Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for November 14th, 2022. In today’s article, we’ve got a bunch of reviews for you. Tactics Ogre: Reborn, Sonic Frontiers, Windosill, and Lunistice all get evaluated and scored. A pretty good bunch all around. We then look at today’s new releases, and they are mostly not so good. After that, we finish things up with a look at the new sales and expiring discounts. Let’s get going!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Tactics Ogre: Reborn ($49.99)
Do you like turn-based tactical RPGs? Do you like intensely political stories about class struggles? Do you like chucking rocks? If you answered yes to all of those questions, it’s very likely you’ve already played Tactics Ogre. If not, then you’ve almost certainly played its successor, Final Fantasy Tactics. If you’re in the latter camp, you should absolutely buy and play Tactics Ogre: Reborn. It’s that simple. While I don’t have the disdain for Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and it sequel that others do, I can at least say that Tactics Ogre is probably the closest thing to Final Fantasy Tactics you’re likely to find.
I’m going to swing back to the group already familiar with Tactics Ogre first. You’re probably wondering what is new here, and if it is worth picking up for someone who has already played the game. If the last version you played was on PlayStation (or Super Famicom), the answer is that there is a lot of new stuff and you probably should give this a go. If your last experience was on the PlayStation Portable it’s a bit trickier, but I would ultimately say yes.
Let’s touch on the changes from the PSP version. First, the presentation. All of the dialogue is voiced now and the soundtrack has been re-recorded with a live orchestra. The visuals have had a filter applied that you may or may not like. Equipment restrictions have been loosened with only class-based restrictions remaining, some new skills have been added and existing ones rebalanced, some moves that required reagents or TP now just use MP, and there are new charm items that give you greater control over character customization. You now have a party level which serves as the cap for all of your units, and it rises according to the story. That means there is a limit to how much you can grind.
Random encounters have been removed in favor of an option on the menu that lets you fire up a random battle anytime you want, and your units can’t be killed in those battles. The pre-battle screen now has a Scout feature so you can see what you’re facing before you set up your party, and you can save a handful of parties for quick-switching depending on the situation. The battles themselves feature something called buff cards that you can pick up for a boost that lasts until the end of the fight, and both enemy and ally AI is improved significantly. Fallen units behave more like Final Fantasy Tactics, giving you a chance to revive your units. Each battle also has bonus objectives you can clear for extra rewards. You know, I could go on here but I feel like I’m getting into the weeds too much.
I suppose the upshot is that while this is built on the PSP remake and at a glance looks a lot like it, some substantial changes have been made at almost every level to how it plays and how the difficulty works. It’s generally an easier game for all but the folks who like to massively over-level, and that’s not really a bad thing. It still has more than enough bite to it. My personal feelings as a veteran coming back to this game for the fourth time? I don’t care for the buff cards, and I wish I could turn off that filter. It’s not horrid but I’d prefer the chunky pixels here. The voices are doing their best with dialogue that was probably never meant to be voiced, and I can take or leave them. Everything other change I think is for the better.
Okay, that took longer than expected. Um, so if you’ve never played Tactics Ogre in any form before, this is a turn-based tactical RPG with a job class system. If you have played Final Fantasy Tactics before, this was its predecessor from the same team and has a lot in common with it. The story is similarly focused on class struggles and the people who get swept up when nations go to war, and it’s very good. It’s had an excellent localization, albeit one that uses a lot of flowery prose. I’m told some people don’t like that stuff; I love it. As a whole the game is built on the bones of a near thirty-year old game and it’s to its immense credit that it only sometimes feels it.
Tactics Ogre: Reborn is a excellent refresh of one of the all-time classics of the genre. Those who have any love at all for the genre owe it to themselves to play it if they haven’t before, and even those who have tried another version in the past will find enough improvements and differences to make it worth wading in again. A fine treatment of a game that only seems to get better with age.
SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5
Sonic Frontiers ($59.99)
This game is a hot mess. Its inspirations are blatant and ill-fitting. The world often feels like someone just dumped a bunch of trash all over the place. The physics are all over the place. The map looks like someone vomited a bunch of Ubisoft map makers all over it. There are tons of repetitive tasks to complete. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but… it works. It works really well. I think this might be the best 3D Sonic game? It… it kind of rules?
Just as it turned out that the big thing Spider-Man video games needed was a big open space to web-swing around in, I think the big thing 3D Sonic games needed was a world big enough to support Sonic’s speed without keeping the player confined to a bobsled track. Sonic Frontiers gives you that. There are huge tracts of land that you can speed around in as you like, scooping up rings and battling baddies while solving mini platforming and puzzle segments. Each area is stuffed to gills with little ramps and rails and springs that you can follow for extra goodies. There’s lots of interesting stuff to find and play with. It’s almost overwhelming, and it’s about damned time.
