Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for May 16th, 2022. In today’s article, we’ve got reviews of a few recent releases. Dungeons of Dreadrock, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, and Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 2 are in the judgement chair, and one of them is a particularly naughty fellow. There are a couple of releases to check out that popped up over the weekend, and we also have the usual lists of new and expiring sales to look at. Let’s get to work!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Dungeons of Dreadrock ($10.00)
Sometimes I find myself wishing we had a slightly more granular scoring scale here at TouchArcade. I definitely prefer the Switch version of Dungeons of Dreadrock to the mobile version. Button controls make a big difference considering how precise you have to be with some of the puzzles in this game. At the same time, the improved controls don’t make me want to recommend this significantly more to Switch owners than I did to mobile players. But yes, if you have to choose, this Switch version is the way to go.
Aside from being able to use button controls, this is essentially the same game we saw on iOS a little while ago. You play as a young woman who heads into a dungeon to try to rescue her brother, who is effectively being offered up as a sacrifice. While it is essentially a top-down action-puzzler, it feels as much like playing Dungeon Master or Grimrock from a different perspective as anything else. You’ll have to deal with pressure plates, traps in the walls, and do little dances with enemies in order to defeat them or get around them. There are a whopping one hundred levels to the dungeon, and you’ll sometimes find yourself going back and forth to deal with certain situations.
While some of the UI elements clearly belie its touchscreen roots, Dungeons of Dreadrock is a well-designed adventure that manages to keep on surprising you all the way through with its tricky puzzles and engaging atmosphere. Having physical button controls make it easier to get your character to do what you want her to do, and that means this is the version I would recommend if a person asked. Wherever you choose to play, make sure you give it a look. It’s a very good experience, even if it might make you pull your hair out at times.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 2: Makai Kingdom: Reclaimed and Rebound/ZHP: Unlosing Ranger vs Darkdeath Evilman ($39.99)
This game poses a problem when it comes to a review. At the time of writing, there is a 100% unavoidable crash bug halfway through Makai Kingdom in this Switch version of the game. There is no way to advance past it. While I am relatively confident that NIS will patch it, it’s hard to say how long that will take. ZHP: Unlosing Ranger vs Darkdeath Evilman doesn’t seem to have any such issues, at least as far as my experience went. But right here and right now, half of this two-game pack does not function properly.
The unfortunate thing is that Makai Kingdom is a fun game, and up until that mid-game crash I was having a really good time with this tactical RPG. Making items into your soldiers is a cute twist on the formula, and its fundamentals are as sound as you would expect from a NIS game in this genre. ZHP is also a blast, so this should have been a slam-dunk recommendation to RPG fans. Should it get fixed, it will be. At the moment, I’m deducting most of Makai Kingdom‘s half of the final score. So let’s talk about the game that actually is in a fully playable state, ZHP. Originally released on the PSP back in 2010, it’s a clever Japanese-style roguelite from an era where roguelites weren’t a dime a dozen.
You play as the Unlosing Ranger, and your mission is to thwart the plans of the nasty Darkdeath Evilman. Geez, talk about naming your kid with an eye to a career. He wasn’t exactly going to become a math teacher with a name like that. You’re new to the job after an unfortunate accident befell the previous Unlosing Ranger, and you’ll need to train up if you want to have a chance at beating Evilman. You’ll do that by exploring procedurally-generated dungeons and battling the enemies within. As you build up your power and help people out, you’ll gain both temporary level-ups and more permanent ones. At the end of each chapter, you’ll take another swing at Evilman in a series of battles that charmingly evoke milestone RPGs.
ZHP is a highly enjoyable and rather accessible take on the Japanese-style roguelike that is well-worth playing. I wish I could give a similar bit of praise for Makai Kingdom, but that game-stopping crash means I can’t really consider it at all when evaluating Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 2. With only one of the two excellent games on here being playable from start to end, I can’t give this set as a whole anything better than half a score. I sincerely hope NIS patches this and takes more care with its quality control in the future.
Edit: Review Update – The crashing issue in Makai Kingdom has been resolved via an update delivered on May 20th, 2022. I’ve tested to ensure there are no further problems and was able to complete the game without issue. While we do not do “second reviews", I feel that to maintain the usefulness of this review, I need to give a new score to reflect the game’s fixed (and intended) state. The original score will remain here to preserve the review’s original form.
