Fireside 2.1 ( Nintendo Dispatch Blog Mon, 28 Jun 2021 08:00:00 -0400 Nintendo Dispatch Blog en-us Review: New Pokémon Snap Mon, 28 Jun 2021 08:00:00 -0400 1180cf44-13af-4945-b888-ee501ccea6a1 New Pokémon Snap is cute and charming, and it's fun to feel like you are peeking in on Pokémon in their natural habitats. Some play aspects are frustrating, but the joy of immersing myself in Pokémon wildlife generally makes up for the game's shortcomings. Guest reviewed by Becca Kennedy in Episode 161

The first thing you should know is that New Pokémon Snap is the only game I've ever preordered, so you know I was excited for it. I’d played the first Pokémon Snap on Nintendo 64 when I was in middle school, and I'd craved so much more than that little game offered in 1999. New Pokémon Snap’s biggest appeal is probably that it sparks millennials’ nostalgia for the first Pokémon popularity explosion, and the title of the game being "New" Pokémon Snap really emphasizes that intent to build on something old.

The second thing you should know is that as a non-mainline Pokémon title, New Pokémon Snap is fairly short and simple. It's a low-stress game and the simplicity is not necessarily a huge disadvantage, but it’s probably best to calibrate your expectations accordingly!


New Pokémon Snap is a first-person photography game — like first-person shooting, except the only time anyone gets hurt is if you bonk a Pokémon too hard with a fluffruit. Your character rides through each course in an on-rails autonomous pod, letting you focus entirely on snapping wildlife shots as you visit varied terrains in the Lental Region, like a dense jungle, inside an active volcano, and below the sea.

The visual design in New Pokémon Snap is really well done — each location feels detailed, full of life, and immersive.


When I first fired up this game, I was banking on it being the perfect antidote to work burnout and I was excited to melt into the lush Pokéverse. The game does fit that bill, but it took a little bit of playtime to get there. The onboarding dragged on. Tutorials are skippable, but there is a lot of upfront dialogue and the introduction of a handful of inconsequential characters that slow down momentum. I also realized quickly that the annoying sound effects would really dampen my experience, so I adjusted the volume settings so that the sound effects were at a level for me to be able to faintly hear my Poké Flute (wait, it's a Melody Maker and not a Poké Flute anymore for some reason) but the WHIIRRRRR sound with every selection became less oppressive (I really wished I could turn that thing off).

Story-wise, there isn’t much to it — you are capturing photos of wild Pokémon to study their behavior. (I’m a researcher in real life so this appeals to me!) In the original game, players progressed through a handful of courses in different terrains, where Pokémon would be prancing around or sleeping or just doing their thing and you could take pictures of them. The goal was to send Professor Oak your nicest photos to rack up points — the highest scores went to photos with big, centered subjects, and especially those that captured a Pokémon doing something unique, like Pikachu sitting on a surfboard.


In New Pokémon Snap, the basic premise remains (with Professor Oak swapped out for Professor Mirror and his unsettlingly pointy facial hair), but there are more courses and within each course you can progressively level up and see new and different things. Replaying courses is somewhat repetitive, but I find this repetition to be easygoing and relaxing instead of tedious — with enough depth and variability that I keep noticing small, different things.

Discovering new moments, interactions, and paths is a delight, and it feels like there is a satisfying amount of discoverability.


Another expansion on the original game is that instead of having one Photodex image for each Pokémon species, you have four. It's a little confusing what these 1-star to 4-star slots mean, but basically the more unique a Pokémon's pose or activity, the higher the star rating. And so for each Pokémon, there are four different spots you are trying to fill and improve with better photos. This adds a layer of challenge and if you are a collector-type player, it's satisfying to fill Photodex pages for each species.


New Pokémon Snap also includes an additional play feature in which research characters request specific photos through something called LenTalk. For example, they might ask you to get a photo of a happy Scorbunny laughing or a Metapod lowering itself from a tree. These requests make things a lot more interesting and I really love the concept, but the LenTalk aspect of the game also feels unreliable and incomplete. I often thought I was fulfilling a LenTalk request with my shots but upon submission they didn't register as anything. It seems like these LenTalk assignments are often too vague or too difficult to complete exactly right, creating the wrong kind of challenge. (How many photos do I need to take of a snoozing Exeggutor before I figure out what I'm doing wrong? Or, realistically, Google it?) There are also a lot of open LenTalk requests that pile up regardless of whether you are checking any off, and if a request slides in AFTER you’ve gotten that same photo on your own, you need to do it again to get credit.

The LenTalk requests seem like a fumbled opportunity to extend playability in a genuinely fun way — and it’s disappointing that it doesn’t feel like it works correctly.


Overall, New Pokémon Snap is cute and charming, and it's fun to feel like you are peeking in on Pokémon in their natural habitats. Some play aspects are frustrating, but the joy of immersing myself in Pokémon wildlife generally makes up for the game's shortcomings.

I give New Pokémon Snap a 3.5 out of 5. It's very fun and a little addictive, and the scenery and music make the Lental Region a nice place to visit. The downsides? Even though it goes far beyond the scope of the original N64 game, New Pokémon Snap is still pretty simple and short (give us more courses!), and it suffers from a few experience design issues. If you feel nostalgic about the original, it’s probably worth your dollars and time to revisit what you liked about it and see what’s new.


This game was reviewed and purchased by guest reviewer Becca Kennedy.

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Review: Turmoil Thu, 04 Jun 2020 15:00:00 -0400 a69e6f44-a98c-406f-84d1-3de07b4e44c8 Turmoil is an old west themes simulation game for the Nintendo Switch, that makes pumping oil out of the ground an interesting but repetitive challenge with controls that will drive you as crazy as a sheepherder.

Turmoil is a simulation game that takes place during the 19th-century oil rush in North America. The general premise of the game is you dig for oil. If you do that well, you make money and can then purchase tools or upgrades to help you get more oil. The game was originally released in 2016 but is now available on the Nintendo Switch.

There are different types of land to pump oil from; plains, snowy mountains, deserts, forests, and an island. Each type of land has a different hurtle or functionality that is added to the process. For example, in some land types, natural gas pockets are underground. If you're strategic with pipe placement, you can route that natural gas to a seller. This boosts the selling price of oil for a short time. In each level, oil is sold to a building on the left or right of the screen. The market price listed on these buildings fluctuates, so you'll want to be careful when and where you decide to sell your oil.


To play the game, you can either play in campaign mode or a single level. This single level includes all tools in the game and allows you to fine-tune your strategy and efficiency at collecting oil. In campaign mode, you have four other competitors. You must bid against these competitors to select land to farm oil. After a few levels, you also bid against the competitors for stock in the town. The first character that owns 50% of town stock becomes mayor, and you win the game. After you win campaign mode, you have the option to play a more intense campaign involving hot magma, and each competitor has a special ability.


I enjoyed each level on its own and trying to become more efficient every time I had a fresh piece of land. I enjoyed the singular level mode more than the actual campaign. I like the art style! It felt appropriate for the theme, and I'm always a fan of that simple flat illustrations.

Unfortunately, this review mostly suffers due to the controls/UI issues. Anytime I have to repeatedly think about what buttons to click, it ruins a game experience for me. The controls didn't translate well from PC to Switch and aren't as intuitive as you would expect from such a simple game. Even the touch screen causes frustrating moments. One example is there may be a button with a small "A" in the corner. You’d assume you can tap "A" to select it, but that doesn't work. You have to use the joystick to move to the cursor to the button, then press A for it to work. Another frustrating example is placing and upgrading pipes. The cursor seems to prefer snapping to the pipe joints rather than the pipe itself. Also, when using the touchscreen, you can tap on a pipe to upgrade it, but half of the time, the game would build a new pipe. There is also no way to destroy a pipe either which was irritating when mistakes like that would happen.

Anytime I have to repeatedly think about what buttons to click, it ruins a game experience for me.


Example of what happens when tapping on the screen to select and upgrade a pipe, but the game builds a pipe instead.

