Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for June 26th, 2019. There were no new releases today at all! I think this is the first day that’s happened since I committed to writing up summaries of every new Switch game. At the very least, it’s pretty rare. Don’t worry, as tomorrow and the day after have a bunch of goodies. As for today, we’ve got two reviews for you to check out, along with a few news items and the latest sales information. Let’s get dandy!
‘Bloodstained’ Developers Commit to Improving Switch Version
As scheduled, the Switch port of Bloodstained arrived yesterday, one week after the other versions. Now, I’m still waiting on my review copy at the time of this writing, but the feedback I’ve seen from people that went ahead and bought it gives me perhaps some clue as to why everything involved with the Switch version is coming in late. The port has a variety of issues, from my understanding. Some, like the lower framerate, are to be expected. Others, like the severe input lag when using a Pro Controller, less so. The development team has heard the complaints, however, and have issued a statement on Kickstarter that says they are immediately shifting resources towards improving the Switch version. They’re going to lean towards many small updates rather than one big one. Let’s hope none of them break anyone’s save files this time.
This Week’s ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ Event is All About ‘Metroid’
Ah, the weeks just sort of slide by sometimes, don’t they? It’s already time to talk about next weekend’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Spirit Board event. The topic this time is Metroidmania, and as such any and all Metroid-related spirits will be appearing in abundance. Defeat them and you’ll earn more SP than you typically get. With things being fairly quiet on the Metroid front, it’s a bit odd to have this event right now, but it’s never a bad time to think about Metroid, I suppose. As always, the event kicks off on Friday and runs through the weekend.
Dandy Dungeon – Legend of Brave Yamada ($24.99)
I like a lot of games. I’ve had fun with more games than a reasonable person would bother to count. Some of those games have been moving experiences. Some have made me laugh. But there are very few games that I genuinely feel an emotion I would call love towards. Dandy Dungeon is one of those games. Is it the best game I’ve ever played? Well, no. Not even close. It’s a very fun game, to be sure, and it keeps itself fresh a lot longer than you might expect from its initial simple set-up. Is it the story? Yes and no. The story is sort of nonsensical at times, and it’s not afraid to be silly or strange. But it’s just so real. This game is saying something important but slapping you on the back and telling you not to take it too seriously at the same time.
I’ve written about Dandy Dungeon before when the game came out on mobile, and I’m going to just go ahead and re-use a few paragraphs from that review because in broad strokes, this is the same game. The main differences involve the game’s shift from an always-online free-to-play game to a largely offline paid title. Naturally, the game acts as though you have almost all of the IAP and re-balances itself appropriately. It also includes just about all of the content that was added post-launch, including the ending. You don’t have to worry about stamina, artificial inventory limits, or anything like that. Dandy Dungeon was never a hard-sell type of experience, but having it completely freed from that aspect certainly feels good. Anyway, on to the recycled review bits. I’ll join you again in a few paragraphs.
Yamada is a 36-year old man who works at a software company. He doesn’t care much about his job, and instead wants to focus his efforts on his true passion of creating a game. The general flow of the game sees Yamada coding up some new element for his game, then having you test the game by playing it. His game is a sort of roguelite dungeon crawl with an interesting twist. On each floor, you have to draw a path for the hero to move along, leading all the way to the exit. He’ll fight any enemies he bumps into along the way, collect any treasures, and spring any traps. Once he’s in motion, you can support him by using a variety of equipped items. As the hero defeats enemies, he’ll level up, improving his stats and topping off his HP. Each time you play the game, the hero starts from level one, but any equipment you find is yours to keep.
Successfully clearing a dungeon will give Yamada some experience points. When he levels up, he’ll often code some new features for you to try. He will also have a steady stream of visitors who either push the story along or offer some other kind of benefit. The cast is largely made of quirky characters, save perhaps for Yamada’s new neighbor Maria, who appears to be a fairly normal young woman. Yamada falls for her at first sight, and much of the game centers around his misguided attempts to prove his love to her. That could have come off as a little creepy, but the game knows exactly what it’s doing and parodies it appropriately.
These are the two sides of Dandy Dungeon. On the one hand, a fun, casual roguelite with tons of things to collect, level up, and unlock. On the other, this strange tale of Yamada and the many odd characters that touch his life. I can’t decide which part I like better. The roguelite portion has a lot of depth hidden behind its simplicity, and it always feels good when you figure out a line that takes you through every square on the floor. That said, Yamada’s world outside of the game is irresistibly charming, almost effortlessly making you root for this screwy loser and his seemingly fruitless quest. The way these two aspects bleed into each other is extremely satisfying, too. Just to use an early example, after Yamada gets a visit from one of his mooching neighbors, he adds a side-game where you send out a digital representation of that neighbor on the hunt for food and fortune.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that Dandy Dungeon has one of the funniest localizations I’ve seen in a mobile game in a while. The original Japanese version was hilarious in its own right, but the humor was so culturally specific in places that it couldn’t have been easy to localize. Just as the goofy descriptions in Katamari Damacy made you want to hunt down everything, you’ll surely want to track down all the goodies in Dandy Dungeon to see the accompanying text. Of course, even with the shift in language, the game is still quite identifiable as the work of Yoshiro Kimura, the off-beat developer most famous for games like Little King’s Story, Chulip, and Moon: Remix RPG Adventure. A frequent theme in Kimura’s work is the notion that love can conquer just about any problem, and that’s certainly on display in this game.
