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SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘Super Monkey Ball’ and ‘Hot Wheels’, Plus the Latest News, Releases, and Sales

SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘Super Monkey Ball’ and ‘Hot Wheels’, Plus the Latest News, Releases, and Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for October 5th, 2021. Well, we all know the big news today. Not much to say about that except… that happened. Moving past that, we have a handful of new releases to look at today, along with a few reviews of games like Hot Wheels Unleashed and Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania. There’s a bit of news, and the usual lists of new and expiring sales to look at. Let’s get into it, starting with the biggest bit.

News

The Final ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ Character Has Been Announced

Well, that’s a wrap on the wildest gaming crossover we’re ever likely to see. Mr. Sakurai had his final presentation earlier today, and revealed that the final character for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be none other than Sora of Kingdom Hearts fame. Whether you’re thrilled with that pick or sad that your favorite didn’t make it, we can at least respect the effort that clearly went into making this game a massive event over the last few years. Sora will be available in the game October 18th, but feel free to check out Mr. Sakurai’s video to get a feel for the upcoming character while you wait.

‘Tetris 99’ Celebrates ‘Monster Hunter Rise’ in the Next Maximus Cup

You know, I was half-expecting Metroid Dread to be the next Tetris 99 event, but it goes to show that you never can quite guess what Nintendo is going to do. The 25th Maximus Cup event is scheduled for this upcoming weekend, kicking off on Friday at 12:00 AM Pacific Time and running through Monday at 11:59 PM Pacific Time. The subject this time is Monster Hunter Rise, and as usual you can earn a brand new theme by earning 100 points within the allotted time period. You earn those points by playing, and the higher you place the more you get. If you put in the time, you are almost guaranteed to earn the theme. Okay, so Metroid is surely next then?

Reviews & Mini-Views

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania ($39.99)

There are two ways you can look at Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania. You could see it either as a remake of Super Monkey Ball 1 & 2 with the Deluxe content and a bit of extra mustard, or as a new Super Monkey Ball game that happens to be largely comprised of stages and mini-games from the aforementioned games. If you come in expecting the former, there are a lot of things that are going to bother you here. The physics aren’t exactly the same. The controls feel different. Some of the mini-games feel off. Heck, some of the graphical elements aren’t as good as they were on the GameCube.

If you see it as the latter, however, this is easily the best Super Monkey Ball game since Super Monkey Ball 2 on the GameCube. Even if SEGA missed the mark, aiming at recreating the original games has brought this series quite close to where I think many fans would like it to be. It’s absolutely stuffed to the gills with content, and while the physics and controls may be different from the older games it’s not as though they’re bad. Ill-suited to some of the returning levels, perhaps. But not bad. Beyond the massive amount of stages available in Story Mode, you get a bunch of full-fat mini-games that are a lot of fun to play alone or with others. There are also some online challenges, and a bevy of unlockables including even more levels and modes.

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania retains the core appeal of the series: cute ball-encased monkeys rolling around devilishly challenging stages at high speeds. It ventures just far enough from the specifics of the original games to be considered a truly faithful remake, but those who aren’t intimately familiar with those games or are willing to adapt will find an amazing wealth of aggravating appeal and ridiculous stunts. It’s a great place to get acquainted with the series if you haven’t before, with plenty to offer veterans looking for something closer to the mark than the likes of Banana Blitz.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

The Forgotten City – Cloud Version ($29.99)

This is one of those games where the less I say, the better. Let’s get the obvious out of the way: this is a streaming game, and you can only play if you have a decent, stable internet connection. I don’t feel as squeamish about that as I do about more expensive games, but I don’t blame anyone for checking out on that point alone. Assuming you’re still with me, you have got to play The Forgotten City. This is a very cool adventure game with some action elements, and it’s simply a joy to poke around in and fully take in.

Through a series of circumstances, you find yourself in an isolated city in the past. Its twenty-odd residents seem to hail from various places, but the general vibe is that of Ancient Rome. On the surface, this city appears to be free of crime due to the presence of The Golden Rule. No one is quite sure what it entails, but breaking it will apparently in all of the residents of the city being turned into solid gold statues. No one wants to risk it, so everyone is sure to follow the letter of the law. You are from the future, however, and you know that someone breaks the rule because you’ve seen the aftermath. The magistrate of the city has brought you there to try to find out who did it and how they might be stopped.

It’s not a simple matter because, to be frank, a lot of people are up to things that could be the trigger. It turns out that forcing people to follow the letter of the law leads to some of them doing bad things that dance around it. You need to speak with people, learn as much as you can about them, and acquire certain items to solve various problems. There is a little bit of combat, but not much. Indeed, the amount of action in the game pales next to how much time you’ll spend talking with people. If you make a mistake, don’t worry. You have the means to try again, and you will probably have to in order to reach an ending. There are multiple endings based on your actions, with one of them coming almost ridiculously quick if you think outside the box.