Overall the campaign felt pretty flat and extremely repetitive. You buy land, dig for oil, sell oil, buy or upgrade tools, bid on town stock, then go off and do it all over again. There's no other story element involved. I was expecting more depth, a story of some kind between the competitors, or some form of shady business happening in the town. None of that exists. I would have liked the opportunity to invest in businesses, to change their look or improve them. Instead, as you play through the levels, new buildings would show up in the town to offer new tools or upgrades, but that was it. There was no customization or opportunity to improve them. Allow me to invest in the town and customize it so it's a town I want to be mayor of!


I give Turmoil for Nintendo Switch a 2.5/5. I did enjoy the first 8 hours of the game but after that it felt very repetitive, and compared to other simulation tycoon games this one falls flat. The campaign could have had a more engaging story, and I didn't feel it was necessarily "tongue-in-cheek". The Switch port controls did not translate well and became very frustrating at times. On PC, I believe it would be a better experience since the game is not built for console controls. The game is available in the eShop for $15 and includes all DLC, but if you still want to give this game a try I would recommend trying the same game bundle for $15 on Steam.


This game was reviewed by Christina who was provided a game code for free from the developer.

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Review: 7th Sector - An Atmospheric Dystopian Experience Wed, 05 Feb 2020 06:00:00 -0500 a6780da1-edcf-441f-b767-a87e9e067cfd 7th Sector is an ominous cyberpunk puzzle game, but that's just the surface. The intriguing dark dystopian atmosphere takes a front seat. You feel as if you're being watched, chased, and it makes for one exciting puzzle adventure. 7th Sector is an atmospheric puzzle sidescrolling platformer. That's how one might describe it after watching the trailer, but there is much more to this game than just the puzzles. The atmosphere kept me coming back for more. The controls are fairly simple, but it does have its complex moments that can get very tricky and the same goes for the puzzles. They range in difficulty from fairly simple shape matching puzzles to more complicated math problems.


The game begins with you controlling a dark shadowy figure on a static television. There isn't a tutorial, but the controls aren't complex. The only thing the game shows you his "A=ACTION". Tapping A won't do anything, you need to hold it down. Once you figure that out, you transform into an electric spark that can travel through wires. This is how you navigate the environment, following the wires. You can move faster by holding Y. A and Y are the only controls the game explains to you. Everything else is fairly easy to figure out. You can transfer to different wires, command terminals, or other electronic devices as well to navigate. Transferring to other electronic devices is probably the most frustrating part of the game. For example, there is a part where you transfer from a wire to the remote control of a toy car. I was excited when this happened at first because it was as if the clouds parted and I got to move around in a 3D space, but after trying to control the car... I wanted to go back to the wire. It felt as if I was driving in water. That being said, that is my only negative criticism for the game.


The puzzles range in difficulty. Some of them are simple timed jigsaw puzzles or analyzing the environment for clues, while others are much more complicated and involve math. Those puzzles, in particular, took me a while and required me to take notes to complete them. In the interest of providing an honest review, I feel it's important to share that I loathe math. So, the fact that I'm not complaining about math puzzles in this game carries a lot of weight.


My favorite part of this game was the atmosphere and gaining an understanding of the world I was in. The game takes place in a very ominous dystopian cyberpunk environment that I found akin to movies such as the The 5th Element and The Matrix. As you travel through the system of wires, you get a glimpse of different people's lives. A couple arguing in the background, a man protesting on a rooftop through a hologram (that ends up getting tazed), and a "police-robot" knocking on someone's front door are all examples of things you may see. There is no dialogue in the game at all but instead, you will hear muffled voices or announcements over a PA system. The sound effects and soundtrack are very well done and bring an eerieness to the environment. I highly recommend playing with headphones on. In one part specifically, I was so emersed and focused on a puzzle that it scared me when I finished it and jumped! I am a big fan of the soundtrack which made me think of Blade Runner. Music for the game was created by a Russian artist, Aleksey Trofimov of Nobodies Nail Machine, who has also created music for the Fallout games.


One thing is made clear. As you explore this mysterious world you have the sense that you are an anomaly. You either shouldn't exist, or someone/something doesn't want you there. This unsettling feeling causes you to continue moving forward to the next puzzle. As you complete puzzles throughout the game, you're also puzzling together this world's story to understand where you are, what you are, and why you're there. It's that mystery that held my interest and made me go back for more.

As you complete puzzles throughout the game, you're also puzzling together this world's story to understand where you are, what you are, and why you're there.

There is replay value to this game as well. It includes a branching system of four different endings so some choices you make throughout the game can impact what happens. I will very likely be going back to this game shortly to see what other endings I can get!



This is a fantastic game. After about 20 minutes of playing, I was excited to write a review and recommend it to all of our listeners and readers. Where it lacks in the 3d character controls, it makes up for with its immersive atmosphere. I've already recommended and gifted it to a couple of friends. It releases for consoles on Feb. 5 and is listed in the Nintendo Eshop for $19.99. I think that price feels accurate, but if you think that is a little on the expensive side for an indie game, it's also available on Windows PC through Steam starting at $12.99. It has "Very Positive" reviews on Steam as well, and I can't help but agree. It's no surprise now at this point that I officially give it a score of:


This game was reviewed by Christina who was provided a game code for free from the developer.

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Review: tomtoc's Perfect Nintendo Switch Lite Case Mon, 23 Dec 2019 11:00:00 -0500 4c908c1b-8d89-45d1-9155-4008a612de98 tomtoc delivers once again with the perfect cases for the Nintendo Switch Lite at a reasonable price. When it comes to portable game consoles, buying a case for it is an essential. During the holiday season store shelves are packed with cases in all price ranges and sometimes cases are even bundled with that shiny new Nintendo Switch Lite that you picked up. I am telling you to throw it away and buy a tomtoc case for your new game console as it is the only case that you will ever need at a reasonable price.

tomtoc nintendo switch cases

If you listen to the podcast then the name tomtoc is not new. Last year they sent us some amazing new cases for our Nintendo Switch that all of us have been using. Instead of creating something brand new and funky for the Lite, tomtoc took what they already mastered and perfected it for the new smaller console. They didn't stop there, as they also introduced some fancy new colors to match your Lite, which I really appreciate. tomtoc offers two difference types of cases, the Slim Case and the Travel Case each in gray, yellow, and turquoise. The main difference between the two is that the Travel case can hold 24 games (compared to 8 in the slim) and has an extra pouch in the list to put some accessories.

tomtoc cases open with game inside

The build quality on these cases is superb with a hard shell exterior to protect the Switch. It has a nice textured material on the outside that feels nice to touch and has extruding d-pad and joy-stick bumps so your controller doesn't get smushed. On the inside is a lovely soft fleece that are like pillows for your Switch to sleep in when it is resting and the game case cover sits on top of the screen to clean it off when stored away. There are two zippers of the highest quality that enable you to zip in either direction and for this iteration tomtoc added a wrist strap so you can easily carry the system around. Everything fits just right and feels like a premium quality including the colors that they went with. While not matcing 100% to the exact yellow and turqoise of the Switch, they are very lovely to look at and I decided to mix and match my yellow Switch with the turquoise case.

tomtoc case and switch for size comparison

To cap it all off these cases come in at excellent prices retaining for $19 and $24 respectively. There is no better case out there at this price point in my honest opinion than these tomtoc cases.


The tomtoc cases in this review were sent to the Dispatch team from tomtoc for free.

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Review: The Eyes of Ara - Puzzles on Puzzles Mon, 04 Nov 2019 12:00:00 -0500 8b01ac4d-0c5b-4986-aa71-bced14bf3c0e The Eyes of Ara is a Myst inspired puzzle adventure game with escape-room style puzzles, secret passages, and an interesting back-story. The Eyes of Ara, officially released on the Nintendo Switch on Oct. 15th, is a puzzle adventure game inspired by games like Myst, and developed by 100 Stones Interactive. Being someone who enjoys puzzle games and scary (but not-too-scary) games, I thought this would be a perfect game to try around the spooky holidays. I was expecting this game to be scary (it takes place in an old medieval style abandoned castle after all) but it never actually scared me. It did have a few eerie moments, but it wasn't to the level of "jump-scare". I actually found the game pretty relaxing at times.

