Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for March 15th, 2023. In today’s article, I’ve got a couple of reviews for you to dig into. The Last Spell and Tents and Trees are the games in question, and I enjoyed both of them to varying extents. In the new release section, we’ve got a pair of thief-related titles to check out. After that, it’s that regular favorite: the lists of new and expiring sales for the day. Let’s get to it!
Reviews & Mini-Views
The Last Spell ($24.99)
I really, really like The Last Spell, but I don’t know if I like it quite as much on the Switch. This is a very enjoyable roguelite tactical RPG that draws on elements of other genres to create a fairly unique blend. It’s compelling in a way that I can only liken to Into the Breach, though the two games are quite different from each other. Basically, you’ve got a city to protect using your small selection of heroes. At night, evil forces will attack. During the day, you can rebuild and upgrade. It’s a little bit simulation game, a little bit tower defense, a little bit Tactics-style RPG, all wrapped up in a roguelite ribbon.
Yes, that means if you mess up you’ll have to start from scratch. Well, almost. Roguelite, after all. Anything you unlocked will still be unlocked when you start the next round, but you’ll lose everything else. Each run will leave you slightly more advantaged for the next one, and just about anyone can beat the game eventually if they are persistent. Each run takes quite a while to resolve, however. This isn’t the sort of roguelite where you can play for ten minutes and get things done. But hey, there’s nothing in the rulebook that says a game in this genre has to be digested in small bites.
My problem with this Switch version is a familiar one. The game feels like it was built for computers first with little consideration for how it would work on Switch. The controls are obviously designed for a mouse and keyboard set-up, and while the controller mapping gets the job done, it’s often quite awkward and irritating. You can also look forward to some lengthy load times. You can probably tell from the screenshots, but the text is sometimes painfully tiny on the handheld screen too. I think a person can mostly adjust to the way this Switch port plays, and it’s not like I have any better ideas for how they could have mapped all the controls for this rather complicated game, but if you have the option to play on your computer I’d recommend doing so.
The Last Spell is another example of a really good game that is brought down a bit on Switch by a few small but significant issues. While its roguelite-meets-tactical RPG gameplay is a real winner, the fussy controls mean that it’s very cumbersome to do the things you want to do. It’s a game I would definitely encourage folks to check out, and if the Switch is the only way you can do so, then that’s just how it is. But if you have a computer, you’re almost certainly better off hitting it up over there.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Tents and Trees ($9.99)
I’m a person who enjoys a nice game of Picross, but I am also a person who has enjoyed a lot of nice games of Picross. Perhaps too many. I lost sight of the pictures long ago; I now only see the puzzles waiting to be solved. Yeah, nice. A doggie. Let’s go, next puzzle. That is all to say that I don’t necessarily need my puzzles to produce a picture, and I’m quite open to some novel takes on the idea. And that’s just what Tents and Trees delivers.
Each of the game’s five hundred-plus puzzles presents you with a grid that has a number of trees in its cells and some numbers along the sides. The numbers tell you how many tents you need to place in each row and column. So far, so Picross. The twist comes from those trees. Each tent you place needs to be in an adjacent space to a tree in one of the cardinal directions. Every tree needs a tent, and tents can’t be beside each other even along the diagonal. That’s pretty much it. You’ll be using the same brain muscles to solve these that you use for Picross, but it’s different enough to be novel.
The presentation is simple but pleasing, and the interface is great. It’s very easy to play, even on the bigger boards. The quantity of puzzles is impressive, and thanks to the various ways the game measures your play and its system of unlockables, there’s some actual replay value here. One of the early unlocks is the Daily Puzzle, which serves up a fresh challenge every day. There’s a very real chance you’ll have your fill of what the game is serving before it runs out of servings, and that’s not bad.
Folks who enjoy solving Picross puzzles but need a slight change of pace will want to check out Tents and Trees. It’s not a complete reinvention of the idea, but it’s distinct enough that it might be the breath of fresh air a weary Picross veteran needs. The controls are comfortable, the look and sound are cozy, and there are tons of puzzles to solve. A fine effort.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Tricky Thief ($4.99)
One of those sliding puzzle style of games where you zip from wall to wall, but with a twist that sees you avoiding patrolling security guards while you try to collect all of the coins in each stage. A very simple presentation, but if you like this kind of puzzle then the price might be right for you.
Steal It ($3.99)
We’ve got a bit of a thievery theme going today, it seems. This one is a platformer where you need to grab the diamond in each stage and then escape. The first part of that isn’t very tough, but a bunch of extra traps and hazards open up for the trip back. Another tricky platforming game with some powerful five dollar energy, all for the price of four bucks.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
The big news in today’s list is Wargroove hitting the silly-low price of six bucks. Note that it is six bucks for the game alone, or the game in a bundle with extra content. So, you know, buy the bundle. Plenty of things in the outbox, so give that one more look while you’re at it too.
