The Nintendo Switch’s 4th birthday celebrations are in full swing here at Zatu HQ, empty cups of tea and biscuit crumbs are everywhere. A couple of people had a discussion about which biscuit is best to dunk that got a little heated. But they’ve since been switched onto decaf and moved to separate beanbags until they calm down. Enough biscuit chat and onto our Top 5 Indie Switch Games.
Michael Nelson kicked things off last week with his Top 5 Nintendo Switch Games rundown. He also asked a very important question - Where were you on March 3rd 2017? He was getting his pre-ordered Switch. I, on the other hand, was not. I was playing Destiny with my raid team (RIP) and looking forward to Mass Effect Andromeda coming out at the end of the month (after the patches I enjoyed it - @ me bro).
Don’t get me wrong, I love Nintendo, the Super Nintendo is one of my favourite consoles ever. I had a bit of a falling out with the gaming juggernaut at their mistreatment of the GameCube, but we got past it and moved on. But truth be told I held off on the Switch for a couple of reasons. Firstly getting consoles on release day is increasingly difficult and I can’t deal with the stress. Secondly, I had recently moved into a new house and all my money was going on buying furniture. And thirdly, I never really forgave them for the GameCube, how dare you Nintendo, how dare you! It had so much potential and you cast it aside as Sega did with the Dreamcast! Go to your room Nintendo, go to your room!
Anyway, I only got a Switch in the last few months so am very much late to the party. Had I known how amazing Nintendo’s latest gem was I would’ve joined much sooner. Not only does it have a vast library of fantastic first-party titles but it has a plethora of wonderful indie titles that shine on the hand-held. So here I am, with part two of Zatu’s 3-part mini-series - the Top 5 Indie Switch Games (quick disclaimer: I’m still playing catch-up on the vast amount of Switch games available. These are simply my favourite ones so far. I hear good things about Dead Cells and Spirit of the North, so you should probably check those out too):
Did you ever play Tenchu? The stealth action ninja game that started life on the original PlayStation? If the answer is ‘yes’ then Aragami is like that with a bit of a supernatural twist. It also features an online co-op. You should buy it... if you liked Tenchu that is. If you don’t know what Tenchu is then you’re missing out. It was a great series of games that featured stealth combat in a feudal Japan setting. Sadly it was somewhat overshadowed by the colossal Metal Gear series.
Everything that made Tenchu great has been refined and improved upon immeasurably by Aragami developers Lince Works. You control the titular character - Aragami - a shadow spirit who is rather good at killing people. This is handy as you’ll spend all 13 chapters of the game doing just that. Apparently, it’s possible to complete levels by just taking out the boss, sadly I’m not good enough to sneak in and eliminate just my target. Plus taking down unsuspecting guards is too wonderful an opportunity to pass up and Aragami has a multitude of interesting assassination animations that it would be a crime not to view them all.
The fourth title in the Streets of Rage series was a long time coming, but it was well worth the wait. Fan favourites Blaze and Axel return with new additions Cherry and Floyd to take down a crime the only way they know how - with their fists. Developed by DotEmu, Lizardcube and Guard Crush it features beautiful hand-drawn animation throughout that gives a new signature style to an already iconic series.
Everything you need for a true nostalgia hit is here - secret areas, an abundance of things to unlock through gameplay rather than a DLC paywall, 16-bit character models, couch co-op (it has online co-op too) and a soundtrack that is a beautiful throwback to the first two Streets of Rage games... I’m not including the third as that techno soundtrack was trash.
Wait, I’m putting Moving Out on the list instead of Overcooked?! Put down the chopping board and let me explain. Team 17 struck gold with Overcooked. It was fun, manic and an absolute blast with four players. Overcooked 2 is also great, but it feels the difficulty was cranked up to (gas mark) eleven very quickly. I’ve never heard people argue about chopping lettuce until Overcooked 2 and it’s a surreal moment I’d rather not repeat. This is why Moving Out has made my list. It still has fantastic, memorable characters - I play as a toaster - it still has hilariously crazy action and four-player co-op, but the overall gameplay promotes a much friendlier experience as, rather than delegating jobs to people like you do in Overcooked, everyone has the same job - get everything in the van. Which results in far less finger-pointing if something goes wrong.
You and up to three friends can become newly certified Furniture Arrangement & Relocation Technicians (FARTs) and go about helping people move house by throwing all of their cherished possessions into your van. The faster you do it the better your score, and the best part? You don’t need to be that careful! Getting tired of lining up chairs to fit through narrow doorways? Throw it through a window! Why not join the chair and jump through it yourself? There’s also something very therapeutic about hitting a sofa with a television to get it through a door.
Aren’t games great? They take you to distant lands and worlds on amazing adventures with colourful characters. You can truly live out your dreams in games. If your dream is to sit in your pants watching hidden camera’s then Fictiorama Studios and BadLand Publishing have got you covered with Do Not Feed The Monkeys.
You work for an ominous, organisation and they have given you one job - watch the monkeys. That’s it, do not interact with them. Just watch. Every five in-game days you must have a certain amount of cages to continue working for your mysterious overlords. Luckily you can leave your apartment to do work and bring home money to buy said cages. Every day or so “the company” will send you a request which relates to one of your cages to earn more money - it’s usually nothing more than “what address is cage 5 at?” or “what is the name of the monkey in cage 2?”. Nothing weird there... except that the monkeys are actually people.
That right! The “monkeys” are people, the “cages” are cameras and “do not feed the monkeys” means “do not let them know you’re watching”. The game is played out on a series of screens, you’ll switch between cameras watching people and scribbling down notes about them, which is all carried out by pressing on highlighted items on the screen or words coming out of their faces. The one problem though? Not feeding the monkeys is very difficult to do.
Across the game, you’ll be randomly assigned cameras from a pool of 46. This is fantastic for replayability, as of now I’ve gone through the game five times and still haven’t seen everything. These cameras will show people going about their weird and wonderful (and sometimes sinister) lives. Unfortunately, their lives carry on when you go to work. Causing you to miss vital information or a key event. So you won’t want to go to work, just like Aerosmith you won’t want to miss a thing. But then you won’t earn money to buy enough cages to stay with “the company”. It’s quite the dilemma. Luckily for you blackmail exists and it’s very profitable! To avoid spoilers I won’t go into the lives I ruined or how I blackmailed old people. But suffice to say, in this universe, I’m a terrible human being.
Speaking of being terrible, thanks to the good people of House House, I’ve been able to experience being a goose. Untitled Goose Game is fantastic, it’s a short, sharp blast of honking good fun. You take on the role of an ordinary, everyday goose and, as everyone knows, geese are pure feathered evil.
There’s not much I can say about Untitled Goose Game that I didn’t cover in my review. It’s just an all-round lovely game, filled with smile-inducing details. Even down to the sound of the goose waddling around, everything is well thought-out and creates a surprisingly immersive experience. You’ll spend the entirety of your time being a nuisance to everyone you meet. Every area gives you a to-do list to check off before carrying on to find your next victim. Each item on the to-do list is like a mini-puzzle, but there’s nothing too taxing to take the enjoyment away from your relaxing waddle through the village.
Since the launch of the game, House House has given out a free update that adds a two-player couch co-op, which makes ruining the lives of all the villagers so much more fun! Don’t even get me started on the final chapter, which is pure enjoyment. So yes, go read my review, add Untitled Goose Game to your basket along with the rest of my top five and get to that checkout! Go on, you deserve a treat.