The premise of the story is an old castle that's been abandoned for many years has suddenly started giving off radio interference causing issues with the nearby town's Wifi. Your character has been tasked with the job - because everyone else is too scared - of going up to the castle, figuring out what is causing the radio signal, and shutting it down.

On the switch you're able to play the game 2 ways: either connected to a tv with 1 Joy-Con or handheld touchscreen. Being a big fan of handheld mode I opted to play with the touchscreen. That being said, it's given that the controls aren't very complex. It's mostly tapping, swiping to look around the environment and pinching to zoom out of certain puzzles.

The game begins with an intro-sequence of your character rowing their way to the castle. There is an as-you-go tutorial explaining the controls that starts when you make it to the dock. Making your way up to the castle, you immediately begin encountering puzzles.

Each room you enter has a puzzle to solve to progress to the next area or room. As you advance, the puzzles get more complicated and sometimes are divided among multiple rooms. The more intricate puzzles are inspired by astronomy. You'll need to collect objects and reference books, papers, notes, and clues left behind by the previous residents to solve the puzzles. A lot of the pages you find are torn-out novel entries written by the past residents that tell their story. They're sometimes hidden in very difficult places so you have to think a little out of the box when looking for clues and hints. A lot of the clues are hidden so well I ended up being stuck for an hour, back-tracking, trying to figure out what I missed. A word of advice I wish I knew before playing: pay attention to the paintings, floor tiles, and ceiling tiles.

Besides being riddled with clues and hints, the castle has no shortage of secret passages and hidden rooms which as you have probably understood by now are VERY well disguised. Some of the most memorable moments I have from playing the game are clicking a switch, expecting one thing to open, but instead, a secret passage is exposed leading to a whole new room to explore.

This game is available for multiple platforms and originally released for PC in July 2016. When I looked into the game a little bit, I noticed that last year around the Holidays the developer released a Christmas-themed update. For a limited time, you could visit the castle while it's festively decorated for Christmas. I love it when games do that and hope that's something they do for the Switch version this year!


This game has very positive reviews on Steam, and I will have to agree! Even though the puzzles do get very complicated and I found myself wandering all over the castle, frustrated, looking for any kind of clue I did enjoy it. After about 7.5 hours I completed the game, but I'll admit having to look up a few guides online when I got stuck, which was pretty often near the end. I don't think I would have been able to figure out a few of the puzzles in the second half of the game without lookin them up. When I finally did figure out a solution it was very satisfying, and I had quite a few "Oooh, that's how you do it!" moments.

The graphics look pretty good for the game being a few years old and performs well on the Switch. To give you an idea of how the graphics look, I would say they're in the same family as Penumbra or Amnesia. The soundtrack is also really well done. There were a few times the music would get a little louder and it grabbed my attention in a good way. The game is currently listed as $14.99 in the eShop (the same price as on Steam) and if you're into puzzle games or even escape rooms, I think it's definitely worth checking out. I give score of:


This game was reviewed by Christina who was provided a game code for free from the developer.

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Review: Niffelheim - A Norse Survival Story Tue, 29 Oct 2019 13:00:00 -0400 acc857af-1ac0-471a-b938-c6af106801ae Niffelheim is a 2D Survival RPG Sidescroller that is Norse-themed with an in-depth crafting system and a gritty hand-drawn art style. I was really interested in this game, just for the fact that I'm doing some geneology testing. I'm apparently a 25% decendent of Vikings. So, what better way to connect with my Viking ancestors than to play a game based on them!

In Niffelheim, you become a Viking warrior that died during battle. Instead of going to the peaceful and amazing Asgard (like you're supposed to, being an honorable warrior and all), you’re stuck in this world called Niffelheim. The main goal in the game is to survive and build a portal to get to where you rightfully belong, Asgard. There are also quests you can complete from this friendly Crow that turns up once and a while.


Before you actually start playing the game, there is some game customization available, through the selection of your character and starting environment. You can pick from 4 different warriors and each has different strengths and weaknesses. Some have better defense, while others are more powerful. Nothing drastically new for a game but going in, you can compare your options and select how you want to get started. Whoever did these character designs gets a gold star from me. The Vikings look thick and invincible, and yes, there is an awesome woman Viking called Valkarie and you bet I chose to start with her!

After selecting a character you can choose from 4 starting places or environments which also have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, if you select to start in the swamp, there are more places for predators to hide. You can visit these other environments in the game, but the one you choose here is just your starting homebase.

When the game originally loads theres a short opening sequence but in-game, there's no animation, opening scene, or tutorial. It you do want a little bit of a tutorial there is one tucked away in the game menus which is pretty much like a guide book, not a real tutorial or walkthrough. You begin in a 2D side scrolling world and start walking, collecting ingredients, shooting little animals, and chopping down trees. You can enter dungeons and battle creatures for loot. You eventually find a hut that becomes your homebase where you can upgrade, store items, mine, or sit on your Viking throne to increase your health. You can also build and level a chicken coop, little sheep farm, or build a garden to help you collect resources. Beside health, you also need to keep up with your hunger so keep an eye on that!


Before you can even begin crafting, you need to build your different crafting stations. In your homebase, there are different stations you can build for wood working, smelting/metal working, potions/brewing, and cooking. You can level up these stations to unlock more crafting recipes, but it takes a lot of resources. So far, seems to have a pretty in-depth crafting system. The first 2 hours or so of playing I was mostly collecting and trying to get a grasp on the gameplay. It wasn't until I was 3 or so hours into the game that I was able to start actually crafting recipes and making progress.

At first I thought the item management in this game was kind of rough. There is one chest already in the base for you to store items, and spots where you can build more, but these are not very close to each other and the characters inventory isn't huge. The plus is when you open one chest, you are able to access them all (just like in My Time in Portia). There are a LOT of ingredients and materials that seem to have no use early in the game, so I found myself having to store a lot of it.

There is a little tower defense gameplay with your homebase because you can get raided and have items stolen from the chests. Of the 5 hours I've played, the Army of the Dead raided my base twice. The game does give you a 12 minute countdown before a raid begins so you have time to level up your defense wall and weapons. I highly recommend doing this earlier than later. I did survive both raids, but the second was definitely more difficult than the first.

As far as quests go, I haven't gotten too deep into them yet. I've had a what seems to be friendly crow or raven that gives me small collecting or crafting tasks here and there and rewards me with items like armor and food.

That brings me to the controls. Since this is a 2D platformer, you walk up to something that looks like you might be able to pick up, and wait for a little A or X prompt. Sometimes this is very finnicky. The combat also feels a little sluggish, though this may be due to the animation of the characters. They move kind of like paper dolls so things are a little slower than you might expect. There were other times that I would just be running past an enemy, and they'd do damage to me after I would pass them and before they finished swinging their sword. After a while of playing I did get used to the combat. I realized I needed to hold down Y to keep swinging my weapon and that make a huge difference.


The artstyle is dark and gritty, with a hand-drawn inked watercolor kind of look, which works well for the theme - a more realistic looking Don’t Starve. This game is a 2D platformer, which feels really limiting when it comes to an advenutre open-world survival game. The format contradicts the concept. I see things in the background that I want to go to but am limited to only moving left or right.


Though there are things I'm nitpicking, it feels like a pretty extensive survival game. If being a Viking in a gritty survival game appeals to you I'd say it’s definitely worth the current sale price or $15 with a score of:


This game was reviewed by Christina who was provided a game code for free from the developer.

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Review: Super Jumpy Ball - 40 Levels of Jumping Wed, 09 Oct 2019 11:00:00 -0400 10c8c628-944f-40e6-8757-967e50ad29f9 Super Jumpy Ball is a simple & fun 2D platform game for 1-8 players, inspired by retro platformers. Super Jumpy Ball was originally released in 2017 on Xbox, and was one of the first titles in the Xbox Live Creators Program. Since its release, its become a fan favorite of the program. In addition to Xbox, it can be found on PC, Android, and now Nintendo Switch.

