SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘The Legend of Steel Empire’, Plus Today’s Releases and Sales

SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘The Legend of Steel Empire’, Plus Today’s Releases and Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for January 24th, 2024. It’s a quiet Wednesday, so I decided to put fingers to keys and wrote up a review of The Legend of Steel Empire for you to enjoy. There’s one new release to check out, and it looks alright as these things go. After that, it’s sales time! New sales! Expiring sales! We have it all, as long as ‘all’ means just those two things! Are you excited? Even if you aren’t, it’s time to get to work!

Reviews & Mini-Views

The Legend of Steel Empire ($24.99)

SEGA’s 16-bit console had some fantastic shoot-em-ups. Thunder Force 3 and Lightening Force. Truxton and Fire Shark. Zero Wing and Hellfire. Gaiares. MUSHA Aleste. Sagaia. Slap Fight. Grind Stormer. Eliminate Down. I could go on like this for a while, and if I go a little longer, I’ll eventually get to Steel Empire. This horizonal shooter was originally published by Hot-B, a rather eclectic company perhaps best known for its fishing games. While it was far from the best shooter on the Mega Drive/Genesis, it managed to develop a cult following. Why? Well, I have some theories about that which we’ll go into shortly. Steel Empire has seen a few rereleases over the years on platforms like the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 3DS, and Windows. And now we have it on the Nintendo Switch, too.

Steel Empire has a few interesting elements. The most obvious is its premise and setting, taking place in a steampunk setting before that was a very popular idea. The presentation is strong all around, with cool ship designs, interesting backgrounds, and some really good tunes backing the action. You can choose between two very different ships to play as, and one of them is a zeppelin. Some extra points right there. You have three buttons to work with: one that shoots to the right, one that shoots to the left, and one that launches one of your limited supply of bombs. Enemies can and will come from both directions, so you need to stay sharp.

Another uncommon element is the presence of a life bar, and I think this is one of the reasons why some people really like Steel Empire. You can take a few hits before things get serious, and when combined with health pick-ups it means you’ll survive a lot longer in Steel Empire even if you’re not a skilled shoot-em-up player. Even if you die, you’ll respawn where you left off with a fresh stock of bombs provided you have some lives remaining. You’ll even keep your main shot’s power level. Sure, you’ll lose your Options until you find another pick-up, but it’s a small price to pay. On the default difficulty it isn’t that tough to schlep your way through the entire game without even touching your continues.

Depending on where you’re coming from, that will either be a really good point in Steel Empire‘s favor or a bit of a negative. If you’re an experienced shoot-em-up fan, I recommend kicking the difficulty up right from the get-go. You’ll likely find this game almost boring to play otherwise. The scoring system is too straightforward to get much excitement from, and relies to an extent on random items that will boost your points at the end of the stage. There aren’t any online leaderboards here, either. As a result, this is a curious case of a classic shoot-em-up I would recommend to those less experienced in the genre but perhaps not to the hardcore fans.

As to this version of the game, I don’t really know how to feel about it as a whole. In some ways it’s really good, with crisp visuals and nice responsiveness in the controls. In other ways, it’s a let-down. The audio in particular just doesn’t sound right. Not terrible or anything, at least past the initial boot-up screens where it’s trying to make the music sound old and scratchy to poor results, but it just sounds off in a very noticeable way. You’ll also need to play around with the sound levels to get things balanced properly. By default the sound effects almost completely wash out the rest of the audio.

The whole thing feels awfully thin for the price, too. You get a few difficulty levels to play on along with some very basic options. It would be nice to have some information about the game included, especially since this one has a really in-depth story that barely gets touched on in-game. In my opinion, the bar has been raised for retro collections in recent years and I’d like to see everyone doing a little better to contextualize these vintage titles when they get reissued. Well, it is what it is. But certainly, no bonus points issued here for how it is presented.

