Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for May 21st, 2019. Today is quite the release day. For whatever reason, we’ve got three Resident Evil games, the new Team Sonic Racing game, a new Atelier RPG, and even Assassin’s Creed III Remastered. There are a couple of news nuggets for you to enjoy, and three reviews to look through. All that plus the usual sales information is waiting for you today, so let’s get to it!
‘Dragon’s Lair Trilogy’ Gets a Physical Release Through Limited Run Games
Feels like it’s about time for Limited Run Games to announce its next Switch release, and yes, there it is. Beginning May 24th, open pre-orders on Dragon’s Lair Trilogy will be available through Limited Run Games’s website. There will also be a nifty special edition available for about seven seconds, and given how serious Dragon’s Lair collectors tend to be, I wish you good luck with that. Dragon’s Lair Trilogy includes the two Dragon’s Lair games and Space Ace, all of which were originally laserdisc arcade games that dazzled arcade-goers in the 1980s. Good games? No, not really. But the original Dragon’s Lair is historically significant and all three games are great examples of the legendary Don Bluth and his team animating on all cylinders.
The Next ‘SEGA AGES’ Release in Japan is ‘Wonder Boy in Monster Land’
For a hot minute after Gain Ground and Alex Kidd released, it looked like the Western releases in the Switch SEGA AGES line might catch up to Japan. Sadly, the West is about to be three releases behind yet again, as Wonder Boy in Monster Land has been announced for release “soon". This special version of the arcade hit that kicked off the Monster World series adds a few extras that will probably only appeal to hardcore fans. There was a technique in the arcade where you could wiggle the joystick to milk more coins out of certain spots, and in this version you can map that move to a single button or turn it off altogether. There are also three extra challenges with online leaderboards. Presumably, this will hit Japan next week and the West sometime in 2027.
It’s probably safe to say that both Wipeout and F-Zero are dead for the foreseeable future. That leaves a gaping hole in the niche that is the futuristic racing genre, and it’s one I’ve seen many try to fill. Redout isn’t a particularly new example, having first launched on PC nearly three years ago and other consoles one year after. Though I wouldn’t say the reviews of those versions were smashing, they were very good. Rightfully so, I might add. Redout offers up some pretty slick racing and an awful lot of content. It’s one of the better examples of a futuristic racer in the post-Wipeout world.
Well, that’s the case with other versions, anyway. The Switch version has staggered far behind the other releases of Redout, with delays plaguing it to the extent that even when it was pegged on the new release board, some people had their doubts. It seems to have had a troublesome development period, for reasons I’m not even going to try to guess at. In cases like this, the end result can really go in any direction. The extra time put in can sometimes make for the best version at all. But delays can also point to a ship on a wrong course that is having a lot of difficulty righting itself. The Switch version of Redout falls somewhere closer to the stray ship example, unfortunately.
The good news is that this version is content-complete, and that means you can look forward to a meaty game indeed. The career mode campaign will have you racing away the hours, trying to level up, earn cash for upgrades and racers, and trying to move up in the rankings by hook or by crook. If you get tired of the career mode, you can run quick races or head online for multiplayer action. It’s a challenging game to play, as entries in this genre tend to be, but the developer has done a good job of designing the tracks and setting up the mechanics of racing to make it all very rewarding to tackle.
The bad news is that the game has taken a major hit in the transition to the Switch. Tons of visual details have been removed from the sides of the tracks. The resolution is all over the place and often looks terribly fuzzy. The framerate naturally takes a shot to the jaw as well, running at 30 FPS. Since the visual design of the game leans towards simpler low-poly structures, the lack of sharpness and smoothness really hurts its overall look in comparison to both other versions and its peers in the genre on Switch. It’s by no means unplayable, I must stress. The fuzzy resolution is probably the worst aspect of its graphics, but provided you have nothing to compare it to, I think you can certainly enjoy Redout‘s Switch version on its own merits.
But Redout doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Even on the Switch, there’s the zippy-smooth Fast RMX available for half of the price of this game. Setting aside the price tags, I think that if you’re looking for one futuristic racer for your Switch, Fast RMX is the best choice. But if you’ve run that one dry, are looking for another futuristic racer, and aren’t fussy about visuals, Redout does have plenty to offer. Lots of qualifications there, to be sure, but given how hungry fans of this genre are, I suspect at least some are willing to put up with a few issues to add another game to their libraries. Just be advised that you’d be far better off picking this game up on another platform.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Undead Horde ($16.99)
The latest release from 10tons is an action-RPG/RTS built around a really cool hook: you are a necromancer and your army is built from the enemies you’ve killed. That simple premise carries the game quite far, though not as far as it needs to. Fortunately, there’s a bit more to the game than that, though none of the other stuff is as unusual as clever as the necromancy. Anyway, you play as an evil necromancer hungry to get revenge on the humans and do-gooders that have opposed you and your colleagues for so long. You have to build an army and raze the land, destroying all life that you see so that you can resurrect it on your side. The game doesn’t take it too seriously, luckily.
