Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for November 13th, 2023. In today’s article, we kick off the week with a handful of reviews. I take a look at Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 and WarioWare: Move It!, while our pal Mikhail has his views on Risk of Rain Returns and Star Ocean The Second Story R. After that, we have some new releases to look at. They’re not too exciting today, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Finally, we have the usual lists of new and outgoing sales. That’s good enough for a Monday, I reckon. Let’s get to work!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 ($59.99)
I have a lot of mixed feelings about Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1. In terms of gaming bang for your buck, it’s an incredible deal. For the cost of one full-priced game, you not only get the extremely consistent and utterly fantastic first three Metal Gear Solid games, but also the two surprisingly well-aged MSX original games and the not-so-well-aged pair of NES Metal Gear games. There are also some incredible extra materials here for the main games in the form of the Master Books and Screenplay Books. You also get the Digital Graphic Novels and a soundtrack. That’s pretty wild for sixty bucks.
On the other hand, when it comes to the games themselves, it’s very much a “what you see is what you get" approach. Don’t look for a lot of extra options or toggles or anything. You’re getting the games more or less as-is, and in the case of some of them, at a worse framerate than the originals. I think they’re perfectly playable, even if it is a bit weird to see, say, Metal Gear Solid 2 running at 30 fps rather than 60 fps. But there is certainly a sense that Konami probably could have and should have done more in this regard.
Those games are really great, though. Sure, the convoluted controls and awkward camera angles remind you that these aren’t games from the current year, but give yourself some time to settle in and you’ll be fine. The stories are corny in all the right ways, and the stealth gameplay is top-notch. I’m not very much into stealth as a game concept, but I’ve always liked the Metal Gear games. That, I believe, is a testament to how well these games carry themselves. You’re rewarded for being crafty, but you aren’t punished too severely for messing up.
Starting from the first game on the MSX and working your way through, it’s amazing seeing how the basic concepts laid down in the original were realized better and more fully as time passed. We’ll have to wait until the second volume to get the end of Snake and Big Boss’s stories, but at least in my opinion Metal Gear didn’t get much better than what we’ve got here. Metal Gear Solid 3 in particular is almost a perfect realization of the Metal Gear concept. If you’ve never played these games before, or even if you’ve only played one or two of them, you’ve got a lot of good times ahead of you with this collection. And Snake’s Revenge is good for a laugh or two, as well.
I think Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 could have been better than it is, particularly with regards to performance and game options. Still, when I take what is in front of me for what it is, it’s an easy title to recommend. You get a bunch of absolutely top-tier games to play and some really cool extra materials to dig through. Sure, there isn’t much new here for people who have played these games before. But for those craving Metal Gear on the go, or those who somehow haven’t dug into these titles in the past, Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 is a fantastic value.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
WarioWare: Move It! ($49.99)
We’re deep enough into the WarioWare series now that the sheer novelty of the idea has worn down a fair bit. To the team’s credit, it has done its best to take advantage of the many gimmicks in Nintendo’s various consoles to try to keep finding new creative ways to surprise players with the various micro-games that serve as the backbone of each title. But the Switch is a bit light on fresh gimmicks to leverage, and this isn’t even the first WarioWare game on the console. WarioWare: Move It! opts to take another swing at a previous title’s angle, most closely resembling 2006’s WarioWare: Smooth Moves on the Wii.
There are a couple of problems with this, though. First of all, Smooth Moves wasn’t exactly peak WarioWare. It made heavy use of motion controls, and required players to take on a variety of stances and grips to play the micro-games. This somewhat slowed down the frantic nature of the gameplay, but also added a lot of complexity to a formula that works best when operating on pure reflex. Move It! suffers from the same issue, and indeed my casual gaming wife found it all a bit too confusing to deal with. My son and I play a lot more games and didn’t have as much trouble with it, but then the other problem cropped up. It’s not an unfamiliar one, either. The Switch Joy-Cons really aren’t great with motion controls. Most of the time, things worked. But inaccuracies and accidental movements happened enough to annoy both of us a few too many times.
