SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘Lil’ Guardsman’ & ‘Starward Rogue’, Plus Today’s New Releases and Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for February 5th, 2024. We’re starting off our week with a handful of reviews for you to enjoy. I take a look at AdventureQuest 8-Bit: Dungeons & Doomknights, The Adventures of Panzer: Legacy Collection, and Starward Rogue, while our pal Mikhail has his thoughts on Lil’ Guardsman. After that, we have a gander at the largely dubious bunch of new releases for the day, and finish things up with the lists of new sales and outgoing discounts. Let’s get to it!

Reviews & Mini-Views

AdventureQuest 8-Bit: Dungeons & Doomknights ($19.99)

I can’t say I’m familiar with AdventureQuest, but the IP apparently got its start in a Flash game released in 2002. It’s had a handful of spin-offs over the years, and Dungeons & Doomknights appears to be the latest one. It launched on the NES last year, and has since released across a number of modern platforms courtesy of Nami Tentou. It’s an action-adventure game in the vein of The Legend of Zelda, with top-down sections and side-scrolling sections to give you both flavors of 8-bit entries in that franchise. You also get a number of extras, including an additional game called NecroNancy.

The games are made with NES Maker, and exhibit many of the qualities common to works built with that engine. The biggest issue I see in many NES Maker games is poor collision detection, and that’s unfortunately present here. Things can get dicey when you get close to enemies or hazards, and since your primary means of attack is a rather stubby melee attack, you’ll need to be very careful. You’ll get access to abilities through spirits as the game goes on, and that can help things a bit. Despite that, the game is still rather fun. The exploration is enjoyable, and it’s satisfying when you get new abilities. It takes about five hours to finish, and there are multiple endings to discover. I actually really enjoyed playing through NecroNancy as well, though it’s a rather brief affair.

Dungeons & Doomknights is a decent 8-bit adventure with its tongue planted so far into its cheek that it threatens to burst right through. Nami Tentou has done a nice job packaging it for the Switch, improving on its sometimes too-threadbare earlier efforts. Some collision issues and its tendency to go a little too over the top are the only real flies in this ointment, but those who can get into modern NES games will likely come away satisfied with this one.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

The Adventures of Panzer: Legacy Collection ($8.99)

And here’s another pair of new NES games built in NES Maker and brought to the Switch, in this instance courtesy of Ratalaika Games. The Adventures of Panzer: Legacy Collection gives you both entries in the Panzer series of side-scrolling action games. They star an idiot knight named Panzer and follow his adventures seeking fame and glory. He’s joined by a cast of characters who all are quite familiar with him in one way or another, and even his friends can barely tolerate him. In the first game, Panzer goes it alone with his basic attack and a small assortment of magic skills. In the second, Panzer can team up with a partner of your choice to make use of their abilities. The first game is fully linear, while the second uses a stage select system similar to that of Mega Man.

These games also lean very hard into comedy, this time seemingly centered around World of Warcraft. It feels like every character is based on someone’s character from that game, and there are a lot of inside jokes going on that I have no idea how people outside the circle are meant to understand. Nevertheless, I found the cast largely endearing, and the plots of both games are so stupid that there isn’t much point taking them seriously. Just go along with the ride; it’s easy enough. As for the gameplay, it’s not too shabby. While the usual collision problems are here, the generous range of Panzer’s primary attack and, in the sequel, the ranged attacks of his friends help mitigate things. The level designs are more perfunctory than good, but they’re alright.

While I don’t think either of the games included in The Adventures of Panzer: Legacy Collection are particularly noteworthy, they’re solid enough platformers to get you through a lazy weekend afternoon. Ratalaika has put them in the developer’s usual wrapper, and that means the usual set of features that are welcome if overly familiar. If you’re looking for some silly platforming entertainment for a reasonable price, this isn’t a bad choice.

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

Starward Rogue ($14.99)

I had a good feeling about this one from the minute I saw it in action, and I’m glad to say that it largely lived up to my expectations. This is a top-down twin-stick roguelite action game that sees you exploring rooms, battling enemies, and trying to make your way out of a labyrinth stuck in the side of a star. While this initially only requires you to survive five floors, each time you succeed in your goal the next run will ask more of you. It’s a substantial affair, particularly if you want to see everything. The title screen helpfully reminds you of what you have or haven’t seen, which will likely drive you forward.

Games of this sort run the gamut in terms of how intense the action is, and Starward Rogue goes straight into bullet hell with glee. The mini-bosses and bosses have gorgeous patterns, and battling with them is always a delight. But don’t take that to mean that the game relaxes on the roguelite bits, because it offers plenty to enjoy in that capacity as well. Several characters, tons of weapons and items with varying effects, and enough rooms that you won’t see repeats for a while. It’s constantly mixing things up, and you never know what to expect. If you need more, you can stump for the AuGMENTED DLC to add a bunch of additional stuff into the mix.

