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  • Writer's pictureAllan Jenks

Indie B-Sides Review #014

Updated: Feb 26, 2020

Welcome back to another Indie B-Sides Review! This time, the lowest score in the lot is an 8/10, so you know we have a great batch of indie games here... Let's take a look!

Reed Remastered (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Allan Jenks

Developer: PXLink

Publisher: Ratalaika Games

Category: Action, Arcade, Platformer

Release Date: 2.14.2020

Price: $4.99

Am I Getting Better, or Is the Computer Getting Worse?

Throughout my time reviewing games for JPSM, I have repeatedly found myself in a bit over my head with regard to game difficulty, leading me to believe that either I just really suck at them, or that there are some seriously masochistic gamers out there. I have, however, noticed that I am coming across far less instances of these games the longer I do this gig. To me, this means I am either getting better, or the games are getting easier. While either is a possibility, I somehow doubt the developers are starting to feel bad for us non-masochist gamers, and it is more likely that I have actually improved my motor skills enough to suck just a little bit less these days. That being said, while I found Reed Remastered to be easier than it looks, it may still be fairly difficult for some—and some of the levels were beaten with sheer dumb luck, as opposed to actual skill.

Reed Remastered puts you in the role of Reed, a small, cutesy little dog/cat-like creature who was created by an aging supercomputer in a last-ditch effort to save the collapsing digital world it created long ago. You must collect information cubes so that the digital world can be re-calibrated and rebooted. There are 50 stages in total, and in each stage you must avoid spikes, rotary saw blades, enemies, and other traps so that you can obtain the cube for that stage, which opens the exit door that leads you to the next stage.

You will die. A lot. Seriously… but each time you die, you learn what not to do. This game is all about memorizing patterns and timing them just right. The controls are tight and responsive, so when you die, rest assured it was your fault, not the game being cheap--though you will need to make a lot of pixel-perfect landings to stay alive. As I learned the step-by-step routine I had to follow for each stage, I got faster and faster at it. Certain parts that may have taken me 5 minutes of head-scratching to figure out would suddenly just become the first 3 seconds of the speed-run I was about to perform to get to the part that had me stuck. That said, I was still able to finish the entire game in just under 2 hours, which felt like just the right amount of time to spend with a playthrough of this game.

While there is not a lot of replay value here for me, if you are someone who enjoys speed-running, then there is a great potential here, though there is really no metric or leaderboard to speak of that will actually keep track of the statistics for you, so it would be more for personal satisfaction than any official recognition. At any rate though, for the price point, this is a great game with bright, beautiful, and colorful pixel art graphics, and fun gameplay. The soundtrack is the sort of soundtrack you don’t really think about, until you start thinking about it and paying more attention. It is just ambient noises, but it really sets the tone quite well. This one definitely gets my recommendation!

Score: 8.5/10

Buy Reed Remastered from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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Follow Ratalaika Games

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*A game code was provided for review purposes

Bridge Builder Adventure (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: The Waffinator

Developer: BoomBit Games

Publisher: BoomBit Games

Category: Simulation, Puzzle, Education

Release Date: 2.7.2020

Price: $14.99

A Goblin-Blocking Party Foul

For some reason I have always enjoyed bridge building games. They require a lot of strategic planning and correct placement to be successful. Usually though, from what I remember, they never really had a background story or any entertainment to them. But BoomBit Games has that covered with Bridge Builder Adventure. In this game, some goblins are in love, yet separated by a bridge. Along comes some mean dude who blows up the bridge separating the love birds and locks up a door with a key. So now, you must build bridges, gain the key, and find your way back to your love. There are 60 levels in total.

Each level, once completed, can be replayed on Hard Mode, and with modifications, adding some replay value to it—and difficulty, if you want a bit more of a challenge. Each level also has a 3-star rating system, and the less budget you use—you get a building budget for each stage—the better ratings you get. Some stages may require replaying with modifications to get better ratings. Overall, it always has an Angry Birds vibe to it, but instead of destroying, you are building.

Each button is used in this game, but don’t let that intimidate you, for what you can use and what you actually use are completely different stories, and the controls overall are very friendly. Also, there are tutorials and hints you can use if you get stuck. The story is played via cartoonish comic layout, while each level is in 3-D platformer style. The overall brightness and contrast is pleasing enough for a child, yet entertaining enough for adults, making it a good game for all ages.

Score: 9/10

Buy Bridge Builder Adventure from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Follow BoomBit Games

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*A game code was provided for review purposes

One Finger Death Punch 2 (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Allan Jenks

Developer: Silver Dollar Games

Publisher: Silver Dollar Games

Category: Action, Arcade, Fighting, Beat ‘Em Up

Release Date: 2.26.2020

Price: $8.99

Kung Fu Stick Fighting at Its Best

There’s something to be said about simplicity. Exciting and engaging gameplay isn’t always defined by the number of buttons you use, as evidenced by the huge volumes of amazing games found on the earliest generations of gaming. There are, even today, several games on the Switch that utilize two buttons or less, yet still create an amazing gaming experience—like Switch 'N' Shoot, Jack N’ Jill DX, and Necrosphere Deluxe, to name a few—and then there’s One Finger Death Punch 2, a two-button kung-fu-stick-figure beat ‘em up game that is incredibly addicting and fun!

For a Game that only uses two buttons (Y and A) for its gameplay, One Finger Death Punch 2 is surprisingly complex. So much so, in fact, that when you start the game, you have to complete a 16-level tutorial before you can play any of the other modes of the game. The basic gameplay is simple: you are in the center of the stage, enemies come running at you from either side of the screen, and you attack once they are in your range to do so. To attack left, you hit Y, and to attack right, you hit A. If you attack too early or in the wrong direction, you get a miss, which affects your overall star rating for the stage once completed. Miss too many times and take too many hits, and you will die.

