SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘Tomb Raider I-III Remastered’, Plus the Latest News and Sales

SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘Tomb Raider I-III Remastered’, Plus the Latest News and Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for February 13th, 2024. In today’s article, we have no new releases to check out! Wow. That happens sometimes, though. Don’t worry, though. Our pal Mikhail has some news for us, and then we have a few reviews for you to enjoy. I have my look at Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Starring Lara Croft, which hits the eShop tomorrow, and the quirky twin-stick shooter Mustache in Hell. Mikhail has his thoughts on Spirit Hunter: Death Mark II, which is also coming to the eShop this week. After that, we’ve got some sales for you. New ones, expiring ones. You know how it works. Well, let’s dig in.


‘Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- Sweep the Board’ Gets April Release Date and New Trailer

Sega just announced that Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- Sweep the Board, the upcoming Switch exclusive board game based on Demon Slayer, will launch in North America and Europe on April 26th. Alongside the release date, Sega showcased a new gameplay trailer with the mini-games, events, and more included. Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- Sweep the Board also includes motion control support in some minigames using the Joy-Cons. The prior Demon Slayer release Sega published was really good, and while I’m not usually a fan of board games, I’m willing to give this a shot to try with friends.-Mikhail Madnani

Reviews & Mini-Views

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Starring Lara Croft ($29.99)

Last year when the Lara Croft Collection came to Switch, it understandably proved a little confusing for some. That set brought brilliant ports of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light and Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris to the Switch, and those are undeniably Lara Croft games. Right in the titles and everything. Still, when most see that title, they tend to think of the mainline Tomb Raider series that made Lara Croft a household name. There have been three sub-series within that greater series, and Nintendo consoles only played host to the middle one. You know, the first Crystal Dynamics era. That means we have two whole runs of Tomb Raider games that have never seen any representation in Nintendo’s ecosystem. Well, we can now narrow that down to one.

Yes, for the very first time ever, people who for whatever reason only play games on Nintendo platforms can now enjoy the first three Tomb Raider games. Aspyr has not only ported the three games to the Switch, but have actually given them a variety of improvements. And if you don’t like those improvements, you can turn them off. That’s win-win, in my books. While the core games are the same under the hood no matter what you do, there are certainly some interesting new additions here.

The most obvious is the visual overhaul, with some new models, a better framerate, upgraded textures and new details, and improved lighting effects. My kingdom for a gamma slider, but maybe they’ll add it later. The game starts with the new visuals enabled, and at first I felt like the improvements were minimal. Then I hit the + button, which switches the game back to the original visuals, and was reminded of the myriad ways our memories lie to us. The games don’t look fully modern by any means, but instead look the way we might ideally remember them. And again, if you don’t like the new look, you don’t have to use it. Or use it selectively. Your call. I found myself switching to the classic visuals at times because of how dark everything is with the modern style.

While the presentation defaults to the new style, the controls are set to the classic style when you start things up. An interesting choice, but when I tried using the new modern controls, I understood why. The original Tomb Raider games are tightly built around grid-based movement, and Lara’s controls are designed around that. Giving her free movement ironically makes the games harder to play, though you might have a better go of it than I did. I tried playing with the modern controls for a while but soon found myself switching back to the classic tank movement.

That itself certainly took some time to get used to again, but I was able to do so. Those new to the games are probably going to find controls to be the biggest hurdle, but I strongly encourage forcing yourself to adapt to the original style. It will pay dividends at the inevitable point in each game where things really heat up. These games are as tough as they ever were, and the workout on your fingers for some of the nastier death traps will help you sympathize with Lara’s struggles. One thing this set benefits from regardless of control choice is the ability to easily manipulate the camera using the right stick. A small touch, but one that makes things a lot more manageable.

As to the games, you get the first three Tomb Raider games here with their respective add-on expansions included. Opinions vary on these, and there are probably a million reviews of the original games you could read if you want to see some different viewpoints. For my part, I really like the first game, like the second game only a little less, and am a bit lukewarm on the third. I think this trilogy takes us up to the point where the Core games started to run out of gas, though the following two games (not included here) definitely had their moments. The first game leans more on puzzles than action, the second more on action than puzzles, and the third game tries to offer a balanced plate of both. The expansions were mostly new to me, and they’re fine. Nothing amazing, but if you want more Tomb Raider, it’s there.

It all runs quite well on the Switch, or at least as well as it’s supposed to. I did notice that the games sometimes don’t like it when you put the system to sleep while they’re running. Always make sure to save before doing so just in case you need to force the app closed. It didn’t happen every time, but even an infrequent lock-up can be heart-breaking when progress comes as hard as it sometimes does in the Tomb Raider games. Overall it’s good job from the developers, though I again really would like the ability to crank up the gamma a bit.

Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Starring Lara Croft does exactly what it says on the tin, presenting the first three adventures of the famous heroine with some optional improvements to help them shine a little brighter. These games have a feel and logic of their own, and those wading into them for the first time might find the games hard to wrap their heads around. For better or worse, this is the original Tomb Raider trilogy, and if you’re going to play them this is the best way to do it. There are a few bugs to address and it really needs a brightness setting for the modern visuals, but otherwise I can’t find much to complain about here that isn’t endemic to the original games.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

Spirit Hunter: Death Mark II ($49.99)

As a fan of Japanese developer Experience Inc since the early PS Vita days, I’ve always enjoyed trying the developer’s output across dungeon RPGs, adventure games, horror, and more. A few years ago Aksys Games published Spirit Hunter: Death Mark, and I was blown away by how good it was as the developer’s first horror-focused game. Following that we got Spirit Hunter: NG, another awesome horror game that I loved playing on Switch. After that, we had a few dungeon RPGs, but are now back to horror adventure with Spirit Hunter: Death Mark II.

Spirit Hunter: Death Mark II was actually crowdfunded in Japan for its release back in 2022. I wasn’t paying much attention to it back then because I just assumed it would be localized soon after. Fast forward to this week and Spirit Hunter: Death Mark II is out on Nintendo Switch, PC, and PS5 in the West. I already covered my thoughts on the PC version via Steam Deck here. I had been playing the Switch version for a bit longer though, and I adore it.

Death Mark II‘s narrative ended up being as great as I had hoped. It was paced well, and I ended up trying to play as much as I could in a single session. Despite revolving around a spirit called The Departed, there is no Dropkick Murphys song. Instead, it takes place in Konoehara Academy and features a familiar face as the protagonist. I liked the freedom available with how you can approach some of the story moments and how the team integrated some light RPG elements into the game. The Suspensive Act mechanic is quite well done though I thought the game didn’t let me select some things in specific situations while trying to alter the outcome in the game or try and push for a specific thing.

Spirit Hunter: Death Mark II brings together exploration on a 2D plane, investigation, point and click elements, and choices (in addition to a mechanic called Suspensive Act) during its core gameplay. It has visual novel-like story sections as well, but is more of an adventure game. It also has some mechanics to make things a bit easier like consulting with NPCs when you get stuck or having glowing points of interest in locations so you aren’t lost. Experience Inc definitely put effort into making this approachable for new players but it has some nice callbacks and more to existing characters and the games. I also want to highlight two accessibility options: jumpscare and gore level. You can turn off jumpscares (they aren’t as frequent as you’d expect) and also reduce the level of gore and still have the full experience if you’d like.

As someone who doesn’t play too many horror franchises, I always appreciated the striking and unique aesthetic Experience Inc has had in its games. Not only are they actually scary in parts, but also just grotesque and sometimes a bit too much even for me. What I found is, every CG from these games stuck with me beyond playing them. A lot of horror games just do the usual to try and scare you, but none have art as memorable as the Spirit Hunter series in recent years.

I also want to highlight the atmosphere, audio design, and voice acting in the game. The soundtrack has some subtle moments but can turn things up quite a bit in key story moments. I’ve always loved how Experience Inc and also NIS manage to do so much with small budgets in the horror genre. The sound effects are also perfect for the scenes across the moments I won’t spoil and in general gameplay. There isn’t a lot of voice acting, but the few voiced bits are all great.

Having played Spirit Hunter: Death Mark II on Switch and Steam Deck, my common complaint for both versions is how some of the animations during the exploration and movement parts are a bit too slow or that some menus should’ve been quicker. Barring that, touchscreen support on Switch would’ve made it even better for the point and click portions and for progressing dialogue. I was pleasantly surprised at how good the game scrolled on Switch when it comes to the 2D movement. There are too many instances where a game I’m playing even with simple graphics will have poor scrolling. Thankfully Spirit Hunter: Death Mark II feels good on Switch, and it looks excellent on the screen.

Regardless of whether you’re new to the series or not, Spirit Hunter: Death Mark II is essential if you enjoy horror adventure games. It has a few small things holding it back from being perfect, but I love the time I put into it on both Switch and Steam Deck. I hope the wait for the next entry isn’t as long and Experience Inc continues to deliver with each new release.-Mikhail Madnani

SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5

Mustache in Hell ($4.99)

Sometimes games just need to provide a little distraction for an hour or two, and that’s more or less what Mustache in Hell offers. It’s a twin-stick action game with a few roguelite elements tossed in the mix, tasking you with retrieving five artifacts from denizens of Hell in order to return to the world of the living. Don’t worry, John Mustache is a cop. He knows his way around a gun or two. He’s also pretty handy with flamethrowers, hand grenades, and land mines, and those talents I have no explanation for. Maybe he’s a Winnipeg cop? At any rate, you’ll have to explore the various areas of Hell, solving basic puzzles (mostly involving switches and keys) to make your way to the boss room. You won’t be battling enemies at every step, but rather in specific rooms where you’ll have to fend off a set amount of foes.

It’s a simple take on the genre. You can do a little dash, and some weapons and sub-weapons will randomly spawn around each closed area that you can grab for some temporary boosts. Beat a boss, and back to the hub you’ll go with your treasure. That opens up the next one, and off you go. It doesn’t take very long to clear, with most of the challenge simply being in surviving overly lengthy boss fights where your weapons slowly chip away their health while you dodge their obvious patterns. There are no permanent upgrades, but you can pick up extra lives if you hunt around. You’ll want to do that, because a lot of the hits you take in this game are nearly unavoidable. You’ll also sometimes respawn in the middle of a mess when you die, which isn’t pleasant.

