Christmas is over, Boxing Day’s been banished for another year and now you’re left combining three-day old scraps of turkey with whatever other leftovers and condiments are lying around the house. Yes, the inter-holiday lull has set in, and while it’s not quite up there with the January blues, it’s easy to slip into a turkey-induced funk between Christmas and New Year.
You should count your blessings, though – things could be so much worse! 2019 has been a bountiful year and lucky Switch owners will find a huge library of brilliant games to choose from to occupy themselves over the holiday period. Take care, though. The eShop is clogged with plenty of less accomplished efforts, and we’ve collected ten of the worst below for your reading ‘pleasure’.
Of course, it’s tough to say definitively what the absolute worst Switch game of 2019 was – the avalanche of software hitting the eShop prevents us from reviewing everything, but the following 10 titles are the lowest scoring games we’ve reviewed in the year 2019. All except number 10, that is. Numerically that entry scored slightly higher, but we’ve included it because, given the heritage of the series, we found the game so crushingly, demoralisingly disappointing, we simply had to feature it. A crying shame.
Okay, buckle up and brace yourselves – it’s going to be a rough ride…
Contra: Rogue Corps has some good ideas. The twin-stick action could have worked if it hadn’t been so fussy and inaccurate, the choice of characters could have been great if they’d had a bit more variety and the deep customisation and online game modes could have added longevity if they hadn’t been attached to such a drab and messy-looking game. In the end, nothing about this endeavour feels in any way related to the Contra games you know and love, and you’d do much better to grab the Contra Anniversary Collection at a much lower price – or try out one of the many excellent retro twin-stick shooters or side-scrolling action games already available on the platform. Blazing Chrome should be your first port of call.
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Publisher: Rising Star Games / Developer: Amplify Creations
Despite looking promising before release, Decay of Logos is a disappointing mess. It looks bad, has some crippling performance issues and is stuffed full of nonsensical and overly-punitive gameplay systems that make every minute you spend with it feel like a slog. The world that Amplify Creations has created here does occasionally feel like it could be an interesting and worthwhile place to explore, but there are just far too many bugs and problems that get in the way of you settling down to enjoy this game in any way whatsoever. Avoid.
Publisher: Rival Games / Developer: Rival Games
Thief of Thieves is an awful video game. It’s tedious and clunky, has broken AI, awful dialogue, miserable characters and a boring story that has absolutely nothing of interest to say or add to the heist genre. Its cel-shaded, comic-book style graphics are a strong point, but they’re compromised here by a weak Switch port that’s too blurry in handheld mode and horribly pixelated when you dock it to play on a big screen. There are also a handful of unforgivable technical issues; noticeable framerate problems, a bug that crashes you back to your console’s homescreen and overly long loading times that break up the gameplay far too often. In short, this is a crime-heist caper that’s out to rob you of your time and money and is, in every conceivable way, much more of a snore than a score.
Publisher: PQube / Developer: Kadokawa Games
If you’re new to visual novels, and curious, then go somewhere else first; Root Letter: Last Answer could put you off the genre for life. But if you’re a visual novel fan, you’ve played all the other interesting ones on the Switch and you absolutely cannot wait for another – and if you’ve considered maybe just going outside or watching TV or lying on the floor and staring at the ceiling and you still can’t wait for another – then you could take a look at Root Letter and just hope you find it so bad it’s good. Root Letter? On balance, we’d opt for Root Canal (Surgery).
A naked old man farts in your bath, so there’s that. Still, probably more fun to eat some beans and jump in the tub yourself, no?
Publisher: Polygon Art / Developer: Polygon Art
Beyond Enemy Lines: Covert Operations is an Early Access game that came of the oven less than half-baked. The good intentions of the developer are clear to see in the open-ended nature of each map and the way you approach each objective in your way by opening locked doors and hacking computers rather than shooting your way into a facility, but none of the mechanics in place ever make these conditions feel reliable or rewarding. It’s a purely single-player experience that really needed more time to work out its considerable number of kinks before enlisting on the eShop.
Bullet Battle: Evolution does not bode well for the future of online shooters on Switch. With it looking increasingly unlikely Call of Duty will ever return to Nintendo hardware, it falls to other studios to fill that gap. Unfortunately, undercooked messes like this one don’t help the cause. A free-to-play shooter that’s riddled with disabled microtransactions that bottleneck progress, this is a clunky effort that’s in dire need of some proper optimisation and a complete overhaul of its progression systems and balancing. You’re far better off sticking to Fortnite, Realm Royale, DOOM and Paladins for your online shooting needs.
Publisher: Snail Games / Developer: Snail Games
PixARK on the Switch is a poorly optimized, unenjoyable, and otherwise weak approximation of the Minecraft experience that in no way delivers value equivalent to the money you’re paying for it. Your time could be so much better spent on just about anything else you can think of. It offers a lacklustre survival experience that’s not even worth the memory it’ll take up on your SD card; life’s much too short to be wasted on poorly made games such as this.
Publisher: Atypical Games / Developer: Atypical Games
Radiation City is shovelware, to put it bluntly. Within the entirety of its (admittedly large) open world, there isn’t a single original idea to be found. The ideas it copies from its contemporaries aren’t well implemented either. If you’re looking for an enjoyable open-world zombie game, look somewhere else. If you just want a thrilling undead experience, check out Resident Evil.
Other more fun activities include stubbing your toe on the corner near your bathroom with the super pointy skirting board, and then one hour later doing exactly the same thing with the same mangled and swollen toe. At least you you can sit back at a later date and appreciate the comedy value of that.
Publisher: Digital Crafter / Developer: Digital Crafter
Somebody, somewhere, thought we needed an answer to the question of ‘Could Santa take Jesus in a fight?’ As questions go, we’ve heard worse down the pub of an evening, but in the context of a video game it’s laughably thin. With such a wealth of fighting games on Nintendo Switch, a cheap and poorly executed example such as this simply doesn’t make the cut. Even without its questionable choice of characters, you’re much better off spending your money on one of the many other 2D fighters available on Switch than wasting a cent on Fight of Gods.
And here we are. Garfield Kart Furious Racing was the biggest turkey we had the misfortune of clogging our micro SD with this year. Until we wiped it from our Switch’s memory, of course. If only it was that easy with our own memories!
We always knew Garfield was something of a rebel, but taking a bad six-year-old game, making it even worse to play, pretending it’s a sequel and charging Switch owners more than double the price to suffer it is some pretty subversive stuff. A broken mess of a game where somehow collision detection on the track itself periodically fails, causing you to fall though into the polygonal nightmare that exists below, not even everyone’s favourite curmudgeonly kitty can save this travesty. No guilty pleasures to be had here – this one’s so bad, it’s bad.
Which so many great games on the system, there’s no need to sample these turkeys, but have you had the misfortune of playing any of these games this year? Feel free to commiserate below, or perhaps offer an alternative take on any of the games above. Alternatively, add to them with your personal 2019 gaming disappointments…