Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for June 15th, 2021. It’s a bit of an awkward one today thanks to the time difference between me and most of you, friends. The biggest news today is sure to be Nintendo’s E3 broadcast, but I’ll be well asleep by the time that happens. On your end? It may have already happened. Such is the fun of the SwitchArcade, I suppose. In exchange, I have reviews of two great games for you to check out, along with a bit of news and some sales to look at. Let’s head on in!
Reminder: Today is the E3 Nintendo Direct Presentation
There’s a high chance this has already gone down by the time you’re reading this, but it’s still in the future as I write. At 9:00 am PT today, Nintendo will be broadcasting its E3 2021 Nintendo Direct. It will feature around 40 minutes of info exclusively covering Nintendo Switch software (don’t count on that rumored Pro showing up, in other words), mostly titles scheduled for a 2021 release. Following the presentation, a three-hour Nintendo Treehouse: Live will be broadcast, presumably showing off some of the games. We’ll catch up on the news tomorrow in case you didn’t get a chance to watch it yourself.
Limited Run Games Details Its Upcoming Line-Up
It’s been a bit of a subdued E3 this year, for reasons hopefully most people can understand. You wouldn’t know that from watching Limited Run Games’ E3 presentation, however. A whopping 30 games were part of the show, most of which will be coming to the Switch. From physical versions of existing releases like Contra Anniversary Collection and Haven to new announcements like River City Girls 2 and Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties. You can watch the full presentation in the video above to get all the details. It’s rather entertaining, to boot.
Reviews & Mini-Views
Astalon: Tears of the Earth ($19.99)
Astalon is a weird flavor of action-adventure, one that will likely ring familiar to players of a certain age. It’s one of those games where I don’t to explain too much about what makes it neat, because there’s a joy in how it naturally unfolds. So just the basic details, then. You have a team of three characters. Each one has his or her own abilities, and you’ll need to use them at the right times and places to progress. You can switch characters and save at various points in the tower you’re exploring, so you will have to backtrack now and then to get the necessary character. This may be irritating for some people.
You’ll soon die. It’s unavoidable. When you do, you’ll run into the main gimmick that the story runs around. One of the characters, unbeknown to the others, makes a pact with a demon. His soul in exchange for temporary immortality of sorts. Whenever the group dies in the tower, they’ll appear back at the beginning, with two of the three left largely unaware of the loop they’re caught in. In gameplay terms, this gives you a chance to spend the doodads you’ve collected on some character upgrades. Ah, so it’s that kind of thing.
It’s a relatively lengthy game for its genre and the back half will test your patience at times, but as a whole Astalon is a terrific game that may surprise you in some interesting ways. Some issues with backtracking keep it from being a total slamdunk, but if you’re feeling nostalgic for that old style of exploratory action game that can be a little opaque in a good way, you’re likely going to have a very good time with Astalon: Tears of the Earth.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid – Super Edition ($49.99)
Everyone loves a good comeback story. When Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid first launched back in March of 2019, it had a thin roster of fighters, a paltry amount of single-player content, and severe balancing issues. Things looked dark, like in Green With Evil Part 1. But the game was updated consistently over time with new content and characters, some free and some paid. Adjustments were made to the gameplay to address criticism from players. A Collector’s Edition was released that bundled some of the DLC, but more followed. That brings us to Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid – Super Edition, the latest bundle. It’s a good time to revisit a game that has gone from villain to hero, like in Green With Evil Part 5.
Back when I initially reviewed the game, there were only nine characters to choose from. It was a big issue for a game about three-on-three battles. You could scarcely go more than a couple of fights without running into a team that shared one or more member with yours. Throw in some balancing issues that saw certain fighters favored over others, and there wasn’t a whole lot of variety on offer. The line-up was also heavily tilted towards Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The Super Edition includes all of the characters released since launch up until the latest Street Fighter cross-over characters. That brings the roster up to a quite respectable twenty-three fighters.
Mighty Morphin is still the most represented series here, but it’s understandable. Nine of the characters are from that iteration and its various spin-offs, but the game does its best to separate them visually with accessories and costume alterations. If you count the Cenozoic Blue Ranger from the Power Rangers movie that came and went a few years back, all of the heroes of Mighty Morphin are accounted for here in some form or another, plus three of its most famous villains. Apart from those characters, representatives from Zeo, Time Force, Lost Galaxy, S.P.D., Mystic Force, Jungle Fury, Samurai, Super Megaforce, and Street Fighter fill out the roster.
That still leaves a whole lot of Power Ranger history on the table, but there’s enough variety here to address one of the big problems from the launch version. More additions will likely be coming, as well. Not only do these new characters add more options in terms of team formation and series representation, they also add considerably to the roster variability. There are a lot of different play styles covered with all of these characters, so there should be at least one or two characters for anyone’s tastes. On top of that, more Zords, costumes, and colors have been added. I declare the roster issue largely solved.
Now, to the matter of the threadbare single-player content. Right from the start, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid had a solid online play structure. The netcode was and is some of the best of any fighting game today. But those who wanted to get some local practice against the computer didn’t have a lot to chew on. The included threadbare Arcade Mode was better than nothing, but only barely. Since then, a full Story Mode with voices from many of the real actors has been added, and the CPU’s AI has been greatly improved. It’s no Injustice or anything, but it’s more than most fighting games offer. My only gripe is that it’s probably a little too tough for Ranger-loving kids to enjoy now. Still, I’m comfortable saying this problem has also been sufficiently addressed.
You can probably get the theme of this review by now, but on we go. The gameplay balancing has also been constantly addressed based on community feedback, and developer nWay has worked with all the right people to make the game shine its brightest. Indeed, the game is now probably more balanced than many of its rivals. Unlike the characters, these balance and gameplay adjustments were part of regular free updates. But trust me, you’ll want those extra characters and costumes. Still, this Super Edition upgrade has been handled as fairly as possible. Those who own either of the base versions of the game can upgrade via DLC add-ons, so you won’t have to buy it all from scratch.
