SwitchArcade Round-Up: ‘American Fugitive’ Review, ‘Killer Queen Black’ Going Retail, ‘Gato Roboto’ and Today’s Other New Releases, the Latest Sales, and More

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for May 30th, 2019. In today’s tasty feature we start things off with a look at some news nuggets before moving into a review of American Fugitive. After that, we’ve got summaries of all of today’s new releases, including such games as Gato Roboto and Super Cane Magic Zero. Then, as we always do, we finish things off by looking at the new sales of the day and the soon-to-be-ended ones. It’s a jam-packed edition today, friends, so let’s buckle up those seat belts and get on the road!

News

Exploratory Platformer ‘Timespinner’ Comes to Switch June 4th

Gorgeous Metroidvania games are getting to be a dime a dozen on Switch these days, but if you’ve got room in your heart for another one, the rather awesome Timespinner will be coming to the system next week from Chucklefish. Travel between different time periods to try to get revenge on an evil empire, but don’t be surprised if history isn’t exactly what you’ve seen written in the books. This game got a good response when it released on other platforms, and I’m happy to see it coming to Switch. It’ll cost you a cool $19.99, but if you watch that trailer I think you’ll be writing yourself a little reminder to pick it up as soon as possible.

‘Killer Queen Black’ Heads to Retail This Summer

We’ve known Killer Queen Black was coming to the Switch for quite a while now, but the latest information is that the game will be hitting this summer both digitally and physically. At least at retail, the game is set to cost $29.99, and if you pre-order it you apparently get some nifty controller skins you can use to decorate your Joy-Cons. And yes, they can be removed without any ill effect when you don’t want them on there anymore. Anyway, it’s just a matter of months before we can enjoy some sweet cross-platform eight-player mayhem, and that’s good news for both those who are and aren’t fans of stickers on their controllers.

The Next ‘Mario Tennis Aces’ Character is Fire Piranha Plant

Mario Tennis Aces has had excellent post-release support, but all good things must come to an end sooner or later. It looks as though we’re on the tail end of the planned additional content, with only a few more characters at most set to arrive. Oh well, it’s hard to complain. Anyway, one of those last few characters is making its debut quite soon. Fire Piranha Plant hops into the roster via participation in the June tournament, with it being available to everyone from July. Yes, everyone’s favorite Smash character has now taken up a sport. What a superstar!

‘Senran Kagura Peach Ball’ Releases in the West on July 9th

There are lots of ways to play pinball on your Switch, but if you’re looking for the one most likely to have you throwing a blanket over the display when someone comes into the room, Senran Kagura Peach Ball is your hook-up. A silly plot sees a bunch of the girls hypnotized into thinking they are animals or some nonsense, and you have to play pinball to snap them out of it. They’ll drape themselves over the board as you play, and some of the bonus games use the paddles in very creative ways. Well, the series certainly has its fans and I’m not going to tell them not to have fun. Peach Ball got a mixed response in Japan, but if you’re interested in checking it out yourself, it’s going to be available in English courtesy of XSEED on July 9th.

Here are the Top 10 Best-Selling Physical Switch Games in the US

NPD, the sales-tracking firm that is generally relied upon for data about the North American video game market, has revealed a little extra nugget of data for all of us to enjoy. Namely, they’ve revealed the top ten best-selling physical Switch releases to date in the United States. You may recall that we saw the Japanese top 20 list a few months back, and if you want to refresh yourself on it, you can check it out here. Let’s see how American tastes differ, shall we?

1st: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
2nd: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
3rd: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
4th: Super Mario Odyssey
5th: Super Mario Party
6th: Splatoon 2
7th: Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu
8th: Pokemon Let’s go Eevee
9th: Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
10th: New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

Like the Japanese list, I think there aren’t a ton of surprises here. The order of the titles may not be exactly the same, but games featuring Nintendo’s top characters are always going to be the biggest sellers on Nintendo hardware. Just like in Japan, there is only one third-party game in the top ten. Over there, it was Minecraft. Here, it’s Ubisoft’s Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, which obviously has at least one thing going for its sales potential. Unfortunately, we don’t have any hard numbers to go with this data, so it’s hard to make too many comparisons. Still interesting, I think.

Reviews

American Fugitive ($19.99)

Hi, everyone. It’s me, the strange person who prefers the top-down Grand Theft Auto games to their behind-the-back counterparts. It’s not that I don’t respect what those games did for the industry, and I can have fun fooling around in their open worlds as well as anyone else can. But if you’re asking me to sit down and actually play the games properly from start to finish, I’m going to pick GTA2 or Chinatown Wars over San Andreas or GTA5 anytime. I just think it’s easier to do the kinds of things Rockstar likes to ask you to do when you can see more of the world around you, and shooting is generally less cumbersome. But again, I realize that’s an odd point of view, and the relative sales on each installment sure show that. So what are people like me to do in order to get our fix?

