Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for January 10th, 2019. Today is Thursday and that means a ton of new games have dropped on the eShop. Luckily, outside of the announcement of a couple of mobile ports (Asdivine Hearts 2, Mega Mall Story) hitting the Switch next week, things are pretty quiet today on the news front. That means it’s a free-for-all on the new releases, and we’re going to go right into them. Let’s check them out!
Snowboarding The Next Phase ($9.99)
Developed by Session Games, this is an enhanced Switch version of the popular Snowboarding The Fourth Phase mobile game. The free-to-play chicanery of that game has been removed in this version, leaving you to enjoy the stunt-based action without any worries. It’s billing itself as the first snowboarding game on the Switch, and that does seem to be the case. So if you really want to do some snowboarding on the latest Nintendo console, you don’t have any other options at the moment. It’s pretty fun, and you there’s a split-screen mode in this version so that you can play with a friend.
SEGA AGES Out Run ($7.99)
Out Run is such a great game that an indie cottage industry seems to have formed based around trying to bring back its feel. Some of those games are pretty darned good, but the inspiration itself is still a whole lot of fun. Like other SEGA AGES Switch releases, you get the original game presented in nearly pitch-perfect form with a bevy of options to play around with, plus a new mode that changes the rules a bit. Those who owned the Nintendo 3DS version will find this to be awfully familiar, as the only real new elements are a few new songs to choose from and a slightly nicer presentation thanks to the Switch’s improved display. Personally, I think stereoscopic 3D and SEGA Super-Scaler games go together well, so I still slightly prefer the 3DS version, but this Switch version is still outstanding in its own right.
Overdriven Reloaded: Special Edition ($7.99)
The Switch has a lot of appeal to lapsed mobile gaming fans, I find, and I think it’s because it does a good job of capturing the feel of mobile gaming when the market was a bit more tilted towards paid, premium content. One of the big missing pieces is, sadly, Cave and its amazing shoot-em-ups. C’mon, Cave, we need some Dodonpachi and Espgaluda already. Oh well. Anyway, if you love Cave’s brand of bullet-hell shoot-em-ups, you might enjoy Overdriven Reloaded. It comes off a lot like Dodonpachi in particular. With so many great games in this genre on the Switch, I know that another one is a hard sell, but this was a neat game on PC and the Switch version only adds more on top of it.
Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight ($14.99)
I already wrote a bit about this one yesterday, but hey, maybe you weren’t here yesterday. This is a port of the latest installment in the fan-favorite Momodora series of platformers. These games have amazing sprite work and animation, and the action isn’t too shabby either. Toss in some Metroidvania elements and you have a game that should appeal greatly to those who have already chewed through the excellent platformers of 2018. I’d go into more detail here but I think I’m going to give this one a proper mini-review in a couple of days, so if you want more info, do hang in there, friends.
Mecho Wars: Desert Ashes ($9.99)
Back in the days when we were all pining for more Advance Wars, a mobile game called Mecho Wars came along and scratched that itch in a big way. Well, now that Nintendo has realized the error of its ways and revived the Wars series, I suppose we don’t nee… what’s that? It’s 2018 and we still haven’t gotten a new Advance Wars game since 2008’s Advance Wars: Days of Ruin on the Nintendo DS? So Mecho Wars is just as relevant as it ever was, and this Nintendo Switch version nicely demonstrates just how well that sort of gameplay fits the hardware? You don’t say. Well, strange world we live in, I suppose.
This is a Nintendo Switch version of the digital trading card game Lightseekers. It’s free to download, and through a bit of a process you can scan in the physical cards you own to use them in the game. Otherwise, the usual business applies. You can play without paying and earn a slow trickle of rewards, or bust out your wallet for some hot Microtransaction Action. The card game itself seems to be well-liked if not necessarily excessively so, and I imagine you can pop in and play for free for a bit to see if you like what it’s dishing out. Personally, I’ll wait for Hearthstone. Yes, I know it hasn’t so much as been hinted at for Switch release, but hope springs eternal.
Knock ‘Em Down! Bowling ($14.99)
You know, I was all set to laugh this one out of the building, but then I got to thinking about how popular the bowling mini-game was in Wii Sports. In light of that, I think there’s definitely a place for a moderately full-featured, multiplayer-friendly bowling game that makes use of the JoyCon’s motion control capabilities. Is this my sort of thing? No, probably not. But if I were going to bust out my Switch on the regular at family parties or something, I could see this being a sound purchase. It seems well-made for what it is and bowling has a sort of universal appeal even to those who don’t normally touch video games.
Inside My Radio ($9.99)
A rhythm-based platformer, Inside My Radio has earned quite a few accolades in its time on other platforms even if its critical appraisals are stuck in the ol’ 7/10 zone. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of how the jumping feels in this game, and I think its level designs and platforming challenges never really get to the level you’d hope for. The musical integration is well-handled, though, and that gives the game a distinguishing point that might prop it up enough for the more melodically-inclined folks reading this.
HoPiKo was a blast of a game on mobile, and it has taken to other platforms just as well. If you just look at screenshots, you might not understand the game’s gimmick. It looks for all the world like another “instant death” platformer, after all. The trick here is that you can’t run left or right or whatever. Instead, you have to get around entirely by jumping. You’d think that would get old, but the developers keep the good ideas coming, making for a challenging and somewhat hypnotic experience. The only caveat here is that if you’ve already tapped out the mobile version, you won’t find a whole lot new in this version.