Super Jumpy Ball is described as "a simple & fun 2D platform game for 1-8 players, inspired by retro platformers." The main goal of each level is to navigate your smiling, emoticon looking ball to the red flag, while avoiding any obstacles in your way. The faster you're able to complete the levels the higher on the global leaderboard you'll be. At the time of writing this, I'm in the number one spot. No big deal.

Super Jumpy Ball 1

Throughout the 40 levels, the puzzles/challenges get slightly more complicated but never frustratingly so. To be honest, the puzzles almost seem TOO easy. I found that I was able to complete the majority of them without failing a single time. For added difficulty, each level also has a star that players can try for. While these stars are in more difficult locations, it never was clear to me what value they added. I didn't seem to earn anything by getting them. Perhaps you're a completionist and just NEED to get everything you can but personally, it would have been nice to receive some sort of achievement. Or have it taken into account in some way on the leaderboards.

It's important to mention that the times where I DID fail a level/puzzle, it was my fault and not because of the game. The controls of this game are fantastic! I always felt like the ball was doing EXACTLY what I wanted and when I wanted it to do it. I know that seems like it should be obvious but with recent titles such as Bloodstained having big issues, it's worth pointing out.

Completing the main game is very quick. I think it took me about an hour and that's counting all the times I replayed certain levels. However, in addition to the main 40 levels, there are other modes to try.

  • Basketball: Is what you would imagine. You're trying to get your little bouncing ball through the hoop. The challenge is that the hoop is moving around the screen and you only have two minutes to score as many points as you can. This mode was pretty fun! I kept going back to see if I could outdo my last score.

  • Endless Survivor: In this mode, you have to bounce for your life. The floor is covered in spikes and continues to move up without mercy. Simply stay ahead (or above). The longer you last, the higher your score.

  • Spike Battle: This is a multiplayer-only battle where each player tries to pop the other players' ball

  • Endless Runner: This single-player mode is similar to Endless Survivor. But instead of running from a floor of spikes, you're trying to last as long as you can by hitting flags to prevent the timer from running out.

It's easy to overlook Super Jumpy Ball based on its aesthetic. However, there is fun to be had with this game! I loved trying to work my way up the leaderboards and getting the best score. That being said, there's not a lot of playability. Once I completed the levels and played the other modes for a bit, I never felt as if I needed to go back to the game. For that reason, I cannot recommend this game at its current $5 price on the eShop. At most, this is a $2 game.


This game was reviewed by Michael Rivette who was provided a free code from the developer.

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Review: Aggelos - A 2D, Metroidvania/Wonder Boy Adventure Mon, 07 Oct 2019 13:00:00 -0400 4d2781f9-59d1-4bfb-8969-054c1c3ae7c3 Aggellos is a 2D, non-linear (Metroidvania-style) action RPG game which is inspired HEAVILY by Japanese games such as Wonder Boy In Monster World. We all seem to need to go back and play games that remind us of the past. Games from that golden 8 and 16-bit era. Honestly, I think it's a big reason the Nintendo Switch Online has had any success! People love that they can play the games that they grew up with. To add to it, there's even new games with that old nostalgic feel still coming out. Some can call them love letters or an homage, others may say it's a rip-off. If you're somebody that still has that nostalgic itch, this game may be for you!

Aggelos Title

Aggellos is a 2D, non-linear (Metroidvania-style) action RPG game, which is inspired HEAVILY by Japanese games such as Wonder Boy In Monster World. It's being described as “the perfect combination of retro style and modern-day game design.“

Regarding the story of Aggelos, it's completely cliché.

You, the nameless hero, saves the Princess from trouble. Once you return her to the King, you find out the kingdom is under attack from an evil creature, who's trying to gather all four elements so they can open a portal to a parallel dimension where evil rules. You, being a hero, are asked to collect the elements first, by fighting your way through the four elemental temples and stopping the nefarious scheme! See, cliché, but it gets the job done.

Story aside, the magic of Aggelos is the way it looks and plays. It's buttery smooth and its leveling and skill progression are well balanced. I never felt completely overpowered by the enemies. Even when you die, there's just a small penalty. You simply lose some XP which slows your level progression. One negative that could contribute to you dying, is the range of your weapon. It seems small, at least to me. It was very tough to gauge when an attack would connect. Because of this, I found I took damage and even died when I was trying to fight an enemy, simply because I would get too close. I DID struggle with a few of the boss battles as well, but I realized that it was because I was attempting them without the items I needed. Once I gained those items, the battles got MUCH easier. As you would expect from a Metroidvania-style game, you start with a pretty limited skill set. As you progress through the game, you gain new attacks and find/buy gear which allows you to access new areas of the world. The overworld is fairly large but it doesn't take long to navigate because each area is on the smaller side. Later in the game, you even get a “teleport” option which allows you to jump from save point to save point. This speeds up the travel time. I will say that the overworld map is TERRIBLE though. It is unusable as a map and the only real use for it is to select the save points that you want to teleport to.

Aggelos Map

The game's 16-bit inspired aesthetic is well done. It's bright and colorful. Even charming. The chiptune audio/music is exactly what you would expect from a game that's trying to pay its respects to the past. It's well done and catchy!

Aggelos Fight

For what this game is, it has very, if any, issues! It has a goal and it achieves it. I think it was fun to play but not a game I want/need in my life. You may feel very different. One thing to consider is value. Value is always difficult to quantify. But I will say that the game is relatively short. Roughly 6-8 hours of playtime. I also see no reason to go back and play this game once it's over. For that reason, the $15 price tag seems a bit high to me. For the very same price, you can buy Hollow Knight which is a much better game in my opinion.


This game was reviewed by Michael Rivette who was provided a game code for free from the developer.

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Review: Untitled Goose Game: A Honking Good Time Wed, 25 Sep 2019 13:00:00 -0400 c2611528-b04b-4fa7-94e4-c52ec4f5447e Who knew that controlling a goose and honking at people could be so much fun! Our full review of Untitled Goose Game. The first time I saw Untitled Goose Game at PAX last year, I was already sold and was ready to give House House & Panic my money! A game where you control a goose and wreak havok on villagers, who doesn't want to do that? The more trailers of the games I saw over the next year, the more worried I got about if the game was ever going to come out, and if there was actually a full game here. The demo at PAX was pretty straight forward and remains pretty intact to what you play in Untitled Goose Game. You are a goose and have different objectives that you need to complete by stealing, honking, and creating a mess for the villagers in the town.

Goose Game 1

These objectives are sometimes straight forward, sometimes not, but always a blast. When my partner and I booted up the game for the first time, I let her play through the first stage to see how she would do. She doesn't play games too much, but the controls were straight forward enough that she was grabbing items from the gardener's garden, movings things around, and starting to check off tasks from the list. In no time at all, most of the list was done and she was starting to figure out strategies to complete the harder tasks on the list. From my end, it was an absolute joy to sit back and watch her play as she had a huge smile on her face the entire time. We both laughed, strategized, and applauded ourselves when we solved a task from the list. This is when I knew this game was gold!

Goose Game 2

After the first stage she passed the controller, and I started honking away and going to town on the next part of the village. I think she may have had even more fun watching me cause chaos on these poor souls, and helping me strategize to solve puzzles as we continued on through the game. The game itself is simple and straight forward, you can honk, grab items, and run around. The genius of the game is trying to figure out the best way to turn the goose into Solid Snake and sneak around the different environments to try to solve each little puzzle that was thrown our way.

Goose Game 3

Visually the game is very stunning and runs butter smooth on the Nintendo Switch. As you can tell from the graphics in the screenshoots, the game has a simple yet visually pleasing look to it and I think it fits the game perfectly. The music on the other hand is a bit different, because there really isn't any "music" as you are playing. What does kick in is nice piano work when you start to cause chaos when playing. It is very much appreciated and well done.

