November 27, 2020

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SwitchArcade Round-Up: ‘Crimzon Clover’ and ‘Pixel Puzzle Makeout League’ Reviews, Mini-Views, Plus Today’s New Releases and Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for November 3rd, 2020. There wasn’t...

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for November 3rd, 2020. There wasn’t a whole lot of news worth getting fussed about in the Switch world today, perhaps understandably. Don’t worry though, we’ve got plenty for you to read today. Mikhail has joined us once again with an incredible review of Crimzon Clover – World EXplosion, and I’ve got a full-sized review of Pixel Puzzle Makeout League for you. There are two Mini-Views for you to check out, and several new release summaries to digest. We finish things up with a look at the incoming and outgoing sales as usual. Let’s distract ourselves with entertainment!

Reviews

Crimzon Clover – World EXplosion ($19.99)

Ever since I started getting into side scrolling and bullet hell shoot ’em ups, the Nintendo Switch’s growing library of games in the genre has been excellent. While it isn’t at the same level as the Xbox 360 in Japan, many developers are bringing quality action games and shoot ’em ups to Nintendo Switch on a regular basis from inside and outside Japan. Crimzon Clover – World EXplosion from Yotsubane is the newest bullet hell shoot ’em up on Nintendo Switch and it is superlative.

Crimzon Clover originally released on arcades before it got an enhanced release on PC titled Crimzon Clover – World Ignition that was released in the West. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of this because that PC game has been supercharged for Nintendo Switch in the form of Crimzon Clover – World EXplosion. After I had just played for 10 minutes, I knew this would be one of my favorite bullet hell games of all time. Fast forward to today and I can safely say that Crimzon Clover – World EXplosion is one of the best shoot ’em ups available on Nintendo Switch and a must play for fans of the genre.

Crimzon Clover – World EXplosion includes a variety of ways to experience the vertical scrolling action. Novice is aimed at beginners while Arcade stays true to the original arcade experience when it comes to balance. Arrange is a new mode with added mechanics for Nintendo Switch (all new content will be patched into the PC version later). Arrange can only be played solo while the other two allow you to grab a buddy and enjoy the bullet hell action together. Once you choose one of these three, you get to select from playing Boost, Original, Unlimited, and Time Attack.

Boost mode has the game adapting difficulty, bullet density and speed, depending on your skill level. Original mode is the standard mode as the name suggests while Unlimited is expert mode with maximum difficulty and bullet density. The Time Attack mode has you playing with unlimited lives to score as much as you can within the three minute time limit.

Crimzon Clover – World EXplosion lets you pick one of three ships with varying speed and attack width. The actual gameplay is very interesting because you don’t just keep firing at enemies while avoiding bullets and other projectiles and use a screen clear once in a while. You work on building your break and bomb gauge. Once you fill up the bomb part of the gauge, you can screen clear but letting the gauge fill up to break lets you enter break mode which makes all hell break loose on the screen and I cannot believe the Switch displays this level of chaos without massive slowdown. I think Crimzon Clover – World EXplosion is one of the most chaotic bullet hell games I’ve played on Switch and it runs mostly well.

Boss battles are incredible and I love that there’s a detailed training option where you can practice any stage or boss with a custom setup. Crimzon Clover – World EXplosion is accessible to newcomers but also fantastic for veterans in the genre.

Visually, I’m not a fan of the interface on the sides of the actual gameplay area. This isn’t much of a problem when played in Tate Mode (which is brilliant here) though. For screen options, you can tweak the position and stretch each axis as you please. There are a few interface options to play around with like the ability to toggle some scores and inputs for those who would prefer having different stats displayed during stages.

Crimzon Clover – World EXplosion includes a new soundtrack option in addition to the original soundtrack. Having tried both out, I prefer the original soundtrack option. Overall, the audio design in Crimzon Clover – World EXplosion is excellent and it fits the aesthetic well.

The only real problem with Crimzon Clover – World EXplosion‘s gameplay is the slowdown on Nintendo Switch in some parts. It isn’t a deal breaker but the game did have noticeable slowdowns for me during some of the more hectic parts of stages. Hopefully patches can iron out these issues in an otherwise perfect conversion.

Barring the slowdown in some parts, Crimzon Clover – World EXplosion is plain brilliant. I wish I had known about this so I could’ve played it when it released on PC in the West a while ago. If you’ve been looking for another shoot ’em up on Switch to sink your teeth into, you need to get Crimzon Clover – World EXplosion. I know I’m going to be playing this for a very long time. -Mikhail Madnani

SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5

Pixel Puzzle Makeout League ($14.99)

I can’t remember the last time I felt a game was so directly aimed at my interests. Picross-style puzzles, superheroes with ludicrous powers, a visual novel presentation with a variety of dating partners, and goofy dialogue? Rude Ghost, you’ve hit me right in the heart. This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen, and I love it to death. That being said, if your tastes don’t run eerily similar to mine, I’m not sure if you’ll get the same joy out of Pixel Puzzle Makeout League that I did. You really need to be able to check off most of the list because what it does, it does with great vigor.