Of course, you’re not one of those managers that isn’t willing to get their hands dirty. You’ll be in the thick of things, hacking away at enemies with your weapons, using magic to get the upper hand, and of course, raising the fallen to join your side. Just be careful, because if you fall in battle there won’t be anyone to bring you back from the dead. Actually, given how prevalent roguelikes are, I’d better clarify that joke. If you fall in battle, you’ll just get kicked back out the map screen and mostly have to start the level over. It’s not a big deal. But try not to die too much. It’s discouraging for your troops.
With this being RPG-ish, you can look forward to leveling up, getting new gear, and so on. But it’s not just your main character that will grow. The hub that you venture out from will also get more lively over time, and there are various ways to increase what it holds. Vendors just want gold to upgrade their shops, so that’s easy enough. But how to increase your standing army? Well, once you kill a certain number of each type of enemy, they’ll be available to recruit from your hub. And yes, you can raise the bosses after you kill them and have them join your shambling horde, don’t worry. Just be warned that pretty much every unit is more fragile as the undead than when it was alive. Your minions will crumble with shocking regularity, so don’t forget to liberally apply the ABS: Always. Be. Summoning.
This is basically a level by level affair, but sometimes you can’t fully complete a level on your first go. You complete a chunk, go somewhere else, do a thing, then come back and finish the level. I kind of like how it’s set up because it rarely feels like any individual run is going on too long, keeping the pace somewhat snappy in a genre that sometimes likes to stretch its legs a little too much. Even with that taken into account, the game does start to wear a bit before it ends. You can probably expect to finish the game in anywhere between ten and fifteen hours, depending on how dedicated you are to completing optional content. I think part of the problem is that there are certain tactics that work a lot better than others in a broad sense, so unless you force yourself to do things differently for fun, a lot of the maps boil down to the same things.
But you know, it’s not that long of a game. By the time any sort of repetition starts to stick in your craw, the whole affair will likely be drawing to a close. There are other things I could pick at if I wanted to. The presentation feels pretty low-rent most of the time. The AI can be painfully stupid when it comes to certain things. It never really hits that sweet spot in terms of difficulty. But honestly, this is mostly minor stuff. If you like idea of the game’s gimmick, suffice it to say that it pulls it off quite well. Not a must-have by any means, and probably not as good as the twin-stick shooters 10tons is usually known for, but it’s not a bad way to pass a weekend.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Chicken Rider ($3.99)
This is a game about a polar bear who likes to wear costumes and ride chickens. Sometimes the chicken wears helmets or rides a skateboard. The previous two sentences include everything good about Chicken Rider, an uninspired auto-runner that I wouldn’t play for free. This game is available on mobile and probably a few other places, but it’s usually a free game loaded up with IAPs. This Switch version eschews the IAPs in favor of an upfront price, but that just means you’re left alone in the room with the game itself.
So yeah, the game starts and your bear hops on the chicken and gets going. People are trying to catch either the bear or the chicken. You have to jump over them or dodge them in whatever way you can. Sometimes there are missiles or rockets that come at you suddenly. There’s a bit of warning but it’s hard to dodge them most of the time anyway. Coins are arranged all over the place, but your awkward jump doesn’t really match the way the coins or obstacles are laid out. You’ll have three missions active at any given moment, and completing them will earn you more coins. The coins can buy you new costume pieces, one-use boosts, and new chickens. There are tons of costumes so you could really be at this forever if you’re so inclined.
I don’t dislike auto-runners. I don’t mind that there are tons of unlockables and the coin intake is so slow that you’ll be at this for years if you really want to get everything. But the game itself has to be fun. Jetpack Joyride wasn’t great because it had lots of cool bonuses. Those didn’t hurt, but what made it fun was the the gameplay was good. There was nuance. There was something worth mastering there. Chicken Rider is just clunky and unpleasant to play. Nothing is arranged the way your brain wants it to be. The hit detection is hard to get a read on. There’s nothing to learn here. Nothing to sink your teeth into. It’s not even enjoyable on a simple level. There are far better things you could do with your four dollars and, more importantly, your time.
SwitchArcade Score: 1/5
Atelier Lulua ~The Scion of Arland~ ($59.99)
The latest game in the cult favorite Atelier series goes back to the extremely well-liked Arland setting to continue its story. If you don’t recall, the Arland trilogy was the set that was dropped onto the Switch earlier this year. The story of this game follows Lulua, the adopted daughter of Rorona, who was the protagonist of the original Arland game. This should be just as good, right? Well, yes and no. Although the story and setting follow up on the Arland games, the gameplay is like the more recent Atelier games. A little less sim-ish, a little more linear RPG-ish. Time limits aren’t a thing, which is a bonus for some but probably not those that loved the frantic Arland trilogy. And many of the cherished characters from that trilogy don’t make an appearance here, either. A decent game, to be sure, but one that probably is more hurt by its ties to the past than helped.
