SwitchArcade Round-Up: ‘Treasure Stack’ and ‘Swords and Soldiers 2’ Reviews, ‘StarTropics’ and ‘Kid Icarus’ Coming to Switch Online, New Releases, Today’s Sales, and More

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for March 6th, 2019. Today we’ve got a pretty full article, with reviews of both Treasure Stack and Swords and Soldiers 2 Shawarmageddon, some interesting news, a few new releases, and the usual sales information. All in all, pretty busy for a Wednesday, but I suppose that’s how it is sometimes. Anyway, there’s plenty to read and precious little time to read it (cosmically speaking), so let’s get to it!

News

March’s ‘Nintendo Switch Online’ Games are ‘StarTropics’ and ‘Kid Icarus’

It’s about that time of the month where Nintendo announces the newest additions to the Nintendo Switch Online app. Like the last couple of months, the releases are a bit different between Japan and the West. Both regions are getting Kid Icarus, the slightly-flawed classic action-adventure game. North America and Europe will also get StarTropics, an action-adventure game that released exclusively in the West in 1990. In the Japanese Famicom Switch Online app, StarTropics will not be available. Instead, Konami’s Yie Ar Kung Fu and Nintendo’s Fire Emblem will step into the line-up. Neither game was originally released outside of Japan on the NES, and in the case of the latter game, a localization would be both extensive and required for Western gamers to enjoy. These games will be added to their respective apps on March 13th.

Race to the Finish in This Week’s Spirit Board Event for ‘Smash’

The latest Spirit Board event for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was announced today, as it usually is each Wednesday. The title this time is Taking the Lead, and it highlights Spirits from racing games. While the event is running this coming weekend, said Spirits will appear more often. If you beat them, you’ll earn extra Spirit Points.

Win Gold Points in the ‘Tetris 99’ Maximus Cup Online Event This Weekend

Tetris 99 is proving to be the shot in the arm that Nintendo’s Switch Online program needed. Is it worth buying a subscription to play it alone? Well, I can’t tell you that, but here’s something interesting to consider. Nintendo is holding a tournament in the game this weekend called the Maximus Cup Online. The goal is to take first place as many times as possible, and the top 999 players will each receive 999 Gold Points credited to their Nintendo accounts. Those points can be used for My Nintendo rewards, spent on the Switch eShop, or used to help pay for a Switch Online subscription. So yeah, if you’re good enough at Tetris 99, it might literally pay for itself over time.

Revisit the First Dinosaur Hunt of ‘Turok’ on March 18th

Ah, Turok. I’ll level with you all, I never thought this game was very good at all. The second one? Yeah, that was alright. But this first one, which was extremely popular, never really clicked for me. It felt like a game that benefited greatly from the rather sparse Nintendo 64 line-up. But it was indeed a big seller, and I’m quite certain some people have nostalgia for it. So it’s a nice thing that the remaster of Turok will be coming to Switch on March 18th. It already came out a few years ago on Xbox and PC, but something about it just fits a Nintendo console, doesn’t it?

The 1.2.0 Update for ‘WarGroove’ Arrives Today

WarGroove is a pretty great game, but there’s always room for improvement, right? The latest update for the game should be hitting really soon, and it has all kinds of good stuff in it. Like a new checkpoint system! The levels in the game can get pretty long and difficult, so you can now plant down a checkpoint whenever you like. Speaking of difficulty, the difficulty settings have been completely redone. Multiplayer gets a few additions and tweaks, such as allowing you to add CPU players to online games. Plenty of UI improvements and a few helpful new options in here as well, along with a bevy of bug fixes. All in all, it seems to address a lot of the feedback players have given the developers since the game launched.

Reviews

Treasure Stack ($19.99)

I’m not sure who out there was calling for a spiritual successor to Nintendo’s 25-year-old Wario’s Woods, but whoever you are, come and pick up your game. Yes, in an unlikely turn of events, what we have here in Treasure Stack is a loving homage to a rather unloved game that never saw any real follow-up from its creator. It’s not exactly the same, mind you. But I think it’s similar enough that if you played Wario’s Woods and enjoyed it, it’s very safe to say that you are going to like Treasure Stack.

This is a falling block puzzle game where the twist comes in how you manipulate the blocks that fall into the well. You have no direct control over the pieces. Instead, you control a tiny character who can move and jump around in the well. They can pick up stacks of blocks and drop them in other locations, which is your primary means of getting pieces where you want them to go. This is the main similarity to Nintendo’s title, but it is a rather big one due to how unusual such a set-up is.

The goal is the same as it always is in this sort of game. Match up blocks to clear them. In this case, you need to match colored keys with the appropriate chests. As soon as a key touches a chest of a similar color, it will open it and any adjacent chests of the same color, clearing them from the field. The blocks fall faster as time goes on, and garbage blocks are introduced at ever-increasing speeds. Should any of the stacks bust through the top of the well, you’re all finished. The challenge, then, is to stay ahead of the incoming flow, something that requires a good bit of planning and some quick reflexes. You’ve got a couple of useful assists up your sleeve, at least. The first is that any cleared chests will also remove adjacent garbage blocks. The second is that items will occasionally drop into the field, each with their own potent block-erasing effect.

