Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for March 23rd, 2021. In today’s article, we’ve got a full-sized review of SNK’s NEOGEO Pocket Color Selection Vol.1, and some fun-sized Mini-Views of Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning and Raiders of the Lost Island. There are summaries of today’s new releases, including such titles as Overcooked! All You Can Eat, Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town, and more. On top of that, we’ve got the usual lists of incoming and outgoing sales for you to consider. Let’s have a look!
NEOGEO Pocket Color Selection Vol.1 ($39.99)
Back in the day, I had a NEOGEO Pocket Color. At that time, it wasn’t like I just bought everything that came out. I had a very limited income, so I had to really be sold on a console before I bought it. Seeing it on the shelf of my local Electronics Boutique with its small selection of appealing games, I pondered picking it up many times. I’d always talk myself out of it. Finally, when the bundle with Sonic Pocket Adventure came out, I was at my weakest. A little push from a sales associate and I was walking home with my new handheld. I loved it. I grabbed SNK vs Capcom: Match of the Millennium because I was enthralled with the idea of a cross-company collaboration. It was great, too.
And then Aruze bought SNK and yanked the plug on the handheld. They had other plans, I suppose. The worst part of it is that they recalled all of the product from stores, which meant my local shop had to send back all their systems and sealed games immediately. I wasn’t able to get anything before they did, but they had one second-hand game left: Metal Slug 2nd Mission. I bought it, and that ended up being the extent of my collection. I enjoyed all of those games for a while, but eventually the system got put at the back of the drawer. Probably still there today. I didn’t really expect to see any of those games again, except perhaps in the form of sequels on other platforms. SNK rose again, but the NEOGEO Pocket Color didn’t seem to be on its mind anymore.
I was thrilled when SNK decided to include the NEOGEO Pocket Color Samurai Shodown game as a pre-order bonus with the new Samurai Shodown on the Switch. Surely they would not roll up a nice emulator like that for just one game? Then Gals’ Fighters showed up. Then more fighting games. But they can’t do SNK vs Capcom, right? Then they did. All fighting games, but that was what the system was primarily known for. Perhaps they would get around to the other stuff eventually. An announcement was made for NEOGEO Pocket Color Selection, but I simply thought it would be a bundle of the existing six fighting game releases.
When the full line-up was announced, I found myself pleasantly surprised. Yes, the six previously-released fighters are here. They vary somewhat in quality, but the best of them are very good and the least is still worth playing. But the real excitement is in the four additional games SNK has included here. The excellent handheld run-and-gun chapters in the Metal Slug series, Metal Slug 1st Mission and Metal Slug 2nd Mission. NEO Turf Masters, under its new name Big Tournament Golf. If you had to pick three non-fighters from the system, those are some of the most obvious choices. The set is rounded out with a surprise choice: action-RPG Dark Arms: Beast Buster.
I’ve talked about all of the fighting games before, so I won’t spend more time with them here. Metal Slug 1st Mission and Metal Slug 2nd Mission are probably going to be the big items for many players due to the general fame of the brand. While you have to keep in mind that the NEOGEO Pocket Color wasn’t too much more capable than a Game Boy Color, you’ll find these games do a nice job of living up to the intense action the series is known for while also adding in some fun things that reflect their non-arcade origins. What’s great is that you can see significant improvements from the first game to the second, both in terms of how it controls and its overall design. Metal Slug 2nd Mission stands tall as one of the finest portable run-and-gun games of its era.
Big Tournament Golf on the NEOGEO arcade console is a favorite of many SNK fans, and its handheld counterpart brings the experience to the handheld very well. It’s a truly enjoyable golf game that tries to keep the cinematic flair of the arcade game in a much more compact package. It may not be your first choice of games to play in this collection, but it may well be the game you spend the most time with. Finally, we’ve got Dark Arms: Beast Buster. This is one genre where the NEOGEO Pocket Color really couldn’t keep pace with the competition, but Dark Arms has an interesting theme and is decent enough to be worth a playthrough.
