Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for October 2nd, 2023. In today’s article, we’ve got a bunch of reviews to kick off the week and month with. Our pal Mikhail has reviews of Paleo Pines and Baten Kaitos I & II HD Remaster for you, while I’ve got my thoughts on Whateverland, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 4, and Bud Spencer & Terence Hill: Slaps & Beans 2 prepared. After that, we have some new releases to look at. Most of them are dubious, but what can you do on a Monday? After that, it’s the lists of new and expiring sales, as you like them. Let’s get to business!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Paleo Pines ($29.99)
Having recently played quite a few farming and life simulation games across different platforms, I just about needed a break from the genre, but Paleo Pines with its dinosaur raising focus has me interested. Adding in dinosaurs and raising made it stand out from the rest, and this release even delivered on some aspects of what I wanted out of Little Dragons Cafe, which is a game I feel like too few people played.
Paleo Pines is a farming and life simulation game with a very relaxed pace. It excels in its dinosaur focus, not just in raising, but also integrating how you interact with the dinosaurs you befriend throughout the core gameplay. It also has a pretty big map to explore which I didn’t expect. Paleo Pines does a lot of things very well, but seems to falter in keeping its daily loop interesting enough throughout even with the quests. I don’t see it having much staying power unless you really like raising and collecting dinosaurs.
How you raise, befriend, and interact with the many dinosaurs plays an important part of the full experience. Those looking for more raising and simulation elements in these games will find a lot to love in Paleo Pines. The dinosaurs also help you with the actual farming and with chores or even exploration.
This is all complemented by the lovely designs the dinosaurs have, but I wish I liked the human character designs as much here. Visually, the colors look great on the OLED and the overall art style is very pleasing, but I wish the human character designs were a bit more unique.
Paleo Pines on Switch has an annoying camera issue right now that has movement that sometimes feels jerky. This might not bother some folks, but it almost gave me motion sickness. Thankfully it didn’t bother me too often, and I avoided moving the camera quickly in more busy locations. Performance isn’t perfect either, but it runs better than I expected given how other games in the genre perform on Switch.
On Switch, Paleo Pines has touchscreen support for the interface and dialogue options which is always a nice touch (no pun intended). The use of HD Rumble is also very good during gameplay and when you’re petting your dinosaurs.
I haven’t played Paleo Pines on any other platform yet, but the only real issue I had with the Switch version specifically is the camera movement and some of the loading times. Barring that, the game itself could use some quality of life improvements and improvements for controls.
Given the amount of games in the genre hitting Switch lately, Paleo Pines does enough to stand out with its dinosaur and ranching elements. After a few patches iron out some of the performance issues, Paleo Pines will be an easier recommendation, though it is quite good even in its current state. The relaxed pace and ease of play make this a great entry point game for a younger audience as well. -Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Baten Kaitos I & II HD Remaster ($49.99)
As a huge Xenoblade Chronicles series fan, I’ve always been curious about Monolith Soft’s prior games. I never experienced Xenosaga, but heard a lot about it and Baten Kaitos. When Baten Kaitos I & II HD Remaster was announced, I knew it was time to finally play these games, and the remaster’s release has impressed me in many ways, but it has a few issues holding it back right now on Switch.
One of the biggest draws of this release is the card-based combat. The more I read about it following the announcement, the more I was intrigued. When people I trust called the Baten Kaitos games masterpieces for music and combat, my interest piqued. Having now experienced said combat, I really hope we get a modern entry in the series that builds on the base laid by both games. They are excellent in their own ways.
Speaking of both games, Baten Kaitos I & II HD Remaster‘s stories don’t hit the same highs as Xenoblade, but the setting, gorgeous backgrounds, designs, and characters elevate this release quite a bit. The addition of some new quality of life or cheat features definitely makes the games more playable today.
