Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for September 13th, 2021. In today’s article, we’ve got a handful of reviews for you to chew on. First up, Mikhail has a rather extensive review of the new visual novel Olympia Soiree. Then I have a trio of reviews including simulation game Dice Legacy, action game Ultra Age, and puzzler Puzzle Car. After that, we hit on the sole new release of the day, and it’s not really very good at all. Then we finish up with the usual lists of incoming and outgoing sales, with plenty of deals to tempt you. Let’s check it all out!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Olympia Soiree ($49.99)
After a decently long break, Aksys Games is back with another otome game localization in the form of Olympia Soiree. While otome fans on Nintendo Switch began with a few ports of previously localized releases, we’ve had some excellent original exclusive Nintendo Switch titles come out in the last year or so with Piofiore and Cafe Enchante. This year’s first new otome release is Otomate and Idea Factory’s Olympia Soiree localized by Aksys Games. I’ve been playing it over the last month and this is one of my favorite otome games in recent times for many reasons despite one annoyance.
You play as Olympia (real name Byakuya) who is the last surviving member of her clan. She heads to Tenguu island to bring back the sun and this is where the story begins. Olympia Soiree‘s opening hours are a bit too slow thanks to the sheer amount of information you are bombarded with before you can get into your route of choice. This makes sense for the lore and given the payoffs later on across the varied routes, but I thought the opening parts and these portions of the common story route could’ve been handled better.
The individual routes and what you unlock through progression are mostly all of the same high quality and worth the time investment despite this being one of the longer otome games I’ve played. I also appreciate the world-building here compared to some other games in the genre that usually only focus on romance. One thing to note is that the Mature ESRB rating is definitely justified here considering some of the narrative beats including sexual assault and other aspects I will not get into to remain as spoiler free as possible.
The two aspects that stood out to me right from the get go, were the music and the CG art. The music and the sound effects have a very traditional Japanese feel to them. Otomate really is one of the best developers for how they make the music, art, and sound all perfectly work in harmony to elevate the stories being told. The CG art for environments and the characters are also very well done. One other aspect that deserves a special mention is the interface which matches the setting and character art very well. If you’ve been playing otome games for a while, you already know how good Otomate is with menus and the overall aesthetic, but it really deserves to be praised each time.
As with other Otomate releases, Olympia Soiree can be played fully with touch or button controls. I used a combination of both when I played in handheld mode and on Nintendo Switch Lite. Otomate’s visual novel control options and interfaces remain the gold standard with how to bring the genre to Nintendo Switch. Being able to play these just with touch controls on Nintendo Switch Lite makes for a much better experience.
There are two things holding back Olympia Soiree. The first is the very slow start. Newcomers to the genre might be turned off by this. A friend of mine who finished the Japanese release already warned me about this, so I knew what to expect. The other problem is related to the localization. Some dialogue doesn’t have subtitles. This happens a few times and it is likely that there were no subtitles in the original Japanese release for these moments so it would require too much programming to add them in here, but it is disappointing nonetheless.
If you’re ok with the mature themes and can stomach some of the content that might be a bit much for some people, Olympia Soiree will be an otome game that sticks with you for a long time. I end up praising the art and music in every Otomate visual novel, but Olympia Soiree is on a whole other level. The aesthetic, music, and voice acting are all brilliant and they come together perfectly. While the initial bits of the story took a little while to get going, the time I spent with Olympia Soiree was more than worth it. It may not be the easiest and most accessible otome game, but it definitely is one of the best ones I’ve played. –Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5
Dice Legacy ($19.99)
Once a formula for a genre clicks into place, a fascinating balancing act begins. You don’t want to mess with a formula too much lest you break what makes it work in the first place. You also don’t want to spin your wheels too much for fear of disappearing into the sea of competitors. Dice Legacy gently shakes up the building simulation genre by swapping out all of the usual workers, soldiers, and so on for dice. Each die represents a unit, with the displayed symbol showing what it can do at the moment. Different types of dice have different possible face actions, and you can roll your dice to try to get a different action to come up. The dice have numbers indicating their durability, which wears down as you roll them. You can restore that number by feeding them. They also have a happiness ranking, determined by various factors.
