Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for October 16th, 2023. First of all, I apologize for my absence on Thursday and Friday of last week. I suddenly became quite ill in an unsavory way, and I just physically did not have the energy to do anything other than sleep and attend to the symptoms. Mikhail was thankfully able to fill in for me on Thursday, but we had to skip Friday’s edition entirely. What that means is that we have a ton of new games to catch up on, and we are going to do just that. Before we go into the summaries, however, I have a few reviews for you to check out. Silent Hope, CounterAttack: Uprising, and Knight vs Giant: The Broken Excalibur, to be exact. Finally, we’ve got some lists of sales. Let’s get back to it!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Silent Hope ($39.99)
On paper, I’m not fully sure why I liked Silent Hope as much as I did. It’s not doing anything new of note. You’re just using your chosen hero to go through procedurally-generated floors of a dungeon, defeating enemies, leveling up, getting new abilities, and gathering loot and resources as you go. A basic little hack-and-slash action-RPG whose main point of pride is in its selection of several distinct characters to master. And yet, it works. It works in the same way games like Diablo do. The basic loop of going into the dungeon, doing whatever you can, coming back to camp, upgrading whatever you can, and then heading back in for another round is as pleasing here as ever.
I think what helped this tried and true set-up shine a bit better here was in its presentation. I like the way this game looks and sounds, and the setting is compelling even if the plot doesn’t fully deliver on it. The mechanics feel like they’ve really been thought through carefully too. Each character genuinely feels distinct from the others, and the game is cool about letting you play around with them as you like while you find your favorites. As you build up each character and unlock advanced classes and abilities, the level of customization comes off as impressive not only in scope but in how well-balanced it is. You can take each character in a fair number of viable directions, and that makes you want to do just that. That in turn keeps you coming back so that you can gather up more resources and stomp more enemies in the dungeon.
Silent Hope isn’t going to light your world on fire or anything, but if you enjoy a good dungeon crawl action-RPG, it’s assuredly worth looking into. Its lack of any immediate fancy flourishes might make it seem forgettable at first, but give it time to unfold a little and I think you’ll appreciate the finer details of its design. It’s the kind of game that is all too easy to slip in and out of, and I like to keep at least a few games like that living on my Switch at all times.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
CounterAttack: Uprising ($14.99)
You know, I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this game or not. I love shoot-em-ups, but I’m kind of over the whole roguelite spin on them. It was fun for a while, but these days when I play one it just feels like it’s doing a tremendous job of wasting my time by forcing a grind to make the gameplay even a little fun. CounterAttack at first seems like it’s going for the roguelite idea, but in the end I felt it was more like a regular shooter with a ton of cool unlockables. It never came across like I had no chance to win without unlocking some key ability through replaying the game over and over.
That said, I should mention to anyone who cares about the distinction that this game probably falls more into the “Euroshmup" bucket than anything else. When I was playing it I couldn’t help but be reminded of Project-X, Team17’s classic Amiga shoot-em-up. The power-ups felt similar, the way the enemy waves came in was familiar, and the general vibe just echoed that game to me. I think, broadly speaking, that’s not a bad thing. Just be aware that’s what you’re getting into and you’ll be fine.
What really sold this game for me is the sheer amount of stuff that has been packed into it. You’ve got tons of characters and ships to choose from, a wide assortment of unlockable modifications you can earn and equip, a large number of stages to play, multiple difficulty levels and modes, local and online multiplayer, and plenty of bosses to battle. Sure, it sacrifices a lot of focus on those individual elements to achieve that, but it works. I wish the stages didn’t feel quite so samey both in terms of visuals and overall flow, but fully loading out your ship and ripping through the large waves of enemies like a hot knife through butter is its own entertainment.
CounterAttack: Uprising doesn’t offer the typical shoot-em-up appeal, nor does it lean into the roguelite end of the genre very much. It’s doing its own thing, and it’s doing it quite well. The core shooting action is pleasing and it never feels like you’re being deliberately hobbled to force a grind, but the absolutely massive list of ship modifications you can unlock still manage to feel meaningful enough to serve as proper rewards. There’s a lot to chew on here, and I think it has a lot to offer genre newcomers and veterans alike as a result.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Knight vs Giant: The Broken Excalibur ($19.99)
When I first started playing Knight vs Giant, I was having a pretty good time. The premise, which offers a slightly comedic spin on King Arthur’s legends, is solid. The controls are responsive. And the way your abilities work by channeling the power of the Knights of the Round Table is a great idea. Yes, I was having a good bit of fun in the early going. Unfortunately, this is one of those cases where the game puts its best foot forward. There just isn’t much to this game, and what little it has is parceled out slowly and in small quantities.
