Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for March 29th, 2019. Along with some interesting news coming out of PAX, we’ve also got summaries of today’s new releases, reviews of Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid and She Remembered Caterpillars, and a bunch of great new sales to check out. We’ll have more reviews in the days to come because the new release train never slows down on this system. Let’s see what we’ve got!
‘Mario Tennis Aces’ Gets Magical with the Arrival of Kamek
The roster for Mario Tennis Aces keeps on growing as the months go by. The new arrival in April is none other than Kamek, the tricky Magikoopa who is most famous these days for sprinkling Koopa Dust on enemies to make them into big bosses. And as you’ll see if you watch the above trailer, he puts that trick to use on himself for his special shot. Cute. Anyway, you can pick up Kamek a little early by competing in the appropriate tournament this month, or you can wait until May 1st and just get him without any effort. Up to you.
Get a Free Nintendo Switch Online Subscription Through Twitch Prime
If you haven’t yet subscribed to Nintendo’s Switch Online service, or are just interested in extending your current subscription at no cost, Twitch Prime is running quite the special offer right now. If you have a Twitch Prime subscription (and if you have Amazon Prime, then I’m quite sure you do), simply head here to take advantage of the offer. You’ll get a three-month subscription up-front, and if you’re still a Twitch Prime member 60 days from now, you’ll have another nine months added to it. Note that this doesn’t work if you have a Family Membership, though.
‘Bulletstorm: Duke of Switch Edition’ Coming to Switch This Summer
Well, I think a lot of Switch owners were expecting Gearbox to announce something Borderlands-related for the console, so I’m not sure how people are going to take this. While the publisher is mum on anything Borderlands for Switch, it did announce that Bulletstorm would be making its way to the platform this summer in the form of Bulletstorm: Duke of Switch Edition. It will include the full game and all of its DLC, including that weird Duke Nukem stuff that seems about as natural as the time Jay Sherman showed up on The Simpsons. Anyway, Bulletstorm is a pretty good game, so while it may not be what a lot of people wanted, I hope they’ll greet it warmly.
‘Hob: The Definitive Edition’ Heads to Switch Next Week
Runic Games is most famous for the Torchlight series, but the company is also behind a lovely little action-adventure game called Hob. It’s coming to Switch next week on April 4th for a price of $19.99, with an introductory discount knocking it down to $17.99. Panic Button has handled the porting chores, so I think it’s safe to say that the port will be as good as it possibly can be. Could we be seeing a Torchlight game next? Let’s hope so!
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid ($19.99)
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is not the game I expected it to be back when it was first announced. With the game coming from the developer of the mobile title Power Rangers: Legacy Wars, I was expecting a rather casual fighter with a hefty roster. Perhaps it would even go the free-to-play route and try to bring the mobile collectible fighter experience to home consoles. Somehow what we got is almost the opposite of that expectation. A paid game with a limited amount of DLC, a genuine attempt at deeper fighting mechanics, and disappointingly, a tiny set of characters to play with.
Certainly, it’s important to keep in mind that this is a budget-priced fighter from a developer that doesn’t have a ton of experience or existing assets to lean on. There was never going to be as many characters as fans would have liked. Even with that consideration, this game feels slight. You get nine playable characters, including eight Ranger variants and one monster. Three more fighters will be added to the game later as paid DLC, along with a few alternate costumes that technically reskin a few of the characters into other canonically different characters. But the core roster, the one we have now, is really small. Small and, perhaps unsurprisingly, very heavily tilted towards the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers seasons.
Now look, having only nine characters in a fighting game isn’t the end of the world. Street Fighter 2 only had eight playable characters in its initial release. Virtua Fighter had nine including its hidden boss character. So it can work, particularly since a smaller roster is easier to balance. But Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid makes a few grave mistakes that make its limited cast a bigger problem than it could have been. I’ve already mentioned how lopsided the roster is in terms of where they’re drawn from. They all play differently, but a lot of potential visual variety was sacrificed in order to keep things centered on Mighty Morphin. Another monster might have been nice as well.
I also believe it was a mistake to make this a team-based fighter, particularly a three-on-three fighter. I don’t think it’s coincidence that most of the big team-based fighters involve pre-existing fighting game brands. This allows the developer to draw on assets made for other games to pad out the roster without skyrocketing the budget. When players are choosing three characters at a time, you need to have a certain amount of fighters to choose from to keep the team selection interesting. In this game, it’s almost certain that your opponent will be using at least one of the characters you’re using. This isn’t a death sentence by any means, but it certainly takes away some of the fun. With such a small roster, it would have been better to have things set up one-on-one or, if they really were dead set on a team battler, two-on-two.
