Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for January 16th, 2024. In today’s article, we start things off with a little bit of news. After that, it’s review time. Our pal Mikhail has his take on Outer Wilds and the expansion pack for Fitness Boxing Fist of the North Star, while I have my thoughts on Rough Justice ’84. Then it’s on to the new releases, with a couple of decent games and a couple of bin-fillers. We wrap things up with the usual lists of new and outgoing sales. Let’s go to work!
Atari’s ‘Mr. Run and Jump’ Receives New Update with Ghost Mode and More
If you like ultra-tough platformers, Mr. Run and Jump might be the game for you. I feel like a lot of people slept on it when it came out last year, but it’s quite good. And now it’s even better thanks to a new update. A new Ghost mode has been added that allows you to play alongside a ghost that runs your best time on each level. It feeds nicely into the speedrunning feel the game already had. Beyond that, this update also makes some tweaks to hit boxes and adjusts the game balance here and there. I really like that new ghost feature. I find it easier to knock out better times when there’s one present.
Reviews & Mini-Views
Outer Wilds ($24.99)
I hadn’t had much time to dig into Outer Wilds on Switch when we got review code because that’s just how the last few weeks of the year go with end of year lists, features, and other reviews. I finally put some time into Outer Wilds, and the Switch version surprised me despite the few issues I have with it on a technical level. I’m not going to cover much about the actual game here because it is an older game, and you are best going into this blind, but I will say that Outer Wilds remains one of the most unique experiences in recent times in gaming. I wanted to focus on how the port feels compared to the other versions I’ve played, and whether it is worth getting for you at full price.
For a lot of people, Hollow Knight Silksong is a game that they keep asking for in any Nintendo Direct or Indie World presentation. For me, Outer Wilds is the game I was waiting for. Mobius Digital and Annapurna Interactive’s space mystery exploration hybrid with a few other genres thrown in was a superb experience when I first played it, but that took a while because of the console versions. Outer Wilds‘ narrative, design, moments, and music all come together to deliver something special. If you somehow avoided reading much about the game and just wanted to know how the port is, read on.
I was afraid of playing Outer Wilds on Switch. I don’t mean that in the “oh it is a port of a game on Switch so it will not be as good as other platforms” way, but because Outer Wilds on Xbox One X gave me motion sickness. At the time, it was the most powerful console, and if that version wasn’t working for me, I wasn’t sure how the Switch port would fare. I ended up playing it on PC after spending a good amount of time with the graphics options to try and find a balance that worked for me. Since then, the game has gotten PS5 and Xbox Series X upgrades, and the latter is a great experience. I was still very curious to see how it would be on Switch, because I loved my time with it on Steam Deck.
I haven’t played the DLC, but Outer Wilds on Switch is a surprisingly good port with the cutbacks taken into account and with how other ports have been lately. The frame rate target of 30fps isn’t perfect with drops while exploring certain locations and longer load times, but it still preserves the experience. I expected to have to ask for another review code so Shaun could cover this, but the porting team managed to release a version of the game that doesn’t make me feel sick like the older console releases, and that itself is an achievement for me.
If you are hoping to experience Outer Wilds on Switch as your first and only version of the game, keep in mind that it has a lot of cutbacks compared to other current platforms including some technical issues. I would only recommend getting it here if you exclusively play in handheld mode. It isn’t worth playing docked if you have access to any other current console or a PC.
Outer Wilds on Switch isn’t remotely the best version of the game, but the fact that it didn’t give me motion sickness like the Xbox One version is enough of an achievement. If you have access to an Xbox Series X, PS5, PC, or Steam Deck I’d play Outer Wilds there, but the long wait for this port has been worth it in many ways. It needs more optimization in parts despite the cutbacks to visuals, but Outer Wilds is an incredible experience that isn’t lost when played on Switch in handheld mode. I just hope the performance issues can be ironed out by the time the physical release is available. -Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Fitness Boxing Fist of the North Star Expansion Pack ($24.99)
Fitness Boxing Fist of the North Star remains one of the most surprising releases on Switch. After the success of the Imagineer’s Fitness Boxing games, I knew we’d get more, but one with a Fist of the North Star theme wasn’t on my bingo card. I enjoyed my time with it last year despite its issues, but was hoping we’d see more from the anime and more mechanics make their way to the game. Imagineer surprised us all once again with the Fitness Boxing Fist of the North Star Expansion Pack, but it is sadly a disappointment thanks to its high asking price.
The Fitness Boxing Fist of the North Star Expansion Pack includes two new modes, new songs, and cosmetics. The new modes vary in their quality, but are fun enough to play. Heart Mode feels like a true blend of what you’d expect out of anything involving Fist of the North Star with its chaotic requirements while Raoh Mode is a more precise challenge. You can earn currency through playing these modes to unlock costumes and music tracks. That’s basically all this DLC has to offer, and with nothing major added in terms of new character models, it feels a bit lacking.
When I review post-launch DLC, I usually like to also cover any major improvements to the base game. I haven’t noticed anything of note with Fitness Boxing Fist of the North Star since launch. The Expansion Pack is also not included in the new retail release for the West which is disappointing. Given the late physical release, having this on cartridge making the retail release a complete package would’ve been a nice incentive to get people to buy the DLC, but that isn’t the case.
