Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for March 13th, 2023. In today’s article, we’ve got a couple of reviews for you to start things off. I take a look at both Odencat’s Meg’s Monster and Atari’s Caverns of Mars: Recharged, and I liked one of them a little and one of them a whole lot. We then take a look at the handful of new releases for the day, and finish up with a decent list of new sales. Oh, and the expiring sales. Can’t forget those. Well, let’s get going.
Reviews & Mini-Views
Meg’s Monster ($14.99)
You’ll probably be able to tell almost immediately after starting, but this is one of those games that will probably make you cry. Which kind of fits, I suppose. It’s the story of a young girl who falls into an underworld full of monsters, a set-up that is oddly familiar at first. She’s found by a large slab of dense meat named Roy and his clever friend Golan, and the latter is all set to eat her up like the monster snack that she is. Just one problem: she starts crying and it feels like the world is catching fire. Golan concludes that this little girl is special, and if she sheds her tears it may well be the end of the world.
Meg is searching for her mother, and Roy and Golan figure the safest thing to do is to help her with that. Unfortunately for Roy, who wants as little to do with any of this as possible, this girl has taken a shining to him. She ends up staying with Roy, and despite his best efforts, a friendship begins to bloom. Monsters and humans typically don’t get along, and the dangers in the underworld for Meg are many. She’s got Roy, though, and he is basically the strongest monster around. The biggest threat this pair will face in combat is Meg getting so upset that she cries.
Meg’s Monster is a short RPG. It takes about four or five hours to finish completely, so it’s not a huge time commitment. The RPG elements are very light. Battles are turn-based affairs, but you don’t have a lot of tactical options so the route to victory is usually fairly clear. There are no random encounters, and every battle you fight is one dictated by the story’s needs. You will level up after certain battles, giving you a couple of stat boosts and an upgrade to Meg’s HP. There’s no gear to collect, treasures to loot, or grinding to be done. There are several small locations you’ll visit at least a few times each, and a few overworld maps that stitch them all together. There are four or five sub-quests to complete, but otherwise you’re just playing through the main story.
That’s fine. It’s a strong story. Heart-warming, emotional stuff. I don’t want to ruin any of it, because it’s told so deliberately that any heads-up is just going to mess with the journey it wants to take you on. Meg may not be able to cry, but I sure did. Twice, in fact. I’m hardly the most stiff-lipped of men, but I’m also a bit unimpressed by stories that go for the emotional bag without earning it. Meg’s Monster earns it. You can feel a couple of places where the developer may have wanted to stretch things out a little, but for the most part it keeps a strong pace without skipping the steps.
Supporting that story is an excellent presentation. The visuals in this game are great. Character designs are creative and charming, and there are a lot of animations to make those characters fully come to life. Many of those animations are only used once in the whole game, which feels a bit extravagant with a pixel art style like this. Roy and Meg are the stars, of course, and Roy in particular perfectly rides the line between monstrous and lovable. The art and graphics are backed by a fantastic soundtrack. The main theme is beautiful, and while there’s perhaps a little too little music being stretched a little too far in the early part of the game, it all sounds good. It tugs at your heart-strings at just the right moments, adding to the emotional power of scenes.
Meg’s Monster is a fantastic narrative experience. While it’s not the most mechanically rich RPG around, it’s not really trying to be. It’s here to tell a story, and it does so wonderfully. The characters are memorable, the plot is engaging, the presentation is sublime, and it’s on the whole just a hard thing to dislike at all. I haven’t been on an emotional roller coaster like this one in a while, and I’d handily recommend it to anyone looking for a touching story to play.
SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5
Caverns of Mars: Recharged ($9.99)
Atari’s Recharged line of games has been a pretty consistent source of enjoyment for me. From its unsure first steps in the original Missile Command: Recharged to the amazingly confident Yars: Recharged, the Recharged line has reinvigorated Atari’s name in a way it hasn’t been in quite some time. I actually look forward to new Atari games, in 2023! Who would have guessed? I suppose for Atari, the big issue is that it only has so many classic hits with serious name value to revisit. Indeed, it’s pretty much gone through the most obvious candidates for the Recharged glow-up.
But that just means we get to see what Atari can do with some of its lesser-known properties, doesn’t it? Hence Caverns of Mars: Recharged, a modern reimagining of neither an Atari 2600 nor Atari arcade game but rather a title from its 8-bit computer days. Well, right on. I’ll admit it’s not a game I’m terribly familiar with, though I’ve enjoyed playing it in the fantastic Atari 50 collection. It’s kind of like Konami’s Scramble if you turn your screen on its side. Travel through treacherous terrain, shoot various enemies, and make sure you pick up fuel on a regular basis if you want to survive.
