SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘A Monster’s Expedition’ and More, Plus the Latest New Releases and Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for August 17th, 2021. In today’s article, we’ve got a few more reviews to check out. Our pal Mikhail has a deep dive on A Monster’s Expedition, and I’ve got reviews of Space Invaders Invincible Collection, WitchSpring3, and Necrobarista: Final Pour. We’ve also got summaries of the trio of new releases that hit the eShop today, and the usual lists of incoming and outgoing sales for you to consider. Let’s get going!

Reviews & Mini-Views

A Monster’s Expedition ($19.99)

Back when A Monster’s Expedition hit PC and Apple Arcade, I was surprised at how meticulously crafted and polished it felt. Draknek & Friends had something special with a puzzler that had a good amount of openness, a superlative soundtrack, gorgeous visuals, and lovely animations. Fast forward to today and A Monster’s Expedition has launched on Nintendo Switch alongside a big update to the Apple Arcade and PC versions. It has been an absolute joy revisiting older puzzles and experiencing everything A Monster’s Expedition has to offer on Nintendo Switch. I can now safely say that this is an essential for puzzle game fans on Nintendo Switch.

What makes A Monster’s Expedition special is in its structure and puzzles. These are held together and elevated by the lovely visuals and fantastic soundtrack by Eli Rainsberry. You play as a monster learning about humanity through exhibits scattered across different islands that are all part of a larger picture. You start out with basic movement and interactions like pushing down a tree to make a log get you to the next island.

This slowly expands with different things helping you across islands like rafts or bigger logs. The way you need to interact with the logs and trees in both directions you push and your own position alongside the obstacles on an island is the core of the puzzles here. It is very open not just in what puzzles or islands you tackle, but with multiple solutions to a single problem as well in many situations.

Puzzle games often suffer with a very steep difficulty curve. A Monster’s Expedition excels in how it gradually brings new mechanics to the fray. The structure where you can quit at any time and instantly come back from the title screen also helps with dipping in and out of the game. As you clear more of the islands, the fog and clouds disappear revealing more of the map. You also unlock fast travel pretty early on.

Barring the actual puzzles to reach the next island, A Monster’s Expedition has a ton of great humor in its exhibits and the plaque text on said exhibits you can read on specific islands. It is definitely an excellent addition to other aspects that work so well together.

On Nintendo Switch, A Monster’s Expedition has all the content of the newly updated Apple Arcade and PC versions of the game. It also has nice rumble feedback while interacting with objects. The developers have also allowed for both button and touch controls here if you play in handheld mode.

In some cases, I usually recommend just playing games on Apple Arcade and moving on instead of buying them on Nintendo Switch for reasons ranging from game length to technical issues. A Monster’s Expedition is one of the easiest recommendations for any puzzle game fan on both Apple Arcade and Nintendo Switch.

Overall, A Monster’s Expedition is magnificent. The structure perfectly suits itself to portable play with its interconnected set of islands that you can slowly chip at while on a break or while grabbing a coffee. This release gets everything right and I hope it does well enough to warrant a physical release. If you’ve wanted a relaxing and well-designed puzzle game on Switch, look no further than A Monster’s Expedition which is one of the best games I’ve played this year on the system. -Mikhail Madnani

SwitchArcade Score: 5/5

Space Invaders Invincible Collection ($59.99)

There are some game collections that are worth diving into even if you aren’t particularly into the games in question. Really, anything by Digital Eclipse fits the bill. Lots of extras, interviews, historical data, art, and music make them as much interactive museums as game compilations. Other collections, however, simply focus on the games themselves, presenting them in a faithful and accurate manner for modern players to digest. That’s the neighborhood M2 lives in more often than not, and Space Invaders Invincible Collection is exactly that, for better or worse.

What adds an extra wrinkle in this particular situation is that earlier this year, ININ Games released a cut-down version of this collection. Space Invaders Forever collected Space Invaders Extreme, Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE, and Arkanoid vs Space Invaders at a $29.99 price point. I expect many fans of Space Invaders already bought that set, and that leaves us in a tricky position here. You see, Space Invaders Invincible Collection has those same three games, plus eight more. The numbers sound favorable, but those three games were chosen to be spun off for a reason: they are the newest and ostensibly most desirable of the lot.

