SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘Asteroids: Recharged’ and ‘Clockwork Aquario’, Plus News, Sales, and New Releases

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for December 15th, 2021. There’s a lot going on today, friends. We’ve got a few news items to comb through, although one is almost certainly going to be weird because of time zone differences. There a couple of reviews for you to check out, and a new release to have a look at. We finish things up in our normal manner, with the lists of new and expiring sales of the day. Get those Game Awards sales while you can. Let’s get into it!


The Indie World Showcase Happens/Happened Today

Ah, time zone shenanigans. As I write this, the just-announced Indie World Showcase is hours in the future. As you read this, it may well be in the past. Either way, you should be able to watch it through that video link up there. What joys could it contain? I don’t know yet, but perhaps you do. We’ll talk about it tomorrow assuming anything very interesting happens.

Rita Repulsa Conquers ‘Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid’

After 10,000 years she’s free! Time to conquer Earth! Okay, it hasn’t quite been 10,000 years since it was announced Rita Repulsa would be joining the roster of Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid. But the important thing is that she is here now. Season Four Pass holders can update their game to gain access to the space witch, or you can buy her a la carte for $5.99. Her moves are pretty cool, but be warned that she is a bit… chatty. Well, that’s in line with her appearances in the shows, at least. With this update, Season Four is complete. Hopefully they keep on coming.

‘Windjammers 2’ Finally Has a Release Date

It feels like Windjammers 2 was announced by Dotemu a million years ago, even though it was really just a few years back. To be fair, it’s been a heck of a few years. It was originally planned for release in 2019, but stuff happens. The wait won’t be much longer, though. Dotemu has announced that the game will release on Nintendo Switch on January 20th, 2022. There’s a new trailer to go with that release date, and I’d say the game is looking to please fans of the original quite well.

Reviews & Mini-Views

Asteroids: Recharged ($9.99)

Here’s another in Atari’s line of Recharged remakes of its past hits. Asteroids is one of the company’s best-known titles, having been a massive hit in both the arcades and on the Atari 2600. It’s simple to pick up, enjoyable to play, and has just the right amount of depth to keep you coming back. Its crisp vector graphics have aged with grace, and are almost an aesthetic all on their own. It’s all of those qualities that made Asteroids stand out, but it’s also what makes it a rather difficult game to improve upon.

Indeed, Asteroids: Recharged is not a dramatic update by any means. In some ways it feels like one of the more conservative entries in the Recharged line, particularly since the shared vector aesthetic of the games seems to pay homage to the original Asteroids. But developers Adamvision Studios and SneakyBox have found a couple of areas to make some fun improvements and additions. It doesn’t necessarily make for a better game, but it does make for a slightly different one that fans of the original will appreciate.

As in the original, you control a spaceship in the middle of a field of asteroids. Your goal is to blast the big asteroids into smaller ones until they’re eliminated. In this version, asteroids will continuously spawn in, increasing in number and speed as you go. UFOs will occasionally zip onto the screen, sometimes taking shots at you as they fly. You can blow them up too. No one will mind. You can move your ship by thrusting about, but keep an eye on your momentum so that you don’t smash into anything. In an emergency you can make use of a hyperdrive to warp somewhere else on the screen. No guarantees you’ll be safe there for very long, of course. Keep going until you collide with either an asteroid or an enemy shot, and see how high of a score you can rack up.

So what’s new? If you’ve played any of the other Recharged games, a lot of this will be quite familiar. Some of the UFOs, when shot, will drop power-up icons. Pick them up and you’ll temporarily get a new weapon to use. You’ll see many of the same ones from previous Recharged games, but they’re all quite handy. There’s also a set of challenges for you to complete, online leaderboards, and local co-op multiplayer. There are some mechanical changes, particularly involving UFOs. They’re much more dangerous now, so sitting in one place isn’t a very effective strategy anymore. That’s a nice change.

