SwitchArcade Round-Up: Mini-Views Featuring ‘Lost Words’ and ‘Trails of Cold Steel IV’, Plus Today’s New Releases and Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for April 12th, 2021. In today’s article, we’ve got a little slice of news to check out before heading into a pair of Mini-Views for some recent releases. We then check out today’s new releases, and I’ll be frank with you, friends: it’s not a pretty bunch. Not even a little. But we summarize them anyway, because that’s what we do around here. Speaking of things we do around here, we’ve also got the lists of incoming and outgoing sales for you to look at. It’s a big-pants start to the week, so let’s get going!


The Original ‘Shantae’ Hits the eShop April 22nd

Time was that if you wanted to play the original Game Boy Color Shantae game via official means, you’d have to sell your first-born child. Fortunately, new avenues have opened up over the years. It’s on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console, and Limited Run Games is also doing a new print of the actual cartridge itself. Well, there will be one more way to get at the game as of next week as Shantae is coming to the Switch eShop. This version notably includes the ability to choose between the Game Boy Color original mode or the enhanced Game Boy Advance mode, which adds a new animal form and alters the color palette to better fit the original GBA’s, er, less-than-luminescent display. Also cool? This means you’ll be able to buy and play the entire Shantae series to date on one console for the first time. No word on the price yet, but it shouldn’t be too wild given the reasonable price Risky’s Revenge goes for.


Lost Words: Beyond the Page ($14.99)

This is a clever game with some neat mechanics and a really heartfelt story. There are two components to it, though they are strongly tied together. In one, you’re jumping around in the main character Izzy’s journal. You hop on words and do some light interaction to keep the pages turning. Without spoiling anything, Izzy is facing a turning point in her young life. The story on this side of the game involves her working through her feelings, which she partly accomplishes by writing a story. That story is where the other half of the game is. A new guardian sets out on a journey to rescue her village’s guardian fireflies from a dragon. Her struggles mirror those of Izzy, naturally. In these sections, you’re traversing various areas and dealing with obstacles by using words from your magic book. Sometimes you need to use the word ‘rise’ to lift yourself up. Sometimes you’ll use the word ‘break’ to… well, break things.

It’s pretty neat, and the game looks quite gorgeous thanks to the strong art design. I found myself wishing it had pushed its gameplay ideas further, but this game’s mechanics serve its story more than anything. And that works out quite well, really. It’s a really touching story, and while I found Izzy’s side of it more interesting than the guardian’s, they play off each other very well. It took about four hours to make my way through Lost Words. I would say it flew by, but I had to take a couple of breaks just to sort my head out because of how close some of it hit to things I’ve dealt with in the last year or so. I’d easily recommend this to those looking for a well-told, emotional story with an interesting presentation, but if you want something that pushes back with its mechanics, it may not be the right game for you.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV ($59.99)

When you’ve put hundreds of hours into a story, one of the things you tend to hope for most is that the writers manage to stick the landing. And I’m going to be honest with you all: I had my doubts about this one, just based on how the last couple of games in the Trails of Cold Steel series have gone. This is a series that I felt started out quite strong, and while each installment added a lot of things I found cool, I could see thin cracks becoming bigger over time. Here we are at the ostensible end of this era of The Legend of Heroes, and it feels like it’s going out with a little pop rather than a proper bang. There are lots of reasons for that. The cast size got way out of hand, the number of things to resolve were too numerous, and Cold Steel in particular has had a real problem committing to its stakes. This Switch version is in line with the port of Trails of Cold Steel III, so it runs a bit worse than its PlayStation 4 predecessor and has a few bugs of its own. That said, I prefer to digest this series on handheld consoles, so it’s an easy choice for me.

It’s not that I disliked Trails of Cold Steel IV. It’s mechanically sound, and there are lots of great bits of fan service for those who have stuck with the series for a long time. It wraps up most of what it has to, and it’s not egregiously bad about that. I shouldn’t have to mention this, but under no circumstances should this be your entry point for the series. Ideally, you’d need to go all the way back to Trails in the Sky. At the very least, you should start with the original Trails of Cold Steel, something that isn’t possible on Switch right now. But when I think of all of the time and effort you’d have to put in to get to the ideal state to enjoy this game, all I can conclude is that it’s probably not worth it. If you’ve come this far, by all means: this is an ending, and you might as well experience it. But had I known back in the day how it all would turn out, I’m not sure I would have gotten into Cold Steel in the first place. I was really hoping for something better than “well, it’s fine". Well… it’s fine.