SwitchArcade Score: 2.5/5 (Original), 4/5 (Updated)
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising ($14.99)
The Suikoden series of RPGs from Konami was pretty special. The games were particularly good at building the world, plot, and characters. While the series was based on the well-known Chinese novel, it didn’t take long to develop its own flavor. Sadly, the franchise has been dormant for over a decade now and most of the people involved have long since left Konami. But there’s a potentially happy ending to it, because much of the original Suikoden team has come together to create a crowd-funded spiritual successor. As one does, these days.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is not that game. It’s a companion piece to that game; a teaser of its world and characters. Where the main event is going to be a full-blown JRPG, this is a side-scrolling action-RPG. Being that it is the first introduction to this world for many players, it perhaps carries a responsibility to establish a foundation for something that could be very big in every sense. And I sincerely think it understands that responsibility, because this is a very wordy action-RPG. Very, very wordy. There’s a lot of downtime between the action bits as the game somewhat ponderously introduces new characters and fills in pieces of lore.
This may or may not be of interest to you, depending on how invested you are in Eiyuden Chronicle as an overall project. It certainly has a ‘companion piece’ vibe to it, like a comic book prologue to a movie or something. As a standalone story, it feels a bit inconsequential. What I think people will be less thrilled with is how it spends the rest of its downtime. This game involves a lot of fetch-questing that sees you going out, gathering some materials, then hauling back to town for a rote conversation where you hand over the goods. Rinse and repeat for ten hours or so, and that’s the game.
The action isn’t thrilling or frequent enough to make up for the more tiresome parts of the game, either. It’s very straightforward with little room for technique or mastery, the kind of thing that would be acceptable in a two or three hour-long action game but starts to wear in a longer game. Not bad, but not very exciting or interesting. You’ve got an attack, a jump, and a special move for each character. For example, CJ can do a dash. That’s pretty much it. Once you have all three characters you can swap between them freely, which adds a bit of relish but feels like too little, too late. It all starts to feel very tedious before long.
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a companion game and it feels very much like one. It’s a very average game overall, with the strongest point being its presentation and the weakest being how much of a grind it becomes. It’s hard to recommend to anyone who isn’t deeply interested in Eiyuden Chronicle, and even then something tells me this isn’t going to be a critical piece of lore for the main game. It’s adequate, and given how many excellent games we have on the Switch of a similar style, I’m not sure that’s enough.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Of all the things I expected to see when I cruised over to the new release section of the eShop, Supaplex wasn’t one of them. This is a rather enjoyable Boulder Dash-inspired game that first released on Amiga and MS-DOS back in 1991. This port has all of the stages from the original game with a few extra features for good measure. I had a lot of fun with this game back in the day, and I imagine it has held up just fine. The presentation is pure early 90s computer fare, but gameplay in games like these rarely gets outdated. If you like action-puzzlers, give this a look.
Paradise Island Driver ($12.99)
Are we back to the weekly driving games now? We might be. Anyway, this is the usual fare as this sort of thing goes. You get a decent-sized open area, a handful of different vehicles to drive, and a number of missions and challenges to complete. The theme this time, as you might guess from the title, is a sunny beach-side location. Not much else of note to say about it.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Let me see what highlights I can find in the inbox today. Oh hey, Pixel Puzzle Makeout League for half price. If you like Picross, you should get that. You can’t go wrong with the Subnautica games if you like your survival sims. Super Cyborg is an awesome and affordable Contra homage. There are a few neat things in the outbox, like the Infinity Engine RPG collections and Superliminal. Have a look through both lists, as ever.
Select New Games on Sale
Space War Arena ($1.99 from $4.99 until 5/18)