Well, let’s go over exactly what you get here and what that actually works out to. First off, you get black-and-white and color versions of the original Space Invaders. They are the same game, but one is in color and the other is monochrome. Then there’s Space Invaders Part II, a sequel with a few minor changes. Certainly a separate game, but those differences probably won’t mean much to the average player. Two non-Space Invaders games that used the same hardware as the original game, Lunar Rescue and Space Cyclone, are here. Cool additions to be sure, but I suspect their age will have many players bouncing off of them.

Next, there’s Majestic Twelve and its Western counterpart, Super Space Invaders ’91. It’s an excellent evolution of the Space Invaders concept and a lot of fun to play. There are some small differences between the Japanese and Western versions, but again they are largely the same game. You also get Space Invaders DX, which itself was made to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the original game. It offers a variety of ways to play the original game, including an amusing parody mode featuring other Taito brands, but in the end it is still very much the original game in terms of mechanics.

Finally, we have the three games that are repeating from the Space Invaders Forever set: Space Invaders Extreme (still an absolute blast), Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE (still a bit of a snooze unless you have four players), and Arkanoid vs Space Invaders (still a cool mash-up that sits in its own app). Two of those three are among the best in the collection, while the third is at least an interesting novelty. Unfortunately, the odds are good that if you are interested enough in Space Invaders to be interested enough in this collection, you already own these three games from the Forever release.

So where are we at, then? Lots of qualifiers, friends. If you have no interest in Space Invaders, the stiff price and relative lack of extras make this a hard sell. If you already own Space Invaders Forever, I would be incredibly hard-pressed to recommend spending sixty dollars to get the rest of the games in this set. That means Space Invaders Invincible Collection is for you if and only if you really like the series and haven’t already grabbed Forever. But if you do meet those qualifications, this is a genuinely dandy pick-up. I truly wish more had been done with giving this storied series the added historical context it deserves, but the treatment of the games themselves is top-class.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

Necrobarista: Final Pour ($21.99)

Setting aside its relatively impressive presentation, Necrobarista is a rather well-written visual novel dealing with concepts of life and death. Since it’s all about the story, I want to be careful not to spoil too much of what happens. Just know that in spite of how it may look, this is fundamentally a very linear experience focused on telling its tales. The visuals are eye-catching and help add a little extra sizzle to the experience. The characters make the game, and while the pacing is a bit up and down through the course of the story, the ending more than makes up for any bumps along the way. I’m less sold on the side-stories and exploratory bits, but the overall experience is one worth checking out.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

WitchSpring3 [Re:Fine] – The Story of Eirudy ($39.99)

I’m not going to sugar-coat things here: the price is ridiculous. I’ve enjoyed the WitchSpring games well enough on mobile, where they tend to sell for five dollars or less. They aren’t the best games, but they’re charming enough and work as low-cost ways to scratch an Atelier-ish itch on a platform without any standard Atelier games. That just doesn’t work on a platform with an assortment of real Atelier games and you jack up the price of your game to the same cost. The presentation has been juiced up a bit here, but there are also some technical issues that weren’t in the mobile version. It’s not a bad game, mind you. It’s completely average. But I can’t imagine any world where buying this would serve you better than grabbing any of the dozen or so Atelier games that offer a much better experience.

SwitchArcade Score: 3/5

New Releases

Space Invaders Invincible Collection ($59.99)

SwitchArcade Highlight!

Earlier this year, Space Invaders Forever came out on Switch. It had three games, and was essentially a cut-down version of this: Space Invaders Invincible Collection. So what does an extra thirty bucks get you? A full eleven games, which includes the three on the Forever set. It may seem like a slam-dunk deal, but keep in mind that the additional games are from the earlier years of the series and have a lot of overlap in terms of gameplay. You get Space Invaders (black and white), Space Invaders (color), Space Invaders Part II, Majestic Twelve, Super Space Invaders ’91, Space Invaders DX, Space Invaders Extreme, Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE, Arkanoid vs Space Invaders, Space Cyclone, and Lunar Rescue. The interface and extras are identical to the Forever set, you just get more games. If you love Space Invaders, this is a great pick-up. But you really have to love it.