Fans of twin-stick roguelites would do well to give Starward Rogue some of their time. The gameplay mechanics are sound, the challenge is right where it should be, and the sheer variety that springs from the many items, rooms, and enemies is impressive. While the visuals are a bit lacking when it comes to the small touches, the action itself is so good you won’t often notice that. An excellent game overall, and I’m glad publisher Klabater brought it to the Nintendo Switch.

SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5

Lil’ Guardsman ($19.99)

Lil’ Guardsman from Hilltop Studios has been a refreshing game to play over the last two weeks. If you’ve not kept up with the reviews on TouchArcade lately, I’ve been very busy with many games on iOS and Steam Deck, and more still happening, but a lovely and funny game Shaun sent my way has been nice to take a break with. Lil’ Guardsman feels like it blends Papers, Please with comedy and fantasy to deliver something quite special.

You play as Lil who is a 12 year old taking over a shift at the guard shed. Your aim is to decide who is allowed to pass, but each character is its own puzzle with different requirements while you try and get info out of them and make the right decision. You can also rewind time if needed, but the interactions between the colorful and varied characters ended up being a lot more memorable than I anticipated based on the game’s trailer. There’s a ton of charm here.

On Nintendo Switch, I first played Lil’ Guardsman for an hour docked, and was disappointed. It doesn’t look as good as it should, and even has low resolution fonts for dialogue. This wasn’t a good first impression. When moving to handheld though, I was impressed. It looks and feels a lot better, especially on my Switch OLED screen. It feels like there’s no bump to image quality when playing docked compared to handheld which results it in looking worse than it should on a higher resolution and larger display.

Lil’ Guardsman‘s aesthetic is very nice and feels familiar despite having varied designs for the many characters you will run into. It also has a large amount of voice acting which I didn’t expect. I also want to note that it has touchscreen support which is great to have in a game like this to interact with or select gadgets as you try and deal with the puzzles.

Barring the issues with the visuals when played docked, Lil’ Guardsman is worth your time on Nintendo Switch for its writing, puzzles, voice acting, charm, and colorful visuals. It manages to bring in a few styles together well in a compelling package that is only held back by minor issues right now. If you do get it on Switch, play handheld and make use of the touchscreen for the best experience. -Mikhail Madnani

SwitchArcade Review Score: 4/5

New Releases

Torn Away ($15.00)

This game bills itself as an interactive story, and its gameplay takes on the form of a wide variety of minigames and play styles. It’s set in World War II and the main character is a ten year old girl named Asya who escapes from a labor camp and is trying to make her way home. She’ll face many trials as she crosses through the countrysides of Germany and Poland, as you would expect. The reception to the computer version of this game was quite good, so if you think the topic matter is for you then you might want to give it a closer look.

Maze of Realities: Flower of Dischord Collector’s Edition ($14.99)

Find the hidden objects… in a maze of realities!

The Bin Bunch

Raft Survival Simulator ($12.99)

Snow Moto – Racing Adventure ($12.99)

Morto – Chapter 2 ($0.98)

Jelly Shot ($0.99)


(North American eShop, US Prices)

THQ Nordic sales used to be a dime a dozen, but they’re less common than they used to be. There are some really deep sales this time, so if you want to get games like Red Faction Guerrilla, King’s Bounty II, and the Saint’s Row collection, there’s no better time. Check both lists as usual, friends.

Select New Sales

Youropa ($3.74 from $14.99 until 2/11)
The Battle of Polytopia ($5.99 from $14.99 until 2/12)
Evil Diary ($3.49 from $4.99 until 2/15)
Runnyk ($3.49 from $4.99 until 2/15)
Bob the Elementalist ($3.49 from $4.99 until 2/15)
Zomborg ($3.49 from $4.99 until 2/15)
Fearmonium ($9.09 from $12.99 until 2/15)
Hirilun ($6.99 from $9.99 until 2/15)
Amabilly ($3.49 from $4.99 until 2/15)
NeonPowerUp! ($3.49 from $4.99 until 2/15)
Chemically Bonded ($6.99 from $9.99 until 2/15)
SnowRunner ($19.99 from $39.99 until 2/15)
Love Kuesuto ($3.49 from $4.99 until 2/15)
Garlic ($7.49 from $14.99 until 2/15)
Steel Defier ($2.49 from $4.99 until 2/15)