That leads to a more arduous grind than the usual for this genre, and that’s saying something when we’re talking about a genre as typically grind-heavy as the roguelite hack-and-slash. A grind isn’t always a bad thing, and it can actually be quite pleasing if the game is set up right. But between repetitive environments, an insufficient variety of enemy behaviors, and the slow expansion of your character’s capabilities, Knight vs Giant slips into boredom far too often.
Knight vs Giant: The Broken Excalibur has some things going for it, and it can certainly be entertaining at times. The problem is that it has too little seasoning to sprinkle over too little meat, leaving large portions of it flavorless. When the field is as crowded on Switch as it is for these top-down roguelite action games, it’s hard to vigorously recommend something that leaves you fighting off the yawns for so much of its runtime.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Kingdom Eighties ($11.99)
Stranger Things sure has a lot to answer for these days. Here’s the latest game in the Kingdom series, and it has a completely new theme to go with the familiar gameplay. See, it’s the 1980s. Instead of a caravan of wagons and horses and what-not, it’s a bunch of kids on bicycles. You aren’t traveling through spooky forests and the like, but rather passing by Not-Toys-R-Us and other comfort food-like locales. The gameplay mechanics retain the same unique charm found in the other Kingdom games, and that’s not a bad thing at all. Our pal Mikhail will be doing a review of this one as soon as he can manage it, so do look forward to that.
Pillars of Dust ($6.99)
A short and rather simple retro throwback RPG, but one with its heart in the right place to be sure. If anything it somewhat reminds me of the early efforts from Zeboyd games, albeit with considerably more straightforward combat. There are two different characters to play as, each with their own story, though you’ll have to play as both of them eventually. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, so expect a lot of terrible jokes and a world economy based on chicken nuggets. That will either be a plus or minus depending on your tastes, but it all goes down very easily as a whole.
Transformers: Earthspark – Expedition ($39.99)
I guess this is where Transformers is as a brand now, eh? Anyway, I hope you like Bumblebee, because he’s the only Transformer you get to use here. Optimus is in to give some advice, but otherwise it’s Bumblebee all day and all night. You’ve got three areas to explore and battle through as you seek to put an end to your nemesis, Mandroid. You’ll unlock new moves and abilities for Bumblebee as you go, allowing the game to check off that all-important “RPG elements" bullet point should it need to. This is the same developer that did Star Trek Prodigy: Supernova, which was okay as this kind of thing goes. Here’s hoping it’s two for two.
The Grinch: Christmas Adventures ($39.99)
I mean… sure, why not? This one comes from Outright Games, who are probably the best of the Four Horsemen of the Crappy Licensed Game Apocalypse on Switch. Up to two players can play through the story of the Grinch as he tries to steal Christmas with the help of his loyal canine friend Max. Solve some light puzzles, do some light mini-games, and help the Grinch discover what Christmas is all about. I’m sure the little ones will enjoy it, and that’s the main thing.
Haunted House ($19.99)
Atari revisits another one of its classics, this time Haunted House. Rather than go the Recharged route with this one, Atari has opted for a more full-on reimagining developed by Orbit Studio of Retro Machina fame. Sure, it’s a roguelite, but the original was something of a roguelite itself. Explore the haunted house and gather the various pieces of the urn in order to escape. I’ll have a full review of this one as soon as I put it through its paces.
A roguelite prequel to Demons of Asteborg, Astebros sees you choose one of three heroes as you battle through procedurally generated dungeons to discover their secrets. Go it alone or bring a friend via local multiplayer. An extra pair of hands might be helpful for some of the nasty bosses you’ll be battling. This was originally released as a Genesis/Mega Drive game, and I will say that it’s quite a bit of fun. If you liked Demons of Asteborg, you won’t go wrong here.
Dementium: The Ward ($19.99)
An enhanced port of a 3DS remake of a Nintendo DS game, Dementium doesn’t appear to add too much over said remake apart from some light graphical improvements and alternate control options. It’s at best an okay game, in my opinion, and one that really got by back in the day on novelty. You didn’t have many first-person shooters or horror games on the Nintendo DS, and here this was. I’m not sure it’s punching at the same weight on the Switch, but I know it definitely has its fans who will be happy to drop twenty bones on this release.
