SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘Tetris Effect’ and ‘Rainbow Billy’, Plus the Latest Releases and Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for October 11th, 2021. In today’s article, we’ve got a few reviews for you to check out. Tetris Effect: Connected comes to a rather predictable result, but we also have reviews of Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan and Astria Ascending for you. There are a few new releases to check out, but by and large they are quite… well, you’ll see. There are also a bunch of new sales to look at, along with the list of expiring sales. Let’s get to work!

Reviews & Mini-Views

Tetris Effect: Connected ($39.99)

It takes a lot of work to ruin a Tetris game. The fundamental mechanics just work, so even if a few things go wrong you’re probably still left with a compelling puzzler. On the other hand, it takes a lot of work to make a Tetris game that stands out. The fundamental mechanics work so well that any attempt to add to them usually ends up detracting from the end result. While I wouldn’t necessarily argue that the additions Enhance has made to Tetris Effect are essential or even true improvements, it’s certainly a bold take on the concept that easily stands out from the proverbial crowd.

The most obvious thing that will hit you in the face with this game when you start to play it is just how stylish it is. If you’ve ever played Lumines, you’re going to recognize this sense of style immediately. Various skins, visual flourishes, tunes, and sound effects work in synchronization to create a version of Tetris quite unlike any other. You’ll also probably notice the HD Rumble effects. They’re intense but carefully used to maximum effect. The Journey mode will give you a nice tour of all of these features while also serving as an enjoyable romp for those seeking something different from the usual marathon play.

There’s a new gameplay mechanic here, too. A meter fills as you play, and once it’s full you can activate Zone. While in Zone, time slows down while you try to complete as many lines as you can. The lines won’t be cleared until the Zone timer runs out, at which point everything will be removed and you’ll be given a bunch of points. It’s a cool twist. There’s also the new Connected multiplayer mode, which sees three players battling together against the CPU. A meter fills as you clear lines, and when it fills all of your playfields will be joined together. You need to take turns dropping pieces to make lines, working a bit like Zone. The lines you clear will be dealt as damage.

Connected isn’t the only multiplayer mode, of course. You can play Zone Battle, a more traditional Score Attack game, and an actually traditional Classic Score Attack that removes Hard Drops and the Hold feature while applying a rather familiar style. These multiplayer modes can be enjoyed locally or over the Internet. They’re good. When combined with a bevy of unlockables and the single-player modes, you’ve got a lot to enjoy here beyond a simple game of Tetris. But even if that were all it was, the absolutely gorgeous way this game presents this familiar concept merits checking it out.

Tetris Effect: Connected takes what is basically a perfect game whose only drawback is how familiar it is and recontextualizes it with a jaw-dropping presentation and some interesting new modes. I’m aware that the Nintendo Switch has a lot of great ways to play Tetris already, but I think this game does more than enough to justify itself in the face of those. It’s probably not going to convince anyone who doesn’t like Tetris, but apart from those six people it’s hard to imagine anyone being disappointed with this game.

SwitchArcade Score: 5/5

Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan ($29.99)

I didn’t give this game much credit initially. It’s extremely focused on positive feelings, to the point that it can ironically feel exhaustingly aggressive. But as I got into it, the game really pulled me in. All the color has been stripped out of the world by the Leviathan, and Rainbow Billy is the only one that can bring it back. He does so not through fighting, but kindness and understanding. He will kindly understand every last one of his opponents into submission. It feels rather obviously inspired by the Mario RPGs, but it has a lot of personality and gameplay quirks to make it its own thing.

The basic loop of the game sees you sailing to whatever island your little boat can reach, exploring the island through a combination of platforming and puzzle-solving, and meeting a creature that needs a figurative hug. You then enter the Confrontation screen, which serves as this game’s take on a battle system. The creatures will have a bunch of mystery boxes above their heads. You need to listen to them and choose the right response to reveal some of them. Once revealed, the boxes will contain symbols that correspond to your own creature tokens’ attacks. You need to play the appropriate creature tokens, then play one of several mini-games to successfully fill in the opponent’s boxes. Once they are all filled, the opponent’s true colors will return and they will either join you or at least become passive.

It’s both simple and complex in various ways, and while it can get a bit repetitive the game does try to introduce new gimmicks to spice things up. There are special scenes, unique abilities, and so on to keep you guessing. As for the creatures on your team, you can upgrade their abilities by finding them the presents they request or by feeding them gummi fish collected from a fishing mini-game. As they level up, you get to hear more of their stories about their various insecurities and how they are trying to overcome them. They’ll have access to a greater variety of symbols, making them more versatile. Meanwhile, you can gain other general upgrades by seeking out hidden Thought characters that can be found on the islands.

