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  • Writer's pictureAllan Jenks

Indie B-Sides Review #004

Welcome back to the latest edition of the Indie B-Sides Review series, where we take a look at some of the ever-growing library of awesome indie games available on the Nintendo Switch! Let's jump right in...

Rogue Singularity (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Allan Jenks

Developer: Considerable Content

Publisher: Nnooo

Category: Action, Arcade, 3-D Platformer

Release Date: 8.15.2019

Price: $14.99

Don’t Count On Memorization!

I’ve recently warmed up to a bit of procedural generation of levels in my games lately, but I have pretty much stuck to 2-D options—mostly because most of the games I have seen with this feature have been 2-D—but Rogue Singularity is the first 3-D platformer I have played with randomized stages each time. You must traverse an endless obstacle course of distorted flotsam and jetsam from a rogue singularity floating nearby in space. I love me a good 3-D platformer from time to time, but I discovered with this one that I rely a lot on memorization when dealing with the 3-D aspect. So, I’m immediately at a disadvantage with this one, because the stage never appears the same each time I went through it, so I was playing a dangerous game.

Of course, just as important to me is good control of the camera and good in-game mechanics. I’m not sure if it is because I just sucked at this game, or if there’s a spatial depth issue with the game itself, but I couldn’t stop falling off the stage over and over again. The tutorial level was wiping me out! It would feel like I just floated through some of the platforms just as I was supposed to land on them. The controls themselves were tight and responsive, but it just felt like I had to over-correct for every platform I jumped to, which kept me from really ever getting into a good groove with this game.

The graphics were quite nice, the electronic soundtrack was excellent, the concept was good, and like I said, I may just suck at this one, but overall, Rogue Singularity just wasn’t my cup of tea. I can totally see someone who adores classic 3-D platforming games getting some joy out of this one though, if even only just for the aesthetic alone; and don’t get me wrong, the issues I was having were not something that would be game-breaking, but it just felt too hard to keep track of where I was. The game still had its fun moments, and if you are less spatially-challenged and more quick-reflexed than I, you may really find yourself a good challenge here, set to a beautiful backdrop with a great soundtrack. If you catch it on a sale, definitely give it a shot!

Score 6/10

Buy Rogue Singularity from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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*Review code was provided for review purposes

Submerged (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Chad M.

Developer: Uppercut Games

Publisher: Uppercut Games

Category: Adventure, Puzzle

Release Date: 6.7.2019

Price: $9.99

Water World That Will Be Felt If Not Heard

Uppercut Games, who also has the title City of Brass, brings us Submerged, a game where we play a teenage girl who is trying to save her younger brother. The catch is, they’re in a water-world-type sunken city that has a different kind of post-apocalyptic feel than most games dealing with that subject matter. You arrive in a small, motorized boat, where you leave your brother and then set out into the city, searching for supplies and other items to upgrade the boat. You’ll use a telescope to help locate far off destinations that may hold supplies or other things, but there is more waiting for you out there than just supplies and empty ruins. I ventured out and quickly realized that this was more like other games I loved, like Uncharted without the gun play, as I would dock my boat, and before I knew it, I was scaling these empty ruins as if it was in the middle of Madagascar. The platforming was rather well-done, with our main protagonist scaling up, down, and leaping all over, as if she was plucked from the Assassin’s Creed series.

Sometimes, reading the compass with the map and navigating through the city was rather tough. The overall sound of the game was good, but the lack of voice dialogue or even text has left a lot to interpret, even if the game’s tone and story is mostly straightforward. The graphics held up, even though this was never meant to be a powerhouse. It more than serves the purpose of making you feel lost in this forgotten city, though feeling very last-gen. So, if you like playing action games like Uncharted or Assassin’s Creed, and you enjoy the exploration and platforming, you just may love Submerged. I personally had a good time exploring the landscapes and slowly finding out the secrets it held, and the story behind it all as well.

Score: 6.5/10

Buy Submerged from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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*Review code was provided for review purposes

Neo Cab (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Allan Jenks

Developer: Chance Agency

Publisher: Fellow Traveller

Category: Visual Novel, Adventure

Release Date: 10.3.2019

Price: $19.99

This Game Is Uber Fun

Visual novel games have always been a bit of a mixed bag with me, but when done correctly, they can be pretty fun, and Neo Cab is one of the better ones I have played. You play the part of Lina, a Neo Cab driver—the last cabs driven by actual humans—who is relocating from her hometown, Cactus Flats, to the neon-lit metropolis of Los Ojos to start a new life with her friend Savy. Savy and Lina had a falling out back in Cactus Flats, but are making amends, and Lina is set to move in with Savy at her place in the city. After her arrival in the big city, Lina picks up Savy, but instead of taking her back to their new apartment, she asks to be dropped off at a club to take care of some boyfriend drama first and ends up going missing. Now, you not only have no clue what has happened to your friend, but you also have nowhere to live, as you never actually made it to the apartment before she went missing. You are on your own, and must try to track down your friend, all while continuing to take fares so that you can afford to rent a sleep pod each night.

The gameplay itself is very engaging. You choose your pax (passenger/fare) from your phone app, similar to Uber or Lyft, which shows you their pax rating, as well as their intended destination and the amount of battery charge it will cost you to complete the ride. You must maintain a 4-star rating or higher in order to keep your job, and every dialogue choice you make can end up affecting the rating you get—so you have to be nice when someone throws up in your car and tries to say it was already there.

