SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring Pikmin 12 and More Plus the Latest Releases and Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for July 3rd, 2023. I was a busy beaver over the weekend, and that means today is a review bonanza. Pikmin 1+2, Ray’z Arcade Chronology, AEW: Fight Forever, and Everdream Valley all get reviewed today before we head into the latest releases. It is a very dubious selection of new games today, but we summarize them anyway. After that, we look at the lists of the latest sales and expiring discounts. Let’s go!

Reviews & Mini-Views

Pikmin 1+2 ($49.99)

I think Nintendo was smart in titling these re-releases. They’re not Pikmin 1+2 HD, or Pikmin 1+2 Remastered, or anything like that. They’re Pikmin 1 and Pikmin 2, and that’s just what you get here. The visuals are crisper, the product placements have been removed, and Easter Eggs involving some licensed songs have also been cut. Some motion controls have been added, but don’t expect them to be as good as the pointer controls found in the Wii versions. The games are best played as they were in their original GameCube forms. It’s Pikmin 1 and Pikmin 2, now on your Switch.

Apparently born from Shigeru Miyamoto’s gardening hobby, Pikmin is Nintendo’s take on the real-time strategy genre. The series has never quite decided on exactly what it wants to be, and judging by the demo of Pikmin 4, it is still searching. The rules of each game are different enough despite the similar gameplay mechanics that it’s very possible to like one and not the next. In broad strokes, you’re always playing a little alien of some kind who is exploring a planet occupied by various creatures, the most helpful of which being little plants named Pikmin. Individually they are as weak as your little explorer, but together they can accomplish a lot. The Pikmin are both your resources and your primary means of interacting with the world, and knowing which type you’ll need and when is part of the strategy. The other big part is making sure you don’t lose too many of them. There are enemies to fight, things to collect, and puzzles to solve.

Pikmin 1 sees you trying to repair your broken ship within a set time limit. You’ve got one month to find the necessary parts scattered around the world you’ve crashed on, and if you can’t pull it off… well, it won’t be good. There are thirty parts in total to find, but you only need to get twenty-five of them to finish the game. You’ll get a better ending if you get them all, though. This time limit seems to be the make or break for people. It’s not particularly strict as long as you’re going for the normal ending, but it does apply some pressure that you’ll either appreciate or dislike. There are three types of Pikmin in this one, and their abilities are fairly basic. I think it’s held up really well, and I’m happy to see it on the Switch at an affordable price.

The time limit was removed from Pikmin 2, which sees Olimar and his co-worker Louie returning to the Pikmin planet to collect loot that will help their company with some money issues. You control both Olimar and Louie, and that gives you the ability (some might say ‘burden’) to multitask. You’ve got five different types of Pikmin this time, and even the returning Pikmin have some new properties. It’s a much bigger game with a much bigger world, including new caves that can be explored at your absolute peril. While there is no overall time limit, you’re still on a daily schedule. Caves stop time, allowing you to spend as much time as you like without night falling. You’ll have to collect all of the treasures to win this one, and it’s a real task. Less moment-to-moment pressure than the first, but it’s more difficult and not always in a nice way. A great game, but one with a feel of its own compared to the first.

Pikmin 1+2 brings two very unique GameCube games to the Switch in about as direct a manner as possible. These games have been reissued before on the Wii (and again on the Wii U Virtual Console), but this is the first time they’ve been available in handheld form. Apart from a higher resolution and the removal of a few licensed elements, these releases make almost no changes to the original games. Still, whether you’re looking to revisit the early Pikmin games or are coming to them for the first time, this is a good, affordable way to enjoy them.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

Ray’z Arcade Chronology ($49.99)

Taito’s Ray series of shooters is an odd one. The three games are very different from each other, largely due to the unique era they released in. RayForce is a 2D vertically-scrolling shooter that came out in 1994, just before the gaming industry started crushing big-time on polygons. While a 2D sequel called R-Gear was initially planned, it was soon shoved aside for 1996’s RayStorm, a fully polygonal 3D shooter. 1998’s RayCrisis was similarly rendered in 3D, but it did some really weird things structurally. And that was the end of that. A quirky trio of games, and if I’m being brutally honest, a series that got worse with each new chapter. Probably not Taito’s best shooting franchise, but one worth remembering even if mainly for the brilliant game that kicked it off.