Toonsters: Crossing Worlds ($10.64)
Jumping over to the Switch from mobile, this is an action-adventure of sorts where you collect creatures called Toonsters and use them to battle others. It seems to be well-liked in its free-to-play mobile form, and I would recommend trying it out that way before dropping a ten-and-change here. I also can’t be too sure what (if any) changes were made to the game’s balance in this transition to an up-front pay model, but hopefully some were done as the mobile version is pretty badly balanced.
A hybrid of tower defense and dungeon-crawling action-adventure is something we have seen before, but very rarely. It usually works out fine enough, and I believe that to be the case here as well. You play as a dwarf tinkerer who has to dig up ancient technology to use in defense against the wicked forces of Witch-Queen Vandra. Head into the dungeons to find cool stuff, use the cool stuff in tower defense segments. Not a must-have or anything, but well-done enough that if you think it sounds good, you’ll probably like it.
Japan Train Models: JR East Edition ($13.99)
This isn’t exactly a game in the traditional sense, but it’s neat so I’m including it. What you get here is like a little model train set featuring some genuine licensed Japan Rail East trains. You can set up the scenery around the train, take pictures, and even look inside the trains. I know some folks out there love trains and have an interest in Japanese trains in particular, so here’s one for you. We don’t always see licensed stuff like this release outside of Japan.
EGGCONSOLE Relics PC-8801 ($6.49)
D4 Enterprise is bringing a take on its Egg service to the Switch, and it looks like we’re lucky enough to be seeing these get global releases. The first title is, as is customary for D4, Relics. Originally released on the PC-8801 computer line in 1986 by Bothtec, Relics sees you playing as a drifting spirit and possessing enemies to use their skills. Do note that while the wrapper is in English and a fair bit of the in-game text uses English, the game itself remains unlocalized from its original Japanese source.
Arcade Archives Guttang Gottong ($7.99)
You might better recognize this Konami classic under another name: Loco-Motion. You need to slide the rail track panels to keep the train moving safely to all of the stations on each stage. Despite being more than forty years old, this is still a rather enjoyable action-puzzler to dig into. You’ve probably played puzzles like this to death in other games by now, of course. If you’re not tired of them, you’ll have fun here.
Eventide 3: Legacy of Legends ($14.99)
Artifex Mundi has another hidden object adventure for those who enjoy them. Explore a mythical realm of Slavic folktales as you seek to rescue your missing brother. The usual Artifex Mundi quality is on display here. Not really my cup of tea, but it might be yours.
Twin Mind: Nobody’s Here Collector’s Edition ($14.99)
Ocean Media has another hidden object adventure for those who enjoy them. Two detectives find themselves trying to solve the seemingly impossible case of a murdered scientist. Not really my cup of tea, but it might be yours.
Another game making its way over from the ill-fated Intellivision Amico console’s intended launch line-up. Like the recently-released Shark Shark, this is a remake of a popular game from the original Intellivision console. Also like Shark Shark, this is a worse game than the original. The visuals are too busy and look like they came from a circa-2000 Flash game, and very little has been done to spice up the gameplay apart from tossing in some power-ups and a few boss fights. With just ten levels on offer, there isn’t a whole lot of substance here either. Honestly, this is probably the best of the three “Amico ports" BBG has released, but it’s still not something I’d recommend for fifteen bucks.
Alphadia I & II ($19.99)
Gosh, look at those pixels. This art was never meant to be seen at these resolutions, but what can you do? Kemco brings two of its older mobile RPGs to the Switch in one bundle, giving you a slight savings over the usual prices it likes to charge. That’s probably a good thing, because these games are really getting up there in years and not coming off better for it. Still, it’s nice to see Kemco not treating its library as disposable. Certain other publishers could take note.
Sakura Alien ($9.99)
Another Sakura visual novel from Gamuzumi, this time seemingly inspired by Urusei Yatsura. An alien princess lands on Earth and is determined to marry the very normal first guy she meets. She needs a visa, more or less. But said very normal first guy she meets already has two beautiful girls fighting over him. Make your choices and see who you end up with.
Trapped in the Tricky Prison ($9.99)
Oh no! You’re trapped! In a prison! And not just any prison, but a tricky one! It’s another room escape game, done in the same style we’ve seen from a dozen or so other releases from Regista. If you’re still hungry, they’ve got another bowl for you.
This is a pretty cool-looking action-RPG. You play as a guy named Jack who is apprenticing on-board an airship when something goes terribly wrong. It starts off with a murder, but it soon becomes something far more insidious. There are a handful of different routes to play through, each with different main characters and stories. I haven’t had a chance to give this a try yet, but I’m looking forward to digging into it when I do.