The story is very well-written, and the game looks great thanks to the whole Cloud Version thing. As you figure out the puzzles, roll with the twists, and start to understand the truth behind what is happening in this mysterious city, you can’t help but keep playing to see where it all goes. There’s a real sense of place to it, and while you don’t need to get to know every character to reach any of the endings, you’ll probably find yourself digging into them just because of how interesting they are. The game has a lot of points to make about morality, and it never feels like it’s preaching. Rather, it comes off like a thoughtful examination of assumptions and the limits of social mores. The city may be forgotten, but this tale isn’t so easily put out of mind.

SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5

Hot Wheels Unleashed ($49.99)

I have to state a disclaimer before proceeding. This game is getting a rather hefty update very soon that may address some of my issues. I had hoped to wait until it was available, but this review really couldn’t be put off any longer. With that said, let us soldier on. Hot Wheels Unleashed is a rather well-done arcade racer that uses its license in a fantastic way. As you might expect, you’re racing toy cars around rooms that look giant to your tiny perspective. What you might not expect is that your car often controls like a small toy. It’s very easy to catch a lot of air, and if you don’t twist yourself just right you could potentially have your whole race ruined.

Hot Wheels Unleashed is a game about collecting, when you get right down to it. There are 68 vehicles here based on real Hot Wheels, and any fan of the toys will be pleased to see how well they’ve been recreated here. A shop that changes its selection every few hours will have a few specific cars on sale at any given time, but the primary way you’ll be gathering these precious racers in the early going is through Blind Box purchases and prizes. Completing events and races will earn you currency and the occasional Blind Box, allowing you to draw a random vehicle. Yes, you can get doubles. You will get doubles. But you’d better hope you get at least one good car, or you’re going to have a rough time.

There is an extensive campaign mode here that forms the bulk of the single-player experience. It features a variety of races laid out on a map, and you’ll need to beat each one to reach those beyond it. It’s easy to hit a wall here, depending on your selection of vehicles. I was having a devil of a time with some of the time trials until I lucked out and pulled a particularly spicy car. After that, I stomped all over the rest of the campaign. It doesn’t feel good that my victory was due to luck rather than skill. It also doesn’t feel good that so many of the vehicles on offer here aren’t really viable, no matter how much you upgrade them. Beyond the campaign, there are multiplayer races and custom course designs to jump into. You can even decorate your basement with the spoils of your campaign victories.

As an overall package, Hot Wheels Unleashed is better than you might have expected. It does its license justice, and the racing action is more than competent. I’m not really a fan of how much luck plays a role, in terms of what cars you get from the Blind Boxes, in how well you’re able to tackle the campaign. If you get bad pulls, grinding for more chances can take forever. I also feel like some of the longer courses are a little too long, running for several minutes in some cases. Again, there is a big update coming very soon and likely more to come in the future, so some or all of these points could eventually be fixed. I can only review what is in front of me, and that’s a game that is quite good but with its fair share of flaws.

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

Death’s Gambit: Afterlife ($19.99)

This is another Souls-inspired 2D action game, and it’s surprising just how consistently high-quality these sorts of affairs tend to be. In Death’s Gambit, you play as a fallen warrior of a class of your choice who gets another chance at life as Death’s assistant. You’re tasked with taking down a bunch of Guardians, and they won’t go down easily. Is this a good thing for the world? I mean, you can figure that out on your own. You battle through a variety of environments that offer plenty of secrets and points of interest, gathering loot and gaining levels in preparation for the big boss encounter at the end of each. Interestingly, you can weaken these bosses by tracking down books of lore about them, giving you two types of incentive to really explore.

Death’s Gambit: Afterlife makes a number of additions and improvements to the base game, while maintaining the qualities that earned it a lot of fans on other platforms. The combat is fun and deep enough to keep you engaged, and the platforming and other action elements are well-handled. I also really enjoy the game’s presentation, with some excellent pixel art and great audio. On the whole, it doesn’t venture too far outside of the increasingly established lines of this particular sub-genre, but it does everything it does well enough that it should be of interest to anyone who enjoys 2D Souls-likes.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

New Releases

Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania ($39.99)

SwitchArcade Highlight!

There’s a whole review up there you can read, so go ahead and do that. Short version: Super Monkey Ball returns in something of a beefed up remake of the first two games. It gets a lot of things right, but there are some elements that are a bit off if you’re a dedicated fan of those originals. Nevertheless, it’s a great time.

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl ($49.99)

SwitchArcade Highlight!