Ray’z Arcade Chronology includes all three of the games in their arcade forms, along with HD versions of the 3D games. Outside of pulling in some of the home ports, it’s really the best possible collection you could hope for with this series. The brilliant folks at M2 were behind this set, and they don’t miss. You get all kinds of options covering game settings, controls, screen settings, audio, and M2’s signature gadgets. There are online leaderboards, options to save and view replays, and achievements to target for each of the games. You also have the option to choose between the games’ original soundtracks or arranged ones, with the second option for RayForce being none other than the audio from the Saturn port. All the games are emulated as well as you’re ever going to see, so if you already know you like them then by all means jump in.

I’ll give some quick thoughts on each of the games. RayForce is a game that for the longest time I couldn’t find the appeal in, but a few years ago it clicked and now I absolutely love it. The lock-on laser, multilayered stages, boss battles, and enemy patterns make this fun to play through and great to return to for score attacks. RayStorm‘s shift to 3D graphics can sometimes make it hard to visually read, but it’s another solid shooter. The lock-on laser is back, and the game definitely has a good time with the new tricks polygons make possible. RayCrisis is a weird game, and I’m still not overly fond of how it is structured. It’s certainly a game that rewards mastery, so those who like it enough to stick with it will probably be satisfied. The HD versions of the latter two games offer a nice alternative if you like your polygons crispy.

Ray’z Arcade Chronology is a fantastic collection of a slightly mixed trilogy of shooters. If you’re a fan of the Ray games, then buy this with full confidence. M2 has done a terrific job as usual. Shooter fans will also likely get their thrills thanks to the online leaderboards and achievements. If you’re totally new to Ray and are only a modest fan of the genre, I’d give this a slightly softer recommendation, but I still believe you’ll find something to like here.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

AEW: Fight Forever ($59.99)

This is another one of those games where I’m a bit torn on what to do with it. First, it must be acknowledged that this is the first game in a new line of wrestling titles. Developer Yuke’s is no stranger to the genre, but it has to lay down a whole new groundwork here. Some rough edges are to be expected and refinements will likely come in the future, either via updates or subsequent installments. Similarly, I wouldn’t necessarily expect it to be as content-rich as the later WWE games the developer worked on. Taken in that context, AEW: Fight Forever is pretty good. It seeks to bring back the beloved N64 style of wrestling game seen in WCW/NWO World Tour and WWF No Mercy, and since that is my favorite era of this genre of game, I’m happy to say it feels just about right. A really solid start.

That said, this is a full-priced game and all the behind-the-scenes stuff isn’t the end user’s responsibility. I don’t think it’s a serious problem that the game isn’t busting at the seams with characters and modes. There’s plenty here to enjoy. I do think it’s a problem that the game suffers from a lot of weird bugs and some major technical issues in this Nintendo Switch form. I’ve heard it fares better on other platforms, and Mikhail will likely confirm that when he takes a look at the Steam version later this month, but this is a review of the Switch version. The lower framerate, I don’t care much about. The random hitching during matches where things just briefly pause? It’s not fully game-breaking, but that really shouldn’t be happening. It’s extremely distracting, and it adds up with other elements to make the game feel like it missed a vital polishing pass or two.

Two wolves, I suppose. There’s a fun wrestling game at the core of AEW: Fight Forever. Probably the best licensed one in a couple of decades. I greatly look forward to seeing where this franchise goes in the future. I can’t say I didn’t get some enjoyment out of this Switch version, even. But the technical performance here really is below-par, and not just in the usual ways we’ve come to expect on the platform. Hopefully some updates can get things running the way they should, but I can’t guess at the future. I can only see how things are right now, and my advice would be to seek this one out on another platform if you can.

SwitchArcade Score: 3/5

Everdream Valley ($24.99)

At first I was expecting this to be another typical farming simulator, and for better or worse I can say that it definitely is not. Indeed, the farming elements are largely de-emphasized here outside of livestock care. It just isn’t very important. Another way this diverges from the usual is that there aren’t many human NPCs to interact with at all. The world is fairly big but it feels empty in a lot of ways, not just the lack of people to talk with. Oh, and the other big difference is that you have dreams where you become various animals and play assorted minigames. They run the gamut from okay to annoying, more often the latter than the former. Add in some technical issues (long loads, framerate issues, various bugs) that I assume are specific to this version, and you’ve got a game that is hard to love.

