Whoosh! What that was? April, mate. Which means it's time to look back on the gems that glittered on Switch eShop during the most foolish of months.
As if your wishlists weren't already groaning with the sheer number of great games you're waiting to pick up, we're here with our monthly reminder of ones you may have missed in the last month or so. Below you'll find Switch eShop games that we reviewed in April which scored 8/10 or better, plus Team NL's cumulative top three picks.
The release of all the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters individually on the eShop has clouded things a little this month, especially given the extremely limited availability of the physical version. We awarded the entire bundle package a very respectable 8/10 in our review, and although individual games might fall short of that mark, we decided to include them all in our round of voting. The more, the merrier, right!?
First, though, the great games that didn't quite manage a podium place...
There were a good handful of winners that hit the eShop in April, all of which are worth investigating:
- Castle of Shikigami 2 | Review: 8/10
- Tin Hearts | Review: 8/10
- The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story | Review: 8/10
- Final Fantasy IV Pixel Remaster | Review: 8/10
- TRON: Identity | Review: 8/10
- Teslagrad 2 | Review: 8/10
- Nuclear Blaze | Review: 8/10
3. Cannon Dancer - Osman (Switch eShop)
Sneaking into the Bronze medal slot is Cannon Dancer - Osman. This spiritual sequel to Strider arrived on Switch (and elsewhere) this month a whopping 27 years after its arcade debut, and it managed to impress a bunch of us here.
Tom called it "an undeniably polished product [with director Kouichi] Yotsui’s action-cinema aspirations stamped all over it," in our review, awarding it a very respectable 8/10. "Speed, dynamism, and full-bodied combat snap will keep bringing you back for more." Sounds good, dunnit?
2. Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories (Switch eShop)
We checked out this one at PAX East and were pleased to see that the finished product lived up to those great first impressions. Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories is an old-school adventure RPG with Game Boy-style presentation, and a short and sweet experience that is sure to resonate with Mother fans.
Austin described it as "cute on the outside, but dark on the inside" in our 8/10 review, "a great little story-driven, exploration-based mystery RPG, plain and simple." If you're after a slice of GB nostalgia filled with wit, charm, and a little darkness, look no further.
1. Final Fantasy VI (Switch eShop)
You see, this is what happens when you give them an inch! When it comes to Final Fantasies, there's always huge debate as to which is best, but of all the Pixel Remasters that finally (finally!) dropped on the eShop in March, Final Fantasy VI was the clear favourite on Team NL. Lowell called it "the crown jewel of the collection" in his review of the six-game bundle, praising its "sprawling narrative", "awesome steampunk aesthetic", and "one of the best villains in gaming history."
You've probably played it before. Probably time to play it again.
< Nintendo eShop Selects - March 2023
How we decide our eShop Selects top three: As we reach the end of every month, the Nintendo Life staff vote on their favourite titles from a list of games selected by the editorial team. To qualify for this list, these games must have been released as a digital-only Nintendo Switch eShop title in that particular month, and must have been reviewed on Nintendo Life; we select the qualifying games based on their review scores.
Staff are then asked to vote for three games that they think deserve to sit right at the very top of that list; first choice gets 3 points, second choice gets 2 points, and third choice gets 1 point. These votes are then tallied to create a top-three list, with the overall winner taking that month's top prize.
Fran Bow naturally.. been waiting like 8 years for that to finally hit consoles!
Lackluster months as obvious as this one can be a welcome respite before the deluge of top tier games summer always brings in.
Everything in April was either boring to the extreme or horribly over-priced.
Wildfrost for me. It's real fun.
@Cashews If all of these games received 8/10 and were selected by more than one Nintendo Life staff member, calling them "boring to the extreme" seems a little... extreme. "Horribly over-priced", maybe. But probably not all of them. At any rate, I would love to play any of these games, but the backlog has other demands.
Final Fantasy VI in particular, but in general finally getting Final Fantasy I-VI on Switch is undoubtedly the highlight of the month for me.
That said, I'm interested in getting most if not all of these games eventually!
Wildfrost for me. Highly recommend to any fans of Slay The Spire, Monster Train etc.
I too gotta go with Final Fantasy VI…it’s a arguably my favorite game of all time, and this remaster really did a great job!
Though, really, I feel like the whole 6 game collection did greataIV needs some more acknowledgment too!
@Neckcrane @BenAV agree re: WildFrost, and shocking lack of coverage on this site. The game has been a real breath of fresh air, and the initial "it's too hard" reviews were harsh - once the mechanics click it's up there with Spire and Train for sure.
Given that eshop selects are usually indies or comparatively minor titles without even a hint of a physical edition, putting Final Fantasy is definitely a stretch.
If they're going to sneak in some major titles and also include all eshop games rated 8+, I would prefer these monthly top games articles simply throw in all games which got 8+ rather than only non-physical games. And then maybe it could have the full list plus a top 3 physical and top 3 non-physical (or maybe indie versus 'major'?). Or just an overall top 5 or 10. The distinction of physical versus not physical is less important than it used to be; fundamentally a good game is a good game, although I do like the idea of highlighting lesser known games.
Regardless, my personal top 'eshop' games for April were Itorah and teslagrad remastered. The second had an earlier version of the game get an 8/10. NintendoLife hasn't reviewed Itorah, but it seems like a criminally under-appreciated game. It's categorized in other places as a metroidvania because it 'looks' like a metroidvania but it's actually a fairly linear action platformer with a tad bit of e.g. stamina upgrading. However, they do very clever things with checkpoints to make it seem non-linear even though it isn't-- you think you're lost in a big vertical and horizontal dungeon but suddenly you are back at a previous campfire checkpoint with a shortcut now open. The game has absolutely beautiful graphics and good theming making it just pleasurable to play. Also, the bosses are fun and simple; some people consider non-brutal bosses a negative but I quite enjoy bosses which break up segments of gameplay so you feel like you've accomplished something but without destroying the overall flow of gameplay; I've never understood the allure of games with chill action platforming and then repetitive grindy bosses. Anyways, great game overall.
Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories is definitely on my list to pick up. That game looks pretty fantastic.
It would be Final Fantasy Collection if it weren't so expensive. I will wait for a sale and buy it for %60-75 off.
@BenAV You got it, Wildfrost is top tier!
There's this novel called Willow something, bought it cause it cost peanuts, anyone heard of it?
@kurtasbestos I think 8/10 is the default score for 'this game was okay enough to play'. Source: all game reviews written.
@FishyS I'll have to check out Itorah! Thanks for the write-up.
The only game I'm interested in from this article is Teslagrad 2, but I'm waiting for it to get patched before I buy it.
You lot don't have the Moxie to include Shadows Over Loathing? I'm simply bamboozled. Right, off to do some more cryptobotany and jazz hands.
This one was FFVI for me easily. It’s my first time getting to play this one honestly I absolutely love it. Using the boosters to make it so grinding is unnecessary makes it really easy to enjoy the story and lemme tell you it is one engaging story with some of the coolest characters. Can’t wait to see how it continues in further play sessions.
I have to go with FFVI, it's an all time favorite for me. The changes they made for this version combined with the boosters make it so much easier to get back into it. It also makes me look forward to playing the rest of the collection.
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