SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘rRootage Reloaded’ and ‘Zombie Nation’, Plus the Latest Releases and Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for November 16th, 2021. In today’s article, we’ve got a couple of reviews of games I picked up a few weeks back and want to shine a little extra light on. We then check out the odd assortment of new releases for today, then wrap things up with the usual lists of incoming and outgoing sales. Let’s head out on our little journey!

Reviews & Mini-Views

Abarenbo Tengu & Zombie Nation ($11.99)

You can tell we’re living in good times for retro game rereleases. We’ve gone past the all-time classics, the big sellers, and the historically significant, and have now arrived deep in Weird Game Town. Zombie Nation always seemed like one of those games that could show up on the Wii Virtual Console or Nintendo Switch Online during a particularly quiet week, but it never did. The original NES cartridge can go for hundreds of dollars loose, and even the Japanese Famicom cartridge costs well over a hundred bucks. This is a sought-after game, but why?

That’s a difficult question to answer. It’s a competent side-scrolling shoot-em-up, but hardly a great one. It has a bizarre premise that tends to grab attention, and I suspect it is that, plus the small print run of the original games, that has brought us here. In the Western version, Zombie Nation, you play as a giant disembodied samurai head who must lay waste to a ruined version of America that has been taken over by zombies. You even battle the Statue of Liberty as a boss at one point. The Japanese version, Abarenbo Tengu, follows the same basic structure but swaps the samurai head for a tengu mask. This set includes both versions, so you can choose the form of the destructor.

And destroy you will. The balls of fire you spit out of your mouth will blast through buildings and other structures, blow up enemy vehicles, and light up zombies. You can catch falling humans to power-up your shot, and you’ll need those upgrades to have any chance of surviving this absurd game. Publisher City Connection offers you a few more tools to assist you in this version. Save states and a rewind feature can be used when you play each game in Zombie Mode, while the Normal Mode offers a more traditional challenge. You also get the original manuals and a small selection of marketing materials.

Abarenbo Tengu & Zombie Nation gives a fairly good treatment to a game you wouldn’t expect to see receive any love. In spite of the title, this is just a single game with two regional variants on offer. But it is such a bizarre game that it’s worth experiencing just to see what happens. From a gameplay point of view it’s not of the highest quality, but it isn’t bad either. In terms of content, design, and mechanics, it is extremely unusual for a game of its vintage. I think it’s more for the curious spelunker of history than those looking for lost treasures, but I’m glad it exists.

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

rRootage Reloaded ($5.00)

Indie games are a huge cottage industry at this point. We’ve even had to come up with differentiating terms for different levels of indie due to how big a role that sector plays. But it wasn’t always that way. Before Xbox Live Arcade and iOS lit a fire under the indie rocket, only a very small number of games from tiny developers earned much attention. One such game was 2003’s rRootage, a surprisingly solid shoot-em-up that cut every frivolous corner it could to deliver pure blasting delights. The visuals are simple and more concerned with showing you hit boxes than candy for your eyes. The list of enemies was cut down to a single boss that can take on many patterns. Your weapon is always firing, and the screen is always full of bullets. What more do you need?

That’s the normal mode, anyway. You have your regular shot, three bombs that can clear bullets, and your own skill. But there are also three special modes, each one emulating a different popular shooter. PSY mode is inspired by Psyvariar. In this mode, you need to graze the enemy bullets as much as possible to charge up a temporary invincibility shield. IKA mode, based on Ikaruga, allows you to change your ship’s polarity to absorb and reflect enemy bullets based on their color. GW mode is based on Giga Wing and gives you a temporary shield that you can activate to reflect enemy shots. It takes a while to fire up, and it has a cool down timer before you can use it again. Timing is everything.

With all the different combinations of modes and stages, you’ve got 160 unique situations to play through. That isn’t even getting into the idea of improving on your scores, which is certainly something most fans of the genre will want to get into. It all runs at 60 frames per second, and the controls are incredibly responsive. Sure, it’s not much to look at compared to other games of this genre, but when it comes to sheer gameplay it’s really hard to beat what rRootage Reloaded offers for its highly reasonable price.

SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5

New Releases

Root ($19.99)

SwitchArcade Highlight!

No relation to Root Letter or Root Double, Root is instead a digital version of a tabletop board game. Up to four players can get in on this one via online play. You’ll battle each other to try to gain and maintain control over as much of the wilderness as you can. It’s the Cat Alliance versus the proud Eyrie, and only one can come out on top in the end. The board game is incredibly deep even if it’s a bit hard to come to grips with, and I’m sure the digital version will offer a similar experience. Definitely one for the more advanced players out there.

