SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘Venba’ and More, Plus the Latest Releases and Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for August 1st, 2023. In today’s article we kick things off with a review of Venba from our pal Mikhail. I’m in quick pursuit with a trio of reviews, covering Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening, Sephonie, and Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons. We’ve got a few new releases to check out, and then the usual lists of new sales and expiring discounts. Let’s get to it!

Reviews & Mini-Views

Venba ($14.99)

Venba is a game I was very interested in playing because I actually make idlis, dosas, and biryani at home sometimes, and that’s been a focus of some of the trailers. I always thought the game looked lovely, but I wasn’t sure what to expect on the rest. I’ve now played Venba on both Switch and Steam Deck, and enjoyed almost everything about the game. This 1-1.5 hour long experience blends puzzles, culture, food, loss, family, and more to deliver something special.

Before getting into the game, the opening has you making idlis. I noticed the in-game recipe required putting cloth before the idli batter, and I haven’t ever done that myself. I checked with my grandmom, and it turns out you do need to do that, but I’ve been skipping that step. Having Venba improve how I make idlis is definitely not something I expected, but here we are. It got me to even adjust my usual review photograph as you can see above.

Now onto Venba, the game. It is a short narrative experience with very light puzzles, some that may feel like trial and error, lots of character development, dealing with a new country, people, jobs, and more. You play as Venba who has moved to Canada. As Venba you see things change around you and in your own family as time goes by, but your recipes are with you always.

Since this is a narrative focused game, I don’t want to spoil the story, but there are many relatable moments because I see things like this happen around me quite a bit when relatives move to other countries to study or for a new job. There’s a lot of love put into this game, and I think it is a few patches away from being perfect on the platforms I played it on.

The actual cooking happens with light puzzles and interactions. Some require placing ingredients in the correct order, some require rotating the analog stick, and some recipes require memorizing or using vague hints from the recipe book. Speaking of hints, there is an in-game hint system if you do get stuck.

The lack of touchscreen support (as of this writing) on Switch is disappointing. Point and click style games aren’t fun to play with a controller stick when a touch option is available. A glossary would’ve been nice for some recipes to just have easy access as well.

In terms of platform differences, I’ve played Venba on both Steam Deck and Switch. The colors definitely benefit from the OLED Model screen. While not a dealbreaker, there were a few performance issues on Switch in some cut-scenes and during one specific recipe where the cursor movement became choppy. I had no issues playing Venba on Steam Deck, but would still get it on Switch if you have an OLED Model.

Barring the few features I’d like to see in potential patches, Venba delivered in spades, and I can’t wait to see what Visai Games works on next. Venba is a great 1 hour or so long experience that will definitely have you salivating at some of the food while probably thinking of your own family or friends while playing. -Mikhail Madnani

SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5

Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening ($59.99)

This is not a game for everyone. It’s wildly complex, in many ways depending on the audience having decades of familiarity with its mechanics. It doesn’t explain itself very well, either. It takes a long while to get through a game of Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening, and you’ll probably lose quite a lot before you actually pull out a win. This can be incredibly disheartening, and if you feel like something like that is a waste of your time then you should absolutely steer clear of this game. But if you’re patient and willing to take your lumps to learn a game with deep rewards for mastery, there isn’t much else on the Switch quite like this.

The series has been around for a very long time, and it’s certainly been more about refinement than revolution for most of that span. Awakening is no different in that regard, opting to pile on more options and content to sweeten the deal. Your goal is as ever to unify Japan, and that isn’t a goal that can be reached solely by swinging around a sword. You have to play the strategic game in several ways, and when it comes time to fight you’ll be doing so in the seat of a commander rather than a direct participant. You can trust things to your computer-controlled vassals sometimes, but you’re going to have to make sure you’ve got a proper understanding of how everything works and where to allocate your limited resources.

Nobunaga’s Ambition: Awakening is a strong example of a flavor that most players have already made up their minds on. It’s frankly too complex to teach in tutorials without tossing the player into the mix, so you have to be ready to take your lumps and learn if you’re planning to get the most out of it. If you think you can do that and want to get in on a series so good that it’s been around about as long as Nintendo has been making consoles, feel free to lose yourself in this great strategy game.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

Sephonie ($19.99)

I’m still rolling this one over in my head, but I have to put words to page and keep on moving. It’s a big ball of mixed feelings for me, to be honest. Sometimes the platforming, which focuses heavily on wall-running and precise dashing, is really good. Sometimes it’s dull. The story is sometimes really interesting, and sometimes it was so wordy and seemingly pointless that I started zoning out. I liked the puzzle segments in theory, but in practice they were so toothless that they often felt like a waste of time.