I appreciate that Everdream Valley zigged where I expected it to zag, and there are times when I think it almost gets what it’s going for. There’s certainly something here that a person could grab on to if they’re in the right frame of mind. But there are just so many bits of the game that feel half-baked or not properly thought-out, and the technical issues are frequent and unpleasant. It might eventually get updated into something worth punting on, but for now I’d give it a wide berth.

SwitchArcade Score: 2.5/5

New Releases

Silent Paws ($4.99)

You know the pickings are slim for new releases when Ultimate Games’ third or fourth swing at the whole “fox wandering around in 3D environments" schtick is at the top of the list. Here it is. Is it worth five bucks? To me, no. But to you, maybe! Today is that kind of day.

MeteoHeroes Saving Planet Earth! ($14.99)

This is a platform game based on a TV series I’ve never heard of, but it looks like some sort of Captain Planet-like affair. All of the kids are playable here, and they each have their own weather-related powers that they can use to find secrets in the levels or just progress. I don’t think the level of dining here matches the price on the bill, but I suppose if you have a little one with an affinity for the show, that’s a modifier that might tip the proverbial scales in its favor.

Bruxa ($9.99)

I’m not going to send this to the Bin Bunch, but I would really not advise spending ten bucks on this rather weak platformer. The pixel art is fine enough but there’s really nothing here gameplay-wise to justify the price.

Sokoball Dreams ($5.99)

I have to hand it to Weakfish Studios: the eShop description for this game is probably the loveliest, most flowery prose I’ve seen used to describe a Sokoban-style crate-pusher in a very long time. Nevertheless, this is a Sokoban-style crate-pusher. You either like them, or you don’t. I’ll leave the rest to you.

Rifter ($1.99)

A puzzle platformer where you have to make duplicates of yourself to open the way forward. We’ve seen games with this gimmick before, but this one has the minor novelty of your copies killing you if you touch them. Also, it’s two bucks. That helps.


(North American eShop, US Prices)

Of note in today’s inbox are sales by City Connection and PQube. Shooter fans will dig Game Tengoku and Deathsmiles I-II, and I can’t recommend Elevator Action Returns and Cleopatra Fortune enough. Those who like their games a little lewd might want to scope Gal*Gun 2 Complete Edition, which is on sale for a whopping 90% off. Not much to worry about in the outbox, so you can mainly focus on the new stuff.

Select New Games on Sale

Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny ($29.99 from $59.99 until 7/5)
Disgaea 5 Complete ($19.99 from $39.99 until 7/5)
Halftime Heroes ($2.99 from $4.99 until 7/9)
Roguebook: Deluxe Edition ($10.49 from $34.99 until 7/10)
Disney Speedstorm ($23.99 from $29.99 until 7/11)
Frontier Quest ($4.79 from $11.99 until 7/13)
Lucie’s Potager ($13.39 from $19.99 until 7/14)
Needy Streamer Overload ($9.99 from $19.99 until 7/14)
Cardfight!! Vanguard Dear Days ($62.99 from $69.99 until 7/14)
HunterX ($8.99 from $14.99 until 7/14)
Negative Nancy ($3.74 from $14.99 until 7/15)
Hot Gimmick Cosplay-jong ($6.00 from $20.00 until 7/15)
Game Tengoku CruisinMix Special ($8.99 from $29.99 until 7/15)
Abarenbo Tengu & Zombie Nation ($7.19 from $11.99 until 7/15)

Deathsmiles I-II ($31.99 from $39.99 until 7/15)
Zero Gunner 2- ($4.79 from $7.99 until 7/15)
Dragon Blaze ($4.79 from $7.99 until 7/15)
Samurai Aces ($4.79 from $7.99 until 7/15)
Tengai ($4.79 from $7.99 until 7/15)
Samurai Aces III: Sengoku Cannon ($5.99 from $9.99 until 7/15)
Strikers1945 ($4.79 from $7.99 until 7/15)
Strikers1945 II ($4.79 from $7.99 until 7/15)
Strikers 1945 III ($5.99 from $9.99 until 7/15)
Gunbird ($4.79 from $7.99 until 7/15)
Gunbird2 ($4.79 from $7.99 until 7/15)
Gunbarich ($4.79 from $7.99 until 7/15)
Sol Divide ($4.79 from $7.99 until 7/15)
Guardian Force – Saturn Tribute ($10.79 from $17.99 until 7/15)
Cotton 2 – Saturn Tribute ($10.79 from $17.99 until 7/15)
Cotton Boomerang Saturn Tribute ($10.79 from $17.99 until 7/15)