What makes all of this tricky is that you pick up stacks, not individual pieces. If you have things placed just right, you can grab a single piece off the top of a pile, but most of the time you’re just going to have to deal with the fact that you’re taking a couple of extra blocks along for the ride. You also have to be very careful about where you guide your character. If they fall into a deep crevasse, you’ll be left with little choice but to wait until luck sends some pieces your way to squeeze you up and out. You can pull blocks down more quickly using a grappler that fires directly overhead, but it won’t do you much good if you can’t get underneath the blocks in the first place.

You can play Treasure Stack in single-player or multiplayer, with the latter allowing for local or online play. The single-player mode just sticks you right into the action, continuing on until you eventually lose. In multiplayer, you’re trying to outlast your opponents. No matter how you play, you’ll earn some coins each time, which in turn unlock new characters and hooks for your grappler. And that’s really all there is to it. There aren’t any alternate modes or campaigns or anything like that. Just you and the puzzle experience.

It’s fun enough. I do have a few issues with the game on the whole, though. I never really felt like I had the level of control over my character that I would have preferred. The game is very fussy about where you stand if you want to put blocks into a certain column, and while it’s not a huge problem to pick the stack up and try again early on, such mistakes can be fatal when the pressure starts pouring on. It’s not intolerable or anything, but it was certainly annoying at times. It’s also a bit of a tough game to learn initially. The difficulty picks up pretty quickly, which is great when you’re used to the game but not so nice when you’re trying to figure things out. It takes a while to figure out what you’re actually able to do from various positions, and the game just doesn’t feel like it’s interested in letting you do that.

The game on the whole also comes off as a little bare, particularly in single-player. I mean, sure, I’m the sort of person who spends most of their time in the Type-A game of Tetris, but I like that the Type-B is there sometimes, you know? Some extra modes would have been really nice, but instead it feels like I’ve just joined a multiplayer game with no opponents. A practice mode for the real thing. And maybe that’s the intention. It’s certainly a lot of fun in multiplayer, especially if the people you’re playing with are of a similar level to you. But you’d best have some friends nearby, because at least in my experience, there aren’t a lot of people playing this one online.

Ultimately, I come away from Treasure Stack feeling very much the same about it that I do about Wario’s Woods. I appreciate its novelty and I don’t think it’s a bad game at all, but the controls never felt good and the whole thing just comes off as a little too busy for a game of this type. The core mechanics really need to work for you, because there frankly isn’t much else in this package. If you’re a fan of Wario’s Woods or are looking for an unusual take on a falling block puzzler, you’ll probably like Treasure Stack. Otherwise, it’s really hard to make a case for this game over things like Puyo Puyo Tetris or Tricky Towers.

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

Swords and Soldiers 2 Shawarmageddon ($14.99)

Honestly, it’s hard to write a lengthy review of Swords and Soldiers 2 Shawarmageddon, especially on the heels of reviewing the first game a couple of months back. This isn’t all that different from the first game in most regards, you see, so I’m left without much new to say. Did you play the first game? If you did, did you like it? If so, do you feel like you want more of the same? If yes, do you have fifteen dollars that you are willing to part with in exchange for it? Shaun’s handy quiz tells all, does it not? I mean, as long as the first answer was yes, you’re all set. See you in the New Releases section!

But what if you didn’t say yes to that first question? What if, by some odd series of events, you have not played the first Swords and Soldiers but have taken a keen interest in the sequel? Yeah, I guess I can’t go home early after all. Well, here’s some good news: you absolutely do not have to play the first game to enjoy the sequel. If you want to jump in here, you’ll be just fine. There are some story things that call back to the original, but the story is bananas at the best of times anyway so it doesn’t really matter. I mean, I personally prefer the first game ever so slightly over the sequel, but you’re probably not going to have a bad time with either of these games.

Like the first game, Swords and Soldiers 2 is a side-scrolling real-time strategy game where you have to pump out units to push back your opponent until you finally smash the enemy base. The controls are fairly intuitive and the whole thing is surprisingly accessible for a strategy game, so you’ll probably be able to rope in family members and friends to play against rather easily. The colorful, cartoony visuals certainly don’t hurt the game’s appeal. And this Switch version takes after its elder sibling by allowing two people to have it out on a single Switch screen. Nifty stuff. You can also play online if that’s your jam.

If you don’t like playing with other people, it’s alright. I understand. People can be annoying. Fortunately, this game also packs in a somewhat lengthy single-player campaign that provides several hours of entertainment. Rather than offer up a handful of shorter scenarios like the first game did, you’ll instead play through one long campaign that pulls in all of the factions over its course. You can get quite a patchwork army together as time goes on, which is both totally broken at times and a lot of fun. You can even bring a custom faction into multiplayer if that’s your preference.

