Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for July 11th, 2022. The new releases and sales are a little soft today, but we’ve got three reviews for you to look at to get your week started right. Bandai Namco’s Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series, NISA’s Yurukill: The Calumniation Games, and QUByte’s Zero Tolerance Collection all get their time in the chair of judgement in this Monday edition. After that, we check out those aforementioned new releases and sales. As one does. Let’s get to work!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series ($39.99)
Poor Klonoa seems to have a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I don’t just mean the character. The first game was a cute 2.5D platformer in an era where none of those things seemed to be popular. The sequel followed in its footsteps, this time on the PlayStation 2, where again none of those things seemed to do a game’s sales any favors. Its first portable installments were on the Japan-only Bandai Wonderswan handheld, and the Game Boy Advance games mostly fell between the cracks thanks to the glut of 2D platformers on the system. The last time Klonoa turned up, it was via a Wii remake of the original game, arriving in that awkward period where very few Wii games were selling well.
I hope Klonoa has more luck this time around. Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series remakes the first two games in the series, 1997’s Klonoa: Door to Phantomile and 2001’s Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil. The original game is now appreciated as a cult classic, while the sequel probably doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves. Roughly speaking, the gameplay mechanics are similar across both games. You play as Klonoa, a cat-rabbit thing with big floppy ears and the ability to grab and throw enemies. You navigate through 2.5D stages filled with hazards, gimmicks, and enemies. The main goal is simply to reach the end of each stage safely, but there are also gems and other collectibles to watch out for.
Most of the texture in the mechanics comes from the things you can do once you have a hold of an enemy. You can throw them to hit other enemies or objects, naturally. You can hang on to some enemies to catch a ride. Importantly, you can also use them to perform an extra jump. Some of the trickier problems require you to grab enemies in mid-air so you can keep on jumping, and that’s a fun thing to master. You’ll also battle against the occasional boss. Somewhat standard platforming fare in a lot of ways, but it’s all very well-made. There’s also a heavier emphasis on story in these games than the average platformer, with the first game in particular known for leaving people a wreck with its ending.
While you can get a smoother, prettier experience with these remakes on other consoles, this Switch version holds up well enough for my tastes. I was a bit concerned about how the first game would feel, but despite the bottom-up nature of this remake it feels pretty close to the original. They even offer a filter to try to make the polygonal characters resemble the original sprites more closely. I don’t think it works very well, but I appreciate the attempt. Other new elements include a difficulty selection for each game and a new two-player mode for the first game in the style of the multiplayer mode in Lunatea’s Veil.
In some ways, the two games in Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series feel very much of a specific era. There are a lot of “Look Ma, 3D!" moments in them that stand out in modern times, at least. But they also feel distinct and unique in a lot of ways, and I find myself once again wishing we had more of this series. Perhaps we will get more after this. Ultimately, this is a pair of good remakes of two very strong games, and I can only hope this time we don’t have to say good-bye to Klonoa again when it’s all said and done.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Yurukill: The Calumniation Games ($39.99)
I’d love to have been a fly on the wall when this game’s idea was pitched. An escape room adventure game with Danganronpa-style trial sequences blended in with a vertically-scrolling shoot-em-up? Okay. I’ll try anything once. The adventure parts of the game come from IzanagiGames, known for titles like World’s End Club and Death Come True, so there’s certainly some prior experience there. The shooter bits are from G.rev, who have a lengthy history of developing arcade shoot-em-ups. While the combination certainly is odd, the credentials of the involved parties check out.
I wish I could say they hit on a winning combination here, but the two types of gameplay are about as disjointed as you would expect them to be. By the time you reach the end of the game you’ll probably be used to it, but it really does come out of nowhere narratively speaking. The basic premise here is that a bunch of people convicted of various crimes have been brought to a twisted island theme park called Yurukill Land. All of them insist they are innocent of their crimes, as criminals often do. Each of these Prisoners is paired with another person called an Executioner, who literally hold the lives of the Prisoners in their hands. One of these lucky Prisoners will win their freedom, should they survive the many hazards of Yurukill Land.
The general flow sees you solving some puzzles in room escape-style scenes, then participating in trials where you need to use the evidence you’ve gathered to keep the Executioner from killing you. Each chapter culminates in a few stages of a shoot-em-up, but you’re not out of the adventure woods yet. Your total number of lives is determined by how well you understand the facts of the situation, and the boss battles can only be finished by using the facts and evidence to break through their prejudices. Yes, it’s an unusual set-up. It actually helps the game stand out a bit in an increasingly crowded category, if nothing else. It needs that boost.
