Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for August 12th, 2019. Today is a holiday in Japan, and indeed many people are off for the whole week. Not this guy, though. I’m here to deliver you all the hottest news, all the great new releases, all the… what? There aren’t any new releases? Almost no news? Hunh. Well, I’ve got three reviews for you to enjoy, and of course all of the usual sales stuff. I guess we’ll have to make do with what we’ve got. Let’s go!
‘Pinball’ and ‘Water Ski’ Will Join the Arcade Archives Line-Up
With a release virtually each and every week, the Arcade Archives from Hamster is in a near-perpetual state of having new titles revealed. Normally I don’t cover these because there are so many of them and the games tend to come out pretty quickly, but it’s a slow day, so here we are. The latest confirmations came via a Famitsu livestream that was held in the middle of last week. Nintendo’s Pinball and Taito’s Water Ski will be released on the Switch at some point in the relatively near future. No specific dates were given, unfortunately. Neither of these titles are what you would call barn-burners, but they’re fun enough in short bursts.
Subdivision Infinity DX ($14.99)
Space games really do run the gamut in terms of complexity. It’s one of the earliest themes video games explored, though early efforts weren’t much more than simple shooting galleries. In a sense, that’s mainly what Subdivision Infinity DX is, too. There are lot of other little bits and bobs attached to it, but the main business is in shooting things of various shapes and sizes. All the gravity-free thrills of interstellar dogfighting, and very little of the administrative work that goes into some games of that sort. I enjoyed the game quite a bit in its mobile form, and I still generally like it here. I’m not sure if the improvements quite make up for the price being three times higher, but it is what it is.
You play as a pilot who ends up in over his head after investigating a distress signal. You end up with a smart-aleck robot sidekick, and things keep on escalating as the game works its way through the 30 or so main story missions. But you’ll probably check out on the actual plot early on. It’s not very interesting. What is interesting is going into space and shooting hostile baddies. That’s what you’ll be doing, by and large, with the occasional diversion into space-mining and space-exploring. You’ll earn resources and materials that can be rolled into new weapons, upgrades, and even new ships.
The combat is a lot of fun, and being able to play with buttons makes it that much easier. This is where the game shines its brightest, as twisting and turning around in space and picking off the overwhelming number of enemies gunning for you just feels great. Your skill can certainly overcome some wild odds, but eventually you’re going to need to upgrade your ship, and that’s where things go a little off the rails. The amount of resources you have coming in don’t quite match up to your needs, so you’ll have to spend some time grinding on the side missions. Those side missions are the least fun part of the game, so having to repeat them to get your equipment up to snuff for the bits that are fun to play is kind of exhausting.
Unfortunately, this DX version doesn’t offer much more than upgraded visuals, and even that’s fairly meager. If you’re looking for substantial new content or a serious re-balancing to smooth out the difficulty spikes, you won’t find that here. This is largely the same game that the mobile original was, with all the good and bad that implies. It’s a shame because what felt like a deal at five dollars feels a little thin for fifteen. Most people will reach the end within five or six hours of play, and there isn’t a whole lot of replay value here.
If you’re just looking for some cheap space shooting thrills, Subdivision Infinity DX will definitely scratch the itch well. It’s a nice-looking game with good controls that really gives you a strong feeling of battling in space. There’s a bit of less-exciting grinding that you’ll have to occasionally engage in if you want to keep up with the rising difficulty or simply want to enjoy all of the available ships and weapons, and the lack of extra missions over the mobile original means the party ends a little earlier than you might hope. Still, it’s a solid game that suits the big-screen play and portability of the Switch in equal measures.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Taimumari: Complete Edition ($14.99)
Taimumari: Complete Edition includes two games in one package. The first game is the main one, Taimumari. It’s a side-scrolling action-platformer designed to appeal to fans of classic games. The second is Legend of Himari, and although it’s really more of a mini-game than anything, it’s pretty fun on its own. It’s basically a straight combat mode where you battle until you drop. The controls and basic mechanics are quite different between the two games. It sounds like a compelling deal, but the first game isn’t exactly brimming with content and the latter is effectively a simple spin-off.
