Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for December 7th, 2022. Today can be accurately described as Mikhail Madness, with a whopping four reviews from our pal-est of pals. Football Manager 2023 Touch, Wobbledogs, Soccer Story, and Lover Pretend all get their scores in this barrage. After that, I’ve got summaries of today’s new releases including Hello Neighbor 2 and The Rumble Fish 2, along with the lists of new and expiring sales. Let’s go!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Football Manager 2023 Touch ($44.99)
Despite not caring about the FIFA and eFootball games, I’ve always enjoyed checking out Sports Interactive’s Football Manager series almost every year. While I skipped the last two main PC releases, having access to a more-streamlined release on Xbox with Xbox Game Pass has been a great middle ground. With Football Manager 2023, SEGA brings Football Manager 2023 Touch to not just Switch, but also Apple Arcade. iPhone and Android get access to Football Manager 2023 Mobile on the other side, and we also have Football Manager 2023 Console coming to PS5 soon following its release on Xbox platforms.
With all the editions out of the way, I’ve been having a lot of fun with Football Manager 2023 Touch on Apple Arcade and Nintendo Switch. Since this version of the game is on multiple Apple devices and Nintendo Switch, I was curious to see how it scales and runs across newer and older devices, and whether it was actually playable on a smaller screen with touch controls compared to how good the games have been on iPads.
If you’re completely new to the world of Football Manager, the Touch games are like a middle ground between the full PC game and the more streamlined Mobile editions. In recent years, SEGA has also brought it to console platforms. I haven’t played Football Manager Touch since the first Nintendo Switch release and it has been interesting to see how much more the Touch version of the game has this year compared to a few years ago.
Both the Nintendo Switch and Apple Arcade versions of Football Manager 2023 Touch support controllers and touch controls. On my iPhone, I opted to play with my Razer Kishi V2 since the touch targets are a bit small while the iPad version feels great to play with touch on my iPad Pro. On Nintendo Switch, I stuck to touch controls in handheld mode and a controller when docked. Both control options work well, but I’m very surprised at how good it feels with a controller.
The 3D match engine holds up relatively well visually on Switch, but it isn’t smooth. On iPad Pro, it runs and looks a lot better. Barring that, the menus are also more responsive with quicker loading on iPad Pro than Switch. The Switch version is currently behind when it comes to updates as well. These issues add up to make it harder to recommend at its asking price.
I did run into one issue with the Apple Arcade version of Football Manager 2023 Touch with how my saves were not syncing across devices initially. I hope this is more reliable with future updates. Barring that, Football Manager 2023 Touch is a nice step up over the game I played a few years ago, and it controls very well on Nintendo Switch and Apple Arcade. I just hope some of the issues on Switch can be addressed alongside updates arriving on time.
If you have access to an iPad, I’d definitely recommend subscribing to Apple Arcade for Football Manager 2023 Touch. It is excellent there and one of the best recent releases on the service. Having now tested Football Manager 2023 Touch across all available platforms, the Switch version is one I’d recommend if you want to play it on the go, but don’t have an iPad. I’m not a fan of the controls on the iPhone despite being glad that SEGA brought over this version to the smaller screen for the first time here. -Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Wobbledogs Console Edition ($19.99)
Wobbledogs is a 3D pet simulator that blends in idle gaming, customization, breeding, and just hilarious interactions between dogs. It has been available on PC for a while now, but was shown for Switch in the recent Indie World Showcase. Having released about two weeks ago on the eShop, Wobbledogs Console Edition for Switch is the first release of the game outside the PC platform.
Wobbledogs Console Edition is a very weird (in a good way) game. You spend time interacting, feeding, instructing, and breeding dogs that lay eggs, mutate across cocoons, and more. It has a very colorful and memorable aesthetic as well with some catchy music. I can see it getting old quickly for some players, but I enjoyed the various customization options and goals to work towards.
Initially, I wasn’t pleased with the controls. I would definitely recommend tweaking the X/Y axis and the sensitivity to your liking. A game like this would dramatically improve with touch controls for precision selection or camera movement because the current implementation isn’t amazing. When it comes to the performance, it isn’t perfect on Switch, but never becomes unplayable. I imagine it is a lot smoother on PC though.
