Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for February 24th, 2020. In today’s article, we’ve got full reviews of three recent releases: Snack World, Darksiders Genesis, and SEGA AGES Sonic the Hedgehog 2. We’ve also got summaries of two new releases, and a surprisingly hefty list of sales to check out. Let’s roll on into it!
Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl – Gold ($49.99)
Let me begin this review by saying that I could see some people really getting into Snack World. There’s a lot to do, the basic mechanics function well enough, the localization has a lot of personality, and depending on what you’re looking for a lot of my problems with the game may not bother you at all. It is, as most Level-5 games are, competently made. Unfortunately, I kind of hate it. These may seem like conflicting beliefs, but it’s not the first time a Level-5 game has made me feel this way.
As the title implies, most of this game involves heading into “dungeon" areas, which in spite of the term includes locations like forests, deserts, and so on. Some of these areas have fixed designs while others are randomized. You’ll always have some kind of quest or another to complete when you head out on these forays, whether it be collecting a particular treasure, defeating a certain amount of enemies, taking down a boss, and so on. Every quest comes down to beating up monsters in the end, it’s just a matter of how many and which. After finishing each quest, you’ll collect a bunch of chests that give you rewards. Each quest usually has one really awesome reward, but whether or not you get it comes down to pure chance. Don’t worry, you can repeat them until you get the top prize if you want.
Most of the time, however, you’ll be heading back to the town with a bunch of consumable items and crafting bits. You can slowly use those bits of trash to assemble new gear or, if you like to do things the hard way, sell them and use the money to buy new gear. Either way, there tends to be a fair bit of time between getting useful new items. You’ll want to build up a decent arsenal of weapons, called Jaras here, as each enemy you’ll face is weak to certain types and colors. If you don’t have the right one handy, some enemies can take a long time to kill.
Then there are Snacks, which are basically captured monsters that you can have join you as AI-controlled party members or temporarily pop in under your direct control. Any enemy you fight while you’re out on a quest can randomly give you a chance to capture it, but if your luck is terrible you’ll automatically be given a Snack after killing the monster a specific number of times. Like everything else in this game, getting a good assortment of Snacks takes a lot of time and grinding. But really, the grind is the game. Pick a quest, go out and battle some enemies with a dull but functional real-time battle system, get your bag of junk rewards, head back to the town, and every once in a while get a meaningful upgrade.
This is by design, of course. The Japanese version of Snack World is literally a gatcha game. A whole line of blind-bag toys was produced that could be scanned in to give you extra goodies up to and including new Jaras and Snacks. Having access to an assortment of these toys alleviated much of the grind. That toys-to-life element has been excised from the Western version, replacing it with a witch who gives you a daily reward that frankly isn’t all that useful. The repetitive grind remains, unfortunately. It’s what the game was built around, in all likelihood the entire reason the game exists, and I can’t imagine it would be easy or even possible to completely remove it.
Even in its original form, Snack World was something of a self-deprecating game. It makes constant winks at the player about how silly RPGs are even as it engages fully in the tropes it’s mocking. Isn’t this just how things are in these kinds of games, Snack World asks as it sends you out on a quest to knock around some goblins for the 25th time. Hanging a lampshade on a troublesome game element doesn’t excuse it, but whatever. The story is quite silly and shouldn’t be taken serious in the least, of course. You may find some characters and situations that hold your attention for a little while, but things soon swing back to the same bland kind of irreverence that pervades most media aimed at kids.
The English localization, done by Richard Honeywood and Plus Alpha, pushes this goofiness even further. It’s a near-constant stream of pop culture references, fourth-wall breaking, puns, and sexual innuendo. Frankly, it’s bizarre. A game that got the lowest age rating in Japan has been kicked up to a T rating in the West and it all comes down to a a localization team who couldn’t resist throwing in gags about BDSM, slang terms for genitals, and lube jokes. Plus Alpha takes pride in its localizations being indistinguishable from games written in English to begin with. Mission accomplished, I suppose. But for my tastes, it’s trying way too hard and quickly crosses the line into being obnoxious. It’s well-written, at least, so if the humor hits you better than it hit me, you may indeed love the localization.
Snack World is an incredibly repetitive game that stretches on far too long, most likely because it was originally built to sell toys that would speed up that pace. It’s a complete and utter grind, albeit one that is fairly playable. If you’re looking for something to chew on for a while and don’t mind the mindlessness, or if you want to experience the all-over-the-place tonal whiplash that is this game’s English localization, you may find Snack World to be more your jam. As with pretty much every game like this, if you have friends to play with you’ll probably have a much better time of it. For me? The game was extremely tedious, it overstayed its welcome by a good ten hours or so, and ultimately came off as annoying more than enjoyable.
