Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for July 25th, 2022. We kick off the last week of the month with a pair of reviews, covering River City Saga: Three Kingdoms and Redout 2. There is just one new release today, and it’s not exactly something most people will be interested in. We wrap things up in the usual fashion with the lists of new and expiring sales. A bit of a slow start, but things will heat up a lot as the week goes on. Let’s get to today’s business!
Reviews & Mini-Views
River City Saga: Three Kingdoms ($29.99)
River City Ransom was one of the best 8-bit beat-em-ups ever made and has proven to be highly influential on the genre in the decades since its initial release. It’s still really fun to play today. A little success can be a dangerous thing, so I assume a great deal of success can be devastating. I’ll say this as a fan of Kunio-kun and the River City franchise: the beat-em-up entries in this series have had a really hard time escaping the shadow of River City Ransom. River City Saga: Three Kingdoms is no different.
The first brawler to follow River City Ransom took the action to Edo-era Japan, casting the familiar characters as samurai and such. It was essentially Edo Japan River City Ransom, but with a bit more story content. River City Saga: Three Kingdoms may be thirty years newer and a lot spiffier in its presentation, but it’s essentially the same idea. Kunio and his pals are now playing out a comedic take on the classic Chinese novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, cracking skulls and gaining levels as they make their way across Han-era China.
In terms of gameplay, it’s more or less the same old shoes. You have a small arsenal of moves at the start and can make use of whatever you find laying about to bludgeon your foes with. As you play, you’ll gain levels and earn cash, both of which eventually lead to an expanded move set and upgraded stats. It’s more similar to River City Ransom than it is different from it, and the use of the classic sprite design for the characters only adds to the familiarity. The philosophy by and large seems to be that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
I’ll admit that as game designs from the 1980s go, River City Ransom can get away with that more than most. But this genre has had one heck of a renaissance of late, and comparing River City Saga to the likes of other revivals like Streets of Rage 4, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, or even the franchise’s own River City Girls makes this gameplay feel a bit past its sell date. The fighting system is unbalanced, the way things interact with each other is a little rough, and the slippery movement of the main characters makes the oddly prevalent platforming sections more than a little irritating.
Aside from the neo-retro presentation and moving some actions to separate buttons, River City Saga: Three Kingdoms delivers almost exactly what its concept suggests. It plays like one of the best beat-em-ups from thirty years ago, with all that implies. The farcical retelling of the Three Kingdoms provides a fun excuse for the action, and you’ll have a whole lot of goofy thrills if you opt to play it via the extensive co-op multiplayer options. I could do without the terrible platforming bits and I wish it had the courage to shake the formula up a little more, but those who love River City will find this scratches the itch well enough.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Redout 2 ($29.99)
Futuristic hovercraft racers are a very particular type of experience, with the lines between brilliance, adequacy, and disaster being very thin. The original Redout was a gamely attempt at this fraught sub-genre, but the sacrifices made to the graphics of its Switch version brought it down a bit. The Switch port of Redout 2 follows more closely on the heels of the game’s release on other platforms, and the situation is essentially the same. You’re getting a visually weaker version of the game here, with the framerate being particularly prone to fluctuation. In a high-speed game like this, that can be significant.
I’d imagine most people would expect that from Switch ports, though. There are occasional examples like Wreckfest that buck the trend, but I’m sure none of us are under any delusions about the compromises that usually come in this kind of situation. Assuming you can tolerate that end of things, Redout 2 is a decent example of its genre. There’s a challenging career mode with many different race modes, plus an arcade mode for those who just want to go right to their track and vehicle of choice. You can also play multiplayer, but only via online.
There’s a substantial amount of content, with thirty-six tracks set across ten very different environments. There are some really gorgeous and imaginative settings here, with the Mount Fuji tracks being my favorites. The track designs do their job, tasking you with making precise movements and maintaining high speeds while making a bare minimum of errors. You have a couple of means of boosting yourself, but both must be used in moderation lest you blow yourself up. Aside from that, it’s really easy to fly right off some of the more difficult tracks, and one bad fall like that can spoil a whole race. The other part of the gameplay pie comes in the hovercraft customization, with a variety of components to choose from.
Ultimately, Redout 2 is a solid futuristic hovercraft racer. It’s fast, challenging, beautiful, and loaded with content. The Switch version dulls some of the visual shine and framerate issues can affect the gameplay, so you’re probably better off playing the game on other platforms unless the portability is a make-or-break feature for you. Given how infrequently we get games of this type that are even a little good, you may want to bite on it despite its technical issues.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Viki Spotter: Professions ($4.99)
Gosh, not much for new releases today, is there? Here’s another Viki Spotter game. Spot the differences between the pictures, this time with a workplace theme. Only for the most serious of diner placemat fans.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Some notable games on sale today include Slime Rancher, Superliminal, Human Fall Flat, 13 Sentinels, and Sonic Origins. For some reason, it’s only the Digital Deluxe version of Sonic Origins, but a discount’s a discount. The outbox is mostly full of the usual suspects, but make sure you do that thing we always do and check both of those lists yourself to see what jumps out at you.
