Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for October 17th, 2022. In today’s article, we kick off the week with a few reviews. Endless Memories, LEGO Bricktales, and Tinhead are the games in question, and I can’t say I loved any of them. After that, we have a single new release to check out, plus a rather robust list of new sales to consider. Let’s get to it!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Endless Memories ($19.99)
Endless Memories has a few issues, some of them common to the Metroidvania genre and others specific to the more unique elements the game brings to the table. If I had scored this game while I was in the first half of its thirty or so hours, you would probably be seeing a higher number down there. Certainly more praise. Unfortunately, I saw it through, and that has led to a much more tempered experience overall. It’s not a game without merit, but given how much competition there is in this category it’s also a tough one to recommend.
So yes, this is a Metroidvania game. It has a very big world, and I’m probably not emphasizing that enough. It’s huge. Too big. But if you love your Metroidvania games to have giant, sprawling worlds to explore, know that this game features one of those. It also has procedurally generated loot. A fun little random element that can wreak a lot of havoc on your playthrough if you’re unlucky. You really are depending on the luck of the draw to ensure you’re well-equipped. The combat system is relatively fluid and allows you to use melee weapons, ranged weapons, and magic to dispatch your foes.
The good points are the presentation, variety of weapons and abilities, and controls. The game looks and moves nicely, and while the random loot has its issues you certainly do have a nice mix of potential options at your fingertips. It’s fun to make your way through its world, and there are lots of different enemies to encounter and battle. On the negative side, I personally felt the game was too long and the world was too big. I was tired of it well before it ended, and that’s not a great place for a game to be. There’s a ton of lengthy backtracking at times, and the game desperately needs more fast travel points. As fun as the randomized loot is, it can also occasionally leave you in a very bad position in terms of tackling the challenging bosses.
Endless Memories is the kind of game that probably would have cleaned up in a less-crowded Metroidvania landscape. It’s a decent game whose biggest sin is being unable to properly manage its own size. Massive games in this genre can work (see Hollow Knight) but they need to take some precautions lest their sheer size and backtracking requirements end up boring the player. If you don’t mind a game that probably should have gotten off the stage hours before it actually does, and can cope with the fact that bad luck might leave you fighting goliaths with a butter knife, then feel free to give this a go.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
LEGO Bricktales ($29.99)
The LEGO brand is practically a staple of video games these days, almost entirely on the back of a couple decades’ worth of games from TT Games. Titles like LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, and LEGO Harry Potter are cherished classics that have been enjoyed by millions of players over the years. So yes, LEGO is huge in video games. What’s odd about that is that those games generally involve no actual building on the player’s part. Some automated sequences where you hold down the button and the character builds something, but almost never any instances of the player making things brick-by-brick on their own.
LEGO Bricktales, from Thunderful Games and ClockStone Studio, takes a different route. The game is structured around brick-by-brick building. You visit a variety of gorgeous dioramas and are tasked with building things to solve problems. Sometimes it’s a bridge. Often, really. Sometimes it’s a structure. Sometimes you’re simply tasked with trying to copy another object’s construction. It feels a bit like a bridge construction game mashed up with a casual adventure title like Monument Valley. The jobs start off simple at first, with only a handful of pieces, but before long you’re given more than enough rope to hang yourself with. Not that there’s any particular pressure to it. You can try and fail as many times as you need.
That’s a good thing, because it often feels like the game has one particular solution in mind that you need to sort out. That becomes less of an issue as the complexity of the objects increases, but it takes some of the joy out of building at times. Eventually when structures get really large, a different problem crops up. It starts feeling like any creative flourishes you make are inconsequential. I’m not really sure how these problems could be resolved as they are to an extent endemic to the concept. Most bridge builders, including the well-known efforts from this very developer, have similar issues. That said, if it doesn’t bother you in other games it probably won’t bother you here.
LEGO Bricktales is a really gorgeous game, but those looks come at a price on the Switch. A recent update has made things a little better, but the game is clearly struggling at times, especially in busier environments. I’m not an especially framerate-sensitive person, so if I’m noticing it it’s probably not great. The team is apparently working on another patch that they hope will help performance further, but it’s certainly something to keep in mind if you’re trying to decide which platform to get the game on. The controls are also a serious pain. This game feels like it was designed around a touch or mouse interface, and it is awkward and uncomfortable to play with a controller.