SwitchArcade Score: 2.5/5
Darksiders Genesis ($39.99)
Darksiders Genesis is a very confused game. The perspective, multiplayer option, and general flow of the game make it feel like it wants to be something like Diablo. The combat mechanics, platforming bits, and light puzzles remain quite Darksiders-like, which itself initially came off like a mash-up of Zelda and God of War. I think if you come into this game looking for either a Diablo-style game or a pure Darksiders sequel, you have a good chance of walking away disappointed. But taken for what it is rather than what it looks like, Darksiders Genesis is an awful lot of fun.
This game sees the last of the Four Horsemen, Strife, take a playable role. He shares the spotlight with a returning War, a pairing that proves quite amusing. Strife’s sense of humor complements his brother’s dour nature almost as well as his speedy knives-and-guns fighting style plays off War’s slower, heavier approach. This easy-going personality, which differs from what we’ve seen of Strife in other games, is perhaps explained by this game being a prequel to the events of the previous games. Things have yet to hit the fan, so we’re mostly treated to something of a buddy cop story here. Significant? Nah. Memorable? Not really. But it’s interesting enough in the moment to keep you moving along.
In two-player mode, each player will control one of the brothers. If you’re playing solo, you can switch between them at any time, making use of their unique traits as you see fit. As you play through the 15-hour campaign, you’ll learn new abilities and earn souls that you can use to upgrade each of the brothers further. You’ll also collect Creature Cores, which are the key to upgrading your stats and unlocking special perks. The RPG elements are very light here, arguably even less pervasive than in some of the previous Darksiders games. Even though the camera’s position has moved to an overhead position, this is largely an action game with mild adventure aspects.
In that respect, however, Darksiders Genesis is quite good. You’ll be doing a lot of fighting, but the combat system is enjoyable and impactful. Boss battles are suitably epic, even if they lack the punch of earlier games in the series. And really, that’s the biggest thing you’ll notice about this game when comparing it to its predecessors. So much of it feels familiar in a lot of positive ways. But whether it’s because of the different perspective or a lower budget, the game comes off a lot humbler on the whole. Still a lot of fun, but it’s probably not going to make your jaw drop.
The levels are quite large for this sort of game, and there are still secrets to be found for those who wander off the golden path. You’ll often find yourself twisting around the locations to accomplish sub-goals in order to move forward. There are some environmental puzzles, but again these are quite mild compared to earlier games in the series. Lots of flipping switches and heading over here to open something up over there. Mild breaks from the fighting and little more than that. The purpose is served, I suppose, but I wish we got some slightly more involved puzzles along the lines of the underappreciated Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. Instead, they neither add nor detract from the experience. A missed opportunity, for sure.
But hey, a lack of decent puzzles never hurt a good beat-em-up, and that’s probably the best way to think of Darksiders Genesis. You’re just traveling from fight to fight, smashing faces and shooting fools. The stuff that happens in between is almost entirely inconsequential. The combat system is involved and varied enough that the battles continue to be engaging all throughout the adventure, and the challenge ramps up nicely as you go. It never gets terribly hard on the default difficulty, but those seeking a greater challenge can certainly find one by moving up to the harder settings. Beating the game will unlock a fifth difficulty level that should satisfy all you masochists out there.
The Switch version of the game is obviously not going to be able to hold up technically with its peers on other platforms, but it’s certainly playable enough. It’s a little blurrier and the framerate isn’t quite up to the other versions, but it’s still smooth and legible enough to enjoy even in handheld mode. There are some bugs here and there, particularly with regards to environmental collision, but I believe that is the case on other platforms as well. Overall, it’s a decent experience and I probably don’t need to extol the virtues of being able to play a game like this on the go.
I was actually a bit surprised at how much I ended up enjoying Darksiders Genesis. It’s different from what I was expecting, but once I got past that, I had a really good time with it. The pacing is nice, the action is quality, and the cheesy comic-book appeal of this brand still works wonders for me. If you enjoyed the previous Darksiders games and have an open mind, give Darksiders Genesis a go. It’s an odd game that doesn’t seem to be quite sure of what it wants to be, but it somehow still works.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
SEGA AGES Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ($7.99)
If you’re looking for the best way to play Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on your Nintendo Switch, look no further. This SEGA AGES release runs laps around the previous version found in the SEGA Genesis Classics Collection. Significantly less input lag, better emulation, and more options make this the easy choice over that somewhat average interpretation. In terms of extras, you get Knuckles as an optional playable character, an easier mode called Ring Keep, a new challenge mode, an unlockable Super Sonic mode, the choice to play the Japanese or Western version, and all the usual SEGA AGES options like filters, save states, and button remapping.
