Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for March 25th, 2020. In today’s article, we’ve got a full review of La-Mulana 2 along with Mini-Views of several other games like DOOM 64 and Deep Diving Adventures. There’s one new release to check out, some news bits to digest, and a small list of sales to dig into. Let’s commence that digging!
Spring Has Come in the Latest ‘Super Smash Bros.’ Event
I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had better springs in our lives. But nature doesn’t have much concern for human problems, so I can assure you that as I look out the window of my office here in the countryside of Japan, I can see the cherry blossoms blooming gorgeously at the neighboring temple. It’s a special time in Japan, even in the odd circumstances we find ourselves, and this weekend’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate pays homage to those lovely pink cherry blossoms. Kicking off on Friday and running through the weekend, this event highlights pink-colored spirits. There are quite a few!
Nintendo of America Temporarily Closes Repair Centers
With everyone spending more time inside due to the pandemic, video game controllers are getting an extra workout. Well, don’t be too hard on your controllers and systems. Due to the on-going situation, Nintendo has made the decision to close its North American repair centers until further notice. There’s no schedule for when they’ll re-open, and if you try to send anything in the meantime it will just come back to you as undeliverable. Don’t worry about your warranties, however, as Nintendo has said they will honor warranties for whatever amount of time the centers are closed.
La-Mulana 2 ($24.99)
For those lucky enough to catch lightning in a bottle, one of the hardest questions is in what should come next. We see this a lot in the games business, particularly when it comes to indie developers. Should you try to make something different and risk losing that initial audience you miraculously gathered? Try to do a sequel and risk messing up something that worked? Maybe just step away from all of it and find another calling? Each developer seems to have a different answer, and the results have been all over the place.
Japanese indie developer Nigoro had its first hit before the company was even officially formed. La-Mulana was an ode to classic MSX adventure games, Maze of Galious in particular. It somehow found an audience in the West, perhaps riding on the wave of players looking for more difficult games to play in an era where big budget games were shying away from challenge. After a number of other projects, Nigoro eventually decided to come back to La-Mulana. The company ran a Kickstarter campaign in early 2014, successfully raising the funds to develop a follow-up.
After a somewhat lengthy development process, La-Mulana 2 released on home computers in 2018. The game was well-received by fans of the first game, and while it didn’t back down an inch on its predecessor’s infamous difficulty, the changes made for a more accessible experience all-around. The game has finally made its way to consoles, with this Switch version being the only way to play it on the road. Lucky for us, then, that it’s an excellent port of the game. It suits handheld play particularly well, but it’s also a great game to sink hours into on your TV. Your choice. The key thing here is that La-Mulana 2 is just as great on the Switch as it was in its original form.
So what is that original form? Well, the game is often described as a Metroidvania-style action-adventure. But it’s not really like most games that get that label affixed to them. Sure, you’re exploring a big, non-linear, interconnected map. You get new abilities and items that open up new routes, yes. But equally important to the exploration and navigation are the puzzles. The puzzles in the La-Mulana games are not like the puzzles in most modern games. They’re genuinely tough to figure out. You’ll probably want to take notes, as you’re often going to need to piece together clues that you received literal hours apart.
It’s this aspect of the game that gives La-Mulana and its sequel their unique flavor. It’s assuredly not for everyone, but those who are patient and observant will find a pair of gems like no others. Unfortunately, the nature of that enjoyment means that I can’t really explain much without ruining something that feels great to figure out on your own. What can I say? Awesome exploration. Wonderful challenge. Wildly clever puzzle design. Extremely tense action. Plenty of scenes that will make you want to spike your controller or system.
La-Mulana 2 is an evolution of its predecessor more so than a revolution, but that original concept is still so unusual that it’s perfectly fine to have a sequel that doesn’t venture far from it. If you’re looking for a game you can really sink your teeth into and have the patience to deal with having your buttons pushed regularly, you’ll want to pick up both La-Mulana games and play them in order. If you can only get one, I personally feel this sequel is slightly better than the original. But you really should get both, trust me.
SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5
La-Mulana is quite a bit older than its sequel, but apart from a few differences in quality-of-life features you wouldn’t be able to tell by playing. Part of that is down to this being based on the EX version of the game, which made a number of changes to the original to make it a little more palatable. Don’t take that to mean the game will go soft on you, however. The puzzles are just as devilish as ever, and the main character in this game isn’t nearly as agile in the air as his successor. Not a game for the faint of heart or mind, but if you’re ready to take on a satisfying challenge, you’ll love La-Mulana.
SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5
DOOM 64 ($4.99)
This is an excellent remake of a game that really didn’t get the respect it deserved at the time. If you’re one of those people who found DOOM 3 got a little too far away from the core sensibilities of the first two games, you’ll definitely want to check this out. All new levels, new takes on old enemies and weapons, some new enemies and weapons on top of the returning ones, and there’s even a new bit of content that leads into the new DOOM game. At its heart, this is the same sort of heavy metal, speedy action that makes the classic games so fun to play even today. I hope id Software/Bethesda do the Quake games next.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Deep Diving Adventures ($19.99)
One of the radical things that I do in the SwitchArcade that I don’t really do in my other reviews is to take prices into account. Part of why I do it is a case like this one. Deep Diving Adventures isn’t a great game, but it’s one of those things that’s fun to poke at for a bit. You swim around underwater and try to find treasures and items. You can also heal the sea creatures you see to give yourself extra time to explore. It feels like the kind of experimental thing we saw in the early 3D era, so even though it’s not a terribly cohesive game, I still found it amusing. But I’d have a hard time recommending it at its current price when there are so many excellent titles you can pick up in the same range. One to look at more seriously if it gets a deep discount at some point, I suppose.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Pocket Mini Golf ($1.99)
The best things I can say about this game are that it’s cheap and it’s briefly amusing. Perhaps that’s enough for some, but I can’t help but think a few sensible tweaks could have made this something better. It’s so strict about how many strokes you get on each hole that the levels start feeling like puzzles quite quickly, and it’s hard to get a good sense of how to proceed without actually jumping in and taking some shots. Unfortunately, failure sends you back to the title screen and the start of the game unless you spend some of the gems you’ve collected. Gems aren’t limited but grinding them is enough of a chore that I hesitated to spend them. Not really the kind of thing I want to be thinking about in a mini golf game.
SwitchArcade Score: 2.5/5
This is a side-scrolling platformer with a Game Boy-style presentation. You play as a dog samurai who can run, jump, slash, and slide. He also has a special move he can use against stronger enemies that sees him disappear in a puff of smoke and slash repeatedly, with each slash requiring a directional input from the player. It feels a lot like playing a Mega Man game as Zero. There’s a slight stiffness to the controls that keep me from going too wild over this, but I still like it enough to recommend it. With its launch sale dropping the price to just two and a half bucks, it’s a no-brainer pick-up for side-scroller fans.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
There are some interesting sales today, though nothing that hasn’t been on sale before and won’t be on sale again soon, I’m sure. Capcom has a handful of its titles on sale, and QUByte is running deep discounts on several of its games. If you like shoot-em-ups even a little, you’d be a fool not to grab Vasara Collection for a buck. Those who enjoy logic puzzles will want to throw down another dollar to pick up Minesweeper Genius. The hefty outbox has a lot to sort through, so make sure you have a good look and see if there’s anything you want in it.
Select New Games on Sale
Resident Evil 4 ($19.99 from $29.99 until 3/31)
Okami HD ($11.99 from $19.99 until 3/31)
Mega Man 11 ($14.99 from $29.99 until 3/31)
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen ($19.99 from $29.99 until 3/31)
Dogurai ($2.49 from $4.99 until 4/7)
Siegecraft Commander ($3.39 from $19.99 until 4/14)
In Other Waters ($13.49 from $14.99 until 4/11)
Pinstripe ($2.99 from $14.99 until 4/7)
Numbala ($1.59 from $7.99 until 4/12)
99Vidas – Definitive ($0.99 from $9.99 until 4/6)
Aldred Knight ($0.19 from $1.99 until 4/6)
Nicky – Home Alone Golf Ball ($0.09 from $0.99 until 4/6)
Cosmonauta ($0.09 from $0.99 until 4/6)
UBERMOSH: OMEGA ($0.49 from $4.99 until 4/6)
Arcade Fuzz ($0.19 from $1.99 until 4/6)