I think if you can fully buy into the world Sephonie is selling, you might really like it. Three scientists are more or less stranded on a very strange island, and its many caves seem to be built for some hot parkour action. They also sometimes warp into locations connected to our protagonists. As you play, the characters will engage in idle chatter about this and that. Some of it fits with the plot, but most of it is just meant to flesh out the characters and their relationships. As I said before, I enjoyed some of it and found a lot of it to be utterly banal. It just didn’t ring authentic to me.

You’ll also meet up with various creatures that just chill around the islands. You can connect with them by playing a puzzle game where you need to arrange pieces and match colors. There are a few twists thrown in here and there during these bits, but nothing that will give much trouble to anyone who has played any match-3 game from the last twenty years. I think this kind of hits on an element that bothered me throughout the whole game. It’s not afraid to let you have minor setbacks, but it’s deathly afraid to let you actually fail. And I get where that is coming from, but it ends up making the game feel more boring than it should.

When Sephonie is on, it’s on. There’s definitely something to chew on here, and if you can get your teeth around it you might have a great experience with the game. The biggest issue with the game is how inconsistent it feels in all respects, and that even comes down to the technical aspects of this Switch port. You’re going to have to be able to put up with some rough edges to get at the good points of Sephonie, but if you’re in a forgiving mood and feel like playing something that is for better or worse different, you might want to give it a go.

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons ($24.99)

I think I wanted to like this game more than I did. I’ve been a fan of Double Dragon for as long as a person could be a fan of Double Dragon. I’ve been there for the highs and the lows, and it has been a seriously rocky road on the whole. But every time a new Double Dragon release happens, I still hope for the best. With the beat-em-up genre enjoying a rather strong renaissance of late, there was a great chance here for Billy and Jimmy Lee to make a big comeback.

We’ll have to settle for a decent comeback, I suppose. The game looks to me like it was inspired by the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, and once you get past how different the tone is compared to most of the other Double Dragon games (and frankly, what’s new on that front?), it’s fairly pleasing to the eyes. Lots of fun little animations and plenty of details to enjoy. The soundtrack is also where it needs to be.

I just wish the gameplay was as invigorating. This isn’t a bad brawler by any means, but it lacks the speed and fluidity to its combat that the best in the genre sport. It sometimes feels like it’s so busy trying to look good that it sacrifices responsiveness, and that’s not a trade I’m ever fond of. The characters, and there are a fair number once you have them all unlocked, feel wildly unbalanced. I found the Lee brothers to play the best, while Marian was borderline useless.

The advertised roguelite structure doesn’t really do the game a ton of favors, and I can’t help but feel it was conceived to help stretch out the relatively small amount of stages and overall brief runtime. You can choose the initial stages in your order of choosing, and how long and complex they are depends on when in the string you play them. You can also pick some perks between levels using the money you earn by defeating foes, or save it to pay for revives. The game really wants you to replay it to experience everything and unlock all the goodies, but it gets tiresome well before fully checking off either of those things. I’d have preferred if the developer had focused on making a single strong playthrough rather than this approach.

Overall, Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons is a decent beat-em-up, but not much more than that. This franchise has had enough serious lows that I think this still falls somewhere in the average zone, so I think I can give it a soft recommendation to Double Dragon fans. The roguelite structure does the game no favors at all in my opinion, and while the presentation is nice it does sometimes feel like it’s getting in the way of the gameplay. Not a bad dust-up, but not a great one either.

SwitchArcade Score: 3/5

New Releases

Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed Director’s Cut ($29.99)

The second game in Marvelous and Acquire’s series of strip-em-up action RPGs comes to the Nintendo Switch. Defend the geek paradise that is Akihabara from evil creatures disguised as normal humans by stripping them down to their underwear. Video games! This director’s cut includes new quests and a new true ending, plus all of the previously released DLC.

Barony ($19.99)

Oh, this is some good stuff. This is a somewhat goofy first-person action roguelite that teeters so close to the line that I almost want to call it a full-on roguelike. Choose one of thirteen classes and dive into the dungeons of the evil Baron, either solo or with up to three other players in local, wireless, or online multiplayer. It even has cross play, so you don’t have to worry about the potential ghost town effect. This is a rather well-loved game over on Steam, and I suspect it will find a happy audience on Switch as well.

