Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for February 14th, 2023. Today is Valentine’s Day, and I offer you love in the only way I know how: a bunch of reviews, new release summaries, and lists of sales. I hope you like it better than my wife did. In the review bucket, we’ve got Metroid Prime Remastered, Go! Go! PogoGirl, and Nadir. Over in the new releases, the cool dungeon crawler Labyrinth of Galleria is leading the charge. And in sales? I’ll let you discover that on your own. Let’s get to it!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Metroid Prime Remastered ($39.99)
Had Nintendo just dumped a direct-as-possible port of Metroid Prime on the eShop, I’d have been a bit torn about what to do in this review. In its time, Metroid Prime was an absolute top-notch game. It was worthy of the highest praise and was easily one of the high points of the GameCube library. But that was twenty years ago, and things were very different in a lot of ways with regards to how first-person games should play and control. And hey, two decades is also a long time in terms of graphical progression. Would a straight port of the 2002 original suffice?
Fortunately for me, that is a question I don’t have to answer today. Nintendo, Retro Studios, and the other folks involved in Metroid Prime Remastered were not content to simply throw the original game out there with little fanfare. The game’s presentation has received an incredible overhaul and looks night and day when compared to the already-attractive original. Critically, you can choose from a number of control options including a new dual-stick set-up that makes the game play like a modern game in the genre. There are new accessibility options, and there are a number of new extras you can unlock by playing the game. Some significant changes, but nothing about the game itself has been messed with.
That’s a good thing, of course. It’s easy to forget just what a miracle Metroid Prime was at the time. After the near-perfection of Super Metroid, the IP had skipped over the entire Nintendo 64 generation. When word came out that the series would return on the GameCube as a first-person shooter developed by a team of ex-Acclaim folks in Texas, the faith of Metroid fans could not have been any lower. Rumors of a troubled development only added fuel to the fire. Depending on who you asked, Metroid Prime was either a source of despair or comedy. The laughing stopped as soon as people played it. Those upstarts at Retro Studios had done it: a 3D take on Metroid that felt as Metroid as any game could.
Some of the awe of that original game is reduced here. The sprawling, organic-feeling environments feel a little more confined and artificial by modern standards, but they still hold up quite well as gameplay spaces. And the game still has a way of making your jaw drop at times with how pretty and detailed everything is. From a gameplay point of view, it’s impressive how well Metroid Prime stands the test of time. Arguably almost as well as the best 2D entries in the franchise, and that is saying something. Exploring Tallon IV, collecting information with your scanner, battling a variety of enemies and wild bosses, and slowly powering up into a tiny goddess is as entertaining now as it was when Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man was the latest Hollywood hotness.
Take an amazing game, make some sensible improvements, buff up the graphics, and you’ve got an easy game to recommend. Metroid Prime Remastered is a gold-star reissue of a game that deserves that kind of royal treatment, one that any fan of the series should hastily add to their Switch collection. And if you happen to be new to the game, know that it’s a high-quality action-adventure even compared to today’s games, a true masterpiece that I am envious you will be exploring for the first time.
SwitchArcade Score: 5/5
Nadir: A Grimdark Deck Builder ($19.99)
When you load up Nadir, one of the first things you see is a message from the developers saying that they’re still working on the game. That may be true to an extent for most new games released these days, but it’s a worrisome first impression that unfortunately ends up informing the experience as it stands right now. There are severe balance issues, an assortment of bugs, and serious UI quirks present in this game, and they really do drag down what might otherwise be a rather enjoyable roguelite. It’s all dressed up and has some place to go, but it trips on its own coat-tails and falls right into a puddle.
The good: a cool art style that is well-realized, novel and enjoyable twists on the usual card game mechanics, and a progression system that is on paper quite satisfying. The bad: extreme balance issues that push you into a heavy grind, small fonts that are hard to read in handheld mode, a control system clearly built for mouse and keyboard over gamepads, generally poor explanations of mechanics, and some weird bugs that aren’t fatal but still rather annoying. There’s nothing here the developers can’t fix provided they have the desire and resources, but I can’t review potential futures.