Rainbow Billy isn’t the most difficult of games, but its clever combat and compelling structure kept me engaged through the course of the surprisingly lengthy adventure. The exploration and puzzles are enjoyable, figuring out how to defeat each enemy is amusing, and there are a lot of collectibles and secrets to track down. The writing is solid but can feel excessively positive at times, which I understand is an odd complaint. Still, even if the cloying prose doesn’t do it for you, there’s enough going on here in the gameplay department to make it worth your while.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

Astria Ascending ($39.99)

Astria Ascending is, alas, almost exactly what I expected it to be given my experiences with Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey. It is a marginal improvement over that game in many ways, most notably in that it is, in fact, a finished game. But it suffers from the same general issue as the project it was salvaged from. It’s all dressed up with no place to go. Visually, it’s a treat. The soundtrack is fantastic. There’s a lot of interesting lore behind the world. And all of that is in service to an incredibly forgettable, bland JRPG-style game. For all the merits of the world design, the story just isn’t very compelling. I didn’t find myself getting attached to any of the characters. Progression feels very hollow, like you’re just doing the same things in new backdrops.

That said, I must acknowledge that this is a better use of the work provided by Kazushige Nojima, Akihiko Yoshida, Hideo Minaba, and Hitoshi Sakimoto than Zodiac was. I wish this was a game worthy of such big names, but while they seem to have kept up their end on delivering their usual quality, something about Astria Ascending just makes it all fall apart. It’s not unplayable or anything, and the battle system can sometimes be quite engaging. But it isn’t something I would really recommend to anyone either unless they have a lot of time on their hands and have already exhausted better options.

SwitchArcade Score: 3/5

New Releases

Toroom ($14.99)

Here’s another top-down dungeon-crawling roguelite in case you need one more. There are more than thirty-five weapons to use, along with over seventy items. It’s certainly not lacking in colors, with a vibrant look that has plenty of appeal to my eyes. I’d have to put some time into it to see if it falls into that usual pitfall of relying too much on luck, but I’m at least somewhat interested.

Star Drives ($4.99)

Setting aside the somewhat dubious brand piggy-backing this game appears to be attempting, this is essentially a game of slot cars painted as space fighters. You’re on one loop, the enemies are on another, and you need to speed up and fire as necessary to destroy enemies and avoid collisions with their shots and ships. There seem to be different modes, like one where you need to survive for a set number of loops. You’ll also collect coins that you can use to unlock things, like in the games on your phone.

The Adventures of Spunk Dodgers and Splat ($1.99)

That’s a title, alright. This is a 2D auto-runner with fifty levels. It touts “hilarious quips" in its eShop description, and if they’re anything like that title I find that claim highly suspect.

Medieval Tower Defense ($6.99)

It feels like it’s been a week or two since Pix Arts dropped a template flip on the eShop, but here we are. Handheld mode only as it is almost certainly an Android template. It’s an utterly generic and frankly terrible tower defense game, and the Switch has enough decent examples of the genre that you shouldn’t concern yourself with trash like this.


(North American eShop, US Prices)

Well, let’s pick through and see what is interesting. Killer Queen Black isn’t on sale often, but I think you can find the physical version for less than this discounted price. Tetris Effect: Connected is a must-have, as outlined above, so you may as well save yourself ten bucks on buying it if you’re interested. Otherwise, familiar suspects all around. The outbox doesn’t have too much going on, but the sales on the Warriors games from Koei Tecmo are finishing soon and they won’t be back around for a while if history is anything to go by. Check those lists!

Select New Games on Sale

Road 96 ($14.97 from $19.96 until 10/13)
Carnage: Battle Arena ($4.49 from $14.99 until 10/15)
City Driving Simulator ($5.99 from $11.99 until 10/15)
4×4 Dirt Track ($5.99 from $11.99 until 10/15)
Car Driving School Sim ($6.99 from $13.99 until 10/15)
Puddle Knights ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/15)
Art Sqool ($1.99 from $12.99 until 10/15)
Bear’s Restaurant ($10.39 from $12.99 until 10/15)
Landflix Odyssey ($10.49 from $14.99 until 10/17)
Get 10 Quest ($2.09 from $2.99 until 10/17)
Killer Queen Black ($15.99 from $19.99 until 10/18)
Mad Carnage ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/18)
Rally Road: Crashy Car Racing ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/18)
Dead Dungeon ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/18)

Long Ago: A Puzzle Tale ($5.99 from $9.99 until 10/18)
Ironcast ($6.49 from $12.99 until 10/18)
The Spectrum Retreat ($6.49 from $12.99 until 10/18)
Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics ($12.49 from $24.99 until 10/18)
Atomic Heist ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/18)
One Person Story ($1.99 from $2.99 until 10/18)
Breathing Fear ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/18)
Mech Rage ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/18)
Enigmatis 3: TSoK ($8.99 from $14.99 until 10/18)
Dark Burial ($1.99 from $3.99 until 10/18)
Swordbreaker the Game ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/18)
Debtor ($1.99 from $2.99 until 10/19)
Colorful Colore ($1.99 from $2.99 until 10/19)
Farabel ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/19)