I still recommend the base Fitness Boxing Fist of the North Star game, but it is hard to recommend this expansion that doesn’t add enough to cost half the price of the full game. Had it been cheaper or offered more content and modes, it would’ve been easier to recommend. There also seemingly isn’t any discounted bundle for the game and DLC making it harder to recommend even to newcomers. If you do, however, play the base game regularly and enjoy it, this DLC offers more things to add to your fitness routine, but it should’ve been more. -Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Rough Justice ’84 ($19.99)
Admittedly, this game is really up my alley in a way that it might not be for most. I am certainly tired of the whole 1980s aesthetic being thrown around in gaming like cheap cologne, but Rough Justice ’84 actually puts it to good use. This is a strategy game that evokes the era of film and TV where cops were still considered cool by most, but only if they were loose cannons who were this far away from being busted down to beat cop status. It is written like one of those stories, and if you’ve ever enjoyed such a thing you’ll find this tale of a framed and disgraced officer on a mission to root out the corruption rotting his city rather enthralling.
That’s the hope, anyway. It’s a fairly long game, running a couple of dozen hours to see through to its satisfying ending. The story, slow burn that it is, has to be the main thing that will keep you invested for that duration. The gameplay mechanics are engaging and novel, but they wear out their welcome quickly in some cases. In broad strokes, you’re managing a detective agency of sorts. You hire agents and assign them to cases, hopefully sending the right person to handle the job. See, each job will require particular stats based on its nature. When your agent arrives at the scene, you’ll be given a choice of which action you’d like them to take. You’ll then roll some dice, and if they come up favorably you’ll complete the case.
Well, there’s a bit more to all of it than that. You get three re-rolls of the dice, you can add more dice by leveling up your agent, and rolling particular numbers can actually give you an instant loss in some cases. Agents also have a set amount of energy, so if you lean on them too much they’ll have to take a break to rest up. You have to pay your agents too, so while having more of them on the payroll is useful and sometimes necessary, you’ll have to make sure those dollars and cents are adding up. There’s also a time element, as if you don’t attend to cases quickly enough they’ll time out. Some cases will also involve a minigame of some kind, and those get tiresome pretty fast. A good variety, but not really good enough to continuously repeat for twenty hours. Not that the dice-rolling stuff is all that varied either over the long haul, but I found it less annoying.
Whether or not you like Rough Justice ’84 is going to depend heavily on how invested you get in its well-written story and virtual board game-style mechanics. It’s probably twice as long as it should be, and that means that gameplay elements that would normally be fine start to feel more than a little repetitive by the close of the tale. Nevertheless, I found the game to be interesting and novel enough that I would probably recommend it to anyone who finds the idea of it appealing. It was quite absorbing in many ways, even if it sometimes felt like it was trying my patience.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Sir Questionnaire ($4.99)
An interesting spin on the dungeon crawler concept from good ol’ Orange Pixel. Each room offers you a simple choice between two actions, and your decision will shape your odds of survival. There are battles to engage in, plenty of loot to find, and more traps than you can shake a stick at. Can you make it to the bottom and live to tell the tale? Another good bit of fun from a developer who always delivers.
Superfluous Returnz ($14.99)
This is a point-and-click style adventure game about a useless hero and the assistant who tries to keep him from getting into too much trouble. The village of Fochougny doesn’t really see a whole lot of villainy on a day-to-day basis, but that doesn’t stop Superfluous from making his rounds. One day, some apples go missing, and Superfluous takes it upon himself to try and catch the mysterious thief. Solve puzzles, talk to the inhabitants of Fochougny, and see if you can crack the case. Looks cute.
The Bin Bunch
Hentai: Make Love Not War 2 ($2.49)
Neon Drifter – Cyber Racing ($11.99)
(North American eShop, US Prices)
As is the usual case of late, the list of new sales isn’t terribly large. I think Touken Ranbu Warriors is worth considering at its deep discount, and if you’re missing any Shantae games it can’t hurt to fill out your collection. The outbox is so thin it almost doesn’t exist today, but perhaps you want The House of Da Vinci 3 or Thunder Ray? I’ll leave it up to you.
Select New Sales
Super Adventure Hand ($7.79 from $12.99 until 1/22)
Charrua Soccer: Pro Edition ($7.19 from $8.99 until 1/23)
Farm Knight Adventures ($7.64 from $8.99 until 1/26)
Touken Ranbu Warriors ($32.99 from $59.99 until 1/30)
Lunark ($11.99 from $19.99 until 1/30)
RWBY: Arrowfell ($14.99 from $29.99 until 1/30)
Shantae: Risky’s Revenge ($4.99 from $9.99 until 1/30)
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse ($9.99 from $19.99 until 1/30)
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate ($14.99 from $29.99 until 1/30)
Cat Girl Without Salad: Amuse-Bouche ($5.59 from $7.99 until 1/30)
Commandos 2: HD Remaster ($14.99 from $19.99 until 2/5)
Commandos 3: HD Remaster ($23.99 from $29.99 until 2/5)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, January 17th
Depth of Extinction ($2.69 from $14.99 until 1/17)
The House of Da Vinci 3 ($5.99 from $9.99 until 1/17)
Thunder Ray ($9.74 from $14.99 until 1/17)
That’s all for today, friends. I’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more sales, and perhaps some news. Maybe even a review if I’m feeling up to it. Today’s blood test had okay results, but I still have to do a more detailed one later this week. Fun, fun. Getting older is terrible, but it beats the alternative. I hope you all have a great Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!