SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘Splatoon 3: Side Order’ & ‘qomp2’, Plus News, New Releases, and Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for February 26th, 2024. We’ve got a fairly packed Monday edition for you today, with a bit of news from our pal Mikhail to kick things off. After that, we have an assortment of reviews for you to enjoy. Mikhail takes a look at the latest DLC for Splatoon 3, while I give my assessments of qomp2, Promenade, and Lords of Exile. We then move into the rather dire list of new releases for the day, and finish things up with the usual looks at the latest sales and expiring discounts. Let’s get going!


Reynatis From Furyu Heads West This Fall

NIS America just announced that it is localizing Furyu’s new dark action RPG Reynatis for Switch, Steam, and PlayStation platforms this fall. After how much of a surprise Furyu’s Crymachina ended up being last year, I have hopes that Reynatis will deliver. It features a recreated version of Shibuya, Tokyo, and looks visually striking. The game’s story has been written by Kazushige Nojima who was responsible for Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy X, and more. If you’ve been paying attention to Furyu’s game announcements, having a big name involved isn’t surprising, but this one is more interesting than prior announcements given Kazushige Nojima’s involvement. I’ll definitely be playing this. Check out the official website here.

Reviews & Mini-Views

Splatoon 3: Expansion Pass Wave 2 – Side Order ($24.99*)

When Nintendo announced the Expansion Pass for Splatoon 3, I expected something similar to what we saw with the Octo Expansion for Splatoon 2. Nintendo proved me wrong by releasing a fantastic roguelite mode, but one that needed a bit more variety. While this review will focus on Splatoon 3: Expansion Pass Wave 2 – Side Order, I’m also going to cover a bit about the first wave and the expansion pass as a whole since you can only buy both waves together.

Splatoon 3: Expansion Pass Wave 2 – Side Order is basically a single player roguelite mode set in the world of Splatoon where you play as Agent 8, an Octoling. You meet Pearl who looks very different and eventually run into a new face. This leads you to a tower called the Spire of Order which you try to ascend. You do this by building up your skills through color chips and hacking.

Don’t expect to finish everything in a few runs though. With each failure comes a return on investment for your time with the in-game currency or key items that you use to make things easier for the next run. As you ascend, you can choose branching difficulty paths as well leading up to the bosses.

In addition to the replay value of doing just that, you also slowly unlock more weapons to use. I won’t spoil things, but once you actually see things through till the end, there is even more replay value with certain requirements that will have you coming back for more. If you enjoyed Splatoon 2, you will definitely love the lore and references here. Also it helps that Pearl and Marina are the best out of all three groups we’ve had in the series.

I’ve enjoyed the Splatoon campaigns on Switch and the Octo Expansion, but Splatoon 3: Expansion Pass Wave 2 – Side Order is more of what I want from the single player content. I’d even love for a co-op take on this in the future.

If you played the Splatoon 3 campaign, you know how amazing the art direction was throughout. I was a bit skeptical of how Splatoon 3: Expansion Pass Wave 2 – Side Order would fare given the teasers, but it is amazing. Not only is the art direction strong, but the in-engine cut-scenes and character interactions are all amazing. It really shows how amazing this team is in its style.

Another highlight in the expansion is the music. There isn’t as much as I had hoped for, but the new songs are incredible. I almost feel like just idling in the new hub or not stepping into the elevator to ascend the Spire of Order just to hear the new music.

If you only own the base Splatoon 3 game, you can buy Splatoon 3: Expansion Pass to get Wave 1 – Inkopolis and Wave 2 – Side Order together with some bonus items. The pass is priced at about $25. When Wave 1 released, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Wave 2 in any form, and wondered if it would manage justifying the higher asking price than the Splatoon 2 expansion. Having now played Side Order quite a bit, it is my favorite single player content from the Splatoon series (on Switch).

I didn’t own a Wii U and never got to play Splatoon 1. I’ve always hoped Nintendo would bring the campaign from that game to Switch as DLC or a standalone release. We didn’t get that here, but we do have the Inkopolis Plaza, the hub from Splatoon 1, as an alternate hub option in Splatoon 3 as Wave 1 of the DLC. This includes the music and Squid Sisters as well. It is a well done addition, but I really want to play the original game campaign on Switch somehow. Make it happen, Nintendo.