Chemically Bonded ($9.99)
Two friends are fighting and somehow you’ve ended up in the middle in this visual novel. Somehow you’ll not only need to mend things between the two but also figure out a way to smooch the friend of your choice. Make your decisions carefully. It’s that kind of thing.
Kittengumi: The Sakabato’s Thief ($9.99)
Well, this one is unusual, I’ll give it that much. Another visual novel, but this one stars a cat samurai and a panda who thinks he’s a cat. You’re trying to find the stolen treasures of the Kittengumi, the samurai cats who protect Nyedo. There are ten different endings, and the one you get will depend on the choices you make.
Clan’s Revenge ($4.99)
This probably should be in the Bin Bunch, but I’m sitting here trying to tell if this is someone’s earnest effort or something whipped up by AI and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feeling if it’s the former. Anyway, it’s a visual novel about two ninjas who train together, then one becomes a bad guy, then… I mean, you’ve probably seen Naruto or whatever this is ripping off. There are multiple endings, should you feel motivated to see more than one.
Buddy Canine Ballcaster ($4.99)
It’s a five dollar 3D platformer, so don’t get too excited. You play as a dog that can throw balls, and you need to use this unique talent to rescue your brother from the Goblin King (this story sounds vaguely familiar) and his minions. Dance, magic, dance? I can’t imagine finding this a worthwhile use of a fiver, but every game has at least a few fans.
I’m not sure what to make of this one. It’s a short horror game set in the Ukraine, where you play as an ordinary supermarket worker who is thrown into crisis when bombs start dropping on your city. You have to escape with your dog, your neighbor, and your neighbor’s daughter. It sounds like the set-up for something a little too real, but that attack on your city isn’t coming from anything terrestrial. Can you evade the bizarre invading monsters and get out alive?
Dino Ranch – Ride to the Rescue ($39.99)
I genuinely can’t keep track of all these licensed properties coming out on Switch these days. This is apparently a Canadian animated series aimed at pre-schoolers? Alright. It’s a mini-game collection of sorts, but it’s single-player only. Explore the ranch, gather dinosaur eggs, nurture them and hatch them, and carry out general repairs. I guess if your little one is into the series, this might be worth looking at.
A story-driven 2D scrolling shooter, or so it says on the tin. There are a few different characters to use, each with their own abilities, and you’ll have to make the optimal use of all of them if you want to repel a demonic invasion. Some slick art in places but more than a little rough around the edges. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is an exercise best left to the reader.
Bullet Rodeo ($11.99)
This is a shooting game with three stages to blast your way through. It sometimes looks like a poor man’s Wild Guns, but don’t be fooled: it’s much worse than you’re imagining. As usual, you really can’t trust the quality of a game that launches with an 80%+ discount. What that says about the output of RedDeer, who seems to do this with every game it publishes, is up to you to sort out.
This is an indie Game Boy game, so it’s not just adopting that style for nostalgia points. It’s a roguelite dungeon crawler where you have to defeat the four evil rulers at the bottom of each lair. Rather short, but sweet enough that at the price it’s going for it’s not a bad value.
Ancient Relics – Egypt ($19.99)
This is about the tenth game like this from Green Sauce Games, so there isn’t much to say. Play match-3 puzzles, collect resources, rebuild a village. There are 116 levels to play, and I will once again gesture wildly at the App Store where you can find hundreds of games just like this for free.
The Bin Bunch
Giant Chase ($0.99)
Flap Legends ($0.99)
Favela Zombie Shooter ($7.99)
The Legend of Shadow: Mask of the Force ($14.99)
Submersible Simulator – Discover the Titanic into Ocean ($12.99)
Zombie Defense ($4.99)
Zombie Raft ($4.99)
Z Escape ($4.99)
Only Way Up! Parkour Jump Simulator ($4.99)
Taxi Driver Simulator 2024 ($5.99)
Need for Spirit Drink & Drive Simulator ($6.99)
Ironsmith Medieval Simulator ($9.99)
Break the Glass Cup: Breaking Physics Puzzle ($9.99)
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Since we’re doing some catching up, the list of new sales is a bit bigger than we would usually see on a Monday. I’ll let you look through it since I’m already running a bit behind schedule. There are some nice indies in there, for sure. The outbox is smaller, with Capcom and Activision sales being the main points of interest. Check those lists!