Pixel Puzzle Makeout League tells the story of a group of puzzle-themed superheroes. You take the role of Pixel Girl, who has the uncanny ability to solve problems by visualizing them as pixel puzzles. She’s joined by Chess, Sudoku, Crossword, and Piecea, each of whom have powers related to their namesake puzzles. They’re not just your teammates. They’re also your potential dating partners, with each offering a story worth playing through. Sure, most players will probably gravitate towards Piecea on an initial playthrough. How can you resist a giant puzzle piece? But they’re all great, and getting to know each one of them is a treat.

Whoever you’re pursuing, you’ll have to solve a lot of Picross-style puzzles along the way. Some of them are simple and serve only to accent points of the narrative, while others are quite complicated. In all, you’ll find more than 250 puzzles to solve in the game. Looking at it from a sheer gameplay point of view, you’ve got hours of puzzle-solving ahead of you. The interface is really easy to use, making it simple to fill in and mark off areas as needed. I’m a veteran of this genre, and I found myself quite satisfied with the larger puzzles and the tools the game offers to help you keep things sorted.

Of course, the puzzles are just half of the game. The other half is the visual novel/dating sim side, and it holds up its end quite well. There are lots of Picross-style games out there, especially on the Switch. Developers have to do something to make their games stand out, and Rude Ghost isn’t the first to hit on the idea of blending a narrative with its puzzles. Notably, we saw the excellent Murder by Numbers release several months ago. Pixel Puzzle Makeout League takes a very different tone from that game, however. It leans heavily into comedy, and absurd comedy at that. For what it is, I think it’s quite well-written. It made me laugh more than a few times, and it never feels insincere. Silly, certainly. But it never falls into that irony trap that so many comedic games do.

Like I said earlier, however, Pixel Puzzle Makeout League comes on strong in all respects. If you don’t like Picross, the story isn’t going to help you ignore it. If you’re not a fan of goofy dating sims, you’ll probably find the story obnoxious and excessive. This is a very confident game that knows exactly what it wants to be, and you can either take it or leave it. If you’re like me and love Picross-style puzzles and silly smooching stories with superhero themes, this game is going to seem like it fell from the heavens. Friends, you surely know which bucket you’re in; act accordingly.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

Mini-Views

Arcade Archives 64th Street ($7.99)

While it’s never going to be accused of being one of the greats of the beat-em-up genre, 64th Street is just silly and weird enough to be worth credit-feeding your way through. It’s a straight-forward take on the genre, never venturing very far away from the template of Final Fight. The one gimmick it has is that you can slam enemies into the background, causing damage and making bonus items appear. The boss battles are obscenely cheap even by the standards of arcade brawlers, and the enemy variety and behavior leaves much to be desired. Still, I have to appreciate on some level any game that features a kabuki battler dressed as an elevator attendant and calls out its own deus ex machina in the end. Stupid, but entertaining enough for what it is.

SwitchArcade Score: 3/5

The Knight of Queen ($4.99)

When I saw there was a new game that supported Nintendo’s VR Labo Toy-Con and that it was an honest-to-goodness RPG, I had to give it a go. I’m not sure what a person should reasonably expect from a five dollar RPG that uses a very… limited hardware solution for its VR, to tell the truth. This is very much a Dragon Quest 1-inspired game, and it never pretends to be anything else. It might work were it not for the odd choice of movement for your character. The hero moves in discrete steps, creating a very choppy feeling to the movement that made me woozy pretty quickly. It’s okay in short bursts, though that’s probably not how you’ll want to play an RPG. All up it’s only a few hours long, and while I couldn’t play the whole thing in VR, I didn’t have a bad time on the whole with The Knight of Queen.

SwitchArcade Score: 3/5

New Releases

Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition ($59.99)

SwitchArcade Highlight!

Making a business simulation game from Jurassic World is just one of those ideas that is so good you barely need to sell me on it. Okay sure, it’s totally missing the point of the movies and books in most ways, but these are games. Let’s have some fun making a dinosaur park. And you can indeed have some fun making your own dinosaur park in this title, though this Switch port has to make a lot of technical trade-offs in the process. One thing you don’t have to worry about is the amount of content, however. This Complete Edition includes all of the DLC that has been released for the game, up to and including the extremely cool Return to Jurassic Park DLC that features the voices of Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum. If you like Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, or dinosaurs in general, you’ll probably really get into this game.