Cut past the novel dice motif and you have a solid yet familiar simulation game. Gather resources, build facilities, expand your town, defend against attackers, and such. You’ve probably played a game like this before. The UI doesn’t feel particularly well-designed for the Switch, but it’s something you can probably get used to. Indeed, the game itself is a bit awkward initially. There is a tutorial but it’s not as helpful as it could be. Push through that early confusion and you’ll find a very rewarding game that plays to its gimmick well. Dice Legacy could probably have been a little more adventurous with its take on the genre, but it’s novel enough where it counts and hits the mark on the fundamentals where it needs to.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Ultra Age ($29.99)
As I played more of Ultra Age, a certain sense of familiarity crept in. I don’t just mean its combat mechanics, which have more than a faint ring of Devil May Cry 4 about them. But rather it’s a feeling about the game as a whole. One of the big casualties of the shift to the HD consoles that is only recently recovering is the B-game. The PlayStation 2 in particular had a rich library of B-games, the stuff that just wasn’t quite up to the big-pants titles but also better than mediocre. Typically games of this sort didn’t have the time or budget to fully round out their ideas, but did one or two things very well. And friends, Ultra Age feels like one of those B-games.
The combat system is the most refined element in Ultra Age, and it is excellent. It’s fast, deep, and makes you feel like a pro for mastering its ins and outs. The presentation is okay, but the game really feels its scale here thanks to some weak voice acting and occasionally spotty bits of graphical detail. There are skill trees for those who like those, and you’ll spend some time navigating the levels daydreaming about the next fight. Personally, the engaging combat was more than enough to keep me interested through the game’s fifteen or so hours. The rest of the game around those battles is decent enough glue. Awkward and rough, but charmingly awkward and rough.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Puzzle Car ($3.99)
This is very similar to the Puzzletronics game that QUByte released a few weeks ago, but puts a car and traffic twist on the idea. You need to swap the tiles around to create a clear path for the car to reach the goal. In the beginning, it’s as simple as putting the right shape of road pieces where they belong. Soon, you’ll be dealing with things like tunnels, traffic lights, and bonus pick-up items. The difficulty ramps up nicely as a result, and those elements help differentiate this a little from Puzzletronics. Like that game, however, this is a relaxing puzzler to unwind with for a couple of hours.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Beat Them All ($4.99)
Benoit Vanasse pushed his little shopping cart down the aisles of the Unity Asset Store, chucked a template called Beat ‘Em Up – Game Template 3D in the basket, headed to the register, paid his $107.80, and went home to toss it up on the Switch eShop under the completely different title of Beat Them All. If you’ve ever wanted a low-quality beat-em-up with almost no stage variety and only about three different kinds of enemies, here’s your ticket. There are a lot of good beat-em-ups on the Switch around this price point, and some very good ones often get discounted to a price even lower than this. Buy those instead of feeding this particular bit of nonsense.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
I’ll be honest with you, friends. I don’t have any strong feelings about the games in the list of new sales today. There are some decent games in there, but nothing that really grabs me, you know? As for the outbox, I’d recommend Danmaku Unlimited 3 and Rush Rally 3 if you don’t already have them. Check both lists on your own, of course. We all have our own tastes and I’d hate for you to miss on a cool sale just because I’m not personally jazzed about it.