Mustache in Hell is a short, sometimes frustrating game that has a certain charm to it, but ultimately fails to distinguish itself in a very competitive genre. There just isn’t a whole lot to chew on, and what is here isn’t all that compelling. If you’re looking for something that won’t occupy too much of your time or demand a great deal of thought, you might enjoy your time with the game. I found myself somewhat motivated to play it to the end despite its rough edges, and I suppose that’s worth something.

SwitchArcade Score: 3/5


(North American eShop, US Prices)

Some decent stuff in the inbox today, though nothing particularly unusual. Pinball M is having its first sale, and you can get some of WayForward’s games like River City Girls at a solid discount. Alien Death Mob at two measly dollars is a great way to get your action fix, and Super Mega Zero is a precision platformer I’ll always find time to recommend. Not too much in the outbox, but you might as well have a peek at it too while you’re looking.

Select New Sales

Nobody Saves the World ($9.99 from $24.99 until 2/19)
CometStriker DX ($10.04 from $14.99 until 2/20)
Pinball M: Death Save Bundle ($17.99 from $19.99 until 2/20)
Mail Time ($13.99 from $19.99 until 2/21)
Gleylancer ($3.49 from $6.99 until 2/22)
Gynoug ($3.49 from $6.99 until 2/22)
Ashina: The Red Witch ($4.99 from $9.99 until 2/22)
Embraced by Autumn ($9.49 from $18.99 until 2/22)
Lootbox Lyfe+ ($3.99 from $9.99 until 2/22)
Go! Go! PogoGirl ($1.99 from $4.99 until 2/22)
EvilUP ($2.39 from $5.99 until 2/22)
Imp of the Sun ($4.99 from $19.99 until 2/25)
Radical Rabbit Stew ($1.99 from $15.99 until 2/25)
Disjunction ($1.99 from $15.99 until 2/25)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete ($23.99 from $59.99 until 2/25)
Cleaning Queens ($4.49 from $5.99 until 2/26)

The Legend of Tianding ($7.99 from 19.99 until 2/26)
My Lovely Daughter ($2.99 from $14.99 until 2/26)
River City Girls Zero ($10.49 from $14.99 until 2/26)
River City Girls ($14.99 from $29.99 until 2/26)
River City Girls 2 ($27.99 from $39.99 until 2/26)
Vitamin Connection ($6.99 from $19.99 until 2/26)
Super Impossible Road ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/27)
Super Mega Zero ($4.99 from $9.99 until 2/27)
Bang-On Balls: Chronicles ($12.49 from $24.99 until 3/4)
Tools Up! ($1.99 from $19.99 until 3/4)
Millie & Molly ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/4)
Obakeidoro ($13.99 from $19.99 until 3/4)
Figment 2: Creed Valley ($9.99 from $24.99 until 3/4)
Alien Death Mob ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/4)
Moorhuhn Invasion: Crazy Chicken ($3.49 from $6.99 until 3/4)
Breakout Birdie Puzzle ($1.99 from $2.99 until 3/4)
Breakout Birdie Escape ($1.99 from $2.99 until 3/4)
Breakout Birdie Panic ($1.99 from $2.99 until 3/4)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, February 14th

Anthill ($2.49 from $9.99 until 2/14)
Crowns & Pawns: Kingdom of Deceit ($13.99 from $19.99 until 2/14)
Curious Expedition ($3.74 from $14.99 until 2/14)
Curious Expedition 2 ($7.99 from $19.99 until 2/14)
Cursed to Golf ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/14)
Firegal: Hack ‘n Splash Rescue ($3.59 from $17.99 until 2/14)
Flipping Death ($3.99 from $19.99 until 2/14)
Fury Unleashed ($2.99 from $19.99 until 2/14)
Giga Wrecker Alt ($3.74 from $24.99 until 2/14)
HunterX ($7.49 from $14.99 until 2/14)
LEGO Bricktales ($14.99 from $29.99 until 2/14)
Lonely Mountains Downhill ($7.99 from $19.99 until 2/14)
Paper Cut Mansion ($7.99 from $19.99 until 2/14)
Railbound ($7.99 from $12.99 until 2/14)
Say No! More ($2.99 from $14.99 until 2/14)
Source of Madness ($7.99 from $19.99 until 2/14)
SteamWorld Dig ($3.99 from $9.99 until 2/14)
SteamWorld Dig 2 ($7.99 from $19.99 until 2/14)
SteamWorld Heist ($5.99 from $19.99 until 2/14)
Swordship ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/14)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new games, more sales, and potentially some news and reviews. It’s going to depend on how things go, as ever. I think I need to get some new glasses, as the ones I’m using aren’t as clear as they once were. Aging sure is fun. Well, it beats the alternative. I hope you all have a terrific Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!

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