Lovekami -Useless Goddess- ($10.49 from $14.99 until 5/20)
Lovekami -Divinity Stage- ($9.74 from $14.99 until 5/20)
Lovekami -Healing Harem- ($11.24 from $14.99 until 5/20)
If My Heart Had Wings ($9.99 from $19.99 until 5/20)
Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adv. ($9.99 from $19.99 until 5/21)
Pad of Time ($5.59 from $7.99 until 5/22)
Logistics Simulator ($4.99 from $9.99 until 5/23)
Vigil The Longest Night ($13.19 from $21.99 until 5/23)
Lost Castle ($2.99 from $9.99 until 5/23)
SINNER Sacrifice for Redemption ($4.74 from $18.99 until 5/23)
Jack Axe ($7.49 from $14.99 until 5/23)
The Legend of Tianding ($13.39 from $19.99 until 5/23)
Elden: Path of the Forgotten ($3.99 from $15.99 until 5/23)
Lamentum ($9.59 from $15.99 until 5/23)
Yuppie Psycho: Executive Edition ($6.66 from $16.66 until 5/23)
Pixel Puzzle Makeout League ($7.49 from $14.99 until 5/23)
Fight of Gods ($7.79 from $12.99 until 5/26)
Fight of Animals ($5.99 from $9.99 until 5/26)
Gerritory ($4.79 from $7.99 until 5/26)
Subnautica ($14.99 from $29.99 until 5/27)
Subnautica: Below Zero ($14.99 from $29.99 until 5/27)
Maximillion Fortress ($2.79 from $3.49 until 5/27)
Attentat 1942 ($13.94 from $15.49 until 5/28)
Cresteaju ($4.89 from $6.99 until 5/30)
Super Cyborg ($3.98 from $6.99 until 6/1)
The Warlock of Fire-Top Mountain ($2.99 from $29.99 until 6/3)
HellGunner ($3.99 from $4.99 until 6/3)
Dark Quest 2 ($5.49 from $10.99 until 6/3)
Potata: Fairy Flower ($3.00 from $12.00 until 6/3)
Cubicity ($2.04 from $6.00 until 6/3)
Super Car Driver ($8.99 from $13.99 until 6/3)
Panmorphia ($1.99 from $5.99 until 6/4)
Panmorphia: Enchanted ($1.99 from $3.99 until 6/4)
Kosmonavtes: Escape Reality ($1.99 from $3.99 until 6/4)
Kosmonavtes: Academy Escape ($1.99 from $5.99 until 6/4)
Infectra ($1.99 from $3.99 until 6/4)
Outbreak: Endless Nightmare ($9.99 from $19.99 until 6/4)
Down in Bermuda ($1.99 from $19.99 until 6/5)
Agent A: Puzzle in Disguise ($1.99 from $19.99 until 6/5)
SHMUP MANIA ($2.50 from $5.00 until 6/5)
Mind Scanners ($10.19 from $16.99 until 6/5)
Dobo’s Heroes ($2.50 from $5.00 until 6/5)
Mr Maker 3D Level Editor ($2.50 from $5.00 until 6/5)
Route Me Mail & Delivery Co ($1.99 from $7.99 until 6/5)
BeatTalk ($11.79 from $17.99 until 6/5)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 17th
8-Ball Pocket ($1.99 from $5.99 until 5/17)
Adventures of Chris ($2.99 from $14.99 until 5/17)
Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX ($7.99 from $19.99 until 5/17)
Aragami Shadow Edition ($8.99 from $29.99 until 5/17)
Art Sqool ($1.99 from $12.99 until 5/17)
Baldur’s Gate I & II EE ($9.99 from $49.99 until 5/17)
Bite the Bullet ($2.99 from $14.99 until 5/17)
Blue Fire ($9.99 from $19.99 until 5/17)
Boreal Tenebrae ($1.99 from $6.99 until 5/17)
Cast of the Seven Godsends ($2.59 from $12.99 until 5/17)
Cyber Hook ($5.24 from $14.99 until 5/17)
Double Cross ($3.99 from $19.99 until 5/17)
Joggernauts ($2.99 from $14.99 until 5/17)
Jurassic Pinball ($1.99 from $2.99 until 5/17)
Little Mouse’s Encyclopedia ($3.89 from $12.99 until 5/17)
Mable & The Wood ($2.99 from $14.99 until 5/17)
Mainlining ($2.99 from $14.99 until 5/17)
Monster Harvest ($7.99 from $19.99 until 5/17)
Neverwinter Nights EE ($9.99 from $49.99 until 5/17)
Nira ($1.99 from $9.99 until 5/17)
Pendula Swing Complete ($1.99 from $9.99 until 5/17)
Planescape Torment/Icewind Dale EE ($9.99 from $49.99 until 5/17)
REZ PLZ ($2.99 from $14.99 until 5/17)
RIOT Civil Unrest ($3.99 from $19.99 until 5/17)
SGC Short Games Collection ($13.99 from $19.99 until 5/17)
Solo Islands of the Heart ($3.99 from $19.99 until 5/17)
Sparklite ($6.24 from $24.99 until 5/17)
SpongeBob Krusty Cook-Off ($3.99 from $14.99 until 5/17)
Superliminal ($12.99 from $19.99 until 5/17)
The King’s Bird ($3.99 from $19.99 until 5/17)
The Last Friend ($7.49 from $14.99 until 5/17)
The Long Reach ($2.99 from $14.99 until 5/17)
The Walking Vegetables ($2.59 from $12.99 until 5/17)
Treachery in Beatdown City ($7.99 from $19.99 until 5/17)
Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion ($7.49 from $14.99 until 5/17)
Ultreia ($1.99 from $12.99 until 5/17)
Unbox: Newbie’s Adventure ($5.99 from $29.99 until 5/17)
Under Leaves ($1.99 from $12.99 until 5/17)
Vaporum ($7.49 from $24.99 until 5/17)
World Soccer Pinball ($1.99 from $2.99 until 5/17)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with some new releases, some sales, a review or two, and perhaps some news. I had a pretty boring weekend, but I did catch Batman Returns on TV. I still like that movie a whole lot, even if Batman can’t turn his head in that suit. I hope you all have a great Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!