What it adds up to is a fresh version of Asteroids with a few additions and alterations to keep things spicy for those who have exhausted the original while still retaining the core elements that made the game worth revisiting forty years later in the first place. Asteroids: Recharged is a great score attack game, but even those who can’t get into chasing those higher numbers will find enjoyment in clearing its tough set of challenges. Another solid success for the Recharged line, a series of games I’m increasingly finding worth paying attention to.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

Clockwork Aquario ($19.99)

A lot of the marketing talk for Clockwork Aquario talks about how it’s a lost treasure, and in some ways that is certainly true. An unreleased work from a shuttered developer whose other games are arguably more valued and loved now than they were in their heyday. A piece of a past long-lost, recovered and cobbled back together through a combination of passion, hard work, and a bit of luck. The graphics and music are gorgeous throwbacks to a by-gone era, and it’s amazing to see something “new" that looks like this. Looking at things this way, it’s truly a lost treasure and extremely valuable.

At the same time, it’s important to remember that the reason why Clockwork Aquario was lost in the first place was because it didn’t pass its location test back in the day. Its original publisher decided it wasn’t going to make money in the market, and that was that. Yes, some of that is down to the challenging market conditions of arcades at that time. Side-scrolling action games weren’t exactly burning up the charts after Street Fighter II and its ilk stormed the scene. But part of it must fall on the game itself, and I think that trying to compare Clockwork Aquario to Westone’s all-timers like The Dragon’s Trap and Monster World IV isn’t going to end well.

Clockwork Aquario has a lot of neat ideas. You can bounce on enemies, attack them, and toss them. Taking out a lot of enemies in a row will give you more points and gems that help you earn one-ups. You’ll also occasionally get your hands on a temporary power-up that puts you in a state of invulnerability and lets you fire shots at enemies. The physics work well enough, and the stages certainly offer visual variety. You’ll cap off each stage by battling against a boss. They can be harmed in a lot of different ways, encouraging you to find an approach that works for you.

The game ends rather quickly, with a run taking about twenty minutes. You can replay it with the other characters, as each of them is slightly different. Well, there’s nothing odd about a brief arcade game. The bigger problem is that the various mechanics of Clockwork Aquario never quite coalesce into a proper whole. The easiest way to dispatch most enemies, including bosses, is to just give them a good slap, making the other mechanics feel superfluous. And while the stages look quite different, there isn’t enough difference in how they feel.

Clockwork Aquario is a fun enough game, and it’s impressive that it was finally able to be brought together and released. I’m happy for that. But at the same time, I can see why the original publisher didn’t have a lot of confidence in it. It’s decent, but not much more than that. As a piece of history, however, it’s fascinating. If you are a fan of Westone, this era of arcade games, or just enjoy picking your way through the past, you might get some kicks out of Clockwork Aquario. Just make sure you know what you’re getting into.

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

New Releases

The Letter: A Horror Visual Novel ($19.99)

Hey, it’s another visual novel. Horror themed, this time around. The interesting gimmick is that you don’t just play as one character, but jump around among a cast of seven. The story features branching choices, leading to a variety of endings. The story involves a creepy mansion and a curse that has afflicted a group of unfortunate people. It’s more of a character-driven piece than a plot-driven one, and be aware that it is rather lengthy. Reviews on it were quite positive on other platforms, and I can’t imagine it would lose anything in the transition to Switch.


(North American eShop, US Prices)

Today’s list is a familiar one. We’ve got some sales from 2K Games, a few from the nice folks at QUByte, and some other odds and ends. The most unusual thing in the list is Tactics V: Obsidian Brigade, a tactical RPG that rarely sees any discounts. The outbox is worth more attention today, as the various sales held to celebrate The Game Awards are coming to an end. Some of those games won’t be on sale again for a very long time, so think carefully about picking them up if you’ve had your eye on any of them.