Caverns of Mars: Recharged adopts a similar broad structure, but as we’ve seen in the last couple of Recharged games, it takes a lot of liberties with the original game. It feels like a hybrid of that game and something like Downwell, actually. You’re moving downward, you can slow your fall by shooting, you have to keep picking up fuel, and touching the terrain is a bad idea. There are power-ups you can grab to boost your offensive power for a while, and between stages you can pick from a few perks to augment your ship’s attributes and abilities. The big difference from both the original game and Downwell is that you can destroy the terrain. All of your guns will carve through it, some more than others. You can make paths for yourself and often need to.
This gives Caverns of Mars: Recharged a feel of its own, and it might be one that fans of the original are turned off by. The terrain is far less of a threat than it once was, though it can still be dangerous if you’re careless. As someone with little attachment to the original, I’m just looking to see if the game can stand on its own feet. And yes, it can. It’s got a lot of the same appeal Downwell does, but it’s different enough that it doesn’t feel redundant. It’s a good score attacker, and the presence of leaderboards supports that. You also get the usual bunch of missions to complete, and they’re as tough as ever.
Caverns of Mars: Recharged is another solid entry in the Recharged line, though perhaps not the most revelatory of the bunch. It’s a good straightforward action game with a pleasing presentation and a variety of options and modes to maintain your interest. It sacrifices some of the unique elements of the original game in favor of a more crowd-pleasing design, but how much that bothers you is going to vary from person to person. It doesn’t let down the Recharged name, but it’s also not the first one I’d recommend.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Life of Delta ($19.99)
It’s a new point-and-click style adventure game from the folks at Daedelic and Airo Games. You play as a little service robot in a post-apocalyptic world who is searching for his lost friend. This small quest ends up setting Delta out on a huge adventure, with twenty-eight hand-painted levels and more than fifty puzzles to solve. You’ll naturally be meeting some interesting characters along the way. Adventure game fans continue to eat well on Switch, it seems.
Titanium Hound ($15.00)
This is a side-scrolling action game where you commandeer a mech suit. You have a variety of weapons and a shield that you can use to protect yourself from your foes. When you fire, it drains your shot meter but refills your shield. When you use your shield, it drains your shield energy and refills your shot meter. You have to balance between offense and defense to keep things moving smoothly. It looks alright, but I haven’t had a chance to play it yet myself.
emoji Kart Racer ($24.99)
The biggest thing I’ve learned from this is that some company has registered the word ’emoji’ as a copyright. Just out here copyrighting normal-butt Japanese words. Might as well get a trademark on ‘sushi’ or ‘karate’. Anyway, this is another kart racer. The description first says it’s for four players, but then it says two players. You decide which is true. There are sixteen tracks and a lot of emoji characters to use. The power-ups are also emoji, so you can drop a poop emoji on the track. I mean, that’s five stars right there.
Sherlock Purr ($19.99)
This is a hidden object game aimed at the younger set. Search the different locations and find what you’re supposed to. Not much more I can say about it.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Hey, some cool stuff today. The Ori games hit new low prices, Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is half-off, and we’ve got a handful of Mario-related games with some rare discounts. Have a look through that list, and don’t forget to take a peep at the outbox while you’re at it.
