SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘Botany Manor’ & ‘Missile Dancer 2’, Plus Today’s Releases and Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for April 9th, 2024. We have more reviews for you today, and that’s where we’ll get things started. I have a review of Missile Dancer 2, and then our pal Mikhail rolls in with not one, not two, but three reviews covering Botany Manor, The Gap, and No Umbrellas Allowed. After that, we have a couple of new releases to look at. Um, one of them is Botany Manor. Well, that’s how it goes. After that, it’s sales time! New! Expiring! Both of those! Let’s get to it!

Reviews & Mini-Views

Missile Dancer 2 ($14.99)

Terarin is a really fun indie developer to follow. His main focus is on shoot-em-ups, and you never really know what he’s going to come up with next. There are certain motifs he goes back to often, and the man clearly enjoys his vertical shooters. As do we all, I suppose. Still, every now and then he throws a curve ball, and Missile Dancer 2 is one of his bigger ones. Instead of a vertical or horizontal shooter, we’ve got a behind-the-ship Super Scaler-style affair. It immediately calls to mind the likes of After Burner or Night Striker, and I think anyone who enjoys those classic arcade scaling shooters will have fun here.

But it’s not just an ode to those kinds of games. Terarin loves Caravan timed score attack modes, and as such he usually puts some thought into his scoring systems. That makes for an unusual mix, as scaling shooters typically had very straightforward scoring. Here, you’re encouraged to chain your attacks together and look for score bonuses. There are also some power-ups that allow you to change between a few different missile types, giving you some choices in how you want to handle your offense. This is still a theme park-style thrill ride, and you get a whopping sixteen stages’ worth here, but there’s also some depth to it. You’ve even got online leaderboards to compete on.

The only big drawbacks here are ones that tend to crop up a lot in scaling shooters. It’s not always easy to gauge distances. The screen can get very cluttered with big sprites, making it hard to see what you need to. Hit boxes can feel a little fuzzy, making it hard to determine if, say, a bullet is going to collide with you or not. Again, these are all fairly common problems with this style of game and I’m not going to hold it against Terarin too much that he wasn’t able to solve them completely. If you enjoy games of this sort, you’re probably used to it anyway. Roll, roll, and roll some more if anything gets near you.

If you have a fondness for classic scaling shooters, Missile Dancer 2 is a must-have. It’s remarkably well-crafted for a game of this genre. For fans of Terarin’s previous shooters, I think there’s enough of his usual vibe in here to latch on to and enjoy. For more general shooter fans, just be aware that this is a very deliberate throwback to a certain type of game, and it sometimes imitates that style to a fault.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

Botany Manor ($24.99)

I love first-person puzzle games with my favorites in the genre changing over the years. Right now, The Talos Principle 2 is on the top, but I always enjoy trying out new first-person puzzlers that do something interesting. Botany Manor from developer Balloon Studios and publisher Whitethorn Games takes you to a Victorian English manor in the 19th century with puzzles, clues, research, and more. I was curious about it ever since I watched the trailer, and I’m glad I went ahead and played it. This one is special, and the Switch version has been excellent for the most part.

In Botany Manor, you play as Arabella Greene who is a botanist. Your aim is to finish your Forgotten Flora research book through various clues, puzzles, and exploration. Botany Manor also is quite educational, but that isn’t in your face. Everything in the game feels natural and I never felt like something was out of place even for some of the vague puzzles. While the highlight is the puzzles and how you solve them, I loved seeing the different locations in the game and the gorgeous animations and lighting across the board. Botany Manor deserves an artbook release.

I want to give a special mention to the accessibility options in Botany Manor. These let you customize various options like camera transitions, walking acceleration, single stick navigation, and more to adjust anything that might cause motion sickness. I sometimes have motion sickness related issues in some first-person games so this is a welcome addition.

Some of the clues and puzzles can be a bit vague, but my only real complaint with Botany Manor on Switch is how it looks docked. It is fine in handheld mode and doesn’t have any major performance issues that bothered me, but it looks a lot softer than I expected on my monitor. The aesthetic doesn’t suffer too much from it, but keep this in mind if you plan on buying it to play on Switch on your TV or monitor. While I don’t have an issue with Botany Manor‘s price point for what’s offered, I wish there was more in it. Maybe potential DLC down the line could be added because I want more from this world.

