I love you.

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Laser League Deserved(s) More

Have you ever heard of a game called Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars? Neither had I, but upon watching Danny O’Dwyer’s documentary on Psyonix (check out his channel Noclip on YouTube – it is fantastic for full length documentaries on video games), I realised it has a lot of narrative similarities to a game that I really love. Released on the PS3, SARPBS was a flop that managed to gather a small, passionate following that appreciated it for its unique concept and engaging gameplay. Its main hook was on the premise of rocket-powered cars playing football and thankfully Psyonix would hold onto their belief that the game had promise. A few years later, after a free month on PS+ the spiritual successor to SARPBS, Rocket League, would become one of the biggest names in video game history.

From the creators of the OlliOlli series, Laser League is a 2v2 or 3v3 competitive futuristic sports game, in which the objective is to work together to eliminate your opponents and be the first team to reach a score of 3. There are nodes that you can activate that will project a laser the same colour as your team. If your opponents hit them they are down, but can be revived, and vice versa. There are six team positions to choose from – each requiring a different approach to be effective – which results in team composition playing an important role in the way a match will play out. My favourite was the Thief, who had the ability to steal opponent owned nodes, which turned each game into a fight for possession. Boxing the opposing team into a position that they could not get out of was incredibly satisfying for me and others found equally rewarding classes that worked for their individual preferences. It is a deceptively sophisticated and engaging gameplay loop and I can only imagine this would have developed going forward. The game was reviewed favourably, scoring well across the board and publications such as Eurogamer praising it as “an instant modern-day multiplayer classic” and Kotaku saying it was the best game of 2018 that nobody has played, but the same success was never found in concurrent player numbers. Even during the month that it was a free game on PS+, there were very few people actually playing the game, and being matched with AI opponents was a regular occurrence. The pull of PS+ that had given new leases of life to other titles in the past had failed to give Laser League the platform that it deserved.

I had stumbled across the game a while before it hit PS+ from watching the Eurogamer team play it on their YouTube channel and was very intrigued but for whatever reason – most likely an absence of marketing before launch – the launch passed me by. After downloading it I was instantly reminded as to why I was interested in the first place and was very surprised with just how much fun it was. I encouraged a number of friends to download it and give it a go and found a striking pattern in their behaviour. Every person who downloaded it would say that their first impressions were of being disorientated and very frustrated with the experience. They found the roles to be confusing, they struggled to grasp what was going on at any one moment, and going from no experience to taking on more experienced players or the very competent AI would leave them quickly wanting to write the game off. However, encouragement and gentle persuasion led to them investing a little more time and finding a position that suited them, and there would be the moment where it would just click. This initial hurdle or steep learning curve that players were faced with may be one explanation as to why the game struggled to take off despite being free through PS+.

Perhaps the future for Laser League would have been found on the Nintendo Switch. My time on the PS4 version was very online-centric, but I feel the very design and ethos of the game fits perfectly in a couch co-op setting. However, I fear that there the support and belief in the game is lacking, and the potential for the game finding its audience or a spiritual successor reaching the heights of the likes of Rocket League appears to be more of a dream than something that might happen. Since the release of the game the communication from Roll7 and 505 Games has been lacking, at times hitting near radio silence, and very little promotion has led to the game falling straight out of the public consciousness. Little has changed over a year after it originally released on console and even those who love the game have stopped playing it. And this is perhaps the saddest part of the story. Not every competitive online multiplayer game can reach the level of Fortnite, Rocket League or League of Legends, as games fight ferociously to hold our attention for longer and longer periods of time. But for a game this full of potential and fun to have not even found a small foothold in the market is absolutely heartbreaking.

If you enjoyed the article and would like to join the conversation, meet like-minded gamers or find people to play with then consider joining us in the Jolly Gamers Discord server by following the link: https://discord.gg/Ss5mK3p

Five Playstation Store Games Worth Checking Out

Horizon Zero Dawn, Spider-Man, God of War… as with Nintendo’s eShop, the Playstation Store has no shortage of fantastic first-party titles, and as a result there are a load of smaller titles that can go overlooked to the average gamer. If you are looking for something a little different to invest your time into look no further as we have five smaller titles that you should check out.