The Legend of Steel Empire is a decent enough way to play a cult classic shooter, even with a few rough points in the overall package. If you’re tired of having your head knocked around by the likes of Gradius or R-Type, you might find this to be the approachable shooter you’re looking for. I appreciate that they made some improvements in the presentation rather than just toss the original game out there, but it feels like there was a missed opportunity to do a little more here.

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

New Releases

Saga of the Moon Priestess ($5.99)

Just one new release to look at today, but it seems like a decent one for those who enjoy the classic Zelda games. The prince has been kidnapped and it’s up to the heroine Sarissa to save him. She has a spear and she hears voices from the Goddess of the Moon, and I’m reasonably sure this won’t end with her being burnt at the stake or anything. The game includes five dungeons to explore, and a variety of items and upgrades to search for. For six bucks, that doesn’t sound bad at all.


(North American eShop, US Prices)

I can usually find something I’m enthusiastic about in the daily inbox, but today there isn’t anything speaking to me. The outbox has more things to my liking, like Coffee Talk and my sentimental favorite Kairosoft game Hot Springs Story. The good news is that you need not rely on my discerning eye. You can check both of those lists yourself and decide if any of it is your thing today.

Select New Sales

Kaichu: The Kaiju Dating Sim ($4.49 from $9.99 until 1/31)
Vengeful Heart ($1.99 from $9.99 until 1/31)
Big Dipper ($2.24 from $4.99 until 1/31)
Kargast ($4.49 from $9.99 until 1/31)
Potion Party ($1.99 from $9.99 until 1/31)
Into a Dream ($2.79 from $13.99 until 1/31)
Forest Guardian ($6.59 from $10.99 until 1/31)
Merrily Perilly ($2.24 from $4.99 until 1/31)
Vision Soft Reset ($5.99 from $9.99 until 1/31)
The Lost and the Wicked ($5.99 from $9.99 until 1/31)
A Tale For Anna ($6.59 from $10.99 until 1/31)
Wingspan ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/13)
Crash Drive 3 ($1.99 from $19.99 until 2/13)
Monster Prom XXL ($4.95 from $15.99 until 2/13)
Railbound ($7.99 from $12.99 until 2/14)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, January 25th

A Space for the Unbound ($12.99 from $19.99 until 1/25)
Cafe Master Story ($7.20 from $12.00 until 1/25)
Claire: Extended Cut ($7.49 from $14.99 until 1/25)
Coffee Talk ($6.49 from $12.99 until 1/25)
Coffee Talk Episode 2 ($11.24 from $14.99 until 1/25)
Ein’s Sword ($2.00 from $3.00 until 1/25)
High Sea Saga DX ($7.20 from $12.00 until 1/25)
Hot Springs Story ($3.96 from $12.00 until 1/25)
March to a Million ($6.00 from $12.00 until 1/25)
My Bakery Empire ($3.99 from $7.99 until 1/25)
Pocket Quest ($2.79 from $7.99 until 1/25)
Rising Hell ($4.99 from $9.99 until 1/25)
RIVE: Ultimate Edition ($1.99 from $14.99 until 1/25)
Space Papers ($2.79 from $7.99 until 1/25)
Swap This! ($1.99 from $4.99 until 1/25)
Swords & Soldiers ($1.99 from $7.49 until 1/25)
Toki Tori ($1.99 from $4.99 until 1/25)
Toki Tori 2+ ($1.99 from $14.99 until 1/25)
Train Driver Simulator ($1.99 from $14.99 until 1/25)
Whitestone ($9.99 from $19.99 until 1/25)
World Cruise Story ($7.00 from $14.00 until 1/25)

That’s all for today, friends. Tomorrow is Thursday, and it’s a very big one. There are more than twenty games on the schedule, and I imagine a few more will pop up during the day. We’ll have summaries of all of the games worth summarizing, plus whatever sales and big news items roll in over the course of the next twenty-four hours. I hope you all have an excellent Wednesday, and as always, thanks for reading!

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