SwitchArcade Round-Up: ‘Bravely Default II’ Review, Mini-Views Featuring ‘Mail Mole’, News, and the Latest Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for March 10th, 2021. There are no new releases today! Wow, that doesn’t happen very often. There are a couple of news items to look over, but the bulk of today’s article is given over to my review of Bravely Default II. There’s also a Mini-View of the surprisingly fun Mail Mole, and the usual lists of incoming and outgoing sales. Don’t worry, there will be an absolute avalanche of new games tomorrow to blow your money on. For today, let’s enjoy the breather. Here we go!


Transform and Roll Out in This Week’s ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ Event

Pyra and Mythra were added to the roster of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate last week, and as you might expect the next weekend event will focus on something related to the characters. It’s a tournament event where you’re restricted to using characters that can transform in one way or another. It could be a complete form change, a costume change, or even a simple color change. As long as they transform, they’re in. The event will kick off on Friday and run for the usual three days through the weekend.

Check Out the New Trailer for Natsume’s ‘Pocky & Rocky Reshrined’

The team behind the excellent Wild Guns Reloaded and Ninja Saviors is back with its third throwback project. This time, they’re taking on the classic Pocky & Rocky, sometimes known under its Japanese title KiKi KaiKai. You play as a shrine maiden or her tanuki partner as they battle their way through a supernatural top-down shooter. The original game was released in the arcades by Taito back in 1986, but it’s probably most well-known in the West for its Super NES installment handled by Natsume. Given the high quality of this team’s previous efforts, I’m quite excited to play this one when it lands on the Switch in Fall of this year. For now, we have a trailer. Glorious, glorious trailer.


Bravely Default II ($59.99)

The original Bravely Default hit during a very odd time for Square Enix, and it meant different things to different people. Final Fantasy was still spinning its wheels with Lightning and her crew from the up-and-down Final Fantasy XIII titles, the Realm had yet to be Reborn in Final Fantasy XIV, and Dragon Quest was smack in the middle of the several-year break between Dragon Quest IX and Dragon Quest XI. At the time, it felt like Square Enix had lost its way and dragged the entire traditional JRPG genre with it. Bravely Default seemed like the throwback many people had been looking for. It had some exciting new features, but at its core it was all about the job system, turn-based battles, and getting those crystals to shine again. Wow, just like old times!

Well, that’s how it appeared initially anyway. Those who stuck with the game long enough eventually hit a few twists that either pulled you in deeper or threw you right off the airship. Bravely Default may have been flying the colors of a traditional JRPG, but it ended up being rather subversive in ways that proved controversial. If nothing else, it at least attempted to walk the line between the expected and the surprising. It’s a difficult trick to pull off more than once, unfortunately. Those who didn’t like the surprises simply won’t come back for the next one, and those who did are going to be expecting shenanigans and will be harder to trick.

This is probably one of the reasons why 2015’s Bravely Second: End Layer didn’t seem to drum up as much excitement. And it’s a challenge Bravely Default II has to face as well. It takes a different path than the first sequel, but by and large it ends up with similar results. Bravely Second continued the story of the characters from the first game and took them in some very strange directions. Bravely Default II wipes the slate, which was probably the best thing to do. You don’t need to have played the first game to get into Bravely Default II, and indeed there aren’t any substantial benefits to doing so beyond already being familiar with the mechanics and basic flow.

Familiarity is both Bravely Default II‘s best friend and worst enemy. In terms of mechanics, it follows in the footsteps of Bravely Second. That is to say, its approach is that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. The whole system of borrowing turns to try to finish fights quickly or banking them for more impressive attacks is the hallmark of this series, and it’s as good as it ever was. So is the job system, which gives you an impressive ever-expanding array of tools to customize your party with. Earning these jobs involves some of the more memorable battles in the game, an aspect that also hasn’t changed from before. Indeed, some battles take on an almost puzzle-like quality, forcing you to consider both what your foes can do and what you can counter with. I like JRPGs that do this, though I acknowledge some people do not.

The story has a familiar ring to it as well, and I’m not as thrilled about that. There are a couple of twists, but nothing on the level of the last two games. Characters come off as slightly modified takes on the crew from the original game, and while I didn’t dislike the plot I kept waiting for it to do something truly inspired. That moment didn’t come. The moment-to-moment writing is sharp and I enjoyed both the English and Japanese voice acting, both of which helped to elevate what was otherwise the weakest narrative in the series so far. I should stress that my expectations for this element were probably higher than they should have been based on what we’ve seen in prior games. Compared to the average JRPG, Bravely Default II‘s story is certainly engaging enough.

I think your expectations are going to strongly color your enjoyment of Bravely Default II. If you’re looking for another game that plays with narrative tropes and traditional mechanics the way the first game did, you’re not going to find that here. If you’re just hoping for another game with similar mechanics and a familiar premise, you’ll happily find that here. Should you want a JRPG you can mindlessly coast through by hammering on the fight command, keep on walking. Those who like to sink their teeth into deep, rich RPG mechanics that force you to think in order to defeat bosses will find Bravely Default II a tasty meal.

