Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for September 26th, 2022. In today’s article, we kick off the week with a bang. And by “bang", I mean four reviews. Family Man, Radiant Silvergun, The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero, and Potion Permit all get evaluated and scored, as I’m told you like it. We also have summaries of the new releases of the day, plus a rather robust list of new sales to check out. Oh, and the expiring sales are there too. Let’s get into it!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Family Man ($19.99)
Family Man isn’t much of a looker, but it’s an interesting, tense game of trying to stay ahead of ever-increasing demands with your life on the line. You get caught up in some bad business and find yourself in debt to some nasty people. They want their money, and while they’re willing to take it in installments, they’re not big on late payments. Each and every day, you have to come up with the amount of money they ask for, and that number gets bigger as you go. You also need to make enough money to keep your family fed. Each day only has so many hours, and you’ve got to make sure you’re back home in time to read your kid a bedtime story. Let down your family and you’ll lose them. Let down the mob and you’ll lose your life.
There are lots of ways to make money, some of them more legal than others. It’s fun to try all of the different activities and find your own way to succeed, but it really is a constant struggle. A familiar kind of stress, in some ways. The main story is enjoyable to follow, the sense of humor is good, and there’s more than enough variety to keep the game fresh for a few playthroughs. It will probably take you at least a couple of tries to find an ending that satisfies you.
I don’t know if Family Man is for everyone. Its visual style is certainly modest. Its themes are darker than you might expect. The minigames and other activities are shallow enough that you might get tired of them. Your choices don’t mean nearly as much as you might hope. It’s an unusual game, but there’s a charm to it that I can’t deny. While some of what it’s doing is a sleight-of-hand magic trick, it’s one that has been pulled off fairly well.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Radiant Silvergun ($19.99)
Like its successor Ikaruga, Radiant Silvergun is a very different sort of shoot-em-up. It is sometimes puzzle-ish in its workings, and on balance it probably takes more patience on the part of the player to learn. The game was originally released in the arcades and on the SEGA Saturn in 1998, but this port is based on the 2011 Xbox 360 version. Its origins are important in that the SEGA Saturn controller has six face buttons, and this game’s main gimmick is that you have six different shot types at your disposal. You also have a melee attack that can be used for up-close encounters and to gather energy for your super attack.
The game handily uses the bezel space to show you exactly which shot is on which button of your controller, and that’s one nice feature it has going for it. The graphics are also given the HD treatment in the same manner as the Xbox 360 port, and you’ve similarly got access to both an arcade mode (limited continues and straight-up action), and a story mode (cut-scenes and a permanent progression system). The current version of the game has some audio issues and a few graphical oddities here and there. That said, it runs smoothly and plays well for the most part. One thing I’ll always hand to Live Wire’s efforts is that the developer puts an emphasis on keeping input lag down.
If you’re looking for a different sort of shooter, or perhaps one that has some similarities to Ikaruga, Radiant Silvergun has a lot to offer. It’s rare to see it rereleased, and the SEGA Saturn game infamously goes for a ridiculous sum, so having the experience available on Switch for such a reasonable price is great. The game plays well, but a few issues with the music and graphics could do with some ironing out. It’s perhaps a little too complicated for its own good at times, but give it your time and consideration and you’ll find it rewards you greatly.
SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5
The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero ($39.99)
What I will first say about Trails from Zero is that it is the first Legend of Heroes game on the Switch that actually works as a good jumping-on point for this lengthy and complicated series. While it isn’t the start of the Trails series, it is at least the start of its own arc. This is also the first time this particular game has been released in the West, with its 2010 PSP original installment coming too late in the game for that platform to be viable for localization. There are, of course, some ties to the Trails in the Sky trilogy, but this isn’t a Trails of Cold Steel 3 situation where you’re coming into the middle of a story.
The next thing I want to mention is just how good this Switch version of the game is. It includes a bunch of improvements and enhancements over the original, and is easily the best way to play this game on a console. The localization is also great, but we’ve surely come to expect that from this series regardless of publisher. I’m genuinely impressed at how good this game looks and plays on the Switch, with a bunch of quality of life improvements and options to make this lengthy journey as pleasant as possible.
As for the game itself, it’s very much an entry in this series, for better or worse. I feel like most people are either in or out on Legend of Heroes by now, and I doubt this will make any of those folks change their minds. It has challenging turn-based battles, an impressively well-realized setting, lots of political intrigue, memorable characters, and mountains of well-written flavor text. It’s a seriously JRPG-butt JRPG, but it’s a damned good one. I find its story and pacing to be refreshing in how well they move along compared to the absolute monstrosity that Trails of Cold Steel ended up being. Granted, this is just the first part of the story, but there’s only one more part to it and that is all there presumably ever will be. There’s no option for it to drag out.
The heart of this particular entry’s power comes from its setting. Crossbell is a massive city, one that is caught between two megapowers that claim it as their own. With more than a whiff of Hong Kong about it, Crossbell is a location crawling with interesting characters, seedy spots, and lots of people who need help with various tasks. As the newly-minted Special Support Section of the local police, your party’s job is to deal with all of those requests and odd jobs. Some of it might seem inconsequential, but you’ll start putting together pieces before long. There’s a lot happening in this place, and the more you learn about it the more you want to know.