Select New Games on Sale
Ori & the Blind Forest: Definitive ($4.99 from $19.99 until 3/15)
Ori & the Will of the Wisps ($5.99 from $29.99 until 3/15)
Milky Way Prince Vampire Star ($5.99 from $14.99 until 3/18)
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope ($29.99 from $59.99 until 3/20)
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope Gold ($60.29 from $89.99 until 3/20)
Rayman Legends Definitive ($9.99 from $39.99 until 3/21)
Assassin’s Creed The Ezio Collection ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/21)
OlliOlli World Rad Edition ($30.14 from $44.99 until 3/22)
New Tales from the Borderlands ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/22)
BioShock: The Collection ($9.99 from $49.99 until 3/22)
Borderlands Legendary Collection ($9.99 from $49.99 until 3/22)
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI ($5.99 from $29.99 until 3/22)
GTA: The Trilogy Definitive ($29.99 from $59.99 until 3/22)
NBA 2K23 ($19.79 from $59.99 until 3/22)
NBA 2K23 Michael Jordan Edition ($39.99 from $99.99 until 3/22)
Citizen Sleeper ($13.99 from $19.99 until 3/23)
Paradise Killer ($7.99 from $19.99 until 3/23)
Beacon Pines ($15.99 from $19.99 until 3/23)
Mario Party Superstars ($39.99 from $59.99 until 3/24)
Yoshi’s Crafted World ($39.99 from $59.99 until 3/24)
Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze ($39.99 from $59.99 until 3/24)
Luigi’s Mansion 3 ($39.99 from $59.99 until 3/24)
Streets of Rage 4 ($12.49 from $24.99 until 3/24)
Pinku Kult Hex Mortis ($5.49 from $9.99 until 3/25)
Flewfie’s Adventure ($5.49 from $9.99 until 3/25)
9th Dawn III ($8.79 from $15.99 until 3/25)
Sydney Hunter & Curse of the Mayan ($3.99 from $9.99 until 3/27)
My Lovely Daughter ($4.99 from $14.99 until 3/27)
My Lovely Wife ($9.74 from $14.99 until 3/27)
Ski Resort Driver ($9.74 from $12.99 until 3/31)
WRC 10 FIA ($4.99 from $49.99 until 3/31)
WRC Generations ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/31)
Hunting Simulator 2: Elite ($13.99 from $69.99 until 3/31)
Farmer’s Dynasty ($3.99 from $39.99 until 3/31)
Roguebook ($9.99 from $24.99 until 3/31)
Rogue Lords ($9.99 from $24.99 until 3/31)
EvilUP ($4.79 from $5.99 until 3/31)
Mythology Waifus Mahjong ($3.99 from $4.99 until 3/31)
Overpass ($5.49 from $54.99 until 3/31)
Rims Racing Ultimate ($13.99 from $69.99 until 3/31)
Truck Racing Championship ($3.99 from $39.99 until 3/31)
V-Rally 4 ($4.99 from $49.99 until 3/31)
AO Tennis 2 ($5.99 from $59.99 until 3/31)
Cricket 22 ($24.99 from $49.99 until 3/31)
Monster Truck Championship ($3.99 from $39.99 until 3/31)
Snow Moto Racing Freedom ($3.99 from $39.99 until 3/31)
Aqua Moto Racing Utopia ($3.99 from $39.99 until 3/31)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 14th
Animus ($2.23 from $7.99 until 3/14)
Animus: Harbinger ($2.23 from $7.99 until 3/14)
Animus: Revenant ($6.43 from $22.99 until 3/14)
Bullet Battle Evolution ($4.19 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Bunker Life ($11.54 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Car+Toon Race: RVC ($7.14 from $10.99 until 3/14)
Counter Crossline: Crime War ($9.74 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Counter Delta: The Bullet Rain ($6.14 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Counter Recon 2: The New War ($9.74 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Counter Recon: The First Mission ($4.19 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Crash Drive 2 ($1.99 from $8.99 until 3/14)
Crash Drive 3 ($1.99 from $19.99 until 3/14)
Dark Water: Slime Invader ($4.19 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Dead Rain: New Zombie Virus ($7.14 from $10.99 until 3/14)
Demong Hunter ($2.23 from $7.99 until 3/14)
Dungeon Limbus ($4.19 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Girls Tank Battle ($3.07 from $10.99 until 3/14)
Graze Counter GM ($11.99 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Haunted Dawn: Zombie Apocalypse ($4.19 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Haunted Zombie School ($6.14 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Haunted Zombie Slaughter ($11.54 from $14.99 until 3/14)
JellyCar Worlds ($6.39 from $7.99 until 3/14)
Last 4 Alive: Escape From Zombies ($4.50 from $10.99 until 3/14)
Marooners ($1.99 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Modern War: Tank Battle ($6.14 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Redden: 100denarii ($3.27 from $7.99 until 3/14)
Space Genesis ($6.14 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Space Stella: The Unknown Planet ($6.14 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Ultimate Chicken Horse ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/14)
World Class Champion Soccer ($7.14 from $10.99 until 3/14)
World War: Tank Battle ($6.14 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Zombie is Planting ($4.50 from $10.99 until 3/14)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more reviews, more sales, and whatever big news rolls in. Wow, I am just emotionally drained from Meg’s Monster. Game destroyed me, and half a box of tissues. You just never really know where the special ones are coming from sometimes. Anyway, I hope you all have a great Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!