But even that isn’t necessarily a major strike against the game. If the character balance is good, then who cares if you run into mirror matches now and then? Sadly, the one thing that should not have been biffed has indeed been biffed. Certain characters are just plain better than others, especially with regards to their super moves. There are match-ups where you’ll struggle to mount any real defense against a player who knows what they’re doing thanks to things like speed differentials and the way blocking animations play out. Such imbalance means that most players are going to cast aside the weaker characters in the roster, leaving us with only a few viable characters and a couple of viable teams.
The roster isn’t the only place that Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid feels light, though. While I appreciate that there are a few different modes including ranked and casual online play (if you can find an opponent, anyway), none of them are as fleshed out as you might like. The Arcade Mode serves as the de facto single-player content, and while the game does have a story premise, you sure won’t see much of it play out in the game itself. A few sentences uttered in the penultimate match, and maybe a couple of more when you face off against the last boss. The computer AI is generally a kitten on the default difficulty, though it is prone to rare bouts of competency. You also get a Versus mode for local multiplayer, and a Training mode for practicing moves.
It’s too bad that the other aspects didn’t work out properly, because I think the fighting system here isn’t too bad. Moves are simple to pull off so more of the focus is placed on doing the right thing at the right time. Combos are fun to put together, and if you learn how to chain moves properly, you really can feel like a cool superhero. There’s a good game in here somewhere, and you can certainly have some casual fun bashing about for a little while if you’re a big enough fan of any of the included characters. But you can’t help but wonder about what it could have been. In its present state, the action and overall balance aren’t good enough to appease veteran fighting game fans, and the amount of content is far, far too meager for less serious players. Better luck next time?
SwitchArcade Score: 2.5/5
She Remembered Caterpillars ($11.99)
I’ll level with you all: I wasn’t too impressed with this game initially. The gameplay mechanics seemed to be too simple and hiding that simplicity behind a pretty presentation. The story seemed entirely disconnected from anything I was doing in the levels themselves. But you know, it’s for a review, so I soldiered on. And somewhere along the way, the levels started to get a little more challenging. The story started to hook me. In the end, I came away from She Remembered Caterpillars feeling very satisfied indeed. A slow starter, to be sure, but give it several levels to unfurl and it will probably grow on you, too.
I’m not going to go too far into the story of the game, because it deliberately keeps you in the dark and messing with that pacing is only going to spoil it. You get a line or two between each level and you’ll have to fill in a lot of blanks yourself, but it’s engaging without being overly intrusive. It makes for an odd, melancholic backdrop to the somewhat colorful and cartoonish levels you’ll be playing, but it somehow really works well as a whole. The writer suffered the loss of a parent while writing this story, and you can feel the resulting myriad emotions baked into this game’s narrative on a fundamental level.
In terms of gameplay, however, this is a bit more straightforward. Each of the game’s 40 stages tasks you with a simple goal: get each of the little spores under your control to a pad. Once you do that, they’ll take off and the stage will be cleared. The spores come in different colors, which determines where they can and can’t go. Caterpillar-like bridges can only be crossed by spores that are either the same color as or contain the same color as the bridge. Gates work similarly but will instead block spores that are the same color or contain that color. So a blue bridge can be crossed by a blue, purple, or green spore, while a purple bridge can only be crossed by a purple spore.
Spores come in three basic colors: red, blue, and yellow. But you can also merge two spores to create the three secondary colors, allowing the merged spore to take new routes and ferry a friend along paths they might otherwise not be able to cross. As you play deeper into the game, you’ll come across a few other tricks and gimmicks like switches and retracting bridges, but it all still comes back to the same kind of logical processes. Certain spores are only able to access a particular pad, after all. Work backwards from there and it’s simply a matter of how many knots you’re untying rather than dealing with more difficult ones.
And you know, that’s not bad at all. This is one of the enjoyable aspects of pure logic puzzles. Once you get a process down, you just whittle away using similar techniques, taking down bigger and bigger problems as you go. The complexity ramps up gently, so your brain is always reasonably engaged, but the game will never surprise you or overwhelm you once you understand the basic rules. Oh, and while I’ve been speaking purely in terms of colors, the different spores and caterpillar-like objects also take on different shapes, so colorblind players should find the game quite accessible.
Now, it should be said that I really love logic puzzles, so I may be more inclined than the average person to take to a game like She Remembered Caterpillars. If you find the appeal of things like Picross or Sudoku to be utterly mystifying, you may not enjoy the gameplay of this game as much as I did. But even in that case, the game’s charming presentation and compelling story might have something to offer you. It’s just a really lovely package all-around, and certainly worth picking up for any puzzle game fan.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Metagal doesn’t do much to hide its inspiration. You play as a good cyborg girl whose robot sisters have been turned evil by a bad guy. Even worse, the bad guy has kidnapped Metagal’s creator, Dr. Ray. If Metagal wants to save the day she has to battle through eight stages, defeating her rogue sisters and acquiring their weapons to use as her own. Yeah. Well, if you like Mega Man, this isn’t quite as good, but it’s decent. Combine that with a very reasonable price tag and you have a game that’s rather easy to recommend so long as you’re not opposed to run ‘n gun platformers.