While I only had the full version of Botany Manor on Switch, I downloaded the free demo on Steam Deck to see how it feels there. Botany Manor is definitely a better experience across the board on Steam Deck with much higher frame rate and image quality, but I still think the Switch port is very good for handheld play given the hardware. If you do have the option to play it on either, the demo tells me the Steam Deck is the way to go for the best portable experience right now.

Botany Manor has been a pleasant surprise from start to finish. It is equal parts relaxing, educational, and gorgeous. It also is a perfect fit for the OLED screen on Nintendo Switch in handheld mode. If you’re looking for a five or so hour first-person puzzler that doesn’t waste your time, Botany Manor is for you. Now please release a retail limited edition of it with a physical research book. –Mikhail Madnani

SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5

No Umbrellas Allowed ($19.99)

When Shaun asked me if I wanted to review No Umbrellas Allowed, I hadn’t heard of it, but was sold based on the premise. Having decided to play it, it definitely feels like a game perfectly suited to my taste. No Umbrellas Allowed feels like a blend of Pawn Stars with Papers Please. That’s reductive, but if it sounds interesting to you, stick around.

No Umbrellas Allowed starts out strong with great cut-scene direction through its pixel aesthetic. The models and animations are also well done and it has a relaxing soundtrack accompanying everything. Games that involve menial tasks (to some degree) benefit from having music that never gets old. No Umbrellas Allowed leans more on the Coffee Talk side of things for its music.

On the gameplay side, there are a few aspects to No Umbrellas Allowed. The core portion where you play as an appraiser in a shop is a blend of appraising, making a few choices a la Papers Please, interacting with colorful NPCs, and progressing through the story to try and work towards the different endings. There’s also some 2D exploration after you finish working. I’m a big fan of interesting twists on potentially boring tasks, and No Umbrellas Allowed does that well.

Sadly, there are a few issues with No Umbrellas Allowed most of which affect the game only on Switch. The font size is tiny. I couldn’t even play it for more than a few minutes in handheld mode. Performance is also not great with constant hitching while moving in the 2D side-scrolling parts. The actual interface on a controller is not bad, but it takes a bit of getting used to. No Umbrellas Allowed is another game that would have benefited from touchscreen support.

After a few potential patches that address the interface and performance issues, No Umbrellas Allowed will be an easier recommendation. Based on the videos I’ve seen of the PC version, some hitching during movement is still present, but it will control a lot better with a mouse. I hope this does get fixed up because I like the concept and structure a lot.

No Umbrellas Allowed is a great game that is let down by interface issues and performance issues on Nintendo Switch. The font size forced me to play it entirely on the monitor I have on my desk when docked on Nintendo Switch and the constant hitching gave me motion sickness. I hope these can be resolved because No Umbrellas Allowed is a game I recommend, but with big caveats on Switch. -Mikhail Madnani

SwitchArcade Score: 3/5

The Gap ($19.99)

The Gap from Label This Studio and Crunching Koalas is an interesting and futuristic take on the walking simulator genre. I love seeing how developers try and do interesting things in the genre, but I’ve yet to play one that managed to bring in sci-fi elements like The Gap has so far. It is also one of the more interactive games in the genre.

Without getting into spoilers, I ended up liking just about everything in The Gap from its story to presentation (despite the clear downgrades on Switch) and audio design. The varied environments and way you travel across locations are very good as well.

The Gap when played in handheld mode is very good visually despite some cutbacks. I wouldn’t recommend it docked though as the Switch version doesn’t look great on the big screen. Performance has been fine but I want to specifically highlight the use of rumble in the game. The developers did a good job here. I recommend turning the camera sensitivity all the way up because it feels too sluggish by default.

The Gap on Nintendo Switch was a fascinating experience in its structure as a walking simulator. It brings in quite a few elements you don’t see in the genre and tackles some interesting and important themes. My only complaint is that it was a bit annoying to move the cursor with the right stick to a specific location to interact with some objects. It needs a snapping option. -Mikhail Madnani

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

New Releases

Botany Manor ($24.99)

Well, Mikhail did a whole review of this one up above there. A rather detailed one, at that. It sounds like a rather interesting first-person puzzle adventure, if that’s your thing. I don’t really have much to say that Mikhail didn’t already say in his review, so I’ll just let you get on with your day.