Nadir has some good ideas and it certainly pulls its weight in terms of its presentation, but a number of gameplay issues and technical problems end up tossing this one into the limbo between heaven and hell. There’s certainly the seed of something very cool here, but whether or not the developers will be able to nurture it into reaching its full potential is a gamble you may not want to take up.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Go! Go! PogoGirl ($4.99)
Well, this was quite nice. In a lot of ways, Go! Go! PogoGirl is a very normal side-scrolling platformer. Move from left to right in twenty stages spread across four worlds, hop on enemies to defeat them, collect gems, and avoid hazards. Tale as old as time, really. But your character is on a pogo stick at all times, and between the forced bouncing (always a neat mechanic in this genre) and her array of special techniques, the game feels fresh and fun all the way through. Backing up the solid core mechanics are some enjoyable, interesting stage designs. Secrets aren’t too hard to find but they’re not fully obvious, and there are lots of places where exploration or successful execution of tricky techniques is rewarded.
The Switch has a lot of options available for platforming fans at the five-dollar price point, ranging from excellent to terrible. Go! Go! PogoGirl comes in on the positive end of that spectrum thanks to its enjoyable gameplay and strong level layouts. It doesn’t redefine the genre or anything, but it’s also unusual and well-executed enough that even weary platforming fans shouldn’t get bored with it.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society ($49.99)
One of the best RPGs available on the Switch in its early years was Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk. I tried recommending it as often as I could, and as a result I know dozens of fans of the game. Here’s the sequel, coming to the West for the first time. Gather your party and plunge into a massive labyrinth for some zesty dungeon-crawling enjoyment that provides a stiff challenge and a surprisingly strong story. I’ll have a full review of this one soon, but I can say at the moment that apart from a couple of technical issues I found this game outstanding.
Okay, so first thing’s first. This game does not have a single-player option. You have to play with someone else, whether they be in the same room or online. One person has to control the wolf cub, and one person has to control the fawn. You need to work together to reunite the pair with their families, and I’m sure it will all be very emotional in the end. The striking black-and-white visuals really look great, and the gameplay looks like it will scratch the itch for fans of artistic puzzle games.
Souls of Chronos ($19.99)
Here’s an unusual little RPG. It has action-RPG combat, plenty of dungeon exploration, and a choice-based character progression system that actually has an effect on the narrative on top of your stats. A lot of effort seems to have been put into the story, which deals with class issues, poverty, and the difficulties of trying to ride the line between one’s personal interests and the greater good. It’s okay on the whole, but it’s not something I’d tell people to run out and buy without pause. If nothing else, it has a distinct flavor that I can’t say I dislike.
Ten Dates ($15.99)
Hunh, Howie looks a little different from how I remember. This is the follow-up to Five Dates, and it’s another FMV game. Its predecessor leaned into the whole idea of dating during the pandemic, but this one is decidedly post-pandemic and oddly ends up coming across a little more plain as a result. Help Misha and Ryan as they go to a speed dating event by making choices and hopefully bringing them to a happy ending. There are ten different endings to discover if you’re inclined to, so it’s not hurting for replay value as this kind of thing goes.
Spy Bros. ($7.99)
As Toaplan entered its final years of existence, it started experimenting with other genres outside of its usual shoot-em-up fare. One of the odder attempts was something I can only describe as Elevator Action meets Bonanza Bros. meets Gals Panic called Pipi & Bibi’s. You would clear stages and be rewarded with parts of a risque image of a lady. This is a family-friendly remake of that game, and you might be wondering if there was a decent game supporting the horny pictures. The answer is: kind of. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a game like this, but it’s fairly enjoyable. This is also its first home port of any kind, so it may be of interest to fans of arcade esoterica for that alone.
