There are a lot of puzzle games out there. And I don’t know about you, but there’s a place in my library for a game that I can turn to when I have a few spare moments. On a bus, in a lineup, or waiting for an appointment, my Nintendo Switch is not usually that far away in my bag.
When my family first purchased the Switch, one of the first games I was really looking forward to releasing was Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido. This was one of the first games I finished on Switch, and it was a great ride with interesting mechanics, a compelling story, and bright graphics.
Since completing Sushi Striker, I have been in search of the next great puzzle game. Something with an interesting story, fun characters, addictive gameplay, and colorful visuals. And it seems like I may have stumbled onto a game that fits all these criteria.
Keen – One Girl Army was developed by Cat Nigiri, an indie studio based in Brazil who has focused on mobile games such as Dino Zone and Kitty Kitchen. Necrosphere was their first project outside of the mobile gaming space, and was met with great success. With the lessons learned from that experience, the team paired up with publisher Phoenixx based in Japan. They are most known for publishing titles such as Smash Hockey and Seven: Enhanced Edition.
The game is described as “a sliding game with turn-by-turn tactical combat and a hint of adventure.” This sounded pretty appealing to me, and it turns out my intuition was correct. I could not put this game down and played for much longer than I would have expected.
The story begins where a young samurai is training and learning how to use a sacred weapon. She is sent off to burn the only bridge leading to her hometown and gets caught on the wrong side. She is now confronted with the outside world, and has to figure out a way to return to her village.
The gameplay is broken into stages, and each stage will have different objectives. For example, the tutorial walks you through the sliding and fighting mechanics, but it also rewards you for finishing within a certain number of moves.
The typical power-ups exist such as hearts for increasing health, and the gameplay stays fresh with removing your weapon and forcing a stealth mode at times. There are also side missions to complete that are not part of the main story, and that focus heavily on problem solving and puzzling out the rooms. Boss fights are intense, since there seems to be little to no room for error in the way they are completed.
I would have given this game a perfect score if it weren’t for some very minor technical issues. I have found that pretty consistently there is some sound degradation at the end of the levels while the stats are being displayed.
Overall, the visuals are lovely, and the gameplay is surprisingly addictive. The story is well crafted, and this is a game I am looking forward to returning to over and over again. Consider adding this to your library if you enjoy puzzle games with a fun combat twist.