Curve Digital and Fallen Tree Games have a suggestion in the form of American Fugitive. It has all the basic bits in place. You’re a bad guy who’s not really that bad, but is nevertheless on the wrong side of the law. Since you’re already a bad guy, you’re willing to break a few laws here and there in order to achieve your goals, which in this case means clearing your name of a murder you didn’t commit. Hopefully… hopefully you don’t kill a bunch of people while proving you didn’t kill the one person? I’m not sure how laws work in fictional worlds to be honest. At the very least, you’re probably going to be stealing some cars, breaking and entering a whole bunch of places, and engaging in other nefarious deeds that are slightly less nefarious than murder. But also: murder.

Anyway, don’t think too hard about it all. American Fugitive certainly doesn’t. When it’s plot time, things are serious, but it otherwise can be just as silly and carefree as its inspiration. Unfortunately, the police can also be rather silly. They usually are, actually. Sometimes they’re hyper-competent, showing up to an empty, abandoned building in the dead of the night because you quietly broke a window. At other times, though, they’re completely stupid. You can max out your wanted level and chill out in some bushes for a bit and they’ll apply everything they learned from the Metal Gear school of security enforcement and completely forget your existence. I find the cat-and-mouse with police is half the fun of causing shenanigans in games like these, and it’s just not quite right here.

Also not quite right is the game’s technical performance on the Switch. In the interests of not having a review become out of date scant hours after it was posted, I opted to wait for the performance patch the publisher informed me was coming soon after launch. And yes, it definitely improves things, but the fact remains that you’re still going to have to deal with a much rougher technical experience when things things get hot than on other platforms. Is it a game-breaker? Well, for me it wasn’t. But I’m not exactly framerate-sensitive most of the time. If you are, you probably won’t be satisfied with American Fugitive, even post-patch. Now, my understanding is that the developer is going to continue to work on the game to address as many issues as possible, so if you’re reading this later, things may have gotten better. That’s how the world works now.

So I’ve basically front-loaded the review with negative points, and you might be thinking this game just isn’t worth the trouble at all. But American Fugitive is actually really fun. The map is certainly smaller than you may be used to if you’re coming in from a GTA game, but I think it does a great job of capturing a small town’s layout. I come from a small town myself, and the layout and look of this one rings authentic to me. It’s something different from what we see in GTA, but that’s a point in the game’s favor, if you ask me. The story gets a bit cheesy at times, but I found it interesting enough overall. I was certainly into it enough to want to see it through. The controls feel pretty good, nicely taking what they need to from GTA in most ways and making little improvements where there ought to be some.

The overall experience worked well enough that once I got a little ways into American Fugitive, I had a lot of trouble putting it down until I finished it. Not all of it is where I’d like it to be. I’ve mentioned the technical issues and the uneven police behavior, and they certainly drag the experience down to varying degrees. I also found the side content to be a lot less interesting than the main story. At first I enjoyed goofing around and doing non-essential things, but between the somewhat repetitive nature of the tasks and the idiot police, it quickly started to feel like a chore. An unnecessary chore, I might add. So I ended up just focusing on finishing the game, and that was alright but did leave me feeling a little sad about what could have been.

Personally, I enjoyed American Fugitive a good bit. I didn’t end up enjoying as much as I thought I would in the early going, but if you like top-down GTA like I do, you’ll probably have a good enough time with it. I feel like there could have been a truly great game in here and maybe one day it will be one, but at the moment it’s just pretty good. If you can wave off some technical problems and don’t mind playing around some iffy AI behavior, it’s probably worth looking into this. Otherwise, I’d probably hold off and see what the developer can do with it post-release.

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

New Releases

Super Cane Magic Zero ($24.99)

SwitchArcade Highlight!

This wacky action-RPG is ludicrous to the extreme, but it’s an awful lot of fun. Like, it’s a pretty enjoyable romp when you’re playing on your own, but if you have enough friends and controllers on hand to venture into the multiplayer, it’s banana-nut-bread-great. Regrettably, you can’t play online, which might make it hard for some players to enjoy the game to its fullest. I’ll be doing a proper review of this soon, but if you like action-RPGs and you don’t care about a coherent story, you’ll probably really like this game. If you enjoy absurd humor, you may even love this game. So get on out there and save that magic dog, lest something bad happen. Or whatever.

Dyna Bomb ($5.99)

This game is okay. That’s about all I can really say for it. Originally released on mobile as an ad-supported free game, this is an arcade-style game where you navigate your character through 64 stages, collecting diamonds and lobbing bombs. It has a nice, cartoony art style, and if you get into what it’s laying down, I think it’s a good value for the money. At the same time, it definitely feels like a game that was designed around touch controls, because the button controls are just a little uncomfortable. I don’t know. There are worse ways and better ways to spend six bucks on the Switch.