Vasara Collection ($0.99 from $9.99 until 4/6)
Box Align ($0.19 from $1.99 until 4/6)
Lifeless Planet: Premiere ($5.99 from $19.99 until 4/7)
A Case of Distrust ($2.99 from $14.99 until 4/7)
Hyper Sentinel ($0.95 from $7.99 until 3/31)
Bubble Cats Rescue ($1.19 from $3.99 until 4/13)
Classic Games Collection Vol.1 ($0.49 from $4.99 until 4/13)
Freecell Solitaire Deluxe ($0.89 from $8.99 until 4/13)
Hyperspace Delivery Service ($8.99 from $9.99 until 3/31)
JackQuest ($1.69 from $9.99 until 4/14)
Minesweeper Genius ($1.00 from $5.99 until 4/14)
HyperParasite ($11.99 from $17.99 until 4/14)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Thursday, March 26th
30-in-1 Game Collection ($5.99 from $14.99 until 3/26)
A Street Cat’s Tale ($7.19 from $7.99 until 3/26)
Adventure Pinball Bundle ($4.49 from $8.99 until 3/26)
Agent A: Puzzle in Disguise ($1.49 from $14.99 until 3/26)
Angels of Death ($8.99 from $14.99 until 3/26)
Animal Hunter Z ($4.99 from $9.99 until 3/26)
Anodyne ($0.99 from $9.99 until 3/26)
Astebreed ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/26)
Baobabs Mausoleum Ep 1 ($4.79 from $5.99 until 3/26)
Baobabs Mausoleum Ep 2 ($5.59 from $6.99 until 3/26)
Battle & Crash ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/26)
Bingo ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/26)
Bit Dungeon Plus ($1.79 from $8.99 until 3/26)
Bleep Bloop ($3.19 from $3.99 until 3/26)
Bring Them Home ($2.39 from $2.99 until 3/26)
Caterpillar Royale ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/26)
Caveman Warriors ($3.24 from $12.99 until 3/26)
Collide-a-Ball 2 ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/26)
Croixleur Sigma ($7.99 from $19.99 until 3/26)
Destruction ($7.99 from $9.99 until 3/26)
Dragon Sinker ($7.79 from $12.99 until 3/26)
Dungeon Shooting ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/26)
Ellen ($4.79 from $7.99 until 3/26)
Eternum Ex ($10.39 from $12.99 until 3/26)
Forest Home ($3.74 from $14.99 until 3/26)
Furwind ($5.99 from $9.99 until 3/26)
Ghoulboy ($1.99 from $9.99 until 3/26)
Grand Guilds ($17.99 from $19.99 until 3/26)
Guess the Character ($1.01 from $2.99 until 3/26)
If My Heart Had Wings ($13.99 from $19.99 until 3/26)
Infinite Minigolf ($5.99 from $14.99 until 3/26)
Jamestown+ ($8.99 from $17.99 until 3/26)
Just Shapes & Beats ($15.99 from $19.99 until 3/26)
Kero Blaster ($4.99 from $9.99 until 3/26)
Monochrome Order ($10.49 from $14.99 until 3/26)
Moorhuhn Remake ($5.59 from $6.99 until 3/26)
Moorhuhn Wanted ($5.59 from $6.99 until 3/26)
MotoGP19 ($19.99 from $49.99 until 3/26)
MXGP3 – The Official Game ($9.99 from $39.99 until 3/26)
Neonwall ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/26)
Ping Pong Trick Shot Evolution ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/26)
Safari Pinball ($1.49 from $2.99 until 3/26)
Semispheres ($4.99 from $9.99 until 3/26)
Shadow Bug ($6.29 from $8.99 until 3/26)
Silk ($6.49 from $12.99 until 3/26)
Sin Slayers ($15.99 from $19.99 until 3/26)
Star Sky ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/26)
Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure ($6.74 from $14.99 until 3/26)
Strange Telephone ($7.99 from $9.99 until 3/26)
Subsurface Circular ($4.79 from $5.99 until 3/26)
Sumer ($11.99 from $14.99 until 3/26)
Super Crush KO ($9.99 from $14.99 until 3/26)
Super Daryl Deluxe ($4.99 from $19.99 until 3/26)
Super Hyperactive Ninja ($2.24 from $8.99 until 3/26)
Super Ping Pong Trick Shot ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/26)
Tallowmere ($2.09 from $6.99 until 3/26)
The Bunker ($6.49 from $12.99 until 3/26)
TorqueL -Physics Modified- ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/26)
Troubleshooter ($2.39 from $2.99 until 3/26)
V.O.I.D. ($0.99 from $3.99 until 3/26)
Vertical Strike Endless Challenge ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/26)
YumeNikki -Dream Diary- ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/26)
That’s all that’s good for today, friends. Well, we’ve almost reached another Thursday. The time sure flies when you literally can’t put Animal Crossing down even to eat, am I right? There are a lot of new games hitting tomorrow, but will any of them be able to tear you away from your current faves? Come back tomorrow and we’ll have a look and see. I hope you all have a stellar Wednesday, and as always, thanks for reading!