Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for July 15th, 2019. Today we’ve got a trio of reviews for you to have a look at, along with some new releases, a few news tidbits, and a surprisingly robust list of new sales. Yes, I too was surprised that there were some games not already on sale. As always, we’ve got plenty of ground to cover, so let’s take off and see where we land!
Upcoming Update for ‘Crash Team Racing’ Addresses Loading Times
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is a really cool kart racing game that looks pretty darned amazing on the Switch considering the power gap between Nintendo’s hardware and the others. There’s one big problem with the Switch version, however, and that is how long the game takes to load. Sometimes you have to wait upwards of 45 seconds, which is definitely long enough to be a wet blanket. Well, it seems that the upcoming 1.05 update is going to make use of something called Boost Mode to improve those loading times. While we haven’t had anyone come out officially and talk about it, Nintendo recently did something similar with Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey. Basically, the Switch runs under clocked most of the time for various reasons. By allowing the system to go unchained briefly, load times can be reduced without any serious drawbacks. This is probably what Boost Mode refers to. Regardless of what it actually entails, any measures that can be taken to reduce loading times are welcome in my book.
The Original ‘Yo-Kai Watch’ is Coming to Switch in Japan in September
With the recent release of Yo-Kai Watch 4 on the Switch in Japan, confirmation of the game’s localization, and an announcement of Ni no Kuni coming to the system, it’s clear Level-5 is betting on Nintendo’s hardware in a big way once again. Add one more to the pile as the original Yo-Kai Watch will apparently be seeing a release on the system on September 20th in Japan, coinciding with the release of the Switch Lite. Since an English version of the game exists, it’s reasonably likely that the game will also release outside of Japan, but no official word on that yet. No word on pricing, either, and that’s going to be the real trick in Japan where any used game store has stacks of the 3DS version for under five dollars apiece.
What Remains of Edith Finch ($19.99)
If I weren’t concerned with spoilers, What Remains of Edith Finch is a game I could write an awful lot about. But this really isn’t a game that you should have spoiled, so I find myself somewhat handcuffed in terms of what I can write in a review. Broad strokes, I suppose. This game has been around for a while, but it’s the first time it’s been available on a Nintendo platform. It’s a narrative adventure game that leans heavily on the narrative but still has some interesting gameplay bits to keep you busy. The Switch port is rather good, and if you were to experience it here for the first time, you probably wouldn’t be any the wiser that some visual compromises were made.
Much of the story is played through the eyes of Edith Finch, a young woman who returns to her family home after her mother passes away. Her family is said to be cursed, and it certainly seems that way. Edith is apparently the last of the Finch family, and the game itself is largely concerned with showing you what happened to all of the rest of them. You travel from room to room in this strange, labyrinthine house. As you stumble on each family member’s room, you’ll play a little vignette that shows what became of them. Some of them are very short, others are longer. Some are barely interactive, others require you to mess around with physics or search around a confined area.
There’s quite a bit of variety in these vignettes, both in terms of gameplay and presentation. The story comes from the magic realism sub-genre, leaving you guessing if what you’ve seen is really what happened or some kind of embellishment. Food for thought, at the very least. They also vary in quality, of course. The best of them are incredibly powerful and effective. The least of them at least have the courtesy to not stick around too long. The process of exploring the house is quite interesting in its own right, as it is packed with extra details and hints that will make you want to play the game again after you finish it the first time. Everything is just vague enough that your imagination can, and will want to, fill in the gaps, and the game is more than prepared to feed that.
What Remains of Edith Finch runs quite well on the Switch. Unreal Engine games are always a bit hit or miss on the platform, but this one looks good and generally runs well outside of a few brief sections. It’s a bit too dark, especially in handheld mode, but a quick trip to the options screen to crank up the gamma mostly solves that issue. This game really depends heavily on making the player feel immersed in its world, and the Switch version thankfully caters to people who need a big screen to make that happen and those who prefer a more intimate handheld experience. That’s a big advantage, and I don’t think any of its compromises significantly outweigh that.
