Reviews Featuring ‘Sifu’, Plus ‘Sonic Frontiers’ and Today’s Other New Releases – TouchArcade
Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for November 8th, 2022. In today’s article, we’ve got a few reviews for you to read. The tense action game Sifu, the revived classic The Samurai Collection, and the whimsical farming adventure Doraemon Story of Seasons: Friends of the Great Kingdom all get their fair shake. After that, it’s new release time! Sonic Frontiers, Sifu (there it is again), Football Manager 2023 Touch, and more are summarized to help you get a bit more information on them. Finally, we take a look at the latest sales and outgoing discounts. Oh, and a bit of news too. Wow, let’s get to it!
An Indie World Showcase Has Been Scheduled for Tomorrow Morning
Nintendo, as it usually does, announced a showcase event out of nowhere yesterday. An Indie World Showcase will be presented on the company’s YouTube channel tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM PT/12:00 PM ET. It will contain roughly twenty-five minutes of information on upcoming indie games for the Nintendo Switch, and I’m sure we’ll see one or two shadow drops on the eShop as usual.
Reviews & Mini-Views
Sifu is a great example of a game that gives back what you put into it, and not more. It is a relatively demanding experience, and if you want to defeat its final boss you’re going to have to master the rather complex dance of combat fully. If you can’t do that, you’ll never reach the ending. You’ll fall again and again, smashed to the ground in humiliating fashion, made to feel the pain of your failure to rise to the game’s level. On the other hand, if you can come to terms with what the game is asking of you and learn how it works, you will feel like a bad-*** in a way few other games can convey.
It’s your typical story of revenge. A man and his crew roll into your house and kill your father. You survive the attack thanks to a magical pendant and dedicate yourself to training in order to achieve your revenge. At the age of twenty, you set out on your mission. You’ll fight your way through five chapters, bringing your justice to each of the participants in the attack. Along the way, you’ll earn new moves to go with the small but efficient assortment of attacks that you start with. You’ll have to fight defensively, as many enemy attacks are capable of taking you out in one or two hits. But you can also dish out an impressive offensive should you find an opening. The environments you’re fighting in play a significant role in battles as well.
The unique gameplay hook of Sifu comes from that pendant that saved your life. It will do it again, but it has a cost. Each time it revives you, you’ll age a bit. When you finally hit your 70s, your next death will be your last. You’ll have to restart the chapter with the age you reached it at and see if you can do better. At least in the beginning, you’ll likely age at a rapid speed. The first time you reach the final boss, you’ll almost certainly fall. But as you practice, learn enemy patterns, get a knack for using the environment to its full potential, and get it through your head that the best offense is a good defense, you’ll improve. You’ll clear chapters at a younger age. Eventually you’ll win that last fight and get your revenge. And then?
Sifu doesn’t play like most other beat-em-ups. Its combat reminds me more of the likes of Assassin’s Creed or the Batman Arkham games, but a lot more demanding in terms of technique. It’s all designed to make you look super-cool if you’re doing things right, and like a jack-*** if you aren’t. You have a bunch of cool finishing moves, and defeating an enemy with them will reward you. But if the enemy turns that move around, you’ll be in a lot of trouble. It’s up to you if you want to take that risk. In a lot of ways, that’s how Sifu is. If you’re too bold, it will slap you down. If you’re not bold enough, it will drain you.
Unfortunately, I’m not familiar enough with other versions of Sifu to go into much detail about how this Switch port differs. My eyes work well enough to notice a visual downgrade, but taken as its own thing it’s nice enough graphically. It runs well, and that’s the most important thing for this kind of game. The art direction is strong, and the animation is excellent. When it’s all in motion, it looks like the kung fu movie it is trying to be.
If you’re looking for a cool action game and have both sharp reflexes and considerable patient, you’ll want to consider Sifu. It’s a lot of fun to learn, and while you will probably take your fair share of lumps, it’s all in service to getting your skills to the level they need to be to take you through the game. Once you’ve got everything down, it makes you feel like you’re Neo at the end of the good Matrix movie. Dodging and weaving around attacks that used to knock you out, and landing that vital counter-attack that sends your former tormentor flying, is the kind of feeling that hard games aim to deliver. And Sifu does indeed deliver.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
The Samurai Collection (QUByte Classics) ($9.99)
It’s time for another set of retro rereleases from QUByte, plucked from the eclectic catalogue of Piko Interactive. This one includes the Super NES port of First Samurai and the Genesis port of Second Samurai, a pair of action games that originated on home computers such as the Amiga. They’re probably quite obscure for our readers in North America, and I know in my case this was my first time playing the games. They were developed by a UK-based development studio named Vivid Image, and are side-scrolling action games with somewhat non-linear levels. They feel very Amiga, and I can only hope my readers know what I mean by that.
