Xeodrifter Review for Nintendo Switch

Xeodrifter, originally developed by Renegade Kid before being acquired by Atooi Games after Renegade Kid split in to two separate companies, is one of the rare games I’ve owned and enjoyed playing on multiple consoles. Five, to be exact. Aside from a handful of first party Nintendo games, I can’t think of any games I’ve been happy to own and play on this many different platforms. With that much experience on that many platforms, I think it says a great deal about the Nintendo Switch version when I say it’s the definitive version of the game, and easily my favourite place to experience this awesome little Metroidvania space adventure. If you know what the game is about, stop reading right now and go pick it up. If you’re unfamiliar, let’s go!

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Xeodrifter starts as your space ship collides with an asteroid, which damages the ship’s warp drive system. After the initial short cut scene, you’re put in control of the ship and given a simple choice of four planets to explore. In true retro fashion, there’s no hand holding here, and no glowing beacon pointing you in the right direction. This lack of direction or guidance may be jarring to some, but it certainly sells the fact that our hero is lost in space and alone. As you touch down on your first planet, you simply have to choose a direction and stick with it until you can’t move any further. Early road blocks hint at an upgrade system similar to Metroid games, where you learn new abilities as you progress, which help you progress further in the game and reach places you couldn’t before. Each new upgrade in Xeodrifter feels significant. Whether it’s finding a health or weapon upgrade, which are scattered throughout each planet, or a major ability upgrade, which you collect by defeating the bosses in each stage, everything has a purpose. Weapon upgrades are my personal favourite, allowing you to configure your blaster based on personal preference or the challenge you’re facing at the time. I tend to go for faster shooting and a bigger bullet size, but I really enjoy the flexibility, especially in some later sections of the game. You’re also able to set three configurations in the menu, allowing you to have a few weapon variations to quickly flip between instead of adjusting each node every time you want to change it up a little. 

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Like I mentioned above, each upgrade feels significant. Boss battles are TOUGH, so when you receive a new ability, it really feels like you earned it. The game paces these battles and upgrades out wonderfully, and I never hit a point where I was too frustrated to trace my steps back and figure out where I had to go next, unlike some Metroidvania games. Let’s face it, if you put Samus Returns down for a few days, you may need a guide to figure out where to go next. In Xeodrifter, each of the four planets is small enough to run through in a few minutes, and your next path will become evident pretty quickly. The game is over in a few hours, but the length feels perfect for the experience. It doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, or drag things out too much. There’s no unnecessary padding, and that’s a good thing. 

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As far as what makes the Switch version so special, the game just looks and plays amazingly well on the hardware. Whether in handheld or TV mode, the pixel art pops! Throw in some seriously impressive HD Rumble (seriously… WOW!) and you’ve got a package that deserves to be part of any Switch library. The HD rumble is so good that I had an issue playing the game how I wanted to. This isn’t a knock against the game itself, but I find the D-Pad on the Switch Pro controller a bit lacking, so I prefer to play my retro games with an 8Bitdo SNES 30 for the full retro effect. The problem is that controller doesn’t have HD Rumble or rumble of any sort, and the HD Rumble honestly adds so much to the experience that I found myself preferring a sub-par d-pad experience instead of missing out on feeling how much work went in to this port. 

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The Switch sometimes feels like a port machine. That can be good or bad, depending on your gaming history, but if every port was treated with as much love as Xeodrifter, the Switch wouldn’t be so much a port machine as a place to play the definitive, best versions of any game you can throw at it. Add Xeodrifter to your collection today. 

9 out of 10

Mutant Mudds Collection Review for Nintendo Switch

Mutant Mudds Collection by Jools Watsham’s Atooi Games is an absolutely amazing collection of games for Nintendo Switch. The collection includes Mutant Mudds, Mutant Mudds Super Challenge and the brand new Mudds Blocks. Even though two out of three of the games have been released before on every platform from iOS to the 3DS and most consoles, there’s still plenty to love about this collection for new and old fans alike. Until now the 3DS was my preferred place to play thanks to some of the best use of the handheld’s 3D effect, but I can safely say there has never been a better way to play these games than on Nintendo Switch!

