Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for February 7th, 2019. Well friends, it’s that time of the week again. The big release day! And we’ve got a whole bunch of new games to look at. With time and sanity at a premium, news will as usual be sidelined until tomorrow. Let’s sift through the grains of sand and see if we can’t come up with any gold, eh?
The Stillness of the Wind ($12.99)
Well, this is a different sort of farming game, isn’t it? It’s extremely story-driven, and has a lot of survival aspects woven in. You play as Talma, who is spending out her last days all alone on her little farmstead. You’ll tend to your land and animals, receiving the occasional letter that tells you how the world outside is moving along. The farming aspects are a little vague and the story can get a little hard to follow, but it’s pretty, emotional, and tries something different. I suspect that will be enough for some.
Solstice Chronicles: MIA ($14.99)
Hey, you! Do you need another twin-stick shooter on your Switch? What do you mean you already have plenty? Well, will it entice you if I tell you that this is a relatively mediocre one? No, hunh? Ehn, I tried. This one came out a couple of years ago on PC, and while it’s hardly bad, it’s not really anything all that special, either. The Switch version includes local co-op, and that is certainly the way to go if you want to really enjoy the game, but otherwise I’d only give this a look if you’re really thirsty for another game in this genre.
Sky Gamblers – Afterburner ($19.99)
I’m going to set aside the mild cheekiness of using that subtitle because, well, it’s not like SEGA owns the word. I can’t imagine anyone making an arcade-ish fighter jet game using ‘Afterburner‘ in their game title not knowing what kinds of comparisons it would invite, but hey. So what you have here is the latest in the Sky Gamblers series, which the Switch is no stranger to and our readers certainly know quite well by now. It’s fine. It’s content-rich. It’ll scratch your Top Gun itch well enough. I can see lots of areas that could be improved, but we’re deep enough into this series by now that I recognize its identity and goals and know it’s just going to be what it is, and that’s cool.
Reverie: Sweet As Edition ($12.99)
I feel like very few people truly grasp how many games come out of New Zealand and Australia. It’s probably a lot more than you think! Perhaps the reason for that is that those games rarely come right out and wear their point of origin on their sleeves. Well, Reverie is definitely from New Zealand. There is no mistaking it. It immerses itself in Maori folklore and makes cracks about Aussies, and I think those are the two most New Zealand things there are. It’s also a decent, if not outstanding, homage to The Legend of Zelda. It takes a little bit too long to get going given its relatively short runtime, but hey, making games of this sort is pretty tough so I’ll give this one a pass. I love the art on this one, too.
Pumped BMX Pro ($14.99)
The Pumped BMX games on mobile are really fun trick games, and this one brings that experience to the Switch with some new content and a Switch-enhanced price. I guess the dilemma is this: do you pick this one up now, or wait a little for Trials? As much fun as I had with this series on mobile, I’m not sure Pumped BMX Pro really has what it takes to hang with the tougher competition it has put itself against here, and its general lack of content is a bit of a hindrance in the $10+ range, I think. That all being said, it’s a good game. You’ll probably enjoy playing it while it lasts. I just don’t know how strongly I can recommend it in this particular incarnation.
Pocket Academy ($12.00)
Well, it looks like Kairosoft is taking the same approach to Switch that it did to mobile: port all of its old PC games one after another until even the most ardent fan starts to have trouble telling them apart. But hey, we’re in the early days yet. As such, I’m sure plenty of people will spring for Pocket Academy, have a really good time burning through it, and only have the slightest thought that it’s all getting rather samey. That same old experience, just at twice the price. Spoiler: Game Dev Story 2 is never, ever coming.
Percy’s Predicament Deluxe ($5.99)
The original Percy’s Predicament was a bit of a stinker when it released on Wii U and, surprise, this isn’t much better at all. Look, I agree that it’s absolutely criminal that we are heading into the third year of the Switch’s life and SEGA has yet to put any Monkey Balls on the system, but desperation is no excuse for buying something this lousy. Like, I see what the developer was going for here and that’s cool, but it just didn’t work out. At all. Something tells me this will be one of those games that drops to 10% of its price at some point, though. When that happens, don’t say ol’ Shaun didn’t warn you.
Love it or hate it, Blade Runner has had a profound influence on pop culture in general and video games in particular. If I say the words ‘cyberpunk dystopia’, chances are real good that the image conjured in your mind looks a lot like Blade Runner. In some games inspired by the film, the influence is light. Others hire Rutger Hauer to voice the main character and almost wholesale lift the look and feel of the setting. Observer is the latter. Because it would be really weird if it weren’t and I just put that in here for no reason, right? Anyway, this is a psychological horror/adventure game, but it’s also kind of a detective story. You jack into people’s brains and relive their memories, trying to piece together a bigger mystery. Fair warning: this is pretty violent and uses jump-scares like I use ketchup on scrambled eggs. If you hate that stuff, keep away. If you like it? Here’s a kind of jam you won’t see often on the Switch, I suspect.
Mercury Race ($7.99)
Both Wipeout and F-Zero are dead these days, and that absolutely sucks. I would love if someone would fill the void left by the retirement of those franchises, and golly, have many people tried. Sometimes the results are okay and we just sort of take it because what else have we got? Often, they’re not so hot and should probably be left alone no matter how hungry you are for futuristic racing. Yeah, sorry Mercury Race, but when Shaun sets up a fork like that, the game in question is usually from the latter branch. There are two main bits to the gameplay here. You’ve got the racing, which is okay. Then you’ve got targets to shoot, and that’s where it’s not really great. The two aspects just aren’t blended very well here, leading to a racer that was already placing near the back of the pack tripping over its own shoelaces.