While the story is interesting enough and the puzzles are decent, nothing in the adventure side hits the heights of games like Danganronpa or the Zero Escape games. It never takes the risks those games do, which leaves the plot feeling a bit too predictable and lacking in tension. Engaging enough to keep you going, but probably nothing that is going to stick with you very long after you’ve finished it. The shoot-em-up sections come off similarly. It’s all fine, and G.rev knows its way around the yard well enough that nothing comes off as sloppy. But here too nothing truly stands out very much. The stages and enemy patterns are straightforward, and the boss patterns are nothing shooter fans haven’t seen before.
What we end up with in Yurukill: The Calumniation Games is two somewhat average examples of their genres bolted together into one somewhat average game. With that said, it’s at least a very unusual game. That bumps it up a little in my esteem. I wouldn’t buy it if you dislike shooting games, but I also can’t recommend it based on those sections alone. If I have to say who this game is for, it’s probably best matched up with people who enjoy adventure thrillers and also like shoot-em-ups. Even for that somewhat narrow range of players, it’s more of a good game than a great one.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
QUByte Classics: Zero Tolerance Collection by PIKO ($9.99)
Sometimes in a console’s life, you get a game that really pushes the technical boundaries of what you would think is possible on the hardware. Time is frequently not kind to such games unless they also have some solid gameplay behind the curtain. Heck, depending on how far they push the technical envelope, time isn’t kind to some of those games that do have good gameplay. Zero Tolerance was a relatively fast and smooth first-person shooter that ran on stock SEGA Genesis consoles. In its time, it was an incredibly impressive feat. As far as its gameplay went, it was decent enough. It was no DOOM, or even Wolfenstein 3D, but it wasn’t far off from the likes of Blake Stone.
While the game seemingly garnered enough attention to merit development of a sequel, various factors led to it not being released back in the day. Still, Zero Tolerance has maintained a cult following, and that has led to a number of efforts to rerelease the original game and its follow-ups over the years. This Zero Tolerance Collection is the latest, and perhaps most complete. It includes the original game, an unreleased follow-up called Zero Tolerance Underground, and an unlockable prototype of the unreleased sequel Beyond Zero Tolerance. It’s bundled up in the same wrapper we’ve seen in previous QUByte/Piko collaborations, which offers a satisfactory, if not spectacular, emulation experience. If you want to play the Zero Tolerance games on your Switch in the current year, this is a dandy way to do that.
But do you want to play these games in the current year? If you have some nostalgia for Zero Tolerance or are simply interested in historical curiosities, you won’t be unhappy with what you get here. If you’re here for some hot first-person shooting action, you’ll probably find this set to be a little too antiquated to really get into. Movement is stiff, you can’t see very far ahead of you, enemies fly at you almost out of nowhere, and the level designs are more perfunctory than interesting. An interesting relic of the past, but not much more than that outside of its original context.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Gangsta Magic ($8.99)
It’s kind of wild how superficially decent-looking some cheap games can be in the modern age. If you look even a little closely at Gangsta Magic, you’ll probably figure out what it really is: a janky action game that really only has its broken nature to offer as entertainment. I can see it has a launch sale that sends it down to the lowest price an eShop game can be at the moment, and that is probably the absolute highest amount you should be for it. Even then, there are funnier train wrecks to gawk at on the Switch for that price.
Galactic Pioneer ($4.49)
This is an homage to Lunar Lander and its ilk. You have to contend with the forces of gravity, thrust-based movement, and a limited supply of fuel while safely landing on the surfaces of ten different planets. Each planet has plenty of other hazards to throw a wrench in your plans, too. I’ve never really been into these kinds of games as much as some others, so I’m probably not the one to say if this one is decent or not.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
There are a few new games on sale worth considering today. If you like Picross, you need to get Pixel Puzzle Makeout League. Furi and A Robot Named Fight are a couple of indies you’ll want to check out, and those who want to get hungry should think about the Cook, Serve, Delicious!! games. Not too much in the outbox, but give it a look as well.
