Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for October 16th, 2019. The review train keeps on rolling today, with a full review of The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors and Mini-Views of Killer Queen Black and Alchemist’s Castle. There are two new releases to look at, including the latest from Pokemon creator Game Freak, some noteworthy news items, and a nice sale on a bunch of games including most of WB Games’s line-up. Let’s leap into action!
Sonic Joins ‘Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD’ in the Cameo He Was Born For
As much as this might have been a fun secret, I suppose SEGA couldn’t wait to spill the beans. The upcoming Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD has plenty of secrets tucked into it, and one of them is a hidden character whose interests include going fast and eating chili dogs. Honestly, it’s kind of weird that it took this long for the blue speedster to appear in a game where you roll around collecting things. He’s not doing it halfway, either. When playing as Sonic, the bananas turn into rings, complete with classic sound effects. Speaking of classic, that’s the design of Sonic they’ve opted to include here. Good call, good call. The game launches on October 29th, so feel free to start getting excited.
A Demo For ‘Disgaea 4 Complete+’ is Now Available
If you’re looking forward to the upcoming release of the special Switch version of Disgaea 4, you can get started on the game right away thanks to the release of a demo version on the eShop. This demo gives you access to the entire first chapter of the game, which should give you a good idea as to whether or not it’s your kind of game. Any progress you make can be carried over to the full game once it’s out, which is frankly my favorite thing about demos in the modern age. The game itself has a nice pre-order discount going, so make sure you check that out after playing the demo.
Go Big or Go Home in This Week’s ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ Event
Well, let’s see what the weekend has to offer for Smash players, shall we? It looks like it’s another tournament event, so the usual rules and rewards apply. The more wins you stack up, the higher the quality of the spirits you can win. The gimmick this time around is that you can only use heavyweight characters like Koopa, Donkey Kong, K. Rool, and Dedede. As always, the event kicks off on Friday and will run through the weekend. Pick your favorite big character and start putting those mighty feet down on some opponents!
The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors ($19.99)
The original Ninja Warriors game, released in 1987 by Taito, was a good example of the kinds of games that dominated the arcades at the time. It had an interesting gimmick in the form of its triple-wide display, and the graphics and audio were good enough to draw people in. The gameplay was simple enough to pick up that anyone could play it, and with support for two players at once it could pull in double the coins. Importantly, it was also hard enough that those coins would have to keep on flowing if players wanted to see the end. The game had a bunch of home ports to a variety of computers and consoles, but as single-plane brawlers gave way to more free-roaming affairs, which in turn passed the torch to one-on-one fighters, The Ninja Warriors mostly faded from the public consciousness.
For whatever reason, a team at Natsume wanted to give the concept another go several years later in 1994. They hooked up with Taito and created a Super NES game that confusingly shared its Western name with the original arcade release, but was known in Japan as The Ninja Warriors Again. You could say the same things about it that you could about a lot of Natsume titles of the era. First and foremost, it was an excellent game that richly rewarded players who took the time to learn its systems. Second and almost equally important is that very few people picked up on the game at the time, and it therefore had a minuscule print run that has made it a rather expensive pick-up these days. It was pretty much the same thing that happened to Wild Guns.
Also like Wild Guns, however, The Ninja Warriors is getting another shot on modern consoles. The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors is in many ways extremely faithful to the Super NES title, often feeling like a remake. But there are a lot of differences here as well, particularly with regards to the characters and their movesets. Don’t come in expecting this to be one-to-one with the 1994 game, in other words. On the other hand, don’t pick it up expecting a sequel either. It’s in a weird zone. Whatever you want to tag it as, however, The Ninja Saviors is incredibly good fun.
The original 1987 arcade game had a story that was probably a little too spicy, something the 1994 game walked back a bit. In both games, there’s an evil guy named Banglor who has seized control of the country and is using his army to oppress the people. A group of rebels led by a man named Mulk creates some robotic assassins and sends them on a suicide mission to kill the despot. In the arcade game, Banglor was the President of the United States. So yes, you can see why this was changed. In both the 1994 Super NES release and this 2019 game, Banglor is just some nondescript warlord who is using his army to oppress the people. Well, your job is the same as ever.
When you first start The Ninja Saviors, you can choose your character from among the three robotic ninjas featured in the original game. The hulking Ninja uses its size and strength to overwhelm its foes. The agile Kunoichi makes incredible leaps and uses both sword and kunai to cut through the villainous forces. Kamaitachi is fast and strikes at enemies using the sickles on its arms. Playing through the game twice will yield two brand-new characters. Yaksha is small and rather heavy, using tentacle-like appendages to grab the bad guys and whip them around. Raiden is massive and can change forms into something even bigger and stronger. You won’t be dodging much if you’re using that ninja-bot, but you may not need to.