In Taimumari you have to tackle several stages that each culminate in a showdown with a boss character. You can choose the order in which you take on the first four stages, but with difficulty varying wildly between them, it’s better to leave certain ones for later. You start off with a basic set of moves. You can double-jump, cling to walls, dash, air-dash, swing a sword, and fire off a straight bolt of magical energy. As you progress, you’ll uncover new magical powers that typically relate to the boss of the stage you find them in. You’ll also collect lots of stars that can be exchanged at the hub town for upgrades to various parameters. With this system, you can upgrade your health, attack, and so on. You can also buy extra lives.
You’ll need those lives, because should you run out during a stage, you’ll get a choice to be kicked back to the beginning of the stage or the hub town. Stages are pretty long and often contain quite a few deadly challenges of their own, so running out of lives near the end or when facing the stage boss can be incredibly disheartening. Bosses have patterns that are easy enough to spot but rarely simple to dodge. Beating them is really just a matter of learning how they move and getting your licks in where you can. The stages themselves are unfortunately quite rife with one-hit kills in the form of spikes, pits, and crushers. The collision detection generally isn’t too bad, but some of these hazards can be less than generous. Checkpoints are reasonably placed so long as your lives hold out.
Although Taimumari claims it’s reaching back to 8- and 16-bit classics, its level designs feel a lot more modern. You’ll have to do all kinds of tricky mid-air moves with your air dash and wall jump just to get through the main path of each stage, and gathering up all the collectables is a big ask at times. The main character Himari moves around a lot like Mega Man X or Zero, but the obstacles you’ll have to overcome feel more like they’re drawn from the likes of Super Meat Boy or Celeste. It’s a tough game, and you’ll almost certainly have to try some of the stages multiple times to clear them.
That said, the controls are good, the boss patterns are fun to figure out, and the secrets are enjoyable to suss out even if they require a fair bit of skill to nab at times. It’s a fine enough game, even if its difficulty curve sometimes feels like you’re driving at full-speed down a road full of pot holes. There’s definitely some enjoyment to be had here if you’re not easily driven off by frustration. Sadly, the game wraps up after a short number of stages, making for a relatively brief romp on the whole.
As for the Legend of Himari, it feels a lot like a mobile game. Your chosen character stands in the middle of the screen. Enemies will start to rush in from all directions, and you have to fend them off with a combination of sword strikes and screen taps. If you’re not playing in handheld mode, there’s a cursor you can move around and use to virtually tap things. Airborne enemies like birds needs to be tapped to be defeated, and items have to be tapped to pick them up. Anyway, survive as long as you can and you’ll be awarded with some stars. Uses those stars to buy new characters, rinse and repeat. It’s amusing and generally less aggravating than the main game, though it’s obviously not a great experience if you’re playing docked.
Both games have their share of problems, and even as a set it’s hard to say if you’ll get what you’d like out of it. I had some fun with both games, though the first was a bit too frustrating at times and the second got repetitive pretty quickly. I’d be remiss if I failed to point out that you can buy both of these games for a much cheaper price on computer, if that’s an option for you. If you somehow find yourself starved for a platformer on Switch, you can definitely do worse than Taimumari, but you could easily do a lot better, too.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Wordsweeper by POWGI ($7.99)
Lightwood Games has a niche that they serve consistently and quite well. Wordsweeper by POWGI is aimed squarely at that audience, and I imagine they’ll be quite content with what it has to offer. Like many of the publisher’s other games, this is a logic puzzle involving words. The presentation is spartan, the puzzle count is high, and the challenge level is just high enough to keep you occupied. It’s a fine little thing to keep on your Switch for those moments when you don’t want to get too involved with something but need to kill a few minutes.
The basic idea here is to twist the familiar concept of Minesweeper with a word puzzle. You’re given what looks like a crossword grid but with some letters in the unused portions of the board. Those letters tell you the possible choices for the cells adjacent to them. You have to use logical deduction to determine which letters go where, making words as you go. Since the possible choice of letters for each cell is limited, you can kind of stumble your way through without even using the hints in some cases. It’s really interesting initially, but once you understand the method it becomes rather easy to solve even the harder puzzles.
The game’s 120 puzzles are broken up into four groups that are supposed to represent different levels of difficulty. Honestly, I didn’t notice much of a difference in terms of how tough they were. But hey, 120 puzzles is a pretty good number. Each one takes at least a couple of minutes to clear, so you’re looking at at least four or five hours of word-guessing fun. Beating each puzzle treats you to a joke from the POWGI dog, which is a fine reward if I ever saw one. Otherwise, it’s as bare-bones as it gets as far as presentation goes. You get some simple music along with plain menus, but I do like that you can get into a game very quickly from start-up. In-game, there are a couple of nice touches like graying out used letters and indicating a letter conflict using a striking red color.
