SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘Howl’, Plus Today’s New Releases, Sales, and News

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for November 22nd, 2023. In today’s article, we’ve got a little slice of news to look at before we get going. After that, we’ve got a review of the strategy game Howl, a handful of new releases to summarize, and the usual lists of new and expiring sales. Sure, the list isn’t much when compared to yesterday’s, but you might be able to find more things to spend money on. And isn’t that what it’s all about? Well, it might be. Let’s go!


‘Jet Force Gemini’ is Coming to Nintendo Switch Online’s Expansion Pack in December

I’m not sure if we’re going to be getting any games added to the Nintendo Switch Online retro games catalog this month. It’s getting awfully close to the end, so barring a surprise drop next week we might have our first month with no new games in quite a while. But we’ve already got our first announcement for next month, so keep that chin up. Rare’s Jet Force Gemini is going to be added to the service sometime in December, and given it’s hitting Japan on November 30th I suspect it will be coming earlier in the month rather than later. Jet Force Gemini is a tough game, but it’s one many people have come to like a lot. If you haven’t played it before, you’ll be able to enjoy it with a Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack soon.

Reviews & Mini-Views

Howl ($14.99)

This game has a really cool premise, and it’s unfortunately the one part of the game that almost completely fails to deliver. In a medieval fantasy world, something called the Howling Plague has afflicted the land. Werewolf-like creatures roam, and anyone who hears their howl will turn into a beast themselves. The heroine of the game is deaf and is thus unaffected by the Howling Plague. She sets out to find a cure for the plague and to locate her missing brother. Like that? Well, you won’t get much more than that until the very end. It’s a shame.

But what isn’t a shame is the gameplay, wherein each confrontation with the wolves takes the form of a strategic puzzle. The AI of your opponents is highly deterministic and thus easy to learn to predict, so it really comes down to using the tools in your box to survive each battle. You don’t have to defeat the enemies in most cases, as you can simply make it to the exit to escape and move on. You will be rewarded for taking down the wolves, however. Doing so will give you Skulls that you can use to unlock new skills and upgrades, widening your options for future fights. There are various routes to take, and going back to replay stages for more Skulls adds even more reasons to come back.

The game has the slight whiff of a tactical RPG about it, but I must stress that this is more like a puzzle game than anything else. There’s very little randomness about it, and the game more or less knows what you have available to you at any given point. It’s all about using your knowledge of the various wolves and how they’ll react to put together a plan that will score you a victory. It’s a very cool game, but one that will take patience to learn the ropes in. It opens up significantly as you play, giving you more agency in how you want to handle things. A nice difficulty curve if you can get over the initial hump. I also love its extremely distinctive look.

If you like strategic puzzle games that require tight planning and careful use of a limited set of options, you’ll get a lot of out of Howl. It squanders its decent story set-up, but if you come for the gameplay you won’t likely be disappointed. The intriguing presentation pulls you in, tickling your imagination while you learn the ropes and get to the real meat of the game.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

New Releases

Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection ($29.99)

Gosh, Jurassic Park. It was so huge back in 1993. If you weren’t there, it’s really hard to get across how big it was. The movie was a hit, and it spawned a wide array of merchandise the likes of which we rarely see nowadays. Naturally, that included some video games. And these were the days where each console more or less got its own bespoke title, too. Anyway, this set from Limited Run Games includes a whole bunch of those games. Not all of them, but most of the console titles based on the first movie, at least. You get Jurassic Park NES and its Game Boy port, Jurassic Park Super NES, Jurassic Park Genesis/MD, Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues Super NES, Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues Game Boy, and Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition for Genesis/MD. It’s all running in Limited Run’s Carbon Engine interface, and there are some extra features included that might help you enjoy the games more. I’m going to be reviewing this one soon, so please look forward to that.

