Let’s Play! Oink Games | Review | Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: Oink Games
  • Publisher: Oink Games
  • Release Date: 15/12/2021
  • Price: £17.99/$21.99
  • Review code provided by Oink Games

Introducing: Let’s Play Oink Games Review

It’s no secret that I love board games. For me, there is nothing more satisfying than getting a close group of friends and family around a table and rolling dice, playing cards, and sharing an evening. If I’m not on a console, then I’m usually engrossed in something involving a tabletop. I came across “Deep Sea Adventure” a few months back and adored this tiny game so much, it has “accidentally” ended up in my wife’s handbag a few times.

So when I found out that an online version was available I was all over it! Not only that, it came bundled in with other great games from the publisher! I quickly looked into sourcing a copy. So, are the titles on offer going to win best in show? Or do they end up a bit of a sow’s ear?

Background

Anyone want to watch me do a let’s play of… oh wait

Lets Play! Oink Games gives of strong Jackbox Party Pack vibes from the start. There are three main ways in which you can play. Online allows you to search or host rooms in which to play with anyone around the world. Obviously this requires a NSO subscription to access the online functionality. There is also a local mode which lets you pair up your switch with others in the same room to play with friends.

However, if you’re unable to play with friends for whatever reason, fear not! There is an adequate offline mode that enables you to enjoy the majority of these titles with the help of the game’s built in AI. The “offline” option splits into single player and multiplayer to allow people to play on the same switch. Truly they have made a real effort to make sure everyone can access these games at any time!

Whilst most of my gameplay for reviewing took the form on single player offline. I did take advantage of the online functionality with friends in order to test it out, as well as playing with complete strangers. There was usually availability for the more popular games in the title and I rarely found myself waiting for a room to fill. There were plenty of customisation options so you could easily find a room with people wanting the same experience as you.

Gameplay

Menus are gorgeous and you can even read the back of the box art!

At the time of review there were 5 games available rather than the original 4. That’s right! In the short time this game has been available it already has another title added to it as FREE DLC! The original 4 games were Deep Sea Adventure, A Fake Artist Goes to New York, StartUps, and Moon Mission. All of these originated as paper/tabletop board games. They are joined by “This Face, That Face” and there is suggestion on social media that this addition of titles is not going to stop any time soon.

Selecting a game gives players the option to learn how to play, select game options that are relevant, and to start the title. Each title also has it’s time limit, number of players, and recommended age rating above it. The how to play sections are incredibly well detailed! Split into sections each has an accompanying video with subtitles to ensure you can see what is being described and are an absolute must for players new to the game, if not for learning how to play then for the well thought out spectacle that is often not given to a games tutorial.

Buttons can be a little confusing on the menus. With a wide selection of functionality attributed to them. Whilst these are all spelled out, the first time I booted up it wasnt quite clear to me what I was doing to set myself up as a player and often my muscle memory would take over and cause problems. By no means game breaking and almost entirely my own fault, but I’m fairly certain I’m not the only person.

OK, so onto the games! First up… An Artist Goes to New York

Joke’s on you – Banksy was playing…

“Fake Artist” was the game that most gave me Jackbox Party Pack Vibes. The goal is to draw the ultimate work of art. The problem is that some players know what the theme of the painting is, and one doesn’t. After you’ve all winged your way through this collective art project you then have to decide on who was the fake artist.

This is a great social deduction game. Convincing your other players that you are, or aren’t the artist is often hard, because of the social aspect of the game though, don’t be thinking you can populate with the AI. This is one of the only titles with the least single player functionality, but that doesn’t make it any less fun as the ability to jump into an online game is really easy.

One thing I liked about this is that the colours for each marker gave the player’s number as you drew. This is a great little feature for players to track who’s done what, but also for those who are colourblind. The numbers aren’t always the most visible, but its an addition that showed willingness to increase game accessibility.

Now Moon Adventure

Houston, we have a problem, the spaceship you made was, well, cardboard!

Moon Mission is our first of two “press your luck” games. If you’ve ever played “King of Tokyo” or “Here Be Dragons” then you will be familiar with this mechanic. These involve you rolling dice and taking actions. In the case of the previously mentioned games, the idea is to maximise particular actions to gain points or deal damage. In the case of Moon Mission, players work cooperatively to try and get enough resources to rescue themselves.

The goal is to collect a certain number of valid supplies in order for you ALL to survive. As it’s a cooperative game you work alongside each other in order to gather supplies, but the more supplies you collect, the less you are able to do on your turn. Rolling dice determines the number of actions you can do on your turn. Actions range from movement on the board to setting up shortcuts to transferring resources. Players will run out of oxygen though and drawing more oxygen from the deck runs the risk of subjecting yourselves to another magnetic storm.

