Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for October 9th, 2019. Today we’ve got a review of Gameloft’s latest, a mini-view of the extremely cheap Aldred – Knight of Honor, some sad DOOM Eternal news, a look at a handful of new releases, and the usual sales stuff. It’s another big one today, so let’s hit the road and start burning rubber!
‘DOOM Eternal’ Delayed Until 2020, Switch Version Now Coming Later
You had to see this one coming. When October came and we still didn’t have a firm release date for DOOM Eternal, it seemed very unlikely it was going to make it this year. And indeed, Bethesda has now confirmed that DOOM Eternal will be delayed on all platforms until March of next year in order to make sure the game is the best it can be. In the announcement, the team also mentioned that the Switch version will now be coming a bit later than the other platforms as opposed to day and date. The previously-announced DOOM 64 is now going to be given as a pre-order bonus for DOOM Eternal on all platforms, arriving on the same day. Oh well.
‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ Celebrates the Season in the Next Event
The next weekend event has been announced for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and this time we’re having another Spirit Board special. The title this time is Autumn Snackfest, and the theme is naturally connected to the fall season and the harvest. Win a battle and you’ll earn a Snack (L), and you’ll gain triple the usual experience for the duration of the event. It kicks off this Friday and runs through the weekend, as usual.
Asphalt 9: Legends (Free)
Well, let’s get some things out of the way right away. Unlike with the release of Modern Combat earlier this year, Gameloft opted to maintain the basic monetization structure of the mobile version of Asphalt 9: Legends for its Switch version. That means the game is free to download and play, uses a stamina-style system, sells premium currency for real money, and becomes a bigger grind the longer you stick with it. It throws pop-up ads at you whenever you visit the title screen, trying to sell you some ridiculously-priced offer or another. It sells a $100 pile of currency in its shop and has the audacity to call it a “value". It wants you to be connected to the internet at all times, and closes off all but two of its modes if you’re not. This is full-fat F2P monetization, no quarter asked, none given.
If anything in that previous paragraph is a deal-breaker for you, I don’t blame you. It’s unpleasant and exploitative, and I’d rather it wasn’t here. But it is here, so if you absolutely cannot tolerate that type of pay model, you can and should skip Asphalt 9. But given the massive success of games using that kind of monetization on mobile, home computers, and even consoles, I think it’s safe to say that there are a fair few people who can put up with it if the game itself is enjoyable enough. And here’s the thing: Asphalt 9 is definitely a lot of fun.
You’ll be set up with your first car and sent into the career mode after a brief tutorial drive. There are a ton of races in the career mode, enough to keep anyone busy for quite some time. They’re broken into dozens of events and grouped according to the class of car you can use in them. Clearing out events opens up new ones, and you’ll earn lots of rewards along the way. You also have to play a little ways into this mode if you want to unlock pretty much any other mode in the game. I’m not sure I necessarily agree with this set-up as it means you can’t, for example, play splitscreen races with your buddies unless you put 20 minutes or so into the game’s career mode first. I understand the thinking behind it, though. There’s a lot here and I imagine the developer didn’t want to overwhelm players with too many choices.
One very wise decision is in getting the player behind the wheel and onto a track as soon as possible. The racing in Asphalt 9 is very enjoyable. It’s arcade-style and silly in all the right ways, taking cues from the likes of Burnout and San Francisco Rush with its wild collisions and twisting course layouts. Drifting is easy and cool, firing off boosts is accompanied by speed lines and pulsing colors, and anytime you wreck an opponent’s car the game slows down for the briefest of moments to really sell it. You have a move that spins your car around, knocking out any opponents who are too close to you. It’s ridiculous. I love it.
I also love the courses. You start off racing on the smallest fragments of them, making the events quite short. Eventually they open up into full-sized races, and they’re packed with tight turns, multiple paths, and lots of interesting sights. The framerate occasionally chokes when too much is happening on certain tracks, but for the most part the game runs smoothly enough. I just love how many different paths there are to the goal on each of these courses. They’re balanced fairly well, with the longer ones often rewarding the player with more boost pick-ups or stunt opportunities.
After winning races and accomplishing goals, you’ll earn various goodies. Credits to upgrade your cars, tokens which serve as the game’s premium currency, and perhaps most importantly, blueprints for new cars. These work a bit like character shards in a gatcha game, granting you a new car when you’ve collected the required amount. And you really do want more cars, because there’s a fuel meter attached to each and every one of them. Once you’ve emptied the tank, you can wait a certain amount of time (generally longer as the cars get better), pay money to top it up, or switch to another car. Ah, there’s that unpleasantness coming back in.