Adventure Llama ($2.49)

SwitchArcade Highlight!

You know, I was all set to doo-doo on this game, but I gave the mobile version a try and I think it’s pretty fun. Not amazingly fun, but for the price it’s asking? Yeah, it’s good. This is one of those platformers where your character automatically runs forward until they hit a wall, at which point they turn around and go in the opposite direction. You have to collect three items in each stage to finish it, and the faster you do it the better. You’ll earn currency that you can use to make a random draw that will give you a new character or glider. Simple stuff, but the level designs are solid and that’s worth a couple of bucks to me.

Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia ($49.99)

SwitchArcade Highlight!

Okay, yes. This does seem to be aimed at the younger set. But that’s fine, isn’t it? Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia brings back the once-popular series in an all-new action-RPG from the nice folks at WayForward. The emphasis here is definitely on the big-scale battles between the Bakugan, so don’t expect to be going on a journey through a huge world Pokemon-style or anything. But there are NPCs and side-quests to complete, along with a wide assortment of Bakugan to collect and level-up. It seems well-made for what it is, and it’s been build keeping in mind that a lot of players may not have any experience with the brand before this. It even features online battles for those who want to test their Bakugan teams against the very best.

Tauronos ($6.99)

This is an interesting one. It’s based on the well-known myth of Theseus and the Labyrinth of Crete. You have to navigate through a maze in near-total darkness while being stalked by the minotaur. If it gets its hands on you, you’re finished. The maze is a puzzle of itself to solve, but there are also a lot of puzzles within its walls. The longer you take, the faster the minotaur gets. The game is broken down into 42 stages, and some of them really mix things up in a way that keeps things fresh the whole way through. It’s not going to be for everyone, but if you’re looking for something atmospheric and unique today, this should be on your list.

Gunslugs ($7.99)

I’m sure most of our readers are familiar with Gunslugs, Orange Pixel’s zippy run-and-gun that pits a group of weird-looking heroes against the equally weird-looking forces of the Black Duck army. You’ll battle in a variety of locations, each of which is procedurally generated. As you play, you’ll unlock more heroes, which will allow you to visit more locations and claim victory over the forces of evil. Not the most complicated game in the world, but there’s something purely enjoyable about its high-speed action and charming graphical style.

My Universe: School Teacher ($29.99)

We’ve had babies and fashion boutiques, so the next logical step is clearly teachers. In this game, you take on the role of a young teacher trying to improve their school’s standing. Kind of like that one movie with Michelle Pfeiffer, or that other movie with Jack Black, or even a little like that one with Paul Newman. To do that, you have to engage with your students and teach them a variety of subjects. Each subject takes the form of a mini-game, and each student has their own strengths and weaknesses that you need to consider. You know, this is actually a pretty neat idea for a video game, I’m just not confident that this one can pull it off given the series pedigree.

Roah ($24.99)

Developer Grynsoft brings its 2019 non-linear action-platformer to the Switch, giving players yet another option to get their Metroidvania kicks. And hey, we benefit from the game having been out a while on PC, with the latest version shining far brighter than the launch release did. It’s a reasonably tough game as these things go, but not ridiculous. The combat system and boss battles are the best bits of this game, with the exploration taking something of a backseat. It actually takes a page from fighting games for its combat, giving you quite a bit of flexibility and depth for bashing your foes’ faces in.

Hunting Simulator 2 ($39.99)

This open-world hunting game often relies on its beautiful scenery to please the player, an aspect that certainly isn’t as strong in this Switch version when compared to its Xbox One and PlayStation 4 big brothers. Still, it remains a solid simulation of the sport of hunting, allowing you to pass away the hours stalking your prey across impressively detailed landscapes. With 33 species available to hunt and more than 160 weapons, items, and accessories to make use of, there’s plenty to dig into here. You even have a trusty hunting dog, with three breeds to choose from. Not a stunning game, but one that will likely satisfy the niche it’s aimed at.

Sales

(North American eShop, US Prices)

A tight list today as far as new sales go, friends. Some very low prices on Drink Box’s excellent titles, and a rare sale on the very enjoyable The Journey Down‘s first chapter. The outbox is a little bigger, but virtually everything in it will be on sale again in a few weeks at most. Unless you’ve got a hankering for some Guacamelee or Severed, you can probably save your money today.