Having never played the originals, Baten Kaitos I & II HD Remaster feels like a blend of a Square Enix re-release and a Bandai Namco remaster. If you’ve played any of those on Switch, you will know what I mean. It has the quality of life or cheat features we see from some Square Enix re-releases, but has some of the issues we see from Bandai Namco Switch remasters. Overall, the issues aren’t too bad, but they are annoying. The widescreen presentation and visuals are quite nice though. I like how it looks handheld, but the performance is not perfect.
Old games remastered for Switch usually see mixed results and the Baten Kaitos I & II HD Remaster release is similar. The frame rate is unstable so you can have instances where it is smooth, but it fluctuates. It never drops to say Chrono Cross launch day level bad, but it is disappointing. I hope this can be addressed in future updates.
I mentioned quality of life features, and they make this an easier release to recommend, but the implementation is not perfect. Whenever you pause, you can adjust the following settings: toggle encounters, toggle an instant KO for enemies, adjust game speed (100-300%), adjust battle speed (100-300%), and toggle auto-battle. Out of these, the battle speed option is a bit weirdly implemented because it makes the battles a bit harder for you given the time being reduced instead of just animations. Game speed is a real boon though with the no encounters option.
Baten Kaitos I & II HD Remaster doesn’t have the English dub option the original games had. So while some cut-scenes use English voices, the games only have Japanese voice overs. I don’t have a frame of reference for the originals, but I don’t like when remasters cut content present in the original.
Another aspect of the audio worth mentioning is Motoi Sakuraba’s soundtrack. A friend of mine kept telling me the music of both Baten Kaitos games is legendary, and I finally see that. This collection features some of his best work for sure.
As a newcomer to Baten Kaitos, I’m glad Baten Kaitos I & II HD Remaster exists so I could finally play these games, but I hope Bandai Namco can iron out the few annoying issues holding it back. The quality of life features are welcome, but the unstable performance is disappointing. This release is definitely worth your time if you’re interested in the games though. Motoi Sakuraba’s soundtracks are also superb here. -Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 4: Bush Rescue Returns ($19.99)
I mistakenly thought this was a brand new game in the Ty series, and that had me somewhat excited despite it moving the series from a 3D perspective to a 2D one. After all, such a choice in the here and now would likely be driven by having some exciting ideas or at the very least some confidence in putting together a solid platformer. This isn’t a genre where you can get away with noon-thirtying things anymore, given that even the tiniest of indies can crack out some A+ titles. Wow, what will Krome hit me with here? I started up the game with a lot of optimism.
It turns out that this game originally came out almost a decade ago. That’s my mistake for not properly researching things. This is just a port with nothing of importance added to it, as near as I can tell. The fact that I hadn’t heard of it before wasn’t an encouraging sign. And after playing it, I can see why there wasn’t much noise about it. This isn’t up to the standards of the 3D Ty games in any regard, and I don’t know that it’s even quite up to the 2D handheld spin-offs of said 3D Ty games. Outside of a bit of floatiness in the main character’s movement, it doesn’t do anything terribly wrong. You get lots of levels to play, some boomerang power-ups to collect and use, unlockable costumes and skins, some secrets to find, collectibles to pick up, and so on. It’s all quite functional.
The biggest problem is that Ty 4 is just kind of boring. It feels completely and utterly perfunctory. Like someone was making an ode to the original Rayman but forgot to put any soul into it. It’s almost entirely charmless, and that’s wild considering how much the 3D games gained from having as much personality as they did. There’s nothing inspiring about any of the mechanics or level designs. They just do what they need to and then move along so the next bit of Plain Jane content can shuffle in. It’s fine. You can play it. You won’t have a bad time. You could make a nice Sunday afternoon of it if you need to. But I can probably think of a couple dozen 2D platformers I’d recommend over this on the Switch, even just off the top of my head.
Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 4 originally came out eight years ago, and I imagine at the time it might have been nice to see any signs of life from the series. But since we’re this many years down the road without any follow-up, there’s no need to pretend this has any chance of being a Hail Mary that saves Ty and brings us the game we really want. This is a thoroughly average 2D platformer in every sense of the word, and while my mind can conjure up far worse things, I still can’t recommend this with any vigor at all.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Bud Spencer & Terence Hill: Slaps & Beans 2 ($19.99)
The original Slaps & Beans released in a very different time and place for the beat-em-up genre on Switch, and it managed to find a decent-sized audience despite it being a licensed game whose subject matter isn’t terribly well-known outside of Europe. Even in Europe, Bud Spencer and Terence Hill likely aren’t that familiar to the younger set. As for the game, by the standards of the beat-em-up genre it wasn’t very good. Some excellent pixel art, a stellar soundtrack, and a nice variety of locations could only go so far when the core fighting is so shallow and repetitive.
But Slaps & Beans didn’t need to succeed by the standards of the beat-em-up genre. Like its stars, it almost thumbs its nose at any kind of classification or rules. There are a bunch of silly mini-games and puzzle-solving sequences. There’s a ton of dialogue. It is so clearly passionate about Bud Spencer and Terence Hill that even if you don’t know them, the enthusiasm is infectious. Grab another person to play with and its madcap spirit and zippy pace makes for a really good time.
The reason I’m spending so much time talking about the first game is because Slaps & Beans 2 is another heaping ladle full of the same. It picks up exactly where the last one’s ridiculous ending left off, and it takes you through more loving homages to the duo’s films. The gameplay feels virtually untouched, though there are a few small tweaks. It’s still not very deep at all, even compared to the average beat-em-up. You’ve got even more mini-games this time, and some of them are borderline Mario Party-ish in their execution. Like before, bringing a friend along will improve the experience considerably. There’s a lot to laugh at here, and that always works out better with a pal. I only wish there was support for online multiplayer to make that an easier thing to make happen.
As with the first game, Slaps & Beans 2 isn’t a very good brawler. But that doesn’t matter that much, because it’s a very good Bud Spencer & Terence Hill game. That is its true target, and it reaches it effortlessly. If you love the duo and their movies, it’s an easy game to recommend. Likewise, your enjoyment of the first game will almost perfectly predict how you feel about this sequel. There are rough edges and flaws all over the place, and if you go into it with a critical eye you won’t have to look far to find faults. There’s just something fun about its energy that I simply cannot deny, however.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Sometimes, Whateverland feels all dressed up with nowhere to go. The premise and setting are really good. You’re a thief who was caught red-handed trying to steal from a witch, so she casts you into a world where people who give in to their vices change into shapes more befitting them. You want to get out, but you can only do that by collecting the seven pieces of a spell that will summon the witch for an appeal. Each of those pieces is in the hands of one (or two) residents of this Whateverland, and they obviously aren’t just going to hand them over. You can either get them by finding out what the person wants in return and helping them out, or by using your thieving skills to steal them. Your choice of route will determine the ending you arrive at, as well the general flow of the game itself.
The characters you meet are almost all quite interesting, but you only get to spend a short time with each of them before you’re on to the next. I prefer the good-boy route of helping them out if only to get more of a chance to learn about them. Indeed, by and large I found them more enjoyable than the main character and his sidekick, who come off like a pair of snarkers in need of someone more serious to bounce off of. I suppose I was pleased enough with how it all ended, at least. A fine enough story with more than enough charm and emotional stakes to keep you playing through.
Gameplay-wise, a lot of it is par for the point-and-click adventure course. Find this item, take it here, choose the right dialogue option, and so on. But a lot of it goes in a different way, resulting in a surprising number of mini-games that are really hit-or-miss. One strategy game-like mini-game called Bell and Bones comes up more often than that rest, and I honestly didn’t care much for it. I’m glad the mini-games are here in that they help add some spice to the affair, but some part of me feels an excess of mini-games betrays a lack of confidence in the main gameplay. It doesn’t help that some of the mini-games don’t explain themselves well or feature some wonky controls.
I’m also of two minds about the different routes. It’s nice that you’re basically getting what amounts to two games in one here, but they both feel somewhat sort and just on the edge of satisfying. I can’t help but think we could have had one great game here instead of two decent ones. I also found the thief route had the more interesting puzzles, despite being the “bad" route. One side scratches the story itch more, the other scratches the gameplay itch. I suppose that does make it worth trying them both.