The Wild At Heart ($24.99)

I know some people don’t like it when you directly compare one game to another, but sometimes it’s just the easiest way to the goal. The Wild At Heart is a lot like Pikmin. You gather up creatures called Spritelings and use them to solve light puzzles that you come across while exploring the woods. There’s a crafting component and some direct combat, so it’s not exactly the same as Nintendo’s game by any means. But if you liked that rather unique game and would like something with a vaguely similar feel to its mechanics, you’ll want to check this one out.

Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story ($9.99)

Remember when the folks behind BIT.TRIP Runner made a Bubsy game that was basically a variant on Runner? Well, they’re back with another variant on Runner, this time with the League of Legends brand. Naturally, there’s a heavy rhythm component here. Choice Provisions isn’t going to screw something like this up, so I think if you enjoyed the Runner games you’ll likely be happy with what you get here.

Marsupilami – Hoobadventure ($29.99)

I vaguely remember this character from the 1990s animated series made by Disney and aired during Raw Toonage. Honestly, I always thought he was a Disney character, but they must have just licensed the brand or something. This is a 2D platformer where you play as three Marsupilamis as they make their way through more than twenty levels in three worlds. From the looks of it, there are some cues taken here from the Donkey Kong Country games. Will it be as good as those? Almost certainly not, but it might be good enough for fans of Marsupilami.

The Smurfs – Mission Vileaf ($39.99)

Hunh, are the Smurfs still a thing? They were pretty popular when I was young, and I know they’ve had a few movies over the last ten years or so. I guess if they have their own game they must still be some kind of thing. Anyway, this is a 3D platformer of sorts where you need to choose one of four playable Smurfs and head out into the woods to try to stop Gargamel’s latest plan. The gimmick here is a Smurfizer, a special tool created to help you in your adventure. You can use it to pull off a variety of moves. I’m sure Smurfs fans will have some fun with it, at the very least.

New York Mysteries: The Outbreak ($14.99)

I’ll take “Title I Wouldn’t Have Blinked at Two Years Ago" for a thousand, Alex. This is another hidden object adventure game set in New York. This time you are investigating a mysterious disease that is sweeping the city. Don’t worry, the cause of this particular plague appears to be supernatural. Visit fifty or so scenes, solve a bunch of puzzles, and play an assortment of minigames. You know how this kind of thing goes, and this one doesn’t stretch the mold by any means


(North American eShop, US Prices)

Well, what’s interesting today? Those Jets’n’Guns games are rarely on sale, if you fancy some Euro-shmup action. The Crysis Remastered games are already being discounted, and those are some fine ports. Don’t forget to check the outbox, too. Good games like Missile Dancer, Deemo Reborn, and Inferno 2 can be found in there among many others. Just don’t go too wild, as the Black Friday sales will be kicking off any day now.

Select New Games on Sale

Heroes of Loot ($5.59 from $7.99 until 11/20)
Urban Flow ($1.99 from $14.99 until 11/22)
Vaporum: Lockdown ($13.19 from $21.99 until 11/23)
Air Missions: HIND ($12.49 from $24.99 until 11/23)
Jets’n’Guns ($2.79 from $6.99 until 11/23)
Jet’n’Guns 2 ($8.99 from $14.99 until 11/23)
Rampage Knights ($4.79 from $11.99 until 11/23)
The House of Da Vinci ($4.99 from $9.99 until 11/23)
The House of Da Vinci 2 ($4.99 from $9.99 until 11/23)
Crysis 2 Remastered ($22.49 from $29.99 until 11/24)
Crysis 3 Remastered ($22.49 from $29.99 until 11/24)
Crysis Remastered Trilogy ($39.99 from $49.99 until 11/24)
Half Dead ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/30)
Happy Animals Bowling ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/30)
Titans Pinball ($1.99 from $2.99 until 12/3)

Dragon Pinball ($1.99 from $2.99 until 12/3)
Speedway Racing ($2.49 from $9.99 until 12/3)
Jim is Moving Out! ($4.49 from $14.99 until 12/4)
Chameleon Run Deluxe ($1.99 from $5.99 until 12/4)
The Keep ($5.39 from $17.99 until 12/4)
Commandos 2: HD Remaster ($19.49 from $29.99 until 12/6)
Port Royale 4 ($34.99 from $49.99 until 12/6)
Spacebase Startopia ($42.49 from $49.99 until 12/6)
Overlanders ($1.99 from $24.99 until 12/6)
Scarlett Mysteries: Cursed Child ($2.09 from $14.99 until 12/6)
Grim Legends 3: The Dark City ($2.09 from $14.99 until 12/6)
Spider Solitaire ($1.99 from $8.99 until 12/6)
Solitaire TriPeaks Flowers ($1.99 from $5.99 until 12/6)
Crowdy Farm Puzzle ($1.99 from $5.99 until 12/6)
Just Black Jack ($1.99 from $2.99 until 12/6)
Super Loop Drive ($1.99 from $3.99 until 12/6)
Retro Game Pack ($1.99 from $4.99 until 12/6)
Miniature: The Story Puzzle ($1.99 from $3.99 until 12/6)
History 2048 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 12/6)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, November 17th