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To start, Mutant Mudds is an incredibly tight, fun and challenging action platformer where our hero, Max, has to face the invasion of the evil Mutant Mudds with nothing more than a water gun, a jet pack, and a can-do attitude. This game adheres to Atooi’s motto of “Retro roots. Modern mojo.” by harkening back to the best of the NES and SNES days, while injecting very modern uses of foreground and background jumping. With pixel perfect precision platforming, varied levels and bad guys to face off against, and tons of replay value for collectors and completionists, Mutant Mudds justifies the price of this collection by itself. It’s pretty telling that while capturing footage for this game’s video review, I aimed to capture about 20 minutes from each title, and after an hour and a half I had to force myself to stop playing Mutant Mudds for a bit so I could focus on the other two. It’s just that good.

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If Mutant Mudds is Atooi’s answer to Super Mario Bros, Mutant Mudds Super Challenge is their Lost Levels. Everything from the original is turned up to 11 in this sequel. There is no hand holding, no training wheels, and no mercy. Even as someone who has played and replayed the original Mutant Mudds, Super Challenge is more than happy to hand your ass to you at every turn. It even has a kill counter, something the original doesn’t, that slaps you in the face as you tally up death after death after increasingly frustrating death. But the sick thing is that you’ll keep going back to it. If you get frustrated with one stage, you can easily move on to the next, because all the main stages are unlocked from the get-go. Each win is a badge of honour, and with the built in leaderboards for all three games in the collection, this isn’t just a challenge against the game itself, but also a race against your friends and the rest of the world. This is stockholmm syndrome, the game, and I love it. I’m not sure why, but I do. I may curse Jools and crew repeatedly, but something keeps bringing me back. This is a great, if at times frustrating, game. 

Post your best times in the Warp Whistle Gaming Facebook group and add the Warp Whistle crew to your friends list and let the bragging rights battles begin!
 

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When you inevitably need to cool down from the blinding rage and broken controllers that Super Challenge will bring, take a break with Mudd Blocks, the brand new puzzle game where you line up blocks of the same colour and blow them to smithereens with special bomb that randomly appears. As usual with puzzle games, the blocks steadily rise to the top, so block placement and strategic bomb dropping are key here! With several modes to choose from, each playing on variations of the same core concept, but with different flavours, and a great multiplayer mode, Mudds Blocks is the cherry on top of an already incredible ice cream sundae, and is a delightful addition to the Mudds universe.

Mutant Mudds Collection is a must-have for Nintendo Switch owners looking for a great throwback to retro action and platforming games. For $15, this collection is an absolute no-brainer. You’re getting three fantastic games, online leaderboards, video capture on day one, and some of the best use of HD rumble to date. Mutant Mudds is up there with my favourite games on Switch; not just Nindies, games. Period. Add it to your collection today. 

 

9.5 out of 10

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Floor Kids Review for Nintendo Switch

Floor Kids, produced by MERJ Media, with graphics by JonJon and beats by Kid Koala, is one of the coolest, most unique video games I’ve played in a long time. A cool new rhythm game with a little fighting game flavour thrown in for good measure, Floor Kids will have you tapping along with the beat in no time, but sinking hours and hours in to the game to perfect your freestyle moves. 

With a price point of $19.90, Floor Kids kicks you in the face with it’s bboy personality before you even take out your credit card. From a hand drawn sketch art style to the awesome soundtrack, the game is clearly a labour of love from people that love hip hop, breakdancing battles, and sweet sweet style. In case you couldn’t guess, I have about as much natural dance talent as an intoxicated giraffe, but jumping in to this game made me feel like I could battle with the best and hold my own after just a few 2 minute tracks. Like the best rhythm and fighting games, you could mash buttons to the beat and squeeze by with a few stars in each of the unique and fun levels, but the real meat of the game comes from learning combos, stringing them together, adding your own personal style and flare, and making each performance better than the last. The audience in each stage gets in to it if you’re doing a great job, and will cheer and throw out recommendations to earn you extra points, but aside from that, you’re on your own to let the music speak to you. 

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It shouldn’t take more than a few hours to unlock most of the stages and characters in the single player mode, but like most rhythm and music games, the hours you put in to this game will be when you go back to 5 star each stage, building up your skills for the incredibly fun multiplayer mode, where opponents face off and take turns throwing down their best combos, just like a real breakdance battle. 