One other thing those areas have scattered about are entrances to “cyberspace” levels, which take the form of short snippets that will be very familiar to 3D Sonic fans. Here you have a few different objectives to check off, each of which will reward you with a key that you’ll need to make progress in the main world and story. They’re as wild as ever, but the brevity of each certainly helps them take their place in the overall concept. Like little palate cleansers that help break up the regular gameplay. Also serving in that role are the boss battles, which feel more than a little inspired by Shadow of the Colossus. Well, if you’re going to borrow, borrow from the best.
Speaking of, the vibe of Sonic Frontiers is hilariously similar to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I’m not the sort that compares every open world game to that one as though it was the first of its kind, but Sonic Frontiers really does hew closely to it in how it looks, sounds, and flows. Again, not necessarily a bad thing. I find this game shares the same sticky quality as that one, where I sit down to play a little and end up playing a lot. Just one more thing. Time to save and quit. Well, hang on. What’s that over there? Better go look. I’ll stop after that.
At least for me, Sonic Frontiers is a lot more than the sum of its parts. This game has a lot of rough edges and things that on paper shouldn’t work, but it completely sucked me in anyway. Its flaws mean I could understand anyone who bounces off of it, but I think even for those who don’t get into it the way I did, you have to at least respect the effort here. It tries something very new for the series, and if this is how good the first attempt at this style went, I can’t wait to see what comes next. What a weird thing to feel about 3D Sonic.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
This is a cute little puzzle game that sees you moving through a series of rooms trying to figure out how to open the door to the next. Everything is as hand-crafted as it gets, and no room is like another. You can play with button controls but it’s actually best enjoyed in handheld mode using the touch controls. Every room is a delightful little toy, and the discovery involved in seeing what everything does and what you need to do to make it all work is pleasing. None of them take very long to solve, serving as nice little bite-sized puzzles. The problem is that there just aren’t many of them.
With a running time of about fifteen to twenty minutes, Windosill is a bit of a tough sell despite how high-quality everything here is. It ends too abruptly, and my immediate reaction at finishing it was to wonder if that was really all there was to it? Unfortunately, it is. I don’t want to be too harsh on the game for that, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re considering it.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
I’ve played considerably worse platformers than this at ten times the price. Lunistice is a 3D platformer with seven worlds that have a couple of stages apiece. Your character can run, jump, and do a Crash Bandicoot-style spin to attack enemies or break objects. The stages feature plenty of gimmicks to keep things interesting as you go, and there are some satisfying secrets to uncover. Each stage has tons of collectible bits scattered about, and the game keeps track of these, how long you take to get through the stage, and how many tries it took you.
What makes Lunistice work is just how spot on the controls are. The gameplay here is very tight, which makes the platforming fun no matter how tough it gets. The stages can get a little long for my liking, but I appreciate how thoughtfully they are designed. You can find some very clever shortcuts if you keep your eyes open and have the guts to try. It’s not the lengthiest of games, but it’s a lot more substantial than most lower-cost 3D platformers on the Switch. If you like the genre, pick it up.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
McPixel 3 ($9.99)
The quirky charm of McPixel is back with a whole new adventure. There are one hundred levels, tons of goofy gags, lots of items to mess with, a bunch of mini-games, and more. I’ll be doing a review for this one, but I think something as driven by humor as this is going to be incredibly subjective. If you liked the first one, you’ll probably be happy with this. But maybe not! Comedy, everyone!
Butterfly’s Poison; Blood Chains ($44.99)
Here’s an otome visual novel set in Tokyo in 1918. An aristocratic family is on the verge of ruin, and the daughter of the family is being courted by five young men. The Taisho era setting helps this one stand out a bit, but you’ll find a lot of familiar elements here. Make your choices and see which hunk you end up smooching in the end.
Corner Driver ($2.49)
Oh hey, Gametry’s back. I guess they had to wait for some new Unity Store templates to pop up to help spruce up their ol’ idea pool. This one is kind of like Rally-X or Pac-Man. Drive your car around, avoid police cars, and collect coins.
War of Ships ($2.49)
I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this template kicking around before. Oh well, Gametry is going to Gametry. Anyway, it’s a basic ship battler for up to four players via local multiplayer. You can customize and upgrade your ships, so that’s something.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
An interesting mix today, to be sure. I’m always up for a sale from ININ Games, especially on that sweet Taito stuff. The Cotton games are good, too. The outbox is also fairly substantial. Last chance to get those hot Viki Spotter games on discount! Have a look through both lists, your wallet, and your heart. Make the decision from there.