The game features eight reasonably lengthy stages that each culminate in a boss battle. You’ll travel through a variety of locations, taking on enemy soldiers, mechs, drones, and more. The action takes place on a single plane, just like the previous games. That may seem limited, but it allows for a very deep fighting system that would be a lot more confusing and hard to pull off if the areas had depth. Each ninja-bot has a number of basic moves they can pull off, including combos, jumping attacks, and grabs. As time passes your battery will charge up, allowing you to pull off an assortment of special charged moves. If you let it fill completely, you can hit a button to fire off a screen-wide blast. Just be careful you don’t get knocked down, as that will instantly drain the battery meter.
Each character plays quite differently from the others, so you’ll have to mix up your strategies if you try out a different ninja-bot. Some of them are built to complement each other, so if you have a friend willing to sit down on the couch next to you and jump into the fray, you can have fun experimenting with various combinations. Ninja is probably the safest bet for starter players, while Kamaitachi is probably best left for more experienced players. Playing through the game once will unlock a hard mode and Yaksha, along with an option to use the arcade game’s soundtrack. Clear the game again on any difficulty to unlock Raiden, and use Raiden or Yaksha to beat the game to unlock the Super NES game’s soundtrack.
One tricky thing is that you really do have to beat the game from start to finish. You can’t stop partway through and resume from where you left off. After beating a stage, you do unlock a time attack version of that stage that you can play to compete with other players on online leaderboards. Fortunately, the game isn’t too long, but it’s not that short either. It also gets pretty tough in the back half of stages, though never to the extent that Wild Guns did. You have unlimited continues, and when you use one you’ll respawn at the last checkpoint you passed. With persistence, I think just about anyone should be able to muscle through the normal mode and unlock the extra characters.
The Ninja Saviors is just a real blast to play. I think it’s one of the better beat-em-ups of its era, and this new version makes it even more enjoyable. The single-plane action and highly technical gameplay makes it stand out from a lot of the other top brawlers of the time, too. It’s a great version of a classic that never really got its due back in the day, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to get your hands on it. The only thing I wish it did differently was in allowing you to quit a game in progress and resume later, but it is what it is. If you like 2D action games, you should definitely pick this one up. The original Super NES game was already an amazing title, and Natsume-Atari has done a wonderful job updating it.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Killer Queen Black ($19.99)
I haven’t had the experience of playing the arcade Killer Queen, but my understanding is that is hardly unusual. This is the game’s first exposure to a wide audience, and I feel like it has all the tools it needs to succeed as a popular multiplayer game. There are different ways to win, just enough players on the field to make things chaotic without going completely off the rails, and a variety of playfields to keep players thinking about new strategies. It’s as though someone boiled a strategy game down to its gooey core and fused it with Joust-style action. Single-player content is almost non-existent and local multiplayer is a bit of a pain to deal with, so I’d say this is best recommended to those looking for some online kicks. In that regard, it is both unique and most enjoyable.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Alchemist’s Castle ($2.99)
This isn’t a great game by any means, but for the meager price it sells for, it’s a decent enough value. This is a short Metroidvania-style game where you play as an apprentice trying to break into an alchemist’s castle. There’s very little combat and that’s a good thing as the hit detection is a bit atrocious. Most of the new abilities you pick up simply expand your options for moving around and solving puzzles, and it’s in those puzzles where the best parts of Alchemist’s Castle are found. Not without its frustrations, especially with the pain-in-the-butt final encounter, but for the price of a Happy Meal it holds up its end of the deal well enough.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Little Town Hero ($24.99)
The latest from Pokemon creators Game Freak is an unusual sort of RPG where you battle enemies using ideas, which can be upgraded using the points you earn from fighting. It’s kind of like a card-battling game in practice. The core plan behind the game was to make an RPG for people who are too busy to play most normal RPGs, so a clever strategy will take you a lot farther than putting in extra time fighting. It’s a cute-looking game, but Game Freak tends to be very hit or miss outside of the Pokemon games, so we’ll have to see how this fares as an overall experience. Oh, and Undertale creator Toby Fox did the soundtrack, which is pretty neat.
Gleaner Heights ($9.99)
If you’ve ever been playing Stardew Valley or Story of Seasons and thought to yourself, “I’m having a lot of fun with this farming and small town life, but I wish the town in this game was more like the one in Twin Peaks“, have I got the game for you. By day, Gleaner Heights is a rather workmanlike example of a slow-life farming game. You clean up your garden and fields, plant crops, form relationships with the townsfolk, craft things, go fishing, and so on. You know the drill. But at night? This quiet little town gets really, really messed up. Like… everyone in the town is super screwed-up in one way or another, and if you’re diligent enough you can uncover some really weird happenings. I wish it was as good as it sounds, but it falls just a bit short of being great. Still a pretty interesting game, though.
