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  • Writer's pictureAllan Jenks

Indie B-Sides Review #007

Welcome back again to the latest Indie B-Sides review! Today we take a look at an Army Men-esque battle arena game, see how many innuendos can be thrown into a single review, check up on the missus, have a one night stand, then go to the aquarium. Let's jump right in!

Attack of the Toy Tanks (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: The Waffinator

Developer: Petite Games

Publisher: Ratalaika Games

Category: Action, Arcade, Multiplayer

Release Date: 6.28.2019

Price: $4.99

More Fun Playing Alone?

Most battle arena games I have played have been online, and I don’t know about you, but I personally don’t know of too many battle arena games on the Switch that have a good amount of single-player action. Well, now I know of one that we can put into that lovely Switch collection: Attack of The Toy Tanks from Petite Games and Ratalaika Games. Attack of The Toy Tanks is an action-packed toy tank battle arena game! You are a toy tank battling it out with other toy tanks and the last one standing is the winner. Sounds simple right? Well, the overall difficulty of the game is kind of debatable. The A.I. control of the tanks is pretty spot on, and always seems to find the perfect maneuver to not only get to you, but to also blow you sky high. This game will push your thinking capabilities and your reflexes, as you will need to maneuver fairly quickly and take out the opponents before they get you.

Don't bother trying to memorize the computer’s movements and/or strategy, as it gets progressively harder and harder each level. As you go up in levels, the computer’s tanks will get newer weapons that are pretty dang cool, like this one tank that gets this laser-style ammo that can bounce once off the wall, so you may think they missed you, but hitting that wall next to you could've been done on purpose. Also, as you go up in single-player levels in the campaign, the arenas will get more deadly, with spikes that pop up from the ground, mines that will blow up and take you out, and so much more. Did I mention it's not every tank for themselves, but you against the world of tanks? That's right, they are all out to get YOU specifically! There are 60 toy-style arenas in all, so plenty of action-packed fun, and you can play any level in any order, so you don’t have to play through them all. This was my favorite part, because I am awful at this game and it was the only way I got to truly experience all of the levels and what they had to offer.

The overall layout of the game is very pleasant to the eye. It is 3-D and top-down view, almost like you are looking down at a set of toy tanks with wooden blocks as the arena and playing in your room as a child. The overall color scheme has a lot of nice contrasts and cartoonish color textures and features, but without going too cartoony. It reminds me of the Army Men games from back in the PS1 and N64 days. The soundtrack paints the picture of toy-battling very well. As soon as you boot the game up and get that intro music at the title screen, it made me think of Army Men or Toy Story, so I could tell right off the bat that I was in for a fun, toy-style war game. The sound effects while playing are very straightforward, especially the loud thud you hear when firing off your rounds from the tank. Even when you blow up, it sounds fun—until you hear it over and over again because you suck and die a lot.

Attack of the Toy Tanks is a blast if you can get a hang of the controls and movements, and though the single-player mode is great, it also offers multiplayer if you want to battle it out with other players locally, which can be a lot more fun than getting blown away by the A.I. every match. With all of the content and levels you get, the price point is perfect. The only thing I would have personally changed is maybe being able to change a player name to upload completion times to an online leaderboard, and maybe the ability to customize the tank you use. Other than that, hop on in and get ready to BLOW UP TANKS!

Score: 7/10

Buy Attack of The Toy Tanks from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Follow Petite Games

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Follow Ratalaika Games

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*A review code was provided for review purposes.

Ding Dong XL (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Allan Jenks

Developer: Nickervision Studios

Publisher: Nickervision Studios

Category: Action, Arcade

Release Date: 4.22.2019

Price: $.99

What’s in a Name, Really?

Certain games command all of your time, and certain games fill the in-between space when you get a bit burnt out on that RPG consuming your life. Ding Dong XL is that space-filler, and it is a pretty good one! The beauty of a game like this is that there really isn’t much to it, but there really doesn’t need to be, as it accomplishes exactly what it set out to do without the need to overcomplicate things. You can fire up this game and enjoy the neon-lit visuals and chiptune EDM soundtrack for 5 minutes, or you can end up losing a couple hours if you get in the zone.

In Ding Dong XL, the goal is to ding-dong—yes, I’m pretty sure they’ve made it a verb—the game piece vertically back and forth from the top paddle to the bottom paddle on your screen—called ding-dongs, as a noun—without the game piece colliding into the obstacle pieces that are moving horizontally across the screen. It’s a bit like Pong meets Frogger, if you can imagine. The more times you successfully ding-dong, the faster the pieces start moving across the screen, and the higher the number of horizontally-moving pieces increases. The closer you can get to the pieces during your ding-donging without colliding, the more points you get. There are also some pieces that you are supposed to hit for a bonus, but it gets a bit tricky trying to quickly determine which ones to hit or avoid, especially as the speed and object density increases.

There are two modes: single, and dual. In single mode, you only control one ding-dong, whereas in dual mode, you have two ding-dongs—yes, I am doing this on purpose—each with their own individual ding-dong projectile to shoot up and down the screen, independent of one another. Both modes are quite fun and addicting, but it obviously gets a fair bit more intense playing with two ding-dongs at once. This game is a great bang for your buck, especially if you can catch it on sale like I did. I would recommend grabbing Ding Dong XL and putting it in your collection!