The Bin Bunch

Mars Assault: 3D Shooter ($7.99)


(North American eShop, US Prices)

If you want Salt &, Astlibra, or Hot Wheels Unleashed 2, today is your lucky day. All of those and more are on sale, and I do advise checking the list carefully because it has some nice stuff in it. Not too much in the outbox, so give that one a look too. It can’t hurt! Or… can it? No, it can’t. Maybe shave a few bucks out of your pocket at worst. Unless you’re reading and driving? Don’t do that. Wait until you get home.

Select New Sales

Haiku, the Robot ($10.99 from $19.99 until 4/14)
Islets ($11.99 from $19.99 until 4/14)
Save me Mr Tako: Definitive Edition ($2.99 from $14.99 until 4/14)
Salt & Sacrifice ($7.99 from $19.99 until 4/14)
Salt & Sanctuary ($4.49 from $17.99 until 4/14)
Ebenezer & the Invisible World ($15.99 from $19.99 until 4/15)
Fearmonium ($7.79 from $12.99 until 4/15)
Catmaze ($3.99 from $9.99 until 4/15)
Gunbrella ($8.99 from $14.99 until 4/15)
Zapling Bygone ($9.09 from $12.99 until 4/15)
Astronite ($7.49 from $14.99 until 4/15)
GRIME ($22.49 from $24.99 until 4/15)
Anyaroth: The Queen’s Tyranny ($7.49 from $14.99 until 4/15)
Darkest Dungeon ($8.49 from $24.99 until 4/15)

Astlibra Revision ($19.99 from $24.99 until 4/15)
Exit the Gungeon ($3.99 from $9.99 until 4/15)
Gato Roboto ($1.99 from $7.99 until 4/15)
Tron: Identity ($11.99 from $14.99 until 4/15)
Frogsong ($11.69 from $14.99 until 4/15)
Rain World ($11.24 from $24.99 until 4/15)
Sheepo ($3.84 from $10.99 until 4/16)
Pinball M: The Thing Pinball DLC ($4.66 from $5.49 until 4/16)
Hex Cats ($1.99 from $2.99 until 4/22)
Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 ($24.99 from $49.99 until 4/26)
Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 Deluxe ($34.99 from $69.99 until 4/26)
Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 Legendary ($44.99 from $89.99 until 4/26)
MotoGP 23 ($9.99 from $39.99 until 4/26)
Rainbow Laser Disco Dungeon ($1.99 from $9.99 until 4/29)
Destructivator SE ($1.99 from $4.99 until 4/29)

Bezier: Second Edition ($1.99 from $19.99 until 4/29)
Death Ray Manta SE ($1.99 from $10.00 until 4/29)
Cecconoid ($1.99 from $4.99 until 4/29)
Rogue Aces ($1.99 from $12.99 until 4/29)
Lumo ($1.99 from $19.95 until 4/29)
Millie & Molly ($1.99 from $4.99 until 4/29)
Onion Force ($1.99 from $4.99 until 4/29)
Alien Death Mob ($1.99 from $4.99 until 4/29)
Pan-Dimensional Conga Combat ($1.99 from $9.99 until 4/29)
RoboDunk ($9.74 from $14.99 until 4/29)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, April 10th

Circa Infinity ($1.99 from $9.99 until 4/10)
Gem Wizards Tactics ($1.99 from $12.99 until 4/10)
Hot Lap League Deluxe ($1.99 from $19.99 until 4/10)
Master Maker 3D Ultimate ($3.99 from $4.99 until 4/10)
Master Spy ($3.49 from $9.99 until 4/10)
Mechanic 8230 Escape From Ilgrot ($1.99 from $14.99 until 4/10)
Not Tonight: Take Back Control ($2.24 from $24.99 until 4/10)
Punch a Bunch ($5.24 from $14.99 until 4/10)
Roller Coaster Tycoon 3: CE ($10.49 from $29.99 until 4/10)
Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! ($8.74 from $24.99 until 4/10)
That’s A Cow ($1.99 from $5.99 until 4/10)
Treachery in Beatdown City ($4.99 from $19.99 until 4/10)
Treachery in Beatdown City UR ($6.49 from $9.99 until 4/10)
Will You Snail? ($5.24 from $14.99 until 4/10)
Yooka-Laylee ($3.99 from $39.99 until 4/10)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more sales, perhaps a review, and maybe even some news. I was at the hospital today, the less fancy one, just for a check-in. All was well this time, so that’s nice. Anyway, I hope you all have a fantastic Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!

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