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  • Writer's pictureAllan Jenks

Indie B-Sides Review #010

Welcome back to another Indie B-Sides Review! In this edition, we take a look at another weird-physics party game, a beautiful, minimalist techno rhythm platformer, A Monkeyball/Tron fusion, a rhythmic fairy tale adventure, and a... Hyrulevania... that The Waffinator gave a perfect 10/10! Let's jump right in and check 'em out!

Clumsy Rush (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Brad “The Waffinator” E.

Developer: RedDeerGames

Publisher: RedDeerGames

Category: Party, Multiplayer, Racing

Release Date: 12.23.2019

Price: $4.99

Racing with Clumsy Hippos (And One Song)

I've played my fair share of multiplayer racing party games, but nothing like Clumsy Rush. In Clumsy Rush, you are hippos racing to cross the finish line with the crown, and trying to stop anyone else from doing so before you. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. You use 3 buttons to control your hippo: ZR for right foot, ZL for left foot, and A to knock the crown from your opponent if they have it. The hippos, however, are super clumsy—hence the title—and cannot walk straight, so you need to time your stepping just right, giving the game a slight challenge.

It is a 2-player game, and is meant to be played with others. You will compete through a variety of levels, using a variety of cute and hilarious hippo costumes. Each level will have a different layout with unique challenges. The game is very bright and colorful, making it very pleasing to the eyes—and some of the hippos’ suits are hilarious. The only thing I was not a fan of was the same song playing over and over, which got on the annoying side. There should definitely be some more musical tracks, especially with it being a party game.

Overall, this game is definitely great as a kid-level game. As an adult, it will get kind of boring after a few rounds, especially listening to that same musical track over and over and over again. I played with both of my kids, and they found it rather hilarious, but got frustrated with the controls. Clumsy Rush is definitely not like any other party game out there, and is a bit more unique.

Score 6.5/10

Buy Clumsy Rush from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Follow RedDeerGames

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*A game code was provided for review purposes

140 (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: John B. Developer: Carlsen Games Publisher: Carlsen Games Category: Action, Music, Platformer, Rhythm Release Date: 1.9.2020 Price: $4.99

Fun to Be Had (Even If You Suck)

140 for the Nintendo Switch is an acclaimed rhythm-based platformer from Carlsen Games. It won an IGF award in 2013—the same year FTL won its IGF award. 2013 was a good year for games with three-character titles, it seems. Anyway, when it came across the review desk, I was excited by the “platformer” part, and pretty wary of the “rhythm-based” part. The record will show that I have no sense of rhythm, so that can be a scary aspect for me to see included in a game. Fortunately, the unique mechanic 140 brings to its platforming element is cool enough to overcome the fact that I suck at playing this game.

That unique mechanic is a shifting landscape that changes shape along with the beat of the background music. Walls, deadly static patches, and bridges appear and disappear according to certain patterns in the hot techno soundtrack raging out of the speakers. You play a square that becomes a circle when it’s walking and a triangle when it’s jumping, and you have to grab special dots and bring them to drop points to further evolve both the music and the landscape, in order to advance. The graphics are incredibly simple, but very bright and attractive, consisting entirely of solid shapes and colors.

The music, graphics, and gameplay all come together to create the total package in terms of overall experience. While it took me a long while to get past certain obstacles in accordance with the beat, I had a great time with the game—no matter how many times I died. The game is organized into a few levels, each capped with a boss fight that was original, challenging, and—most importantly—fun to figure out. 140 is not a large game—if someone’s actually good at it, I can see someone beating this game in under an hour—but from start to finish, it is an absolute blast to play.

Score: 8/10

Buy 140 from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Follow Carlsen Games

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*A game code was provided for review purposes

Technosphere Reload (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Brad “The Waffinator” E.

Developer: Adaptive Gaming

Publisher: Ultimate Games

Category: Action, Platformer

Release Date: 1.10.2020

Price: $14.99

Do You Like Balls?

I’m usually not a fan of games where you are rolling balls or marbles through mazes and puzzles—unless it is Super Monkey Ball. In fact, they are my least played types of games. I am not saying they are bad, but I just personally never really saw much replay value or fun from them. I usually only play Super Monkey Ball, and that is about it. Well, Technosphere Reload reminds me of Super Monkey Ball mixed with Tron, and is kind of fun. My kid is digging it as well.

Technosphere is very easy to control, button-wise. You use A to jump, B to Brake, and if you have batteries, ZR to boost and ZR again to do a shield-like energy burst. The noise that the sphere makes sounds like one of those drones you can buy that hover around, so it sounds pretty cool; however, the background noise and music is slim to none, and kind of makes the experience a bit lackluster.

