Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for March 9th, 2020. In today’s article, we’ve got a review of the recently-released Kemono Heroes, Mini-Views of a couple of puzzle games, summaries of the latest releases, and as usual a nice big list of sales to check out. Not so much news, but that’s perhaps understandable given the general state of affairs at the moment. Let’s check it out!
Kemono Heroes ($14.99)
Kemono Heroes is a side-scrolling action-platformer that allows up to four players to team up using a variety of animal characters, each with their own unique ability to differentiate them. Wow, that is an extremely clinical description. The truth is that I ran through this game by myself in a single sitting, then ran through it again in multiplayer, and while I had a good enough time in both modes I can’t say the experience really stuck with me. It’s a solidly-built albeit somewhat brief action game, the kind of thing that used to crop up on mobile devices every now and then.
The story involves some sort of evil moon god turning your friends into stone. You set out as one of four characters to defeat the wicked deity and set things right again. In terms of basic functions, all four characters are similar. At the outset, they can jump, perform a melee attack, throw a ranged weapon, and use a screen-clearing magic attack. As you progress through the game, you’ll gain access to new tools and abilities like a grappling hook and block-destroying bombs. Each character also has one ability that is entirely their own. One character can shimmy along vines strewn about the stages, another can climb walls, another can glide, and the last can transform into copies of the enemies.
As you defeat enemies and open treasure chests in each stage, you’ll earn coins that you can spend at shops to upgrade your weapons, life meter, and magic attack. If you’re playing alone, you’ll earn more than enough coins to upgrade everything before the end of the game, but the economy can be a little tighter in multiplayer. The multiplayer mode is more difficult in general, as the game scales its challenge based on how many people are playing. Boss battles that were a breeze in one-player were sometimes quite nasty with other players joining in. On the whole, though, Kemono Heroes is quite manageable.
I did find myself wishing the game had just a bit more to it. The overall length from start to finish isn’t bad, but there’s a whole lot of recycling of content included in that. On top of that, the unique animal abilities feel like an afterthought most of the time. Sure, you technically have access to marginally different routes, but it’s not like the game’s stages are very complex in their design. It’s more a choice of sticking to the upper half of the screen versus the bottom half. And once you get the grappling hook, even that becomes largely moot.
Nevertheless, I did enjoy playing through Kemono Heroes. The presentation is nice, with some really gorgeous spritework to take in, and the controls are very responsive. The overall brevity and somewhat plain nature of the action mean that it’s not exactly the most memorable of experiences, and those going the multiplayer route are going to find the game a bit nasty in its difficulty in places. For the price point it’s currently at, it feels just a little on the slight side. But if you’re looking for an enjoyable side-scrolling romp that to play with friends, Kemono Heroes may well fit the bill.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Unlock The King ($0.99)
I like chess puzzles a lot, but I recognize that they can be a bit opaque for people who aren’t already familiar with the game of chess. That’s perhaps what makes Unlock The King such a clever little game. This is technically a batch of 100 chess puzzles, but they’re so bite-sized and abstract that I think the appeal here is much broader than usual. The idea in each puzzle is to move pieces to create a path for the king to reach the goal. Each board has a different shape and size to it, so you’re not moving pieces around on a full board by any means. The pieces do follow standard chess rules of movement, but that’s easy enough to pick up if you aren’t already familiar. As a big fan of logic puzzles I had a really good time completing this one, and for the price it’s a real steal.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
While I’m not as big a fan of 3D Picross as I am of the regular variety, it’s safe to say that those who enjoy that particular subset are criminally under-served on the Switch. There are probably somewhere near twenty regular Picross games available on the platform, and unless I’ve missed something along the way, I believe Voxelgram is the first 3D-style release. And it’s not bad at all. You get a good amount of puzzles for the price, and I like the way the game organizes them into little dioramas that get completed as you check off each puzzle. You get your choice of button controls or touch controls if you’re playing handheld, with the latter generally working a lot better than the former. Unfortunately, those button controls take some real getting used to, and if you’re playing on your TV you’re stuck with them. Still, you can get used to them and if you do you’ll find this a rather pleasant whack at the 3D Picross concept.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Welcome to Primrose Lake ($7.99)
Let’s hope Primrose Lake goes better than my visit to Jurassic Park. Anyway, sometimes a screenshot tells you almost everything you need to know about a game, and that’s mostly the case here. You can easily see that this game is a Diner Dash-style time management deal where you need to serve customers the food they want before they get impatient and leave. You can also see by the text on the screenshot that this is a port of a mobile game. Indeed, you can play a bit of it for free on your mobile device, but the full game unlock IAP on the App Store is more expensive than what they’re charging here. That’s nice! And as for what the screenshot doesn’t tell you? There’s a weird mystery story happening here that gets told as you complete the game’s 60 story stages. Well, it’s something.