Like most other WarioWare games, this isn’t a very lengthy affair. Clearing the story mode takes about an hour, and unlocking all the micro-games you missed might add on another hour or so. There are some extra party modes, and they’re fine, and you’ve got the usual score attack options along with an unlockable marathon mode. You can also try to unlock all the different Sacred Poses, but that’s fairly thin gruel as replay value goes. Some of the WarioWare games have fun unlockable toys and such, but there’s nothing like that here, as far as I could find. After a few hours, it felt like my family had largely exhausted everything Move It! had to offer.
It’s also important to note that to play this game you need detached Joy-Cons, and you need to have the straps on them because you’ll have to drop them for some micro-games. Switch Lite players need not apply. I did enjoy most of the micro-games, and as usual the 9-Volt throwbacks to other Nintendo games are a treat. The game is very funny, and you can’t help but laugh at some of the sheer weirdness on display. But I can say that for any WarioWare game, so I can’t give it too many extra points for that.
In the end, WarioWare: Move It! is a decent follow-up to Smooth Moves on the Wii, but it really doesn’t add up to much more than that. A little too complicated for casual play with those who don’t have a lot of familiarity with games, and a little too inaccurate and light on things to do for more experienced players. With the right mix of players you can have a lot of fun here for a few hours, but I find myself unable to recommend it with much vigor.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Star Ocean The Second Story R ($49.99)
When Square Enix revealed Star Ocean The Second Story R, I was unsure about its aesthetic. As a huge fan of the HD 2D style in Octopath Traveler, Live A Live, and Triangle Strategy, Star Ocean The Second Story R was trying something different, and I initially was against it. When the demo was released, I was sold. I didn’t spend much time on the demo because I knew I’d get the game, and I’ve now been playing it on Switch, Steam Deck, and PS5 for this review which will focus on the Switch version.
My experience with the Star Ocean series isn’t as exhaustive yet, because I’ve only been playing the games following the launch of Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness (5) which I didn’t enjoy much. I did however end up liking Star Ocean: First Departure R (1), and loved Star Ocean The Divine Force (6) despite its flaws. I haven’t beaten Star Ocean The Last Hope (4) and only recently got the digital version of Star Ocean Till the End of Time on PS5. For Star Ocean 2, Star Ocean The Second Story R has been my first experience with it, and what a game this is!
Star Ocean The Second Story, is a remake of tri-Ace’s PS1 action RPG by Gemdrops in a new visual style that blends 3D environments and modern effects with 2D characters and sprites. I feel like the only aspect of this remake that might not appeal to everyone is the aesthetic. It took me a bit to get used to it, and I love it now, but I can see people not liking it. For this reason, I recommend trying the free demo if you are on the fence.
When you begin Star Ocean The Second Story R, you get to pick one of two protagonists with different endings. Since I’ve been playing Star Ocean The Second Story R on multiple platforms, I’ve been going for different endings and trying to sample how varied the game gets. I’m impressed. Not only does the combat change up quite a bit, but I found myself enjoying this more so than prior Star Ocean games by a lot. I almost want to experience the PS1 game now, but 2023 is too busy for that, and I’m deep into Heavensward on PS5.
With no random encounters (thankfully) and varied combat possibilities, the best part of Star Ocean The Second Story R‘s gameplay is how easily you can break the balance. I love when games let you push things enough through the in-game systems to completely get overpowered early on or just mess around enough with no real penalty.
What I love the most about Star Ocean The Second Story R, is how it feels like a modern RPG in so many ways thanks to the quality of life features and accessibility options. In addition to those, Gemdrops and Square Enix have multiple voice and soundtrack options as well. I feel like the only additional thing I’d have wanted is a way to play with the original visuals, but that is obviously too much to ask, and I’d only try it as a curiosity.
When I end up enjoying a game I’m reviewing a lot, I try to grab the physical copy sooner than later. With Star Ocean The Second Story R, I bought it on both PS5 and Switch after a few hours of playing beyond the demo. I also have the game on Steam Deck, so why not give you a brief comparison? Based on my time spent in all versions of the game, my favorites are the Switch and Steam Deck versions by far. The PS5 version is fine, but the lack of any proper DualSense feature support makes it hard to care about that when I have a great portable version available.
