Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for February 28th, 2019. Another month has passed us by, full of exciting news and new releases for the Switch. March is looking to be another big month, at least in terms of eShop releases, and it’s only going to pick up from there. Today, we’ve got a look at the new Pokemon games, the big list of today’s releases, some sales information, and a review of RemiLore.
‘Pokemon Sword’ and ‘Pokemon Shield’ Were the Stars of the Pokemon Direct
Yesterday’s Pokemon Direct ended up being about exactly what everyone suspected it would be about: the latest entries in the mainline Pokemon series. Dubbed Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, they take place in a fictionalized version of the United Kingdom. The three starter Pokemon were revealed, and we also got to see some footage from the games. The games will launch worldwide simultaneously later this year, and are currently available for pre-order on most popular online shops.
RemiLore is a bit of an odd beast. Its production values are quite good, with nice graphics, full voice acting, and an overall heavily-polished feel. It definitely comes off like something from at least a mid-sized publisher rather than an indie. Mechanically, however, it’s about as straight-forward as it gets. You hack, you slash, you find some loot that hopefully includes a better weapon now and then, you gather up resources and trade them for upgrades, and do whatever you have to in order to get from the start of each stage to its exit. And there really isn’t a lot more to it than that. Combat is extremely simple and only two steps away from just hammering away at an attack button. There’s a strange gap here; a decidedly small, focused concept is dressed up in some impressively fancy clothes.
I’ve been doing this kind of work long enough that I can easily poke at RemiLore‘s weak points. The combat isn’t completely brainless but it begs for a little more variety and flexibility. The voiced dialogue is sometimes excessive, and the somewhat-randomized order conversations appear in sometimes leads to bizarre outcomes like a character asking what another character’s brothers are like only to immediately after ask if said character has any siblings. The procedurally-generated levels have that familiar issue where chunks start to repeat and little about them feels satisfyingly designed. It’s probably, probably a little too easy for its own good. And above all, it definitely has an issue with repetitiveness. Not enough enemies, not enough enemy patterns, not enough variety in the stages, not enough moves for your character.
And yet, I somehow really enjoyed this game. It’s not that those negative points didn’t bother me sometimes, because they did. But the gameplay was just engaging enough, the characters just interesting enough, and the bizarre arsenal of loot just intriguing enough that I couldn’t stop playing until I made it to the end. It’s silly and colorful and light-hearted in just about everything it does, and that is such an unusual thing in a game like this that it gave the whole thing the layer of novelty it needed to patch over its shortcomings. Just barely at times, mind you, but it was enough.
Luckily, the game doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s really only a few hours long if you set yourself down and try to get through it. Its repetitive nature started kicking in for me somewhere around the third world, and it’s not far to the end from there. It was about then that I realized that the enemies weren’t going to change up much, that I was only ever going to have to master dashing in and out according to the enemy’s hit timing, and that effective use of Lore’s magic skills make short work of even crowded rooms. Had the game been twice as long as it was, I think I would have been pretty tired of it all by the time it ended. And in a sense, it kind of is twice as long as it is. There’s a second character you can play through the game with if you’re inclined to. There’s also a fun co-op mode where you can play with another player, which really helps push down some of the monotony that wells up over the course of the adventure.
But while I think that brevity is a good thing for the game as an experience, it makes it a little harder to recommend RemiLore at full price. This isn’t a cheap game, and though I believe the level of quality in the presentation justifies that price tag, the rest of the game doesn’t really hold up its end of the deal. It’s not just that it’s short but rather that it offers very little replay value. There are lots of things to unlock, but not much incentive to unlock them. After running through the game with both characters, I’m not exactly eager to go back anytime soon. It barely hangs on during the first playthrough, and with what novelty it presents on the initial run stripped away, there just isn’t enough to pull you back in. The unlockable difficulties end up swinging the challenge too far in the other direction, and I found them to be generally quite unpleasant thanks to the lack of tools in the main character’s arsenal.
Still, that first run through the game was an awful lot of fun. Silly, stupid fun, but I’ll take it where I can get it in a genre where I normally have to crank the gamma all the way up just to see the walls. RemiLore isn’t going to agree with everyone. I suspect a lot of people will find it too straight-forward and get pretty bored as a result, while others might find its saccharine presentation and repetitive banter repulsive. But while I think it has its problems, I find RemiLore rather enjoyable on the whole. Don’t expect anything too deep or meaningful, but if the game looks interesting to you, I think you should give it a shot.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Pixel Devil and the Broken Cartridge ($9.99)
Hey, it’s another side-scroller inspired by the 8-bit classics. Haven’t seen one of those release on the Switch in, like, two whole days. Like most of these things, this falls somewhat squarely in the “not-bad-not-good" zone. It takes a lot of cues from Mega Man and Darkwing Duck in terms of gameplay, and is full of references to all your old favorites like Battletoads, Duck Tales, and the Dendy. Hm. Well, it’s fine even if it is pretty janky, but it would be a lot finer if it weren’t twice the price it costs on Steam for no reason at all. I could see biting on this for a fiver, but I feel like you could do a lot better on Switch with ten whole dollars in your wallet.
