Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for December 15th, 2020. In today’s article, our pal Mikhail has a big and detailed review of recent release Immortals Fenyx Rising for us. There are some important news items to look at, and a few surprisingly big new releases to check out like Collection of SaGa and Football Manager 2021 Touch. We finish things up as we always do, with a look at the incoming and outgoing sales. Let’s dive in!
Catch the Latest Indie World Showcase Today
It’s one of those situations again, friends. At the time I’m writing this, the latest Indie World Showcase presentation is in the future. About four and a half hours in the future, to be exact. By the time you read this, it will likely have finished. Oh well! Make sure you watch it, I’m sure it will have some cool things in it. Probably a shadow drop or two. Maybe some news about Silksong? I have no idea! We’ll talk about it tomorrow. If by chance this article goes up phenomenally early, the presentation is set for 9:00 PT/12:00 ET. Enjoy! Or… enjoyed? Time is weird.
(Ed. Note: Video added above)
‘Donkey Kong Country 3’ and More Classics Hit Nintendo Switch Online This Week
Given the pace of game drops on the Nintendo Switch Online service this year, I expected one more batch in December. I also expected Donkey Kong Country 3 to be leading the charge the way its predecessors have for the last two batches. I did not, however, expect the rest of the games included in this update. The Ignition Factor and Tuff E Nuff from Jaleco, Nihon Telenet’s Super Valis IV, and Beam/Piko Interactive’s Nightshade round out the line-up. Certainly some interesting games, if nothing else. They’re set to arrive on December 18th, and if you have a subscription you can get access to them by updating your Super NES and NES apps.
Immortals Fenyx Rising ($59.99)
When Immortals Fenyx Rising from Ubisoft Quebec was originally announced under a different name, I wasn’t too interested in it. Months later, a Nintendo Direct showcase for the game had a lot of people comparing the game to Nintendo’s own The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and this had my interest piqued. Fast forward to today and I’ve spent dozens of hours playing it across Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X, and Xbox Series X thanks to the cross progression support and it is one of the biggest surprises of the year.
Immortals Fenyx Rising tells the tale of Fenyx as narrated by Zeus and Prometheus. You play as Fenyx who is a shieldbearer inadvertently getting involved in a grand adventure to take on the evil Typhon and save humanity. Fenyx isn’t ready to do this and needs to gather some blessings from the gods by restoring them across the gorgeous parts of the Golden Isle. Through your journey as Fenyx, you unlock more gear, befriend creatures, take on powerful legendary foes, and more. Apart from the narration that might put some people off (I liked it), this is a superb Greek epic that exceeded my expectations.
Once you finish the prologue area that takes about an hour if you just go on the critical path, you finally gain access to the big open world. This world is full of puzzles, collectibles, enemies, legendary creatures, and more. Instead of just littering the map with a ton of icons, Immortals Fenyx Rising has you identifying points of interest when you want to explore an area. Once you finish a puzzle or discover a chest or gain some consumables, you can even hide these completed points of interest from the map to save yourself from the visual clutter.
Points of interest range from in-game currency you can use to upgrade Fenyx’s stats, chests, music puzzles, vaults (like Shrines in Breath of the Wild), and more. Each part of the map usually also has a statue you can scale to reveal the area around said statue. Once I completed the prologue (after a few hours of exploring), I was pretty surprised by how massive the game was when it opened up. Various chests in the world are also blocked by environmental puzzles or combat encounters.
This ensures that you have a lot of interesting things to do while exploring to upgrade your own stats. The vault puzzles in particular are masterfully crafted. They never felt forced and were always varied enough to encourage me to find more of them. Enemies are also varied beyond just colors indicating their skill level. There are legendary creatures that pose big threats but also give you nice rewards across the Golden Isle.
One area I was a bit concerned about is the combat. During the prologue, combat felt too simple but it still is the tutorial area. Thankfully, it opens up rather quickly as you unlock more abilities during exploration and upgrading in the open world. Every new weapon you unlock for your various weapon classes changes things up with different stat bonuses depending on how you play. This means you approach each encounter differently. The addition of traversal mechanics, the bow, and new abilities and godly powers. The last two drastically change up how you approach each encounter and I’ve been having a blast with experimenting through different weapon combos and skills for the stronger foes.
In terms of Nintendo Switch features and functionality, Immortals Fenyx Rising has very nice HD Rumble. It is reactive when you’re swimming, attacking, and more. Sadly, video capture isn’t supported as is the case with most graphically demanding games to save resources for the game itself. I was disappointed by the lack of touch screen support for the menus and the map. Hopefully this can be added in the future.