If you were turned off of Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid because of the reception the game received at launch, this is the time to give it another shot. This is the Marvel vs Capcom-style game that the genre needed in the absence of that hero-soaked series, and it’s a pair of pants that Power Rangers: Battle from the Grid has finally grown into. It’s over-the-top, flashy, colorful, and fun as heck. It’s easily one of the best fighters on the Nintendo Switch now, and thanks to its crossplay feature and general popularity in the fighting community, it offers a lively online experience on top of a solid local foundation. Go go, Power Rangers.
SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Well, I thought the big E3 sale would have fired off by the time I was writing this, but I was wrong. It has almost certainly begun by the time you’re reading this, but we’ll have to catch up on that tomorrow. For today, it’s a modest list of games we’ve seen on sale before. I again encourage you to save your money pending the hundreds of new discounts kicking off soon. That is, unless you want to pick up the No More Heroes games from the expiring list. They’ll be on sale again but it could be a little while.
Select New Games on Sale
High Noon Revolver ($1.99 from $2.99 until 6/21)
Wood Block Escape Puzzles 2 ($4.79 from $5.99 until 6/21)
Pizza Bar Tycoon ($1.99 from $4.99 until 6/21)
Breakfast Bar Tycoon ($1.99 from $4.99 until 6/21)
Food Truck Tycoon: Asian Cuisine ($1.99 from $4.99 until 6/21)
Spider Solitaire ($1.99 from $8.99 until 6/21)
Grand Guilds ($1.99 from $19.99 until 6/21)
Towertale ($1.99 from $9.99 until 6/21)
Gnome More War ($1.99 from $2.99 until 6/21)
The True ($4.75 from $9.50 until 6/22)
Laws of Machine ($2.99 from $3.99 until 6/22)
MO: Astray ($7.49 from $14.99 until 6/22)
#Funtime ($6.61 from $14.99 until 6/22)
The Ambassador: FT ($6.61 from $14.99 until 6/22)
Table Top Racing: World Tour ($17.49 from $24.99 until 6/22)
Struggling ($8.24 from $14.99 until 6/28)
Dog Duty ($1.99 from $19.99 until 6/28)
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 ($16.49 from $29.99 until 6/28)
Jurassic World Evolution ($32.99 from $59.99 until 6/28)
Truck Driver ($29.99 from $49.99 until 6/28)
Among the Sleep: Enhanced ($6.99 from $24.99 until 6/28)
Membrane ($1.99 from $9.99 until 6/28)
Pato Box ($2.99 from $14.99 until 6/28)
Defunct ($1.99 from $14.99 until 6/28)
Xenon Racer ($1.99 from $29.99 until 6/28)
Brotherhood United ($2.49 from $8.99 until 6/28)
Monstrum ($14.99 from $29.99 until 6/28)
Adam’s Venture: Origins ($19.99 from $39.99 until 6/28)
Drawngeon ($2.49 from $4.99 until 6/29)
Dungeon Warfare ($2.49 from $9.99 until 6/29)
Postal Redux ($5.99 from $9.99 until 6/30)
Niffelheim ($3.99 from $19.99 until 7/1)
The Tiny Bang Story ($1.99 from $9.99 until 7/1)
Spaceland ($6.79 from $19.99 until 7/1)
Braveland Trilogy ($2.99 from $14.99 until 7/1)
Chaos on Deponia ($4.99 from $19.99 until 7/1)
Goodbye Deponia ($4.99 from $19.99 until 7/1)
Deponia Doomsday ($4.99 from $19.99 until 7/1)
Deponia ($4.99 from $19.99 until 7/1)
Team Troopers ($6.20 from $15.50 until 7/1)
Golf Peaks ($1.99 from $4.99 until 7/5)
Cooking Tycoons 2: 3 in 1 ($1.99 from $12.99 until 7/5)
Grim Legends 2: SotDS ($2.09 from $14.99 until 7/5)
Super Battle Cards ($1.99 from $5.99 until 7/5)
The Secret Order: RttBK ($2.09 from $14.99 until 7/5)
Ages of Mages: The Last Keeper ($8.39 from $11.99 until 7/5)
Tap Tap Legions ($2.79 from $3.99 until 7/5)
Bring Honey Home ($2.99 from $7.99 until 7/5)
League of Champions Soccer ($4.79 from $5.99 until 7/6)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 16th
Blood Will Be Spilled ($2.99 from $14.99 until 6/16)
Dynos & Ghosts ($2.49 from $4.99 until 6/16)
Feudal Alloy ($3.39 from $16.99 until 6/16)
Fury Unleashed ($9.49 from $19.99 until 6/16)
Gradiently ($1.99 from $4.99 until 6/16)
Hatsune Miku Logic Paint S ($12.60 from $14.00 until 6/16)
Hyperspace Delivery Service ($3.99 from $9.99 until 6/16)
I, Zombie ($1.99 from $4.99 until 6/16)
Liberated ($5.99 from $19.99 until 6/16)
Necroworm ($1.99 from $4.99 until 6/16)
No More Heroes ($17.99 from $19.99 until 6/16)
No More Heroes 2 ($17.99 from $19.99 until 6/16)
Sakura in Gameland ($4.99 from $9.99 until 6/16)
Yet Another Zombie Defense HD ($1.99 from $4.99 until 6/16)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with a whole lot of news and a whole lot of sales. There should also be some new releases to check out, unlike today. There won’t be any reviews because they would just get lost in the shuffle, I’m sure. I hope you all have a great Tuesday and enjoy all of the news today. As always, thanks for reading!