Chess Maiden ($5.99)
This is just another mediocre chess game with support for one or two players via local multiplayer. The gimmick is that if you’re playing alone, your opponent is a maid. Her 3D model just kind of hangs out on the other side of the board. It’s a pretty weird selling point, but in the end it’s still just chess.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Hey, The Oregon Trail. That’s a fun game, and sub-twenty bucks seems like a good value for it. Demon Turf and its side game are on sale again, and virtually the whole Pixel Game Maker Series is discounted too. A selection of WayForward games are on sale as well. There isn’t much in the outbox catching my attention, but that won’t mean it won’t catch yours. Check those lists, people!
Select New Games on Sale
The Oregon Trail ($17.99 from $29.99 until 2/21)
BPM Bullets Per Minute ($18.74 from $24.99 until 2/21)
Demon Turf ($16.24 from $24.99 until 2/21)
Demon Turf Neon Splash ($4.24 from $4.99 until 2/21)
Byte Cats ($7.19 from $11.99 until 2/21)
Negative Nancy ($4.49 from $14.99 until 2/21)
Overlord: Escape from Nazarick ($19.49 from $29.99 until 2/21)
PGMS Pearl Vs Grey ($6.39 from $7.99 until 2/21)
PGMS Verzeus ($9.59 from $11.99 until 2/21)
PGMS Thunder Striker ($9.59 from $11.99 until 2/21)
PGMS Dungeon of Nazarick ($7.49 from $14.99 until 2/21)
PGMS Cham the Cat Adventure (48.79 from $10.99 until 2/21)
PGMS Rumble Dragon ($9.59 from $11.99 until 2/21)
PGMS Oma2ri Adventure ($3.41 from $4.95 until 2/21)
Wingspan ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/27)
Spidersaurs ($13.99 from $19.99 until 2/27)
River City Girls Zero ($10.49 from $14.99 until 2/27)
River City Girls ($14.99 from $29.99 until 2/27)
Vitamin Connection ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/27)
Dawn of the Monsters ($20.99 from $29.99 until 2/27)
Mechstermination Force ($7.19 from $11.99 until 2/28)
Gunman Clive HD Collection ($2.99 from $4.99 until 2/28)
Super Punch Patrol ($2.99 from $4.99 until 2/28)
Battle Brothers A TBT RPG ($14.99 from $29.99 until 2/28)
Donut Dodo ($3.99 from $4.99 until 3/3)
Commandos 3 HD Remaster ($26.99 from $29.99 until 3/6)
Regency Solitaire ($4.79 from $11.99 until 3/6)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 15th
Aragami 2 ($26.79 from $39.99 until 2/15)
Balloon Flight ($1.99 from $5.99 until 2/15)
Broken Universe Tower Defense ($1.99 from $9.99 until 2/15)
Cattails ($3.74 from $14.99 until 2/15)
Collapsed ($3.00 from $15.00 until 2/15)
Conduct Together ($1.99 from $19.99 until 2/15)
Depth of Extinction ($3.59 from $14.99 until 2/15)
Detective Di: Silk Rose Murders ($2.89 from $12.99 until 2/15)
Floogen ($1.99 from $3.99 until 2/15)
Fly Together ($1.99 from $15.00 until 2/15)
Frogun ($11.24 from $14.99 until 2/15)
Gem Wizards Tactics ($1.99 from $12.99 until 2/15)
Gum+ ($1.99 from $7.99 until 2/15)
Hayfever ($2.99 from $14.99 until 2/15)
Headland ($1.99 from $19.99 until 2/15)
Monster Harvest ($4.99 from $19.99 until 2/15)
OMG Police Car Chase TV Sim ($1.99 from $4.99 until 2/15)
reky ($1.99 from $9.99 until 2/15)
Rogue Star Rescue ($9.74 from $14.99 until 2/15)
Slaycation Paradise ($6.79 from $19.99 until 2/15)
Space Raiders in Space ($1.99 from $12.99 until 2/15)
Speedway Racing ($1.99 from $9.99 until 2/15)
Time on Frog Island ($8.49 from $24.99 until 2/15)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with a few more new releases, some more sales, and perhaps some news. I probably played through Metroid Prime Remastered more times than I needed to for the review. And I am probably going to play through it again before the week is out. That’s just how it is. I hope you all have a terrific Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!