Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for May 3rd, 2022. In today’s article, we’ve only got a single new release to check out. We’ve got some sales to dig into, and they’re not too shabby at all. The bulk of today’s article, however, is dedicated to reviewing all of the games from Hamster’s Namco Month in Arcade Archives. Five arcade classics, all evaluated for your pleasure. Let’s get to it!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Arcade Archives Namco Month Special
Hamster’s Arcade Archives are a familiar sight by now for most Switch owners. There has been a new game in the series released each week without fail since the console launched, adding up to hundreds of games from various legendary publishers. The most recent to join the fold was Bandai Namco, and in April Hamster dedicated the entire month to its games. Five titles were released in total, and I’ve decided to review the whole lot.
Generally speaking, all of the games share some common points. The emulation is high-quality, you get a fairly extensive set of options covering difficulty, video/audio, control settings, and more. Beyond the basic arcade mode, there are two additional modes that allow you to try and earn the highest score you can or see how many points you can score in a set amount of time. Most of the games also offer both Japanese and Overseas versions to play, though not all. There are also online leaderboards for each mode, and for some of the games that is a real highlight.
While there aren’t many extra features like the sort you would see in collections like Mega Man Legacy Collection or Disney Classic Games, you can at least view the instruction cards for each game and make a save state so you can quit playing and resume later. Basically, if you like the game in question you can trust that Hamster has done right by it in the Arcade Archives line. These reviews are mainly for those unfamiliar with the titles.
Arcade Archives Wonder Momo ($7.99)
Wonder Momo is a quirky title in some ways and a very conventional one in others. Originally released in 1987, this is a single-plane side-scrolling beat-em-up of sorts similar to the likes of Irem’s Spartan X/Kung Fu Master or Taito’s Ninja Warriors. Rather than the lengthy affairs found in many of those games, Wonder Momo‘s stages are all fairly compact arenas. The reason for that is that the game itself seems to take place on a stage, complete with an audience watching the action. The game commits heavily to this theme, and its that unique quality that helps Wonder Momo stand out.
In terms of gameplay mechanics, Wonder Momo is more pedestrian. You have the usual assortment of melee attacks and jumps that you’ll use to attack your foes, and after battling a certain number of weaker opponents a boss will appear. Momo has a neat trick up her sleeve if you can catch the whirlwind that appears or collect enough energy. She can transform into Wonder Momo, giving her a ranged attack in the form of a somewhat capricious Hula hoop. You also need to be careful of the audience, as some of the men will try to snap shots of Momo’s panties when she does a high kick, briefly stunning her while she covers herself.
Wonder Momo‘s theme is its most memorable aspect, with the gameplay being a bit on the ordinary side. Beat-em-up fans likely won’t find much to sink their teeth into here, and the scoring system doesn’t really lend itself well to jostling elbows with others on the leaderboard. Still, it’s charming in its own way and certainly evocative of a particular era. That may be enough for some.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Arcade Archives Pac-Land ($7.99)
Before there was Super Mario the gaming icon, there was Pac-Man. Most people know that fairly well. Only slightly less well-known is that before there was Super Mario Bros. the scrolling platformer, there was Pac-Land. This 1984 game sees Pac-Man traversing stages to bring lost fairies home. The ghosts naturally try to get in his way, but the terrain itself is sometimes enough of a hazard. After returning the fairy to its home at the end of the stage, you’ll turn around and need to bring Pac back to his residence, where his family waits for him. For this part of the journey, you’ll have special boots that allow you to practically fly.
Pac-Land originally had a rather unusual control scheme, with buttons to tap that move Pac-Man left and right. The faster you slap them, the faster Pac-Man moves. An additional button allows Pac-Man to jump. Those who prefer a more conventional control style will find that Hamster has made that possible in this release. It takes away some of the game’s uniqueness, but it’s definitely easier to control. This release also has edited sprites for Pac-Man’s family, presumably due to outstanding issues with the rights of Ms. Pac-Man. You also only get Japan’s version of the game, with the more Saturday morning cartoon-inspired American version likely also left out for legal reasons.