Immortals Fenyx Rising uses Ubisoft’s own Anvil engine and it has scaled mostly well to Nintendo Switch. The aesthetic is very colorful and it looks mostly great even at lower resolutions when played in handheld mode. The biggest cutbacks are in texture quality, shadows, and draw distance when compared to other systems. There is also a lot of fog used to mask the draw distance. Barring that, performance holds up better than I expected with the 30fps target. It does drop but I never found it reaching the lows of something like Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.
One area Ubisoft needs to address is the interface. It is blurrier than it should be. While I get the gameplay image quality changing during busy moments, I wish the interface was at least crisp like it is in Xenoblade Chronicles where the gameplay can get blurry but the interface is always clear and looks sharp. If you enjoy taking screenshots and photos in games, there’s a nice photo mode here and you can even upload photos you take online and view those taken by other players when you play online. Sometimes, these give you hints as well.
Comparing Immortals Fenyx Rising on Switch to other systems is interesting. On Xbox One X, it looks gorgeous albeit with the same 30fps target as Nintendo Switch. The image quality difference is vast but I think Ubisoft did a good job with the visuals and scaling this massive experience down for Nintendo’s hybrid system. Xbox Series X on the other hand offers a 60fps gameplay option which is a much nicer experience for an action adventure game alongside the faster load times.
Having full cross progression between platforms ensured I played mostly handheld on Switch and synced my save to continue on Xbox when I needed to charge the battery. I hope more games and more publishers offer this. Many people likely own a Switch and something else and being able to bring your progress with you anywhere ensures more people will likely double dip on games.
One area that will be a point of contention among players is the voice acting. The humor and writing alongside the narration dialogue is a nice touch. I can see some having a problem with it though. When it comes to audio, one area that the game absolutely excels at is the soundtrack. Gareth Coker (Ori and the Will of Wisps) did the soundtrack and I think this has one of the best soundtracks in a Ubisoft game ever. Ubisoft games almost always have great music but this score is a cut above.
Overall, Immortals Fenyx Rising is easily one of my favorite games of 2020. It has what I loved about Breath of the Wild and Ubisoft’s own open worlds but is complemented with a superb soundtrack, gorgeous visuals, and combat that never gets old. While it is a bit lacking on Nintendo Switch thanks to performance issues, I know I’m going to be playing Immortals Fenyx Rising for a long time across Switch and Xbox. It feels like a game built just for me and I can’t wait to see how it evolves over time through post-launch content and updates. -Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5
Collection of SaGa Final Fantasy Legend ($19.99)
If you’re reading this site, chances are good you’ve played more than one handheld RPG. But have you played the first one ever? If not, here’s your chance. Collection of SaGa Final Fantasy Legend has a cumbersome name, but that’s because it both wants to remind you that it is in fact a collection containing the Final Fantasy Legend trilogy of Game Boy games, and that those games were actually SaGa games all along. Yes, that’s why they were so weird. Not that we knew that at the time. Things weren’t so cemented back then in the JRPG world. Anyway, you get all three games here with very few extras or options. Not even any screen filters. But you do get a fast forward option that doesn’t mess with the music, and that’s precious in and of itself.
Football Manager 2021 Touch ($39.99)
The latest installment in SEGA’s popular long-running soccer management series, Football Manager 2021 Touch offers an improved user interface and a few other updates over last year. The core gameplay hasn’t changed very much, but you’ll find there are improved animations, better lighting, added stadium elements, and other little touches here and there to flesh out the experience. If you’ve never played one of these games before, this is a great place to start. If you tend to lose dozens of hours to Football Manager every year, you probably already bought this.
Boot Hill Heroes ($9.99)
The follow-up to this game, Boot Hill Bounties, already came to the Switch a while back. Here’s the first game! It’s pretty good. An Old West-themed RPG that plays things fairly straight and allows up to four players to join in on the fun. Locally, mind you. No online, just a good old multiplayer RPG couch party. This version is based on the updated one that hit computers a couple of months back, bringing a number of elements from Boot Hill Bounties back into the first game to make it look and play better. If you liked Bounties, you’ll enjoy this. If you haven’t played either, you’re probably better off starting here now that you have the option.
