If there's one painful lesson this scribe learnt in three years of 'Indie publishing', it's that getting noticed is an existential challenge. In an age of Super Indie publishers (should we trademark that term?) like Devolver Digital, Annapurna Interactive and Team17, it's entirely understandable that those companies and their often outstanding titles gain most of the attention.
On top of that, stores like the eShop get overcrowded with some rather questionable games every single week. For any gamer browsing the shop, it's tempting to check out one or two high profile games and then call it a day, leaving potentially interesting and quality titles languishing, tarred with the same brush as some genuinely lousy releases.
Of course, we try to give oxygen to as many intriguing download games as possible, but not everything gets the focus it might deserve. So these are games we 'missed' from last week, or are due out in the coming update, that we think are worth a little look. The list doesn't constitute a recommendation as such — we haven't reviewed these games — but there's footage and information that intrigues us.
This is also a bit of an experiment, as we really want to help amplify games that deserve it, so the format / style / frequency of this series will undoubtedly evolve and change; be sure to let us know what you think and how you want us to pick 'hidden' gems in the comments!
Without further ado, the games...
Upcoming Switch eShop Releases
Here are a handful of upcoming Switch eShop releases that caught our attention for one reason or another:
What Comes After (Flynns Arcade, $6.99USD / £5.99 - 1st April)
With developers that count Coffee Talk as part of their track record, this is pitched as a sidescrolling story experience that should be accessible for anyone to play, and is clearly a title that aims to draw you in with its ambience and characters.
You play as Vivi and try to help with "her journey on the train to the afterlife and back". It's been warmly received since its release late last year on Steam and has been highlighted in The Los Angeles Times.
Dungeon and Puzzles (Digital Crafter, $9.99USD / £7.29 - 1st April)
This is a game that's easy to breeze past; with respect for those involved, a name that is descriptive but so generic makes it hard to spot. However, as a logic puzzle game with a fantasy twist and style this looks rather encouraging; it also promises 150 levels.
There are some playthroughs, positive reviews and even a free demo on Steam, and we'd say it merits consideration for fans of the genre.
A Long Way Down (Forever Entertainment, $14.99USD / £13.49 - 1st April)
This is an intriguing one, albeit perhaps its worth waiting for the perspective of those that gamble and jump in early. On Switch it's published by Forever Entertainment (well known on the eShop for the likes of Panzer Dragoon: Remake and Thief Simulator), with the developer being Seenapsis Studio. A 'deck-building roguelite RPG', in principle and based on the trailer it looks fine (seemingly deep mechanics, perhaps choppy performance).
However, the 'mixed' reviews on Steam paint a picture of a game initially in early access but still has problems following its version 1.0 launch; yet Forever Entertainment doesn't seem to be involved in that PC iteration. We're intrigued, but cautious.
Good Night, Knight (Qubic Games, $11.99USD / £10.79 - 2nd April)
Developed by RedEmber, on Nintendo Switch this is being published by the well known and prolific QubicGames; as it's two days out at the time of publication its possible this'll get a PR push imminently. We covered this as part of a broader showcase last Spring, but it's certainly worth a revisit ahead of its arrival.
Described as a "charming 16-bit sneak-and-slash adventure", it seems to offer a good mix of nice visuals, quirky charm and potentially some reasonable depth.
Honorable Mentions - Switch eShop Games Out Now
And here are some titles that came out last week which we haven't been able to cover as much as we'd have liked:
Kosmokrats (Modern Wolf, $14.99USD / £11.99)
This isn't as big an underdog as others; in terms of coverage here it got a mention in an Indie World discussion and summary, but we haven't followed up on it since then. It has a bit of star power with voice work by Bill Nighy, but more importantly it looks like a clever puzzler that's willing to be creative and challenge the player. It's had a reasonable reception on Open Critic and in Steam user reviews.
Barrage Fantasia (Hanaji Games, $9.99)
We used a gameplay video from Handheld Players as, unfortunately, this one's official trailer doesn't do it any favours (it's rather blurry and visually 'noisy'); also note this is currently only on the North American eShop despite being part of the EU download update press release, so something has gone awry. (We’ve now had confirmation from the publisher that the EU launch has been delayed due to ratings issues.)
All of that backdrop is unfortunate, as this looks like a colourful and fun vertical shoot 'em up, with warm words for the game among those that have tried it and shared their views. Developer Hanaji Games is based out of Tokyo and clearly loves their craft, albeit this one is all-too-easy to slip under the radar.
Mega Mall Story 2 & Wild Park Manager (Kairosoft, $14.00 / £11.69)
The reality is that you can get Kairosoft games cheaper on mobile, but Switch ports from the company are typically solid and feel a little better to play. There are gamers with a real soft spot for this studio's brand and style of sim-management, so if you were unaware that two more arrived recently, now you know!
That wraps up this little summary of games we may have missed; if any particularly obvious ones are missing it may be because we are actually planning to review them. Let us know if any of these grabbed your attention.