The options and overall interface won’t be too surprising if you’ve picked up one of the individual releases before, but the front end where you select your game does offer a few new surprises. You can check out 3D models of the packaging, choose between Japanese and English versions of each game, and boot each game up in Black-and-White, Color, and New Color versions. Not every game works on the Black-and-White unit, but the error screens for the ones that don’t can be amusing. The latter two simply change what kinds of bezels you can enjoy your full-color games in, I think. Not quite up to the presentation of Capcom Arcade Stadium, but I’ve seen a lot worse.
Really, the only thing I don’t like here is that you’re left to adjust the scaling yourself. It would be nice if there were preset modes to get perfect scaling rather than having to tweak with the analog stick until you get it just right. Not the end of the world, but it’s something annoying you have to do for each game once. Otherwise, this is a fantastic set with lots of great games at an affordable price. The presence of a volume number suggests that they may go in for a second set, and I hope they do. The library for this console isn’t huge and I’m sure the rights to some games are a pain, but I’d really like to see more of the oddball releases like Dark Arms get their shot. And Cardfighters’ Clash too, of course. We can only hope.
SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5
Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning ($39.99)
First of all, this is a very good port of the game. If that’s your question, there’s your answer. It runs well, looks good, and loading times aren’t too shabby. It’s great to be able to play this game on a handheld system. As to the game itself, while it’s definitely showing its years in terms of how it’s designed, I think anyone who enjoys action-RPGs will find something to like here. The idea of the open world RPG has greatly expanded over the last several years, and it’s perhaps that aspect where Kingdoms of Amalur has lost a bit of shine. But I think there’s a certain charm to its big-but-not-too-big areas, and the impressive amount of polish and high quality of the creative components combined with the satisfying combat make for a solid adventure that will keep you busy for quite a while.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Raiders of the Lost Island ($12.99)
This is a pretty enjoyable multiplayer game, albeit one that my family and I got tired of a little more quickly than I’d expected. First of all, I think it’s able to nicely tap into that frantic feeling of competing while working together. If you don’t manage to build the boat, nobody survives. You really can’t do it by yourself as there simply isn’t enough time, so everyone sort of needs to be on that particular page. At the same time, the winner is the person who gathers up the most treasure, so you can’t be entirely selfless. The biggest problem we ran into was that while the chaotic moments were the most fun, the game punishes you for indulging in them. I understand that’s the point of the game, and I suppose it’s not so different from things like Overcooked! in that regard. But here it feels like the competition should be more the focus than the cooperation, and it just doesn’t work out that way. We still enjoyed it well enough to bring it out for a couple of evenings, but no one is in a big rush to cycle it back in again for the moment. I’d say if you do gaming nights often enough, it’s a nice thing to pull out now and then.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Overcooked! All You Can Eat ($39.99)
The Switch has become something of a couch multiplayer dynamo in the video game space, and one of the more popular ways to do that has been the Overcooked! series of manic cooking games. The hardest part is deciding which to play, Overcooked! or Overcooked! 2. Well, Overcooked! All You Can Eat is here to solve that problem. It incorporates both games and effectively remasters the whole shebang to create the ultimate Overcooked! experience. It even has online play! It includes all of the content from the previous games, including DLC, and even adds some new levels and chefs. There’s also a new Assist Mode for those who want to enjoy what the game has to offer with a little bit less pressure. I’ll have a review of this one for you as soon as I can get my family to agree to play it without fighting.
Tales from the Borderlands ($24.99)
I get the feeling that through Borderlands fatigue, Telltale fatigue, or a combination of both, a lot of people missed out on Tales from the Borderlands. That’s a shame, because it’s really one of Telltale’s better efforts. But hey, lucky day: the whole five-episode series is now available on Switch. The story is set between Borderlands 2 and Borderlands 3, but you really don’t need to be that invested in the series to get what’s going on here. You’ve got two protagonists, one who is a little too buttoned-down and one that is a little too wild, and they’re forced to work together after a deal goes awry. It’s the usual Telltale stuff, so lots of well-written dialogue, plenty of choices, and some consequences to follow. I really enjoyed this one, and I don’t care much for Borderlands at all.