Dark Grim Mariupolis ($4.99)
Hmm. This is a point-and-click style adventure game with a wide mix of inspirations. But it is very dark, and also grim. You are a detective and need to solve some kind of mystery. I’m not being silly, it’s very vague about your goals and that seems to be the point. It’s definitely weird, but is it good? Not really. But the weirdness is of a sufficient level and the price is low enough that you may want to partake of it anyway.
Shakes on a Plane ($19.99)
Cute name, though that has got to be considered a fairly obscure reference by now. That’s one of the first major situations that I remember where a big company confused noise on the internet for a real business opportunity. Whoops. Live and learn, eh? Well this game doesn’t really have anything to do with that stuff. It’s a multiplayer-focused food serving game where you have to deliver orders of fast food (including shakes) to passengers on a plane before time runs out. After the plane lands, each person’s service will be graded. Naturally some things can go ca-ca while you’re in the air, forcing you to think quickly. Seems amusing enough, though this is another one of those games where you need to gather people in one room as there is no online support.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
If you like visual novels, today’s new sales will be of particular interest to you. Steins;Gate, YU-NO, and AI: The Somnium Files have been on sale a few times before, but the recently released Robotics;Notes games are joining them with a huge half-off sale. Those aren’t the only good games on offer, so make sure you check through the list and see what grabs your eye. As for the outbox, it’s almost entirely games that go on sale every couple of weeks or so. No real need to prioritize them unless you really feel like playing one of them right away.
Select New Games on Sale
AI: The Somnium Files ($23.99 from $59.99 until 12/22)
Robotics;Notes Elite ($17.49 from $34.99 until 12/22)
Robotics;Notes DaSH ($17.49 from $34.99 until 12/22)
YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love ($19.99 from $49.99 until 12/22)
Steins;Gate Elite ($23.99 from $59.99 until 12/22)
Steins;Gate 0 ($11.99 from $29.99 until 12/22)
Steins;Gate: Darling’s Embrace ($11.99 from $29.99 until 12/22)
Katana Kami: A WotS Story ($14.99 from $29.99 until 12/22)
PixelJunk Monsters 2 ($2.99 from $14.99 until 12/22)
HyperBrawl Tournament ($14.99 from $24.99 until 12/22)
Just Shapes & Beats ($13.99 from $19.99 until 12/27)
Brotherhood United ($4.49 from $8.99 until 12/28)
Pico Park ($3.99 from $4.99 until 12/28)
The Drama Queen Murder ($1.99 from $9.99 until 1/2)
Farm Mystery ($2.99 from $9.99 until 1/2)
Brightstone Mysteries: PH ($4.99 from $9.99 until 1/2)
Red Crow Mysteries: Legion ($4.99 from $9.99 until 1/2)
The Last Days ($4.99 from $9.99 until 1/2)
Country Tales ($2.99 from $9.99 until 1/2)
Black Rainbow ($2.99 from $9.99 until 1/2)
Path of Giants ($4.49 from $8.99 until 1/2)
Julie’s Sweets ($1.99 from $9.99 until 1/2)
Skee-Ball ($2.49 from $4.99 until 1/2)
Where Angels Cry: TotF ($2.99 from $9.99 until 1/2)
Double Pug Switch ($4.49 from $8.99 until 1/3)
Can Androids Pray:BLUE ($2.02 from $6.99 until 1/3)
The Tiny Bang Story ($2.49 from $9.99 until 1/3)
The Hong Kong Massacre ($15.99 from $19.99 until 1/3)
Door Kickers: Action Squad ($5.24 from $14.99 until 1/3)
Spaceland ($9.99 from $19.99 until 1/3)
Yoga Master ($19.99 from $24.99 until 1/3)
Niffelheim ($4.99 from $19.99 until 1/3)
Astro Duel Deluxe ($1.99 from $7.99 until 1/3)
Aperion Cyberstorm ($4.34 from $14.99 until 1/3)
Braveland Trilogy ($3.74 from $14.99 until 1/3)
Dig Dog ($1.99 from $3.99 until 1/3)
Solo: Islands of Heart ($3.99 from $19.99 until 1/3)
Stranded Sails ($9.99 from $24.99 until 1/4)
House of Golf ($4.99 from $9.99 until 1/4)
Sparklite ($9.99 from $24.99 until 1/4)