Witchtastic ($17.99)

I could beat around the bush a little bit, but I think I’ll just say it directly here: Witchtastic is a witch-flavored spin on Overcooked, complete with support for up to four players via local or online multiplayer. Work together to brew and deliver potions in a wide variety of stages. It does a really good job of delivering an enjoyable experience, even if it isn’t particularly original. If you’ve tapped out both Overcooked games and want something else that is very much in the same lane, here you go.

SETTRIS ($4.99)

Sure, the ‘Tris is in the title, but this game reaches back into where Tetris originated. You have some puzzles that require you to fill in all of the spaces, and a set number of different shapes to do that with. Place them in the right spots and in the right orientation, and you’ll be able to fill the whole pattern and move to the next puzzle. You’ve probably played games like this before, or perhaps even the real toy said games are based on. Here’s one more, but ocean-themed!

Firebird ($11.99)

There are trips through Slavic folklore, and then there are road trips through Slavic folklore. This narrative adventure is both of those things, and based on your choices you’ll take different routes and meet different characters. You’re driving in your truck through northern Siberia in order to save a village. You’ll meet all kinds of myths and legends on this trip, including Baba Yaga and Koschei. It’s important to manage your money, fuel, and of course the condition of your vehicle. You don’t want to end up stranded in Siberia, after all. The art style is interesting, and the Slavic folklore angle is neat. That’s at least two things going for the game.


(North American eShop, US Prices)

Well, I don’t know what anyone expected. When two thousand-plus games go on sale on a Tuesday, you’re not going to have much to work with on Wednesday. Get the Goose game, I suppose? There are a few goodies in the outbox, so make sure you give that one a look at least.

Select New Sales

Garden Buddies ($1.99 from $14.99 until 11/28)
Fighting Fantasy Legends ($4.99 from $9.99 until 11/29)
Deathtrap Dungeon Trilogy ($4.99 from $9.99 until 11/29)
Fights in Tight Spaces ($12.49 from $24.99 until 11/29)
Voodoo Detective ($3.74 from $14.99 until 11/29)
Among Us ($3.00 from $5.00 until 12/5)
TRON: Identity ($11.99 from $14.99 until 12/6)
Untitled Goose Game ($9.99 from $19.99 until 12/6)
Slime Rancher: Plortable ($12.49 from $24.99 until 12/6)
Chasm: The Rift ($7.99 from $19.99 until 12/12)
Headbangers: Rhythm Royale ($14.99 from $19.99 until 12/12)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, November 23rd

Blasphemous 2 ($20.09 from $29.99 until 11/23)
Cozy Grove ($8.60 from $14.99 until 11/23)
Death’s Gambit: Afterlife ($12.99 from $19.99 until 11/23)
Doki Doki Literature Club ($11.24 from $14.99 until 11/23)
Dredge ($18.74 from $24.99 until 11/23)
Freshly Frosted ($6.38 from $9.99 until 11/23)
Lifeless Planet: Premier Edition ($3.99 from $19.99 until 11/23)
LISA: Definitive Edition ($19.99 from $24.99 until 11/23)
LISA: The Joyful ($7.99 from $9.99 until 11/23)
LISA: The Painful ($15.99 from $19.99 until 11/23)
Little Witch Nobeta ($42.49 from $49.99 until 11/23)
Long Gone Days ($19.99 from $24.99 until 11/23)
Orbital Bullet ($5.99 from $19.99 until 11/23)
Pinstripe ($2.99 from $14.99 until 11/23)
Sail Forth ($13.89 from $19.99 until 11/23)
Smile For Me ($11.24 from $14.99 until 11/23)
Virgo Versus the Zodiac ($15.99 from $19.99 until 11/23)
Where the Water Tastes Like Wine ($3.99 from $19.99 until 11/23)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more sales, and whatever big news rolls in during the next twenty-four hours. I had my last follow-up appointment at the hospital today, and it looks like I’m all clear for now. Phew! Back to video games. I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday, and as always, thanks for reading!

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