Select New Games on Sale
A Tiny Sticker Tale ($8.49 from $9.99 until 10/20)
Warhammer 40k: Boltgun ($16.49 from $21.99 until 10/20)
Suhoshin ($9.49 from $18.99 until 10/20)
Venice 2089 ($6.29 from $6.99 until 10/21)
Sea Horizon ($8.99 from $14.99 until 10/27)
Macrotis: A Mother’s Journey ($4.19 from $11.99 until 10/27)
Spacewing War ($2.79 from $6.99 until 10/27)
Hyper-5 ($6.99 from $9.99 until 10/27)
Teratopia ($3.99 from $9.99 until 10/27)
Neko Secret Room ($3.49 from $6.99 until 10/27)
Neko Journey ($6.99 from $9.99 until 10/27)
Pretty Girls Speed ($2.99 from $5.99 until 10/27)
Pretty Girls Rivers ($2.99 from $5.99 until 10/27)
Burrow of the Fallen Bear ($9.99 from $19.99 until 10/27)
Rainbow Skies ($13.99 from $19.99 until 10/27)
Wire Lips ($3.49 from $6.99 until 10/27)
Super Chicken Jumper ($2.49 from $4.99 until 10/27)
Laserpitium ($10.49 from $14.99 until 10/27)
Cat Quest ($3.89 from $12.99 until 10/29)
Secret Summoner ($5.59 from $7.99 until 10/30)
Cosmo Dreamer ($4.10 from $8.20 until 10/30)
Like Dreamer ($8.39 from $11.99 until 10/30)
GemaBoy Zero Origins ($2.46 from $12.34 until 11/1)
Observer ($4.49 from $29.99 until 11/2)
Layers of Fear: Legacy ($2.99 from $19.99 until 11/2)
Volley Pals ($3.89 from $6.49 until 11/2)
The Medium: Cloud Vers. ($27.49 from $49.99 until 11/2)
Dashing Orange ($3.39 from $3.99 until 11/2)
Whispike Survivors ($2.09 from $2.99 until 11/2)
City Limits ($4.24 from $4.99 until 11/2)
Elderand ($9.99 from $19.99 until 11/2)
Baby Storm ($2.19 from $19.99 until 11/2)
Piczle Puzzle & Watch Collection ($1.99 from $7.99 until 11/2)
Piczle Cells ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/2)
Piczle Lines DX ($3.74 from $14.99 until 11/2)
Piczle Colors ($3.00 from $12.00 until 11/2)
Piczle Lines 2: Into the Puzzleverse ($7.49 from $14.99 until 11/2)
Dicey Dungeons ($1.99 from $14.99 until 11/2)
Pumped BMX Pro ($2.24 from $14.99 until 11/2)
For the King ($6.24 from $24.99 until 11/2)
Embr ($4.99 from $19.99 until 11/2)
Just Die Already ($3.74 from $14.99 until 11/2)
Human: Fall Flat ($5.99 from $19.99 until 11/2)
Chemically Bonded ($7.99 from $9.99 until 11/3)
Paper io 2 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/3)
Hole io ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/3)
Sakura Alien ($7.99 from $9.99 until 11/3)
Build a Bridge! ($2.24 from $14.99 until 11/3)
Bridge Builder Adventure ($2.24 from $14.99 until 11/3)
Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise ($1.99 from $19.99 until 11/4)
Truck Simulator ($1.99 from $13.99 until 11/4)
Street Racing: Tokyo Rush ($2.79 from $13.99 until 11/4)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 17th
Andro Dunos 2 ($5.99 from $19.99 until 10/17)
Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium, Assorted ($0.99 from $1.99 until 10/17)
Capcom Arcade Stadium, Assorted ($0.99 from $1.99 until 10/17)
Crash Bandicoot Crashiversary Bundle ($39.99 from $99.99 until 10/17)
Crime O’Clock ($15.99 from $19.99 until 10/17)
Death’s Gambit: Afterlife ($12.99 from $19.99 until 10/17)
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus ($11.99 from $14.99 until 10/17)
Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro ($4.99 from $19.99 until 10/17)
How 2 Escape ($11.99 from $14.99 until 10/17)
LISA: Definitive Edition ($19.99 from $24.99 until 10/17)
Neversong ($4.49 from $14.99 until 10/17)
Smile For Me ($11.24 from $14.99 until 10/17)
Sqroma ($2.99 from $8.99 until 10/17)
The Wonderful 101 Remastered ($17.99 from $39.99 until 10/17)
Virgo Versus The Zodiac ($15.99 from $19.99 until 10/17)
Where the Water Tastes Like Wine ($3.99 from $19.99 until 10/17)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more reviews, more new releases, more sales, and perhaps some news. Personally, I’m just happy that I’m able to stomach solid foods again. A guy can only get by so long on liquids! I hope you all have a magnificent Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!