You don’t need to know a thing about breakdancing, bboys and bgirls, or hip hop to appreciate Floor Kids. It’s a unique experience that’s perfectly at home on the Switch, and similar to how guitar hero left you thinking you could suddenly shred on an axe, letting yourself get sucked to Floor Kids world will have you bouncing around your house to the beats and dancing like a white girl at a Christmas party long after you put down the JoyCon. Speaking of JoyCon, the game makes great use of HD Rumble, which is evident from the opening menu.

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I highly recommend this game for rhythm fans, music fans, and even fighting game fans looking for a new place to practice their combo strings. It helps, for me, that it was made in Montreal by an awesome team of fellow CaNERDians, but I have no doubt this game can be enjoyed by people all over the world. 

Warp Whistle Gaming gives Floor Kids an 8.6 out of 10. 

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Riptide GP: Renegade for Nintendo Switch

Riptide GP: Renegade for Nintendo Switch is a dream come true for me. If Nintendo won’t do a sequel for WaveRace, Vector Unit seems more than happy to step up to the plate and deliver. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a game that’ll hit the Nintendo Switch eShop at $10 US, and even though I have played some of the Riptide series on iOS, I wasn’t sure what to expect from what is essentially a mobile port to everyone’s favourite hybrid console. I can happily say, what we got with Riptide shows off fact that the Switch is the best gaming tablet you can buy, that mobile games can be made much better with controllers, and that Vector Unit can pull off a big feeling game with what’s most likely a small budget compared to some of the other AAA games that have been dropping the last couple of weeks. 

For starters, this game looks great! Sure, it’s not going to win awards for graphics of the year, but for a $10 indie title, I was impressed with what I saw. Everything ran fluidly, the water physics were spot on, the character and vehicle models were cool, and the stages were all unique. 

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The game also handles like a dream. They’re not reinventing the wheel here, and that’s a good thing. This game. This $10 eShop download from a traditionally mobile-heavy developer. FEELS LIKE WAVERACE! Let that sink in. Nintendo, take note. Vector Unit is showing you how to do your own game. 

With plenty of courses, different game modes, tons of vehicles and character customization options, you’re going to get a lot out of this purchase. I haven’t had a chance to check out the online multiplayer yet, but with Career mode, Quick races, and 2-4 player split screen, you’re already getting more than enough to justify the price of entry. Online, to me, is just a cherry on top of an already great experience. 

Riptide GP: Renegade is easy to get in to, but the difficulty ramps up, forcing you to spend money wisely, upgrade your vehicle, and get good fast! For racing fans waiting for the next Waverace game, try this one out. 

8.5 out of 10

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Ittle Dew 2+ Review for Nintendo Switch

Ittle Dew 2+ for Nintendo Switch is a delightful throwback to old school top-down Zelda games, calling back to some of the best games in the series while creating a world and a vibe all its own. While the gameplay, controls, a graphics are all expertly tuned, the game doesn't take itself too seriously, often poking fun at video game staples, Nintendo's hand-holding, and at times, itself.

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I found myself actually LOLing at several lines and moments through the length of the game, but the lightheartedness shouldn't put you at ease. Ittle Dew 2 will kick your ass if you let it. And you will let it. It's inevitable. Unless you're playing with a guide, you're going to stumble in to an area that you shouldn't be. Like the best Zelda games, you're able to access almost every part of the map right from the start, and you're rewarded for having the skill to take on harder enemies with weaker gear. 

With a fun story, tight gameplay mechanics, a killer art style reminiscent of Scott Pilgrim comics, and throwbacks to the Zelda series, Ittle Dew 2+ is an easy recommendation for old school Zelda fans! The only downsides, for me, are sometimes the game is a bit tough to figure out without resorting to a guide, and it's a bit pricey. Old school Zelda players (and newer people that loved Breath of the Wild) should have no problem without much hand holding, and if your wallet can handle it, you won't be let down by the experience. It's available now in the Nintendo eShop, as well as another amazing physical version along the lines of other Nicalis releases. 

7.5 out of 10

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