Once the camera and movement controls are improved, Wobbledogs Console Edition will be an easier recommendation. Right now, it does a lot right, but falters in some key areas. I’ve enjoyed booting it up as a break from other story-driven games, and hope to see it supported for the near future. Animal Uprising and Auroch Digital have done a good job with this conversion, but some touchscreen support would alleviate a lot of my issues with the camera and controls. -Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Soccer Story ($44.99)
Soccer Story from developer PanicBarn and publisher No More Robots is a very interesting take on a sports RPG. I adored Golf Story (unrelated to this game) a few years ago, and have always wanted more games like that. Soccer Story is a different take on the formula, and one that manages to work well in many ways. I’ve been playing it for review on Switch and Steam Deck over the last two weeks. With a few fixes, it will be an excellent game.
Soccer Story succeeds with its narrative, interactions, and exploration. It falters with how the actual soccer feels lackluster in its mechanics during matches and thanks to some performance issues on Nintendo Switch. Considering this is a story-driven experience, I don’t want to spoil anything about the narrative, but the team is onto something special with this style for sure. I hope to see more games like this going forward. A Fishing Story would be right up my alley.
Soccer Story on Nintendo Switch has a quality and performance graphics mode. The former caps the frame rate lower but adds more post-processing and better image quality in its voxel style aesthetic. The latter runs smoother but has annoying frame pacing issues in many areas. I noticed these on my OLED Model Switch docked and handheld. Load times are mostly good and the implementation of rumble is nice.
Once the performance issues are addressed and some tweaks are made to the actual soccer during matches, Soccer Story will be an easy recommendation on Nintendo Switch. If you’d rather not wait, you are better off playing it on Steam Deck right now. Having tested it on Switch, Steam Deck, and Xbox Series X over the last few weeks, the Switch version definitely needs more optimization. Right now, I enjoy the open world and exploration aspects of the game a lot more than the actual soccer. There is a lot of potential here, but Soccer Story is a few updates away from being a great experience. -Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Lover Pretend ($49.99)
I’ve been slowly making my way through both Lover Pretend and Paradigm Paradox from Aksys Games over the last month, and have been surprised by both games in a good way. While I’ll save my thoughts on the latter for my full review, Lover Pretend has been a breath of fresh air when it comes to its narrative as an otome game.
You play as a college student who is hired as an assistant on a film, but is cast as the main love interest for the movie. What got me hooked to this story is the more slice-of-life style narrative versus all the serious ones we usually see in otome games. You initially have four character routes, but unlock a fifth one once you’ve seen all four good outcomes here.
Lover Pretend’s gimmick is the Pretend Time mechanic that has you answering timed questions while aiming to convince someone with your acting. Answering correctly sees jigsaw puzzle pieces on the screen go away leading to a good outcome, while the other end sees more jigsaw puzzle pieces added leading you to potentially a bad end. During this timed sequence, you can’t save, load, or rewind. I always like seeing how Otomate tries to keep things fresh, and this is a good mechanic when it comes to the narrative, but feels a bit poorly implemented.
As with other otome games from Otomate that Aksys Games has localized, the interface remains a highlight. It looks gorgeous barring some text issues when it comes to the layout, and I continue to enjoy being able to play through the complete game with touch controls in handheld mode.
If you’re after a more-relaxed and romantic slice-of-life story with some comedy sprinkled in, Lover Pretend is an otome game for you. This is definitely one of Aksys Games’ more interesting otome releases, and I hope there’s more to come from the cast and story in a potential fandisc or sequel. We need more slice-of-life and comedy in otome games. -Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Hello Neighbor 2 ($39.99)
I mean, just move. The guy clearly isn’t right, and you’re probably going to get killed. I know it’s hard to find a good place that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg these days, but living around this guy might cost you a literal arm and leg. Anyway, you’re investigating your fishy neighbor trying to find out what he’s hiding. But you have to do it on the sly or you’ll be in big trouble. He learns from your behavior so there’s a constant cat-and-mouse element to the whole affair. Not my kind of thing but looking at how the first one sold it’s clearly something a lot of people enjoy.
Bot Gaiden ($14.99)
This is a side-scrolling action-platformer that feels somewhere between Contra and Mega Man X‘s Zero modes with a few added twists. The bosses get stronger the longer you take to reach them, so you’re incentivized to haul robo-butt through the stages as quickly as you can. You can actually play cooperatively with another person locally in this one, which is a neat feature. Certainly seems more interesting than eastasiasoft’s usual fare.
Witch on the Holy Night ($39.99)
If you’re a fan of visual novels, you almost certainly know developer TYPE-MOON. The company behind Fate/Grand Order has a port of its 2012 PC release Witch on the Holy Night for Switch owners, complete with updates and additions like voice acting and remastered visuals. It’s pretty much a kinetic novel, so don’t expect to have much input on the story. But it’s a cool tale set in 1980s Japan, and this is its first time being localized for the West. So yes, if you like visual novels with memorable characters and a good dab of the supernatural, you’ll probably want to investigate this one further.