Greak: Memories of Azur ($19.99)

Well, somebody sure enjoyed Hollow Knight. I mean, probably. This is a Metroidvania-style game that seems to be aiming up for a similar mood and feel as that game, but it has its own thing going on. The main gimmick is a character-switching mechanic, with each character having their own abilities that you’ll need to take advantage of in order to progress. Not the freshest idea in the world, but I suppose we haven’t seen a ton of games of this sort using it. There are some annoying points here, mostly down to difficulty balancing and some odd UI decisions. But it’s decent enough, and if you happen to be on the search for another game of this genre it’s not a bad pick.

Pile Up! Box by Box ($14.99)

This is a relaxed 3D platformer designed to be enjoyed by four players via local multiplayer. You can play alone if you want to, but it’s clearly meant for playing with friends. Explore cardboard worlds, work together to overcome obstacles, solve some puzzles, play some mini-games, you know how it goes. Other players can drop in and out at any time, so it’s perhaps a nice thing for families to play together. The relatively gentle challenge and lack of any violent conflict or danger also points to that being the best audience for the game. However you choose to play it, just be aware that it is on the shorter side as these things go.


(North American eShop, US Prices)

Somehow, a bunch of sales popped up overnight. That stuff happens a lot lately, friends. My picks would be Pumpkin Jack, Bloo Kid 2, and OlliOlli: Switch Stance. The outbox has some things to think about. The Picross games, the Saints Row games, and a few other things are worth adding to your library. Take a good look at both lists and see what grabs your attention, of course.

Select New Games on Sale

Cyber Hook ($11.99 from $14.99 until 8/22)
Solitaire Deluxe: 3 in 1 ($1.99 from $14.99 until 8/23)
Urban Flow ($1.99 from $14.99 until 8/23)
Perfect Traffic Simulator ($1.99 from $9.99 until 8/23)
Fantasy Tower Defense ($1.99 from $4.99 until 8/23)
Real Drift Racing ($1.99 from $4.99 until 8/23)
Among Pipes ($1.99 from $7.99 until 8/23)
Gangsta Paradise ($1.99 from $9.99 until 8/23)
Colorfall ($1.99 from $4.99 until 8/23)
Fantasy Checkers ($1.99 from $7.99 until 8/23)
AnimaLudo ($1.99 from $9.99 until 8/23)
Freecell Solitaire Deluxe ($1.99 from $8.99 until 8/23)
Bubble Cats Rescue ($1.99 from $3.99 until 8/23)
Classic Games Collection Vol.1 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 8/23)
Street Basketball ($1.99 from $5.99 until 8/23)

WarriOrb ($3.24 from $12.99 until 8/23)
Food Truck Tycoon ($1.99 from $4.99 until 8/23)
Wartile ($11.11 from $24.99 until 8/23)
Resolutiion ($6.99 from $19.99 until 8/23)
The Legend of Ninja ($1.99 from $4.99 until 8/23)
Zoo Dentist ($1.99 from $9.99 until 8/23)
Salad Bar Tycoon ($1.99 from $4.99 until 8/23)
S.N.I.P.E.R.: Hunter Scope ($1.99 from $14.99 until 8/23)
Fall Gummies ($1.99 from $7.99 until 8/23)
My Magic Florist ($1.99 from $6.99 until 8/23)
Royal Tower Defense ($1.99 from $7.99 until 8/23)
Fates of Ort ($10.49 from $14.99 until 8/24)
My Memory of Us ($4.49 from $14.99 until 8/26)
Cinders ($5.99 from $19.99 until 8/30)
MouseCraft ($2.99 from $9.99 until 8/30)