If you’re a Switch owner looking for a good place to stick your nose into the voluminous Trails series, Trails from Zero is about the best place to do so short of a Trails of the Sky FC port dropping from the heavens. This particular port of the game is fantastic, with a bunch of improvements that make it easier to dig into than ever. Like Crossbell itself, Trails from Zero is caught between two large powers: the humble Sky series that got this whole ball rolling, and the Cold Steel games that are perhaps a bit too drunk on excess. It’s a great RPG, and one that nicely demonstrates what makes this series so well-loved.
SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5
Potion Permit ($19.99)
I think it’s pretty amazing that we have so many great games in the vein of Harvest Moon that players now have the luxury of having their appetites gorged to the point of turning away perfectly good entries. Wow, that’s an ominous way to start a review of a Harvest Moon-like game, but I do believe it to be the reality. Potion Permit is a perfectly decent “slow life" game. It has its own twist to help it stand out. The graphics are very charming. It has all the bits you’d want in a game like this. The worst thing I can say about it is that there are performance hitches that actually sometimes cause genuine gameplay issues. If you can forgive that and like this genre, all aboard. You’ll have a good time.
You’re a chemist who has been invited to an island where nobody really seems to want you around. There’s a sick daughter and her parents are out of options, and so they call a Hail Mary and bring you in. You take over a decidedly shabby house that belonged to the last chemist, get sent out into the nearby meadow to gather ingredients, and get to work trying to help the people and redeem the reputation of your profession. Along the way, you’ll found out what happened to get the local folks in such a defensive mood. You’ll eventually be accepted and get to do all those things you do in a game like this, up to and including romance.
The potion brewing is the main gimmick here, and it’s interesting enough as this sort of thing goes. You diagnose problems with a light rhythm game (it’s here where the hitches can cause issues), place ingredients in a pentomino-style puzzle, do research that is honestly kind of dull, and generally solve whatever immediate problem is placed in front of you by doing these things. You’ll get the ingredients that form those blocks by heading out into the wild, beating the crap out of local fauna, and harvesting the local flora. It’s all a little repetitive after a while, but such is how this usually goes.
So yes, Potion Permit is fine. Occasionally quite good. It certainly makes an effort to do some different things, to varying degrees of success. Apart from some performance problems in this Switch version, the biggest thing dulling Potion Permit‘s shine is just how familiar its structure is. When you take into account the somewhat grindy nature of this sort of affair, the lack of any particularly inspiring derivations makes it one best consigned to fans of the genre looking for another hit.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
The Spirit and the Mouse ($19.99)
This is an action-adventure game where you play as a mouse and a spirit guardian as they explore a French village, fixing problems for the villagers with the ultimate aim of helping the spirit guardian return to the sky. You’ll gain new abilities as you play that will open up more of the world and help you solve more puzzles. There are also some minigames to play. This one looks really cute, but I haven’t had a chance to play it yet so I can’t say if it lives up to its charming potential.
Slap City ($19.99)
If you find yourself in need of another Smash Bros-style game, Slap City might be of interest to you. This one comes from Ludosity and features its original characters. It’s more or less the same bunch that made Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, and has a number of similarities to that game. Up to four players can battle in local and online multiplayer, and there are a bunch of different modes to enjoy. There are just eleven characters, but each one has a ton of personality. The game is well-loved in its other versions and I’m sure it will find an audience here too, especially since it has cross-platform play.
Piratepoly Gold: Caribbean Treasure ($19.99)
A pirate-themed casual board game for up to six players in local multiplayer. The rules are heavily based on Monopoly. You can get real Monopoly on your Switch for around this price, so unless you’ve got a particular thing for pirates, this is a little hard to recommend.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
A seriously large number of new sales appeared over the weekend, with great games like Slay the Spire, Supraland, Devastator, and the whole Pixel Game Maker Series line-up on offer. Farming fans will want to take note of the Story of Seasons discounts that are wrapping up soon. Check those lists!