Some pretty good stuff went on sale today, which isn’t typical on a Wednesday by any means. WB Games put a bunch of their titles on sale, so you can grab a lot of the LEGO games, Scribblenauts, and the stalwart Mortal Kombat 11 at nice prices. The formerly-Telltale Batman games are also on sale if you’re looking for a different sort of adventure. Some nice pre-order discounts for Disgaea 4 and Mary Skelter 2 round things out. Don’t forget to check the outbox, as the Resident Evil games and others are finishing up their sales. Anodyne for a buck is a steal, so don’t let that one pass by.
New Games on Sale
Disgaea 4 Complete+ ($39.99 from $49.99 until 10/29)
Mary Skelter 2 ($31.99 from $39.99 until 10/29)
Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment ($4.99 from $9.99 until 11/1)
LEGO City Undercover ($14.99 from $29.99 until 10/31)
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 ($14.99 from $29.99 until 10/31)
LEGO The Incredibles ($29.99 from $59.99 until 10/31)
LEGO DC Super-Villains ($29.99 from $59.99 until 10/31)
LEGO Harry Potter Collection ($24.99 from $49.99 until 10/31)
Cars 3: Driven to Win ($15.99 from $39.99 until 10/31)
LEGO Worlds ($14.99 from $29.99 until 10/31)
LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game ($24.99 from $49.99 until 10/31)
The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame ($19.99 from $39.99 until 10/31)
Mortal Kombat 11 ($35.99 from $59.99 until 10/31)
Perception ($3.99 from $19.99 until 11/3)
Batman – The Telltale Series ($7.49 from $14.99 until 11/1)
Batman: The Enemy Within ($7.49 from $14.99 until 11/1)
Scribblenauts: Showdown ($15.99 from $39.99 until 10/31)
Scribblenauts Mega Pack ($15.99 from $39.99 until 10/31)
Infernium ($14.97 from $24.95 until 11/3)
Mind: Path to Thalamus ($7.19 from $11.99 until 11/3)
Koral ($7.19 from $11.99 until 11/3)
Billy Bomber ($4.25 from $5.00 until 10/29)
Gleaner Heights ($8.99 from $9.99 until 10/31)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Thursday, October 17th
A Dark Room ($3.49 from $6.99 until 10/17)
All-Star Fruit Racing ($14.99 from $19.99 until 10/17)
Anodyne ($0.99 from $9.99 until 10/17)
BDSM: Big Drunk Satanic Massacre ($26.99 from $29.99 until 10/17)
Bee Simulator ($35.99 from $39.99 until 10/17)
Chasm ($12.99 from $19.99 until 10/17)
Corpse Party: Blood Drive ($17.99 from $19.99 until 10/17)
Dragon Pinball ($1.97 from $2.99 until 10/17)
Gear.Club Unlimited ($13.49 from $44.99 until 10/17)
Gekido Kintaro’s Revenge ($5.93 from $9.89 until 10/17)
Gunman Clive HD Collection ($3.19 from $3.99 until 10/17)
Mechstermination Force ($9.59 from $11.99 until 10/17)
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom ($29.99 from $39.99 until 10/17)
Moonfall Ultimate ($6.49 from $12.99 until 10/17)
Nine Parchments ($5.99 from $19.99 until 10/17)
Rabi-Ribi ($26.99 from $29.99 until 10/17)
Resident Evil ($19.99 from $29.99 until 10/17)
Resident Evil 0 ($19.99 from $29.99 until 10/17)
Resident Evil 4 ($19.99 from $29.99 until 10/17)
Robbie Swifthand & the Orb of Mysteries ($8.99 from $17.99 until 10/17)
Season Match ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/17)
Season Match 2 ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/17)
Secrets of Magic – The Book of Spells ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/17)
StarBlox Inc. ($7.49 from $9.99 until 10/17)
Super Skelemania ($3.49 from $4.99 until 10/17)
Tales of the Orient – The Rising Sun ($7.49 from $14.99 until 10/17)
The Jackbox Party Pack 2 ($12.49 from $24.99 until 10/17)
Titans Pinball ($1.97 from $2.99 until 10/17)
Unepic ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/17)
That’s it for today, friends. Wow, this week has already been so packed and we haven’t even hit Thursday yet. I can’t wait to see what’s waiting for us in the last two days of the week, but I’m so busy playing The Witcher 3 that I don’t know how much time I have for anything else. Anyway, I’ll be back tomorrow with summaries of all the new releases along with whatever sales and news come our way. Have an excellent Wednesday, and as always, thanks for reading!