ABSOLUTE DRIFT: ZEN EDITION

After a very brief history lesson on drifting from a stone head that has risen out of the ground, you are set off by yourself to master the art of drifting – or go forth and hit walls – and doing so can only be done by reaching the top of the mountain. There are five substantial free-roam areas in the game and each gives you a number of challenges to complete before you can move onto the next, from drifting in between two obstacles to doing donuts within a zone, alongside a number of optional drift/gymkhana tracks for you to jump into as you like. The drifting provides a surprising level of difficulty, taking time to master, but when you do there are few things more satisfying than doing a perfect run or rubbing a wall. The minimalistic approach to the design of the game is really cool and I love that it gives off strong Mirror’s Edge vibes. As you drift you leave long, charcoal-like lines behind you again which can make just drifting around doing nothing mesmerising. Accompanied by the soundtrack you can find yourself sliding around turns and doing your best to skim walls for hours without realising how much time has went by. I love this game and it is by no coincidence that it happens to be the only platinum trophy I have unlocked.

Absolute Drift

Absolute Drift: Zen Edition is available now on the Playstation Store for £9.49 ($11.99)


ECHO

Not one person I have spoken to has heard of or knows what ECHO is. Given the incredible premise, the gorgeous presentation and the fact that the studio, Ultra Ultra, was a love-child of several names responsible for the Hitman series, it is still very hard to comprehend two years after the game initially released. You play as En, venturing forward into a space palace that has only been told in legends, in an attempt to resurrect someone she cared deeply about. However, when black space goo begins to form into clones of her, you quickly come to the realisation that something is not quite right. These clones, or Echoes as En calls them, will learn from and mimic the players actions throughout the game. If you run, the Echoes will learn to run. If you shoot, the Echoes will learn to shoot. It is a stealth game in which your biggest enemy is yourself. There may be times where you want to run, vault over a wall, or use your gun but cannot because it will gives the Echoes the chance to do the same later on. There is nothing quite as unsettling as watching something sprint towards you because you taught it how. Whilst the game may never quite reach the heights of its ambition, it is a fascinating experiment on the stealth genre, and dares to take it to new heights and I love it for that.

ECHO

ECHO is available now on the Playstation Store for £18.99 ($24.99)


ROGUE LEGACY

Permadeath is a mechanic I adore in video games and Rogue Legacy tackles it in unique way that it deserves a spot on this list. After every death you have the opportunity to choose your offspring, all who have varying traits that will change the playthrough, so on top of the challenge of tackling the castle you may also have to balance the side effects of things like ADHD, dyslexia or dwarfism. My favourite by far is alektrophobia, giving your chosen warrior a fear of chickens, and results in a chicken called Kentucky attacking you if you break furniture. Death awaits at the entrance to the castle and will take the remaining amount of gold you have so you need to use the opportunity to spend all you can on skills and acquiring better equipment to give the next generation the best possible chance of conquering the castle.

Rogue Legacy

Rogue Legacy is available now on the Playstation Store for £9.99 ($3.39 – on sale)


SUPERHOT

Time only moves when you do. Or more accurately it moves very, very slowly. Originally designed as a prototype for the 7 Day FPS Game Jam, Superhot takes a well-worn genre and innovates by slowing it down to a crawl. Every level is a set piece and it is the players goal to dispatch of all the red dudes as they see fit. Watching a scene play out in real-time after you have carefully orchestrated the whole thing is really cool and some of the best moments I had in the game were looking around and realising I had no way out of a situation. Whilst the gameplay is the main focus, it was a surprise that the story was as intriguing as it is, tackling themes of player agency and free will. For those who finish the campaign there is two extra modes to jump into, Endless and Challenge, giving you a lot more Superhot to jump into. And if you are still wondering if Superhot is for you, well you are in luck, as the original prototype that was built for the 7 Day FPS Game Jam is available here: https://superhotgame.com/play-prototype/