Select New Games on Sale

XCOM 2 Collection ($12.49 from $49.99 until 12/26)
BioShock: The Collection ($19.99 from $49.99 until 12/26)
BioShock Remastered ($7.99 from $19.99 until 12/26)
BioShock 2 Remastered ($7.99 from $19.99 until 12/26)
BioShock Infinite Complete ($7.99 from $19.99 until 12/26)
Borderlands Legendary Collection ($19.99 from $49.99 until 12/26)
Borderlands: GotY Edition ($11.99 from $29.99 until 12/26)
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection ($15.99 from $39.99 until 12/26)
Tales from the Borderlands ($14.99 from $24.99 until 12/26)
The Outer Worlds ($23.99 from $59.99 until 12/26)
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI ($8.99 from $29.99 until 12/26)
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 ($7.49 from $14.99 until 12/26)
NBA 2K22 ($29.99 from $59.99 until 12/26)
PGA Tour 2K21 ($14.99 from $59.99 until 12/26)
Carnival Games ($9.99 from $39.99 until 12/26)
WWE 2K18 ($19.79 from $59.99 until 12/26)

WWE 2K Battlegrounds ($15.99 from $39.99 until 12/26)
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption ($8.99 from $19.99 until 12/26)
Space Elite Force ($1.99 from $2.99 until 12/29)
Underland ($1.99 from $7.99 until 12/29)
Red Ronin ($1.99 from $7.99 until 12/29)
Vasara Collection ($1.99 from $9.99 until 12/29)
Spooky Chase ($1.99 from $4.99 until 12/29)
Chess Knights: Shinobi ($1.99 from $3.99 until 12/29)
Missing Features: 2D ($1.99 from $3.99 until 12/29)
ASMR Journey: Jigsaw Puzzle ($1.99 from $3.99 until 12/29)
Puzzletronics ($1.99 from $3.99 until 12/29)
War Solution: Casual Math Game ($1.99 from $3.99 until 12/29)
Puzzle Car ($1.99 from $3.99 until 12/29)
Savage Halloween ($1.99 from $4.99 until 12/29)
Arcade Fuzz ($1.99 from $3.99 until 12/29)

UBERMOSH:BLACK ($1.99 from $3.99 until 12/29)
Swarmriders ($1.99 from $3.99 until 12/29)
Daylife in Japan: Pixel Jigsaw Puzzle ($1.99 from $3.99 until 12/29)
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 CE ($11.99 from $29.99 until 1/4)
Jurassic World Evolution CE ($23.99 from $59.99 until 1/4)
Croc’s World 3 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 1/4)
Death Squared ($1.99 from $14.99 until 1/4)
Strike! Ten Pin Bowling ($6.99 from $9.99 until 1/4)
Connection Haunted Server Error ($1.99 from $4.99 until 1/4)
Struggling ($5.99 from $14.99 until 1/4)
Mega Party: A Tootuff Adventure ($5.99 from $29.99 until 1/4)
Ploid Saga ($1.99 from $11.99 until 1/4)
Ploid ($1.99 from $2.99 until 1/4)
Reknum Cheri Dreamland ($1.99 from $6.99 until 1/4)
Liberated ($3.99 from $19.99 until 1/4)

Tactics V: Obsidian Brigade ($14.99 from $19.99 until 1/4)
Yesterday Origins ($1.99 from $14.90 until 1/4)
Syberia 1 & 2 ($2.33 from $34.99 until 1/4)
ATV Drift & Tricks ($2.33 from $34.99 until 1/4)
Gear.Club Unlimited 2 ($5.99 from $39.99 until 1/4)
Animal Puzzle: Kids & Toddlers ($8.99 from $9.99 until 1/4)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Thursday, December 16th

A Long Way Down ($2.24 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Black Paradox ($4.49 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Cadence of Hyrule: CotN ($17.49 from $24.99 until 12/16)
Carrion ($11.99 from $19.99 until 12/16)
Corridor Z ($1.99 from $7.99 until 12/16)
Crash Bandicoot 4 ($29.99 from $39.99 until 12/16)
Cryogear ($8.75 from $19.99 until 12/16)
Cyber Complex ($6.59 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Demon Pit ($2.99 from $9.99 until 12/16)
Despotism 3K ($2.19 from $10.99 until 12/16)
DOOM Eternal ($23.99 from $59.99 until 12/16)
Evil Tonight ($13.49 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Fall of Light: Darkest Edition ($4.49 from $14.99 until 12/16)
FIFA 22 Legacy Edition ($19.99 from $39.99 until 12/16)
Georifters ($1.99 from $29.99 until 12/16)