Lichtspeer: Double Speer Edition ($2.99 from $9.99 until 8/30)
Butcher ($3.99 from $9.99 until 8/30)
Warsaw ($9.99 from $19.99 until 8/30)
A Fold Apart ($7.99 from $19.99 until 8/30)
The Choice of Life: Middle Ages ($3.74 from $4.99 until 8/31)
I am Ball ($3.24 from $4.99 until 8/31)
Pumpkin Jack ($17.99 from $29.99 until 8/31)
Color Your World ($8.99 from $14.99 until 8/31)
Candy 2048 Challenge ($5.59 from $7.99 until 8/31)
John Wick Hex ($9.99 from $19.99 until 8/31)
Lofi Ping Pong ($3.74 from $4.99 until 8/31)
Gems of Magic: Lost Family ($6.99 from $9.99 until 8/31)
CyberHive ($7.99 from $9.99 until 8/31)
I Dream of You & Ice Cream ($3.24 from $4.99 until 8/31)
The StoryTale ($1.99 from $4.99 until 8/31)

Atomik: RunGunJumpGun ($1.99 from $7.99 until 8/31)
Milanoir ($2.50 from $12.99 until 8/31)
Semblance ($1.99 from $9.99 until 8/31)
Black Future ’88 ($7.99 from $19.99 until 8/31)
Gleaner Heights ($6.49 from $9.99 until 8/31)
Ghost Grab 3000 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/2)
Singled Out ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/2)
Switch ‘N’ Shoot ($1.99 from $4.59 until 9/2)
Taxi Chaos ($24.95 from $34.95 until 9/6)
Adrenaline Rush: Miami Drive ($1.99 from $3.99 until 9/6)
Tools Up! ($3.99 from $19.99 until 9/6)
Metamorphosis ($7.49 from $24.99 until 9/6)
Kids: Farm Puzzle ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/6)
Hope’s Farm ($4.99 from $19.99 until 9/6)
Must Dash Amigos ($1.99 from $6.99 until 9/6)

Fatum Betula ($2.19 from $5.49 until 9/6)
Blood Breed ($1.99 from $5.99 until 9/6)
The Secret Order: RttBK ($2.09 from $14.99 until 9/6)
The Secret Order: Shadow Breach ($2.09 from $14.99 until 9/6)
Red Wings: Aces of the Sky ($3.99 from $19.99 until 9/6)
Burger Chef Tycoon ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/6)
Pancake Bar Tycoon ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/6)
Cooking Tycoons: 3 in 1 ($1.99 from $12.99 until 9/6)
It Came From Space & Ate Brains ($2.99 from $14.99 until 9/6)
Deadlings ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/6)
Little Racer ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/6)
Space Cows ($1.99 from $7.99 until 9/6)
2048 Battles ($1.99 from $3.99 until 9/6)
Outbuddies DX ($7.19 from $17.99 until 9/6)
Find 10 Differences ($1.99 from $5.99 until 9/6)

Puzzle Box 3 in 1 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/6)
Geki Yaba Runner Anniversary ($1.99 from $2.99 until 9/6)
Silver Chains ($14.99 from $24.99 until 9/6)
My Coloring Book ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/6)
Aerial Knight’s Never Yield ($10.79 from $11.99 until 9/6)
Colt Canyon ($5.99 from $14.99 until 9/6)
Speed 3: Grand Prix ($14.99 from $39.99 until 9/6)
Summer in Mara ($9.99 from $24.99 until 9/6)
Super Street: Racer ($12.49 from $39.99 until 9/6)
Bloo Kid 2 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/6)
Never Again ($6.99 from $13.99 until 9/6)
Bridge Constructor Ultimate ($5.99 from $14.99 until 9/6)
Vasilis ($3.34 from $4.99 until 9/6)
OlliOlli: Switch Stance ($2.99 from $14.99 until 9/6)
Crashbot ($6.69 from $9.99 until 9/6)

