Like a bite-sized Super Mario Odyssey. This collect-a-thon features 6 unique "worlds" that are actually rooms in an early 1990s house.
The 2D characters look fantastic, and the 3D backdrops are whimsical and fun to explore. The traversal mechanics are quite good, and I rarely cursed the controls. There's a great sense of exploration, and you're constantly finding something, which makes this game very rewarding to play.
My main complaint is the camera doesn't follow the player at all normally, and doesn't follow well if you enable it. To work around this issue, I mapped Jump to R so I could jump while moving and rotating the camera. Also, the game does a poor job explaining how the timing is meant to work for gliding. You press Jump, the immediately press and hold Jump. Unlike many platformers, holding Jump does not make you jump higher.
The story was pretty weird but mostly not super important.

Gorgeous visuals.
I wish I had something else positive to say.
The pacing is horrible, and your Navi-esque sidekick is perhaps the worst I've ever experienced. I assume I never made it out of the tutorial section of the game, because everything was nearly 100% linear and 100% boring.
Puzzles were basically nonexistent, and the combat wasn't interesting either. Hard to call what I was doing "exploration" either.
Perhaps this game gets better later, but I didn't have the patience to find out.

Not quite as good as the prequel. Leans a little too hard into the cheesy aspects and the QTEs. Still a good game, though.
Almost 100% standalone. You could play the games in either order, really.

Uchikoshi did it again! A wacky and grotesque murder-filled detective adventure game visual novel that is unforgettable.

### What is it?
It's like a life simulation game mixed with a narrative heavy RPG. Kind of like Disco Elysium. No combat, just dialogue choices and different environmental interactions.
Each day you roll a number of dice when you wake up. You choose which dice rolls go to which actions you take that day. You have to balance condition, energy, money, and a few other resources as you do tasks.
You are an android emulating the consciousness of a real-life human. You live on a space station and deal with life under extreme interplanetary space capitalism.
### What I liked
+ World is believable and engrossing
+ The character art is really nice
+ Music sets the tone really well
+ Lots of freedom with how to approach things
+ Cycle-based (one "day") time system lets stories take time to unfold naturally
+ Failure is handled well and is very interesting (reminds me of Dungeon World)
### What I didn't like
- Awkward controls (obviously designed for mouse input)
- Sluggish framerate
### More thoughts
I could not stop playing this game. It's relatively short, like 10 hours if you're a completionist. It was really engaging to me, and I liked every ending I was able to get. I stayed up late last night and cried a bit during the endings. Definitely the hit narrative RPG game of the year for me.
It's also on Game Pass, so check it out there if you can. It's on most platforms, so give it a shot!

Weird decisions as always, with Shantae.
"Definitive Mode" is actually hard mode, and "Legacy Mode" is the normal difficulty.
This was really confusing, and I eventually restarted the game on the normal difficulty.
This meant the game was quite easy, so I challenged myself by doing most of the game without using potions.
In typical Shantae fashion, the increased attack speed game mechanic causes it to be harder and harder to attack airborne enemies/items as you level up, because the animations become shorter. A game like this desperately needs an auto-attack feature when you hold the attack button, but they used that keybind to do a mostly useless attack instead.
For most of the game the music was banging, the art looked nice, and the exploration felt fine. Bosses were a bit on the easy side mostly.
Then the game took a complete turn. There's a timed section where you have to defeat like... 30 waves of enemies or something in "5m 30s"... but you actually get time back after each wave. The first couple times I did it, I ran out of time completely :( After looking up advice, you're apparently meant to spam your magic dances (full screen attacks, often with obnoxious screen shake). After switching to that strategy, I finished the area with 4m 30s on the clock. Wow.
The next boss was literally a puzzle that just shot projectiles at you. There were 6 brains on screen, and you had to figure out the exact order to hit them in or they reset. Do this 3 times, and you're good. Pretty terrible boss design honestly.
And for the true final boss? It was two phases, and had an absurdly large health pool compared to the others. Bosses do NOT have visible health bars (boo!), so I had NO IDEA how close I was getting. I already broke my "no items" rule during the timed section so I could eat MP potions, and in this fight I used items to keep my HP up so I could face tank.
The second phase of the boss fight took place over a pit, and you had to jump between moving rocks to hit glowing weak points on a giant boss. Again, the best strategy was to just spam dance moves. The screen shake honestly became sickening from doing the same move repeatedly.
So the game definitely left me with a sour taste in my mouth at the end. It's too bad because I definitely liked aspects of it, especially the recurring fights against Risky Boots.
One final note: the game series still feels a bit too horny for suspiciously youthful characters, and body diversity is low. Most characters have gigantic spherical tits with bikini tops and their entire midriff showing. I'm no prude, but honestly the character design here is pretty copy/paste as it has always been. And I'll never not be creeped out by co-creator Matt Bozon saying that Shantae "has no official age, but we consider her an adult in every game". Feels like some pedo shit to me, chief.
The animated cutscenes were cool, by the way. Very well done.
Should you play it? Eh, it's on sale on Switch and decent enough. It took me about 8.5 hours to beat, and I mostly enjoyed it. Too bad the last 1-1.5 hours were a drag.

Cute art, fun tunes, but frustrating gameplay. Someone mashed up an old school adventure game with a platformer/lite Metroidvania game.
The combat is janky and annoying, though easy. The game gives you checkpoints in every room, but does not restore health if you die.
The real problem is that you have to collect items and combine them and constantly backtrack. It's exhausting and tedious. I looked up a guide for a bit but eventually got bored.