If you have read any other review then you will know that all this joy is short lived as you can bust through the 5 or so stages in just a few hours. For us, this was the perfect amount of time to sit back, relax, and honk at people. I have to be honest, I love this game!


This game was reviewed by James Montemagno who purchased it from the eShop (on sale for $15 from $20) and played in full in about 2.5 hours.

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My First Three Months with the Nintendo Switch Mon, 08 Apr 2019 11:00:00 -0400 6290c848-149c-4da3-a296-1cd53756f3f7 If you’re on the fence about picking up a Switch or just got your hands on one, below I share some thoughts three months in. Hello Dispatchers, I’m Christina (known as RUST1CA the mod on Twitch), long time fan of the podcast, friend, and stream mod of Nintendo Dispatch.

When I first saw the Nintendo Switch, I’ll be honest, I held a sense of pessimism towards it. Another console? I wasn’t interested. I was also never a huge Nintendo fan. The only positive Nintendo experience I had was Mariokart on the Nintendo 64. Other than that I just played Super Nintendo at friends’ houses and had a broken Gameboy Color I bought off a “friend”. But, after seeing how versatile the Switch was, the games available for it, and the fact that you could play them anywhere, anytime, swayed my opinion. I understood the appeal of the Switch and started to feel like I was genuinely missing out! I wanted one.

I was lucky enough to be gifted a Switch this past Christmas, and I didn’t put it down for more than a week. Three months later and I barely use my Xbox other than for Netflix from time to time. The Switch has become my main gaming console. If you’re on the fence about picking one up or just got your hands on one, below I share some thoughts about my Switch, along with recommendations that will hopefully help you make a decision or enhance the beginning of your Switch adventure!



To start, I couldn’t and still can’t get over how versatile the console is. It’s like 1/5 the size of my Xbox One and fits in my bag easily with my laptop. It’s so easy to place in the dock to charge, and I can take it right out when I want to bring it somewhere. No waiting for anything to turn off or load. At first, doing this went against everything I’ve known about tech so it felt wrong how easy it was.

Right after getting it I was visiting family for the holidays and got to put my Switch to the test. My sister and I had fun playing co-op games both plugged into the television and just on the kitchen table. We even got my mother to play a little bit. I find myself mostly playing it in handheld mode because I like to play games in bed. I also travel for work once a week and don’t have to worry about packing the dock. I will say that using it in handheld mode for too long (3+ hours) starts to make my right thumb and hand cramp up and go numb. I do have a Satisfye gaming grip in my future, so hopefully this won’t be an issue anymore.

The fact that I can carry it around in my bag/purse and play high-quality games whenever, wherever, has been the most important game-changing part of the Switch so far.


Since getting a Switch, I’m way more interested in Indie titles which seems to be 90% of what is available right now for the Switch. I say right now because there seems to be more AAA titles announced for Switch releases which is great to look forward to ! I used to mostly focus on AAA titles because I thought (stressing the past tense) that Indie Games simply weren’t as good as AAA games and weren’t worth the money. I was mistaken, I know this now expecially after clocking in more than 70 hours in Stardew Valley.


The E-Shop is loaded with Indie titles and releases new games almost every single day. They’re less expensive than AAA games, and they’re easier to play in small chunks of time. It’s perfect if you only have like 20-30 minutes available to play a game. Also, there are sales all the time so you can get tons of high-quality games for under $20, there are even some that go on sale for under $1. The E-Shop also makes it easy to filter through all the games available. I like to check out the best sellers from time to time (or wait to hear about them in the podcast).

One feature I wish the E-Shop implemented was some kind of notification system if an item on my wishlist goes on sale. Right now there isn't anything that lets me know, and I always forget to look. I'm picturing just a small red dot that shows up on my E-Shop icon when a wishlist item goes on sale. Any kind of non-intrusive notification would be helpful!


If you plan on playing Minecraft in a realm with a few friends or any kind of online co-op games, you may want to look into signing up for Nintendo Online. Right now there aren’t a ton of major perks besides cloud saving, Tetris99, and Classic Nintendo games for free. I am optimistic about the future of online though, but for now, it seems to be most important for online co-op. There is a 7-day free trial if you sign up.



As much as I have enjoyed my Switch there are things I have found frustrating. As I previously mentioned, before my Switch I primarily gamed on my Xbox. Switching from an Xbox controller to the switch controls made me crazy for the first few days. The A, B, X, and Y buttons on the Switch are flipped compared to Xbox controllers so I kept hitting the wrong buttons. Those first few days were rough. I did get used to it on my Switch, so now when I use my Xbox I have issues. I’ve come to accept that I lack coordination and my life is an endless cycle of not knowing what buttons to press.

Nintendo has made friending so complicated. In order to connect with a friend, you need to get their Friend Code which is formatted: XX-1234-5678-9012 which isn’t the easiest thing to get to. You have to go to your ‘page’ and then your profile. It’s also a whole other process if you’re trying to add a friend locally. It seems like it would be so much easier to search for a friend with their email address or gamer tag.


A minor thing that won’t be addressed until the Switch has a hardware upgrade, but the console has limitations. The quality of graphics isn’t as high as Xbox, Playstation. Because of that it seems to be the main console for Indie games. That being said, Zelda Breath of the Wild is a gorgeous game, and a lot of Indie titles are beautiful too, but the more recent Tomb Raider games (my absolute favorite) won’t be coming to the Switch anytime soon. I’ll have to stick to my Xbox for those.


So you just got a Switch? Welcome! I have a few recommendations that might make the beginning of your new console adventure even better.

First of all, if you plan on bringing your switch out-and-about I can’t recommend the tomtoc case enough. It’s a hard shell waterproof case that snugly fits your Switch in soft-as-a-kitten fabric. There’s also a flap on the inside where you can store up to 6 physical games or memory cards. There isn’t a spot for a cable or your charger though so keep that in mind. I definitely advise getting a screen protector and a micro SD card right away for all those games you’re going to download from the E-Shop. I have a 100GB card in mine and it’s not even a quarter of the way filled yet.

For game recommendations, I will disclaim that I don’t tend to enjoy first-person shooter, battle royale, competitive types of games. If you do, definitely get Fortnite because it’s free and you’d be crazy not to! If you’re like me and tend to really enjoy RPGs, adventuring, or playing games that are more relaxing, I can’t recommend The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild enough! It was the first game I played with my Switch and it was, in my opinion, the best game to start out with. It’s definitely one of the more expensive Switch games out there but worth every penny! I couldn’t believe that a console so small could handle a game with such a large world.


For Indie titles I would recommend Stardew Valley to farm, fish, or mine to your heart's desire. Also, Death Squared is another great starting game to take advantage of the extremely easy co-op functionality of the Switch and test your friend's communication or puzzle solving skills.

So there are my thoughts and recommendations three months into owning my Switch. Do you have any thoughts, advice, or games you’d like to recommend? Comment below!

Review: Genki Bluetooth Audio Adapter for Nintendo Switch Sat, 22 Dec 2018 19:00:00 -0500 db4d95c3-c7d6-4571-8f1e-f10385de6c5e Our full review of the Genki Bluetooth Audio Adapter for the Nintendo Switch.


One of my favorite features on other video game consoles has been the ability to stream audio from the console to some headphones instead of through your television. With the Nintendo Switch in portable mode you have the option of plugging in a 3.5mm jack headphone for audio, but when when docked the options are extremely slim. In a world of cell phones and other devices that are removing that audio jack quicker then ever, carrying around multiple headphones simply isn't an option. Enter Genki the successful bluetooth audio adapter Kickstarter project from Human Things. It's goal is simple, deliver great wireless audio for you and optionally a friend directly from your Nintendo Switch.


I was an original backer of the Genki and went with an upgraded tier that included the Genki adapter, mic adapter, and dock adapter. This set me back around $50 total although a Genki by itself now that the Kickstarter is over can be picked up for around $40.