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town ($49.99)
The original farming simulation series is back with a brand new installment, and I wish I could tell you it’s here to reclaim its crown from Stardew Valley. Heck, I wish I could tell you that it puts the recent Harvest Moon game to total shame. But right here, right now? It has some issues. Indeed, the game felt genuinely unfinished when it launched a few weeks back here in Japan. It’s in better shape now, and the good news is that the developer seems committed to keeping at it as long as it can to try to make things right. Anyway, the story sees you inheriting your grandfather’s farm and trying to carry on his legacy. Tend to your farm, get to know the townspeople, help cultivate the town, and perhaps even fall in love. You probably know how this kind of game goes by now, and there isn’t much surprising about this one in particular. I’ll have a review of it in a little while.
Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace ($19.99)
Inspired by the rather popular board game, Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace sees you in the role of your choice of twelve different investigators, each with their own set of skills, as you try to solve a murder mystery. Play through nine chapters, discovering clues and performing interrogations to try to get to the bottom of things. Of course, this is an Arkham game so things go a little wild at a certain point. It may sound like a normal adventure game, but it also features strategic turn-based combat when things get dangerous. Naturally, maintaining your character’s sanity is a gameplay element. Personally, I’m a little worn out on Cthulhu Mythos stuff unless it has a very different angle, so I’m not hyper-pumped for this game. That said, Asmodee does good work so I imagine this one will do a nice job of scratching the itch for those looking for a single-player adventure in between rounds of the board game.
Tank Battle Heroes ($7.99)
This is on overhead tank battle game, a little like a distant great-great-grandchild of Atari’s Combat and its ilk. It has multiplayer support for up to four players via online play, and two players via local play. There are three battlefields and some tank customization elements. If you don’t have anyone to play with, there are 120 single-player stages to work your way through. It’s a simple game, and one many of us have played in some form or another many times before. If you feel like rolling out on one of these again, I think this one at least tries to check the important boxes and does so at an affordable price.
I grew up in a part of the world that basically has snow of some amount for six of the twelve months of the year. I spent roughly half of the first twenty-five years of my life looking at the cold fluffy stuff. Friends, I don’t know what the developer behind this snowboarding game thinks snow looks like, but even abstracted I’d hope you would come up with something better than a flat white sheet. This may seem picky, but this is a snowboarding game. The snow is a big part of that sort of thing. Oh well. Twenty levels, nine snowboarders, single-player only, some form of trick system, would be an iffy purchase at five dollars but at fifteen it feels like a rude prank. There aren’t a lot of snowboarding games on the Switch, but even with that in mind I find this hard to recommend in the slightest.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Okay, so… yesterday. I forgot to write the paragraph before the sales, and I don’t know what to tell you. A busy day, I suppose. I apologize. It’s a shame because yesterday had some interesting games in the inbox, while today is less exciting. You can grab a launch discount on Vaporum: Lockdown, if nothing else. Well, do take a look on your own. The outbox is the bigger news today. Square Enix’s big sale is ending soon, so stock up on those RPGs while you can. Anyone who buys Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon gets a complimentary virtual high five from me. That’s how it works, friends.
