SwitchArcade Round-Up: ‘Dragon Quest XI S’ Review, Mini-Views Including ‘A Knight’s Quest’ and More, ‘Undertale’ DLC in ‘Taiko no Tatsujin’, and the Latest Sales Info

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for October 14th, 2019. The typhoon has now passed and although it was pretty scary, the area I live in thankfully didn’t suffer too much damage. All that time hiding inside my apartment meant that I had lots of time to play games, and I’ve got a review and a bunch of Mini-Views for you as a result. We also have some news bits, a few new release summaries, and of course, the latest sales lists. Let’s get into it!

News

‘Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun’ Gets ‘Undertale’ DLC

Bandai Namco has added some new DLC to purchase in its Switch rhythm game Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun. Priced at $3.99, this pack of three songs comes from Toby Fox’s hit game Undertale. It includes Megalovania, Heartache, and Hopes and Dreams, each of which is playable at four different levels of difficulty. The core game itself is on sale at the moment for $19.99, so buying it and the Undertale pack is pretty reasonable. It’s kind of amazing what a journey it has been for Toby Fox and Megalovania in particular. To go from being part of an Earthbound ROM hack to now being officially included in the likes of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Taiko no Tatsujin is almost unbelievable. Just keep in mind that if you try that song on Extreme difficulty, you’re gonna have a bad time.

Demos for ‘Resident Evil 5’, ‘Resident Evil 6’ Now Available

Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6 are the latest games in the famed series to make their way to Switch, set for release on October 29th. You can get a taste of both games right now by downloading demo versions from the eShop for each. Any progress you make in the demos will carry over to the full games, and you’ll even get a special costume for playing. Honestly, after playing the demos, I’m not overly impressed with either port. I mean, they’re fine. But they feel worse than the PS3/Xbox 360 versions in a lot of ways, and that really shouldn’t be happening. Well, if you still decide you want them after trying the demo, you can get a 33% discount when you pre-order if you own Resident Evil, Resident Evil 0, or Resident Evil 4. All three of those titles are on sale themselves at the moment, so you could, for example, get Resident Evil 4 and 5 for a combined price of around $40. Do try those demos first, though.

Reviews

Dragon Quest XI S – Definitive Edition ($59.99)

Regular readers know that I am a pretty big fan of the Dragon Quest series. I’m often heard to compare the games to pie in that there aren’t any bad ones, and Dragon Quest 11 certainly didn’t break that streak. Prior to playing this Switch version, my only experience with the game was through its Japan-only Nintendo 3DS version, so I’ve been able to enjoy both the added content and a much higher level of visual fidelity. This was also my first brush with the English script and voices. I’m not sure that everything that has been added to this Definitive Edition works as well as I’d hoped, but I can at least say that Switch owners aren’t missing out on one bit of what makes this installment so great. This is easily the most playable version of the game yet, too.

As Dragon Quest games often do, this one follows the story of a young man from a podunk country town who is a lot more than he initially appears to be. At his coming-of-age ceremony, a sigil on his hand shines brightly. He’s told that he is the Luminary, and that he needs to go and meet with the king in the nearest city immediately. Waving good-bye to his friends and family, he sets off on his journey alone. Pretty much nothing goes as expected, and things eventually wind up to one of those plots where you have to save the world from evil. Which is not to say that the plot is predictable, mind you. It’s genuinely surprising in places, perhaps taking advantage of Dragon Quest‘s reputation (just or otherwise) for painting by the numbers with its plots to catch the player off-guard.

This is one of the more character-heavy games in the series, actually. Each party member is well-defined and we generally get to know all about their history and their current problems. This Switch version expands on that with some extra mini-stories for each of them. For the most part, I don’t think these really add that much, and a couple of them really spoil the story’s original pacing, but I suppose you can always skip them if you’d like. It feels like something that was added in for people who already played the game, which would be fine if they weren’t presented during the normal flow of the story. Although extra content is ostensibly a good thing, I’m kind of mixed about these bits.