It’s a relatively short game, coming in at just a few hours long. The story as a whole has a lot of places where you can scratch and peel the proverbial paint off. But if you just let What Remains of Edith Finch wash over you and allow yourself to be absorbed in its strange premise and setting, it’s a very compelling experience. Obviously not a game that will satisfy people looking for complex puzzles or challenging gameplay, but if you enjoy a good narrative experience, I doubt you’ll be disappointed with What Remains of Edith Finch.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Professor Lupo and His Horrible Pets ($14.99)
Some people’s pets are just horrible around other people. It’s a thing. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog or cat act quite the way Professor Lupo’s pets do. Whenever a human comes into their vicinity, they go full Eldritch-horror and try to eat them. Luckily, they’re safely confined so that nobody important gets hurt. Or they are until a freak accident shuts down various systems on the ship and all of those horrible pets go free. And so, like any reasonable person in a position of authority, the professor rolls up his sleeves, cracks his knuckles, and calls his intern to deal with the problem.
Well, you’re not so much dealing with the problem as trying to avoid it for the most part. If there’s nothing between you and one of the pets, you’re not long for the world. Much of this top-down puzzle game involves making sure you keep something between you and those pets while making your way to each stage’s exit. It’s kind of a stealth game in one sense, as you’ll need to pay attention to patrol patterns and slip past many of the creatures when the time is just right. But it doesn’t skimp on the puzzle bits, as most stages require you to manipulate the behavior of the creatures to help you get ahead.
There are over 100 stages in all, and it’s quite a hefty game for its genre. You’ll probably need more than ten hours to complete it all, and that’s not even counting getting all of the extra goodies needed for a perfect clear. The game does a really good job of keeping things fresh along that lengthy journey, introducing new mechanics and hazards at a steady enough clip that you’re never quite on top of it all at any given point. You can use touch controls when you’re playing in handheld mode, and I highly recommend that as the button controls can be a little bit too fussy for some of the more challenging stages.
Ultimately, Professor Lupo and His Horrible Pets isn’t all that different from any number of top-down puzzle-action games, but it is a reasonably decent example of that sort. The visuals are really nice, the voice acting is… there, and the game has some genuinely clever level designs scattered throughout. You get a ton of content, but the game is smart about its length so it rarely feels tiresome. The controls are the biggest drag on the game, and it feels like they fail the player just as often as the player’s lack of reflex skill or puzzle-solving does. It makes the game frustrating in ways I can’t imagine it was intended to be, particularly if you’re not playing in handheld mode and are unable to make use of the touch controls. Throw in the occasional stage that doesn’t communicate its solution well, and you have a bit of a conflicting experience on the whole.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet ($19.99)
Monkey Island is probably dead. Well, it is. We all have to come to terms with that. Even before the implosion of Telltale Games and Lucasarts, it seemed extremely unlikely that we’d be seeing any further adventures of Guybrush Threepwood. Now that he’s an official Disney Princess and the poster-child publisher of modern adventure games is six feet under, I very much doubt we’ll see anything but the odd remake and re-release from here on out. It’s fine, it was all going kind of badly anyway.
Nelly Cootalot is not Monkey Island. Then again, there are fierce debates as to whether the last couple of Monkey Island games were really Monkey Island, so maybe this avenue is a bad one to go down. Anyway, Nelly Cootalot is not Monkey Island, but it’s hard not to think of that game while you’re playing this one. It’s a cartoony, genuinely humorous point-and-click adventure game about pirates, after all. For a vast majority of games, that comparison would be a fatal one. And of course, Nelly Cootalot isn’t a better or more memorable game than one of the finest of all-time in the genre. But you know, it’s not bad at all. Can it sit in that chair? No, but it’s fine being in the same room, if you know what I mean.