The game’s presentation is fantastic all-around, really. The detailed pixel art fits the theme of the game like a glove. Yamada’s room is a veritable treasure trove of things to catch your eye, and the main character’s animations are hilarious to watch, as well. The sound effects and basic compositions push the nostalgia buttons the way you would probably expect them to, but quite a bit of the music is accompanied by vocals, like a goofy friend is sitting in the room beside you making up lyrics on the fly. Dandy Dungeon feels simultaneously like a throw-back and something that couldn’t possibly have existed in previous eras, a wonderful little trick if there ever was one. Of course, being that the original game was played in portrait mode on mobile devices, you do have to deal with some big borders on either side of the play area. They’re not empty borders, mind you. But you’ll be able to tell pretty quickly that this was designed for a vertical screen orientation.
Hi, yes, it’s 2019 Shaun again. I suppose the other thing that I need to talk about is in how the controls have transferred over. Well, if you’re playing in handheld mode, you can just go ahead and use touch controls like in the original. I think this is still the best way to play the game, as drawing Yamada’s line of movement with your finger is very natural, and navigating menus by tapping and touching things is really easy. But if you have to use the button controls, you’ll find they’re more than up to the task. The only thing that takes a bit of getting used to is drawing the dungeon path using the stick, but it works well enough once you get the hang of it.
Unless you’ve actually played Dandy Dungeon before in its mobile incarnation, I can pretty much guarantee you’ve never played anything like this. It’s funny, sentimental, weird, and a lot savvier than you’d first guess. It’s also a really fun game with a core mechanic you won’t find in any other Switch RPG. While that gameplay can get a little repetitive after a while, all of the other parts of the game work together with it to ensure that you won’t ever be bored. Having the free-to-play bits stripped out of the game hasn’t broken it the way it does with certain other games that try to make that leap, but left it an even better experience all around. And I haven’t even touched on the high score leaderboards aspect of the game, which can and will keep you coming back for more again and again if you dare to get into it. Just a great game in general, and I’m excited to see it get a chance with another audience. Don’t miss it.
SwitchArcade Score: 5/5
We. The Revolution ($19.99)
We. The Revolution is a game I could have imagined absolutely killing it in popularity during the heyday of the iPad. You play as an alcoholic judge trying to survive everyday life as the French Revolution bubbles up around him. The main portion of the gameplay sees you presiding over court cases, deciding who is guilty or not. Ideally, this should be based on the evidence in front of you, but that’s where the other big part of the game comes in. You see, there are all kinds of people and groups that you don’t want to fall on the bad side of, and sometimes keeping the peace means sacrificing an innocent or letting the evil walk. There’s also a good chunk of strategy game in here, as you manipulate your people on the streets in order to gain influence and power. Throw in a few other side systems involving your personal life and other duties and you’ve got a game that seems rather meaty at first blush.
Well, parts of it are. The whole system of trying to keep groups balanced in their opinions of you is an interesting one that leads to intriguing results. The actual court bits are well-realized as well. You need to review the facts and then carefully put together your questions using combinations of key words and phrases. If you don’t assemble them properly, you’ll lose the chance to gather more information. Of course, you also need to consider whether you really want to ask some questions. The jury has a mind of its own, and going against them isn’t going to win you favors. Manipulating the jury by limiting the information they receive? Just part of the package. Once everything has been considered, you can announce your verdict. You’ll then often have to review the case by answering some questions. But again, you may want to intentionally throw your decision in order to appease certain groups.
It’s some other bits of the game that let down the overall package. Keeping your family happy doesn’t really take much thinking, nor are there any cases where you may be torn about what to do. Each member represents a faction, so you just have to look at which one you want to improve your standing with at any given moment. Most of the narrative events in the game are like this, unfortunately. It’s a stark contrast to the court scenes where you need to really carefully consider what choice will be best for you since no matter what you do, someone is going to be let down. Outside of court, there’s always a right answer, and it’s typically fairly obvious. Even the speeches you deliver at public executions and the persuasion events don’t really take much thinking once you’ve got the hang of things. These scenes nevertheless add to the feeling of immersion in the game and its volatile world, so I’m at least happy they’re here.
I’m not sure I can say the same for the strategy component. Sending your agents out to expand your influence and fighting rudimentary turn-based battles feels like a bridge too far for We. The Revolution, and it never properly blends in with the rest of the game. From a narrative point of view, it feels shoehorned in. As a gameplay component, it feels too simple to satisfy but too involved to tune out on. This whole side of things could have been removed from the game and I don’t think it would be any bit the worse for it. This game sometimes comes off as too ambitious for its own good, and this is the one part that suffers the worst for that.