Whateverland is an enjoyable point-and-click style adventure game that plays as well on Switch as anything designed around a mouse interface could. It’s not too difficult, though some of its many mini-games can be irritating. The setting and bizarre cast of characters are what carries this quest by and large, along with a strong, distinctive presentation. The two routes offer genuine replay value, though neither one feels like it reaches its full potential. Worth a pick-up for adventure game fans, and if you like the premise you’ll likely enjoy how it delivers on it.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Bilkins’ Folly ($19.99)
In this adventure game, you play as a treasure hunter named Percy Bilkins who is trying to find his lost mother and father. On his journey, his ship is wrecked in a storm, and he needs to figure out how he’s going to move forward from here. Fortunately, he’s not alone. He’s accompanied by his dog Drayton, and he’s quite the useful ally and friend. Explore the land, solve puzzles, unlock new skills, talk to the locals, and partake of a variety of mini-games as you search for answers. Maybe you’ll even find some treasure along the way?
Supfly Delivery Simulator ($9.99)
A very simple game about catching packages and delivering them. There are a few different modes to play here, including a local multiplayer mode where you can compete with another person. The eShop description claims that it is fun for hours. I find that claim to be dubious.
The Bin Bunch
Umbrella Drop ($0.99)
Madfarmer: Lost Kingdoms and Crazy Critters ($4.99)
Virtual Mom – Job Simulator Manager ($11.99)
Cooking Craze ($9.99)
4×4 Mud – Offroad Car Simulator & Truck ($11.99)
Detail Detective ($2.99)
Dungeons and Goblins ($3.99)
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Lots of things on sale today, but I’ll call out a couple of things. First of all, Warhammer 40k: Space Wolf. The license for it is expiring soon, so it’s on sale until that day. Grab it while it’s a couple of bucks if you think you’ll ever want it. Not the greatest of games but two bucks and change’s worth of fun could be had with it. Blasphemous 2 is excellent and at its lowest price yet. It will go lower in the future, but you could be having fun now. Finally, Double Dragon Gaiden has its first post-launch discount. I was lukewarm on it but you might enjoy it better. I’ll let you check out the outbox yourself, as it isn’t terribly large today.
Select New Games on Sale
The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story ($22.49 from $29.99 until 10/3)
Convergence: A League of Legends Story ($22.49 from $29.99 until 10/3)
Ninja Kidz: Time Masters ($15.99 from $19.99 until 10/7)
Rush Rally 3 ($4.99 from $14.99 until 10/8)
New Super Lucky’s Tale ($8.99 from $29.99 until 10/9)
Warhammer 40k: Space Wolf ($2.15 from $17.99 until 10/11)
Blasphemous 2 ($23.99 from $29.99 until 10/12)
Afterimage ($16.24 from $24.99 until 10/14)
Teslagrad Power Pack Edition ($19.48 from $29.98 until 10/14)
Teslagrad 2 ($12.99 from $19.99 until 10/14)
Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons ($21.24 from $24.99 until 10/14)
Cris Tales ($7.99 from $39.99 until 10/14)
Depth of Extinction ($2.99 from $14.99 until 10/19)
My Heart Grows Fonder ($7.99 from $9.99 until 10/20)
Dorfromantik ($13.49 from $14.99 until 10/20)
Time of War, Arkano ’90 ($3.14 from $14.99 until 10/20)
Kao the Kangaroo Well Good Bundle ($14.84 from $32.99 until 10/20)
Kao the Kangaroo Anniversary Edition ($22.19 from $36.99 until 10/20)