Mushroom Quest ($1.99 from $2.99 until 10/19)
Skull Rogue ($1.99 from $2.99 until 10/19)
Event Horizon ($1.99 from $5.99 until 10/19)
FunBox Party ($1.99 from $2.49 until 10/19)
Tactical Mind ($1.99 from $2.99 until 10/19)
SuperMash ($1.99 from $19.99 until 10/19)
Pew Paw ($1.99 from $6.99 until 10/19)
Grood ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/19)
Tetris Effect: Connected ($29.99 from $39.99 until 10/22)
Horned Knight ($4.19 from $5.99 until 10/22)
Genetic Disaster ($2.99 from $14.99 until 10/25)
Legrand Legacy: TotF ($1.99 from $19.99 until 10/25)
Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption ($4.74 from $18.99 until 10/25)
Lost Castle ($2.99 from $9.99 until 10/25)
Frozen Friends ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/25)

Bridge Strike ($1.99 from $6.99 until 10/26)
Depth of Extinction ($5.84 from $14.99 until 10/28)
Polyroll ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/28)
The First Tree ($2.49 from $9.99 until 10/28)
Dragon Hills ($5.60 from $8.00 until 10/28)
Battle Princess Madelyn ($4.99 from $19.99 until 10/29)
Battle Princess Madelyn Royal ($3.74 from $14.99 until 10/29)
AAA Clock ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/29)
Driving World: Italian Job ($8.99 from $11.99 until 10/29)
Bouncy Bullets 2 ($3.99 from $4.99 until 10/29)
Green Game: TimeSwapper ($2.00 from $2.99 until 10/29)
Paper Wars: Cannon Fodder ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/29)
Midnight Evil ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/29)
Dwarf Journey ($3.19 from $7.99 until 10/29)
Shmubedi Boo ($3.30 from $9.99 until 10/29)

Super Arcade Racing ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/29)
Robots Under Attack! ($1.99 from $5.99 until 10/29)
Tilt Pack ($2.99 from $14.99 until 10/29)
Super Arcade Soccer ($2.02 from $6.99 until 10/29)
One Night Stand ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/29)
Tyd wag vir Niemand ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/29)
‘n Verlore Verstand ($2.09 from $13.99 until 10/29)
Grand Prix Rock ‘N Racing ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/29)
Spiral Splatter ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/30)
Alteric ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/30)
Where Are My Friends? ($2.39 from $5.99 until 10/30)
Save the Ninja Clan ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/30)
Energy Cycle Edge ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/30)
Basketball Pinball ($2.00 from $2.99 until 10/30)
LocO-SportS ($1.99 from $5.99 until 10/30)
Colsword ($1.99 from $3.99 until 10/30)
Collapsed ($7.50 from $15.00 until 10/30)
Toroom ($7.49 from $14.99 until 10/31)
Football Drama ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/31)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 12th

Among Pipes ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/12)
AnimaLudo ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)
Area 86 ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)
Beast Quest ($3.99 from $19.99 until 10/12)
Boris the Rocket ($10.04 from $14.99 until 10/12)
Captain Cat ($3.49 from $6.99 until 10/12)
Checkers for Kids ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)
Chill Panda ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)
Circuits ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/12)
Colorfall ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/12)
Crazy Zen Mini Golf ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/12)
Croc’s World 3 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/12)
Deer Drive Legends ($3.99 from $19.99 until 10/12)
Degrees of Separation ($5.99 from $19.99 until 10/12)
Doomsday Vault ($13.39 from $19.99 until 10/12)

Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme ($27.99 from $39.99 until 10/12)
Fall Gummies ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/12)
Fantasy Checkers ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/12)
Fantasy Tower Defense ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/12)
Freedom Finger ($4.99 from $14.99 until 10/12)
Gangsta Paradise ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)
HardCube ($2.10 from $7.00 until 10/12)
Hexagon Defense ($1.99 from $3.99 until 10/12)
Jump, Step, Step ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/12)
King Lucas ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/12)
My Hidden Things ($4.68 from $6.99 until 10/12)
Mystery Mine ($1.99 from $3.99 until 10/12)
One Dog Story ($5.99 from $14.99 until 10/12)
Override 2: Super Mech League ($9.89 from $29.99 until 10/12)
Paradise Killer ($13.99 from $19.99 until 10/12)

Path to Mnemosyne ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)
Perfect Traffic Simulator ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)
Pinball Lockdown ($1.99 from $5.99 until 10/12)
Postal Redux ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)
Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break ($7.49 from $29.99 until 10/12)
Royal Tower Defense ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/12)
Samurai Warriors 5 ($49.79 from $59.99 until 10/12)
Santa Tracker ($1.99 from $2.99 until 10/12)
Space Ribbon ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/12)
Spell Casting: Purrfectly Portable ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)
Steel Assault ($13.49 from $14.99 until 10/12)
Summer Paws ($2.99 from $4.99 until 10/12)
Super Skelemania ($2.49 from $4.99 until 10/12)
The Legend of Ninja ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/12)
Think of the Children ($2.59 from $12.99 until 10/12)
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince ($5.99 from $29.99 until 10/12)
Troll and I ($3.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)
Wide Ocean Big Jacket ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/12)
Zoo Dentist ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with some more reviews, including one for that big game from Nintendo. There are also some new releases to sort through, and I’m sure we’ll have some sales to contend with as well. I hope you all have a magnificent Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!

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