The Bin Bunch

Leafy Trails ($4.99)


(North American eShop, US Prices)

Some interesting ones today, though not a lot hitting any particularly new lows. I’ll always recommend Horace at any price, and Hypnospace Outlaw is pretty cool. Boltgun is sitting in the outbox, and if you like first-person shooters at all you’ll want that. Check those lists as usual!

Select New Games on Sale

Terraria ($14.99 from $29.99 until 8/7)
Portal Knights ($6.99 from $19.99 until 8/7)
Indivisible ($7.49 from $29.99 until 8/7)
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night ($15.99 from $39.99 until 8/7)
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising ($8.99 from $14.99 until 8/7)
Drawn to Life: Two Realms ($3.49 from $9.99 until 8/7)
Horace ($5.99 from $14.99 until 8/7)
Ghostrunner ($11.99 from $29.99 until 8/7)
Grapple Dog ($5.99 from $14.99 until 8/8)
Decarnation ($11.99 from $14.99 until 8/8)
Chronicles of 2 Heroes: Amaterasu’s Wrath ($14.99 from $19.99 until 8/14)
Mortal Kombat 11 ($9.99 from $49.99 until 8/14)
Right and Down ($3.99 from $9.99 until 8/15)
Super Zangyura ($13.99 from $19.99 until 8/16)

Bunny Must Die! ($10.49 from $14.99 until 8/16)
Harvest Yuuka ($17.50 from $25.00 until 8/16)
Bumballon ($3.49 from $4.99 until 8/17)
Jack N’ Jill DX ($1.99 from $4.99 until 8/17)
The Legend of the Dragonflame Highschool ($2.49 from $4.99 until 8/17)
Gynoug ($4.89 from $6.99 until 8/17)
Gleylancer ($4.89 from $6.99 until 8/17)
Avenging Spirit ($4.19 from $5.99 until 8/17)
Moto Roader MC ($4.89 from $6.99 until 8/17)
To Be Or Not To Be ($1.99 from $6.99 until 8/21)
Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro ($4.99 from $19.99 until 8/21)
Andro Dunos II ($5.99 from $19.99 until 8/21)
Saga of Sins ($13.99 from $19.99 until 8/21)
Limbo ($1.99 from $9.99 until 8/21)
Inside ($1.99 from 19.99 until 8/21)

Thomas Was Alone ($1.99 from $9.99 until 8/21)
Behold the Kickmen ($1.99 from $3.99 until 8/21)
Paratopic ($1.99 from $5.49 until 8/21)
Yes, Your Grace ($2.99 from $19.99 until 8/21)
Nowhere Prophet ($2.49 from $24.99 until 8/22)
Descenders ($9.99 from $24.99 until 8/22)
Hypnospace Outlaw ($6.99 from $19.99 until 8/22)
Not Tonight: Take Back Control ($2.49 from $24.99 until 8/22)
Mom Hid My Game! ($2.99 from $4.99 until 8/22)
Mom Hid My Game! 2 ($2.99 from $4.99 until 8/22)
My Brother Ate My Pudding! ($2.99 from $4.99 until 8/22)
Hide & Dance ($2.99 from $4.99 until 8/22)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 2nd

A Plague Tale: Innocence Cloud Vers. ($19.99 from $39.99 until 8/2)
A Plague Tale: Requiem Cloud Vers. ($38.99 from $59.99 until 8/2)
Aeon Must Die! ($9.99 from $19.99 until 8/2)
Antigravity Racing ($2.24 from $8.99 until 8/2)
Call of Cthulhu ($9.99 from $19.99 until 8/2)
Cue Sports ($1.99 from $5.90 until 8/2)
Curse of the Dead Gods ($7.99 from $19.99 until 8/2)
Death Road to Canada ($4.49 from $14.99 until 8/2)
Dordogne ($15.99 from $19.99 until 8/2)
FPV Simulator ($1.99 from $9.99 until 8/2)
Gem Wizards Tactics ($1.99 from $12.99 until 8/2)
Madshot ($1.99 from $19.99 until 8/2)
Othercide ($14.99 from $29.99 until 8/2)
Overlord: Escape From Nazarick ($14.99 from $29.99 until 8/2)
Shady Part of Me ($5.99 from $14.99 until 8/2)
Ultreia ($1.99 from $12.99 until 8/2)
Vampyr ($11.99 from $39.99 until 8/2)
Warhammer 40k Boltgun ($17.59 from $21.99 until 8/2)
Warhammer Age of Sigmar Storm Ground ($6.99 from $19.99 until 8/2)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more sales, perhaps a review or two, and maybe some news. I hope you all have a superb Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!

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