The overall design and level layout of the game, like I said, is very Tron- or sci-fi-like, and is an overall cool atmosphere. You are making your way through these sci-fi-looking levels and puzzles to save mankind from a mining asteroid that went wrong. You must pick up energon spheres to keep your energy level up, for if it depletes too much, you will explode (die). You can pick up other spheres along the way that act as extra lives to make it so you don’t get a game over too quickly. The overall difficulty is low to mid-range, offering a more laid back experience and gameplay.

If you are a fan of Super Monkey Ball or Tron, or just more laid back puzzle-style games, this game might be right up your alley. Some levels are shorter and some are a bit bigger, making this a great game to pick up and play when you don’t have much gaming time; or even if you do, you can just play longer. Technosphere Reload is a good game for all ages, and a good indie game to kick off the new year.

Score: 8/10

Buy Technosphere Reload from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Follow Ultimate Games

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*A game code was provided for review purposes

Songbird Symphony (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Akio Kahoshi

Developer: Joysteak Studios

Publisher: PQube

Category: Adventure, Music, Platformer

Release Date: 7.25.2019

Price: $16.99

Feel The Rhythm, Casually

Songbird Symphony is a hidden gem. Equal parts rhythm game, platformer, and adorable pixel art, it provides a low-stress game with a high skill ceiling. It is impossible to fail in this game, which given how difficult the rhythm parts could be, I appreciated. I generally found the songs to be mostly manageable, and someone better at this type of gameplay would surely do much better than I did; however, one of the songs adds disappearing notes to the equation. This was the one time I actually became frustrated, as the disappearing notes threw off my rhythm.

Otherwise, actually completing the game will prove easy enough, and the story tugged on the heartstrings more than I expected. While parts of it were predictable, the overall message about love and family was very touching. That alone would make this game worth a recommendation. Birb, the main character, and Uncle Pea make up a lovable, if odd, family, but the game’s other characters are also interesting. From Owl directing Birb to learn new song notes to the Magpies trying to stop him, the art and writing for each are well executed.

For those that want a greater challenge, scoring well on the game’s song is no easy task, and collecting every hidden feather in the game will require exploring every nook and cranny. The platforming itself was fun, and its use of song notes makes it feel unique compared to other games. Not having to worry about dying meant I could take my time and enjoy the scenery, with each level beautifully made in pixel art.

This is a game that both people who want a stress free gaming experience, and those looking for a challenge can both enjoy in equal measure. Just do not play on a Pro Controller, the d-pad too squishy.

Score 9/10

Buy Songbird Symphony from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Follow Joysteak Studios

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Follow PQube

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*A game code was provided for review purposes

Hunter's Legacy: Purrfect Edition (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Brad “The Waffinator” E.

Developer: Lienzo

Publisher: Lienzo

Category: Platformer, Action, Adventure

Release Date: 12.13.2018

Price: $6.99

Hunter's Legacy: Purrfect Edition is a side-scrolling 2-D platformer. You play as Ikki, a huntress who is also a cat. You start off with twin swords, and you unlock a bow and magic abilities as you progress. You are trying to stop the evil from getting the Three Elements (Earth, Fire, Wind) and becoming all powerful. When I first saw the trailer, I knew the game would be somewhat enjoyable, but not as much fun as I had actually playing it. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I already started recommending to others that I knew would enjoy the game as well.

Throughout the game, you can find ores and gems, and then, in turn, go to your home village and upgrade your health and weapons. The sword and bow each can be upgraded to Level 3. In order to find all the ores, you will need to do some traveling back and forth, because you will have to go back once you have gained some abilities and go back to get them. The traveling back and forth will be worth it, for the final boss is a bit of a handful. I have the swords at level 3 and bow at level 1, and only upgraded my full health bar once, and I keep getting destroyed. So, taking your time and finding all that you need to become fully powerful is highly recommended.

I like the animations, and the artistic team did an excellent job executing the overall looks of not just the characters, but the enemies and environments. The game has a 90s Saturday morning cartoon vibe to me. The sound effects and overall BGM is excellent; it doesn’t grow tiresome, and it keeps you fully involved in the game. The overall controls of the game are spot on, and with all 3 elements (visuals, sounds, and controls), this game is excellent both in handheld and docked mode, and great to play, no matter which way you want to tackle it.

Hunter's Legacy gave me a lot of Zelda and Castlevania vibes, and maybe that's why I fell in love with it so easily. It offered the gameplay of two very popular games, yet also offered its own unique gameplay and story. The game has been in the eShop for a little over a year, and I feel it is a highly underrated title. I can’t recommend this game enough, and I would love to see another Hunter’s Legacy title in the future.

Score 10/10

Buy Hunters Legacy: Purrfect Edition from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Follow Lienzo

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*A game code was provided for review purposes

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