The overall design of the Genki is really cute and matches the Switch neon blue and red colors to represent audio 1 and audio 2. The main audio adapter plugs directly into the bottom of your Ninteno Switch and even allows a power passthrough if you need some extra juice. With the optional dock adapter you can enable the Genki to stream audio to your headphones instead of to your TV, which is great in shared spaced. The adapter is a bit funny as you basically piggy back the Genki into the USB adapter, but it gets the job done.

The final piece is an adorable tiny 3.5mm headphone jack adapter that is a microphone for games that support it such as Fortnite. This tiny little gem is the best idea I have ever seen when playing in portable mode as it removes all need for additional wires or adapter. Just plug it in, turn on the Genki audio adapter and boom there you go.


Using the Genki couldn't be easier, simply plug in the adapter, put your headphones (or any other bluetooth speaker) into pairing mode, put the Genki into pairing mode and boom you are done! Want to stream audio to a second set of headphones? Simply repeat the process but press the other side of the adapter. It truly is that easy to get up and running and just like that audio is streaming from your Switch to your headphones. Once paired whenever you use the Genki it will try to automatically pair to that set of headphones. The nice part here is that there is no need for batteries, cables, or anything else, just plug in the tiny little adapter and you are done!

In use the Genki just sort of works. When plugged in your Switch will detect "USB Audio" and you now have the ability to adjust the audio levels on your headphones if applicable or on the Nintendo Switch directly. I found this pretty nice because it allows for even louder audio since my bluetooth headphones allow for adjustment locally. The Genki remembered my headphones each time I unplugged and re-plugged it in.

Genki In Switch

Using the Genki in docked mode works exactly as you would expect, plug in the Genki into the dock adapter (just a USB-C to standard USB adapter) and turn on your headphones. While I bought the Genki for bluetooth audio on the go I think that this adapter may get the most use as I will no longer be blaring intense Doom music throughout the house :) The only negative that isn't Genki's fault is that you must unplug the adapter if you want to use your TV's speakers again. The Switch doesn't offer any sort of toggle from what I can find so this means you will have to get up and unplug and plug the Genki when you need to use it.

Genki docked

To wrap things up the best part of the Genki is that it delivers on the promise of great bluetooth audio from your Nintendo Switch directly to your ears. The entry price for some may be a bit high at $40-60 based on what bundle you get, but considering all of the perks the Genki has especially in a small apartment I have to say it is a must own accessory.


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This accessory was reviewed by James Montemagno who purchased it from the Human Things via Kickstarter at full price.

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Review: Little Nightmares for Nintendo Switch Fri, 14 Dec 2018 13:00:00 -0500 99c25cea-51bb-4b80-9f69-be9e55e21092 Our full review of Little Nightmares Complete Edition for the Nintendo Switch. Little Nightmares Review


Little Nightmares can only be described as an adventure-suspense platformer that has some puzzles thrown in and a story that is left to your imagination. Developed by Tarsier Studios, the developer behind LittleBigPlanet, based out of Malmö gives us the complete edition that combines the main game and expansion “Secrets of the Maw”. In Little Nightmares you play as a girl named Six who attempts to escape the world of the Maw from strange and scary creatures that we can only assume are trying to kill her and serve her up as food. On the flip side the expansion has you playing as “The Kid” who is on a similar journey that is happening in parallel to Six’s story arc. It is a visually stunning game that had us so excited that we talked about it heavily on Episode 4.0 and Episode 5.0.


As I was playing Little Nightmares about ten different emotions came over my body. I was stunned by the graphics, curious about the story, happy when I made it past a creepy creature, jumpy when a creature grabbed me in darkness, utterly frustrated of dying over and over and waiting 30 seconds each time for the game to load, and finally sad when everything came to an end. As I played through Six’s “story” (or lack of one) I was really pulled into the world that I knew nothing about (because they don’t tell you) and what she is doing there. What are these creatures? Why do they want to capture me? Oh boy are they creepy to look at but also visually stunning. I never found the platforming to be over the top difficult or the puzzles to really be all that challenging, but I did really enjoy the core of the game. I think just because it was so pretty to look at and such a weird environment that I just wanted to keep going.

Little Nightmares Puzzle

As I proceeded on to “The Kid’s” story it was a lot more of the same as playing as Six. More emotions crept over me and each and every time I died because of not understanding a puzzle, or not walking slowly enough past an enemy had me dreading that super long ridiculous load time. Somehow I enjoyed playing the expansion a little bit more than the original story because it had these super cute gnomes that you got to solve puzzles with. It also got you a little bit closer to understanding the world of the Maw, but still not at all. At the end I was torn with this game. I loved the visuals and trying to figure out the world, but then hated the long load times each and every time you die (and it is a lot) and of course the lack of story. All that said I still think it is a game worth adding to your collection at some point especially if they patch the load times.

  • Gameplay: Controls felt tight exploring the beautiful world that had hidden gems along the way, but puzzle solving by dying is overly frustrated with the long load times.
  • Audio: The only audio is subtle music in the background and creepy noises from the world around you. All very nice, but I would have loved some narration here.
  • Graphics: I am a sucker for anything close to claymation, and the beautiful world and graphics that reminded me of Coraline pulled me in.



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James purchased this game in full from the eShop and played the entire game to completion.

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Review: Sky Force Anniversary for Nintendo Switch Sun, 09 Dec 2018 18:00:00 -0500 dcd987f2-58e9-4dfc-99db-1ed056056ca5 Full review for Sky Force Anniversary edition for the Nintendo Switch. Sky Force Anniversary Review


If you have been listening to the podcast then you know that my first love is a great rythm based game, but my second love is a fantastic shmup (or shoot-em-up) vertial scroller. The first time I played 1942 as a kid in the arcade I was hooked and since then there have been amazing games such as Ikaruga that have stolen hours upon hours of my time. When I saw Sky Force Anniversary pop up in the eShop a few weeks ago I was immediatelly intrigued, especially seeing it was only $10. As I started scrolling through the description and realizing that this classic from 2004 had been remastered back in 2014 to critical acclaim, I knew I had to pick it up.


Core Gameplay

Sky Force has a few core gameplay elements beyond the normal shmup get to the end of the level and get the biggest chain possible. Through each level (9 in total) you are tasked with 4 tasks:

  • Kill 75% of enemies
  • Kill 100% of enemies
  • Rescue all Humans
  • Stay Untouched

Completing each of these earn you a medal that you will need to progress to future levels and also getting a 100% on a level will unlock a harder difficulty to earn even more medals. In total each level has 4 different difficulties that increase enemies health and bullets. I found myself going back to each level over and over again attempting to get as many medals as I could. Seeing that each level is only a few minutes and vary vastly between each other it was a real joy and never got old.


In addition to all of this you are tasked with collecting as many stars as possible while completing a level, that are dropped from exploded enemies and destructibles in the level. These stars are the in game currency that are used to upgrade your ship with better weapons, new abilities such as sucking up stars, advanced weapons, and better shields. Collecting stars never felt like a chore or a grind since they naturally fall from ships as you complete levels. As you progress through the game your ship upgrades along the way and this helps you complete the new levels and also return to older levels at harder difficulties.

Everything about the ships movements, upgrades, and progression is spot on. It truely feels like a fine tuned game that has had years of polish... I mean it is technically 14 years old at this point, but it is really solid.

Graphics and Sound

Some people don't expect much out of a shmup, but Sky Force doesn't disappoint in both graphics and sound. Attention to detail is excellent as the landscapes that you fly over are crafted with love. All of the graphics in the game really pop from the ship and enemy design down to the lovely water and waterfall effects that flow throughout the game. I am honestly impressed with the amount of love that went into this game. I also want to point out that the menu system in this game is very nice too with a cool slanted look to it. Everything is well designed and spot on.


Since you often play the same level over and over again music and sound effects are very important in a game like this and again Sky Force doesn't let you down here. The soundtrack is relatively simple with a techno beat and the sound effects for bullets and explosions are what you would expect, but all sound good and I never minded playing for hours on end.