With Pac-Land being as early an example of the genre as it is, it’s obviously not going to hold up to some of the fancier platformers out there. But it’s not a bad little game all on its own, regardless of which control set-up you opt for. The colorful, chipper presentation is appealing, and that triumphant trip back through the stage after dropping off the fairy is a fun touch. It’s unfortunate that the included version isn’t the one the North American audience will remember, but it plays the same and in this case that’s not a bad thing at all.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Arcade Archives The Legend of Valkyrie ($7.99)
There was a very short, somewhat curious era in arcade history where RPG mechanics started to leak into the scene despite being extremely poorly-suited to how most people played arcade games. The genre was just so hot in the console and computer markets that it was impossible to ignore. Perhaps even odder is that many of the games borne of that trend are really fantastic. Namco’s 1989 effort The Legend of Valkyie is one of those treasures. It’s an odd blend of gameplay mechanics. It’s an overhead action game, a platformer, and a bit of an RPG all in one. This is one of my favorite Namco games, but there’s one caveat to this release.
You see, The Legend of Valkyrie was never released outside of Japan back in the day. Unlike many arcade games, it features a little bit of text and even if you don’t care about flavor text there are some things you would ideally like to be able to read. Unfortunately, this particular release only offers the Japanese version with its Japanese text. It would have been nice to see it translated the way the game was when it was ported for the Namco Museum collections on the PlayStation back in the day, but the largely vertical text would make such a task somewhat daunting.
The game is entirely playable in Japanese even if you don’t speak a word, but you’ll definitely have a few moments where things might play out in an unexpected way. Should you let this dissuade you from playing The Legend of Valkyrie? I sure hope not, because this is a seriously enjoyable game. The action is great, the presentation is outstanding, and there’s really very little like it out there. The West missed out on this back in the day, so don’t let it slip past you now.
SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5
Arcade Archives Gaplus ($7.99)
First there was Galaxian, which was Space Invaders in color with swooping enemy formations. Then there was Galaga, which was Galaxian with more dynamic enemies and faster gameplay. It also had one of the first power-ups in a shooter, allowing you to double up your ships by making a sacrifice play. People really dug that, and that is perhaps why the third game in the series, Gaplus, takes all of that even farther. Released in 1984, Gaplus‘s timing wasn’t great. For various reasons it slipped under the radar, failing to make even a fraction of the impact its predecessor enjoyed.
One of the benefits of retro games getting rereleases is that it gives a second chance to pick up the great experiences that slipped between the cracks. Gaplus is one of those games that deserves a reappraisal. Do you like the tricky enemies of Galaga? These ones are even trickier. You get a cooler bonus round, and the gameplay is a lot faster in general. Enemies can now drop a number of ship parts, including one that gives you a tractor beam. Use that to scoop up enemies and they’ll join your side, lining up into a mega-ship that makes Galaga‘s double ship look like a child’s toy.
Being a shoot-em-up with an emphasis on racking up a high score, Gaplus is well-positioned to take advantage of the extra modes and online leaderboards that are a standard part of the Arcade Archives package. If you enjoy Galaga, I’m confident you’ll also really have a good time with this under-the-radar sequel. As single-screen shooters go, it’s frankly one of the better ones.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Arcade Archives Youkai Douchuki ($7.99)
Youkai Douchuki is another Namco cult favorite from 1987, and like Wonder Momo it’s not a game I really find myself too thrilled with. This is a side-scrolling run-and-gun platformer where your “gun" is actually ki shots that you launch at various mythical creatures from Japanese folk lore. Defeated enemies leave behind money, and you’ll also find cash strewn about each stage. That cash is important for determining which of the five endings you’ll get, should you be good enough to actually get through this tough little nut.
Surprisingly, this game did have an overseas release back in the day, so your English text is sorted. The money you collect doubles as your score, and there are lots of interesting ways to boost that total while also taking on a healthy amount of risk. That makes things a little more interesting. The theme is also pretty cool, though these days it’s not as unusual as it would have been back in the day. While the gameplay mechanics aren’t the most innovative, it’s not like it doesn’t play well or anything.