Of all the mediocre top-down twin-stick shooters on the Switch, this is certainly one of the cheaper ones. It certainly looks the part. Anyway, battle endless waves until you finally succumb to the enemies, grab some weapon power-ups, customize your character, and above all try not to think of the better games in this genre you could be playing if you had only spent a few more dollars. There is support for a second player in local co-op if you want to drag a friend into this business.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Tomorrow is Mario Day, or so we’re told these days. MAR10 and all that. In celebration, a handful of Mario-related games are enjoying some rare discounts at the moment, including the excellent Super Mario Maker 2. Aside from that bunch, lots of fresh sales sprung up over the weekend, with the coolest pick of the bunch being VA-11 Hall-A in my opinion. Horror fans will definitely want to check out the Amnesia Collection, as well. In the outbox, the Mega Man sale is coming to a close. It may be as many as four or five weeks before they go on sale again, so act now! Fans of the Hero Quest board game will want to check out Dark Quest 2 while it’s still cheap, as discounts on that one are a lot rarer than the average eShop title. Otherwise, feel free to save some money for whatever other fancy sales may come along later in the week.
Select New Games on Sale
Super Mario Maker 2 ($39.99 from $59.99 until 3/15)
Yoshi’s Crafted World ($39.99 from $59.99 until 3/15)
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games ($39.99 from $59.99 until 3/15)
Super Mario Party ($39.99 from $59.99 until 3/15)
VA-11 Hall-A ($10.04 from $14.99 until 3/24)
Deployment ($0.99 from $9.99 until 3/14)
City of Brass ($6.99 from $19.99 until 3/16)
Submerged ($1.99 from $9.99 until 3/16)
Escape from the Universe ($0.99 from $9.99 until 3/22)
Wuppo: Definitive ($9.99 from $14.99 until 3/20)
Amnesia: Collection ($11.99 from $29.99 until 3/20)
Troubleshooter ($2.39 from $2.99 until 3/26)
Super Ping Pong Trick Shot ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/26)
Ping Pong Trick Shot Evolution ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/26)
Caveman Warriors ($3.24 from $12.99 until 3/26)
Bingo ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/26)
Neonwall ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/26)
Super Hyperactive Ninja ($2.24 from $8.99 until 3/26)
Animal Hunter Z ($4.99 from $9.99 until 3/26)
Guess the Character ($1.01 from $2.99 until 3/26)
Caterpillar Royale ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/26)
V.O.I.D. ($0.99 from $3.99 until 3/26)
Sushi Time! ($3.74 from $4.99 until 3/27)
Furwind ($5.99 from $9.99 until 3/26)
Battle & Crash ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/26)
Collide-a-Ball 2 ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/26)
Ellen ($4.79 from $7.99 until 3/26)
Island Maze ($1.49 from $2.99 until 3/16)
Safari Pinball ($1.49 from $2.99 until 3/26)
Dungeon Shooting ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/26)
Adventure Pinball Bundle ($4.49 from $8.99 until 3/26)
Build a Bridge! ($2.99 from $14.99 until 3/23)
Tardy ($1.99 from $9.99 until 3/17)
Atomic Heist ($1.49 fromm $7.99 until 3/17)
Pixel Gladiator ($1.74 from $6.99 until 3/16)
Spirit Roots ($2.44 from $6.99 until 3/16)
Tactical Mind 2 ($1.49 from $4.99 until 3/17)
Drawngeon ($3.49 from $4.99 until 3/16)
Funny Bunny Adventures ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/16)
Swordbreaker ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/27)
Welcome to Primrose Lake ($5.99 from $7.99 until 3/28)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 10th
AvoCuddle ($11.04 from $12.99 until 3/10)
Dark Quest 2 ($5.49 from $10.99 until 3/10)
Dead Dungeon ($0.99 from $4.99 until 3/10)
Event Horizon ($1.49 from $5.99 until 3/10)
Farabel ($1.99 from $9.99 until 3/10)
Lines XL ($0.99 from $1.99 until 3/10)
Mega Man 11 ($14.99 from $29.99 until 3/10)
Mega Man Legacy Collection ($9.99 from $14.99 until 3/10)
Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/10)
Mega Man X Legacy Collection ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/10)
Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/10)
Sports Party ($4.99 from $39.99 until 3/10)
That’s all that’s good for today, friends. Tomorrow has a couple of interesting new releases that we’ll be checking out, and provided I have the time I do have a couple of reviews and Mini-Views I’d like to post as well. Whatever news and new sales come along will be included as usual, of course. I hope you all have a solid Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!