Select New Games on Sale
Slay the Spire ($9.99 from $24.99 until 9/30)
Unsighted ($13.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Wildfire ($7.49 from $14.99 until 9/30)
Crying Suns ($14.99 from $24.99 until 9/30)
Aegis Defenders ($4.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Supraland ($11.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Dodgeball Academia ($17.49 from $24.99 until 9/30)
The Wild at Heart ($16.74 from $24.99 until 9/30)
One Step From Eden ($11.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Flynn Son of Crimson ($13.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Ring of Pain ($9.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Forager ($7.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Wandersong ($4.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Archvale ($11.24 from $14.99 until 9/30)
Wizard of Legend ($6.39 from $15.99 until 9/30)
Ikenfell ($11.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Carto ($9.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Void Bastards ($11.99 from $29.99 until 9/30)
Paddles ($4.49 from $4.99 until 9/30)
The Last Survey ($1.99 from $14.99 until 10/1)
Please, Touch the Artwork ($5.59 from $7.99 until 10/3)
Knight Squad 2 ($10.49 from $14.99 until 10/3)
Sir Lovelot ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/4)
PGMS Jetman ($7.99 from $9.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Thunder Striker ($9.59 from $11.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Isekai Quartet ($9.89 from $14.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Fish Tornado ($3.99 from $4.99 until 10/6)
PGMS The Witch & 66 Mushrooms ($3.30 from $6.60 until 10/6)
PGMS Osyaberi Horijyo Holin Slash ($5.99 from $11.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Remote Bomber ($6.89 from $9.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Buraigaun Galaxy Storm ($9.59 from $11.99 until 10/6)
PGMS MessiahEnd Refrain ($4.44 from $4.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Steel Sword Story S ($7.99 from $9.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Arcanion TotM ($8.79 from $10.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Puzzle Pedestrians ($7.49 from $14.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Shiba Mekuri ($4.99 from $5.49 until 10/6)
PGMS Jewelinx ($6.39 from $7.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Block Slime Cave ($5.46 from $7.00 until 10/6)
PGMS Biggerman.io ($3.78 from $5.49 until 10/6)
PGMS Dungeon of Nazarick ($7.49 from $14.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Steos SSoBH ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Werewolf Princess Kaguya ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Cham the Cat Adventure ($8.79 from $10.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Oma2ri Adventure ($3.96 from $4.95 until 10/6)
PGMS Dragon Peak ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Game Battle Tycoon ($11.99 from $14.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Dandan Z ($7.99 from $9.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Rumble Dragon ($9.59 from $11.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Kingdom Fighter ($9.79 from $13.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Lab ($5.59 from $6.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Oumuamua ($7.99 from $9.99 until 10/6)
PGMS Medium-Naut ($9.89 from $14.99 until 10/6)
Kokoro Clover Season 1 ($16.14 from $18.99 until 10/6)
Inferno 2 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/7)
Dimension Drive ($1.99 from $12.99 until 10/7)
Luckslinger ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/7)
Devastator ($4.89 from $6.99 until 10/7)
Lost Wing ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/7)
Lumini ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/7)
Pecaminosa ($10.49 from $14.99 until 10/7)
Rainswept ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/7)
The Bug Butcher ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/7)
BFF or Die ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/7)
Castle of Pixel Skulls ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/7)
Batu Ta Batu ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/7)
Horned Knight ($1.99 from $5.99 until 10/7)
A Pretty Odd Bunny ($2.99 from $4.99 until 10/7)
Jack ‘n’ Hat ($3.99 from $7.99 until 10/7)
Bloo Kid 2 ($3.49 from $4.99 until 10/8)
Azurebreak Heroes ($1.99 from $6.99 until 10/8)
PigShip & the Giant Wolf ($3.99 from $7.99 until 10/14)
Liberated: Enhanced Edition ($6.79 from $19.99 until 10/14)
Indigo 7 Quest for Love ($4.49 from $14.99 until 10/14)
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 ($5.99 from $29.99 until 10/15)
LEGO DC Super-Villains ($8.99 from $59.99 until 10/15)
LEGO Star Wars: Skywalker Saga Deluxe ($41.99 from $69.99 until 10/15)
Mortal Kombat 11 ($9.99 from $49.99 until 10/15)
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate DLC ($9.99 from $49.99 until 10/15)
Tyd wag vir Niemand ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/15)
Arietta of Spirits ($7.99 from $19.99 until 10/16)
Secrets of Magic 3 Happy Halloween ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/16)
Hope’s Farm ($1.99 from $19.99 until 10/16)
Skautfold: Shrouded in Sanity ($3.99 from $9.99 until 10/16)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 27th
Canfield Solitaire Collection ($5.99 from $7.99 until 9/27)
COGEN: Sword of Rewind ($17.49 from $24.99 until 9/27)
Dungeons & Bombs ($2.49 from $4.99 until 9/27)
I, AI ($4.99 from $9.99 until 9/27)
Kasiori ($4.90 from $7.00 until 9/27)
Lacuna ($2.99 from $19.99 until 9/27)
Mask of Mists ($7.49 from $14.99 until 9/27)
Norman’s Great Illusion ($2.49 from $4.99 until 9/27)
Ox Logic Puzzle 1000 ! ($1.99 from $14.99 until 9/27)
Spice and Wolf VR2 ($14.99 from $24.99 until 9/27)
Steam Tactics ($4.99 from $9.99 until 9/27)
Story of Seasons: FoMT ($25.99 from $39.99 until 9/27)
Story of Seasons: PoOT ($29.99 from $39.99 until 9/27)
Super Cyborg ($3.49 from $6.99 until 9/27)
Tales of Djungarian Hamster ($5.99 from $9.99 until 9/27)
Uchu Shinshuchu ($1.99 from $8.00 until 9/27)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more reviews, more new releases, more sales, and perhaps a bit of news. I’ve been looking at cheap used PlayStation Portable games a bit lately, and I fear I’m about to fill out my collection even more. Well, that’s how it goes sometimes. I collect what’s affordable. I hope you all have a great Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!