I really enjoyed my time with Neo Cab, even though I wasn’t expecting much when I started playing. The dialogue choices feel organic rather than contrived, and the characters are actually quite interesting and well-written. If you are a fan of a good visual novel that also doubles as a cab simulation game, mixed with a good mystery—or maybe just some of that—then I would recommend picking up Neo Cab. Just a heads up though: there is a pretty big glitch in this game that causes the game to get stuck on some dialogue choices. The developers said that this is only found when upgrading from the demo version to the full version with an existing save, and starting a new game after upgrading to the full version should fix the issue, but I never had the demo version and it still happened to me, so I am not sure if that is the full extent of it. I’m sure a patch will be out soon though.

Score: 7/10

Buy Neo Cab from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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*Review code was provided for review purposes

PC Building Simulator (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Bradford E.

Developer: The Irregular Corporation

Publisher: IrregularCorpor

Category: Simulation, Education, Strategy

Release Date: 8.13.2019

Price: $19.99

Let’s Build Some PCs!

PC Building Simulator is exactly what it sounds like: a simulator in which you are doing all kinds of PC-related repairs and building. You can do either Career Mode or Free Build Mode. In Career Mode, you run a shop and people come to you with all kinds of PC-related issues, like if their PC needs a cleaning, parts upgrade, virus removal, etc. Each job will pay a certain reward, and you use that money to pay bills, like rent, for example, and for buying new parts for future repairs, building an income and budget. You basically start off small and work your way up to build a bigger repair shop and a reputation.

Free Build Mode is where you can do exactly what it sounds like: build PCs from scratch and get to know the basics inside and out. I've always been into electronics and computers, but never went anywhere with it and always wondered what it would be like to build a computer, and now I know. Now, I know that simulation and real life are completely different, but it is a great tutorial tool for you to learn the basics. There is also an in-game tutorial that I would recommend checking out before heading into the Career mode or Free build. Granted, because it is a simulator, you will get some help—but not too much. In the tutorial, you break down and rebuild a PC, and it will tell you the names of the parts. As you assemble the parts in the PC, you can click on the parts and it will give you the spark notes on the part, where it should go, and what it is for—basically PC Building for Dummies. To be honest, this simulator makes me want to finally buckle down and get my hands dirty and build one for real.

Overall, this simulator was one of my favorite simulation/educational-style games in a long time. It is very laid back, and it gives you objectives as if you were really running a PC repair shop. The soundtrack to the game is meh; I mean, it isn't the worst background music I have ever heard, but not the best either. I just turned it down and jammed out to my own tunes while getting my PC-making on. I would recommend this to anyone with any general interests in PCs and how they work, and wants to experience running a repair shop. Do I think the price point is fair? Yes, and I say that because it is like taking a class while playing a game, all in the same sitting. I wish they had stuff like this when I was taking Electronics in High School.

Score 8/10

Buy PC Building Simulator from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Follow The Irregular Corporation

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*Review code was provided for review purposes

SEGA AGES Puyo Puyo (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Allan Jenks

Developer: M2

Publisher: SEGA

Category: Puzzle, Multiplayer

Release Date: 8.22.2019

Price: $7.99

Puyos Everywhere

The SEGA AGES series is a series of retro re-releases on Switch from arcade and console games from the golden age of SEGA gaming. Many of the games are released just as they were originally released, but with a couple of modern enhancements, such as save states, online leaderboards or matches, or even infinite continues. SEGA AGES Puyo Puyo gives us a chance to play the classic original version of Puyo Puyo, a head-to-head puzzle game where you battle your opponent by dropping your junk on them—or something like that.

If you have not played Puyo Puyo before, don’t worry, it is easy to learn—though it is hard to master, and the AI is not playing around! You drop two interconnected blocks of varying colors—called puyopuyos—onto your screen and try to match four or more of the same color together to clear them, similar to Dr. Mario, except that if a puyo stops with half of it hanging over a drop, the puyo will separate and the other half will continue to fall until it lands on solid ground. When you cause cascade combos to happen, it will drop junk pieces—also called puyos—onto your opponent’s screen. The bigger the combo, the more junk will drop. The goal is to block your opponent from a clear shot at matching four or more pieces, and in effect, causing their screen to fill up and hit the top before yours does. This is a great port that does not have a whole lot of tweaks from the original, other than the added convenience features I already mentioned, but it really doesn’t need to be tweaked, as it was—and is—already a great game. The addition of online matches and leaderboards, however, is certainly not an unwelcome tweak!

I forgot how freaking difficult it is to beat the computer in this one, though. I’m not sure how we ever beat any games as kids when they were this hard—although, Game Genie and the Konami code come to mind—and I kind of wish there was a way to play all of the levels on Easy, but alas, only the first three matches are available in this mode. The more consecutive victories you have, the faster the drop speed for each new opponent. The good news is, if you are defeated and choose to continue, you will face the same opponent that just defeated you, but the speed will reset to the speed at which you started in the beginning. Without this feature, I probably never would have made it past round 5, so I am thankful for that—as well as infinite continues! If you are a puzzle battle fan and appreciate a good challenge, then you should definitely pick this one up!

Score: 8/10

Buy SEGA AGES Puyo Puyo from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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*Review code was provided for review purposes

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