Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for June 4th, 2019. Today was a bit quieter than I originally expected in terms of news, but perhaps that’s for the best as my time was a bit limited. With things being pretty slow as far as news goes, today we’re going straight to a review of one of those not-so-good games I mentioned yesterday. We’ve got summaries of the several new games that hit today, including such fine titles as Timespinner and Perchang. Finally, we’ve got the usual sales information that makes the coins in your pocket quiver in fear. Let’s get into it!
Robot Squad Simulator ($14.99)
Believe it or not, I’ve had a lot of discussions about the nature of game reviews over the last 25 or so years of my life. See, one of the reasons these silly little ramblings seem to explode with the force of a Looney Tunes-style sausage-link-made-from-dynamite on occasion is that there are a lot of different perspectives about what a game review actually should be. Is it a buyer’s guide? An appraisal of the art? Should it strive for objectivity, or embrace the pure chaos of subjectivity? The only thing I can say for certain is that I am absolutely not going to answer any of those questions here.
But one viewpoint I’ve had presented to me by a few people is that games ought to be judged for what they’re trying to be and how well they achieve that. Setting aside that such a review would require a bit of mind-reading on the part of the reviewer, I’ve always replied to that with a somewhat snarky answer. What if the game is trying to be bad and succeeds, I ask confidently. Should that be deserving of a high score? What if it’s trying to be trash and perfectly accomplishes that? Perfect score? Of course, such a scenario involves wild exaggeration, as these arguments tend to. After all, what game would actually try to be bad?
I’ve had to eat those words a bit in recent years, as a certain degree of shoddiness has, accidentally or otherwise, become an appreciated element from some players. Goat Simulator is intentionally bad in a lot of ways, and it’s a blast. Whoops. But I think that gets at the key of the problem. A game can try to be intentionally bad and get away with it, but it has to be fun or enjoyable in the end. And that, I think, is where I part ways with Robot Squad Simulator.
This game meticulously attempts to simulate controlling fiddly real-world robots. Well, as least attempts that within the budget the team had to work with, which doesn’t seem like a high one. And pop the champagne, because it totally succeeds. If you’ve ever tried to work a robot arm or tried to run a tight obstacle course with a troublesome RC car, this game’s awkwardness will immediately speak to you. “Get away while you still can, you fool!" is what I heard, but your mileage may vary.
So here’s the deal: you’ve got a bunch of missions to accomplish, and they can involve a pretty wide variety of tasks. Defusing bombs. Pushing buttons. Picking up a can and putting it in a box. Taking photos. All that stuff you wish you could do with a robot because you don’t want to get up off the sofa. Especially for that bomb business. Finish these missions and you will earn money. That money will be enough to buy the upgrades and new robots you’ll need for the next mission, and so it goes. There are more than 20 of these missions in all, including the training missions. And to the game’s credit, it really does try to change things up as it goes.
I think the game does a pretty good job, again within its means, of simulating what it is like to control a little team of realistic robots doing various real-world tasks. But this is where I get off the train. Because realistic though it may be, fun it is not. Enjoyable it is not. Enlightening, not even a little. I come away from this game not with mirth in my heart but with the cold realization that on this cursed planet we live on, being a robot operator is a boring, frustrating job. Crushed dreams. Probably a reasonably accurate simulation. But a game you should buy? Only if you want exactly what’s on the tin.
SwitchArcade Score: 2.5/5
Tiny Derby ($4.99)
What an odd little thing this is. At first glance, I thought this was going to be some kind of low-rent multiplayer racing game. But that’s not what it is at all. In fact, you don’t even actively race. Instead, you’re trying to help the good racers win by throwing down hazards in front of the bad racers and boosts in front of the good ones. Yeah, you’re cheating to win. There are 120 different levels with four different environments and seven special bad racers to deal with. It kind of works? I’m not sure how hard I’d recommend it, but it’s not the worst thing I’ve seen selling for a fiver on Switch.
Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa ($29.99)
Well, here’s a new one for the Switch. Part visual novel, part strip match-3, Kotodama sees you trying to reveal people’s dark secrets by stripping them. Games are art, people. So make those matches, strip those school boys and girls down to their underpants, and solve some mysteries already! I don’t know, friends. I’ve seen all kinds of reviews for this game and the scores are falling all over the place. All I can really say is that you if like fanservice, puzzle games, and reasonably interesting but not spectacular stories, you should buy Crystal Crisis. But if you really like anime people in lingerie, boxers, and briefs, buy Kotodama.
Red Siren: Space Defense ($8.99)
This looker of a shooter hops over from its mobile incarnation with the ads stripped out, an upfront price tag applied, and hopefully some adjustments to its rather grind-heavy in-game economy. It plays like a side-scrolling shoot-em-up, but enemies arrive in waves so there’s a bit of tower defense mixed in there for good measure. To tell the truth, while I did find this one to be pretty nice to look at and okay in its moment-to-moment gameplay, I got bored of it fairly quickly. You may feel differently, though. I encourage you to go and download the free mobile version to see if it’s your thing. If you enjoy what you play there, you’re probably safe to buy the Switch version.
Yeah, it’s another exploratory platformer with really nice pixel art. The Switch has a lot of these, and many of them are truly great. This one is also very good. It has an interesting time travel plot that sees you jumping between two time periods trying to get revenge on the people who killed your family. Time also comes into play with the gameplay mechanics, as you can temporarily halt time to gain an advantage over enemies and navigate areas. This game was pretty well-received on other platforms, so if you’re looking to line up your next Metroidvania adventure, you’ll probably want to check this one out. The only caveat is that it’s a little on the shorter side compared to, say, Hollow Knight. It’s a good five or six hours long, but I know some people like games to be longer than that. If that’s you, well, do what you have to.
Mobile gaming fans will probably remember Perchang, the lovely puzzle game from some ex-Rodeo Games folks. The goal in each stage is to set up objects and operate them in order to move little balls from one end to the other. It’s a great-looking puzzle game with a nice, engaging hook to it. And it makes the translation to Switch fairly well, albeit with slightly different controls. That said, I think if you have a decent mobile device, you’re probably better off grabbing Perchang there. The controls feel more natural and the game is a good bit cheaper, to boot. If you don’t have that option open to you, this Switch version gets the point across as it needs to. And it is certainly worth playing, particularly if you like puzzles.
Okay, not a lot in the inbox or outbox today to get people shouting, but there’s a bit of good stuff there if you look hard enough. Hob: The Definitive Edition is a pretty decent port of a visually impressive game, for example. The Oh…Sir! games are not for everyone, but for a buck-ish each you can afford to take a chance. Mind that outbox as well, where we say good-bye to sales on Bard’s Gold and Flashback among others. They’ll be back around eventually, no doubt, but it may be a while.
New Games on Sale
Hob: The Definitive Edition ($16.99 from $19.99 until 6/24)
Sushi Time! ($3.74 from $4.99 from 6/24)
Oh…Sir! The Insult Simulator ($0.99 from $1.99 until 6/10)
Oh…Sir! The Hollywood Roast ($1.19 from $2.99 until 6/10)
Crush Your Enemies! ($4.00 from $8.00 until 6/10)
Feral Fury ($4.49 from $8.99 until 6/17)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 5th
Asterix & Obelix XXL 2 ($24.99 from $49.99 until 6/5)
ATV Drift & Tricks ($13.99 from $34.99 until 6/5)
Bard’s Gold ($5.84 from $8.99 until 6/5)
Clock Simulator ($1.35 from $3.99 until 6/5)
Deployment ($2.49 from $9.99 until 6/5)
Flashback ($9.99 until $19.99 until 6/5)
Hyperide ($0.99 from $1.99 until 6/5)
IHUGU ($1.35 from $3.99 until 6/5)
Moto Racer 4 ($13.99 from $34.99 until 6/5)
Snake vs Snake ($3.59 from $3.99 until 6/5)
Syberia 1 and 2 ($13.99 from $34.99 until 6/5)
And that’s it for today, friends. Sorry for it being a short one, but that’s just how things shook out. We’ll be back tomorrow with the latest releases, along with whatever news and sales come our way. If it happens to be quiet again, I’ve got a couple more not-so-good games I could insert reviews for. We’ll see. As always, thanks for reading!