If you’re wondering whether the Splatoon 3: Expansion Pass is worth buying, having seen what it has to offer, I say it is. I got more fun out of this than I did the Octo Expansion despite that being amazing on its own. Having a new (for me) hub option also freshened things up. While the bonus items included aren’t that amazing, they are essentially bonuses to reward you for buying the pass in the first place.

My only complaint with Splatoon 3: Expansion Pass Wave 2 – Side Order is that it could’ve used a bit more variety for a mode that requires you to replay it so much to get the most out of it. While it may not hit the set-piece highs as past game expansions, this is exactly what I want to see from Splatoon as a series, and I hope it is included in the next game as an optional mode. The team nailed everything here, and if it ever does get more added through free updates, it will be perfect. -Mikhail Madnani

SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5

qomp2 ($19.99)

The reinvigorated Atari seems to be focusing on a few different fronts as it attempts to build itself back up from the state it has been in for a while. One very obvious and fairly successful strategy has been to reissue its classic games through various means such as Atari 50. Another has been to make some new takes on its IPs, most notably through the Recharged line. That too has been a reasonable success. The publisher has also been making investments in and outright purchasing existing developers like Night Dive and Digital Eclipse, and I imagine that will go well for Atari. Finally, the company has been making completely new games that don’t necessarily rely on nostalgia to drive them, and while the quality has been there with most of those titles I’m not sure it has been finding much of an audience with them.

qomp2 is the latest of these, kind of. The game is riffing off Pong, but only in a very superficial way. Instead of controlling a paddle and whacking a ball around, you’re controlling the ball. You can’t make the ball move any direction you want it to, though. It will always be moving forward, and if it hits a wall it will bounce off the way you would expect it to. What you can do is alter whether it’s moving diagonally upwards or downwards with the push of a button, and use another charge it up for a super-dash of sorts that can break or push certain blocks. With these skills, you have to guide the ball through thirty levels spread across four worlds. There are some secrets to find and extra items to pick up, if you’re up to it.

The broad structure of qomp2 is something we’ve seen a million times before. Making your way through challenging gauntlets of traps and hazards that require precise movements, dying an absurd number of times until you finally pull off the necessary sequence to hit the next checkpoint. Even the gritty, off-kilter look of the game isn’t anything especially novel. What makes qomp2 so intriguing is the fact that we’re guiding a ball through it all. It takes a lot more forethought and strategy to get through even the most familiar of traps, and that makes the game feel fresh. If you find it all a little much, the game includes a couple of options you can toggle to alleviate the challenge. Yes, if you just want a chill experience you can turn on invincibility and have it your way. There are some in-game achievements that you’ll need to play the game normally to earn, however.

I had a real blast playing through qomp2. It puts a very clever spin on the usual precision platformer concept, and executes it almost flawlessly. It can be immensely frustrating, and there are a few gimmicks I didn’t enjoy that much, but overall I think this is an excellent game. I like how it makes use of a certain Atari-ness without fully leaning into it, allowing it to be its own thing while still feeling like an Atari game. This is a game I would highly recommend to those who enjoy a strong challenge, and it’s the kind of thing I’d like to see more of from Atari’s original titles.

SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5

Promenade ($24.99)

Promenade is interesting, and I do like games that are interesting. Basically, take a character with the enemy-tossing and double-jumping moves of Klonoa and drop them into a 2D interpretation of a 3D collectathon platformer. Throw in the ability to get a few new moves and a nice presentation, and you’re on the Promenade. It’s a bit strange that I haven’t seen this kind of game before, but I’m sure someone’s done it before. Someone always has. But yes, interesting concept.

Sometimes, interesting concepts haven’t been done a lot before because they don’t work well. There are some parts of Promenade that had me feeling that way, but by and large I think it actually pulls off what it’s aiming for. The levels are big enough to encourage exploration, but compact enough that you’re rarely lost for trying to find a goal to complete. Unlike with some collectathons, you’re not given your goals upfront when you enter an area. You can find an item that will show you the names of each goal, but otherwise you’ll just need to explore and be observant. The game is fairly good at nudging you towards objectives, though.