Cyber Citizen Shockman 2 ($4.19 from $5.99 until 2/15)
Pirates on Target ($3.49 from $4.99 until 2/15)
Murder is Game Over ($3.49 from $4.99 until 2/15)
Doom & Destiny ($3.59 from $11.99 until 2/17)
Doom & Destiny Advance ($3.59 from $11.99 until 2/17)
Doom & Destiny Worlds ($5.99 from $19.99 until 2/17)
Red Faction Guerrilla Remarstered ($2.99 from $29.99 until 2/19)
King’s Bounty II ($3.99 from $39.99 until 2/19)
Gods Will Fall ($1.99 from $14.99 until 2/19)
Metro Redux ($4.49 from $29.99 until 2/19)
Let’s Sing ABBA ($15.99 from $39.99 until 2/19)
Let’s Sing Queen ($15.99 from $39.99 until 2/19)
Atelier Marie Remake ($37.49 from $49.99 until 2/19)
Atelier Sophie 2 ($35.99 from $59.99 until 2/19)
Atelier Ryza ($23.99 from $59.99 until 2/19)

Atelier Ryza 2 ($29.99 from $59.99 until 2/19)
Atelier Ryza 3 ($41.99 from $59.99 until 2/19)
Fate/Samurai Remnant ($41.99 from $59.99 until 2/19)
Samurai Warriors 5 ($29.99 from $59.99 until 2/19)
Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate ($35.99 from $59.99 until 2/19)
Kona II: Brume ($14.99 from $29.99 until 2/19)
Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires ($35.99 from $59.99 until 2/19)
Mato Anomalies ($5.99 from $39.99 until 2/19)
Mato Anomalies Digital Deluxe ($6.74 from $44.99 until 2/19)
Saints Row: The Big Purple Package ($4.49 from $29.99 until 2/19)
Bit.Trip Collection ($2.99 from $9.99 until 2/22)
Battle Princess Madelyn ($3.99 from $19.99 until 2/22)
Battle Princess Madelyn Royal ($2.99 from $14.99 until 2/22)
Strange Telephone ($3.99 from $9.99 until 2/23)

Drainus ($13.99 from $19.99 until 2/23)
Idol Manager ($17.49 from $24.99 until 2/23)
Kero Blaster ($2.99 from $9.99 until 2/23)
The Good Life ($19.99 from $39.99 until 2/23)
Orangeblood ($5.99 from $19.99 until 2/23)
Record of Lodoss War: Wonder Labyrinth ($17.49 from $24.99 until 2/23)
Bright Memory: Infinite Gold ($13.99 from $19.99 until 2/23)
Legal Dungeon ($4.99 from $9.99 until 2/23)
Gnosia ($17.49 from $24.99 until 2/23)
Mighty Goose ($7.99 from $19.99 until 2/23)
Time of War, Arkano ’90 ($2.09 from $14.99 until 2/23)
Saboteur SiO ($7.69 from $10.99 until 2/23)
7 Days to End with You ($8.39 from $11.99 until 2/23)
Backpack Hero ($15.99 from $19.99 until 2/23)
Howl ($9.89 from $14.99 until 2/24)
Dorfromantik ($13.49 from $14.99 until 2/24)
Elli ($1.99 from $7.99 until 2/24)
Trash Punk ($1.99 from $9.99 until 2/26)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, February 6th

Colorful Colore ($1.99 from $2.99 until 2/6)
Cube Life: Island Survival ($11.99 from $14.99 until 2/6)
Dead Cells: Medley of Pain Bundle ($27.99 from $39.99 until 2/6)
Girabox ($1.99 from $2.49 until 2/6)
Grood ($1.99 from $4.99 until 2/6)
Groundskeeper2 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 2/6)
Gunman Clive HD Collection ($1.99 from $4.99 until 2/6)
Gunslugs 2 ($2.39 from $7.99 until 2/6)
Heroes of Loot ($2.39 from $7.99 until 2/6)
Heroes of Loot 2 ($2.99 from $9.99 until 2/6)
Lila’s Tale & the Hidden Forest ($1.99 from $4.99 until 2/6)
Mechstermination Force ($1.99 from $11.99 until 2/6)
Meganoid ($2.69 from $8.99 until 2/6)
Onion Assault ($1.99 from $7.99 until 2/6)
Pew Paw ($1.99 from $6.99 until 2/6)
Pixel Action Heroes ($3.99 from $4.99 until 2/6)
Residual ($5.99 from $19.99 until 2/6)
Snake Core ($2.69 from $8.99 until 2/6)
Stardash ($2.99 from $9.99 until 2/6)
Super Punch Patrol ($1.99 from $4.99 until 2/6)
The Pinball Wizard ($1.99 from $7.99 until 2/6)

That’s all for today. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more reviews, more sales, and perhaps some news. I got a Steam Deck yesterday, which I’m going to use to play Spider-Man games. I think that’s a good way to use one of those things, right? I hope you all have a magnificent Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!

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