Before I Forget (Switch eShop)

Before I Forget is a short, beautiful experience that nevertheless approaches a challenging and rather sombre subject. It takes creative bravery to share a game that represents the impact of dementia, and to do so sensitively and as accurately as possible; it achieves this goal. We not only suffer the disease with Sunita, but engage with the successes and joys of her life. Before I Forget finds a careful balance that is to be commended.

Toree 2 (Switch eShop)

Toree 2 follows the same low-poly platformer template of its breezy predecessor, and also features a boss battle, a relatively challenging fight that comes at the end of the game's 45-60-minute runtime. What we like about Toree is its carefree feeling and easygoing approach. It's unapologetically simple and wants nothing more than to delight you for an hour. With dozens of hours of dark and dour games available, a colourful shot of Toree feels incredibly refreshing. The best thing we can say about Toree 2 is that, as with its predecessor, we enjoyed every minute of our time with it.

Love 3 (Switch eShop)

Love 3 only arrived on Switch in early December, but it serves up a pure slice of retro-styled precision platforming. Its visuals bring to mind pre-NES days, albeit with some modern tweaks and a better framerate, and it's all about focus and nailing those jumps. While difficult, it serves up some different modes and options to help you get through it, so you can determine the number of lives, checkpoints and more.

Monster Train First Class (Switch eShop)

Monster Train First Class made its name on PC in 2020 before getting its chance on Switch this year, and is certainly one of the standouts in its genre. That genre is strategic deck building, with a bit of roguelite thrown in, and as a result you're looking at a title that could devour dozens (or more) hours of your life. It has impressive depth in addition to building up your deck, as you try to make the most of your cards and do battle across three levels at once. And it's on a train, which is cool.

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Astrologaster (Switch eShop)

Astrologaster is perhaps the only time you'll ever get to play through a pop-up book version of London's 17th-century medical history. It's an extremely specific pitch, but when it hits, it hits well – and its musical interludes are as delightful and giggle-worthy as any of Shakespeare's best. Sure, it's not going to be to everyone's tastes, but if you're looking for something a little different and you're a fan of the classic British historical sitcom Blackadder, then you could do a lot worse than give this a spin.

Curse of the Dead Gods (Switch eShop)

A breezier, simpler game than its clear inspirations, what Curse of the Dead Gods lacks in narrative it makes up for in focused, crunchy gameplay. Combat is interesting, exploration is rewarding and the systems in play are sufficiently diverse to make this a winner. It won't consume you forever, but you'll feel far from short-changed by this game of meaningful, divergent dungeons.

Blue Fire (Switch eShop)

A very pleasant and enjoyable surprise, Blue Fire is an auspicious debut from ROBI Studios. Only the performance issues, mildly sloppy combat and high difficulty are points of contention, and the latter will certainly depend on your point of view. Developed with passion and skill, this is a world you can lose yourself in that'll reward you the more you play and the better you get. It's uncompromising in its difficulty but doesn't resort to cheap tricks and "gotchas". The graphics are appealing and, crucially, clear as day. This is a fantastic experience overall, even if it isn't made up of the most original pieces. It's gameplay-first and once you're traversing the infinite space of the Void stages, everything else basically just falls away.

Evertried (Switch eShop)

Evertried is a delightfully engaging experience, one part strategy, one part puzzle game. It cuts to the chase, with no set up and no indulgent intro, just a fast cutscene and you’re tossed in the deep end. A typical run of this grid-based hybrid usually doesn’t take much more than 10 to 15 minutes, which makes it feel nicely compact and quite easy to slip into just 'one more try'. It can get a little samey over extended periods, but its concept of its gameplay is something we haven’t seen before and, most importantly, it’s fun.

Mayhem Brawler (Switch eShop)

Mayhem Brawler is way, way better than it has any right to be. It looks good, plays nicely and only really suffers by comparison to its bigger brothers such as Fight'N Rage and Double Dragon Neon. The animation is lacking compared to these titles, but it's still perfectly acceptable, and the slightly generic environments are too busy to really pay much attention to. With a world this interesting, we'd love to see another game take place in Mayhem Brawler's universe.

Hoa (Switch eShop)

At times, Hoa barely looks like a game. It stretches expectations of how sumptuously a hand-painted look can be realised. Both graphics and music take strong influence from Studio Ghibli films – sometimes very strong influence. Nevertheless, the ideas built on those borrowings are emotive, as it the game’s central narrative theme of nature in opposition to technology — classic Miyazaki. Its tried-and-true platforming design, while unsurprising to seasoned players, will delight budding gamers getting to know the genre. Ultimately, Hoa is a paint-by-numbers platformer – and the painting is exceptional, even if everything stays carefully inside the lines.