Spirit of the North ($12.49 from $24.99 until 1/4)
Behold the Kickmen ($1.99 from $3.99 until 1/4)
Solitaire TriPeaks Flowers ($2.99 from $5.99 until 1/4)
Crowdy Farm Puzzle ($1.99 from $5.99 until 1/4)
Lair of the Clockwork God ($8.99 from $19.99 until 1/4)
Bounty Battle ($9.99 from $24.99 until 1/4)
Cloudpunk ($17.49 from $24.99 until 1/4)
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Complete ($23.99 from $29.99 until 1/4)
Jurassic World Evolution ($39.99 from $59.99 until 1/4)
UNBOX: Newbie’s Adventure ($5.99 from $29.99 until 1/4)
The Count Lucanor ($2.24 from $14.99 until 1/4)
The Long Reach ($1.49 from $14.99 until 1/4)
Cast of the Seven Godsends ($2.59 from $12.99 until 1/4)
Battle Group 2 ($0.99 from $9.99 until 1/4)
Walking Vegetables: Radical ($1.94 from $12.99 until 1/4)
JCB Pioneer: Mars ($12.49 from $24.99 until 1/4)
RIOT: Civil Unrest ($3.99 from $19.99 until 1/4)
Aragami: Shadow ($11.99 from $29.99 until 1/4)
Vaporum ($7.49 from $24.99 until 1/4)
Curious Cases ($3.99 from $4.99 until 1/4)
Struggling ($9.74 from $14.99 until 1/4)
Escape First ($3.99 from $4.99 until 1/4)
The Experiment: Escape Room ($3.19 from $3.99 until 1/4)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, December 16th
ATV Drift & Tricks ($6.99 from $29.99 until 12/16)
Black Paradox ($4.49 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Blacksea Odyssey ($2.59 from $12.99 until 12/16)
Bleed Complete Bundle ($4.19 from $27.99 until 12/16)
Clumsy Rush ($2.99 from $4.99 until 12/16)
Couch Co-Op Bundle Vol.2 ($6.89 from $45.99 until 12/16)
Cyber Protocol ($4.99 from $9.99 until 12/16)
Defentron ($8.99 from $9.99 until 12/16)
Demon Pit ($2.99 from $9.99 until 12/16)
Elden: Path of Forgotten ($4.79 from $15.99 until 12/16)
Fall of Light: Darkest ($3.74 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Frost ($3.24 from $12.99 until 12/16)
Glass Masquerade Double Pack ($3.29 from 21.99 until 12/16)
Golem Gates ($6.24 from $24.99 until 12/16)
Green Hell ($16.74 from $24.99 until 12/16)
Here Be Dragons ($10.79 from $17.99 until 12/16)
Horror Bundle Vol.1 ($4.56 from $30.49 until 12/16)
Indie Darling Bundle Vol.3 ($7.56 from $50.49 until 12/16)
INK & HackyZack Bundle ($2.99 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Kentucky Robo Chicken ($1.99 from $2.49 until 12/16)
Letter Quest Remastered ($2.99 from $11.99 until 12/16)
Lofi Ping Pong ($4.49 from $4.99 until 12/16)
Monster Slayers ($3.74 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Nefarious ($3.74 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Nirvana Pilot Yume ($3.99 from $4.99 until 12/16)
Odallus: Dark Call ($2.99 from $11.99 until 12/16)
OMG Police ($1.99 from $4.99 until 12/16)
Oniken: Unstoppable ($2.49 from $9.99 until 12/16)
Pixel Art Bundle Vol.1 ($5.69 from $37.99 until 12/16)
Reverse Crawl ($3.24 from $12.99 until 12/16)
Skelly Selest ($2.99 from $9.99 until 12/16)
Sky Mercenaries Redux ($3.75 from $15.00 until 12/16)
Slain: Back From Hell ($4.99 from $19.99 until 12/16)
Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut ($3.74 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Snakeybus ($5.99 from $11.99 until 12/16)
Straimium Immortaly ($3.59 from $11.99 until 12/16)
Super Blood Hockey ($4.49 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Syberia ($2.98 from $14.90 until 12/16)
Syberia 2 ($2.00 from $29.99 until 12/16)
UnExplored ($4.49 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Valfaris Full Metal Mode ($12.49 from $24.99 until 12/16)
Verlet Swing ($3.74 from $14.99 until 12/16)
XenoRaptor ($3.74 from $14.99 until 12/16)
That’s all for today, friends. Tomorrow should have lots of news to look at, and perhaps a few surprise releases to summarize. Or maybe not! If nothing else, we’ll at least have the sales to keep us company. I hope you all have a nice Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!