Frankly, I think that’s enough. The genre is in a different place than it was back in 2012, and it doesn’t need a savior or disruption the way it did at that time. It’s sufficient for Bravely Default II to be the incredibly safe sequel that it is, stretching its legs a little and further exploring the immensely clever gameplay mechanics established in previous games. Bravely Default II is truly a JRPG fan’s JRPG, and while I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping it would smash my expectations the way the first game did, I’d be similarly dishonest if I were to say that I didn’t enjoy every minute of it.

SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5


Mail Mole ($14.99)

Mail Mole doesn’t bring a lot of fresh ideas to the table. The main one it offers is that you’re playing as a mole who burrows underground instead of walking around. His jumps are more like charged-up pops out of the ground, so you have to hold the button to build up the jump and release it. It doesn’t take that long to get your head around. Past those little quirks, this is just a really nice 3D platformer. The level designs are solid and moving your little mole around in them is pleasant. You’ve got a very typical hub structure, a lot of familiar types of levels, and various secrets tucked away for you to find. While the character designs and music let down the overall presentation a little bit, the graphics are bright and colorful, and everything runs quite smoothly. This probably isn’t going to rock anyone’s world, but if you enjoy the genre I think you’ll have a lot of fun going through this one.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5


(North American eShop, US Prices)

Today is Mario Day, but did you know that yesterday was Hatsune Miku Day? That’s because ‘3/9’ can be read in Japanese as ‘Mi-Ku‘, which is also why the regular price of Project DIVA is $39.39. Anyway, in honor of that occasion Project DIVA is available for half the usual price. It’s a content-rich rhythm game with a lot of style, and as long as you don’t mind its general them I’d recommend it to any fan of music games. The outbox is a big one, with great titles in it like Kero Blaster and Hoggy2 among many others. Check the list carefully, as always.

Select New Games on Sale

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA ($19.59 from $39.39 until 3/15)
Perfect Traffic Simulator ($2.49 from $9.99 until 3/16)
Fantasy Tower Defense ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/16)
Royal Tower Defense ($2.99 from $7.99 until 3/16)
The Legend of Ninja ($1.99 from $7.99 until 3/16)
Fall Gummies ($1.99 from $7.99 until 3/16)
Fly Punch Boom! ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/16)
Demon’s Rise: War for the Deep ($2.79 from $6.99 until 3/23)
Spice and Wolf VR ($14.99 from $24.99 until 3/24)
Spice and Wolf VR2 ($21.19 from $24.99 until 3/24)
Rip Them Off ($7.99 from $8.99 until 3/25)
Shakes on a Plane ($4.99 from $19.99 until 3/30)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Thursday, March 11th

112th Seed ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/11)
36 Fragments of Midnight ($2.00 from $2.99 until 3/11)
A Street Cat’s Tale ($6.39 from $7.99 until 3/11)
Access Denied ($2.74 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Amazing Brick Breaker ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Angels of Death ($8.99 from $14.99 until 3/11)
Astebreed ($5.99 from $19.99 until 3/11)
Attack of the Toy Tanks ($2.74 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Azurebreak Heroes ($3.98 from $6.99 until 3/11)
Battojutsu ($3.99 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Bird Game+ ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Black The Fall ($4.49 from $14.99 until 3/11)
Bossgard ($13.99 from $19.99 until 3/11)
Bouncy Bullets ($2.74 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Break Dot ($3.99 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Cobra Kai: Karate Kid Saga ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/11)
Crimson Keep ($5.99 from $19.99 until 3/11)
Croixleur Sigma ($7.99 from $19.99 until 3/11)
Cybarian: Time Traveling Warrior ($2.74 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Cycle 28 ($3.49 from $6.99 until 3/11)

Daggerhood ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Deep Space Rush ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Defoliation ($4.99 from $9.99 until 3/11)
Delta Squad ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Demon’s Rise: Lords of Chaos ($5.59 from $7.99 until 3/11)
Devious Dungeon ($3.99 from $7.99 until 3/11)
Devious Dungeon 2 ($3.99 from $7.99 until 3/11)
Distraint: Deluxe ($2.99 from $5.99 until 3/11)
Doodle Devil: 3volution ($6.74 from $8.99 until 3/11)
Drunken Fist ($5.99 from $7.99 until 3/11)
Dungeon Shooting ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Fairy Knights ($5.99 from $9.99 until 3/11)
Family Tree ($1.99 from $7.99 until 3/11)
Football Game ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/11)
FoxyLand ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/11)
FoxyLand 2 ($2.99 from $5.99 until 3/11)
FullBlast ($3.29 from $5.99 until 3/11)
G.I. Joe: Op. Blackout ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/11)
Gnomes Garden: Lost King ($2.99 from $9.99 until 3/11)
Go! Fish Go! ($1.99 from $3.99 until 3/11)
Gravity Duck ($2.24 from $4.99 until 3/11)