Things get trickier if your considerations are wider than what I detailed in that first sentence, however. For example, though that SEGA Genesis Classics version is clearly worse, it also comes with around fifty other Genesis games for thirty dollars. That works out to about sixty cents per game, which is quite the comparison to the eight-dollar tag on this version. SEGA AGES Sonic 2 is better, but is it more than ten times better? Hm. This version does do the job of surpassing the Nintendo 3DS release which was also done by developer M2, unless you were really attached to that nifty 3D effect.
The other elephant in the corner, and one likely of particular interest to TouchArcade readers, is the rebuilt mobile Sonic the Hedgehog 2 done by Christian Whitehead and Simon Thornley. Now a part of the SEGA Forever initiative, it offers true wide-screen support, 60 fps Special Stages, the option to play as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, or Sonic and Tails together, a Time Attack mode, and an entirely new stage and boss inspired by a scrapped beta level. It can be played with an MFi-compatible controller if you don’t like touch controls, and it’s available as a free ad-supported game or a three-dollar purchase. Now, there are parts of the SEGA AGES Sonic 2 that outdo Whitehead and Thornley’s version, but on the whole I think the mobile Sonic 2 is a better all-around take on the game.
Now, some may prefer to have a more authentic version of Sonic 2 and I think it’s fair to say that the mobile port, as a rebuild with a new engine, is probably less true to the original than M2’s SEGA AGES version on the Switch. And if you don’t like to play games on mobile devices, this Switch version is easily the best way to go. It comes off as a much stronger effort than the version of the first Sonic the Hedgehog we saw back at the start of the Switch SEGA AGES line. And you certainly can’t knock the game itself; Sonic 2 is arguably one of the best games in the series if not the best, providing more than enough to justify a meager eight-dollar price tag. Enthusiasts of the Blue Blur will assuredly be pleased, even if this version isn’t quite definitive.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
It is time for math adventures! Especially if you need to brush up on elementary school addition, subtraction, and multiplication! And frankly, I’ve seen a lot of you trying to calculate sales tax, tips, or how much change you should get back from a tenner. You could use a refresher. Okay, yeah, this one is mostly for the tots. But it seems okay for what it is. You go on a pirate adventure in more than 25 levels and solve every problem you run into not by punching, stabbing, or shooting, but by doing some real-butt mathematics. I’m saying it that way in case a kid is searching for this game on the internet and stumbles across this page. This is also available in the Apple App Store for a few bucks cheaper if you prefer to play on your mobile device.
Arcade Archives VS. Mah-Jong ($7.99)
Nintendo and gambling games have gone together virtually since the inception of the company a hundred and thirty years ago, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that many of its earliest forays into video games involved such things. Indeed, Nintendo’s mahjong games used to be a staple of its system launches in Japan. This, then, is the 1984 arcade version of the mahjong game the company had released in August 1983 for its then month-old Famicom. Note that this is not “mahjong solitaire"/Shanghai. Also note that this didn’t have an English release, which means much of the text in this game outside of the UI wrapper is in Japanese. If you don’t already know how to play mahjong, this probably isn’t the best way to learn it.
Looks like Bandai Namco is running another sale on many of its titles, which is good news for fans of RPGs and anime. There are also a lot of cool indie games on sale as usual, with highlights including Streets of Rogue, Mr. Shifty, and Mars Power Industries. As for the outbox, the big Ubisoft sale is winding up. Lots of great games at historically low prices there, so you may want to pick some stuff up. Not that those games won’t be on sale again in the future, mind you. But will they be as cheap? I wonder. Buy what you must, friends.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Select New Games on Sale
Mr. Shifty ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/9)
Phantom Trigger ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/9)
Dragon Ball FighterZ ($14.99 from $59.99 until 3/3)
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 ($12.49 from $49.99 until 3/3)
Super Dragon Ball Heroes World Mission ($23.99 from $59.99 until 3/3)
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/3)
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/3)
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/3)
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/3)
One Piece: Unlimited World Red Deluxe ($11.99 from $39.99 until 3/3)
One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 Deluxe ($11.99 from $39.99 until 3/3)
Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization ($19.99 from $49.99 until 3/3)
Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet ($35.99 from $59.99 until 3/3)
My Hero One’s Justice ($23.99 from $59.99 until 3/3)
God Eater 3 ($35.99 from $59.99 until 3/3)
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch ($34.99 from $49.99 until 3/3)
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive ($24.99 from $49.99 until 3/3)
Doraemon Story of Seasons ($34.99 from $49.99 until 3/3)
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete ($34.99 from $49.99 until 3/3)
Windmill Kings ($0.99 from $9.99 until 3/9)
Niffleheim ($9.74 from $14.99 until 3/9)
Community Inc ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/9)
The Tiny Bang Story ($6.49 from $9.99 until 3/9)
Braveland Trilogy ($5.09 from $14.99 until 3/9)
Feather ($6.99 from $9.99 until 3/12)
Graveyard Keeper ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/9)
Streets of Rogue ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/9)
Party Hard ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/9)
Earth Atlantis ($5.99 from $14.99 until 3/7)
Punch Club ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/9)
Beekyr Reloaded ($4.99 from $9.99 until 3/1)
No Heroes Here ($2.99 from $14.99 until 2/29)
Guts & Glory ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/9)
Hello Neighbor ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/9)
Hello Neighbor Hide and Seek ($14.99 from $29.99 until 3/9)
Super Treasure Arena ($0.99 from $9.99 until 3/7)
Road to Ballhalla ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/9)
In Between ($0.99 from $11.99 until 3/7)
Son of a Witch ($5.99 from $14.99 until 3/9)
Garage ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/9)
The Final Station ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/9)
Clustertruck ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/9)
Swim Out ($4.19 from $5.99 until 3/1)
Escape First ($4.49 from $4.99 until 2/28)
Otherworldly ($5.94 from $6.99 until 2/28)
Blood Breed ($4.49 from $5.99 until 3/13)
Knightin’+ ($4.79 from $5.99 until 3/9)
Fishing Adventure ($8.49 from $9.99 until 2/28)
Bloodroots ($17.99 from $19.99 until 3/6)
Profane ($17.09 from $17.99 until 2/28)
Breeder Homegrown: Director’s Cut ($4.24 from $4.99 until 3/6)
VSR: Void Space Racing ($0.10 from $4.99 until 3/13)
Astro Bears ($1.39 from $6.99 until 3/13)
Gleaner Heights ($7.99 from $9.99 until 2/28)
Mars Power Industries ($0.99 from $3.99 until 3/13)
Nonograms Prophecy ($1.99 from $3.99 until 3/13)
Bridge Builder Adventure ($2.99 from $14.99 until 3/9)
Deployment ($0.99 from $9.99 until 2/29)
Doom & Destiny ($8.39 from $11.99 until 3/11)
Miner Warfare ($6.39 from $7.99 until 3/11)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, February 25th
8-Ball Pocket ($2.99 from $5.99 until 2/25)
Adventure Time: Pirates ($19.99 from $39.99 until 2/25)
Assassin’s Creed III Remastered ($19.99 from $39.99 until 2/25)
Assassin’s Creed: Rebel Collection ($29.99 from $39.99 until 2/25)
Back to Bed ($2.49 from $4.99 until 2/25)
Ben 10 ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/25)
Child of Light Ultimate ($4.99 from $19.99 until 2/25)
Crayola Scoot ($7.49 from $9.99 until 2/25)
Dimension Drive ($1.94 from $12.99 until 2/25)
Drawngeon ($3.99 from $4.99 until 2/25)
Funny Bunny Adventures ($2.99 from $4.99 until 2/25)
Ice Age Scrat’s Nutty Adventure ($29.99 from $39.99 until 2/25)
Inferno 2 ($2.49 from $4.99 until 2/25)
Jeopardy! ($7.99 from $19.99 until 2/25)
Just Dance 2020 ($25.99 from $39.99 until 2/25)
Lazy Galaxy: Rebel Story ($0.79 from $7.99 until 2/25)
Legendary Fishing ($4.99 from $29.99 until 2/25)
Lumini ($6.99 from $9.99 until 2/25)
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle ($14.99 from $59.99 until 2/25)
Monopoly ($9.99 from $39.99 until 2/25)
Paw Patrol: On a Roll! ($23.99 from $39.99 until 2/25)
Perseverance ($3.49 from $4.99 until 2/25)
Quest Hunter ($10.99 from $19.99 until 2/25)
Rayman Legends Definitive ($9.99 from $39.99 until 2/25)
Risk Global Domination ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/25)
South Park: The Fractured But Whole ($19.99 from $59.99 until 2/25)
South Park: The Stick of Truth ($14.99 from $29.99 until 2/25)
Starlink: Battle for Atlas Digital ($23.99 from $59.99 until 2/25)
The Bug Butcher ($3.99 from $7.99 until 2/25)
Trials Rising Standard ($9.99 from $24.99 until 2/25)
Trivial Pursuit Live! ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/25)
UglyDolls ($9.99 from $39.99 until 2/25)
UNO ($4.99 from $9.99 until 2/25)
Valiant Hearts: The Great War ($4.99 from $19.99 until 2/25)
Wheel of Fortune ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/25)
That’s all for today, friends. Tomorrow will be another big release day, with several interesting games hitting. Two Point Hospital, Samurai Shodown, Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection… it’s like Thursday is coming early! We’ll have summaries of all of those games, some news and new sales, and maybe even a review or a Mini-View. I hope you all have an awesome Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!