Cleopatra Fortune S-Tribute ($8.99 from $14.99 until 7/15)
Elevator Action Returns S-Tribute ($8.99 from $14.99 until 7/15)
Layer Section & Galactic Attack S-Tribute ($17.99 from $29.99 until 7/15)
Front Mission 1st Remake ($27.99 from $34.99 until 7/15)
Rune Lord ($1.99 from $6.99 until 7/15)
Taimumari: Complete Edition ($1.99 from $14.99 until 7/15)
Oliver’s Adventures in the Fairyland ($1.99 from $6.99 until 7/15)
Acalesia ($1.99 from $4.99 until 7/15)
Lanternium ($1.99 from $9.99 until 7/15)
Of Tanks & Demons III ($1.99 from $4.99 until 7/15)
Lord of the Click ($1.99 from $4.99 until 7/15)
Startup Company Console Edition ($10.39 from $12.99 until 7/15)
Dungeons of Dreadrock ($2.47 from $10.00 until 7/17)
Zengeon ($6.99 from $19.99 until 7/17)
Gravity Heroes ($4.94 from $14.99 until 7/17)

The Plane Effect ($5.99 from $14.99 until 7/17)
7 Years From Now ($3.29 from $9.99 until 7/17)
Quantum Replica ($3.29 from $9.99 until 7/17)
Tears of Avia ($7.49 from $14.99 until 7/17)
Supermarket Shriek ($3.99 from $19.99 until 7/17)
Gal*Gun 2 Complete Edition ($5.99 from $59.99 until 7/17)
Gal*Gun Double Peace ($21.99 from $39.99 until 7/17)
Lair Land Story $10.49 from $14.99 until 7/17)
Adventure Academia: Fractured Continent ($29.99 from $39.99 until 7/17)
ChronoBreach Ultra ($3.99 from $4.99 until 7/21)
The Unexpected Quest ($3.75 from $15.00 until 7/21)
Galactic Pioneer ($2.02 from $4.49 until 7/21)
Session Skate Sim Deluxe ($29.99 from $59.99 until 7/22)
Train Life: Orient Express Train Edition ($19.99 from $39.99 until 7/22)
Chef Life: A Restaurant Simulator ($23.99 from $39.99 until 7/22)

LOUD: My Road to Fame ($2.39 from $7.99 until 7/22)
Blade of Darkness ($4.49 from $14.99 until 7/22)
TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 3 ($34.99 from $49.99 until 7/22)
Bruxa ($1.99 from $9.99 until 7/22)
Hunting Simulator 2 ($3.99 from $39.99 until 7/22)
Dessert DIY ($1.99 from $4.99 until 7/22)
Everybody, Hearts! ($3.00 from $6.00 until 7/22)
Smash Reversi ($4.50 from $9.00 until 7/22)
Eventide: Slavic Fable ($1.99 from $14.99 until 7/23)
Demon Hunter: Chronicles from Beyond ($1.99 from $14.99 until 7/23)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 4th

Amazing Breaker ($2.07 from $7.99 until 7/4)
Boris the Rocket ($3.44 from $14.99 until 7/4)
Collab Ball ($2.14 from $4.99 until 7/4)
Death, Soul & Robots ($3.34 from $4.99 until 7/4)
Frido ($3.34 from $4.99 until 7/4)
Galaxy Squad ($2.29 from $9.99 until 7/4)
HardCube ($2.03 from $7.00 until 7/4)
Mainframe Defenders ($2.75 from $11.99 until 7/4)
My Hidden Things ($2.02 from $6.99 until 7/4)
OMNO ($3.19 from $15.99 until 7/4)
One Dog Story ($2.24 from $14.99 until 7/4)
Runbow ($1.99 from $14.99 until 7/4)
Truberbrook ($2.99 from $29.99 until 7/4)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more sales, more reviews, and perhaps some news. I somehow managed to hurt myself playing Everybody 1-2-Switch, so now I’m icing the injury and resting. Game responsibly, especially if you’re middle-aged. I hope you all have a magnificent Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!

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