In Closing

What can I say I simply loved Sky Force and you can quote me on this, it is the perfect shmup for the Nintendo Switch. Everything about this game is flawless and is an absolute must buy for anyone that even remotely enjoys a shmup. In fact even if you don't like shmups you should still buy this game because it is just that good.


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This game was reviewed by James Montemagno who purchased it from the Nintendo eShop at full price and was played to completion (and then some).

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Contest: Super Mario Party Giveaway Wed, 10 Oct 2018 03:00:00 -0400 0ca74212-58ea-4359-953b-48d0fffe26be It's time for another contest! We are giving away two copies of Super Mario Party for the Nintendo Switch! It is easy to enter so get your entry in today!
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Review: Super Destronaut DX for Nintendo Switch Tue, 31 Jul 2018 13:45:00 -0400 8e0f8075-67b7-4352-abc2-206f5b607c95 Our full review of the Space Invaders inspired retro space shooter Super Destronaut DX. What do you get when you take the arcade classic Space Invaders and mash it together with power-ups, neon graphics,explosions, and awesome local multiplayer? You get Super Destronaut DX from developer Petite Games and publisher Ratalaika Games. This takes the simple concept of blasting away enemy UFOs and modernizes it in a simple, fun, and addictive arcade shooter that keeps you wanting to come back and try for that high score.

Destronaut DX Banner

Petite Games is not new to the Nitnendo Switch or to space shooters themselves. They have developed several eShop titles for the Nintendo Switch such as InkSplosion and Midnight Deluxe. In the past they have also released a slew of Nintendo 3DS and Wii U games including the original Super Destronaut games. Super Destronaught DX seems to be a combination of all of the previous entries, but continues to evolve and modernize the formula.

Motz's Review

I am a complete sucker when it comes to space invader type games. I simply LOVE them with all my heart and soul. I am not sure what it is, to be honest with you, but something about them just warms my heart. I have played many of the official space invader remixes that have come out over the years and really enjoyed them. Super Destronaut DX blends the traditional invader concept with some trippy awesome visuals. The stand out twist on gameplay is the introduction of "grey" enemies that come at you not only from the top of the screen but on the Z axis of the game. It makes your mind think about playing the game completely differently because if you run into one of these baddies you lose a ship and your multiplier goes away. On top of all of that, each enemy has unique bullets that zig-zag, track you, and shoot in random directions. It is a lot to keep track of but makes it so much fun all at the same time.

Let's talk about that multiplier because it really is the core to the gameplay. If you want to topple that leaderboard then you need to constantly keep the multiplier increasing and pray that you never get hit by a random bullet. It also makes you evaluate how you blow up enemies as there is a "mega" ship that when destroyed gives your weapon a random power up. You can try to take the ship out early and whip out the rest of the wave, destroy one of the sides first, or take out everything except the mega so you start the next wave with a full power up. Even after hours I am not sure if I have mastered this skill, but it keeps me thinking.

Destronaut In Action

I keep finding myself coming back to this game time and time again to try for a high score. You can play for a hour or just a few minutes, and I think that is the beauty of Super Destronaut DX. The one thing that I wish was that there was more to the game, because once you finish the challenges there isn't incentive to go back and play them again. I still love it though and totally worth my $5!

Motz's Verdict


Michael's Review

Super Destronaut DX became interesting to me once I saw Motz playing it a bit. I've never been a huge fan of Space Invaders (or its clones) but from what I saw it looked challenging and I liked the idea of the online leaderboard. I also really wanted a game that I could pick up, play for a bit, and put back down without committing a ton of time to it. Being that it was also JUST $5 on the eShop, I had to go for it.

When you first start the game you'll notice that it feels very familiar. It handles as you would expect. Your ship can move from side to side while shooting rows of enemies that gradually move closer to you from the top down. The enemies are made up of several "types" each represented by a color and its own weapon trait. In addition to the weapons, some of the types require more hits before you can kill them. Occasionally you will see an orange enemy shit appear. Once you kill this ship, you will have a weapon power up for a very short time. This, plus the more untraditional obstacles that Motz mentioned, and there is A LOT in this game that's trying to kill you!

Super Destronaut DX offers several modes including Challenges, Classic Mode, Time Attack, Hardcore, and Multiplayer. Challenges gives the player 30 different challenges to complete. These range from reaching a certain score in a limited time to hitting a greyed out ship husk a set amount of times. While its fun to go through, there's really no reason to go back once you have done them all. You can't improve on them. It's either you've completed it or you haven't. For me, the real fun of the game is trying to get to the top of the online leaderboard! Especially if you have a friend or two all working to be the best. The other modes (Time Attack, Hardcore) also have an online leaderboard but as of right now, they don't seem to be working.

Destronaut Leaderboard

There are a few issues with the game though. While it's a BLAST trying to work up the leaderboard, I do think it can get a bit repetitive. I'd love if the music changed as it got more intense or when you're doing really well. As it is, its just the same song over and over. That, added with the constant announcer voice, and I mostly played with the sound off. I also find the game navigation to be a bit clunky. It works, it just doesn't feel intuitive. Lastly, it seems as if the waves of enemies (and power-up ships) are random. This is both good and bad. On one hand, you never know what to expect! On the other, when you have a game built around the idea of getting the highest score and beating out other players for the top, it seems rather unfair. This is especially noticeable in the Challenges mode. There are some challenges that you can NOT beat until you get the right combination of enemies/power-up ships. This ends up removing a lot of the skill from the game and just places the win on luck.

All in all, I'm having a lot of fun with Super Destronaut DX! Its a great pick up and play game. For $5 on the eShop, I'd say it was well worth the money.

Michale's Verdict


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Hands-On: Arena of Valor (Closed Beta) for Nintendo Switch Mon, 16 Jul 2018 15:00:00 -0400 d4fc895c-6fcb-433a-a450-f46231496875 The epic real-time 5v5 MOBA that is played by tens of millions of gamers is making its way to the Nintendo Switch and we got full access during the closed beta. If you have never played a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) then you are in for a treat when Arena of Valor comes to the Nintendo Switch later this year (we hope). Before this announcement that developer and publisher Tencent Games was bringing the game to Nintendo Switch we had never really hard of it even though we probably should have. It has been available for iOS and Android for almost 3 years in China and about 8 months in the US and has over 80 million daily active players and 200 million monthly active players. In addition to these impressive numbers of players that make it the most downloaded app globally, it is also the world's highest grossing game (source: Wikipedia). For about a week Tencent gave Switch gamers a chance to be part of a closed beta and both of us were part of it and wanted to give a full hands-on impression.

Arena of Valor on Switch

The gameplay at a high level is relatively straight foward. You pick a hero of your liking from a group of about 40+ all with different classes and abilities ranging from marksmen, warriors, to mages. You then depart on a 5v5, 3v3, or 1v1 mission to destroy the other teams base by working your way through the map destroying defense towers and battling with other heroes attempting to get to their "core" and destroy it. The gotcha here is that the defense towers are able to shoot your team's heroes directly unless they are being distracted by minions that are automatically deployed and are sent on a death march toward the opposition's core. It is a fine balance between trying to push forward and lurking towards your towers for cover before leading your minions forward. As the match progresses you are also constantly upgrading your hero with new powers and abilities that can alter your performance. The winning team is the one that destroys the other team's core and a full break down with an MVP award is given.

Arena MVP

This is just that start as there are tons of achievements, challenges, and more to unlock in the game that we could only start to explore in the short week beta. It is a beautiful game with major enhancements to graphics and controls that we are both excited for. Here is each of our takes:

Motz's Take

I can honestly say that I have never played a MOBA. I have wanted to play MOBAs and even thought about getting into them, but I was always more of a Real Time Strategy gamer so I didn't see the point. At first Area of Valor didn't spark my interest, but then after reading up on the mobile game and Michael's excitement got me all in and I submitted for the closed beta. Lucky enough I was selected and I am really glad I was as I have really enjoyed playing the game over the last week with and without Michael.