Each level introduces a new mechanic, ranging from a new type of enemy that requires more hits or switches sides on you, to new ways to deal with enemy projectiles, to different types of sub-encounters with enemies, such as entering into a mini fight where you must hit the Y- and A-buttons accordingly as they scroll down, Guitar Hero-style behind the now-zoomed-in fighters, pausing the rest of the action from your other enemies in the process.

Once you have completed the tutorial, you can then play the real levels of the game, which combine a little bit of every type of enemy, projectile, and boss you’ve encountered so far into each level. In addition to the levels, there is now also an Endless Mode available to play, which is exactly what it sounds like: fight endless waves of enemies forever until you die. There are also some other fun variations you can play, like my personal favorite, No Luca No Mode, where your annoying cat Luca covers half of the screen while you play, forcing you to swipe her off the screen to clear the view.

This is a stick-figure beat ‘em up game, but the graphics are still very aesthetically pleasing. The backgrounds are bright and detailed, the special move animations are beautiful, and the menu artwork is great. The soundtrack is high energy and heavy. It almost reminds me a bit of Dynasty Warriors, which is quite fitting. Overall, this is a great game that I can just pick up for a few minutes to kill some time, or I can end up sinking a lot of hours into. I never played the first one, but I have read that One Finger Death Punch 2 is quite the improvement over the original. I recommend adding this one to your regular rotation!

Score: 9.5/10

Buy One Finger Death Punch 2 from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Follow One Finger Death Punch 2

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Follow Silver Dollar Games

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*A game code was provided for review purposes

Super Korotama (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: The Waffinator

Developer: Catness Games

Publisher: Catness Games

Category: Arcade, Puzzle, Simulation

Release Date: 2.7.2020

Price: $4.99

Pumped Up For The Arcade

If there is one thing I miss from my youth—besides not having to do adult stuff—it is all the different types of arcade games there were. I mean, there are still plenty of places that have arcades, but not as many, and most you have to travel to. So, the fact that Catness Games made and published Super Korotama has me excited that there is an arcade-style game to play on the go! At first, I was like, “This is too easy!” and found myself wondering if there was any kind of difficulty to it, since it has puzzle elements to it; and a few levels later, I got my answer! It definitely went from super easy to making you strategically move about the levels.

The controls are super easy; all you are using is the left thumbstick to move the left side of the platform up and down, and same thing with the right thumbstick, which controls the right side. Occasionally, you use the A-button, but that's to confirm your selection choices and reset the platform after losing a ball or correctly placing a ball. That's not what I enjoy the most, though. I really dig and enjoy the bright neon theme and the random backdrops of the levels. The background song that plays is very 80s and retro-like—in fact. it sounds an awful lot like The Final Countdown. which is a great song. especially for pumping you up.

There are 20 levels in total in the main game, each offering its own puzzles and difficulty—also, each level is timed which adds to the difficulty, I'm stuck on level 13. Once you beat all the levels, you unlock modifiers, which really add to the puzzle and arcade elements of the game. And then there is arcade mode, which I really enjoy. In arcade mode, you only have one ball to clear as many levels as possible and compete with the world for a high score. It is also totally random, and changes every time you play, which keeps it fresh and entertaining. Super Korotama is definitely a fun little arcade game for the Switch, and with the short levels, it is good for both long and short sessions.

Score: 8/10

Buy Super Korotama from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Follow Catness Games

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*A game code was provided for review purposes

Crash Drive 2 (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Allan Jenks

Developer: M2H

Publisher: M2H

Category: Arcade, Multiplayer, Racing, Simulation

Release Date: 2.7.2020

Price: $8.99

Taxi Cabs, and Battle Tanks, and School Busses, Oh My…

Do you like crashing into things and doing tricks off of ramps over trains and volcanoes in tricked-out taxi cabs and busses? Of course you do! Crash Drive 2 feels like a mixture of Tony Hawk: Pro Skater, Grand Theft Auto III, and Crazy Taxi. The original Crash Drive 3D was released as a dashboard widget for Mac, and was downloaded over a million times within the first six months of its release in 2008. The sequel takes the free-roaming 3-D driving premise and adds some more stages and vehicles, some graphical upgrades, of course, and an overall great fun factor.

In Crash Drive 2, you drive around in a free-to-roam map of fairly large size. The map is filled with different ramps and obstacles that can be used to perform jumps, tricks, and stunts with whatever vehicle you choose from the garage, along with items you can pick up, like cash drops that can be used to upgrade your vehicles. Different vehicles are unlocked as you level up in-game, which is accomplished by completing events in the game. As you are roaming freely, different events will start, ranging from races, where you Have to drive a set course within a certain time to win, to stunt challenges, where you have to score above a certain number of points by performing stunts and tricks off of the various obstacles in the stage, to “touch the ring” challenges where you have to locate a ring on the stage and figure out how to reach it with the nearby obstacles.

I wouldn’t say that there is anything groundbreaking being done with Crash Drive 2, but I am glad that it was developed, because it is a fun little stunt racer game. Graphically, it is nothing special, but the game still looks good. The audio is fairly generic, but still gets the job done. The overall takeaway I got from this game though, is that I could easily lose an hour or so in it before I really took notice, and I had fun just messing around aimlessly with it, which is a good thing. I was pleasantly surprised by this one, and I would recommend picking it up for yourself!

Score: 8/10

Buy Crash Drive 2 from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Follow M2H

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*A game code was provided for review purposes

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