If you like bridge construction games or are a big fan of LEGO bricks, you’ll likely find enough to love in LEGO Bricktales to overcome its performance and gameplay issues. I would gladly trade some of the beautiful visual flair for a smoother framerate, so I hope the improvements the developers are working on bear fruit. I’m not sure what can be done about the controls, so you may just have to put up with them if you’re dedicated to playing the game on a console. A great idea, a passable execution, and overall an okay game that at least has something different to say about the venerated toy brand.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Tinhead (QUByte Classics) ($4.99)
Another retro re-release from the folks at QUByte, and it’s another offering from the catalog of Piko Interactive. This time it’s Tinhead, a somewhat unremarkable side-scrolling platformer that originally released on the SEGA Genesis back in 1993. The most interesting thing I can say about Tinhead is that its designer went on to serve as a lead designer on Gex, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, and the first three Uncharted games. It’s not as good as any of those. No, not even Gex. This Switch version includes that Genesis original, plus the Super NES port that was abandoned back in the day but finished up by Piko for release in 2019.
First of all, don’t even bother with that Super NES version. I don’t know if it’s the game or QUByte’s emulator, but it runs horribly. The framerate is choppy, and there’s varying degrees of slowdown based on which filters and screen sizes you use. It’s a shame because the additional buttons are very welcome for controlling the aim of your shots, but it’s just unpleasant to play. The Genesis version has some minor audio issues and screen tearing, but it at least moves somewhat smoothly. Both versions have save states and a few other minor options, all of which will be familiar if you’ve played any of QUByte’s other retro packages.
This really comes down to whether you consider the Genesis version of Tinhead to be worth five dollars. It’s not a bad game, though it can be aggravatingly difficult. But it’s also not a particularly good game beyond its well-done visuals. The kind of thing you would end up renting when you arrive late to the rental shop on a Friday night and have to choose from what’s left. It’s very typical of Western platformers of the time, with massive levels full of mysterious bits and bobs to collect and some unclear visual cues. QUByte’s presentation does the game no special favors, but it’s serviceable enough to enjoy Tinhead‘s merits, such as they are.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Pill Baby ($15.00)
This is a trippy action game about a young woman who immigrates to a new country and takes a job that involves dropping pills and fighting parasites. It’s… an odd one, but there’s definitely something to it. Some of it feels all too real, especially for those like myself who have done the whole “move across the world” thing. And then the reset of it is just completely bonkers. I can’t say if any given person will like this, but I can at least say that you probably haven’t played anything quite like it before.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
I say this a lot, but there are some interesting games in the inbox today. The first big sale on Dadish 3 has come, and I find those games irresistible once they hit a decent discount. If you’ve been waiting for a throwaway price to buy Garfield Kart Furious Racing as a gag, I think we’ve hit that point. If you want a good racing game instead, Hotshot Racing for three bucks is a fine choice. Check those lists carefully, lest you miss something nice.
Select New Games on Sale
Supaplex GO! ($10.49 from $14.99 until 10/21)
Lost in Play ($12.99 from $19.99 until 10/22)
The House of Da Vinci ($2.49 from $9.99 until 10/24)
Wuppo Definitive ($3.99 from $14.99 until 10/24)
Hob: Definitive Edition ($3.99 from $19.99 until 10/28)
Torchlight II ($4.99 from $19.99 until 10/28)
Torchlight III ($9.99 from $39.99 until 10/28)
Shieldwall Chronicles: SotN ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/28)
Demon’s Rise War for the Deep ($1.99 from $6.99 until 10/28)
Just Die Already ($5.09 from $14.99 until 10/29)
Peaky Blinders: Mastermind ($3.74 from $24.99 until 10/29)
Hotshot Racing ($2.99 from $19.99 until 10/29)
Smoke & Sacrifice ($3.99 from $19.99 until 10/29)
Human: Fall Flat ($5.99 from $19.99 until 10/29)
Zombo Buster Advance ($1.99 from $3.99 until 10/29)
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption ($4.99 from $19.99 until 10/29)
