I reviewed Gear.Club Unlimited 2 over a year ago for the Switch, and it was not a great game. Navigating menus is a drag with most of your time spent waiting. Plus, cars drive like they have a pole stabbed through the middle, one of the greatest sins in a racing game. But there were some bright spots where you could see potential improvement. All that’s to say that the Porsche Edition doesn’t change any of that.
3D platformers are such a classic, important pillar of gaming; a critical part of 3D gaming’s coming of age, and yet they can be very difficult to do well by today’s standards. There are few games throwing their hat in the ring anymore, and most that do leave a lot to be desired, particularly when heavyweights like Mario Odyssey set the bar so incredibly high. A few attempts have been made in recent years to revitalize the genre, primarily by cashing in on old franchises or using the talent behind classic games to make new ones in the same style with middling success (I’m looking at you, Yooka-Laylee).
Car Mechanic Simulator has been around a few years on the PC market with the latest incarnation being Car Mechanic Simulator 18. It’s your standard fare simulation game as you run a business and earn money to keep the lights on. To my genuine surprise, a Nintendo Switch port is out and even its flaws, it’s not the worst thing I’ve played.
As the screen fades up from pitch black into a dark forest at nighttime, and a red-shirted boy who is your avatar tumbles into frame, there is a distinct and deliberate feeling of familiarity; not quite deja vu, but close. This is almost immediately undercut by the realization that you are on the run, and you don’t have time to stand still and get your bearings. Thus, in the first twenty seconds of the game, INSIDE makes it clear that you’re back in Playdead’s world, but the stakes are higher and as familiar as things may seem at first, you won’t be able to rely on your past experiences to survive this journey. This world isn’t just dangerous, it’s actively hunting you, trying to catch you at every single turn.
In the eight years since Limbo’s original release in 2010, which practically seems like another lifetime ago, we’ve seen a great deal of advancement in development philsophies, general gameplay refinements, and graphical fidelity continues to improve year over year at impressive rates. The late 00’s were an exciting time in games, when indie developers were gaining more exposure on bigger platforms and distribution channels were becoming more easily accessible. Moreover, audiences were ready for fresh experiences that experimented with our conceptions about what video games as a medium could be.
Hand of Fate 2 is a great fit for the Nintendo Switch. With its combination of tabletop, collectible card game, and action RPG, it does everything the other versions of the game does – except done in handheld and portable form. Defiant Development’s hit from the tail end of 2017 sees new life in 2018. Whether you’re playing the series for the first time or double-dipping on another platform, Hand of Fate 2 is a unique experience that expands on the original in every way.