The Rumble Fish 2 ($29.99)
Dimps has made a lot of fighting games, many of which were tied up with the property of other companies. Dragon Ball Z Budokai, Street Fighter IV, and Saint Seiya are just some of the games it has worked on. But way back in 2003, the company also did a fighting game that was an original property: The Rumble Fish. In 2005, that game got a sequel, and that’s what we’re seeing a port of here. This is actually its first official home console release, so that’s cool. It includes modern features like roll-back online play, wide-screen support, multiple extra modes, and… paid DLC characters. Look, you didn’t have to modernize it that much! The DLC characters were unlocked with secret codes in the arcade version, but here you’ll have to pay $3.99 a pop. Welcome to 2022, The Rumble Fish 2.
This is an unusual take on the usual 3D platforming game. Your character leaves a trail of blocks behind it, and you need to stack and connect those blocks to solve various puzzles and reach the places you need to go. There are seven large-scale levels to play through with plenty of goodies to collect in each of them. I’ll have a review of this creative title soon, so do look forward to that.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Some new sales on LEGO games and other odds and ends. There are new low prices on LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga and LEGO DC Super-Villains Deluxe, along with a few interesting indie games like Gamedec and Arise. KEMCO’s latest sale on several of its RPGs is wrapping up, and if you’re going to grab any of them then you’ll want to get them at discounted prices. Have a look through both lists, as usual.
Select New Games on Sale
Arise: A Simple Story ($4.99 from $19.99 until 12/27)
Gamedec: Definitive Edition ($11.99 from $29.99 until 12/27)
Splatter: Zombiecalypse Now ($3.99 from $7.99 until 12/27)
What Lies in the Multiverse ($1.99 from $14.99 until 12/27)
The Hong Kong Massacre ($1.99 from $19.99 until 12/27)
Beautiful Desolation ($1.99 from $19.99 until 12/27)
Aspire: Ina’s Tale ($1.99 from $12.99 until 12/27)
Dex ($1.99 from $19.99 until 12/27)
Golf Club Wasteland ($1.99 from $9.99 until 12/27)
Blazing Beaks ($1.99 from $14.99 until 12/27)
Badland: GotY Edition ($1.99 from $5.99 until 12/27)
Purrs in Heaven ($1.99 from $6.99 until 12/27)
Rally Rock ‘N Racing ($1.99 from $9.99 until 12/27)
LOUD ($3.99 from $11.99 until 12/27)
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate ($11.99 from $59.99 until 12/27)
LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga ($29.99 from $59.99 until 12/27)
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes ($9.99 from $39.99 until 12/27)
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 Deluxe ($4.49 from $44.99 until 12/27)
LEGO DC Super-Villains Deluxe ($7.49 from $74.99 until 12/27)
LEGO City Undercover ($5.99 from $29.99 until 12/27)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Thursday, December 8th
Action Arcade Wrestling ($8.99 from $14.99 until 12/8)
Alphadia Genesis ($7.49 from $14.99 until 12/8)
Alphadia Genesis 2 ($7.49 from $14.99 until 12/8)
Archlion Saga ($2.49 from $4.99 until 12/8)
Chronus Arc ($6.49 from $12.99 until 12/8)
Crysis Remastered Trilogy ($29.99 from $49.99 until 12/8)
Everdark Tower ($2.49 from $4.99 until 12/8)
Ghost Sync ($9.74 from $14.99 until 12/8)
Golazo! 2 ($8.99 from $14.99 until 12/8)
Illusion of L’Phalcia ($6.49 from $12.99 until 12/8)
Indigo 7 Quest for Love ($5.99 from $14.99 until 12/8)
Legend of the Tetrarchs ($7.49 from $14.99 until 12/8)
Miden Tower ($7.49 from $14.99 until 12/8)
Revenant Dogma ($6.49 from $12.99 until 12/8)
Revenant Saga ($6.49 from $12.99 until 12/8)
Seek Hearts ($7.49 from $14.99 until 12/8)
Sephirothic Stories ($7.49 from $14.99 until 12/8)
Streets of Rogue ($9.99 from $19.99 until 12/8)
Sword of Elpisia ($9.74 from $14.99 until 12/8)
Yodanji ($2.49 from $4.99 until 12/8)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with the big Thursday releases and whatever sales and big news roll in in the interim. The results of my fancy hospital visit were about as good as they could be, so I should be safe for another half-year. Big thanks to Mikhail for helping cover for my partial absence today. What a fella. I hope you all have a great Wednesday, and as always, thanks for reading!