Other additions for this version fare better, with the new orchestral arrangement doing what it can to put lipstick on a pig of a soundtrack and the 2D option bringing one of the best features from the 3DS version to Western players for the first time. I was amused to see the option to just flat-out swap chunks of the soundtrack to that of Dragon Quest 8. You can also choose between English voices and the new Japanese voice acting. A ton of improvements to the interface and overall gameplay have been made, and they certainly add up to make this version feel more comfortable to play.

The graphics aren’t quite up to snuff with the PlayStation 4 and PC versions of Dragon Quest 11, but they make a good effort of it. Everything is a little less sharp and shiny, but it looks pretty good when compared to other Switch games. For me, this was the biggest change from the 3DS version I’m familiar with. Even the slightly real-time battle scenes play out quite similarly in terms of mechanics, but gain a lot from the improvements to the presentation. While the game still has that feeling of being somewhere between a true open world experience and a more confined, guided quest, it could be argued that Dragon Quest has always been like that.

Setting aside comparisons and just looking at the game itself, this is a very strong entry in a series that rarely disappoints. You get a long quest with an interesting plot, memorable characters, and exciting enemies to battle. The world is big and full of extra things to find, and the battle system challenges you while still being extremely familiar. Does it drag in parts? Yeah, sometimes. Does it run on too long? A little. I also feel that it’s a bit too self-referential for its own good in places, but I understand why. There’s a very real chance this will be the last Dragon Quest game where all three core members of the creative team are alive and able to contribute, so what better occasion to celebrate the series on the whole?

Dragon Quest 11 S is the best version yet of a very high-quality JRPG adventure. If you’ve played a Dragon Quest game before, you’ll probably know what to expect. As ever, there are more similarities than differences when compared to previous installments. But that’s part of the charm of the series. Whereas its main competitor in the genre likes to break the mold every time to see what new shapes it can take, Dragon Quest is always about refining and polishing a core idea while nudging it every so slightly in new directions. Dragon Quest 11 is one of the more perfect examples of that philosophy in action, being both cutting-edge and as comfortable as an old pair of shoes at the same time.

SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5

Mini-Views

A Knight’s Quest ($24.99)

A Knight’s Quest is almost something special. It’s assuredly informed by a number of other games, The Legend of Zelda chief among them. But it mixes in so many things that it ends up feeling distinct enough. The puzzle and adventure elements are more or less where they need to be, and I actually really enjoyed the platforming. It tries a little too hard to be funny, but enough of its jokes land that it avoids being obnoxious.

There are two major issues with the game that keep it from really being all it could be. One is that the combat is just dull. Boring, no fun, no impact. And there’s a lot of it. The other problem is on the technical side. There are so many bugs and glitches in this game that it feels like it came out of testing a wee bit early. Still, I really did enjoy it and provided those bugs get sewn up in an update it’s a pretty easy game to recommend to action-adventure fans.

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

Mable & The Wood ($14.99)

Mable & The Wood makes a strong effort to do something different in its traversal, and I respect it for that at the very least. Your character is the prophesied hero, but the sword the prophecy bearers made for you is too heavy to use properly. You move very slowly as a result, dragging your sword behind you. In order to get around more quickly, you have to take advantage of your ability to transform into various forms, leaving the sword behind and calling it back to you at the tap of a button. This sometimes feels good, but often is just awkward. This is especially the case with some of the later forms you earn. The game also suffers from a lot of bugs, and I ended up having to fully restart my quest a few times because I clipped into a wall or, worse, spawned inside of one. It’s too bad because there are certainly more than a few moments where the game is fun.

SwitchArcade Score: 2.5/5

Stellatum ($14.99)

I like a lot of what Stellatum is about on paper. It’s a grind-em-up shooter with controls that remind me a little of Atari’s classic Asteroids. There are a lot of stages to play through, plenty of cool upgrades to earn, and a few different modes to play around with. Unfortunately, the game just doesn’t feel good to play. Even when you get yourself fully powered up, there’s just something off about movement and the impact of your shots. And until you do get pretty far along on those power-ups, your ship is so weak that it’s simply dreadful to try to make any real progress. The game also suffers from some serious UI issues, especially in handheld mode. In particular, the tiny text is virtually unreadable. It’s a small problem compared to its bigger ones, but it sure doesn’t help.

SwitchArcade Score: 2/5

New Releases

Alchemist’s Castle ($2.99)

SwitchArcade Highlight!