Resident Evil ($29.99)
The remake of Resident Evil, which first appeared way back on the Gamecube, is not my favorite game in the Resident Evil series, but it’s awfully good. In fact, if you’re in this stuff for the survival horror aspects, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better Resident Evil game. Naturally, the game has made the transition to Switch without any trouble, and although its once cutting-edge visuals are starting to show their age, having something like this on a handheld system is still pretty impressive. Itchy. Tasty.
Resident Evil 4 ($29.99)
Oh hey, what’s up. Only one of the best games ever made now playable on your handheld. No big deal. Torn between action and the survival horror elements that each had their own pulls on the series, Resident Evil in its fourth installment finally said “to hell with it" and went all-in on the action. The result was one of the finest games of its era, and easily the high-water mark of the series until… well, I suppose this year. Arguably. Now, if you’re familiar with this game through its Wii incarnation, I have to break the news to you that there are no motion controls in this version. You can’t just point and pop off heads the way you could there. But otherwise? This is a fantastic version of an incredible game, and a safe choice for any Switch owner looking for some quality action.
Resident Evil 0 ($29.99)
Wow, two great Resident Evil games released in one day for the Switch. Isn’t that great? Ha ha. Wait, wasn’t there another Resident Evil game that had its origins in Nintendo hardware? Oh… oh, right. Once upon a time, Capcom was making a Resident Evil game for the Nintendo 64. Due to the limitations in the memory sizes of the cartridges for the console, this was not a great idea. Capcom realized that, moved the production over to the Gamecube, and after a lot of extra work, Resident Evil 0 launched in 2002 to pretty good reviews. People have kind of cooled on it since then, and while it’s not bad, it’s certainly extremely forgettable. But if you are in the market for the third-best Resident Evil game released on the Switch today, here you go.
Assassin’s Creed III Remastered ($39.99)
Is this the best Assassin’s Creed? No, not at all. But it is an Assassin’s Creed game, the first of the proper series to hit the Switch, and as such it’s probably worth paying some attention to. If you’re not one to keep track of which game is which, this is the one where you play as Connor, a half-Native, half-British warrior battling against tyranny in the American colonies. It has a lot of wide open wilderness, a bold move for a series generally known for its urban settings. This version also includes a full remaster of Assassin’s Creed Liberation, the Vita installment that followed assassin Aveline in New Orleans. You also get all of the solo DLC that was available for the third game. If you like your skulking and killing, this is probably going to please you, especially if you haven’t played it before.
Team Sonic Racing ($39.99)
We’re still waiting on our review code for this one, but comparisons between the Switch version and other versions have been made and the differences are now well-documented. The visual downgrade is largely found in the framerate, which hangs around 30 FPS as opposed to the 60 FPS seen in some other versions. Resolution is also obviously a bit lower. Other than that, the game looks surprisingly good compared to its peers. So how is the game itself? Reviews are all over the place so far, but it seems like a lot of people agree that it feels like a step back from Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. On the other hand, it also seems to be generally agreed upon that the quality of the racing is on par with developer Sumo’s usual efforts. If you’re looking for another kart racer for your Switch, you’re probably pretty safe going with this one. If you want to be sure, I encourage you to wait a little bit until our review is ready.
Okay, today’s new sales aren’t really anything to get too excited about. That’s fine, because it allows me to put an emphasis on a particular sale in the outbox. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is at its lowest price ever, and it’s the last time the game will be on sale before the price gets raised to $39.99 later this year. If you ever wanted Shovel Knight or think you may in the future, buy it now. Don’t wait. And while you’re at it, you could buy some Playism games too. They’ll be back on sale again in a while, no doubt, but it’s never a bad time for Kero Blaster!
New Games on Sale
Mecha Storm ($11.99 from $19.99 until 6/2)
Battery Jam ($7.49 from $14.99 until 5/27)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 22nd
Angels of Death ($10.49 from $14.99 until 5/22)
Astebreed ($13.99 from $19.99 until 5/22)
Croixleur Sigma ($11.99 from $19.99 until 5/22)
Kero Blaster ($6.99 from $9.99 until 5/22)
Kingdom: Two Crowns ($15.99 from $19.99 until 5/22)
Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment ($4.99 from $9.99 until 5/22)
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove ($12.49 from $24.99 until 5/22)
This War of Mine: Complete Edition ($19.99 from $39.99 until 5/22)
TorqueL -Physics Modified Edition- ($4.99 from $9.99 until 5/22)
Vertical Strike Endless Challenge ($3.49 from $4.99 until 5/22)
Viviette ($7.99 from $9.99 until 5/22)
And that’s all we’ve got for today, friends. As for tomorrow, we’ve got at least one interesting new release to look at. We’ll see what else I can put together, but at the very least we’ll have some news and sales information to keep you entertained. Be there, or don’t be there! You can always read it later and I don’t want to impose my schedule on you! As always, thanks for reading.