You control the heroic pirate Nelly Cootalot as she takes on the nefarious Baron Widebeard, whose latest scheme is as dangerous as it is outlandish. You’ll travel to a ton of different locations and meet a large cast of wacky characters along the way. There are plenty of puzzles to solve, but nothing too difficult or hard to figure out. The puns run fast and furious, and as long as you’re okay with that kind of humor, you’ll have a ball here. The game itself lasts for five or so hours, which I feel is about the right length for what it’s putting out there. The excellent writing is backed by a talented cast of voice actors, which really helps drive the jokes home.
Although the puzzles aren’t that tough, some of them involve a number of steps. You get a good mix of puzzle types here, from inventory puzzles to logic riddles to dialogue-based set-ups. The occasional mini-game helps change things up, to slightly mixed results. Honestly, I think this is the best way to approach adventure game puzzle design in the modern age. We’re well past the point where cat-hair mustache is acceptable, assuming it ever was, and having lengthy puzzles with straightforward steps is more than engaging enough for most players, I suspect.
The controls work well enough whether you’re on the TV or playing in handheld mode. The latter is preferred as touch controls generally go well with point-and-click adventures, but even the former is tolerable thanks to the game giving you direct control over Nelly with the stick rather than making you run a little cursor around. The game runs well on the hardware, as you would expect, and its detailed backgrounds really pop nicely whether you’re playing on your TV or curled up in a chair playing on the Switch’s screen.
Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet is an enjoyable point-and-click adventure game with a great sense of humor that has been ported quite well to the Switch. These kinds of games aren’t for everyone, but those who like them don’t get a lot of great new releases on consoles to meet their needs these days. Nelly Cootalot is like a ray of sunshine, brightening up any room that sees itself fortunate enough to host her. It’s a silly, punny, pirate adventure, and the day I push that kind of plate away is the day I quit playing video games altogether.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Quest Hunter ($16.99)
This is an action-RPG that seems like it would be a good fit for someone looking for a more casual co-op take on games like Diablo or Torchlight. You can play online or do local play with up to four players, working your way through procedurally-generated dungeons filled with loot to grab and beasties to bash. Well, you know how this all goes. This one does have a story and some light puzzles, and it’s rather well-made for what it is. I don’t think it’s going to light any fires for veterans of the genre, but if you like this kind of game and have some friends who find stuff like Diablo 3 to be a bit too much, you’ll probably get some value out of Quest Hunter.
Alien Escape ($4.99)
This should be a familiar sort of game for mobile gaming fans. Alien Escape is a puzzle-platformer where you have to rescue your friends in more than 70 levels. The main gimmick is that you can rotate the screen 90 degrees, with gravity following suit. You have to use this ability to make your way around each stage’s hazards. There are some unlockable characters and apparently you get a special bonus if you beat the game 100%. It’s a really cute game and it’s not too bad even if it doesn’t really stand out from the crowd all that much. The price is right for what you get, I think.
Adrenaline Rush – Miami Drive ($3.99)
Hey, it’s another Cool Small Games release. And just like its other games, this is a port of a free-to-play mobile game. I mean, you could probably tell that by the fact that there’s text on top of the screenshots in the eShop. While you might think this is a racing game, it’s actually a driving take on the behind-the-back auto-runner. Try to stay ahead of your pursuers, collect coins that presumably go towards upgrades and unlockables, and try to enjoy the relatively decent aesthetics. Well, it’s cheap. Not something I’d see myself playing much of, particularly on my Switch, but it’s not like four dollars is a big ask.
Lust for Darkness ($14.59)
Well, I guess the most interesting thing I can say about this game is that it’s a surprisingly adult game to see on a Nintendo platform. Yes, Nintendo’s days of turning blood into sweat may be long behind it, but you still don’t expect to see games that lean really hard into sexual topics on home consoles. This is a psychological erotic horror game that sees you dealing with an extra-dimensional world where the inhabitants modified their bodies to enjoy carnal pleasures 24/7. Some time has passed since they went all-in on this idea and now the world is filled with horrific monstrosities that are definitely not safe for work. Um, aside from its content, this seems to be a rather short, somewhat mediocre adventure game. Do with it what you will.