Dark Quest 2 ($10.99)
Curiously, here comes the second Hero Quest-inspired release of the week. This one opts for an isometric view instead of an overhead one, which makes for a much more aesthetically pleasing experience. And hey, it’s actually pretty good. I mean, you have to keep its source of inspiration in mind. There isn’t much of a story here and it’s not as deep as a lot of other turn-based RPGs, for example. It’s also a bit on the shorter side as far as this kind of thing goes. But if you’re fond of board game RPGs, I think you’ll find this hits the spot nicely, especially for the price. You can even play local co-op with your friends for that real board game feel.
Um, what can I say? It’s another side-scroller inspired by the 8-bit classics. Haven’t seen one of those release on the Switch in, like, one whole paragraph. Like most of these things, this falls somewhat squarely in the “not-bad-not-good" zone. It takes a lot of cues from Mega Man and Mario in terms of gameplay, and actually goes pretty light on the references to other games with the exception of a few really obvious nods to Capcom’s Blue Bomber. Well, it’s fine even if it is pretty janky, and it’s less than half the price of the other game I talked about a couple paragraphs up, so I guess that’s something. It’s honestly a little worse than Pixel Devil if you ask me, but they’re not that far apart in terms of quality.
Ninja Village ($12.00)
Ha ha, the gates are well and truly open now, aren’t they? If you’re not familiar with Ninja Village from one of its previous releases, this is a city-builder with a light tactical component. Very, very light. Think Venture Towns with a basic combat system stapled onto it and you’re all set. Now, if you’re into the theme, you might want to go for this. I remember enjoying it well enough on my iPhone. But it’s probably more similar to a previous Kairosoft Switch release than any of the games they’ve put on the system to date, so don’t expect much in the way of originality.
My Girlfriend is a Mermaid!? ($24.99)
Okay, here we go, I guess. This is apparently a well-regarded Korean visual novel, so I’m going to guess that the premise isn’t just a stupid gimmick. You go back to your hometown after being away for a while only to discover that your childhood friend has been transformed into a mermaid. You’ll also meet another mermaid who is a bit fish-brained, along with a powerful priestess who is naturally a cute girl. There are some actual choices to make, which leads me to think there are multiple endings to be found here. I don’t know, it might be okay. I’ve played visual novels with stranger premises that turned out amazing. But I can’t help but notice I could pick this up for less than half the price on Steam, and that makes me hesitant to fish this one up on my Switch.
Monster Dynamite ($19.99)
This looks an awful lot like a bog-standard Angry Birds-inspired physics game. And… I think that’s what it is? Place the explosives to take out all the monsters either directly or by dropping parts of structures on them. There are just 50 levels in total, and aside from taking out all the monsters, each stage also has some trophies to collect. You can probably plow through the game in less time than it takes to watch a couple episodes of Daredevil. I mean, hey, shoot for the moon, developers. I won’t stop you. But taking the price, length, and overall experience into account, I’m not sure this is a very good value at all.
Johnny Turbo’s Arcade: Super Real Darwin ($7.99)
I kind of feel bad for Flying Tiger and its Johnny Turbo label because between many of the big publishers taking care of their own retro re-releases and Hamster scooping up most of the stuff from the ones that don’t, there really isn’t much left to pick up. On the other hand, Flying Tiger does a pretty poor job compared to the competition in terms of options and overall presentation, so maybe it’s for the best that they’re stuck with the gum pulled from the shoe-bottoms of 1980s arcades. Data East’s Super Real Darwin isn’t a bad shoot-em-up, but it’s not very good in the absolute sense either, and really feels way behind its contemporaries. The main gimmick here, if I recall correctly, is that your ship can take on a ton of forms by evolving after picking up power-ups. Ehn.
This viking adventure has gotten a bit of hype over the course of its development, but I can’t seem to find any genuine impressions of the game at all right now. Its developer is relatively seasoned, so I suppose it could deliver on the promise of the premise and preview trailers. If nothing else, the game looks absolutely gorgeous in terms of its art direction. But with games like this that rely on action-based combat, you really have to put your hands on it for a good bit before you can make a call about how good it is, and I just haven’t had that opportunity yet. For now, it goes in the Maybe pile.