Ages of Mages: The Last Keeper ($11.99)

Something of a multiplayer top-down shooter with a wizard theme, Ages of Mages at first glance reminded me of the amazing mobile classic, Solomon’s Keep. But the similarities are really just surface-deep, so don’t make the same mistake I did. Still, for what it is, it’s okay. The difficulty curve is all over the place, particularly if you try to play by yourself, and the level layouts aren’t exactly inspired, but the moment-to-moment action is fine. One caveat is that just like Super Cane Magic Zero, there’s no support for online multiplayer, so if you want to really enjoy that co-op, you need some people in your physical meatspace. If you’re playing alone, I’m not sure this quite has the punch to keep you satisfied, but stranger things have happened.

30-in-1 Game Collection ($14.99)

Wow, thirty whole games for just fifteen dollars? Where do I insert my credit card? Well, yeah. Like almost every piece of software that bills itself on its quantity of titles rather than, you know, any of the games it actually contains, 30-in-1 Game Collection is filled with what are most charitably described as diversions rather than quality experiences. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it, I suppose. It does support up to four players, but as is the theme today everyone has to be in the same room. I feel like the choice between one or two great games or thirty iffy ones when it comes to spending your cash should be a relatively easy one, but they wouldn’t make these if people didn’t buy them. Do what you must.

Ragtag Adventurers ($9.99)

Seriously, it’s today’s theme. A local-only overhead action game for up to four players, this focuses on a boss rush experience. That means there isn’t a whole lot going on level-wise, but that’s not a bad thing on its own. Honestly, of all the slightly similar games that came out today, this is probably the worst of the bunch. It’s not terrible, but it gets old quickly. It also feels like it’s going to come apart at the seams at any moment. Even if you love local multiplayer, you’ve got a few other better choices today, and if you look at the wider Switch library, I’m not sure what circumstances would have to occur to make you reach for this game.

Gato Roboto ($7.99)

SwitchArcade Highlight!

Alright, now we’re talking. A stylish MEOWtroidvania from Devolver Digital and doinksoft, Gato Roboto is yet another great release from a publisher that feels like it can do no wrong of late. While mostly inspired by Metroid, there are also some bits that feel a bit Blaster Master-like, as you can and will leave your power suit behind to explore. While the inspirations are clear, the game certainly stands fine on its own, and in a sea of great exploratory action games, it keeps its adorable little kitten face above water admirably. It’s certainly worth your eight bucks. I give it a big thumbs-up, for whatever that nonsense is worth.

Anarcute ($14.99)

Sort of a simple variant on Pikmin with a dash of Katamari Damacy, Anarcute is a game about extremely cute creatures and mob violence. It’s been out on other platforms for a bit and the reviews aren’t too bad on it. While it’s really short, it seems like it’s a good time while it lasts. Of course, after you finish it, there isn’t much reason to come back. It’s hard to give it a strong recommendation because of that, but if you don’t mind short games and like weird juxtapositions of themes, you might have some fun with this? Personally, I’d wait for a sale, but I’m not the wallet police. Luckily for all of you.

Sales

Hmm. Well, there are some decent games on sale as of this writing, and I’m sure a ton more will come after I’m tucked into bed for the night. I know Devolver Digital is having a sale on the Japanese eShop so I wouldn’t be surprised if we get one in North America, too. Well, whatever. We’ll catch those tomorrow, won’t we? In terms of the outbox, the sale Atypical Games is having on its library is ending really soon. If you want any of those games at a low price, you know what to do.

New Games on Sale

Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Don’t Dry ($33.99 from $39.99 until 6/13)
Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure ($9.59 from $14.99 until 6/10)
Figment ($9.99 from $19.99 until 6/18)
Deployment ($2.49 from $9.99 until 6/5)
Mecho Wars: Desert Ashes ($0.99 from $9.99 until 6/18)
GoFishing 3D ($11.99 from $14.99 until 6/10)
Warparty ($16.74 from $24.99 until 6/7)
Alien Cruise ($8.70 from $11.30 until 6/14)
Elemental Knights R ($20.47 from $22.75 until 6/13)
Pianista ($19.99 from $24.99 until 6/14)
Binaries ($2.59 from $12.99 until 6/20)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Friday, May 31st

Battle Supremacy ($6.99 from $9.99 until 5/31)
Chicken Rider ($3.39 from $3.99 until 5/31)
Dead Cells ($19.99 from $24.99 until 5/31)
Dreamworks Dragons ($23.99 from $39.99 until 5/31)
PAW Patrol: On a Roll! ($23.99 from $39.99 until 5/31)
Radiation Island ($6.99 from $9.99 until 5/31)
Sky Gamblers: Afterburner ($13.99 from $19.99 until 5/31)
Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders ($6.99 from $9.99 until 5/31)

That will finish things up for today, friends. But as regular readers know, Thursday is but part one of two when it comes to new releases each week. We’ll have a look at a bunch more games tomorrow, and I suspect we’ll have a rather large list of new sales to digest as well. As usual, if time permits there may be a review or two. I certainly have a few in the queue to get out. As always, thanks for reading!



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