OVIVO ($4.68 from $6.99 until 9/6)
Grass Cutter: Mutated Lawns ($4.68 from $6.99 until 9/6)
State of Anarchy: MoM ($5.35 from $7.99 until 9/6)
Planet RIX-13 ($3.34 from $4.99 until 9/6)
Sigi ($3.34 from $4.99 until 9/6)
SkyTime ($2.00 from $2.99 until 9/6)
Grab the Bottle ($3.34 from $4.99 until 9/6)
Darts Up ($2.00 from $2.99 until 9/6)
Chess Gambit ($7.13 from $10.70 until 9/6)
One Eyed Kutkh ($3.34 from $4.99 until 9/6)
Metropolis: Lux Obscura ($5.35 from $7.99 until 9/6)
Deep Ones ($3.34 from $4.99 until 9/6)
Energy Balance ($2.00 from $2.99 until 9/6)
Energy Cycle ($2.00 from $2.99 until 9/6)
Energy Invasion ($2.00 from $2.99 until 9/6)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 18th

88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition ($5.99 from $29.99 until 8/18)
Agatha Knife ($5.99 from $11.99 until 8/18)
Anthill ($3.99 from $9.99 until 8/18)
Chill Panda ($1.99 from $9.99 until 8/18)
Conga Master Party! ($1.99 from $9.99 until 8/18)
Crazy Zen Mini Golf ($1.99 from $4.99 until 8/18)
Curious Expedition ($7.49 from $14.99 until 8/18)
Decay of Logos ($7.99 from $19.99 until 8/18)
Ephemeral -Fantasy on Dark- ($26.59 from $37.99 until 8/18)
Flipping Death ($3.99 from $19.99 until 8/18)
Ghoulboy ($1.99 from $9.99 until 8/18)
Giga Wrecker Alt. ($9.99 from $24.99 until 8/18)
Grip ($7.19 from $39.99 until 8/18)
Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! ($4.49 from $14.99 until 8/18)
Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! ($4.49 from $14.99 until 8/18)
Holy Potatoes! What the Hell?! ($7.50 from $15.00 until 8/18)

Kemono Friends Picross ($7.99 from $9.99 until 8/18)
Legends of Talia: Arcadia ($2.09 from $2.99 until 8/18)
Lonely Mountains: Downhill ($13.39 from $19.99 until 8/18)
MechaNika ($2.99 from $5.99 until 8/18)
Metro 2033 Redux ($8.74 from $24.99 until 8/18)
Metro: Last Light Redux ($8.74 from $24.99 until 8/18)
Ninja Shodown ($2.99 from $14.99 until 8/18)
Out of Line ($11.69 from $12.99 until 8/18)
Picross Lord of the Nazarick ($7.99 from $9.99 until 8/18)
Picross S ($6.39 from $7.99 until 8/18)
Picross S2 ($7.19 from $8.99 until 8/18)
Picross S3 ($7.99 from $9.99 until 8/18)
Picross S4 ($7.99 from $9.99 until 8/18)
Picross S5 ($7.99 from $9.99 until 8/18)
Pinball Lockdown ($1.99 from $5.99 until 8/18)

Red Faction Guerrilla ($7.49 from $29.99 until 8/18)
RICO ($7.99 from $19.99 until 8/18)
Sable’s Grimoire ($10.49 from $14.99 until 8/18)
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected ($13.99 from $39.99 until 8/18)
Saints Row The Third ($13.99 from $39.99 until 8/18)
Sakura Succubus ($6.99 from $9.99 until 8/18)
Sakura Succubus 2 ($6.99 from $9.99 until 8/18)
Santa Tracker ($1.99 from $2.99 until 8/18)
Say No! More ($10.04 from $14.99 until 8/18)
Space Ribbon ($1.99 from $4.99 until 8/18)
Steam Prison ($49.11 from $65.49 until 8/18)
Stick It to The Man ($2.39 from $11.99 until 8/18)
Trailblazers ($5.99 from $29.99 until 8/18)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with some news, some sales, a few new releases, and… well, that’s probably it. Only so much I can do in one day, after all. I hope you all have a terrific Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!