Select New Games on Sale
Drink More Glurp ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/28)
Hero Express ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/28)
Firework ($11.99 from $14.99 until 3/28)
The Last Campfire ($8.99 from $14.99 until 3/29)
Vaporum: Lockdown ($19.79 from $21.99 until 3/29)
while True: learn() ($10.39 from $12.99 until 3/29)
-Klaus- ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/29)
Total Arcade Racing ($6.99 from $9.99 until 3/30)
Voxelgram ($5.59 from $7.99 until 3/30)
Super Puzzle Pack ($19.99 from $29.99 until 4/1)
Jigsaw Fun: PiT! ($7.49 from $14.99 until 4/1)
Gems of Magic: Lost Family ($4.99 from $9.99 until 4/1)
Candy 2048 Challenge ($4.99 from $7.99 until 4/1)
Animated Jigsaws Collection ($9.99 from $24.99 until 4/4)
Vegas Party ($6.59 from $21.99 until 4/4)
Santa’s Xmas Adventure ($2.69 from $8.99 until 4/4)
Crash Dummy ($2.99 from $9.99 until 4/4)
Contraptions ($2.99 from $9.99 until 4/4)
Shing! ($9.99 from $19.99 until 4/5)
Grimshade ($12.49 from $24.99 until 4/5)
Mittelborg: City of Mages ($4.49 from $8.99 until 4/5)
Tyd wag vir Niemand ($1.99 from $9.99 until 4/11)
‘n Verlore Verstand ($2.09 from $13.99 until 4/11)
Spellkeeper ($1.99 from $5.99 until 4/12)
The Innsmouth Case ($4.94 from $14.99 until 4/12)
Ultra Foodmess ($2.39 from $5.99 until 4/12)
Ellipsis ($1.99 from $4.99 until 4/12)
Last Encounter ($1.99 from $14.99 until 4/12)
Fin & the Ancient Mystery ($1.99 from $4.99 until 4/12)
Dragon Audit ($8.99 from $9.99 until 4/23)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 24th
Agartha-S ($3.35 from $7.99 until 3/24)
Alchemist Simulator ($11.24 from $12.49 until 3/24)
Amnesia Collection ($5.99 from $29.99 until 3/24)
Aquatic Adv. of Last Human ($3.89 from $12.99 until 3/24)
Axiom Verge ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/24)
Bleed ($3.59 from $11.99 until 3/24)
Bleed 2 ($4.49 from $14.99 until 3/24)
Blood & Guts Bundle ($6.74 from $44.99 until 3/24)
Bridge Constructor: Walking Dead ($7.49 from $9.99 until 3/24)
Cave Bad ($3.99 from $4.99 until 3/24)
Chess Royal ($2.39 from $2.99 until 3/24)
Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/24)
Collection of Mana ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/24)
Cube Raiders ($3.24 from $12.99 until 3/24)
Don’t Die, Mr Robot! ($2.24 from $8.99 until 3/24)
Dragon Quest ($3.49 from $4.99 until 3/24)
Dragon Quest II ($4.54 from $6.49 until 3/24)
Dragon Quest III ($8.74 from $12.49 until 3/24)
Ellen ($1.99 from $7.99 until 3/24)
Elliot ($4.99 from $9.99 until 3/24)
Emma: Lost in Memories ($3.99 from $7.99 until 3/24)
Estranged: The Departure ($2.99 from $5.99 until 3/24)
Explosive Dinosaurs ($3.99 from $7.99 until 3/24)
Fear Effect Sedna ($1.99 from $19.99 until 3/24)
Feather ($4.79 from $9.99 until 3/24)
Final Fantasy IX ($10.49 from $20.99 until 3/24)
Final Fantasy VII ($7.99 from $15.99 until 3/24)
Final Fantasy VIII ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/24)
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD ($24.99 from $49.99 until 3/24)
Final Fantasy XII Zodiac Age ($24.99 from $49.99 until 3/24)
Final Fantasy XV Pocket ($14.99 from $29.99 until 3/24)
Flat Heroes ($6.69 from $9.99 until 3/24)
Forgotton Anne ($7.99 from $19.99 until 3/24)
Freakout: Calamity TV Show ($2.49 from $9.99 until 3/24)
Glass Masquerade ($3.59 from $11.99 until 3/24)
Glass Masquerade 2 ($5.99 from $11.99 until 3/24)