Yoshi’s Crafted World ($59.99)
I feel like the Yoshi series has always had a bit of a hard go of things when it comes to the reception from critics and players. Let’s face it, when your first outing is one of the greatest platformers of all-time, it’s going to be very hard to follow that act up. I’d like to think we’re starting to get past expecting Yoshi games to match or even end up in the same league as Yoshi’s Island, though. It’s certainly well past due to start appreciating these games for what they are, and Yoshi’s Crafted World is, by any measure, a really enjoyable platformer. It doesn’t hurt that the game is gorgeous, but I think that its more ponderous pace compared to other Nintendo platformers makes it nice to slowly digest. And gosh, it is just unbelievably cute.
Arcade Archives Armed F ($7.99)
Sometimes known as Formation Armed F or Armed Formation F, this vertical shoot-em-up is somewhat similar to the Cresta series of shooters from the same company. It’s a fairly plain example of the genre in most respects, with the chief gimmick being the ability to switch formations in order to shoot behind you or at different angles. It’s also a bit of a visual treat, with each level having a very distinct and well-crafted theme of its own. Hamster has done its usual work here, so you can count on it being quite close to the arcade original. I’m not sure if anyone out there is looking to add another middling vertical space shooter to their collection, but if that’s you, here you go.
It’s a nice mix of pre-order discounts and sales on existing releases today. There are a few racing games on sale, some interesting puzzle games, and even some good old action. Also, an upcoming Kemco game. Don’t buy that one. In an unusual twist, most of the outgoing sales are for pretty good games as well, so make sure you take one last look at those to see if there’s anything you’re interested in.
New Games on Sale
GRIP ($29.99 from $39.99 until 4/11)
Hob: The Definitive Edition ($17.99 from $19.99 until 4/17)
Sephirothic Stories ($13.49 from $14.99 until 4/4)
Shadowgate ($15.99 from $19.99 until 4/11)
Beach Buggy Racing ($3.99 from $9.99 until 4/11)
Super Ping Pong Trick Shot ($2.49 from $4.99 until 4/11)
Riptide GP: Renegade ($3.99 from $9.99 until 4/11)
The Next Penelope ($2.99 from $12.99 until 4/11)
Bingo for Nintendo Switch ($2.49 from $4.99 until 4/11)
The Bunker ($6.49 from $12.99 until 4/11)
Neverout ($1.12 from $7.49 until 4/3)
Ghost 1.0 ($4.99 from $9.99 until 4/11)
Crush Your Enemies! ($4.00 from $8.00 until 4/5)
The Keep ($6.99 from $17.99 until 4/11)
Stellar Interface ($11.04 from $12.99 until 4/7)
Piczle Colors ($9.00 from $12.00 until 4/11)
Strikey Sisters ($7.99 from $9.99 until 4/17)
StarDrone ($7.99 from $9.99 until 4/17)
The Mystery of Woolley Mountain ($9.74 from $12.99 until 4/17)
Vaporum ($19.99 from $24.99 until 4/17)
Back to Bed ($4.49 from $4.99 until 4/11)
Our World is Ended ($53.99 from $59.99 until 4/18)
Not Not – A Brain Buster ($0.99 from $1.99 until 4/19)
Flowlines VS ($0.99 from $4.99 until 4/12)
Rooms: Anne & George ($8.99 from $14.99 until 4/12)
Kentucky Robo Chicken ($0.99 from $2.49 until 4/15)
Sales Ending This Weekend
Squids Odyssey ($4.49 from $14.99 until 3/30)
Baobabs Mausoleum Ep.1 ($2.99 from $5.99 until 3/31)
Battle Chasers: Nightwar ($23.99 from $39.99 until 3/31)
Candle: The Power of the Flame ($6.79 from $19.99 until 3/31)
Crimson Keep ($7.99 from $19.99 until 3/31)
de Blob ($11.99 from $29.99 until 3/31)
de Blob 2 ($20.09 from $29.99 until 3/31)
Eternum Ex ($6.49 from $12.99 until 3/31)
HoPiKo ($4.99 from $9.99 until 3/31)
Legend of Kay Anniversary ($11.99 from $29.99 until 3/31)
Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition ($4.99 from $9.99 until 3/31)
Mad Age & This Guy ($1.14 from $4.99 until 3/31)
Never Stop ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/31)
And that’s a wrap for today and this week, friends. So, what are you playing this weekend? In addition to my usual work-related games, I’ve been getting into A Robot Named Fight! recently. It’s a cool fusion of roguelite and Super Metroid, which is something I didn’t know I wanted until now. If you’re looking for something to play, you could pick it up and get into it alongside me, as the game is currently on sale for half-price. Well, whatever you’re playing, I hope you enjoy it. I’ll see you all next week, and as always, thanks for reading!