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

New Releases

Hike ($4.99)

Ultimate Games is starting us off today, and I’ll tell you: this is setting the pace for the day. This game wants to give you the feeling of a weekend hike in the middle of nowhere. There are some quests to solve, but it’s mostly about doing some chill exploration of the scenery. It only takes about an hour or so to complete, so it’s a short experience. And that’s fine, but when a game is pretty much about walking around and checking out the sights, I really need the sights to be a bit better than what we see here. But hey, there are far worse ways to spend your pocket change in this article today.

.cat ($9.99)

This looks like a cute platformer with some nice colorful graphics. You play as a cat. The description doesn’t give us much more to go on than that, and whether it’s because of the name itself being impossible to search or the game being that obscure, I can’t find anything else about it online. I’ll say that ten bucks is a bit more than I’ll throw at a random game to see if it’s worth paying attention to, so this one will remain a mystery unless some other brave soul takes one for the team.

Checkers Master ($4.99)

Sigh, it’s Pix Arts. Anyway, this is a checkers game. You can play against the CPU or another player via local multiplayer. It’s handheld mode only, so that’s a thing. I don’t know what more to say here. I suppose it looks reasonably competent? The graphics look like something a beginner would put together, but it’s not like anyone is looking to have their socks knocked off by the visuals in a checkers game. Five bucks seems a bit high for this kind of thing, but if you’ve got a hankering for a checkers game, this is one of those.

Candy Match Kiddies ($3.99)

Quite the bunch of games today, eh? Well, here’s Pix Arts again. This time they’ve ripped off Candy Crush, which isn’t exactly a victim I’ll cry many tears for. The good news is that it’s pretty hard to mess up a match-3 game, so this will probably be better than the usual Pix Arts game. You get 100 levels, a lot of familiar gimmicks like the spreading chocolate and wrapped candies, and even the same four power-ups you see in Candy Crush. Handheld mode only, so keep that in mind if you’re thinking of buying it. Not much to add here, except that Pix Arts has some stones hewing this closely to the headline game from a notably litigious publisher.

Sudoku Master ($2.99)

Oh good, another Pix Arts game. Handheld mode only, again. This is a Sudoku game. It costs three dollars and that’s the nicest thing I can say about it. You get four difficulty settings, randomly generated puzzles, and a very basic interface. Like Checkers Master, it does what it needs to do and not much more than that. There are a lot of Sudoku games on the Switch and I’m reasonably sure most of them are better than this, but I suppose this is another concept that’s hard to mess up too much.

Empire Invasion ($12.99)

Hmmm, this is an odd one. It’s a Piotr Skalski game, and he tends to specialize in decent knock-offs at low prices. His games are also often locked to handheld mode for inexplicable reasons. Well, this checks off most of those boxes, except perhaps the most important one: the price. Empire Invasion is a bog-standard tower defense game, and if you squint and don’t look too hard you might confuse it for Kingdom Rush or something of that sort. It has more than 40 levels, 7 different upgradeable tower types, and 3 difficulty levels. All well and good, but it’s somehow more expensive than Kingdom Rush. Piotr, you had one selling point. One.


(North American eShop, US Prices)

Lots of the usual stuff in today’s list, but even the unusual stuff isn’t too exciting in general. There are some discounts on new releases from late last week, a few cool titles like West of Loathing and Jenny LeClue, and an assortment of hidden object puzzle games. There are many games in the outbox, with Freedom Finger and Hotshot Racing leading the pack in my books. Take a look and see what catches your eye, though.