Select New Games on Sale
Shishi: Timeless Prelude ($8.99 from $9.99 until 8/1)
Slime Rancher: Plortable ($14.99 from $24.99 until 8/2)
Superliminal ($11.99 from $19.99 until 8/4)
Human Fall Flat ($5.99 from $19.99 until 8/7)
Smoke and Sacrifice ($3.99 from $19.99 until 8/7)
The Flame in the Flood CE ($2.99 from $14.99 until 8/7)
Beholder: Complete Edition ($2.99 from $14.99 until 8/7)
Autonauts ($11.99 from $19.99 until 8/7)
Narcos: Rise of the Cartels ($4.49 from $29.99 until 8/7)
Peaky Blinders: Mastermind ($3.74 from $24.99 until 8/7)
Hotshot Racing ($3.99 from $19.99 until 8/7)
The Swindle ($2.99 from $14.99 until 8/7)
Manual Samuel ($1.99 from $9.99 until 8/7)
Space Crew: Legendary Edition ($7.49 from $24.99 until 8/7)
Motorsport Manager ($4.49 from $14.99 until 8/7)
American Fugitive ($1.99 from $19.99 until 8/7)
Hue ($1.99 from $9.99 until 8/7)
For The King ($7.49 from $24.99 until 8/7)
Velocity 2X ($3.99 from $19.99 until 8/7)
Pumped BMX Pro ($2.99 from $14.99 until 8/7)
Just Die Already ($5.99 from $14.99 until 8/7)
Hero-U Rogue to Redemption ($5.99 from $19.99 until 8/8)
Brotherhood United ($1.99 from $8.99 until 8/8)
Galaxy Champions TV ($1.99 from $6.99 until 8/8)
Zombo Buster Advance ($1.99 from $3.99 until 8/8)
My Lovely Wife ($13.49 from $14.99 until 8/8)
Moorhuhn Remake ($4.89 from $6.99 until 8/8)
Moorhuhn Knights & Castles ($5.99 from $14.99 until 8/8)
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim ($38.99 from $59.99 until 8/8)
Sonic Origins Digital DX ($35.99 from $44.99 until 8/8)
Pad of Time ($4.79 from $7.99 until 8/12)
Car Driver Ultimate ($5.59 from $13.99 until 8/12)
Car Parking Simulator ($6.49 from $12.99 until 8/12)
Dungeon Slime Collection ($3.99 from $4.99 until 8/12)
Wall of Insanity ($2.10 from $7.00 until 8/13)
Colt Canyon ($5.09 from $14.99 until 8/14)
Pumpkin Jack ($13.49 from $29.99 until 8/14)
Vambrace: Cold Soul ($6.24 from $24.99 until 8/14)
Slime-San ($4.07 from $11.99 until 8/14)
Cardaclysm: Shards of the Four ($5.09 from $14.99 until 8/14)
Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead ($2.49 from $9.99 until 8/14)
Bridge Constructor Portal ($3.74 from $14.99 until 8/14)
Cattails ($1.99 from $14.99 until 8/14)
West Water ($7.14 from $10.99 until 8/14)
Discolored ($3.99 from $9.99 until 8/14)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 26th
9-Ball Pocket ($1.99 from $5.99 until 7/26)
A Place for the Unwilling ($10.04 from $14.99 until 7/26)
Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX ($6.99 from $19.99 until 7/26)
Aria Chronicle ($31.06 from $39.83 until 7/26)
Bit Orchard: Animal Valley ($1.99 from $6.99 until 7/26)
Boreal Tenebrae ($1.99 from $6.99 until 7/26)
Collapsed ($4.50 from $15.00 until 7/26)
Elemetals: Death Metal Death Match ($1.99 from $12.99 until 7/26)
Flat Heroes ($7.49 from $9.99 until 7/26)
Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure ($1.99 from $19.99 until 7/26)
Kosmonavtes: Academy Escape ($2.03 from $5.99 until 7/26)
Kosmonavtes: Escape Reality ($1.99 from $3.99 until 7/26)
Mainlining ($2.24 from $14.99 until 7/26)
Monster Harvest ($6.99 from $19.99 until 7/26)
Nirvana ($1.99 from $6.99 until 7/26)
Old Man’s Journey ($7.49 from $9.99 until 7/26)
Panmorphia ($2.03 from $5.99 until 7/26)
Panmorphia: Enchanted ($1.99 from $3.99 until 7/26)
Pendula Swing: Complete Journey ($1.99 from $9.99 until 7/26)
Ponpu ($5.99 from $14.99 until 7/26)
Solo: Islands of the Heart ($2.99 from $19.99 until 7/26)
Sparklite ($6.24 from $24.99 until 7/26)
Super Toy Cars ($1.99 from $9.99 until 7/26)
Super Toy Cars 2 ($1.99 from $11.99 until 7/26)
The Lightbringer ($7.49 from $14.99 until 7/26)
The Long Reach ($2.24 from $14.99 until 7/26)
The Walking Vegetables RE ($2.59 from $12.99 until 7/26)
UNBOX: Newbie’s Adventure ($4.49 from $29.99 until 7/26)
Under Leaves ($1.99 from $12.99 until 7/26)
Vaporum ($6.24 from $24.99 until 7/26)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with, hopefully, a better list of new games to check out. I’m not sure if I’ll have any reviews or not, but I can almost guarantee we’ll have some sales to consider. News? That depends on how the river flows, finest chums. I hope you all have a marvelous Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!