Select New Games on Sale
Pascal’s Wager: Definitive Edition ($17.99 from $19.99 until 7/14)
Pixel Puzzle Makeout League ($7.49 from $14.99 until 7/18)
Thief Town ($3.99 from $7.99 until 7/18)
Bridge Strike ($1.99 from $6.99 until 7/18)
Squids Odyssey ($2.24 from $14.99 until 7/19)
Furi ($6.99 from $19.99 until 7/19)
Ghost Grab 3000 ($2.49 from $4.99 until 7/22)
Switch ‘n’ Shoot ($2.29 from $4.59 until 7/22)
Inspector Waffles ($6.99 from $13.99 until 7/23)
Sturmfront: The Mutant War ($4.99 from $9.99 until 7/23)
Draw a Stickman: Epic ($1.99 from $6.99 until 7/23)
Draw a Stickman: Epic 2 ($1.99 from $6.99 until 7/23)
Skautfold: Shrouded in Sanity ($4.99 from $9.99 until 7/23)
Don’t Sink ($4.99 from $9.99 until 7/23)
A Robot Named Fight ($1.99 from $12.99 until 7/23)
Scribblenauts Showdown ($3.99 from $39.99 until 7/25)
Mortal Kombat 11 ($9.99 from $49.99 until 7/25)
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate DLC ($9.99 from $49.99 until 7/25)
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes ($19.99 from $39.99 until 7/25)
LEGO City Undercover ($5.99 from $29.99 until 7/25)
LEGO Jurassic World ($7.99 from $39.99 until 7/25)
Super Cyborg ($3.98 from $6.99 until 7/25)
Demon’s Rise: Lords of Chaos ($2.49 from $7.99 until 7/25)
Battle Princess Madelyn Royal ($2.99 from $14.99 until 7/29)
Battle Princess Madelyn ($3.99 from $19.99 until 7/29)
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? ($14.99 from $29.99 until 7/29)
Elves Fantasy Hentai Puzzle ($2.39 from $2.99 until 7/29)
Viviette ($4.99 from $9.99 until 7/29)
Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 ($2.00 from $12.99 until 7/29)
Cook, Serve, Delicious 3 ($7.99 from $19.99 until 7/29)
Sports Car Driver ($5.19 from $12.99 until 7/29)
Street Racing: Tokyo Rush ($5.59 from $13.99 until 7/29)
Offroad Night Racing ($5.19 from $12.99 until 7/29)
Race Track Driver ($4.79 from $11.99 until 7/29)
Camper Van Simulator ($5.19 from $12.99 until 7/29)
My Universe: Doctors & Nurses ($20.99 from $29.99 until 7/30)
Gangsta Magic ($1.99 from $8.99 until 7/30)
Professor Rubik’s Brain Fitness ($7.49 from $29.99 until 7/30)
Dungeons of Dreadrock ($4.00 from $10.00 until 7/30)
Agatha Christie ABC Murders ($11.99 from $29.99 until 7/30)
Syberia 1 & 2 ($2.44 from $34.99 until 7/30)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 12th
Among Pipes ($1.99 from $7.99 until 7/12)
Bit Orchard: Animal Valley ($1.99 from $6.99 until 7/12)
Blood will be Spilled ($1.99 from $14.99 until 7/12)
Boreal Tenebrae ($1.99 from $6.99 until 7/12)
Bounty Battle ($4.99 from $24.99 until 7/12)
Cloudpunk ($9.99 from $24.99 until 7/12)
Demon’s Tilt ($9.99 from $19.99 until 7/12)
EleMetals: Death Metal Death Match ($3.99 from $12.99 until 7/12)
Fall Gummies ($1.99 from $7.99 until 7/12)
Foreclosed ($5.99 from $19.99 until 7/12)
Hayfever ($4.49 from $14.99 until 7/12)
HoPiKo ($1.99 from $9.99 until 7/12)
Nirvana ($1.99 from $6.99 until 7/12)
Pendula Swing: Complete Journey ($1.99 from $9.99 until 7/12)
Ping Pong Arcade ($7.49 from $14.99 until 7/12)
SkateBIRD ($15.99 from $19.99 until 7/12)
Sky Games ($1.99 from $14.99 until 7/12)
The Legend of Ninja ($1.99 from $4.99 until 7/12)
Timelie ($9.99 from $19.99 until 7/12)
Trine 2: Complete Story ($4.24 from 16.99 until 7/12)
Trine 3: Artifacts of Power ($4.99 from $19.99 until 7/12)
Trine Enchanted Edition ($3.74 from $14.99 until 7/12)
Twin Blades of the Three Kingdoms ($11.99 from $14.99 until 7/12)
Under Leaves ($1.99 from $12.99 until 7/12)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with a handful of new releases, more reviews, and whatever sales and news come along in the next twenty-four hours. I hope you all have a marvelous Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!