Magic Scroll Tactics ($11.99)
Yeah, this one is really good. It’s a tactical RPG that takes place in a side-view, not unlike SteamWorld Heist. It’s a bit of a lightweight when it comes to strategy, and a lot of it comes down to “height makes right", but whatever. It’s enjoyable to play, I love the way it looks and sounds, and I think it’s priced very well indeed for what you get. With a somewhat generic title and tons of other releases coming on the same day, I think it’s easy to overlook a game like Magic Scroll Tactics. But, you know… don’t. Thumbs up, for sure.
Gnomes Garden: New Home ($4.99)
This is the fourth Gnomes Garden game to release on the Switch, and forgive me, but I have a great deal of trouble telling any of them apart. I mean, the most recent one before this released just over a month ago! Was it really Gnome Time again? Really? Well, whatever. If you really want to play the exciting new content found in Gnomes Garden: New Home, far be it from me to stop you. At least the publisher isn’t charging a higher price here than they are elsewhere, but I seriously have to wonder who out there is already jonesing for another one of these after a span of mere weeks. Anyone want to speak up?
Evoland Legendary Edition ($19.99)
The Evoland games are proof that if you have a really good idea and execute reasonably well on it, that’s probably good enough to carry you forward alone. The idea in question here is to let players run through an abridged retelling of RPG and gaming history, with the presentation changing as they go along. The first game was a bit rough but its cleverness saved it, while the second game was less rough but also not quite as novel. Put them together and you get the Legendary Edition, which gives you both games to enjoy in one package. I still think it’s pretty neat if nothing else, and having both games together is definitely the best way to go about it. I’ll be giving this one a proper review soon-ish, but yeah, Evoland‘s not exactly an unknown quantity even if you only read TouchArcade reviews of things.
This game comes from the same people who made Clock Simulator, and it’s a similar sort of low-priced thing that gives you some quick and dirty entertainment. The idea here is that you are presented with groups of different objects, and you need to always pick the one that has the most objects in the group. If you do it quickly and consecutively, you’ll earn extra points for making combos. You know, it’s not a bad little thing for the price. It certainly has its limits in terms of how long it’ll keep you occupied, but for a couple of bucks it probably doesn’t need to keep you going forever to be worth the price.
Defense Grid 2 ($19.99)
Defense Grid 2‘s biggest problem is that it doesn’t feel terribly different from the first Defense Grid, and that’s not a huge issue on a platform that didn’t play host to said original. Anyway, this is a tower defense game. There are many tower defense games out there, and while some of them may be better than this one, it’s an awfully good one. If someone said it was the best, I probably wouldn’t argue too vigorously. At the same time, it is a tower defense game through and through, so if you don’t like those sorts of things, you almost certainly won’t like this one. If you are a fan of said genre, you will probably get into this. Perhaps the wishy-washiest description of a game I’ve ever written, but it’s quite appropriate here, I feel. Just some good ol’ meat and potatoes.
BlazBlue: Central Fiction Special Edition ($49.99)
With tons of characters, great gameplay, and excellent presentation, BlazBlue: Central Fiction makes a strong case for being one of the finest fighting games on the Switch. There’s just one proviso, and it’s an important one: you really need something better than the stock JoyCons to play it with. Neither the directional buttons nor the stick are really up to the tasks this game demands of players. So grab a stick or Hori directional pad or an 8bitdo before you pick this one up, or you’ll probably find yourself getting very, very frustrated. And that shouldn’t happen with a lovely fighting game like this one.
AWAY: Journey to the Unexpected ($16.99)
The marketing copy here describes this as a feel-good FPS, and it certainly seems to try to reach that goal. Colorful visuals, nothing too scary, the ability to negotiate and befriend a bunch of characters, and so on. Unfortunately, the negotiation mechanics are troublesome, the gameplay gets dull fast, and it uses what it calls roguelite elements in a very bad way. The more you play, the less interesting AWAY becomes, and that’s probably not a good way for any game to be. Remarkably in spite of the poor pacing, it’s also a very short game from start to finish. So it’s both tiresome and brief, an unexpected outcome to say the least. Shame, because I rather like the art style in this one.
Some big new sales seem to be kicking off in Europe, but as of the time of this writing, it’s not much more than tumbleweeds in the North American shop. A couple of pre-order discounts, one fairly high profile title, and a couple of games I barely remember. Oh well, I’m sure you’re busy enough with the new stuff today anyway. I know I am!
New Games on Sale
Deployment ($6.49 from $9.99 until 2/16)
Space Ribbon ($0.99 from $4.99 until 2/26)
Portal Knights ($23.99 from $29.99 until 2/20)
Agatha Knife ($9.59 from $11.99 until 2/18)
Pillar ($5.99 from $7.99 until 2/26)
Quarantine Circular ($4.79 from $5.99 until 2/28)
Spartan ($1.99 from $3.99 until 2/22)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Friday, February 8th
Food Truck Tycoon ($3.49 from $4.99 until 2/8)
Thea: The Awakening ($16.19 from $17.99 until 2/8)
And that’ll do it for another big release day. We’ve got at least ten more games coming tomorrow, but hopefully I’ll have time to fit in some extra goodies like a review or two alongside the usual news, new releases, and sales info. Be there, or be not there but check later! Either way, thanks as always for reading!