Grab Lab ($4.99)
Take an okay mobile game and put it on Switch for an okay price and you’ve got… well, you’ve got a lot of Switch games, but among them is Grab Lab. I don’t know. I feel like this is one of those games where you won’t find it actively un-fun, but there are a million better ways to be spending your time even if the price tag is reasonable. But it’s here and if for some reason you’ve had your eye on the mobile game but really needed buttons, your wish just came true. Perhaps you should have used it on wishing for money, or wishing for more wishes. I won’t judge you too harshly, but how will you judge yourself?
If you like weird art games, you’ll probably love Everything. From filmmaker David OReilly, the guy behind the equally-strange Mountain, Everything is a simulation game that purports to put you in control of, well, everything. Of course, it doesn’t quite reach that goal, but there’s a bit more gameplay meat to chew on here than there was in Mountain. I’m not a fan, but I know some of you might be, so you may want to look into it a little more closely.
Double Cross ($19.99)
Double Cross is a vaguely Mega Man-like action-platformer from 13AM Games, the developer behind Runbow. You play as an agent of a sort of multi-dimensional task force, and after your HQ is attacked, you go on an adventure across dimensions to find the culprits. There are some light adventure elements here, but the core experience is platforming action, with a slight puzzle bent to some of the challenges. There’s also plenty of combat action, but it’s a bit stiffer than it really ought to be. The game shines brightest when you’re slinging yourself around the more complicated areas, and it certainly makes good use of its dimension-hopping premise. I don’t know, I wasn’t really into Runbow the way some people were, but if you liked that game for aspects other than its multiplayer feature, you’ll probably like Double Cross as well.
Combat Core ($19.99)
I get a slight Power Stone vibe from this multiplayer arena brawler, and I don’t dislike that at all. Up to four players can join in via local or online, and it has a create-a-character feature so that you can try to make your own weird fighty people. It doesn’t seem to offer the variety of fighting areas that Power Stone did, and I’ve heard tell that the game just doesn’t offer the depth some people are looking for, but I guess it seems fine for an indie effort. I suppose my issue is that I feel that it’s priced out of the impulse range, but with the competition being one of the Switch’s biggest games, I don’t know if it’s something people are going to bite on, which hurts the chance of a proper community forming. Is anyone really going to load this up instead of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate? I know that’s not really a fair comparison, but that’s the reality Combat Core is going to have to deal with.
Clock Simulator ($3.99)
Okay, cute idea. The price isn’t too bad either, though it’s cheaper everywhere else. The idea is that you run through a bunch of mini-games, all of which require you to hit the button in time with the second-hand of a clock. The situations change, the visuals change, but the gameplay is almost always the same. Tick, tap, tick, tap, tick, tap. The gimmick wears thin pretty quickly, unfortunately, and there’s just not much more to it than that. Some people find this to be relaxing or soothing, but I don’t know, it just feels like a nice concept that doesn’t take things much farther than that.
If you like platformers with roguelike elements, you are going to really, really like Caveblazers. It scratches a very similar itch to the now-classic Spelunky, but with more random loot and a faster tempo. It offers up boss battles, character customization, a two-player co-op mode, a battle arena where you can take on AI opponents, and a whole lot more. And it’s naturally hard as heck, just as games like this should be. A single paragaph isn’t enough to go into much detail, but I know what I like, and this? I like. Don’t let it slip past you.
Bury me, my Love ($4.99)
Okay, so here’s the thing: I think Bury me, my Love is a really well-done narrative adventure. It tells a good story with interesting, believable characters, and it plucks at your emotions with a deft hand. There are lots of different endings, so there’s a fair bit of replay value baked in. And you know what? That price is very good for what you get. My problem with this version is that the whole premise of the game is built around a fake mobile phone messaging app, and there are no words to describe how much better that works on an actual mobile device compared to a Switch screen with big ol’ borders around the in-game mobile phone. You should definitely play Bury me, my Love, but you should do it on your phone if you’re able to. Is this still good enough if you don’t have a phone? Sure, it’s fine, but it definitely loses something in the transition.
BQM -BlockQuest Maker- ($14.99)
If you like the idea of Mario Maker but want something somewhat similar that allows you to make action-RPG dungeons, you might be the target audience for BQM. I mean, it’s obviously not as polished or as fun as a major Nintendo release, but you can make and share some pretty impressive creations with this game. Best of all, this game has been out long enough in Japan that there are already thousands of player-created levels uploaded for you to play around with, giving you plenty to do even if you’re not incredibly into creating things yourself. It’s more impressive as a creative tool than it is as an action-RPG, though, so you should probably make sure you like building dungeons before you drop your cash on this.
ACA NEOGEO Kizuna Encounter ($7.99)
Your NEOGEO game for this week is Kizuna Encounter, the sequel to Savage Reign that is probably best-known for its ridiculously rare European version. It’s a tag-based fighting game with a pretty interesting cast of characters. In gameplay terms, it feels like a middle ground between King of Fighters and Real Bout Fatal Fury, and it’s not too bad. Nothing great, mind you, but if you want a NEOGEO fighting game that you probably haven’t heard much about before, you could do an awful lot worse than Kizuna Encounter. You should probably buy the ones that you have heard about first, though. There’s a reason you’ve heard of them.
And that’s it for today’s SwitchArcade Round-Up. Tomorrow, we’ll mop up the rest of this week’s releases. That includes major retail releases New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe and Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition, along with a few digital-only titles. We’ll also have the latest news and sales for you, so make sure you swing on by. As always, thanks for reading!