Even if you all get back to base safe and sound (not always an easy feat) you can still lose. Uncovering the tiles you have returned from the moon reveals whether they are valid or not. If you don’t get enough supplies you won’t survive long enough to be rescued! All these elements work together to provide a challenging, but fun cooperative experience. Maybe not one to break out after a few drinks though.

Onto Startup…

The company names alone make this game!

In Startups we are playing the stock market! Because who doesn’t love a bit of capitalism in their board games? I’m looking at you Monopoly! The idea is you collect stocks in one of the six available companies. You build up a monopoly by playing cards from your hands, representing your stocks. Some companies have more stocks than others so you have to plan which cards to draw and play each turn.

Once you have a monopoly, you can’t buy more cards from the market. The market is where players can place company cards that they no longer want. If you choose to ignore that company and draw from the deck, you have to pay for the privilege. Are you going to earn your money through monopolies, or chancing your bet on those unwanted assets?

Once all the cards have been drawn, money changes hands. From those with fewer stocks in each company, to those with more. If you have the same number of stocks, no money moves hands. The colours and animations on this game are gorgeous and the companies mentioned are actually really cute. Everyone will have their favourite at the table and if anyone takes Bowwow Games from me I will end you! You have been warned!

Finally, let’s go on a Deep Sea Adventure!

Life’s always better down where it’s wetter

Moon Adventure is technically the little sister to Deep Sea Adventure. The big difference is that Deep Sea Adventure is that its competitive rather than cooperative. In Deep Sea Adventure we play as divers trying to collect sunken treasure. At the start of the game you roll dice to move deeper into the ocean. The idea being that the tiles lower down have more valuable treasure than the ones closer to the sub.

No problem right? Just work your way to the bottom, get the best stuff and everyone gets buns for tea? Except…. each turn you take after collecting treasure depletes your oxygen by 1 for each treasure you carry. This happens on your opponents turns too, so the greedier you are, the less oxygen you’ll have to make it back. This is where the press your luck element comes into it’s own. Each dice roll is also reduced by 1 for each treasure you have. You can abandon treasure further down… if there’s a suitable space to do so.

Unlike Moon Adventure though, you only have to worry about getting yourself back. Each round scores you points based on the value of the treasure you bring, this makes the distance to richer treasures shorter! The player with the most treasure after the set number of rounds wins! This was my first foray into Oink games in tabletop form and I have to say, the game makes the jump to digital really really well. Setting up the game is a breeze for example!

What about that DLC you mentioned?

The first of many DLC packs!

This Face, That Face reminded me of the Super Mario Party minigame “Making faces” whereby the goal was to match the real face of a popular Mario character. Unlike Making Faces though the game combines the face making element with another popular party game. Drawful from Jackbox Party pack would have you drawing themes for players to guess. Combine the two and you get “This Face, That Face”.

The aim is to match the expression given to your at the start. Use the various shapes to create your “emoji” that best portrays that response. Players then gave to guess, with points going to those who guess correctly. The player with the most points after each round wins the game.

There is already an announcement from Oink Games that “In A Grove” will be the next title to come out sometime in the next few months. They’ve also made it clear that more games will be added after this, though what games and how the model will look going forward is not entirely set out. If they continue with the free DLC model then, frankly, this game will just continue to raise the bar for games going forward!

Final Thoughts

The tutorials are both incredibly detailed and really interactive!

Oink Games have some very, very popular tabletop games available. One of their most recent, Scout, is pushing to win awards from various sources this year! One of their big selling points is the ability to play these almost anywhere due to their size. With “Let’s Play” they have taken that concept and made a real masterpiece!

The games themselves are pretty much perfect recreations of their paper counterparts, but with functionality features that help players to engage with and enjoy games they either already own or are yet to try. Its a fantastic marketing tool too. I personally have added 2 of these titles to my board game wish list for the future and have actively been looking at what else they have to offer!

The speed in which games can be played, the ease of finding games most of the time, and the built in chat functionality makes the game accessible to all. Even language isn’t a barrier as the chat option has a huge range of emoji which players often use instead of text. There’s no voice chat functionality but again, this isn’t as big an issue as people would think. This is a must have game for fans of board games, but also players who want to have a great set of party games in their arsenal.

Pros

  • Art assets are lovingly recreated
  • Short, challenging games leave you with a feeling of “just one more”
  • Well thought out tutorials

Cons

  • Some games rely on a full and active server
  • Button layout can be a little confusing at first
  • No voice chat functionality

Verdict

A Must own for fans of party games & board games!