Golem Gates ($7.49 from $24.99 until 12/16)
Guild of Darksteel ($11.99 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Hashihime of the Old Book Town ($55.47 from $61.64 until 12/16)
In My Shadow ($9.60 from $12.00 until 12/16)
Jotun: Valhalla Edition ($3.74 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild ($41.99 from $59.99 until 12/16)
Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening ($41.99 from $59.99 until 12/16)
Letter Quest Remastered ($2.99 from $11.99 until 12/16)
Lines Infinite ($1.99 from $3.99 until 12/16)
Lines X ($1.99 from $3.99 until 12/16)
Marbelous Animals ($1.99 from $4.99 until 12/16)
Monster Hunter Rise ($44.99 from $59.99 until 12/16)
Monster Slayers ($3.74 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Nefarious ($3.74 from $14.99 until 12/16)
No Longer Home ($9.74 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Nongunz: Doppelganger Edition ($11.24 from $14.99 until 12/16)

Octopath Traveler ($41.99 from $59.99 until 12/16)
Odallus: The Dark Call ($3.59 from $11.99 until 12/16)
Oniken: Unstoppable Edition ($2.99 from $9.99 until 12/16)
Ori & the Will of the Wisp ($11.99 from $29.99 until 12/16)
Our Summer Festival ($8.64 from $12.72 until 12/16)
Pianista ($14.99 from $24.99 until 12/16)
Raji: An Ancient Epic ($12.49 from $24.99 until 12/16)
Reverse Crawl ($3.24 from $12.99 until 12/16)
Rise Eterna ($1.99 from $19.99 until 12/16)
Robothorium ($3.74 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Roki ($7.99 from $19.99 until 12/16)
Sky Mercenaries Redux ($6.60 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Slain: Back From Hell ($4.99 from $19.99 until 12/16)
Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut ($3.74 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Snakeybus ($7.19 from $11.99 until 12/16)

Sorry, James ($1.99 from $9.99 until 12/16)
Soulblight ($3.74 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Spelunky 2 ($15.99 from $19.99 until 12/16)
Spiritfarer ($14.99 from $29.99 until 12/16)
Splatoon 2 ($41.99 from $59.99 until 12/16)
Steel Rain ($6.59 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Sudoku Classic ($3.49 from $5.99 until 12/16)
Sundered: Eldritch Edition ($4.99 from $19.99 until 12/16)
Super Blood Hockey ($7.49 from $14.99 until 12/16)
The Big Journey ($1.99 from $9.99 until 12/16)
The Forgotten City: Cloud Version ($23.99 from $29.99 until 12/16)
The Magister ($12.74 from $14.99 until 12/16)
The Unexpected Quest ($8.25 from $15.00 until 12/16)
Through the Darkest of Times ($4.99 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 ($21.99 from $39.99 until 12/16)

Train Station Renovation ($2.84 from $18.99 until 12/16)
TRIOS lofi beats/numbers ($5.99 from $7.99 until 12/16)
UnExplored ($4.50 from $15.00 until 12/16)
Valfaris ($11.24 from $24.99 until 12/16)
Verlet Swing ($5.09 from $14.99 until 12/16)
Wayout ($1.99 from $4.99 until 12/16)

That’s all for today, friends. Tomorrow is Thursday, and there will be a good number of new games hitting the eShop. I’m not seeing anything overtly exciting in the list, but I guess we’ll see. There could be some shadow drops due to the Indie Showcase, after all. I mean… there probably will be. We’ll have all of that, plus the latest sales. I hope you all have a great Wednesday, and as always, thanks for reading!

Post a Comment