On Switch, the only real complaint I have is the draw distance being a bit too close. The PS5 version isn’t a ton better here, and I even think the distance is too short on PC when using the maximum settings. This might’ve been an aesthetic choice from Gemdrops. Barring that, I’ve enjoyed the game on Switch and Steam Deck a lot. Given how it looks and runs on PS5, the Switch version is very good, and I have no qualms in recommending it.
Star Ocean The Second Story R is incredible. As someone new to this specific game in the series, it is equal parts stunning and mechanically stimulating with a superb soundtrack. I hope Square Enix gives more classics this treatment, because Star Ocean The Second Story R ended up delivering in every aspect. I have no qualms recommending this to any fan of RPGs, and you absolutely should play the demo. -Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 5/5
Risk of Rain Returns ($14.99)
When Risk of Rain Returns was announced, I wondered why we even needed a remaster. The original Risk of Rain is one of my favorite games of all time. I own it and have played it on every platform, and even spent too much on the Limited Run Games releases for PS Vita including the vinyl soundtrack. I consider the original a near-perfect game and regularly listen to its music. When I got access to Risk of Rain Returns on PC and more-recently Switch, I finally understood why it exists.
If you’ve never played Risk of Rain, it has always been a great accessible roguelike that’s difficult to master. It offers tons of combinations of playable characters, loot, levels, bosses, and more. I love the pace of unlocks and absolute chaos possible even in early runs of the game. The team working on this release clearly aimed to make Risk of Rain Returns replace the original, because it does that with grace.
Risk of Rain Returns looks and runs better than the original, but more importantly, it actually is amazing to play online and doesn’t have any of the online issues I ran into with the original. It also helps that the super-talented Chris Christodoulou remastered the original soundtrack and did more for this release. His music is very much a huge part of why I adore the original (and Risk of Rain 2), so this was great to see.
Risk of Rain Returns on Switch feels perfect on the platform. There are some performance issues when things get too busy, but it isn’t remotely as bad as Risk of Rain 2. One aspect I want to highlight is touchscreen support for the interface. This isn’t something I expected, but it is good to see. It also supports local co-op on the same system with a single Joy-Con each meaning it is a lovely portable couch or coffee shop (yes) co-op game to play.
The only things I’d like to see added in potential future updates, are cross platform online play, and performance improvements. Everything else here is basically more than I had hoped for in a remaster. Bringing elements of Risk of Rain 2 to Risk of Rain 1 and doing more makes this feel like Risk of Rain 1.5 in many ways, but it definitely is the best version of Risk of Rain, and an essential for Nintendo Switch owners.
Risk of Rain Returns does enough to feel fresh, but manages to nail what I loved about the original with my rose tinted memories of it from back in the day. On Switch, performance isn’t perfect during the late-game, but everything else is perfect, and I’ve had a ton of fun playing it online and offline on both Switch and Steam Deck. This is how a classic indie game should be revived for modern platforms. -Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 5/5
This seems interesting. Our pal Mikhail is going to review it, I think, so we’ll find out soon enough if it lives up to the potential. Basically, you have to run a bathhouse for spirits. Not just the business end of it, but also making sure you deal with their problems, make them comfortable, keeping them around the other spirits they like and away from the ones they don’t, and so on. You aren’t just dealing with ghosts, either. The townspeople have their own schedules and lives, and you’ll have to interact with them as well. Happily, there’s a demo available for this game if you want to give it a try yourself.
Yes, people certainly will. This is a management board game, and you can play it with others but only if everyone has their own Switch consoles and copies of the game. Up to four can play that way. It seems fun enough, with a bit of depth to keep it from being just another Monopoly wannabe, but the localization is more than a little awkward and the effort required for multiplayer hurts its appeal a lot.
As dining goes, this is not the fanciest of affairs. But if you want a platform game that appears to be cobbled together from various pre-made assets where you guide a casually-dressed fellow as he goes up, and only up, this might be your ticket.
Kumi-Daiko Beatoff ($2.99)
Okay, yes. That’s quite the title. Anyway, this is a very simple game, but I think the price is fair for that kind of thing. You are a mask that drags around a drum on a string, and you have to swing the drum to take out Tengu masks or other players. Up to four people can join in via local multiplayer, and you can either cooperate to take out the Tengus or battle each other until only one mask is left standi… er, floating? Flying? It’s amusing enough.