Unlike Fortnite that just throws you into battles, AoV guides you through a lovely tutorial of how to play the game, how to win the game, and how everything controls. Since I have played MMOs before, the idea of area effects and buffs wasn't any surprise to me nor were the different classes. What was unique was the strategy of trying to take down the enemies' towers all while trying to stay alive and power up. Every bit of AoV felt really good and polished on the Nintendo Switch including the control system. AoV doesn't feel like a mobile game shoved onto the Nintendo Switch as the controls have been finely tuned to easily allow you to navigate the arena, target enemies, and upgrade your hero as you progress through the game.

Arena - Battle

The game also looks really great and performs really well on the Switch. It isn't the most mind blowing graphics in the world, but the textures, models, and environments look pretty solid especially in handheld mode. I very rarely felt like the game was lagging during gameplay and the only negative here was some slow down at the start or end of the game when things were loading or stats were being calculated. This seems like something they should be able to fix up before release, but even as is the core gameplay was always rock solid for me.

Since all of the heroes were available during the closed beta I was able to try out a bunch of them and quicky realized that I am only really good at the marksmen and sometimes the mage. Each hero and class has their own abilities, skill trees, and power ups that are very unique and it seems like there is something for everyone. Now getting into each of the games seemed to be more of a mix bag. After selecting how many players you are thrown back to the home screen and sometimes have to wait, and sometimes not. You never really know why you are waiting or how long it will actually take as on average it would say 1 minute, but on a few rare occassions I had to wait for up to 6 minutes. Who knows if this is just because it is a closed beta, but once it goes live I have to assume there will always be someone to play.

Arena - Before Game

All in all I really enjoyed AoV and will be downloading it as soon as it becomes available. A few things on my wish list is to fix up the lobby and to put some sort of voice chat system for friends (which is built into the game already). If Tencent can figure these things out and fix a few slow downs I think they will have a a real winner on their hands.

Michael's Take

Like Motz, I too have never played a MOBA. When I saw that Arena of Valor was coming to the Switch at some point in the near future, I signed up for the closed beta. I was excited. Not only is it a genre currently missing from the platform, but its also my chance to finally try out a MOBA! Sure, I can play a MOBA on a bunch of other platforms right this minute, but let's be honest here, don't we all just prefer our games on the Switch?!

When I first started the game I was greeted with a tutorial that helps explain the controls of the game. While it was fairly straightforward, it didn't seem detailed enough for me. I didn't really feel like I had a grasp of the intricacies of the game such as the item tiers, Arcana, or even the terminology (what the hell is "jungling"??). It was all a bit overwhelming at first but despite that, I decided to just jump right in.

I was pleasantly surprised with how well the game controlled and played! The graphics look nice for both handheld and docked versions and played well with no stutters or lag. I did experience a few long wait times during matchmaking. Also, once players are in a match, there's a long load screen that happens before each match. I assume its loading all assets for each player's selected hero? I also noticed that some of the voice acting is still in place from the mobile version rather than rerecorded for Switch. For example, at one point the onscreen directions say to hit the A button but the voice is saying to "drag it to the X". These are minor issues and in no way deal breakers but still, it's something I'd like to see fixed for the official release.

One of the best things about AoV is that each round is somewhere between 15 to 30 minutes (that's rare but it did happen) so there's not a huge time commitment.

The beta was short and I was genuinely sad when it ended. I wanted more time! I felt like AoV has a lot of potential strategy and depth for the players that want it while still being simple enough for casual players. I'm really looking forward to this coming out!

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Review: Anker PowerCore 13400 Nintendo Switch Edition Tue, 10 Jul 2018 21:30:00 -0400 d04e1a4b-6b46-425b-82f1-1732ca5dc47d Our full review of Anker's officially licensed portable charger for the Nintendo Switch. This year's E3 brought us tons of new games to look forward to, but also some great new accessories including the announcement of Anker's partnership with Nintendo to bring officially licensed battery packs to the Nintendo Switch. I have wanted to pick up a battery pack for my Switch since I first got it, but was always worried about picking up a cheap option that potentially could ruin my Switch. This is why this partnership was really exciting to me as I have owned several Anker products over the years and have really enjoyed them.

Anker has released two models that are available today for "Pre-Order" (although I got mine a week after ordering). The first is a larger PowerCore 20100 that will charge the Nintendo Switch 2.5 times (about 15 extra hours) and can recharge in 3 hours. Then there is the smaller PowerCore 13400, which is what I ordered and am reviewing, that will charge the Switch 1.7 times (about 10 extra hours) and can be recharged in 3.5 hours.

The 20100 comes in at the suggested price of $89.99 and the 13400 is a bit cheaper at $69.99.


The nice thing is that both of these have very similar features including:

  • Charge While You Play
  • USB-C Charing Cable included
  • Standard USB with "PowerIQ" to charge other devices
  • Matte Design with Nintendo Switch logo
  • Officially licensed by Nintendo

Anker Alone


The 13400 has a beautiful design and is a great size that clocks in at about two Joy-cons if you put them side by side. It feels like a high quality product with its super sleek matte finish that does not attract finger prints at all. On the front of the 13400 is the Anker logo and a circlular button that can be pressed to see how much juice is left in the battery, while on the back is just the Nintendo Switch Logo. A large perk of the 13400 is that it clocks in at just 9.6 oz, which was a big selling point for me as I don't want to have to carry around a lot of additional bulk in my Switch bag.

On the side is where you will spend most of your time and it features two inputs. The first is the USB-C input where you will charge the 13400 and also use the included USB-C to USB-C cable to charge the Nintendo Switch. There is also a standrad USB input that you can use to charge anything else such as your smart phone. This is a nice touch because you may be on the go and tethering your phone to your Switch and want to charge both of them. The only negative here is that both models do NOT include a wall charging cable, which is a bit weird. Anker and Nintendo recommend using the Nintendo Switch adapter to charge these PowerCore power banks. This sounds like an alright idea, but the whole idea is to not bring the adapter with you or have to buy an additional one as it comes in at $29.99 for an official adapter on Amazon. Anker does offer other very similar PowerCore products, some are cheaper and some are a bit more in price and happen to come with a power adapter but aren't technically licensed by Nintendo.

Anker Side by Side

PowerCore In Action

The real question of this review is does it work? The answer is yes! While I was writing this review it charged my Switch 25% in about 30 minutes and the 13400's battery level hasn't even gone down, which is great. Sitting idle is fine while charging, but you also want a power bank that will be able to charge your Switch when you are actively playing a game. I can confidently say that the Anker PowerCore 13400 is up for the challenge in this department. I booted up Mario Tennis Aces and played for about 20 minutes and my Switch continued to go up in charged percentage.

Overall, I am really happy with the PowerCore 13400 as it and the 20100 are the ONLY officially licensed power banks on the market today. The only down side that I can see is the lack of the included power adapter does throw me off and seems like a bit of a money grab as you are already paying a premium for this product to get that officially licensed sticker and cool Nintendo Switch logo on the back.

So should you buy it?

I think it really depends on your needs and if you are comfortable spending $70 to $90 on a power bank for your Switch. For me it makes complete sense as I take my Switch with me everywhere I go and I always want to make sure I have full power. I also had already purchased a second official power adapter for my Switch when I first got it that I keep in my suitcase. For me the real incentive is that silly stamp from Nintendo that it is an officially licensed product that is tested and certified to work with your Nintendo Switch. In summary, the PowerCore Nintendo Switch editions are pricey, but are a must buy and the only thing I would buy for my Nintendo Switch.

Final Score


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Reviewed by James "Motz" Montemagno.

The PowerCore 13400 was purchased by James at full retail price from

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Nintendo Dispatch Podcast Launch Contest Sat, 12 May 2018 15:00:00 -0400 643ebb24-b89a-4239-bba2-e332b0e5d9c8 We are excited to launch Nintendo Dispatch to the world and kicking things off with an amazing contest with glorious prizes! Win a Waterfield Switch Cityslicker case or amazing Nintendo Switch games! We are excited to launch Nintendo Dispatch to the world and kicking things off with an amazing contest with glorious prizes! Win a Waterfield Switch Cityslicker case or amazing Nintendo Switch games!

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