As in most free-to-play games, you’ll be leveling up and getting so many rewards early on that you won’t notice the tidal wave forming behind you. Eventually, you’ll realize your current car isn’t powerful enough to get you past the current race. So you upgrade it, but now you’re out of credits. Repeat some earlier races, I suppose? But now you’re out of fuel. Then you hit your car’s upgrade limits, and the only way to go farther is to get enough blueprints to add a star to your car’s ranking. Which requires grinding special events, or some real luck with the free card packs. But those special events use their own stamina meter, and once that runs out you can either pay or wait. Even the online multiplayer isn’t free of all of this nonsense, as these races also consume fuel.
There are two modes blissfully outside of all of this, though. The Quick Race mode gives you a ton of challenges to try, and you won’t use up fuel doing them. The same goes for the splitscreen multiplayer mode, which allows up to four people to race against each other on one Switch. These modes are fully playable offline, and indeed are the only things available in the game’s offline mode. And certainly, that Quick Race mode is no slouch in terms of content. At the same time, the only thing actually preventing everything else in the game being accessible offline, save the online multiplayer races, is all of that monetization cruft. You’ll forgive me if I don’t really see that as a satisfactory reason for why I can’t play the career mode on my handheld game machine when I’m on the train or sitting on a park bench.
If you just go with the standard download, you’re probably going to hit a wall fairly quickly. Gameloft is selling, among many other things, a $19.99 Starting Racer bundle which includes enough blueprints for five cars, 200k credits, and 300 tokens. This pushes back the inevitable wall for a while, but make no mistake about it, that wall will still come. It’s the best deal the game is going to give you on anything though, so if you like the game well enough to stick with it, you should probably grab that bundle. I recommend spending some time with Asphalt first as a free game so that you can familiarize yourself with where it’s all going, however.
Well, I think you can all understand my issues with Asphalt 9: Legends. Check that score below this paragraph, and imagine how much I enjoy the actual racing in the game for it to still be that high with all of my complaints. For funsies, imagine how high that score could have been without them. Well, I’m sure Gameloft chose the path of greater financial reward here, and keeping the lights on is certainly more important than entertaining Shaun. It’s just a shame because there is absolutely room on the Switch for a premium arcade racer that does the things Asphalt does so well. Better luck next time?
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Aldred – Knight of Honor ($1.99)
To tell the truth, this one was just a matter of simple curiosity for me. I watched a video and it looked decent enough, but that price tag was so low that I was a bit suspicious. Well, I kind of get it now. Aldred definitely has problems. The controls are a bit stiff, the animation isn’t great for any of the characters, and the difficulty balancing is all over the place. Checkpoints would have helped a lot, as some of the stages are fairly long and death will kick you back to the beginning to do it all again. That’s probably deliberate, as there aren’t exactly a ton of stages here. All that said, do I feel like I got my two dollars’ worth? Yes, I do. Although challenging, the level designs have a lot of neat tricks in them, and the boss fights are quite zesty.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Battlestar Galactica Deadlock ($29.99)
Gee, what kind of silly licensed foolishness is this from… Slitherine!? Alright, you have my attention now, Battlestar Galactica game. This is a strategic real-time-with-pause game where you manage and command a fleet against various enemy forces. You give your orders each turn and then watch them all play out, with the feel ultimately resembling a table-top board game from the nicer side of the Games Workshop catalog. In between battles, you’ll need to use your resources to build up colonies, recruit new officers, and fund new weapons and vessels. It’s a good challenge thanks to the competent but not overwhelming AI, and it’s nice to have a strategy game that falls somewhere between full-scale 4X and more battle-focused efforts.
This game looks really cool, and its developer has a decent pedigree. Coming from Krafton Game Union, the people behind TERA and PUBG, Mistover is a dungeon crawler RPG where you choose your team and explore a procedurally-generated dungeon filled with a strange mist. Exposure to the mist can have a variety of effects on the monsters, treasures, and even your own party members. It even serves as a handy narrative explanation for the floor randomization. Exploration is done in a top-down view, while meeting with an enemy takes you to a familiar-looking turn-based RPG battle scene. I haven’t had a chance to try this one yet, but I’m extremely interested in it.
This is a twin-stick shooting game that blends in a few elements of traditional shoot-em-ups and a long-haul upgrade system. You play through 80 missions, shooting enemies and asteroids, and following a rather uninteresting story. You’ll collect various resources and earn blueprints for new ship upgrades, gradually turning your ship from a pathetic pea-shooter into a stellar instrument of death. It’s a bit dull in the beginning before you power your ship up a bit, and something about the controls feels just a little off. Kind of comes off as a bit mediocre to me, but I’ll have some kind of review for you once I spend more time with it.