Superhot


SuperHot is available now on the Playstation Store for £19.99 ($24.99)


HOTLINE MIAMI

At first glance you might not realise that Hotline Miami is a puzzle game. Maybe it is the gravitation towards excessive violence or the hazy neon electronic soundtrack that blurs your perspective, but each level is designed to be solved. You die, a lot, but every death gives you a piece of the puzzle that you slowly put together, until you know the precise route you need to take a room to effectively take out everyone in it. Your natural inclination will be to pick up a gun at the first opportunity but pulling the trigger a couple of times quickly reminds you of the disadvantages associated with firearms – they are very loud and attract a lot of attention – and this highlights one of the small issues I have with the game. My preferred approach was the knife, taking down enemies quickly and quietly, and eventually I relied almost exclusively on this play style. When I finally unlocked Tony’s mask, giving me the ability to kill others with a single punch, I settled down and felt no need to experiment with different approaches or play styles.the need to experiment with different approaches or play styles vanished. However, the game feels incredible to play. The way in which the soundtrack comes together to drag the player into a zone, a rhythm in which they tap into, dropping enemies left and right is hard to put down on paper. There is a reason Hotline Miami skyrocketed to become one of the biggest names in the indie scene when it first released back in 2012 and you should definitely check it out.

Hotline Miami

Hotline Miami is available now on the Playstation Store for £2.49 – on sale ($9.99)

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Project Resistance and the future of Resident Evil

On the 9th of September we will finally get our first glimpse of where the Resident Evil franchise is going next, with gameplay footage then being shown at the Tokyo Game Show on the 12th – 15th of September, and I am incredibly excited. Rumblings of the next game in the franchise initially surfaced when select RE Ambassadors were invited to play test an upcoming Resident Evil title and many, including myself, were expecting this to be the next numbered title. Some very keen fans have noted that the page for Resident Evil: Outbreak has been wiped – which was precisely what happened to the Resident Evil 2 page in the lead up to the announcement for the remake – so there is a potential that we might be seeing a modern day take on co-op. Alongside a number of leaked screenshots showing four characters standing side by side in a Left 4 Dead-esque pose it would certainly seem like a reboot of the Outbreak games is likely. Those who jumped into Capcom’s most recent spin-off in the Resident Evil universe, Umbrella Corps, may be somewhat fearful of a co-op spinoff but I would argue that Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil 2 demonstrates that Capcom is finally tapping into what makes the Resident Evil games truly fantastic.

When I was a child, Lickers and Nemesis stood alongside Mario and Crash Bandicoot as characters that I held dear to my heart. Whilst visiting one another, my friends and I would play Resident Evil – no, not one of the many games but actually set ourselves characters and roles and act out scenes outside – and RE3 and Code Veronica X are considered as some of my top games of all time. Upon the release of Resident Evil: Code Veronica X, a determined pair of seven year olds would – in spite of the age restriction – convince their mothers to buy them a copy each, and would rush home to take on the prison and all its horrors. Not long into our first session we were both faced with zombie dogs crawling out from under buildings and burst into tears. Our mothers were suitably unimpressed, stormed up the stairs with dogged determination, and snapped – wait, snapped?! – our discs. It was a heartbreaking moment but I would one day return to the island. I have a lot of fond memories of my time running away from Nemesis or not understanding the somewhat disturbing relationship between the two twins in Code Veronica, but to say that the Resident Evil franchise has been in a strong place over the last ten years would be an outright lie. With the overwhelming success of Resident Evil 4 inspiring Capcom to take a more action orientated approach from that moment onwards, every game afterwards took one step further away from what I personally believed made Resident Evil so incredible, with Redfield knuckle-bumping a boulder into a volcano being the moment where the franchise was truly lost. And then came Resident Evil 7.

Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 7 is my favourite game in the series. It is definitely a controversial take among fans – the adoption of a first-person perspective and stepping away entirely from zombies being the main reasons – but it brought back one of the most important aspects of survival horror. The vulnerability you initially feel when you are being chased by Jack in the Baker house brings me straight back to the same vulnerability that tank controls and fixed camera angles imposed upon me. The first person perspective and tight corridors make the brute force of Jack and the imposing features of the Moulded feel all that more terrifying. Your first initial encounter with Mia, Marguerite reaching for her lantern, or taking on multiple Moulded whilst counting each bullet are all moments that struck me as hard as my first encounter with the Nemesis or facing my first zombie dog back in my early days of Resident Evil and I truly love the game for that reason. The last third of the game, whilst offering some fantastic character development and some very spooky moments, definitely drags on for far too long and falls short of the highs that the start of the game achieves but the Baker family, their home and the surrounding land all harken back to the beginnings of the Resident Evil franchise and brings it right back firmly into the survival horror genre.

Resident Evil 7

Resident Evil 7 may weigh up as my favourite in the series but Resident Evil 2 is definitely in the running for my game of the year. Zombies are incredibly tough and multiple well-placed shots does not guarantee that they will stay down. Ammunition and supplies are sparse. Lickers are absolutely terrifying. This all leads to those quiet moments in a save room contemplating your options, or lack thereof, that the Resident Evil franchise was known for all those years ago. The constant and never-ending barrage of the Tyrant initially creates an incredible amount of tension and fear but after a while becomes tiresome and detaches you from the location. I desperately wanted to explore the police station and uncover every secret and story I possibly could but this became difficult to do when constantly being harassed by a big boy in a top hat. When compared to how wonderfully implemented Jack was into Resident Evil 7 and the moments of peace you could find in the Baker house to explore it does leave me wishing a similar approach was taken. I also wish that they had taken more the opportunity to introduce more variety between the A and B scenarios but that is more of a question of approach – faithful recreation or taking creative liberty – and has no real bearing on how incredible this game is.

Resident Evil 2

Whilst a co-op take on the Resident Evil franchise might not be what I had initially hoped for in the next instalment in the series, I personally believe Capcom has shown through their approach to Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil 2 that they truly have a grasp on what makes Resident Evil unique, and I cannot wait to see what they have in store for us next month.

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Five Nintendo eShop Games Worth Checking Out

Since the release of the Nintendo Switch back in 2017 an incredible amount of games have reached the eStore, so it should come as no surprise that amidst the Mario’s and Zelda’s, some of the small titles can be overlooked sometimes. Which is why I decided to bring you five games that I personally think are worth checking out if you are looking for something to play.


CELESTE

When I first played Celeste back in 2018 it not only instantly became my game of the year but it also skyrocketed straight to the top of my favourite games of all time list. It is an incredibly challenging 2D platformer – my personal death toll was closing in on 1,500 deaths during my first playthrough – however, despite the difficulty it is a testimony to the game design and the story that it tells that not a single one of those deaths frustrated or angered me. The story of Celeste follows Madeline and her personal goal to climb a mountain in an attempt to come to terms with the depression and anxiety that she has faced over the last couple of years. The difficulty that the player faces in climbing Celeste Mountain perfectly encompasses the difficulty faced by Madeline in trying to overcome the struggles that her mental health poses and this encourages the player to continue, throughout all the death and mistakes, as giving up on the game would in turn be giving up on Madeline. Lena Raine deserves a special mention for the soundtrack as it perfectly reflects the emotions that the player feels throughout the game. And for those who finish the story and want to push themselves to even greater feats there are collectable strawberries to reach and each stage has a B and C side that take the difficulty to a completely different level.