Promenade doesn’t simply rely on exploration to carry the game, however. You’ll have to pull off some genuinely tricky platforming at times, making use of the limited double-jump and earned ability to swing from grapple points to reach certain areas. The platforming has as bit of stiffness to it, but I think that too is simply taking after Klonoa. It’s not bad once you’re used to it, but if you’ve been playing a lot of Mario recently you’ll need some time to adjust. As a big fan of Klonoa, I was able to get into the groove without much trouble. Overall, I was quite happy with the mix of platforming and exploring in this game.

The only real issue I had with Promenade comes in its pacing. This is a fairly slow-paced and deliberate game, and the exploratory nature of the game combined with the lack of a map can result in a lot of retracing of your steps. While you’re not going to be doing tons of combat, when you do it can be a little awkward. Overall, this is a game more suited to the patient player, and I could see some people finding it too slow on the whole.

While it isn’t without its faults, Promenade is a game that generally impressed me. As obvious as the idea of doing a 2D take on a 3D collectathon is, doing so successfully is another matter entirely. That this game has managed it without stumbling too much speaks to its quality. It’s one of those cases where if you think the idea sounds good to you, you’ll probably enjoy the results.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

Lords of Exile ($19.99)

I don’t know if we’re ever getting more Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon games, but if you’re craving something along those lines, you’ll want to check out Lords of Exile. This is a 2D action-platformer with heavy Castlevania vibes, with eight challenging levels to play and some tough-but-fair pattern-heavy boss battles. Each boss you take down will grant you a new ability to carry forward, expanding your arsenal as you go. You’ll also unlock an additional character, and she has a very distinctive playstyle of her own. Throw in a couple of extras in the form of a Boss Rush and a Speedrunner mode, and that’s the lot. Not a huge game, but more than enough by the standards of its genre.

It’s all pulled off with a good level of quality all-around, though I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t all a bit too familiar. The only real gimmick it brings with it is the ability to climb some of the walls in the backgrounds, and I’m not a real fan of this mechanic. One boss battle is built around it, and it’s quite annoying. Other than that, this comes off like a photocopy of a photocopy. I kept waiting for some fun surprises to break things up, but everything more or less proceeded as I expected. It’s a well-made game, with tight controls and plenty of fun encounters, but it’s missing that extra bit of sizzle to elevate it from merely being a good homage.

If you want a good 2D action game in the vein of classic Castlevania, Lords of Exile will likely scratch that itch for you nicely. It plays well, offers a solid yet reasonable level of difficulty, and has some cool boss fights. The presentation is also pleasing, particularly the soundtrack. With all that said, this path is starting too feel a little too well-trodden, and Lords of Exile is in sore need of some kind of spice. A fully competent ode to the classics, but one that never quite escapes that definition.

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

New Releases

The Tales of Bayun ($6.99)

This is a choice-based narrative adventure game that offers two different connected stories to play through. Make some decisions, find some hidden objects, and arrive at one of more than ten different endings. The setting leans heavily on Eastern European myths and folklore, granting it a dark and fantastical feel. Relatively brief, but the storytelling is decent.

The Bin Bunch

Hike Adventures ($7.99)

Pocket Fishing ($12.99)

Lion Simulator Survival: RPG Animal Battle ($12.99)

The Bike – Moto Ride Simulator ($11.99)

Twisty Pals ($0.99)

Kings Odyssey: Rise of the Necromancer ($4.99)

Kings Odyssey: Dwarves Tale ($4.99)

Call of Honor – Duty of Warfare ($12.99)

Quick Golf ($2.99)


(North American eShop, US Prices)

Not a bad little list for a Monday, I’d say. Some Ubisoft games, some Capcom games, and some neat indies to round things out. The outbox is fairly compact today, so I’ll let you go ahead and sift through it yourself. I am slightly pressed for time, unfortunately. But I have faith in all of you.