As for this specific version, so long as you’re playing on the TV, it’s fine. If you’re playing in handheld mode, be warned that this game has some of the tiniest, least-legible text I’ve seen in a Switch game. It’s barely readable, and I can’t imagine anyone honestly tried to play this text-heavy game this way without noticing a problem. This may be fixed in an update later, but for now it’s an issue. And it’s too bad, because the game’s presentation is otherwise quite good. Visceral without being too gory. Dreary without giving up color. Unique without going too far afield. It’s a neat-looking game. The voice acting isn’t great, but otherwise the audio is on point as well.
We. The Revolution is a game that tries to do an awful lot and only succeeds at some of it. The stuff that works, works very well. The stuff that doesn’t is still largely tolerable. But the biggest thing that does work is in how it places you in a time of moral ambiguity and asks you to somehow keep living in a way that you can live with. You’ll find yourself compromising your principles so gradually that you may not even notice it if or when you become a full-blown slimeball. This game is not going to be enjoyable or interesting for everyone, but the people that like it are going to like it a lot. Just keep that small text in handheld mode in mind. Other than that, those who like interesting narrative games that make one question themselves may just have their new thing.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Lots of great games in the new sales today. Skulls of the Shogun isn’t even out yet, and you can grab that awesome strategy game for half-price. Feudal Alloy is a neat exploratory platformer, and Cattails is a unique RPG/survival game that will definitely appeal to some. Battle Chef Brigade is arguably the finest cooking/puzzle/beat-em-up on the Switch thus far. I also encourage you to grab Dandy Dungeon at its pre-order 30% off price. It’s a great deal for a wonderful game.
New Games on Sale
Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-A-Fide ($9.99 from $19.99 until 7/11)
Standby ($4.24 from $4.99 until 7/9)
Istanbul: Digital ($11.99 from $19.99 until 7/9)
Bombfest ($9.99 from $19.99 until 7/9)
Feudal Alloy ($11.89 from $16.99 until 7/9)
Desert Child ($8.99 from $11.99 until 7/9)
Cattails ($11.24 from $14.99 until 7/9)
Whispering Willows ($6.99 from $9.99 until 7/9)
Chicken Assassin: Reloaded ($5.59 from $7.99 until 7/9)
Pato Box ($8.99 from $14.99 until 7/9)
Battle Chef Brigade ($11.99 from $19.99 until 7/1)
L.A. Noire ($24.99 from $49.99 until 7/2)
The World Next Door ($7.49 from $14.99 until 7/8)
Hive Jump ($4.99 from $9.99 until 7/9)
Doughlings: Arcade ($4.54 from $6.99 until 7/9)
Escape Doodland ($0.99 from $9.99 until 7/17)
Coffee Crisis ($4.99 from $9.99 until 7/17)
Super Hero Fight Club: Reloaded ($0.99 from $9.99 until 7/17)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Thursday, June 27th
99Moves ($1.49 from $2.99 until 6/27)
Abyss ($1.49 from $2.99 until 6/27)
Agartha-S ($3.99 from $7.99 until 6/27)
Alvastia Chronicles ($9.09 from $12.99 until 6/27)
Animated Jigsaws: Beautiful Japanese Scenery ($4.99 from $9.99 until 6/27)
Black The Fall ($7.49 from $14.99 until 6/27)
Bulb Boy ($1.79 from $7.99 until 6/27)
Car Quest ($1.99 from $9.99 until 6/27)
Chiki-Chiki Boxy Pro Wrestling ($13.49 from $14.99 until 6/27)
Cycle 28 ($1.74 from $6.99 until 6/27)
Dandy Dungeon – Legend of Brave Yamada ($16.99 from $24.99 until 6/27)
Darts Up ($1.49 from $2.99 until 6/27)
Doggie Ninja The Golden Mission ($5.00 from $8.00 until 6/27)
Forest Home ($11.99 from $14.99 until 6/27)
Graveyard Keeper ($17.99 from $19.99 until 6/27)
Jettomero: Hero of the Universe ($5.20 from $13.00 until 6/27)
L.F.O. -Lost Future Omega- ($3.99 from $7.99 until 6/27)
Muse Dash ($26.99 from $29.99 until 6/27)
Puzzle Wall ($3.99 from $7.99 until 6/27)
Q-YO Blaster ($8.09 from $8.99 until 6/27)
Quarantine Circular ($4.79 from $5.99 until 6/27)
Revenant Saga ($7.79 from $12.99 until 6/27)
Rock ‘N Racing Off Road DX ($3.99 from $7.99 until 6/27)
Slender: The Arrival ($6.99 from $9.99 until 6/27)
The Jackbox Party Pack 5 ($17.99 from $29.99 until 6/27)
Valley ($12.99 from $19.99 until 6/27)
War Tech Fighters ($15.99 from $19.99 until 6/27)
That’s the lot for today, friends. Tomorrow we’ll have a bunch of new releases to check out, along with whatever news and sales come our way as the world turns. Wonder Boys, catgirls, and dandies, oh my! I’ll see you then for summaries of all the latest games. As always, thanks for reading!