Switch • I like to imagine that Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle was pitched by the most dependable, sober person at Ubisoft. You may have heard that it’s mostly XCOM, but with much less uncertainty and with some light puzzling elements replacing base management. Add a manic, child-friendly theme and remove permadeath, and that’s pretty accurate, which makes me think that pitch involved a virtuoso in the projection of normalcy. The characters are pre-made (so I can’t do what I’ve long done with XCOM and learn my kids’ classmates names by assigning them to my soldiers*) [I, on the other hand, change all my soldiers to British redheads named Amy Pond. It’s a bit weird. -ed.] but they have distinct skills trees which allow them to specialize in quite varied ways. Consequently, you have a lot of freedom to build the tools you want, but the game is correspondingly free to offer rather off-the-wall challenges.
iOS Universal, Android, Consoles, Switch, PC/Mac • While I absolutely adored the PC/Mac version of Thimbleweed Park earlier this year, I’ll admit that I still haven’t fully solved the Twin Peaks-like murder mystery that lies in the game’s center. The game is big and sprawling and while it looks and feels like a 1990’s LucasArts point-and-click title, there’s much more here to unravel story-wise. I’ve kind of been waiting for the mobile version to launch so I can follow the exploits of Agents Ray and Reyes–who are in no way anything like Dana Scully or Fox Mulder–on my couch. The wait is nearly over! Thimbleweed Park is coming to iOS next week and Android in October.
Switch • With a daughter turning nine in March, I had an excuse to pre-order a Switch and the new Zelda. The one-sentence review I would give of it is this: it’ll make you feel like a kid again, until you watch kids play. If I could add another sentence, I’d note that I’m only writing about it because I promised my kids I wouldn’t do the thing I just started doing in the game until they could watch me, and they’re in school. As I have now been gifted with an unsought opportunity to reflect, I’m going to make the most of it to try and excuse playing Zelda to the exclusion of writing for you wonderful people for weeks. It was “research” for this piece.