Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for May 2nd, 2023. In today’s article, we’ve got more reviews for you to check out. Smile For Me, Shadows Over Loathing, Nuclear Blaze, and Afterimage all get their time in the chair of judgement today. And it’s a good thing they’re here, because there really isn’t a whole lot else going on. One new release, a meager list of new sales, and not much in the way of news. But we’ve got it all here, such as it is, so let’s get into it!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Smile For Me ($14.99)
I’m still not entirely sure what I played, but I think I liked it. Smile For Me is a first-person adventure game of sorts where you find yourself waking up in a special facility designed to make people smile. There are a bunch of characters populating the place, each with their own issues. Your goal is to help them solve those issues. You can interact with them by nodding or shaking your head to tell them yes or no, or by using items on them. There are a variety of things you’ll have to do to make everyone happy, and you might find that not everyone is happy with your efforts.
So yes, this is kind of an odd one. The story is something that’s best left to you to experience yourself. I think it’s stronger at building its atmosphere than its narrative, but there’s certainly something engaging about The Habitat (the game’s setting) and its quirky inhabitants. There’s a decent logic to the puzzles, and it’s neat seeing all the different connections building between the characters as you go. It’s not a very long game, but the length feels about right. Smile For Me is a unique experience, and one that adventure game fans looking for something a little different should really enjoy.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Shadows Over Loathing ($23.00)
If you liked West of Loathing, you’ll like Shadows Over Loathing. It’s that simple. You’ve got a whole new setting with new characters to meet, quests to complete, and gags to laugh at. But at its heart, this is just more Loathing. I think that’s a good thing, mind you. West of Loathing is one of the rare comedy games that I actually found funny, and the gameplay might seem chaotic at the best of times but it somehow works really well. It doesn’t play quite like any other RPG I can think of, but it is most certainly an RPG. But yes, this game plays it safe in terms of mechanics and presentation, or at least as safe as you could call a Loathing game.
The higher buy-in price this time around means that I’d probably still recommend West of Loathing first to someone new to this series. That said, if you’ve already played that game the odds are good that you’re more than willing to pony up for Shadows Over Loathing. I ended up enjoying it just a little less than West, but that’s likely down to it being more of a known quantity to me now. Overall, another clever, well-written RPG that feels like a breath of fresh air in the same way its predecessor did.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
The first time I started this game up, I legitimately thought my Switch had gotten hung up. The initial load when you fire this game up is monstrously long, legitimately running over a full minute with a little sleeping goober in the middle of the screen and no indication it’s actually loading. Not a good first impression. None of the in-game loads are that bad, but this game will definitely make you wait if you choose to play it on the Switch. My second impression was more favorable. The controls are snappy, the art design is strong, and it feels good to play.
Unfortunately, my third impression was the enduring one, and it ended up dragging the game down a lot. This is a Metroidvania with a big Hollow Knight vibe, and like that game its world is massive. Unfortunately, the progression isn’t designed as well as that game, and it leads to a lot of jogging back and forth across massive environments. The combat, while initially seeming fine, doesn’t fan out the way I had hoped it would. It’s not like simple combat will necessarily sink a game, but the enemies really need to pick up the slack in cases like this and they just don’t here.
Afterimage is in that zone where nothing is outright horrible about it, but it’s just a little boring and plain. The strongest points in its favor come from just how much of it there is and the great art design. Add in some generally poor image quality, some clumsy interface choices, and the aforementioned lengthy loads and you end up with a game that is a little tough to enthusiastically recommend. This might be worth investigating on another platform if you’re a Metroidvania die-hard, but this Switch version isn’t the game at its best.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Nuclear Blaze ($14.99)
There aren’t many games about firefighting, and somehow almost all of them are good. Or maybe they’re just good to me, I don’t know. Nuclear Blaze is the latest, and yes, it’s very good. The marketing touts that one of the folks behind Dead Cells was on the team for this one, but I feel like that might plant the seeds of some wrong ideas in people’s minds. This isn’t a roguelite. It’s not a Metroidvania either, though I’ve seen some want to call it one. And I suppose that is because it feels like you’re exploring an interconnected world, getting new abilities, finding secrets, and so on. But really, this is a stage-based action game with some light exploration and an expanding set of moves. You never really go backwards, only deeper into the facility. The difficulty grades up like a stage-based action game, too.
You proceed through each area, putting out fires, finding secret cats, and just doing whatever you need to do in order to move forward. As you make your way through, you’ll get snippets of info about what was going on in the facility you’re exploring, which are some nice sprinkles on top of a sundae that probably could have gotten away without them. It’s a very compelling game, one that is quite agreeable to play through in a single shot. And that is where the unfortunate part comes in, I think. This game is only a couple of hours long, and it really does feel like it could have kept going. There’s an extra hard mode and I certainly recommend giving it a go, but even with that you’ll be finished with Nuclear Blaze on the quick-ish.