Select New Sales

Arcade Tycoon ($17.99 from $19.99 until 3/1)
Chop Goblins ($3.99 from $4.99 until 3/2)
Squirrel Stapler ($6.39 from $7.99 until 3/2)
Treachery in Beatdown City Ultra ($6.49 from $9.99 until 3/3)
Tails of Trainspot ($7.19 from $11.99 until 3/6)
Goo Fighter ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/7)
Phoenotopia Awakening ($6.99 from $19.99 until 3/9)
Trivial Pursuit Live 2 ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/9)
Monopoly Madness ($7.49 from $29.99 until 3/9)
UNO Ultimate Edition ($7.99 from $19.99 until 3/9)
Starlink: BfA Deluxe Edition ($15.99 from $79.99 until 3/9)
Child of Light Ultimate ($4.99 from $19.99 until 3/9)
Scott Pilgrim vs The World ($4.89 from $14.99 until 3/9)
Rayman Legends Definitive ($7.99 from $39.99 until 3/9)
Immortals Fenyx Rising Gold ($14.99 from $99.99 until 3/9)

Rabbids: Party of Legends ($9.99 from $39.99 until 3/9)
Assassin’s Creed Mega Bundle ($39.99 from $99.99 until 3/9)
Just Dance 2024 Ultimate ($42.49 from $84.99 until 3/9)
Ultra Street Fighter II: TFC ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/9)
Street Fighter 30th Anniversary ($9.99 from $29.99 until 3/9)
Capcom Beat Em Up Bundle ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/9)
Capcom Fighting Bundle ($24.99 from $59.99 until 3/9)
Capcom Fighting Collection ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/9)
The Settlers: New Allies ($19.79 from $59.99 until 3/9)
Springtime Hike ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/9)
Ironsmith Medieval Simulator ($4.99 from $9.99 until 3/9)
Redeemer’s Run ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/9)
Deadliest Catch: The Game ($9.99 from $24.99 until 3/9)
Husky’s Adventures ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/9)
Pocket Circuit ($2.39 from $3.99 until 3/9)

Vampire’s Fall: Origins ($2.59 from $12.99 until 3/9)
Gravity Circuit ($16.49 from $21.99 until 3/15)
Fusion Paradox ($5.99 from $9.99 until 3/15)
Earthshine ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/15)
Hero Survival ($2.99 from $4.99 until 3/15)
Creepy Tale: Ingrid Penance ($5.99 from $9.99 until 3/15)
Astro Flame: Starfighter ($5.99 from $9.99 until 3/15)
GyroGunner ($5.76 from $7.20 until 3/15)
Pixel Cafe ($5.19 from $12.99 until 3/15)
Moon Dancer ($13.29 from $18.99 until 3/15)
Star Gagnant ($22.80 from $38.00 until 3/15)
Bright Lights of Svetlov ($5.99 from $9.99 until 3/15)
Vernal Edge ($15.39 from $21.99 until 3/15)
Astria Ascending ($17.99 from $39.99 until 3/15)
NeuroVoider ($2.79 from $13.99 until 3/15)
ScourgeBringer ($5.94 from $16.99 until 3/15)
Piczle Cross Adventure ($1.99 from $9.99 until 3/15)
Pankapu ($2.39 from $11.99 until 3/15)
Down in Bermuda ($1.99 from $19.99 until 3/16)
Agent A: Puzzle in Disguise ($1.99 from $19.99 until 3/16)
Operation Wolf Returns ($17.99 from $29.99 until 3/17)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, February 27th

Blair Witch ($7.49 from $29.99 until 2/27)
Cannibal Cuisine ($1.99 from $12.99 until 2/27)
Deflector ($1.99 from $22.99 until 2/27)
Layers of Fear 2 ($4.49 from $29.99 until 2/27)
Observer ($4.49 from $29.99 until 2/27)
Sky Caravan ($1.99 from $19.99 until 2/27)
Super Impossible Road ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/27)
Super Mega Zero ($4.99 from $9.99 until 2/27)
This War of Mine ($1.99 from $39.99 until 2/27)
Tower Princess ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/27)
Ultimate Racing 2D 2 ($6.99 from $9.99 until 2/27)
Xiaomei & the Flame Dragon’s Fist ($9.74 from $14.99 until 2/27)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more reviews, more sales, and some news. I woke up really early today to go to the hospital, and I’m going to have to do it again tomorrow. Hopefully this isn’t all for naught, but you’ll know if there’s a Thursday column this week that things turned out okay. I hope you all have a marvelous Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!

Post a Comment