Score: 7.5/10

Buy Ding Dong XL from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Follow Nickervision Studios

Website / / Discord

FoxyLand (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: The Waffinator

Developer: BUG-Studio

Publisher: Ratalaika Games

Category: Platformer, Action, Adventure

Release Date: 11.29.19

Price: $4.99

A Classic Save-The-Missus Adventure

Platformers are on the rise, or at least it seems like it. There are so many platformer games coming out that it might seem overwhelming keeping up. How do you know which ones are worth recognizing and trying? Well, that's where we at JPSM come in! Join me as we take a quick dive into what BUG-Studio and Ratalaika Games have brought to the market: a fun little action adventure platformer called FoxyLand.

Foxyland is a game in which you are a fox trying to save your lady fox. You and the missus fox are walking along, minding your own business, and a bald eagle—looks like one at least—comes and swoops up the missus and takes off with her. Now you must make your way through 36 stages to save her. Each stage will progressively get a tad bit more challenging, making you need to up your game.

There are all kinds of obstacles to avoid as you make your way through the 36 levels. You can collect cherries in the game to use at the in-game store to buy new attire for Mr. Fox. You must collect the allotted number of gems as well to pass the level. There are also 3 Halloween-themed levels—I wonder if they will add more for other seasons? The game uses pixel-style art, similar to games like Minecraft and other fellow pixel-art-style games. The music and sound effects both sound a lot like the 16- and 32-bit style. It reminds me a lot of the Sega Genesis/NES era with the overall build of the game.

FoxyLand is a good little platformer to pick up if you want something that is worth putting some time into without needing a lot of commitment up front—meaning it’s a good game to pick up and play when you need a game that fills in between major titles, or while sitting at the doctor's office; but It is fun and enjoyable, dont get me wrong! I am thoroughly enjoying the game overall, and know a lot of people out there will as well.

Score 8.5/10

Buy FoxyLand from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Follow BUG-Studio

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*A review code was provided for review purposes.

One Night Stand (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: John B Developer: Kinmoku Publisher: Ratalaika Games Category: Visual Novel Release Date: 10.4.2019 Price: $4.99

Let's Poke Around a Bit

One Night Stand for the Nintendo Switch sees you waking up in an unfamiliar apartment next to an unfamiliar woman. With no pants on. Take a breath, be cool, and get ready to have some awkward-ish conversations. One Night Stand is a visual novel with some light adventure elements that sees you poking around a stranger’s bedroom trying to find clues about what you did the night before. It poses some moral questions about how much snooping is too much, balanced against the tension between two strangers who woke up naked next to each other. Your snooping can open new branches for the conversation to take, and luckily, the girl keeps leaving the room so you get plenty of chances to look around. There are twelve different endings to unlock, which adds some replayability to the game. That’s good, because the first playthrough only took me like half an hour, and using the fast-forward feature meant that subsequent runs were even quicker.

One Night Stand has a neat hand-drawn visual style. It looks sort of sketchy—as in hand-sketched, not murder you in alley sketchy—mixed with watercolors. It’s a cool aesthetic at first, but everything’s kind of monochrome yellow and beige-y, so things look kind of dull after an hour or two. There’s very little sound; just a few sound effects and some ambient music in the menu, so it gets a little dull that way, too. I suppose it could be said that the silence more accurately recreates the awkward situation—and it does, the first time you play through. Subsequent playthroughs lost that tension, and felt more like going through the motions to unlock the remainder of the endings; and that may be the takeaway here: an interesting concept, but a relatively short game that doesn’t stay engaging after an initial playthrough.

Score: 5.5/10

Buy One Night Stand from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Follow Kinmoku

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*A review code was provided for review purposes.

Megaquarium (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: The Waffinator

Developer: Auroch Digital

Publisher: Auroch Digital

Category: Simulation, Strategy

Release Date: 10.18.2019

Price: $24.59

If You Think It, They Will Simulate It

The simulation world of video games seems to be rapidly growing. I remember, as a kid, simulator-style games were few and far between, but now, if you can think it, it probably has a simulation for it—and if not yet, it soon will! What I like about simulator games is that, if done correctly, they can actually successfully fill your thirst for whatever thing you are pretending to do. I just have grown tired of them, or at least I thought I had. I am a big fan of zoos and aquariums, and this newest theme park simulator from Auroch Digital, Megaquarium, has my attention.

Megaquarium is a theme park simulator in which you oversee an Aquarium. Like I said, I am a big fan of aquariums, so as much as I am growing tired of simulation games, I was willing to give this one a go. You start off with a small room and no tanks, and you are given a few tasks. Next thing you know, you are expanding the size of the room, adding all kinds of aquatic life, and hiring staff to help tend to the animals. As you progress, you unlock newer aquatic life to put in your aquarium, and the overall experience of the game is very relaxing and satisfying. You are playing day-by-day in the theme park, and therefore you attract all kinds of tourists each day to come see what you have built.

At first, even though the controls are very basic, it did take some getting used to. Once you understand the controls, the rest is a walk in the park. You get to build the aquarium to your liking and watch as people come to visit it. The only aspect of the game that was a little lackluster—and a bit on the boring side—was the background music, as I feel that it could have been a bit more upbeat. If you are into theme park simulators, this game deserves a shot.

Score: 7.5/10

Buy Megaquarium from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Follow Auroch Digital

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*A review code was provided for review purposes.

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