Hakoniwa Explorer Plus ($8.39 from $11.99 until 3/11)
Heroes Trials ($2.99 from $5.99 until 3/11)
Himno ($2.74 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Hoggy2 ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Horned Knight ($4.79 from $5.99 until 3/11)
Hotel Sowls ($7.19 from $7.99 until 3/11)
Hypercharge Unboxed ($13.99 from $19.99 until 3/11)
I Am The Hero ($4.99 from $9.99 until 3/11)
I and Me ($4.99 from $9.99 until 3/11)
InkSplosion ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Inversus Deluxe ($2.09 from $14.99 until 3/11)
Iron Snout ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Jack N’ Jill DX ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Just Ignore Them ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Kero Blaster ($3.99 from $9.99 until 3/11)
Kid Tripp ($1.99 from $3.99 until 3/11)
League of Evil ($3.99 from $7.99 until 3/11)
Legend of the Skyfish ($4.39 from $7.99 until 3/11)
MachiKnights -Blood Bagos- ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/11)
Mad Father ($7.99 from $9.99 until 3/11)
Madoris R ($4.00 from $5.00 until 3/11)

MazM: Jekyll & Hyde ($11.99 from $14.99 until 3/11)
Mekabolt ($2.74 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Metagal ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Midnight Deluxe ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Milo’s Quest ($2.74 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Mochi Mochi Boy ($2.74 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Monochrome World ($1.99 from $9.99 until 3/11)
Morbid: Seven Acolytes ($17.49 from $24.99 until 3/11)
Morphite ($5.09 from $14.99 until 3/11)
My Big Sister ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Nekopara Vol.1 ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/11)
Nekopara Vol.2 ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/11)
Nekopara Vol.3 ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/11)
Nekopara Vol.4 ($11.99 from $14.99 until 3/11)
Neon Junctions ($2.74 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Nevaeh ($6.49 from $12.99 until 3/11)
Newton’s Cradle Puzzle Game ($2.00 from $2.99 until 3/11)
Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/11)
One More Dungeon ($3.99 from $7.99 until 3/11)
One Way Heroics Plus ($10.49 from $14.99 until 3/11)

Orangeblood ($15.99 from $19.99 until 3/11)
Paradox Soul ($2.74 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Party Arcade ($9.99 from $14.99 until 3/11)
Peasant Knight ($2.00 from $2.99 until 3/11)
Pity Pit ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Plantera Deluxe ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Princess Maker: FTCT ($20.99 from $29.99 until 3/11)
Princess Maker: Go Go Princess ($10.49 from $14.99 until 3/11)
Projection: First Light ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/11)
Quell Memento ($1.99 from $7.99 until 3/11)
QV ($11.99 from $14.99 until 3/11)
Red Bow ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Reflex Unit 2 ($2.49 from $9.99 until 3/11)
Refreshing Sideways Puzzle ($22.39 from $27.99 until 3/11)
RIOT: Civil Unrest ($5.99 from $19.99 until 3/11)
Rotating Brave ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Sacred Stones ($1.99 from $9.99 until 3/11)
Sagebrush ($3.29 from $5.99 until 3/11)
Scheming Thru Zombie Apocalypse ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Shadow of Loot Box ($3.59 from $7.99 until 3/11)
Silent World ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/11)

Space Elite Force ($1.99 from $2.99 until 3/11)
Spooky Chase ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Spy Chameleon ($4.95 from $7.99 until 3/11)
Squareboy vs Bullies ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Star Sky ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Storm Boy ($2.03 from $5.99 until 3/11)
Super Box Land Demake ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Super Destronaut DX ($2.74 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Super Space Serpent Secondary ($7.49 from $9.99 until 3/11)
Super Weekend Mode ($2.74 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Super Wiloo Demake ($2.74 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Sushi Reversi ($9.99 from $13.99 until 3/11)
Swapperoo ($1.99 from $7.99 until 3/11)
Tetra’s Escape ($2.74 from $4.99 until 3/11)
The Long Reach ($4.49 from $14.99 until 3/11)
The Walking Vegetables: Radical ($3.89 from $12.99 until 3/11)
Torn Tales: Rebound ($4.99 from $7.99 until 3/11)
TorqueL: Physics Modified ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Twin Robots: Ultimate ($3.19 from $7.99 until 3/11)
Typoman ($4.54 from $12.99 until 3/11)

Under Leaves ($9.09 from $12.99 until 3/11)
Unitied ($2.00 from $2.99 until 3/11)
Vaporum ($9.99 from $24.99 until 3/11)
Vertical Strike ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Viviette ($6.99 from $9.99 until 3/11)
Warlock’s Tower ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Whipseey & the Lost Atlas ($2.03 from $5.99 until 3/11)
Wonder Boy Returns Remix ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/11)
YumeNikki Dream Diary ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/11)
Zero Strain ($3.99 from $9.99 until 3/11)
Zeroptian Invasion ($2.74 from $4.99 until 3/11)
Zombie’s Cool ($1.99 from $3.99 until 3/11)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with a huge sack full of new games to consider. We’ll have summaries of each of them, in typical fashion. Whatever sales roll in during the next 24 hours will also be included, and if there’s any massive news I might toss it in as well. I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday, and as always, thanks for reading!