Select New Games on Sale
Supaplex Squares ($4.49 from $14.99 until 11/16)
A Sketchbook About Her Sun ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/19)
Will Die Alone ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/19)
Promesa ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/19)
Harmony’s Odyssey ($10.49 from $14.99 until 11/19)
Mermaid Story ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/20)
TaniNani ($3.49 from $4.99 until 11/20)
Hoplegs ($4.89 from $6.99 until 11/20)
Alumni Escape Room Adventure ($4.19 from $5.99 until 11/21)
Melty Blood Type Lumina ($32.49 from $49.99 until 11/21)
Melty Blood Type Lumina Deluxe ($45.49 from $69.99 until 11/21)
After Wave Downfall ($4.49 from $14.99 until 11/21)
Dyna Bomb 2 ($4.49 from $14.99 until 11/21)
The Skylia Prophecy ($2.09 from $6.99 until 11/21)
Metaloid: Origin ($2.09 from $6.99 until 11/21)
Rusty Spout Rescue Adventure ($2.09 from $6.99 until 11/21)
Treasures of the Roman Empire ($3.49 from $6.99 until 11/21)
An American Werewolf in LA ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/22)
Turrican Flashback ($11.99 from $29.99 until 11/28)
TAITO Milestones ($23.99 from $39.99 until 11/28)
Bubble Bobble 4 Friends ($19.99 from $39.99 until 11/28)
Space Invaders Invincible Collection ($23.99 from $59.99 until 11/28)
Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade ($17.99 from $44.99 until 11/28)
Darius Cozmic Collection Console ($23.99 from $59.99 until 11/28)
G-Darius HD ($14.99 from $29.99 until 11/28)
Dariusburst AC EX+ ($15.99 from $39.99 until 11/28)
WitchSpring3 ($19.99 from $39.99 until 11/28)
Ultracore ($3.99 from $19.99 until 11/28)
The Ninja Saviors ($9.99 from $19.99 until 11/28)
Clockwork Aquario ($9.99 from $19.99 until 11/28)
Spelunker HD Deluxe ($9.99 from $24.99 until 11/28)
Cotton Reboot ($15.99 from $39.99 until 11/28)
Cotton Fantasy ($19.99 from $39.99 until 11/28)
Cotton 100% ($11.99 from $14.99 until 11/28)
Panorama Cotton ($11.99 from $14.99 until 11/28)
Umihara Kawase BaZooKa ($5.99 from $29.99 until 11/28)
War of Ships ($1.99 from $2.49 until 11/29)
Corner Driver ($1.99 from $2.49 until 11/29)
Yum Yum Cookstar ($27.99 from $39.99 until 11/29)
Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf ($3.39 from $9.99 until 11/29)
Fantasy Blacksmith ($7.99 from $9.99 until 11/29)
Barn Finders ($7.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
4×4 Offroad Driver ($7.79 from $12.99 until 12/2)
Inertia: Redux ($2.19 from $4.39 until 12/2)
Puzzle Plowing A Field ($2.09 from $2.99 until 12/2)
Labyrinth of the Witch ($7.49 from $14.99 until 12/2)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 15th
Aquarist ($6.99 from $9.99 until 11/15)
Arise: A Simple Story DE ($6.99 from $19.99 until 11/15)
Artsy Pixel ($2.09 from $6.99 until 11/15)
Ashwalkers ($14.99 from $19.99 until 11/15)
Astria Ascending ($25.99 from $39.99 until 11/15)
Astrologaster ($5.49 from $9.99 until 11/15)
Beautiful Desolation ($1.99 from $19.99 until 11/15)
DEEMO -Reborn- ($15.00 from $25.00 until 11/15)
DEEMO ($14.99 from $29.99 until 11/15)
Demon’s Residence ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Double Kick Heroes ($12.09 from $21.99 until 11/15)
Extreme Bike X ($2.13 from $7.10 until 11/15)
Furi: Modore Edition ($9.99 from $24.99 until 11/15)
Gunslingers & Zombies ($4.49 from $8.99 until 11/15)
Japanese Escape Games Garden ($4.99 from $9.99 until 11/15)
Lost Dream: Memories ($3.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Moonlight ($2.79 from $4.99 until 11/15)
NeuroVoider ($3.49 from $13.99 until 11/15)
Pankapu ($2.39 from $11.99 until 11/15)
PictoQuest ($4.49 from $9.99 until 11/15)
Piczle Cross Adventure ($4.49 from $9.99 until 11/15)
Pinball FX3 Iron & Steel DLC ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Pinball FX3 Universal Classics DLC ($3.99 from $9.99 until 11/15)
Pink Explorer ($3.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Revita ($12.74 from $16.99 until 11/15)
Sacred Valley ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
ScourgeBringer ($9.34 from $16.99 until 11/15)
Steredenn: Binary Stars ($4.54 from $12.99 until 11/15)
The Vampires ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Timber Story ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Unichrome: A 1-Bit Unicorn Adventure ($11.99 from $14.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: Around the World ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: Megapolis ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: Professions ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: School ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: Shopping ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: Space Mission ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: Sports ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: The Farm ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: Undersea ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: Zoo ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more reviews, more new releases, more sales, and maybe even some news. My eyes hurt from playing too much Sonic Frontiers. I will help them recover by playing more games. I think that’s how it works. I hope you all have a great Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!