Velocity 2X ($3.99 from $19.99 until 10/29)
Pumped BMX Pro ($2.99 from $14.99 until 10/29)
Autonauts ($9.99 from $19.99 until 10/29)
For The King ($7.49 from $24.99 until 10/29)
Serial Cleaner ($2.24 from $14.99 until 10/29)
Embr ($5.99 from $19.99 until 10/29)
Narcos Rise of the Cartels ($4.49 from $29.99 until 10/29)
Hue ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/29)
OMNO ($5.49 from $15.99 until 10/30)
The Legend of Tianding ($11.99 from $19.99 until 10/31)
Jack Axe ($3.99 from $14.99 until 10/31)
Vigil: The Longest Night ($13.19 from $21.99 until 10/31)
Postal Redux ($3.49 from $9.99 until 10/31)
Elden Path of the Forgotten ($1.99 from $15.99 until 10/31)
Hazel Sky ($14.99 from $24.99 until 10/31)
Flipping Death ($3.99 from $19.99 until 11/1)
Stick It to The Man ($2.39 from $11.99 until 11/1)
Hell Pie ($22.49 from $24.99 until 11/1)
Source of Madness ($13.99 from $19.99 until 11/1)
Pandaty ($1.99 from $8.99 until 11/1)
SUPERHOT ($12.49 from $24.99 until 11/2)
Clone Drone in the Danger Zone ($11.99 from $19.99 until 11/2)
Among Us ($3.50 from $5.00 until 11/2)
Gang Beasts ($17.99 from $29.99 until 11/2)
Brotherhood United ($1.99 from $8.99 until 11/2)
City Traffic Driver 2 ($7.79 from $12.99 until 11/4)
Commander Keen: Keen Dreams ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/4)
Regina & Mac World ($1.99 from $3.99 until 11/4)
Regina & Mac ($4.99 from $9.99 until 11/4)
Knight’s Try ($4.99 from $9.99 until 11/4)
God Damn The Garden ($3.99 from $4.99 until 11/4)
Asterix & Obelix XXL 3 ($4.49 from $29.99 until 11/5)
Garfield Kart Furious Racing ($4.49 from $29.99 until 11/5)
The Smurfs Mission Vileaf ($19.99 from $39.99 until 11/5)
My Universe: Green Adventure ($17.99 from $29.99 until 11/5)
Syberia ($2.23 from $14.99 until 11/5)
Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield ($5.99 from $11.99 until 11/5)
Escape Game Fort Boyard 2022 ($17.99 from $29.99 until 11/5)
The Quest for Excalibur Puy de Fou ($17.99 from $29.99 until 11/5)
.cat ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/5)
Dadish 3 ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/5)
Pumpkin Jack ($11.99 from $29.99 until 11/6)
The Coma: Recut ($4.49 from $14.99 until 11/6)
The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters ($4.49 from $14.99 until 11/6)
Cardaclysm Shards of the Four ($4.49 from $14.99 until 11/6)
Outbuddies DX ($5.39 from $17.99 until 11/6)
Kosmonavtes Escape Reality ($1.99 from $3.99 until 11/6)
Kosmonavtes Academy Escape ($1.99 from $5.99 until 11/6)
Panmorphia ($1.99 from $5.99 until 11/6)
Panmorphia Enchanted ($1.99 from $3.99 until 11/6)
Panmorphia Awakened ($2.99 from $6.99 until 11/6)
Squeakers ($1.99 from $2.99 until 11/6)
Squeakers II ($1.99 from $2.99 until 11/6)
Pixel Heroes Mega Byte & Magic ($4.49 from $14.99 until 11/6)
Silver Chains ($7.49 from $24.99 until 11/6)
Colt Canyon ($4.49 from $14.99 until 11/6)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 18th
Airheart Tales of Broken Wings ($2.69 from $17.99 until 10/18)
Almost My Floor ($5.99 from $9.99 until 10/18)
Amazing Superhero Squad ($4.19 from $6.99 until 10/18)
Behind Closed Doors ($2.99 from $4.99 until 10/18)
Blood Will Be Spilled ($1.99 from $14.99 until 10/18)
Dadish ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/18)
Dadish 2 ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/18)
Death Park ($3.49 from $6.99 until 10/18)
Feudal Alloy ($1.99 from $16.99 until 10/18)
Get-A-Grip Chip ($6.99 from $9.99 until 10/18)
Get-A-Grip Chip & the Body Bugs ($2.09 from $2.99 until 10/18)
Hillbilly Doomsday ($2.99 from $4.99 until 10/18)
Mojito the Cat ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/18)
Summertime Madness ($8.99 from $14.99 until 10/18)
Super Fowlst ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/18)
Super Fowlst 2 ($2.00 from $10.00 until 10/18)
Swords and Bones ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/18)
The Game of Life 2 ($14.99 from $29.99 until 10/18)
The Last Survey ($1.99 from $14.99 until 10/18)
To Leave ($4.99 from $19.99 until 10/18)
Why Pizza? ($2.99 from $4.99 until 10/18)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more reviews, and more sales. Maybe some news? We’ll see. In addition to my regular work, I managed to finish off my 100% Souls run on Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow over the weekend. I also picked up Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge for my Game Boy and Super Hang-On GP for my SEGA Saturn for a few bucks at the local second-hand shop, so I am eating well. I hope you all have a magnificent Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!