Plenty of new games on sale today, though the bulk appear to be from one publisher. Picking out the highlights today, Ding Dong XL is absolutely worth nineteen freaking cents, and Steredenn is a great pick-up at five dollars. Not a lot to worry about in the outbox, but if you have an interest in the Naruto games, this is obviously the time to grab them. They don’t really go on sale as a general rule, so getting all three for the price that one usually sells for is quite good.
New Games on Sale
Iconoclasts ($13.99 from $19.99 until 7/31)
Operation Pig ($3.29 from $10.99 until 8/3)
Selma and the Wisp ($2.49 from $9.99 until 7/24)
NeuroVoider ($6.99 from $13.99 until 8/1)
Pankapu ($5.99 from $11.99 until 8/1)
Splasher ($5.99 from $14.99 until 8/1)
Transcripted ($0.99 from $7.99 until 8/1)
A Normal Lost Phone ($3.59 from $5.99 until 8/1)
Another Lost Phone: Laura’s Story ($3.59 from $5.99 until 8/1)
Lost Phones Stories ($5.99 from $9.99 until 8/1)
Steredenn: Binary Stars ($4.99 from $12.99 until 8/1)
Super Rocket Shootout ($2.99 from $9.99 until 8/1)
Bombslinger ($5.99 from $11.99 until 8/1)
Burly Men at Sea ($4.99 from $9.99 until 8/1)
BAFL – Brakes Are For Losers ($1.99 from $4.99 until 8/1)
White Night ($2.99 from $14.99 until 8/1)
Dungeon Rushers ($4.49 from $14.99 until 8/1)
Knights of Pen and Paper +1 ($8.99 from $14.99 until 8/1)
Knights of Pen and Paper 2 ($9.99 from $12.99 until 8/1)
Knights of Pen and Paper Bundle ($17.99 from $22.49 until 8/1)
Bury me, my Love ($3.49 from $4.99 until 8/1)
Zombie Night Terror ($9.99 from $14.99 until 8/1)
The Last Door – Complete ($10.99 from $14.99 until 8/1)
Anarcute ($13.49 from $14.99 until 8/1)
Clue: The Classic Mystery Game ($20.99 from $29.99 until 7/21)
Car Mechanic Simulator ($9.74 from $14.99 until 8/3)
Shape of the World ($7.49 from $14.99 until 8/1)
Lost in Harmony ($1.99 from $6.99 until 8/1)
Kill The Bad Guy ($3.99 from $6.99 until 8/1)
Let’s Sing 2018 ($29.99 from $39.99 until 8/1)
Old School Musical ($7.99 from $12.99 until 8/1)
Hover ($12.49 from $24.99 until 8/1)
Momonga Pinball Adventures ($4.49 from $5.99 until 8/1)
Robbie Swifthand and the Orb of Mysteries ($9.99 from $17.99 until 8/1)
Titans Pinball ($1.97 from $2.99 until 8/1)
Lust for Darkness ($13.13 from $14.59 until 8/1)
Bouncy Bullets ($3.99 from $4.99 until 7/29)
Ding Dong XL ($0.19 from $0.99 until 7/26)
Bargain Hunter ($10.61 from $12.49 until 7/23)
Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae ($5.95 from $11.90 until 7/27)
Son of a Witch ($6.99 from $14.99 until 7/29)
The Bridge ($2.79 from $9.99 until 8/5)
Tumblestone ($4.19 from $14.99 until 8/5)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 16th
Alchemic Jousts ($7.49 from $9.99 until 7/16)
Burnstar ($0.99 from $19.99 until 7/16)
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 ($9.99 from $19.99 until 7/16)
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 ($9.99 from $19.99 until 7/16)
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy ($19.99 from $39.99 until 7/16)
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm ($9.99 from $19.99 until 7/16)
Super Tennis Blast ($12.74 from $14.99 until 7/16)
That’s going to wrap things up for today, friends. Be sure to check back in tomorrow. We’ll have looks at some new releases that are hitting the eShop, some news and sales information, and perhaps even a review or two if I can squeeze in the time. I’ll see you all then. Have a great day, and as always, thanks for reading!