Every single character is obnoxious. The writing is cliche. The characters all felt like silly tropes. Just another high school harem VN. I mistakenly thought this was a thriller game, but I guess that's later in the trilogy. I made it like 5 hours and I can't deal with it any more.

I really wanted to love this game. I first played a demo at Portland Retro Gaming Expo a few years back. It's by a local studio whose past work I enjoy. But this didn't do it for me.
I have to start with: OMG the pixel art is incredible, the art direction and execution is beyond gorgeous, this is one of my favorite looking games on Switch.
Unfortunately, the gameplay and pacing were too much for me.
The game takes what feels like an eternity to get going. I wonder if they were worried people wouldn't understand the game. Because they could've made the game easier to understand by putting more information in the menus. Instead, you're forced to remember what NPCs say, and go back to your house to check a bulletin board in order to remember what quests you have. Then you have to cross-reference those quests with a map, which doesn't mark the locations. So you have to read all the location names on hover to figure out where to go.
To be fair, I think these might have been optional quests? I'm still not 100% sure what the point of those are.
The main story quests were kinda similar, but at least were listed in the menu screen.
The combat is bewilderingly like Dark Souls. I expected "Harvest Moon meets Zelda" but it's more like a clunkier 2D Dark Souls. Damn near every action consumes gobs of stamina. You can run, roll, swing your sword, and block. It all feels strangely slow and lumbering for a little 2D grape. Also, if you die (surprisingly easy since you have little HP, and your potions take time to drink), you get sent back home and lose a percentage of your money, and the day advances to the next one. To make matters worse, sleeping does not refill your potions (did I mention that potions work basically exactly like estus flasks in Dark Souls? Slow and lumbering, and don't heal much).
I did the first dungeon, which is apparently randomized. It was literally completely linear, and I did it 3 times before I beat the boss. The puzzles were... fine. I can't help but wonder why they thought a game that looks like Harvest Moon + Zelda should play like Dark Souls meets roguelite.
Also, the daily bonus quests are randomized, but from a small pool. I quickly found myself doing the same bonus quests multiple times, and still not being sure what the point of doing them was besides a bit of money I didn't have much use for.
I made it to the 2nd town, which was a cute beach area. The level up system is unique, but not especially balanced. There were very obvious best picks. I'll give them credit that re-spec'ing is 100% free, unlike most games.
Ultimately, the NPCs had pages of dialog I wasn't in the mood for, and the gameplay loop was slow and uninteresting to me.
I really wanted to like this game! At least the frog and the grape are cute.

The concept is very interesting, but the puzzle execution wasn't to my liking.
I'm no stranger to puzzle platformers where one hit is instant death, but I couldn't actually get into a lot of the puzzles in this game. By the second world I was already frustrated and annoyed by some of the tighter timing required.
You can turn the entire game speed down, but it's no fun to play in slow motion. You can give yourself more hit points, but that didn't feel right either.
The first boss fight was shockingly hard. There are checkpoints in the fight, but it still follows OHKO rules, and the boss has some of the fastest and most punishing bullet patterns I've ever had to dodge. This felt completely out of place in a puzzle platformer to me.
The aesthetic is cute, and I like the gameplay concept, but the execution of its levels left me wanting something.

A short and sweet Metroidvania! Gorgeous art and lovely tunes.
Fun level design, cheeky writing, and it doesn't overstay its welcome.
Combat is fast, fluid, and easy. The focus of this game is exploration and collecting.
As with most Metroidvanias, there's some point where I got lost and looked things up... sadly the game doesn't seem very popular, so I had to just watch a Lets Play on YouTube to get thru it.

Cute, cheeky, and fun. Lovely music. Great NES-style art. Plays like tower defense crossed with musou.
I think it would be more fun in co-op, especially because it's quite tough, but it's perfectly serviceable solo. Has online play too.

It's like a short indie Mario Odyssey.
Good music and lovely art. This game has a lot going in the "vibes" department.
The controls are a bit sluggish, and it's easy to forget what you should be doing at any point.
It's not a bad game by any stretch, but it could use some polish.

I love the vibe of this game. Great art direction, wild music, bizarre and absurd levels.
My main gripes are the automatic camera angle is way too low for platforming (and manual is tedious), and the controls feel a bit floaty. I found myself struggling to land/walk exactly where I meant.
This game is short and sweet. At its price point, there's no reason not to pick it up for a couple hours of fun.

Great music, nice art, good story. Gameplay is all over the place.
For me, the combat was way too inscrutable and fast paced. Enemies deal massive burst damage. Luckily the difficulty sliders let me mostly nullify the fear of death in combat, though it was frequently hard still due to many enemies having puzzle-like mechanics.
The dungeon puzzles were pretty cool, but often finicky. The game uses full 360 degree analog aiming, which means your pixel precision is very hard to attain. I really think the game should've limited you to 8 way aiming, at least.
The game plays with the silent protagonist trope in fun ways, and blurs the boundaries between real life and artificial reality in a very cool way. The portraits are very expressive and beautifully detailed.
If I hadn't enjoyed the artistic aspect of the game so much, I probably would not have finished it. A guide is an absolute must, as these puzzles can be pretty arcane at times.
If you like challenging video games, and want countless Zelda-ish puzzles meshed with hyper fast combat, this is your game. And if not, you still might enjoy it on the lowest difficulty settings if you bring a guide.
The ending is kind of abrupt and expects you to play the DLC. I wasn't into the game enough to buy that, but my friend told me it's mostly just tying up a few story loose ends, and can be skipped.