#Funtime ($5.17 from $14.99 until 11/17)
Airborne Kingdom ($19.99 from $24.99 until 11/17)
Almost There: The Platformer ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/17)
Animal Fight Club ($2.59 from $3.99 until 11/17)
ATV Drift & Tricks ($1.99 from $34.99 until 11/17)
Back to Bed ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/17)
Bakugan: CoV ($12.49 from $49.99 until 11/17)
Batu Ta Batu ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/17)
BFF or Die ($3.99 from $7.99 until 11/17)
Bloodshore ($13.49 from $14.99 until 11/17)
Bounty Battle ($7.49 from $24.99 until 11/17)
Breakpoint ($2.38 from $4.99 until 11/17)
Cars 3 Driven to Win ($5.99 from $39.99 until 11/17)
Cast of the Seven Godsends ($3.89 from $12.99 until 11/17)
Castle of Pixel Skulls ($3.99 from $4.99 until 11/17)

Cattails ($1.99 from $14.99 until 11/17)
Cozy Grove ($11.99 from $14.99 until 11/17)
Deadly Fighter 2 ($1.99 from $3.99 until 11/17)
DEEMO -Reborn- ($15.00 from $25.00 until 11/17)
Deleveled ($3.90 from $9.99 until 11/17)
Die for Valhalla! ($2.39 from $11.99 until 11/17)
Dimension Drive ($1.99 from $12.99 until 11/17)
Fracter ($3.34 from $6.99 until 11/17)
Gear.Club Unlimited 2 ($5.99 from $39.99 until 11/17)
Gemini Arms ($7.59 from $9.49 until 11/17)
GRIP ($7.19 from $39.99 until 11/17)
Gurgamoth ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/17)
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption ($9.99 from $19.99 until 11/17)
Immortal Planet ($5.99 from $14.99 until 11/17)
Inferno 2 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/17)
It’s Raining Fists & Metal ($4.54 from $6.99 until 11/17)

LEGO City Undercover ($5.99 from $29.99 until 11/17)
LEGO DC Super-Villains ($8.99 from $59.99 until 11/17)
LEGO Jurassic World ($7.99 from $39.99 until 11/17)
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 ($5.99 from $29.99 until 11/17)
LEGO Ninjago Movie Game ($7.49 from $49.99 until 11/17)
LEGO The Incredibles ($8.99 from $59.99 until 11/17)
LEGO Worlds ($5.99 from $29.99 until 11/17)
Lost Wing ($1.99 from $7.99 until 11/17)
Lucid Cycle ($5.59 from $6.99 until 11/17)
Luckslinger ($6.49 from $9.99 until 11/17)
Lumini ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/17)
Mainlining ($4.49 from $14.99 until 11/17)
Mega Party: A Tooftuff Adv. ($5.99 from $29.99 until 11/17)
Missile Dancer ($7.99 from $9.99 until 11/17)
Mortal Kombat 11 ($12.49 from $49.99 until 11/17)
Pro Flight Simulator ($9.89 from $14.99 until 11/17)

Rainswept ($2.49 from $9.99 until 11/17)
Roundguard ($8.63 from $19.99 until 11/17)
Scribblenauts Mega Pack ($5.99 from $39.99 until 11/17)
Scribblenauts Showdown ($3.99 from $39.99 until 11/17)
Space Otter Charlie ($10.44 from $14.99 until 11/17)
Spirit of the North ($12.49 from $24.99 until 11/17)
STAB STAB STAB! ($3.99 from $9.99 until 11/17)
Steamburg ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/17)
Stranded Sails: EotCI ($9.99 from $24.99 until 11/17)
Syberia 1 & 2 ($1.99 from $34.99 until 11/17)
Tetsumo Party ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/17)
The Ambassador: FT ($5.86 from $14.99 until 11/17)
The Bridge ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/17)
The Bug Butcher ($1.99 from $7.99 until 11/17)
The Count Lucanor ($2.99 from $14.99 until 11/17)
The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame ($5.99 from $39.99 until 11/17)

The Lost Light of Sisu ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/17)
Thea: The Awakening ($7.19 from $17.99 until 11/17)
Tiny Troopers Joint Ops XL ($3.24 from $12.99 until 11/17)
Tumblestone ($1.99 from $14.99 until 11/17)
Vostok Inc. ($3.29 from $14.99 until 11/17)
Wingspan ($13.39 from $19.99 until 11/17)
Yesterday Origins ($2.23 from $14.90 until 11/17)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more sales, and maybe even some news. My hospital visit had a not-bad outcome, so that’s nice. I’m mostly caught up on reviews for the moment, so I’ll be spending my evening playing some Game Boy games I picked up at the second-hand shop on the weekend. Kirby’s Dream Land 2, here I come! I hope you all have a terrific Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading.

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