Swords and Soldiers 2 Shawarmageddon doesn’t re-invent the wheel, or even try to make it look different by putting a fresh hubcap on it. This is another big serving of what you got in the first game, albeit with a few different veggies in the mix. Like that game, Swords and Soldiers 2 is a very enjoyable, highly-accessible strategy game that lays on equal amounts of humor and tension to make for a great experience overall. Do you need both games? Well, I think that’s up to you. But is this a game worth owning in its own right? You bet it is.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

New Releases

My Little Riding Champion ($29.99)

Okay, I know this one is probably meant more for kids which makes me decidedly not the target audience. But you know, I’m not really opposed to the idea of a horse-riding/horse care type of game. It’s just that almost all of the games that fall into that category are of very poor quality and try to cover that up by using the excuse that they’re meant for kids, and that’s kind of frustrating. This one doesn’t break that pattern. The visuals are pretty poor given the hardware, and the controls are not good at all. I suppose there aren’t many other choices on Switch if you’ve got a horse-obsessed family member, unless you can convince them that Breath of the Wild is the superior horse game. Which it is.

Mahjong Stories: Vampire Romance ($4.99)

Ha ha, what is even going on today? Okay, well, it’s a cheap-looking mahjong solitaire game with a vampire romance story wrapped around it, all done up with some borderline hilarious photo-edited characters. I mean, mahjong solitaire is mahjong solitaire. It’s hard to mess that bit up, and I doubt they’ve done that here. So if you’re looking for some mahjong and also some cheesy vampire romance, I guess someone finally made a game just for you.

Elevator… to the Moon! Turbo Champion’s Edition ($14.99)

So this was originally a VR game on PC, and it seems to have gone over fairly well with that audience. Over here on Switch, it is not VR. That means it is just a silly point-and-click puzzle game about building an elevator to the moon. Yep, just that. Honestly, I don’t know how much sizzle there is in this particular steak without the VR hook, but I guess I can’t blame the developers for giving it a swing and seeing how it goes. I am a little disappointed that the Switch version is more expensive, however. Surely the lack of a VR feature in this version makes it the less complete package? Oh well.

Sales

As always, I have to say that the sales here are only the ones that went up by the time I wrote this. Big sales often kick off at this time of the week, and I would not be surprised if that were the case this week simply because it is the Switch’s second anniversary. That said, there may be nothing. In which case, please enjoy these lovely sales on Overcooked and the Knights of Pen and Paper series. Also, take note: the sale on Supergiant’s Switch offerings is coming to a close tomorrow. Grab them if you want them.

New Games on Sale

Overcooked Special Edition ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/17)
Sparkle 2 ($2.79 from $7.99 until 3/11)
Sparkle Unleashed ($2.79 from $7.99 until 3/11)
Knights of Pen and Paper +1 ($9.99 from $14.99 until 3/18)
Knights of Pen and Paper 2 ($10.99 from $12.99 until 3/18)
Knights of Pen and Paper Bundle ($19.99 from $22.49 until 3/18)
Tactical Mind ($1.49 from $2.99 until 3/26)
Mad Carnage ($0.99 from $4.99 until 3/26)
FunBox Party ($0.99 from $1.99 until 3/26)
Mech Rage ($2.99 from $9.99 until 3/25)
Double Cross ($13.99 from $19.99 until 3/14)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Thursday, March 7th

3D Billiards – Pool & Snooker ($17.99 from $19.99 until 3/7)
3D MiniGolf ($17.99 from $19.99 until 3/7)
Animal Rivals ($0.99 from $3.99 until 3/7)
Bastion ($10.49 from $14.99 until 3/7)
BINGO for Nintendo Switch ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/7)
Braveland Trilogy ($13.49 from $14.99 until 3/7)
Chamelon Run Deluxe Edition ($2.99 from $5.99 until 3/7)
Fimbul ($26.99 from $29.99 until 3/7)
Gekido Kintaro’s Revenge ($6.92 from $9.89 until 3/7)
Gnomes Garden ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/7)
Grab Lab ($3.34 from $4.99 until 3/7)
Grand Prix Rock ‘N Racing ($3.99 from $7.99 until 3/13)
Hard West ($16.19 from $17.99 until 3/7)
Island Flight Simulator ($17.99 from $19.99 until 3/7)
Joggernauts ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/7)
Puzzle Box Maker ($11.99 from $14.99 until 3/7)
Shikhondo – Soul Eater ($4.75 from $13.99 until 3/7)
Super Ping Pong Trick Shot ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/7)
The Office Quest ($5.99 from $11.99 until 3/7)
The Shapeshifting Detective ($9.09 from $14.99 until 3/7)
Transistor ($13.99 from $19.99 until 3/7)

And that will do it for today, friends. Swing back around tomorrow to check out all the new releases, including such fresh hits as (flips papers) Braveland Trilogy and Ghoulboy! We’ll also have the latest news, all the sales information you need, and perhaps even a review if I’m feeling sprightly. We’ll see. As always, however, thanks for reading!



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