Anyway, you probably already know if this kind of game is your thing or not. The novelty of this one really had me keen on it early on, but over the course of playing its puzzles I found them starting to melt together, never really asking for anything new of me. After that, the game settled into the same sort of groove that most of Lightwood’s titles live in. Like a box of crackers it’s probably not going to be anyone’s first choice, but once you’ve opened it and popped the first cracker in your mouth, you probably won’t stop until the box has been mysteriously emptied.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Oh hey, the Turok games are on sale. That’s a first. Other than that, we’ve got a few new releases doing launch or pre-order discounts, and a few of the usual suspects. Well, we can’t have one hundred new sales every day, friends. As for the outbox, I think most of it will be back around before too long. You may want to grab Dragon Ball FighterZ, though. It will surely be on sale again, but it’s hard to say if the price will be that low.
New Games on Sale
Turok ($14.99 from $19.99 until 8/16)
Turok 2: Seeds of Evil ($16.99 from $19.99 until 8/16)
Tactics V: Obsidian Brigade ($19.99 from $24.99 until 8/19)
Sagebrush ($4.79 from $5.99 until 8/26)
Super Ping Pong Trick Shot ($2.49 from $4.99 until 8/27)
Ginger: Beyond the Crystal ($7.99 from $19.99 until 8/19)
Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today ($5.99 from $14.99 until 8/19)
Bingo ($2.49 from $4.99 until 8/27)
Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle ($9.99 from $19.99 until 8/14)
Animal Hunter Z ($4.99 from $9.99 until 8/27)
Ping Pong Trick Shot Evolution ($2.49 from $4.99 until 8/27)
Pizza Parking ($1.49 from $5.99 until 8/29)
Caterpillar Royale ($2.49 from $4.99 until 8/27)
My Big Sister ($4.19 from $5.99 until 8/26)
Devious Dungeon ($4.79 from $7.99 until 8/26)
Plantera Deluxe ($2.99 from $4.99 until 8/26)
Squareboy vs Bullies: Arena ($2.99 from $4.99 until 8/26)
36 Fragments of Midnight ($1.79 from $2.99 until 8/26)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 13th
Avenger Bird ($1.19 from $1.99 until 8/13)
Catch a Duck ($4.24 from $4.99 until 8/13)
Chicken Rider ($1.99 from $3.99 until 8/13)
Cinderella – An Interactive Fairytale ($4.79 from $5.99 until 8/13)
Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! ($6.49 from $12.99 until 8/13)
Dead Dungeon ($1.99 from $4.99 until 8/13)
Dragon Ball FighterZ ($17.99 from $59.99 until 8/13)
Driving School Original ($11.99 from $14.99 until 8/13)
Event Horizon ($1.79 from $5.99 until 8/13)
Figment ($9.99 from $19.99 until 8/13)
Garage Mechanic Simulator ($5.94 from $6.99 until 8/13)
Godly Corp ($3.99 from $7.99 until 8/13)
Green Game: TimeSwapper ($0.29 from $2.99 until 8/13)
Guess the Word ($0.56 from $1.89 until 8/13)
Hyper Sentinel ($0.90 from $12.99 until 8/13)
I Wanna Fly ($1.25 from $2.42 until 8/13)
Little Shopping ($0.44 from $1.49 until 8/13)
Paper Wars: Cannon Fodder Devastated ($0.99 from $9.99 until 8/13)
Red Game Without a Great Name ($0.29 from $2.99 until 8/13)
Santa Tracker ($0.99 from $2.99 until 8/13)
Space Ribbon ($0.99 from $4.99 until 8/13)
Super Dragon Ball Heroes World Mission ($35.99 from $59.99 until 8/13)
Tardy ($2.99 from $9.99 until 8/13)
Theatre Tales ($1.11 from $1.49 until 8/13)
That will do it for today, friends. I think we did the best we could given what we had to work with. Luckily, tomorrow definitely has some new releases to look at, so even if the news is a dud we won’t be left totally empty-handed. I’ll see you all then. Have a great day, and as always, thanks for reading!