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Review: Let’s Play! Oink Games Does Justice to Japanese Tabletop Gems

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let's play oink games review startups

Oink Games’ line of analog titles is all about packing value into an attractive, portable package. It makes sense, then, that Let’s Play! Oink Games is similarly slick. The collection, out now, includes four of the studio’s most popular releases, packaged up for both local and online play.

The Kickstarter-funded package’s four games represent different aspects of Oink’s small-box board game library. There’s Startups, Moon Adventure, Deep Sea Adventure and A Fake Artist Goes to New York. We’ll get into each of them! But it’s fair to say that Oink is putting its best foot forward with these selections.

lets play oink games menu

Startups, our personal favorite in the collection, is a card game about drawing, keeping and offering up stocks to gain majorities in them. The catch is that you only get money for the majority from minority stockholders! So it’s vital to bluff and deceive and skate by with the smallest total so it makes you more cash. The way you watch cards go in and out of players’ hands makes for a very tactical game, if you want that, and counting stock cards in their small numbers is manageable too.

This game uses a traditional table layout, with areas for each player’s tableau and tokens and such in the center. A nice touch: it builds the player turn indicator into the table design, as a light bar that zooms around. We’d love a real table that could do that.

lets play oink games review deep sea adventure

Deep Sea Adventure and Moon Adventure are similar press-your-luck games. Deep Sea offers a simpler competitive experience, and Moon adds a few more layers to make it into a cooperative challenge. They’re likely both here as they’re comparable enough to be easy to develop together, but they’re both popular and fun and worth the inclusion.

These games have a lot of pieces! And real-world setup can take a few minutes, sometimes as long as the game itself. This version speeds that up, making for a better-paced experience. Deep Sea Adventure is a game with big point swings, and running out of air during a round can really hurt. But since it’s always at least partially due to your own hubris, the bad luck and bad vibes aren’t as harmful as they could be. Moon Adventure makes for more of a Pandemic-like game, with roles and coordination. AI players aren’t supported for this one, but you can add “CPU” people and decide what they do for more of a single-player puzzle.

a fake artist goes to new york switch

If you only know one game in Oink Games’ catalog, it’s likely to be A Fake Artist Goes to New York. This party game has players taking turns, drawing single lines based on a shared prompt. The catch? One is, well, a fake artist, meaning they know the general category but not the actual prompt. The challenge is to draw enough to convince the group that you know the prompt, without giving it away to the faker.

The conversion here doesn’t allow CPUs at all, so you will have to gather a group. That does make sense given the whole nature of the game, though. That said, one feature here that you just can’t replicate with markers? Player numbers integrated into the texture of your lines. This makes the Let’s Play! Oink Games version a bit more colorblind-friendly (and easier to parse for everyone, for that matter).

let's play oink games review tutorial

The level of care in this release makes sense, as Oink Games did the adaptation internally. It’s not the team’s first digital foray, as it’s put out games like Takeshi and Hiroshi. But its board games are much better known, so this is something of a prestige project. The games look great and translate well to digital play, because Oink Games’ graphic design is already minimalist and slick. The feel of physical pieces remains here, too. Let’s Play!‘s animation, shading and camera angles sufficiently remind us of playing in person.

If you haven’t played one of the games (or just need a refresher), you can use the game’s robust tutorial system. Short, tightly-edited videos get right to the point, and you can start playing quickly by watching an overview. Online works nicely, too! Unfortunately, there isn’t a huge player base, so finding a match is sort of spotty. But in-game chat with stickers and mute? Seamless connections and both private and public lobbies? It’s a great feature set for a small game like this.

Oink Games has indicated that more games could join this collection, and we’d be all for it if the conversions are as high-quality as these.

oink games review chat

Let’s Play! Oink Games is out now for Nintendo Switch for $21.99, roughly what you’d expect to pay for a physical version of one of the included titles.

Let's Play! Oink Games

8

Let's Play! Oink Games packages four of the company's analog gems in one Switch package, with handy extras and online play. It's great for Oink veterans and board game newbies alike.

Food for Thought
  • In Moon Adventure, remember that people are your greatest resource! Jump over 'em as much as you can.
  • Startups' scoring system heavily weighs toward endgame majority scoring, so feel okay dropping some coins to skip drawing them sometimes. Gotta spend money to make money!
  • If you ever play online with Jenni, she is the fake artist. Every time, apparently.
    If you want to know more, check out Siliconera's review guide.
    Graham Russell
    Graham Russell, Siliconera's Managing Editor, has been writing about games for various sites and publications since 2007. He’s a fan of streamlined strategy games, local multiplayer and upbeat aesthetics. He joined Siliconera in February 2020. When he’s not writing about games, he’s a graphic designer, web developer, card/board game designer and editor.