Select New Games on Sale
ARK: Survival Evolved ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/28)
Wargroove ($5.99 from $19.99 until 3/29)
Wargroove DT Bundle ($5.99 from $19.99 until 3/29)
Wrestling Empire ($9.99 from $19.99 until 4/3)
Summer Days ($2.49 from $4.99 until 4/4)
Beauty Bounce ($2.49 from $4.99 until 4/4)
Bunny Bounce ($2.49 from $4.99 until 4/4)
Magi Trials ($4.99 from $9.99 until 4/4)
Dating Life: Miley X Emily ($4.99 from $9.99 until 4/4)
Sakura Santa ($4.99 from $9.99 until 4/4)
Secrets of Magic 3: Halloween ($1.99 from $9.99 until 4/4)
Sakura Succubus 4 ($4.99 from $9.99 until 4/4)
Evolution Board Game ($9.99 from $19.99 until 4/4)
Legend of Arcadieu Bundle ($3.99 from $7.99 until 4/4)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Thursday, March 16th
#Funtime ($3.24 from $14.99 until 3/16)
A Musical Story ($6.74 from $14.99 until 3/16)
Avenging Spirit ($4.19 from $5.99 until 3/16)
Axiom Verge 1 & 2 Bundle ($19.99 from $39.98 until 3/16)
Blastful ($1.99 from $3.99 until 3/16)
Bloody Rally Show ($8.99 from $19.99 until 3/16)
BraveMatch ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/16)
Bus Driving Simulator 22 ($20.99 from $27.99 until 3/16)
Caffeine: Victoria’s Legacy ($10.79 from $17.99 until 3/16)
Castle Formers ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/16)
Clunky Hero ($11.24 from $14.99 until 3/16)
Concept Destruction ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/16)
Dandy & Randy DX ($2.79 from $6.99 until 3/16)
Deleveled ($2.16 from $9.99 until 3/16)
Driving School Sim ($7.42 from $9.90 until 3/16)
Earth Defense Force: World Brothers ($23.99 from $39.99 until 3/16)
Flight Sim 2019 ($7.42 from $9.90 until 3/16)
Fracter ($2.21 from $6.99 until 3/16)
Freshly Frosted ($6.89 from $9.99 until 3/16)
Frightence ($1.99 from $5.99 until 3/16)
Gas Station Simulator ($13.99 from $19.99 until 3/16)
Gleylancer ($4.89 from $6.99 until 3/16)
Gynoug ($4.89 from $6.99 until 3/16)
Little Noah: SoP ($9.74 from $14.99 until 3/16)
Little Noah: SoP Special Edition ($12.99 from $19.99 until 3/16)
Memorrha ($12.99 from $19.99 until 3/16)
Moto Roader MC ($4.89 from $6.99 until 3/16)
Mystere Ruins of Deazniff ($15.99 from $19.99 until 3/16)
NeonLore ($1.99 from $5.99 until 3/16)
Nerved ($1.99 from $8.99 until 3/16)
Parasite Pack ($3.99 from $7.99 until 3/16)
Police Sim 22 ($14.99 from $19.99 until 3/16)
Quest for Infamy ($3.99 from $9.99 until 3/16)
Real Driving Sim ($7.42 from $9.90 until 3/16)
Remorse: The List ($15.99 from $19.99 until 3/16)
Roar of Revenge ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/16)
Roundguard ($6.32 from $19.99 until 3/16)
Runout ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/16)
Sail Forth ($16.59 from $19.99 until 3/16)
Samurai Maiden Deluxe ($59.99 from $74.99 until 3/16)
Save Room ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/16)
Severed Steel ($11.24 from $24.99 until 3/16)
Sherlock Holmes TDD ($11.99 from $29.99 until 3/16)
Ship Sim 2020 ($7.42 from $9.90 until 3/16)
Slime’s Journey ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/16)
Space Otter Charlie ($6.54 from $14.99 until 3/16)
Super Sunny Island ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/16)
Terror of Hemasaurus ($10.49 from $14.99 until 3/16)
The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines ($3.24 from $14.99 until 3/16)
The Bass Fishing ($6.74 from $14.99 until 3/16)
The Bounty Huntress ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/16)
The Procession to Calvary ($6.74 from $14.99 until 3/16)
Trifox ($12.99 from $19.99 until 3/16)
Truck Simulator USA ($11.24 from $14.99 until 3/16)
Tunnel of Doom ($6.29 from $13.99 until 3/16)
Turmoil ($2.99 from $14.99 until 3/16)
War-Torn Dreams ($1.99 from $6.99 until 3/16)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with the big Thursday new release drop. It’s looking to have more than twenty games again, so brace yourself for the junk-slide. There should be a few good games in there, at least. We’ll also likely have some sales to dig into, but we’ll have to see how things unfold. I hope you all have a great Wednesday, and as always, thanks for reading!