Celeste

Celeste is available now on the Nintendo eStore for £17.99 ($19.99)

BAD NORTH

Bad North is a real-time strategy game that sets the player the task of taking command of up to four units to defend procedurally generated islands from invading vikings. Whilst the RTS genre usually sparks fear in the average console player the minimalistic approach taken by Plausible Concept for the design of the game is perfect for the portable nature of the Nintendo Switch. Fighting against the vikings feels wonderfully tense when your units are starting to lose men and you see more ships approaching on the horizon and with the islands being procedurally generated the player is forced to change their approach depending on the layout of the land. High ground lends itself well to natural choke points and archers, whereas flat ground poses a significant challenge in the later stages of a campaign. Permadeath is present meaning that a wrong tactical decision can lead to a run coming to a premature end very quickly. And for those who pick it up and love it as much as I do, a recent content expansion called the Jotunn Edition was released by the team at Plausible Content, bringing a whole host of improvements to the gameplay including a very hard difficulty setting, new items, and a lot of quality of life/balancing changes.

Bad North

Bad North is available now on the Nintendo eStore for £13.49 ($14.99)

KATANA ZERO

Katana Zero is best described as a 2D take on the Hotline Miami formula, emphasising a very familiar trial-by-error approach to the combat, making every level feel like a puzzle that can be solved with violence. Each death gives the player the ability to rewind and take a different approach until it all leads to a perfect run – which is then played in real-time to bring you that action reel of bodies dropping to the floor in quick succession. Whilst the combat can be very satisfying, surprisingly it is the moments that the game steps outside of the combat that were some of my favourites. The interaction between the Zero and the little girl in his building or the conversations that take place between him and a rather ominous therapist offer a great respite from the violence and is genuinely intriguing. At times the game can be incredibly beautiful and the visual effects can be fantastic. If you are looking for something to jump into after finishing My Friend Pedro or perhaps are just wishing the Hotline Miami games had made their way over to Switch by now then Katana Zero is definitely a game you should check out.

Katana Zero

Katana Zero is available now on the Nintendo eStore for £13.49 ($14.99)

REFUNCT

Refunct is by far the most challenging game on this list to persuade someone to buy. It is a very simple 3D platformer that will take you approximately fifteen to thirty minutes to finish – as the price point of £2.49 reflects – and focuses on the player jumping from platform to platform turning them from grey to green. As you are hopping about you will discover a button, and by pressing said button, a whole new section rises from under the water. And so you continue, turning platforms from grey to green and revealing new areas by your button pressing, occasionally being distracted by platforms that launch you into the air and by tubes that you can zoom through. And at the very end… well you will have to play it as I will not spoil it. After completing the game I found myself regularly jumping back into the game for a quick ten minutes to jump, slide and wall bounce myself from platform and platform, enjoying the fantastic soundtrack and letting myself relax in the process, which is a sign of a game that does a lot more with the things that it is built up from than it should.

Refunct

Refunct is available now on the Nintendo eStore for £2.49 ($2.99)

CROSSING SOULS

Crossing Souls is the result of a mashing together of top-down Zelda gameplay and Stranger Things. Set in 1986 you play as Chris and his group of friends who stumble across a dead body and discover the Duat Stone. Through a bit of tinkering they come to the realisation that this mystical object offers access to an alternate dimension and gives the gang the ability to interact with the dead. Given the power of the Duat, it should be no surprise that it is well sought after by more ominous – somewhat Russian feeling – forces, looking to regain possession in an attempt to instigate the ‘One-Day War’. So far, so 80’s. Whilst at first glance it would appear to be an RPG it plays more like beat-em-up with light puzzle and exploration mechanic, however, there is some depth introduced through the way in which the five characters interact with one another. Chris has the ability to knock projectiles back using his baseball bat and can climb, Matt has a laser gun to take a long range approach to combat and rocket shoes to jump further, Charlie has a whip that makes her incredibly effective in combat… you get the gist.

Crossing Souls

Crossing Souls is available now on the Nintendo eStore for £13.49 ($14.99)

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