The usual QUByte wrapper is here, with all of the same features and quirks as ever. That means there’s a bit of input lag across both games, and the occasional audio issue crops up here and there. I actually found these games rather playable despite those issues, though. As always, you can use save states and adjust a few filters. Unfortunately, there’s nothing here to contextualize the games. No manual or instructions of any kind, either. It took me quite a while to figure out that I was meant to be collecting specific doodads to open the exit to each stage. I know improving emulation can be a long process, but I feel like simply putting some basic instructions for each game, even if they aren’t manual scans, would be really helpful and not resource-intensive.
First Samurai and Second Samurai aren’t exactly the best games in the world, but they’re reasonably fun once you get the hang of how they work. QUByte’s package also isn’t exactly the best in the world, but it serves well enough here if you just want to play the games. I do like playing classic games I’ve never tried before, and more’s the better if they don’t ***. The Samurai Collection doesn’t ***.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Doraemon Story of Seasons: Friends of the Great Kingdom ($49.99)
There are getting to be enough farming games on the Nintendo Switch that even big fans of the genre are probably enjoying the luxury of having more to play than they have time to give. The quality certainly varies, but I think for many we’ve hit the point where a farming game can more or less get all the boxes checked and still not make the list because there are just so many good ones.
Like the first game, Doraemon Story of Seasons: Friends of the Great Kingdom dutifully checks all of the boxes. Okay, romances are replaced with friendships due to the ages of the characters, but mechanically speaking it does everything it needs to and does it well enough to make for a fine farming/life simulation experience. There’s a fun little story here about the kids shirking their homework and other responsibilities to head off into space on an adventure and getting caught up in a mess, and it feels like a proper Doraemon plot in that regard. The presentation is nice, and the game flows rather smoothly.
Given this is a Story of Seasons game, it also flows in a very familiar way. Too familiar, if I’m to be honest. It shares a great deal with other Story of Seasons games and the older Harvest Moon games, and there aren’t exactly tons of improvements or changes here when compared to the previous Doraemon Story of Seasons game. The biggest new feature is a system where you can have one of Noby’s friends accompany you to help you out with various tasks. It cuts down on the grind a bit since it basically doubles everything you’re doing. The game is also a lot better about giving you guidance, which might be a particular boon for younger kids playing it due to the license.
Even with all of that, the game can sometimes be a slog. The conversations are a lot longer than they need to be, and the dialogue just can’t keep things interesting in many of these cases. The grind has been reduced thanks to the buddy system, but there’s still a lot of banal work to be done even by the standards of the genre. Despite the new story and technically new setting, the novelty of having the Doraemon characters within this framework has faded somewhat and contributes to the feeling that you’ve done almost all of this before. Maybe that’s a problem for you; maybe it isn’t.
Doraemon Story of Seasons: Friends of the Great Kingdom makes some improvements on the first game and tells a reasonably engaging story involving everyone’s favorite robot cat from the future. It does what you would expect a Story of Seasons game to do, but it doesn’t do a whole lot more than that. We’ve already seen the trick of adding Doraemon and his wacky inventions to this kind of game, so it feels less fresh this time around. At the same time, it doesn’t significantly mess anything up either. While it’s lacking somewhat in inspiration, farming fans who need a reliable fix will find enough to enjoy here.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
The slick kung fu revenge beat-em-up hits Switch with this release. After your family is killed, you spend years honing your skills until you are finally ready to seek your revenge. That journey begins now. This is one of those action games that just makes you feel like you’re flat-out awesome, at least until it busts its foot off on your ***. It’s an interactive kung fu movie where you get to be the one clearing rooms of opponents, so long as you’ve got the skills. Well, there’s a whole review up above that you’ve probably read, so I’ll leave it here.
Sonic Frontiers ($59.99)
You know how long it has been since the last new 3D Sonic game? Five years. Half a decade. Granted it was probably a good idea to take a little break after Sonic Forces to rethink things a little. The question is whether or not that break will translate into something good for the beleaguered mascot. So far the early signs are that it’s better than Forces, but there’s a fairly big gap between “better than Forces” and “good”. I’ll be reviewing this one, so we’ll know soon enough.
Football Manager 2023 Touch ($44.99)
I won’t pretend that I know this series well enough to speak to any great detail about what makes this new version different, so I’m just going to sum up what the description says. Football Manager 2023 Touch includes improved Matchday controls, new Team Talks to pep up your players, a Dynamic Manager Timeline that allows you to easily see your accomplishments at a glance, and some stuff involving European clubs that I don’t really get. If you’re one of the many that devours every new installment of this series as it arrives, here’s the next plate of pasta.