Deltarune Chapter 1 (Free)
The latest from Undertale creator Toby Fox, Deltarune Chapter 1 serves as a delightful sampler of what the quirky developer is working on right now. There will be more chapters later, but it may not be for a while, so I suppose you should soak this up as much as possible. I mean, it’s free. And not free with extra DLC or anything. Just… free. So you don’t really need me to tell you about it at all, do you? You can just go get it and play it. Feel free to come back here after to finish reading. This is just text on a page so it should wait for you just fine.
Crash Dummy ($29.99)
These dudes were everywhere in the early 1990s, but I can’t believe they’re still a thing at all. Originally used for driving safety ads, they somehow became popular with kids for about five minutes, leading to a toyline and even an NES game. I… I don’t think this particular game is officially-licensed, but I don’t think it has to be, either. But wait, is that text on the eShop screenshots? Then that must mean… yes, I do believe this is, or rather was, a mobile game. Seems to be long gone off the App Store now. It got decent reviews at the time, but then again, it cost three bucks at that time. At ten times that price… hm.
Constructor Plus ($19.99)
This is a follow-up/enhanced edition of a 2017 remake of a 1997 PC game. Said remake got a somewhat cool reception when it originally released on consoles a couple of years ago, but it looks like the developer has sorted things out and means to do it better this time. It’s a simulation game where you start off as a low-grade slumlord and need to wheel, deal, cheat, and steal your way up through the ranks to become a full-on tycoon. The developer has worked hard to improve Constructor since it first launched and the Switch version should reflect those improvements. Provided it’s not buggy as heck like the older console releases were, the only potential showstopper here is that the game is pretty difficult for a game in this genre. Not necessarily a bad thing, but something some sim fans will likely want to consider.
Okay, I know it looks like my keyboard was being sticky again when I typed that title, but trust me, that’s the proper spelling. Anyway, there are certain games that you are probably only going to whip out when you have a party, and this is one of them. Up to four players choose their favorite balloon-thing and enter an arena with spikes and other hazards. Your goal is to bounce the other players into the spikes. You move by blowing out some of your air, which makes you smaller and more susceptible to bigger players, so you can’t just go all-out in an aggressive manner and expect to win. It’s a fun idea, but if you don’t have anyone near you to play it with, I’m not sure you’ll get much out of it.
Ape Out ($14.99)
Holy bananas, what a game. Okay, so yes, this is clearly inspired by Hotline Miami, but it’s not just aping that classic and calling it a day. It has its own style and sound that is just incredible, and the gameplay is sublime. You play as a gorilla who escapes from his cage and proceeds to absolutely wreck his captors in some of the nastiest ways possible. Guards get smeared in blood-soaked wall-smashes. Hostages can be taken and their weapons used to your advantage. Doors can be used as makeshift shields. Got a window near you? In Ape Out, we call that a handy guard disposal unit. Really outstanding stuff. Don’t miss it.
Anodyne‘s teeth are starting to get pretty long, but it’s still a relatively enjoyable take on the classic Zelda formula. This Switch port is more or less a straight-forward one, right down to using borders to crop the screen. These days, there are more choices if you’re looking for this kind of game than when it first came out several years back, so in terms of gameplay, it doesn’t stand out the way it once did. Still, there’s something about the tone and world-building of Anodyne that make it compelling, and that works just as powerfully here as it ever did. I’m not sure I’d recommend this to someone who had already played the game elsewhere, but if you’re new to it, you’ll probably enjoy it.
Nothing new about this at this point in the week, but sales are a bit dry today. We’ll probably see a bunch of them crop up over the next 24 hours, but for now the most interesting one I can find is Tin Man’s lovely adaptation of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. Most of the sales that are ending are simply new releases that are coming out tomorrow, but if you want to take advantage of any of those pre-order discounts, now is the time to do it.
New Games on Sale
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain ($20.99 from $29.99 until 3/17)
Subsurface Circular ($4.79 from $5.99 until 3/21)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Friday, March 1st
Castle of Heart ($10.04 from $14.99 until 3/1)
Q.U.B.E. 2 ($25.49 from $29.99 until 3/1)
Awesome Pea ($5.39 from $5.99 until 3/1)
Creepy Road ($11.69 from $12.99 until 3/1)
Pirates Pinball ($1.97 from $2.99 until 3/1)
Treasure Stack ($17.99 from $19.99 until 3/1)
Drift Legends ($4.99 from $9.99 until 3/1)
That’s a wrap for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with the rest of the week’s new releases, along with the latest news, sales information, and perhaps a review or two. So, are you going to buy anything from today’s new releases? Which games have caught your eye? Feel free to comment below and let people know what you’re looking to pick up. And as always, thanks for reading!