Select New Games on Sale
The House of Da Vinci ($3.99 from $9.99 until 9/19)
Pony World 3 ($4.19 from $6.99 until 9/19)
Rainbows, Toilets & Unicorns ($4.19 from $6.99 until 9/19)
Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio ($2.99 from $4.99 until 9/19)
Guards ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/21)
Horned Knight ($4.19 from $5.99 until 9/24)
Doodle God: Evolution ($4.99 from $9.99 until 9/25)
Doodle Mafia: Crime City ($3.49 from $6.99 until 9/25)
Doodle Devil: 3volution ($4.49 from $8.99 until 9/25)
Doodle Games Bundle ($7.49 from $14.99 until 9/25)
Escape from the Universe ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/25)
Snooker 19 ($13.99 from $34.99 until 9/25)
Ironcast ($5.19 from $12.99 until 9/25)
Chess Ultra ($4.99 from $12.49 until 9/25)
The Spectrum Retreat ($5.19 from $12.99 until 9/25)
Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics ($9.99 from $24.99 until 9/25)
Pure Pool ($8.99 from $14.99 until 9/25)
Galaxy Warfighter ($3.49 from $6.99 until 9/25)
Ghostanoid ($3.49 from $6.99 until 9/25)
Island Maze ($1.99 from $2.99 until 9/27)
Drawngeon: DoI&P ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/28)
The Hong Kong Massacre ($9.99 from $19.99 until 9/28)
Beautiful Desolation ($9.99 from $19.99 until 9/28)
Mech Rage ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/28)
Bargain Hunter ($8.74 from $12.49 until 10/1)
Wild Pinball Bundle ($5.93 from $8.99 until 10/1)
LoveChoice ($3.99 from $4.99 until 10/1)
Momolu and Friends ($7.49 from $9.99 until 10/1)
Truck Simulator ($5.99 from $11.99 until 10/1)
Pocket Races ($3.49 from $4.99 until 10/1)
Empire Invasion ($9.09 from $12.99 until 10/1)
Infectra ($1.99 from $3.99 until 10/1)
Time Tenshi ($10.49 from $14.99 until 10/1)
Curve Racer ($2.09 from $2.99 until 10/1)
Strange Field Football ($5.24 from $6.99 until 10/1)
Burger Master ($3.49 from $4.99 until 10/1)
Bakery Master ($3.49 from $4.99 until 10/1)
Squeakers ($1.99 from $2.99 until 10/1)
Party Games 15 in 1 ($3.49 from $4.99 until 10/1)
The Unholy Society ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/1)
Airheart: Tales of Broken Wings ($6.29 from $17.99 until 10/1)
Defend The Kingdom ($3.49 from $4.99 until 10/1)
Mahjong Masters ($3.99 from $5.99 until 10/1)
Poker Champion: Texas Hold’Em ($6.99 from $9.99 until 10/2)
The Wardrobe: Even Better Edition ($1.99 from $19.99 until 10/2)
Crash Drive 2 ($1.99 from $8.99 until 10/3)
Marooners ($1.99 from $14.99 until 10/3)
Fly Punch Boom! ($7.49 from $14.99 until 10/3)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 14th
Among Pipes ($1.99 from $7.99 until 9/14)
AnimaLudo ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/14)
Cris Tales ($31.99 from $39.99 until 9/14)
Crypt of the NecroDancer ($3.99 from $19.99 until 9/14)
Danmaku Unlimited 3 ($4.99 from $9.99 until 9/14)
Everspace: Stellar Edition ($19.99 from $39.99 until 9/14)
Fall Gummies ($1.99 from $7.99 until 9/14)
Fantasy Tower Defense ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/14)
Funny Bunny Adventures ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/14)
Gangsta Paradise ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/14)
Lost Words: Beyond the Page ($9.74 from $14.99 until 9/14)
Monster Harvest ($15.99 from $19.99 until 9/14)
Override: Mech City Brawl ($14.99 from $29.99 until 9/14)
Perfect Traffic Simulator ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/14)
RBI Baseball 21 ($19.99 from $29.99 until 9/14)
Royal Tower Defense ($1.99 from $7.99 until 9/14)
Rush Rally 3 ($4.49 from $14.99 until 9/14)
Sweets Swap ($2.99 from $5.99 until 9/14)
Tardy ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/14)
The Legend of Ninja ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/14)
Trine: Ultimate Collection ($9.99 from $49.99 until 9/14)
WeakWood Throne ($2.99 from $4.99 until 9/14)
Zoo Dentist ($3.99 from $9.99 until 9/14)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with a few more reviews including WarioWare: Get It Together!, some new releases including Cruis’n Blast, some new sales, and perhaps even a splash of news. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning, but I’m not expecting to be tied up too long with it. Anyway, I hope you all have a marvelous Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!