Provided you don’t mind the fact that Nuclear Blaze ends just when it feels like it’s really getting going, this is an enjoyable action game I wouldn’t be shy about boosting. It looks good, plays well, has a lot of clever ideas, and really great pacing. There are some moments of frustration, but they’re fleeting and add texture to the experience. I wish there were more to it, but that’s really mainly down to how much I like what is already here.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Toziuha Night: Dracula’s Revenge ($4.99)
About as straightforward of an homage to classic Castlevania as it gets. Whip your way through the enemies as you make your way to the big vampire himself, Dracula. Pick up sub-weapons to help you fend off your foes, and tackle tough boss battles. The choppy scrolling in this one kills it for me, but you might have a better time with it.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Wow, a sale on Baba Is You! That is a rare sale on Switch indeed. I’ll also point out Cadence of Hyrule, at a low price to celebrate it being the latest Free Game Trial for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers. Great game. Regency Solitaire is at a new low price, and those looking for something a little less Victorian can indulge in some Gal*Gun deals. As for the outbox, it’s .cat Milk. That’s it.
Select New Games on Sale
Baba Is You ($10.50 from $15.00 until 5/8)
Voodoo Detective ($7.49 from $14.99 until 5/9)
Sifu ($29.99 from $39.99 until 5/11)
Haven ($12.49 from $24.99 until 5/12)
Uchu Shinshuchu ($1.99 from $8.00 until 5/13)
Kasiori ($4.90 from $7.00 until 5/13)
Taiko no Tatsujin Rhythm Festival DE ($37.94 from $54.99 until 5/15)
Dragon Ball Z Kakarot LE ($60.49 from $109.99 until 5/15)
JoJo’s Bizarre Adv. All-Star Battle DE ($45.49 from $69.99 until 5/15)
Tales of Vesperia ($7.99 from $49.99 until 5/15)
Steve Jackson’s Sorcery ($12.49 from $24.99 until 5/15)
Flippin Kaktus ($4.79 from $11.99 until 5/15)
Tears of Avia ($8.24 from $14.99 until 5/15)
Quantum Replica ($3.49 from $9.99 until 5/15)
7 Years From Now ($3.49 from $9.99 until 5/15)
Cadence of Hyrule ($12.49 from $24.99 until 5/15)
Cadence of Hyrule Melody Pack DLC ($2.99 from $5.99 until 5/15)
Cadence of Hyrule Symphony of the Mask DLC ($4.99 from $9.99 until 5/15)
Cadence of Hyrule Character Pack DLC ($2.99 from $5.99 until 5/15)
Cadence of Hyrule Season Pass DLC ($7.49 from $14.99 until 5/15)
Cadence of Hyrule + Season Pass ($19.98 from $39.98 until 5/15)
The Plane Effect ($6.74 from $14.99 until 5/15)
Gravity Heroes ($5.24 from $14.99 until 5/15)
Zengeon ($7.99 from $19.99 until 5/15)
Adventure Alchemia TFC ($31.99 from $39.99 until 5/15)
Lair Land Story ($11.24 from $14.99 until 5/15)
Zodiacats ($1.99 from $2.99 until 5/15)
Warborn ($2.49 from $24.99 until 5/15)
Supermarket Shriek ($4.99 from $19.99 until 5/15)
Gun Gun Pixies ($24.99 from $49.99 until 5/15)
Gal*Gun 2 Complete ($8.99 from $59.99 until 5/15)
Gal*Gun Returns ($19.99 from $49.99 until 5/15)
Gal*Gun Double Peace ($23.99 from $39.99 until 5/15)
Raging Loop ($14.99 from $29.99 until 5/15)
Ender Lilies QotK ($13.74 from $24.99 until 5/15)
OBAKEIDORO ($13.99 from $19.99 until 5/18)
I Love Finding MORE Pups ($3.99 from $9.99 until 5/21)
Puzzle Vacations Ireland ($8.39 from $11.99 until 5/21)
Montgomery Fox & TCotMB ($10.49 from $14.99 until 5/21)
Montgomery Fox & TCotDN ($10.49 from $14.99 until 5/21)
Montgomery Fox & TRoVD ($10.49 from $14.99 until 5/21)
Ki11er Clutter ($3.99 from $9.99 until 5/21)
Clutter 12 ($11.24 from $14.99 until 5/21)
First Time in Rome ($8.39 from $11.99 until 5/21)
Match Ventures ($8.99 from $11.99 until 5/21)
Finding America: The Heartland ($6.99 from $9.99 until 5/21)
Tankorama ($1.99 from $9.99 until 5/21)
Chronicles of Albian ($9.59 from $11.99 until 5/21)
Regency Solitaire ($4.19 from $11.99 until 5/22)
Jet Kave Adventure ($1.99 from $19.99 until 5/22)
LIMBO ($1.99 from $9.99 until 5/22)
INSIDE ($1.99 from $19.99 until 5/22)
Jenny LeClue Detectivu ($1.99 from $24.99 until 5/22)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 3rd
.cat Milk ($1.99 from $9.99 until 5/3)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more sales, and perhaps some news and reviews. I’ve been replaying Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest recently in its Famicom Disk System form via my Japanese 3DS, and you know what? I still like it a lot. Game gets too much stick. That’s my thought for today. I hope you all have a great Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!