This is a cheap and enjoyable little Metroidvania game. You play as an apprentice seeking revenge on his former boss. To do so, you have to break into his castle which in and of itself is a bit of a task given that pretty much the first thing you do in the game is twist your ankle. Yes, the first key ability you need to regain is the ability to jump. That’s a new one for me. Anyway, it’s a short game that doesn’t last more than a couple of hours, and it’s hardly a stellar example of the genre. But if you’re looking for a little entertainment with a small price tag, this is a good pick-up.

Corpse Party: Blood Drive ($19.99)

And I thought it was bad when mobile gamers had to try to make sense out of this game’s story with only the first game to go on. Switch owners don’t even have that one! Blood Drive is the latest game in the Corpse Party series, and its plot relies heavily on the original Corpse Party and its follow-up, Book of Shadows. The connections are direct and significant, so don’t count on understanding a lot of the overarching plot if you haven’t already played those games elsewhere. That’s a problem, because without that connection to the lore, this is just a middling adventure game with an art style that completely trivializes any of its attempts at horror. Absolutely baffling that they’d go with this game first on the platform.

Beast Quest ($29.99)

There’s something a little nostalgic about a game built on a beloved license that turns out to be an absolute trash fire. Beast Quest is based on the popular book series, and that’s about everything good you can say about it. The gameplay is simple and boring. The graphics aren’t half-bad in stills, but the game runs like garbage. The story? Yeah, don’t expect that to save the game. There are a lot of ways to spend thirty dollars on the eShop; this game makes a compelling case for one of the worst ways to do it.

Sales

Some nice sales popped up over the weekend, but you’ll have to act very fast if you want to grab one of them. Rocket League is on sale until the end of today, so don’t sleep on it if you want it. Atooi’s titles are discounted to super-low prices, with Xeodrifter and Mutant Mudds Collection being the best of the lot in my opinion. The outbox is small, but I suppose if you wanted Power Rangers at a lower price, go for it.

New Games on Sale

Rocket League ($9.99 from $19.99 until 10/14)
Hyper Sentinel ($0.12 from $12.99 until 10/18)
Figment ($9.99 from $19.99 until 10/31)
Semblance ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/18)
Super Dungeon Tactics ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/21)
OlliOlli: Switch Stance ($10.49 from $14.99 until 10/18)
Rogue Bit ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/28)
Watermelon Party ($0.19 from $4.99 until 10/28)
Escape from the Universe ($2.99 from $9.99 until 10/20)
Super Box Land Demake ($3.99 from $4.99 until 10/28)
Safari Pinball ($1.97 from $2.99 until 10/31)
Mutant Mudds Collection ($1.49 from $14.99 until 11/1)
Xeodrifter ($0.99 from $9.99 until 11/1)
Totes the Goat ($0.49 from $4.99 until 11/1)
Soccer Slammers ($0.99 from $9.99 until 11/1)
Croc’s World ($3.99 from $4.99 until 11/2)
Morphies Law ($4.99 from $19.99 until 11/3)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 15th

99Vidas – Definitive ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/15)
Aldred – Knight of Honor ($0.99 from $1.99 until 10/15)
Beholder 2 ($9.74 from $14.99 until 10/15)
Box Align ($0.99 from $1.99 until 10/15)
Elevator… to the Moon! ($1.50 from $15.00 until 10/15)
Lines Infinite ($0.79 from $1.99 until 10/15)
Lines X ($0.39 from $0.99 until 10/15)
Mecho Tales ($0.10 from $0.99 until 10/15)
Mecho Wars: Desert Ashes ($1.00 from $10.00 until 10/15)
Plague Road ($1.00 from $15.00 until 10/15)
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid ($12.99 from $19.99 until 10/15)
War Theatre ($1.00 from $10.00 until 10/15)
Worse Than Death ($7.99 from $9.99 until 10/15)

That will wrap things up for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with tons of huge new releases to check out, along with some more reviews and mini-views as time allows. Naturally, any news and new sales that come along will also be there. Make sure you’re back here tomorrow, friends. It’s going to be a… “bewitching" article. Ha ha, see what I did there? I hope you all have a great day, and as always, thanks for reading!



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