Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for January 15th, 2019. We’ve got some succulent bits of news for you today, along with a look at the sole new release. On top of that, we’ve got a Mini-Review of Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, which just hit the Switch last week. There isn’t much going on in terms of sales at the time of this writing, so let’s just get right to the news, shall we not?
The Final Episode of ‘The Walking Dead: The Final Season’ Scheduled for March 26th
With the third episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season making its way out to various platforms at the moment, we now have a tentative release date for the fourth and final episode thanks to an in-game menu. Clementine’s long journey will at last come to a close on March 26th, 2019, barring any unforeseen circumstances. It’s been a bit of a twisting path, but fans will finally have the closure they’re looking for. Will this be it for the Telltale-style adventure game? Never say never, but it’s sure looking like this was just a special case for Skybound Games.
‘Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission’ Will Release Worldwide on April 5th
Arcades are very much alive and well in Japan, at least in the form of mini-play centers in department stores, malls, and the like. Even wilder? They’re full of kids! But they’re not playing the kinds of games you might imagine if you’re old enough to remember living arcades in the West. The most popular sort of game for kids involves using physical cards that the machines scan in, and they come in all kinds of flavors. There are card games based on trains, card games based on transforming robots, card games based on Dragon Quest, and yes, a very popular one based on Dragon Ball. The latest version of that is Super Dragon Ball Heroes, and it has a more RPG-focused spin-off that was previously announced for Japanese release on the Switch. Well, it turns out that it will be coming out everywhere on April 5th of this year, not just Japan. All the cards in this game are digital, so don’t worry about another toys-to-life pile on your desk.
So Happy Together? Switch and PlayStation 4 ‘Rocket League’ Can Now Play With Each Other
Sony and Nintendo are rivals, but they have a lot of things in common. For example, they both make great game machines and publish awesome games for them. They both have a tendency to act like wieners when they’re riding high on successes, too. In Sony’s case this generation, that meant taking a bizarre stand on not allowing multiplayer games to work across platforms. The backlash from customers was rightfully quite severe, and Sony has since started to soften its stance on the matter. Here’s a case of that, as Switch and PlayStation 4 players of the popular Rocket League can now play with each other. How nice!
Visual Novel ‘Our World is Ended’ Comes to the West in Late March
The visual novel genre was one of the highlights of the PlayStation Vita’s library, and it looks like the Switch will be picking up its torch as it slowly fades out. The latest one to get a release date in the West is PQube’s Our World is Ended, which will arrive in both the US and Europe in the last week of March. It tells the story of a group of people who invent a headset for augmented reality games. But when glitches start to occur and unexpected (and unwanted) changes start to occur in the real world, they’ll have to figure out what’s going on and how to stop it before… oh, that’s what the title means. Well, there you go.
Onimusha: Warlords ($19.99)
There were a few brief, shining years where Capcom went in hard on the “What if Resident Evil, but mixed with something else" genre. My personal favorite result of this experiment was the Onimusha series, which blended supernatural elements, samurai, and famous actors into an amazing melange of suspenseful sword-slicing action. Of the four entries in the series, I like the second one the best, but the first game isn’t too shabby at all. It’s a little on the short side, but apart from that, this is a quick-paced jaunt through some very unique situations and locales. You play as a descendant of Mitsuhide Akechi, a historical figure most famous for betraying his lord, Nobunaga Oda. Well, Oda comes back as a demon-thing, as historical figures are wont to, and you’ve got to sort the mess out. With your sword! This remastered version has rebuilt graphics, new audio, and all sorts of modern touches to make an early PlayStation 2 game as palatable as it can be in modern times. It’s definitely worth checking out for the price. Bring on the rest, Capcom!
Mini-Review: ‘Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight’ ($14.99)
I’d had my eye on Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight for a while, but when I heard it was going to come to Switch, I decided to hold off until it arrived. Having made my way through the game over the course of the last week, I’m generally quite pleased with how it turned out. The Momodora series goes back quite a number of years now, and it flirted with Metroidvania elements well before that became trendy in indie circles. This is the fourth installment in the series, and its status as a prequel makes it an ideal jumping-on point for newcomers. It first released on PC almost three years ago, and is also available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
If you’re just here wondering about the quality of the port, worry not. The game has made a smooth transition to the Switch, and it looks and plays well even undocked. The controls work well as long as you’re okay with controlling 2D games with the stick or the directional buttons. You really need to have a control method that works for you, though, as this game can be quite demanding at times.