Eternal Card Game (Free)
Well, that screenshot probably tells the story for most TouchArcade readers. Eternal Card Game is a very Hearthstone-like card game where you build decks, battle other players, and try to avoid the temptation of blowing all your money on card packs. This one has been out on mobile for around a year, give or take, and it seems to be reasonably well-liked if not exceptionally so. Nintendo and Blizzard have been chummy enough recently, but I still can’t say for sure if Switch will ever see a version of Hearthstone. This may fill that hole in your heart if it does indeed exist. The hole, not your heart. I know your heart exists, you lovely person.
While I’m sure there will be more sales to come after I’ve gone to bed, I can only show you what’s here while I’m writing. And what’s here today is very little indeed. A few pre-order discounts, and a launch discount. Perhaps of more interest is the outbox, which sees a ton of great games finishing up their sales. Shakedown: Hawaii, SteamWorld Quest, and Volgarr the Viking would be my picks, but feel free to have a careful look through the list to see if anything catches your eye.
New Games on Sale
Vampyr ($44.99 from $49.99 until 10/29)
Worse Than Death ($7.99 from $9.99 until 10/15)
Silk ($9.74 from $12.99 until 10/18)
Day and Night ($14.99 from $19.99 until 10/22)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Thursday, October 10th
2048 Battles ($2.99 from $3.99 until 10/10)
A Hole New World ($2.99 from $9.99 until 10/10)
Alvastia Chronicles ($8.44 from $12.99 until 10/10)
Animal Hunter Z ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/10)
Archlion Saga ($2.99 from $4.99 until 10/10)
Artifact Adventure Gaiden DX ($8.99 from $9.99 until 10/10)
Ascendance ($4.19 from $5.99 until 10/10)
Asdivine Hearts ($8.44 from $12.99 until 10/10)
Battle Princess Madelyn ($7.99 from $19.99 until 10/10)
Bingo ($2.49 from $4.99 until 10/10)
Bit Dungeon Plus ($2.69 from $8.99 until 10/10)
Burger Chef Tycoon ($3.49 from $4.99 until 10/10)
Caterpillar Royale ($2.49 from $4.99 until 10/10)
Clouds & Sheep 2 ($6.69 from $9.99 until 10/10)
Crush Your Enemies! ($3.20 from $8.00 until 10/10)
Degrees of Separation ($3.99 from $14.99 until 10/10)
Desktop Baseball ($5.83 from $7.29 until 10/10)
Fin and the Ancient Mystery ($2.99 from $4.99 until 10/10)
Ghoulboy ($2.99 from $9.99 until 10/10)
Gurgamoth ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/10)
Habroxia ($6.79 from $7.99 until 10/10)
History 2048 ($2.49 fromm $4.99 until 10/10)
Ice Cream Surfer ($2.40 from $8.00 until 10/10)
Monochrome Order ($13.49 from $14.99 until 10/10)
Neo Cab ($17.99 from $19.99 until 10/10)
Never Stop ($3.49 from $4.99 until 10/10)
Oh…Sir! The Hollywood Roast ($1.19 from $2.99 until 10/10)
Oh…Sir! The Insult Simulator ($0.99 from $1.99 until 10/10)
Percy’s Predicament Deluxe ($3.59 from $5.99 until 10/10)
Pianista ($19.99 from $24.99 until 10/10)
Ping Pong Trick Shot Evolution ($2.49 from $4.99 until 10/10)
Rock ‘N Racing Off Road DX ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/10)
Runbow ($7.49 from $14.99 until 10/10)
Semispheres ($3.99 from $9.99 until 10/10)
Shadow Blade: Reload ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/10)
Shakedown: Hawaii ($14.99 from $19.99 until 10/10)
Sheep in Hell ($1.97 from $2.99 until 10/10)
Six Sides of the World ($3.00 from $10.00 until 10/10)
SteamWorld Quest ($18.74 from $24.99 until 10/10)
Super Ping Pong Trick Shot ($2.49 from $4.99 until 10/10)
The Knight & the Dragon ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/10)
Troll and I ($2.99 from $29.99 until 10/10)
Vektor Wars ($0.99 from $9.99 until 10/10)
Volgarr the Viking ($6.99 from $9.99 until 10/10)
Voxel Sword ($5.60 from $7.00 until 10/10)
Yodanji ($2.99 from $4.99 until 10/10)
Zombie Gold Rush ($2.49 from $4.99 until 10/10)
That’s all for today, friends. Tomorrow is going to be a bit nasty. I count twenty new releases on the schedule, and there are always a few extra things that show up. Don’t be surprised if tomorrow’s article is just new release summaries and a list of sales, because even I have my limits. I hope you all have a great day, and as always, thanks for reading!