Select New Games on Sale

Fire & Water ($2.09 from $2.99 until 4/13)
Maze with Cube ($2.09 from $2.99 until 4/13)
Wacky Run ($2.09 from $2.99 until 4/13)
Blow Up Monsters ($2.09 from $2.99 until 4/13)
Magical Maze ($2.09 from $2.99 until 4/13)
Escape Route ($2.09 from $2.99 until 4/13)
Animal Bomber ($3.49 from $4.99 until 4/13)
Clue: Classic Mystery Game ($14.99 from $29.99 until 4/16)
Battleship ($9.99 from $19.99 until 4/16)
Tribal Pass ($5.59 from $6.99 until 4/16)
Gravity Heroes ($13.49 from $14.99 until 4/16)
Carnage: Battle Arena ($2.99 from $14.99 until 4/16)
City Driving Simulator ($5.99 from $11.99 until 4/16)
4×4 Dirt Track ($5.99 from $11.99 until 4/16)
Car Driving School Sim ($6.99 from $13.99 until 4/16)

Overdriven Reloaded: Special ($1.99 from $7.99 until 4/17)
The Persistence ($10.19 from $29.99 until 4/17)
Candy Jump feat. Frosty ($3.98 from $5.99 until 4/19)
Debtor ($1.99 from $2.99 until 4/19)
Skyland: Heart of the Mountain ($8.99 from $14.99 until 4/19)
Swordbreaker The Game ($1.99 from $4.99 until 4/19)
WeakWood Throne ($2.99 from $4.99 until 4/20)
Colorful Colore ($1.99 from $2.99 until 4/20)
Skull Rogue ($1.99 from $2.99 until 4/20)
Tactical Mind ($1.99 from $2.99 until 4/20)
One Line Coloring ($3.49 from $6.99 until 4/23)
ZikSquare ($1.99 from $6.99 until 4/24)
Build a Bridge! ($2.99 from $14.99 until 4/26)
Bridge Builder Adventure ($2.99 from $14.99 until 4/26)
Aery: Journey Beyond Time ($7.49 from $9.99 until 4/26)

Spirit Roots ($2.09 from $6.99 until 4/27)
Archaica: Path of Light ($3.97 from $14.99 until 4/27)
Ravensword: Shadowlands ($5.59 from $6.99 until 4/29)
Bamerang ($5.89 from $6.99 until 4/29)
Crazy BMX World ($2.40 from $3.00 until 4/29)
Speed Truck Racing ($5.99 from $9.99 until 4/29)
Red Colony ($5.59 from $6.99 until 4/29)
Chameleon Run Deluxe ($1.99 from $5.99 until 4/29)
The Keep ($5.39 from $17.99 until 4/29)
Jim is Moving Out! ($4.49 from $14.99 until 4/29)
West of Loathing ($7.70 from $11.00 until 4/29)
Moorhuhn Wanted ($5.59 from $6.99 until 4/29)
Zombie Scrapper ($1.99 from $2.99 until 4/29)
Fury Unleashed ($9.99 from $19.99 until 4/30)

Jenny LeClue – Detectivu ($3.99 from $24.99 until 4/30)
Colorfall ($2.49 from $4.99 until 4/30)
Yet Another Zombie Defense ($1.99 from $4.99 until 4/30)
Agent A: Puzzle in Disguise ($3.99 from $19.99 until 4/30)
I, Zombie ($1.99 from $4.99 until 4/30)
Monster Truck XT Airport Derby ($8.39 from $11.99 until 4/30)
Koral ($3.59 from $11.99 until 4/30)
MIND: Path to Thalamus ($3.59 from $11.99 until 4/30)
Julie’s Sweets ($2.99 from $9.99 until 4/30)
Fly The Bird ($1.99 from $2.49 until 4/30)
The Drama Queen Murder ($2.99 from $9.99 until 4/30)
Farm Mystery ($2.99 from $9.99 until 4/30)
Infernium ($7.48 from $24.95 until 4/30)
Brightstone Mysteries: PH ($2.99 from $9.99 until 4/30)
Country Tales ($2.99 from $9.99 until 4/30)