Cobra Kai 2: Dojos Rising ($49.99)
QUIET! Cobra Kai is such a popular show, it’s little wonder the first game sold incredibly well. And when the first game sells, you know a second one generally isn’t too far behind. This time you can choose between three dojos: Miyagi-Do, Cobra Kai, and Eagle Fang. There are twenty-eight characters to play as, and you can probably expect the same general level of quality and tone here as you saw in the first game. There’s also a new online multiplayer mode where you can battle it out, but do keep in mind this is a beat-em-up rather than a fighting game so I’m not sure it will be making its debut at Evo 2023 or anything.
Police Sim 22 ($19.99)
As you can probably guess from the utter state of the graphics in those screenshots, this is a port of a rather middling free-to-play mobile game. Drive around and do police things in a variety of vehicles, use different officers, explore open world cities, and play eight different types of missions. It doesn’t look very good to me, but I’m sure many will love it.
Orcen Axe ($3.60)
This is a Metroidvania-style game featuring an orc hero who is looking to kill a wizard. As you would expect from the extremely reasonable price, this isn’t the longest or most involved of games, but you’ve got twenty areas to explore with a number of new abilities and upgrades to unlock. I’m not sure how well it plays but that buy-in price sure curbs the risk a bit, doesn’t it?
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Some new low prices for the likes of Nobody Saves the World, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2, and… Viki Spotter? Oh no! Who put those there? Well, it’s done now. The list of outgoing sales is one of our shortest ever, so it will only take you a glance to sort it out. Gee, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 may not be as good as the first game, but for three measly bucks it’s worth it for superhero fans.
Select New Games on Sale
Nobody Saves the World ($16.24 from $24.99 until 11/14)
Nobody Saves the World + FH Bundle ($19.59 from $27.99 until 11/14)
Guacamelee! Super Turbo CE ($5.24 from $14.99 until 11/14)
Guacamelee! 2 ($4.99 from $19.99 until 11/14)
Severed ($3.74 from $14.99 until 11/14)
TFS Mutant Blobs Attack ($3.49 from $9.99 until 11/14)
Aquarist ($6.99 from $9.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: Around the World ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: Shopping ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: Megapolis ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: Space Mission ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: School ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: Sports ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: Zoo ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: The Farm ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: Professions ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Viki Spotter: Undersea ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Pink Explorer ($3.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Gunslingers & Zombies ($4.49 from $8.99 until 11/15)
Lost Dream: Memories ($3.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Moonlight ($2.79 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Pinball FX3 Universal Classics DLC ($3.99 from $9.99 until 11/15)
Pinball FX3 Iron & Steel DLC ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Demon’s Residence ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Sacred Valley ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Timber Story ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Artsy Pixel ($2.09 from $6.99 until 11/15)
The Vampires ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/15)
Sword Art Online Fatal Bullet CE ($8.99 from $59.99 until 11/21)
God Eater 3 ($8.99 from $59.99 until 11/21)
Dragon Ball Z Kakarot Ultimate ($42.49 from $84.99 until 11/21)
Deathrun TV ($5.99 from $14.99 until 11/21)
Fhtagn! Tales of Creeping Madness ($1.99 from $7.99 until 11/21)
Summer Paws ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/21)
Catie in Meowmeowland ($7.49 from $14.99 until 11/21)
Ping Pong Arcade ($5.99 from $14.99 until 11/21)
Slaycation Paradise ($11.99 from $19.99 until 11/21)
Timelie ($7.99 from $19.99 until 11/21)
War Mines Collection ($1.99 from $3.99 until 11/21)
Mad Experiments Escape Room ($6.99 from $9.99 until 11/21)
Monster Harvest ($6.99 from $19.99 until 11/21)
Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX ($6.99 from $19.99 until 11/21)
Hayfever ($5.99 from $14.99 until 11/21)
The Lightbringer ($5.99 from $14.99 until 11/21)
LEGO DC Super-Villains ($5.99 from $59.99 until 11/28)
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 ($2.99 from $29.99 until 11/28)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, November 9th
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water ($29.99 from $39.99 until 11/9)
Fatal Frame: MoBW DIgital Deluxe ($41.24 from $54.99 until 11/9)
Lamentum ($6.39 from $15.99 until 11/9)
MilkChoco ($17.99 from $29.99 until 11/9)
Unpacking ($13.99 from $19.99 until 11/9)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more sales, perhaps a review or two, and maybe even some news. We’ll see how it all goes. I’m heading outside now to go watch the Moon disappear. I hope you all have a terrific Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!