The Nintendo Switch eShop Needs Some Sort of Review System
You know one easy and efficient way to ruin your day? Spending money on the Nintendo Switch eShop only to find the game you've purchased is a total dud in one way or the other.
I've made three disastrous purchases on the eShop over this past year, but none are as infuriating as my most recent. The first, Assault Gunners HD Edition, is simply a very poor game from top to bottom. The second, DEFOLIATION, has almost passable localization but puzzles it seems no one can figure out at a point and an utterly useless hint system.
The third and final, Junk Planet, is the biggest slap in the face of the three. Not because Junk Planet is a bad game, but because the game's English is not intelligible in any sense of the word.
I'm not sure what happened here, but it's bad. The speech patterns found in this game's "English" localization read like machine translations (such as Google Translate).
But that's not the problem — machine translations are often hard to understand but can be parsed to some degree. You barely get that benefit here.
I have a long history of pushing through games I barely understand; I would not say I'm the type to give up on a game just because I don't understand the text. I had to give up on and uninstall Junk Planet, hence the tutorial screen above. Anyone would.
The game does an incredible job of not telling you how to play it at all. Despite all the dialogue in the intro, it's so garbled and inexplicable that it's almost impossible to figure out what you're supposed to do.
I get I'm supposed to build and craft, I get that garbage falls from the sky and I have to clean it up. That is about it.
It's not for a lack of trying. I have tried (very hard I might add) to play this game. It's cute, it's got what appear to be loads of little gimmicks, and seems like an interesting take on the 2D sandbox/builder. But it is simply unplayable.
A Switch Problem
This purchase, and the other three mentioned, aren't the only troubles I've had with Nintendo Switch exclusives and ports. At this point, one has to wonder whether it's worth it to browse the eShop in the first place when you can barely determine the quality of the game without whipping out your phone and looking up reviews.
Like the Wii and Wii U shops before it, the Switch eShop is slowly filling with low-effort titles that aren't even worth half the price they're listed for, and most are hobbled ports.
Unless you roll on over to the Web and look up reviews, you're basically shooting in the dark when you make a third-party purchase on the eShop. This includes buying from larger publishers.
You may remember the FIFA 19 advertising debacle that led buyers to believe the game was running on the newer Frostbite engine, and not the previous Impact engine. Or maybe you remember the Final Fantasy IX port on the Switch, which is by no means busted but is not in what anyone would call "great shape". A console game crashing every so often isn't "great shape".
I'm not bringing these games up to mock them, but to highlight the need for the Nintendo Switch eShop to have some sort of review system to provide some clarity on the state or quality of a release right there on the console. It's standard with the competition, why not on the eShop?
The community at large likes to give Nintendo a lot of free passes because it's Nintendo. The company has always been there and have been a staple of millions of childhoods over the past decades.
It's difficult to even bring myself to criticize the company much past the odd-off jokes about peripherals and bizarre controllers, but the average quality of what's available on the eShop paired with the lack of a review system is something that should be a discussion among Nintendo Switch owners.
What was acceptable in past generations is not necessarily acceptable today.
Nintendo has notoriously taken its time integrating internet-based systems the industry as a whole sees as necessities. In this day and age, the eShop needs some sort of review system not just to keep up, but to at least give consumers a minimum surface layer of protection from making uninformed purchases.
You can look online to get a general consensus on a game on the eShop, but you shouldn't have to look elsewhere to get a simple numbered rating. Third-party purchases on the Nintendo Switch eShop are a gamble, but they don't have to be.