Gunpig: Firepower for Hire ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/24)
Hacky Zack ($2.49 from $9.99 until 3/24)
I Am Setsuna ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/24)
Indie Darling Bundle Vol 2 ($5.24 from $34.99 until 3/24)
Indiecalypse ($6.49 from $12.99 until 3/24)
INK ($2.24 from $8.99 until 3/24)
Kauil’s Treasure ($4.99 from $9.99 until 3/24)
L.F.O. Lost Future Omega ($3.35 from $7.99 until 3/24)
Laraan ($3.00 from $6.00 until 3/24)
Lost Sphear ($19.99 from $49.99 until 3/24)
Make It Quick Bundle Vol. 1 ($6.39 from $31.99 until 3/24)
Monster Boy & the Cursed Kingdom ($15.99 from $39.99 until 3/24)
Neonwall ($2.49 from $9.99 until 3/24)
Nerdook Bundle Vol.1 ($4.49 from $29.99 until 3/24)
Octahedron: Transfixed ($6.49 from $12.99 until 3/24)
Oh My Godheads: Party ($2.99 from $14.99 until 3/24)
Old Man’s Journey ($6.69 from $9.99 until 3/24)
Omega Strike ($4.49 from $14.99 until 3/24)
Oniken & Odallus Bundle ($4.99 from $19.99 until 3/24)
Oninaki ($24.99 from $49.99 until 3/24)
Outbreak ($3.89 from $12.99 until 3/24)
Paranautical Activity ($2.39 from $7.99 until 3/24)
Pew Pew Bundle Vol. 1 ($6.75 from $44.99 until 3/24)
Pipe Push Paradise ($2.74 from $10.99 until 3/24)
Pocket League Story ($7.00 from $14.00 until 3/24)
Regions of Ruin ($2.49 from $9.99 until 3/24)
Romancing SaGa 2 ($12.49 from $24.99 until 3/24)
Romancing SaGa 3 ($14.49 from $28.99 until 3/24)
Roombo: First Blood ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/24)
SaGa Scarlet Grace ($14.99 from $29.99 until 3/24)
Screencheat: Unplugged ($2.33 from $12.99 until 3/24)
Shikondo Soul Eater ($4.19 from $13.99 until 3/24)
Skelly Selest & Str. Immortaly ($5.99 from $19.99 until 3/24)
Space Grunts ($6.99 from $13.99 until 3/24)
Spartan Fist ($3.74 from $14.99 until 3/24)
Spectrum ($2.39 from $11.99 until 3/24)
Spelunker Party! ($14.99 from $29.99 until 3/24)
Spice and Wolf VR ($14.99 from $24.99 until 3/24)
Spice and Wolf VR2 ($21.19 from $24.99 until 3/24)
Spirit Arena ($4.99 from $9.99 until 3/24)
Star Ocean: First Departure ($10.49 from $20.99 until 3/24)
Sunless Sea: Zubmariner ($11.99 from $19.99 until 3/24)
Tamashii ($5.99 from $11.99 until 3/24)
The Dungeon Crawl Vol. 1 ($7.86 from $52.49 until 3/24)
The Last Dead End ($4.99 from $9.99 until 3/24)
Three Fourths Home ($2.24 from $8.99 until 3/24)
Tower of Time ($16.24 from $24.99 until 3/24)
Trials of Mana ($29.99 from $49.99 until 3/24)
Uncanny Valley ($2.49 from $9.99 until 3/24)
Underhero ($10.19 from $16.99 until 3/24)
V.O.I.D. ($1.99 from $3.99 until 3/24)
Venture Towns ($7.00 from $14.00 until 3/24)
Vertical Drop Heroes HD ($2.49 from $9.99 until 3/24)
World of Final Fantasy ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/24)
Woven ($1.99 from $19.99 until 3/24)
1979 Revolution ($2.99 from $11.99 until 3/24)
That’s all for today, friends. There are a few new releases on the schedule tomorrow, but nothing quite on the level of today’s releases. We’ll look at them anyway, because such is our mission. We’ll also check out whatever news and new sales come along in the next day. Probably no reviews, but who knows? I’ve got another busy day with my normal job tomorrow and I don’t want to accidentally omit a paragraph again, so I might just bite off what I can chew for once. I hope you all have a great Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!