V-Rally 4 Ultimate Edition ($6.99 from $69.99 until 10/20)
WRC 8 FIA World Rally Championship ($4.99 from $49.99 until 10/20)
Chef Life – Al Forno Edition ($24.99 from $49.99 until 10/20)
WRC Generations Fully Loaded Edition ($24.99 from $49.99 until 10/20)
Rims Racing: Ultimate Edition ($13.99 from $69.99 until 10/20)
The Unicorn Princess ($3.99 from $39.99 until 10/20)
TT Isle of Man Ride on the Edge 2 ($11.99 from $59.99 until 10/20)
Another Sight ($3.99 from $39.99 until 10/20)
Tennis World Tour 2 ($9.99 from $49.99 until 10/20)
Premium Pool Arena ($2.39 from $11.99 until 10/20)
Session: Skate Sim ($24.99 from $49.99 until 10/20)
Train Life: A Railway Simulator ($14.99 from $29.99 until 10/20)
My Fantastic Ranch ($19.99 from $39.99 until 10/20)
Roguebook ($7.49 from $24.99 until 10/20)
Hunting Simulator 2: Bear Hunter Edition ($4.99 from 449.99 until 10/20)
My Little Riding Champion ($2.99 from $29.99 until 10/20)
Bee Simulator ($3.99 from $39.99 until 10/20)
WRC 9 The Official Game ($3.99 from $39.99 until 10/20)
Tennis World Tour Legends Edition ($3.49 from $34.99 until 10/20)
Rogue Lords ($7.49 from $24.99 until 10/20)
WRC 10 – Deluxe Edition ($11.99 from $59.99 until 10/20)
Monster Truck Championship Rebel Edition ($9.99 from $49.99 until 10/20)
TT Isle of Man ($4.99 from $49.99 until 10/20)
So Much Stuff CE ($10.49 from $14.99 until 10/21)
Detective Agency: Gray Tie CE ($4.49 from $14.99 until 10/21)
Detective Agency: Gray Tie 2 CE ($11.24 from $14.99 until 10/21)
Idle Zoo Park ($7.49 from $9.99 until 10/21)
My Lovely Pets CE ($4.49 from $14.99 until 10/21)
Alicia Griffith: Lakeside Murder CE ($5.99 from $14.99 until 10/21)
Brightstone Mysteries: The Others ($4.49 from $14.99 until 10/21)
Match Ventures 2 ($3.59 from $11.99 until 10/21)
Big Adventure Trip to Europe ($3.59 from $11.99 until 10/21)
Big Adventure Trip to Europe 2 CE ($4.49 from $14.99 until 10/21)
Big Adventure Trip to Europe 3 CE ($4.49 from $14.99 until 10/21)
Glitch’s Trip ($1.99 from $12.99 until 10/22)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 3rd
Aery – Flow of Time ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/3)
Aeterna Noctis ($11.99 from $29.99 until 10/3)
Alchemist Simulator ($3.73 from $12.49 until 10/3)
Arietta of Spirits ($4.99 from $19.99 until 10/3)
BroodStar ($5.50 from $11.00 until 10/3)
Convergence: A League of Legends Story ($22.49 from $29.99 until 10/3)
Descenders ($9.99 from $24.99 until 10/3)
Gimmick! Special Edition ($11.99 from $14.99 until 10/3)
Helvetii ($11.04 from $16.99 until 10/3)
Hypnospace Outlaw ($6.99 from $19.99 until 10/3)
Johnny Trigger ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/3)
Johnny Trigger: Sniper ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/3)
LOUD: My Road to Fame ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/3)
Marble It Up! Ultra ($24.99 from $29.99 until 10/3)
Not Tonight: TBC Edition ($2.49 from $24.99 until 10/3)
Nowhere Prophet ($2.49 from $24.99 until 10/3)
Nuclear Blaze ($9.74 from $14.99 until 10/3)
Sophstar ($6.49 from $12.99 until 10/3)
Sword of Glory ($2.89 from $14.99 until 10/3)
The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story ($22.49 from $29.99 until 10/3)
Touhou: New World ($22.49 from $24.99 until 10/3)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more reviews, more new releases, more sales, and possibly some news. I have a lot of things to do this week, so wish me luck in getting them done. I hope you all have a wonderful Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!