Red Crow Mysteries: Legion ($2.99 from $9.99 until 4/30)
The Last Days ($2.99 from $9.99 until 4/30)
Black Rainbow ($2.99 from $9.99 until 4/30)
Purrs in Heaven ($2.02 from $6.99 until 5/1)
Rock ‘N Racing Bundle GP&R ($5.99 from $19.99 until 5/1)
Power Racing Bundle ($5.94 from $16.99 until 5/1)
Color Zen Kids ($3.19 from $3.99 until 5/1)
Cube Life: Island Survival ($11.99 from $14.99 until 5/1)
Pixel Action Heroes ($3.99 from $4.99 until 5/1)
Darts ($2.00 from $2.99 until 5/1)
Abyss ($2.00 from $2.99 until 5/1)
99Seconds ($2.00 from $2.99 until 5/1)
99Moves ($2.00 from $2.99 until 5/1)
Rally Rock ‘N Racing ($2.99 from $9.99 until 5/1)
Horror Pinball Bundle ($2.96 from $8.99 until 5/1)
Touchdown Pinball ($2.01 from $2.99 until 5/1)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 13th

A Knight’s Quest ($7.49 from $24.99 until 4/13)
Airfield Mania ($1.99 from $5.99 until 4/13)
American Fugitive ($6.79 from $19.99 until 4/13)
Animal Bomber ($3.49 from $4.99 until 4/13)
BDSM ($9.99 from $19.99 until 4/13)
Beholder: Complete ($3.74 from $14.99 until 4/13)
Birds and Blocks ($1.99 from $4.99 until 4/13)
Blow Up Monsters ($2.09 from $2.99 until 4/13)
Bomber Crew ($2.99 from $14.99 until 4/13)
Breathedge ($19.99 from $24.99 until 4/13)
Croc’s World ($1.99 from $4.99 until 4/13)
Croc’s World Run ($1.99 from $5.99 until 4/13)
Escape Route ($2.09 from $2.99 until 4/13)
Fall Gummies ($1.99 from $7.99 until 4/13)
Fantasy Tower Defense ($1.99 from $4.99 until 4/13)
Fire & Water ($2.09 from $2.99 until 4/13)
For The King ($8.49 from $24.99 until 4/13)

Freedom Finger ($5.99 from $14.99 until 4/13)
HardCube ($2.10 from $7.00 until 4/13)
Hotshot Racing ($11.99 from $19.99 until 4/13)
Hue ($1.99 from $9.99 until 4/13)
Jewel Fever 2 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 4/13)
Jewel Rotation ($1.99 from $5.99 until 4/13)
Lonely Mountains: Downhill ($13.39 from $19.99 until 4/13)
Magical Maze ($2.09 from $2.99 until 4/13)
Manual Samuel ($2.49 from $9.99 until 4/13)
Maze with Cube ($2.09 from $2.99 until 4/13)
My Hidden Things ($4.68 from $6.99 until 4/13)
Mystery Mine ($1.99 from $3.99 until 4/13)
Narcos: Rise of the Cartels ($8.99 from $29.99 until 4/13)
One Dog Story ($5.99 from $14.99 until 4/13)
Pacific Wings ($1.99 from $4.99 until 4/13)

Peaky Blinders: Mastermind ($12.49 from $24.99 until 4/13)
Perfect Traffic Simulator ($1.99 from $9.99 until 4/13)
Planetary Defense Force ($1.99 from $5.99 until 4/13)
Pumped BMX Pro ($2.99 from $14.99 until 4/13)
Rogue Aces ($2.59 from $12.99 until 4/13)
Royal Tower Defense ($1.99 from $7.99 until 4/13)
Serial Cleaner ($2.24 from $14.99 until 4/13)
Smoke and Sacrifice ($4.99 from $19.99 until 4/13)
Space Crew ($11.99 from $19.99 until 4/13)
Stacks On Stacks (On Stacks) ($11.69 from $12.99 until 4/13)
The Flame in the Flood ($3.74 from $14.99 until 4/13)
The Legend of Ninja ($1.99 from $7.99 until 4/13)
The Swindle ($3.74 from $14.99 until 4/13)
Velocity 2X ($4.99 from $19.99 until 4/13)
Wacky Run ($2.09 from $2.99 until 4/13)
Water Balloon Mania ($1.99 from $4.99 until 4/13)
When Ski Lifts Go Wrong ($2.24 from $14.99 until 4/13)
Yellow Fins ($1.99 from $4.99 until 4/13)

That’s all for today, friends. Tomorrow has a couple of games on the schedule, and I should have one or two more Mini-Views for you to enjoy as well. Whatever news and new sales come along will be included, of course. I hope you all have a great Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!