Although Momodora has a lot of Metroidvania elements in its design, navigation isn’t really the main issue here. You’ll be doing some exploration, and there are hidden secrets to uncover if you know where to whack things, but the core challenge in Momodora is in the combat. You have a melee attack that uses a mystical leaf to beat the stuffing out of things, and you can fire arrows from a distance. You can double-jump right from the start, and you’re also able to do a quick roll that can be used for evasive action or just to cover ground more quickly. You’ll get a couple of other abilities as the game goes on, along with a bunch of items that augment your damage-dealing and healing capabilities. You’ll need to get really good with all of it, especially when it comes time to face off against the game’s challenging bosses.
There are checkpoints scattered around the game world where you can save and restore your health and energy. If you die, you’ll get kicked back to the last one you used, and while the game is generally good about checkpoint placement, it’s possible to lose a lot of progress if you’re careless. You can’t take more than a few hits, especially early on, and environmental hazards can spell instant death. Honestly, it can be aggravating at times. Your main character, Kaho, isn’t quite the combat virtuoso that other Metroidvania heroes often are. Success here is more old-school in its approach, requiring you to pay attention to enemy patterns and strike where and when you can. It’s less about finesse and style and more about knowing when you need to keep your head down. Once you learn it, you can make it all look easy, but it’s a heck of a curve getting there.
Ultimately, that difficulty is quite important because Momodora isn’t a terribly long game relative to some of its contemporaries. You can expect to finish it in about six hours or so, and can probably sweep the map up and suss out the true ending in a few hours more. There are a bunch of items you can only get if you beat the bosses without taking damage, and if you mean to go after those, you’ll probably need to put in a fair bit of time practicing. Now, to me, it’s a pretty good length for a game in this genre, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some people found it a little small in its scope. There’s plenty of variety in there, but it does feel slightly confined at times. Still, it makes a lot of sense as a location, and the way distinct areas flow into each other works better than many games of this sort.
The two biggest problems I have with Momodora aren’t huge gripes by any means. The first is that the game isn’t always good about signposting what you need to do to progress. I’m pretty thorough in my exploration, so I never really ran into any major hitches, but if I hadn’t been combing for secrets so intently, I’m not sure where I would have found out about some hidden walls and such. The other is that the roster of regular enemies is lacking a bit in variety. It doesn’t take long for each area to show its hand, and that’s more or less that. You’ll get sucker-punched the first time you run into some enemies, and off-screen shots can be annoying, but for the most part once you’ve seen an enemy’s tricks, it’s trivial to deal with them from then on.
Perhaps the strongest point of the game is in its detailed, well-animated visuals. The pixel art here is frankly gorgeous, and the environments perfectly convey the setting each area is going for. Natural areas feel lush and alive, city areas feel properly lived-in, and the more hellish areas genuinely feel unsettling. The boss characters are particularly impressive, running the gamut from large enemies that crowd the screen to tiny but deadly monsters with a fair bit of detail. It’s a real feast for the eyes, and you’ll want to stop and take it all in. You can’t, because everything is trying to kill you, but gosh, you’ll sure want to.
Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight isn’t the best game of this sort on the Switch, but it’s an awfully good one that seems at high risk of being overlooked. It looks great, plays well, and offers a good amount of challenge that rewards players who put in the work. It’s not as sprawling as some games of this sort, nor does the combat offer the diversity and depth of others, but what it lacks in extras it makes up for by getting the fundamentals right. Its pace is quick, and it has the courtesy to end before it overstays its welcome. If you get frustrated easily, you may want to pass on Momodora, but otherwise, this is a fine game.
That’s all we’ve got today for the SwitchArcade Round-Up. Check back tomorrow for a few new releases, whatever news crops up, and hopefully some new sales, too. What games are you eyeing up for this week’s purchases? Let me know by commenting below. And as always, thanks for reading!