Select New Games on Sale

Guacamelee! Super Turbo ($5.24 from $14.99 until 11/8)
Guacamelee! 2 ($6.99 from $19.99 until 11/8)
Tales From Space: MBA ($3.49 from $9.99 until 11/8)
Severed ($5.24 from $14.99 until 11/8)
Deployment ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/10)
Shadow Fight 2 ($9.99 from $14.99 until 11/16)
Brotherhood United ($4.49 from $8.99 until 11/16)
Never Give Up ($1.99 from $14.99 until 11/16)
Collapsed ($12.00 from $15.00 until 11/18)
Hexologic ($0.29 from $2.99 until 11/22)
Street Basketball ($1.99 from $5.99 until 11/22)
Deadly Fighter 2 ($1.99 from $3.99 until 11/23)
Jet Ski Rush ($1.99 from $3.99 until 11/23)
The Journey Down: Chapter 1 ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/23)
Adrenaline Rush: Miami Drive ($1.99 from $3.99 until 11/23)
Classic Games Collection Vol. 1 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/23)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, November 4th

Ankh Guardian: TotDT ($3.99 from $7.99 until 11/4)
Aquatic Adv. of the Last Human ($3.89 from $12.99 until 11/4)
ATV Drift & Tricks ($6.99 from $39.99 until 11/4)
Bleed ($2.99 from $11.99 until 11/4)
Bleed 2 ($3.74 from $14.99 until 11/4)
Card Game Bundle Vol. 1 ($3.59 from $23.99 until 11/4)
Crawl ($4.99 from $14.99 until 11/4)
Death Road to Canada ($7.49 from $14.99 until 11/4)
Don’t Die, Mr Robot! ($2.24 from $8.99 until 11/4)
Flat Heroes ($6.69 from $9.99 until 11/4)
Glass Masquerade ($2.99 from $11.99 until 11/4)
Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions ($5.99 from $11.99 until 11/4)
GoNNER ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/4)
Grimshade ($18.74 from $24.99 until 11/4)
Hacky Zack ($2.49 from $9.99 until 11/4)


Here Be Dragons ($11.69 from $17.99 until 11/4)
Heroes of the Monkey Tavern ($0.99 from $9.99 until 11/4)
Hyperlight Ultimate ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/4)
Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars ($31.99 from $39.99 until 11/4)
Indie Darling Bundle Vol 2 ($5.24 from $34.99 until 11/4)
Indie Puzzle Bundle Vol 1 ($5.99 from $39.99 until 11/4)
INK ($2.24 from $8.99 until 11/4)
Jewel Wars ($3.99 from $9.99 until 11/4)
Nerdook Bundle Vol. 1 ($4.49 from $29.99 until 11/4)
Omega Strike ($3.74 from $14.99 until 11/4)
Oniken & Odallus Bundle ($4.99 from $19.99 until 11/4)
Paranautical Activity ($2.39 from $7.99 until 11/4)
Pipe Push Paradise ($2.74 from $10.99 until 11/4)
Shikhondo: Soul Eater ($4.19 from $13.99 until 11/4)
Shinobi Spirits: Legend of Heroes ($4.89 from $8.99 until 11/4)


Skelly Selest & Straimium Immortaly ($5.99 from $19.99 until 11/4)
Soulblight ($7.49 from $14.99 until 11/4)
Spectrum ($2.39 from $11.99 until 11/4)
Starship Avenger: Take Back Earth ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/4)
Sunless: Zubmariner ($12.99 from $19.99 until 11/4)
Super Chariot ($1.49 from $14.99 until 11/4)
SuperEpic: Entertainment War ($8.99 from $17.99 until 11/4)
SuperMash ($1.99 from $19.99 until 11/4)
Syberia ($4.90 from $14.90 until 11/4)
Syberia 2 ($1.49 from $29.99 until 11/4)
Syberia 3 ($9.99 from $49.99 until 11/4)
Tamashii ($5.99 from $11.99 until 11/4)
Three Fourths Home ($2.24 from $8.99 until 11/4)
Toolboy ($9.99 from $12.49 until 11/4)
Tower of Time ($16.23 from $24.99 until 11/4)


Uncanny Valley ($2.49 from $9.99 until 11/4)
Underhero ($10.18 from $16.99 until 11/4)
Valfaris & Slain Pack ($13.99 from $39.99 until 11/4)
Vertical Drop Heroes HD ($2.49 from $9.99 until 11/4)
Worse Than Death ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/4)
1979 Revolution: Black Friday ($3.59 from $11.99 until 11/4)

That’s all we’ve got for you today, friends. Tomorrow will see another new release or two, some new sales, and at the very least one or two news items. If things are too thin, I may have a review for you as well. We’ll see. Kind of the words for the day today, aren’t they? I hope you all have a good Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!

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