Youkai Douchuki is a game that I could understand anyone enjoying. It has a pleasantly odd theme, and the gameplay mechanics are largely straightforward and easy to pick up. It’s a very challenging game, but such things aren’t unusual in the arcade end of the pool. On the other hand, it’s also not much of a stand-out. The arcade scene had plenty of run-and-gun platformers, and there’s nothing about this one that really speaks to me. Decent, but not much more than that.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Darkness and Flame: Enemy in Reflection ($6.99)
Another day, another hidden object adventure. This is, I think, the fourth game in the Darkness and Flame series, and it continues the story of Alice as she uses her flame powers to solve puzzles and save a realm from the forces that threaten it. She’ll have to do it on her own this time, as her friends have fallen victim to a powerful curse. Or will she? Maybe she can make… new friends? Nothing new under the sun here, but if you’ve been enjoying this series so far I can’t see why this wouldn’t work out the same for you.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
NIS America’s having a big sale with most of its titles offering some nice discounts. Beyond that, we’ve got some good prices for Death’s Gambit: Afterlife, Slime Rancher, Doki Doki Panic Literature Club Plus!, Tropico 6, and more. As for the outbox, it’s small enough that you can check it yourself, but I’ll at least give you a reminder to consider the excellent Dragon Quest Builders 2. It is almost never on sale, especially with its DLC.
Select New Games on Sale
Disgaea 1 Complete ($19.99 from $49.99 until 5/9)
Disgaea 4 Complete+ ($19.99 from $49.99 until 5/9)
Disgaea 5 Complete ($19.99 from $39.99 until 5/9)
Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny ($39.99 from $59.99 until 5/9)
TLoH Trails of Cold Steel III ($29.99 from $59.99 until 5/9)
TLoH Trails of Cold Steel IV ($34.99 from $59.99 until 5/9)
Ys VIII Lacrimosa of DANA ($19.99 from $59.99 until 5/9)
Ys IX Monstrum Nox ($39.99 from $59.99 until 5/9)
RPG Maker MV ($24.99 from $49.99 until 5/9)
NIS Classics Phantom Brave & Soul Nomad ($29.99 from $39.99 until 5/9)
The Silver Case 2425 ($29.99 from $39.99 until 5/9)
Touhou Kobuto V Burst Battle ($4.99 from $19.99 until 5/9)
Touhou Genso Wanderer Reloaded ($19.99 from $49.99 until 5/9)
R-Type Final 2 ($29.99 from $39.99 until 5/9)
Saviors of Sapphire City/Sword City ($37.49 from $49.99 until 5/9)
Disaster Report 4 ($24.99 from $59.99 until 5/9)
The Longest Five Minutes ($4.99 from $39.99 until 5/9)
Poison Control ($19.99 from $39.99 until 5/9)
Shadow Corridor ($9.99 from $14.99 until 5/9)
Labyrinth Legend ($9.99 from $14.99 until 5/9)
The Liar Princess & the Blind Prince ($9.99 from $19.99 until 5/9)
Lapis x Labyrinth ($9.99 from $29.99 until 5/9)
Psikyo Shooting Stars Alpha ($19.99 from $39.99 until 5/9)
Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo ($19.99 from $39.99 until 5/9)
Penny-Punching Princess ($4.99 from $39.99 until 5/9)
Labyrinth of Refrain CoD ($19.99 from $49.99 until 5/9)
Mad Rat Dead ($27.99 from $39.99 until 5/9)
The Lost Child ($9.99 from $49.99 until 5/9)
God Wars The Complete Legend ($9.99 from $39.99 until 5/9)
The Princess Guide ($9.99 from $39.99 until 5/9)
LA-MULANA ($7.49 from $14.99 until 5/9)
LA-MULANA 2 ($14.99 from $24.99 until 5/9)
World’s End Club ($27.99 from $39.99 until 5/9)
Giraffe and Annika ($13.99 from $29.99 until 5/9)
Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? ($9.99 from $19.99 until 5/9)
Prinny 2: Operation Panties, Dood! ($9.99 from $19.99 until 5/9)
Destiny Connect: TT Travelers ($14.99 from $39.99 until 5/9)
Langrisser I & II ($19.99 from $49.99 until 5/9)