The Bin Bunch
Drive Hard ($0.99)
Hoop Shoot ($0.99)
Jet Ski Mania Aqua Rush ($12.99)
Highway Moto Racing Rush 2023 Simulator ($12.99)
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Some decent games in the list of new sales today. Dredge, the Saboteur games, Devastator, and more are all at very decent prices worth considering. The outbox has a lot of the usual stuff in it, but there might be something you’re looking for in there. Give both lists a look and see what jumps out at you.
Select New Sales
Raid on Taihoku ($7.69 from $10.99 until 11/18)
Female Nation Takeover ($9.95 from $19.90 until 11/18)
Overlord: Escape From Nazarick ($14.99 from $29.99 until 11/20)
Adv. of Elena Temple: Definitive ($1.99 from $3.99 until 11/20)
Dredge ($18.74 from $24.99 until 11/23)
Shukuchi Ninja ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/25)
Devastator ($2.09 from $6.99 until 11/25)
Inferno 2 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/25)
The Bug Butcher ($1.99 from $7.99 until 11/25)
Luckslinger ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/25)
Rise of Fox Hero ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/25)
Freak Crossing ($3.99 from $4.99 until 11/25)
Lamentum ($6.39 from $15.99 until 11/27)
Hazel Sky ($9.99 from $24.99 until 11/27)
The Legend of Tianding ($9.99 from $19.99 until 11/27)
Gardenia ($10.49 from $14.99 until 12/1)
Time Of War, Arkano ’90 ($2.69 from $14.99 until 12/1)
Sakura Alien ($7.99 from $9.99 until 12/1)
RiffTrax: The Game ($4.99 from $9.99 until 12/1)
What the Dub?! ($3.99 from $7.99 until 12/1)
Sudoku Universe ($1.99 from $6.99 until 12/1)
Quantum Storm ($3.49 from $4.99 until 12/1)
Freedom Finger ($3.99 from $7.99 until 12/1)
Saboteur! ($5.60 from $8.00 until 12/1)
Saboteur II: Avenging Angel ($5.60 from $8.00 until 12/1)
Saboteur SiO ($7.69 from $10.99 until 12/1)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, October 14th
Aeterna Noctis ($11.99 from $29.99 until 11/14)
Akuto: Showdown ($1.99 from $7.99 until 11/14)
Arcane Arts Academy ($1.99 from $7.99 until 11/14)
Blade of Darkness ($3.74 from $14.99 until 11/14)
Children of Morta ($5.49 from $21.99 until 11/14)
CounterAttack: Uprising ($11.24 from $14.99 until 11/14)
Death’s Hangover ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/14)
Demon Turf ($12.49 from $24.99 until 11/14)
Demon Turf: Neon Splash ($3.49 from $4.99 until 11/14)
Descenders ($8.74 from $24.99 until 11/14)
Door Kickers ($1.99 from $11.99 until 11/14)
Everdream Valley ($14.99 from $24.99 until 11/14)
Family Man ($1.99 from $19.99 until 11/14)
Fashion Police Squad ($14.99 from $19.99 until 11/14)
Good Night, Knight ($1.99 from $11.99 until 11/14)
LOUD: My Road to Fame ($1.99 from $7.99 until 11/14)
Moonlighter ($2.49 from $24.99 until 11/14)
Neodori Forever ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/14)
Not Tonight ($2.49 from $24.99 until 11/14)
Nowhere Prophet ($2.49 from $24.99 until 11/14)
Real Boxing 2 ($1.99 from $14.99 until 11/14)
Run Sausage Run ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/14)
Sausage Wars ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/14)
Sword of Glory ($2.49 from $14.99 until 11/14)
Tharsis ($1.99 from $11.99 until 11/14)
Timothy & the Mysterious Forest ($1.99 from $7.99 until 11/14)
Welcome to Primrose Lake ($1.99 from $7.99 until 11/14)
Whateverland ($8.99 from $14.99 until 11/14)
Zombie Blast Crew ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/14)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more reviews, new games, sales, and perhaps some news if something pops up. I’m still not back to my full power yet, and I’ll be meeting with my doctor on Wednesday for a follow-up. Hopefully I don’t end up right back in the hospital! Fingers crossed and all that. I hope you all have a magnificent Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!