The Alliance Alive HD ($19.99 from $49.99 until 5/9)
Happy Birthdays ($14.99 from $39.99 until 5/9)
The Caligula Effect OD ($19.99 from $49.99 until 5/9)
The Caligula Effect 2 ($39.99 from $49.99 until 5/9)
SNK 40th Anniversary Collection ($19.99 from $39.99 until 5/9)
Yomawari Long Night Collection ($14.99 from $39.99 until 5/9)
TumbleSeed ($4.94 from $14.99 until 5/9)
Floogen ($1.99 from $3.99 until 5/9)
Top Run ($3.24 from $4.99 until 5/9)
Death’s Gambit Afterlife ($13.99 from $19.99 until 5/10)
A Case of Distrust ($2.99 from $14.99 until 5/10)
Lifeless Planet: PE ($3.99 from $19.99 until 5/10)
Fates of Ort ($7.49 from $14.99 until 5/10)
Cyanide & Happiness ($11.99 from $19.99 until 5/10)
Neversong ($2.99 from $14.99 until 5/10)
SUPERBEAT: XONiC ($19.49 from $29.99 until 5/10)
#DRIVE ($8.44 from $12.99 until 5/10)
Guts ‘N Goals ($9.74 from $14.99 until 5/10)
Hoa ($9.74 from $14.99 until 5/10)
Good Pizza, Great Pizza ($6.49 from $9.99 until 5/10)
Bladed Fury ($12.99 from $19.99 until 5/10)
MUSYNX ($19.49 from $29.99 until 5/10)
Where the Water Tastes Like Wine ($11.99 from $19.99 until 5/10)
Ever Forward ($9.74 from $14.99 until 5/10)
Iris.Fall ($12.99 from $19.99 until 5/10)
while True: learn() ($9.09 from $12.99 until 5/10)
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus ($11.99 from $14.99 until 5/10)
Slime Rancher PE ($17.49 from $24.99 until 5/16)
Treachery in Beatdown City ($7.99 from $19.99 until 5/17)
Waifu Impact ($4.24 from $4.99 until 5/19)
Marooners ($1.99 from $14.99 until 5/23)
Sakura Succubus 4 ($6.69 from $9.99 until 5/23)
Sakura Santa ($6.69 from $9.99 until 5/23)
Dating Life: Miley X Emily ($4.99 from $9.99 until 5/23)
Bunny Bounce ($2.49 from $4.99 until 5/23)
Beauty Bounce ($2.49 from $4.99 until 5/23)
Magi Trials ($6.69 from $9.99 until 5/23)
SkyScrappers ($1.99 from $9.99 until 5/23)
Quarantine Circular ($2.99 from $5.99 until 5/23)
Binaries ($2.07 from $12.99 until 5/23)
Subsurface Circular ($2.99 from $5.99 until 5/23)
Tropico 6 ($27.49 from $49.99 until 5/23)
Port Royale 4 ($32.49 from $49.99 until 5/23)
Commandos 2 HD Remaster ($16.49 from $29.99 until 5/23)
Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars ($13.99 from $39.99 until 5/23)
Project Highrise: AE ($7.99 from $39.99 until 5/23)
Outbreak: Contagious Memories ($20.09 from $29.99 until 5/23)
Demon Hunter: Ascendance ($2.09 from $14.99 until 5/23)
Ghost Files: Memory of a Crime ($2.09 from $14.99 until 5/23)
Noir Chronicles: City of Crime ($2.09 from $14.99 until 5/23)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 4th
Carebotz ($2.24 from $8.99 until 5/4)
Clumsy Rush ($1.99 from $4.99 until 5/4)
Die for Valhalla! ($2.39 from $11.99 until 5/4)
Dragon Quest Builders 2 ($29.99 from $49.99 until 5/4)
Dragon Quest Builders 2 Season Pass ($12.59 from $20.99 until 5/4)
Garden Story ($13.99 from $19.99 until 5/4)
Hampuzz ($4.89 from $6.99 until 5/4)
Immortal Planet ($5.99 from $14.99 until 5/4)
Inferno 2 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 5/4)
Jack ‘n’ Hat ($3.99 from $7.99 until 5/4)
Luckslinger ($3.49 from $9.99 until 5/4)
Lumini ($1.99 from $9.99 until 5/4)
Power Rangers Battle for the Grid ($10.99 from $19.99 until 5/4)
Power Rangers BftG Super Edition ($27.49 from $49.99 until 5/4)
STAB STAB STAB! ($3.99 from $9.99 until 5/4)
Steamburg ($1.99 from $4.99 until 5/4)
Tetsumo Party ($1.99 from $4.99 until 5/4)
The Bug Butcher ($1.99 from $7.99 until 5/4)
The World Next Door ($2.99 from $9.99 until 5/4)
Thea: The Awakening ($7.19 from $17.99 until 5/4)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more sales, more reviews, and maybe some news. That last one is out of my control. I hope you all have a terrific Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!