I feel sorry for this game in some ways. I think most of us understand the general neighborhood that Game Mill’s licensed stuff lives in, but people really ran wild with thinking this game was going to be a viable Smash alternative. It’s not, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. You get a bunch of Nickelodeon characters including the likes of SpongeBob, the Ninja Turtles, Invader Zim, Helga, Toph, Ren & Stimpy, and Reptar among others. There are also twenty themed stages to do battle in. Up to four players can join in via local multiplayer, or you can hop online. As with Game Mill’s Nick Kart Racing game, the character voices and music from the various shows aren’t included, giving it a slightly modest feel in terms of budget. But the gameplay is enjoyable, so I think they have a good base to work from here.

Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan ($29.99)

There are a handful of family-friendly RPGs on the Nintendo Switch, but there’s always room in the pool for one more. Rainbow Billy is a highly accessible take on the genre about a kid trying to bring color back to a monochrome world. The power of friendship is key here, and those with a good sense of empathy will find a smoother experience. I’ll be doing a review of this one, but if it’s as fun to play as it is to look at, things should be fine.

Agatha Christie – Hercule Poirot: The First Cases ($29.99)

Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot is one of the most famous literary detectives in history, so it’s never a huge surprise when he turns up in a game. This is, I believe, the sleuth’s second outing on the Switch. It covers his early years, giving us a look at a young Poirot as he solves a complicated murder case in his signature style. Like the last Agatha Christie game, this probably isn’t the fanciest adventure game around but I am sure it will scratch the itch for fans of the character.

AmaneSwitch ($13.99)

Leaving kanji in the title, a visual novel that doesn’t even do proper line breaks, and a very stiff translation. Sigh. This is probably a good story, but with localization like this it really isn’t going to matter much. Well, if you plan to drive forward, know that this is a new version of an adult computer game that strips out the sexy times, adds in some new content, and gives the presentation a little buffing.

RiMS Racing ($49.99)

Another middling racing title from the folks at Nacon, this time with a motorcycle racing theme. It leans heavily into the simulation end of things, with lots of tuning and an attempt at realistic racing. You have to do a lot of maintenance on your vehicles in this game, and it can be kind of annoying when you just want to race. The game also suffers from considerable performance issues. On the better side, it has a whole bunch of proper licenses. I suppose if you’re really into motorcycle racing you might want to give it a closer look.

Sales

(North American eShop, US Prices)

The most noteworthy sales of today are the the pair of Warriors games. This is the first discount for Samurai Warriors 5, however slight it may be. The sale on Dynasty Warriors 8 is solid, and worth considering for those who like mowing down mobs. Beyond that, it’s a lot of the biweekly club for the most part. Nothing in the outbox strikes me just right, so I’ll leave those lists to you from here.

Select New Games on Sale

Pizza Bar Tycoon ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/11)
Food Truck Tycoon: Asian ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/11)
Klondike Solitaire ($1.99 from $8.99 until 10/11)
Fall Gummies ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/12)
Perfect Traffic Simulator ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)
Royal Tower Defense ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/12)
Fantasy Checkers ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/12)
Among Pipes ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/12)
Gangsta Paradise ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)
AnimaLudo ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)
Zoo Dentist ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)
Colorfall ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/12)
Fantasy Tower Defense ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/12)
The Legend of Ninja ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/12)
Area 86 ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)


Samurai Warriors 5 ($49.79 from $59.99 until 10/12)
Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme ($27.99 from $39.99 until 10/12)
Checkers for Kids ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)
Food Truck Tycoon ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/18)
Lichtspeer: Double Speer ($3.99 from $9.99 until 10/18)
Butcher ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/18)
MouseCraft ($3.99 from $9.99 until 10/18)
Regalia: Of Men & Monarchs ($14.99 from $24.99 until 10/18)
Warsaw ($11.99 from $19.99 until 10/18)
Cinders ($7.99 from $19.99 until 10/18)
Galaxy Squad ($7.99 from $9.99 until 10/19)
Stranded Deep ($17.49 from $24.99 until 10/19)
Another Sight ($15.99 from $39.99 until 10/19)
Hexologic ($2.00 from $2.99 until 10/19)
WRC 8 FIA World Rally ($19.99 from $49.99 until 10/19)


AO Tennis 2 ($23.99 from $59.99 until 10/19)
One Line Coloring ($2.09 from $6.99 until 10/19)
Save Koch ($2.00 from $20.00 until 10/24)
Solitaire TriPeaks Flowers ($1.99 from $5.99 until 10/25)
Crowdy Farm Puzzle ($1.99 from $5.99 until 10/25)
.cat ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/25)
Queen’s Quest 2: SoFP ($2.09 from $14.99 until 10/25)
Queen’s Quest 4: ST ($2.09 from $14.99 until 10/25)
Sweeet Bakery Tycoon ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/25)
Retro Game Pack ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/25)
Commander Keen: Keen Dreams ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/25)
Regina & Mac ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/25)
Regina & Mac World ($1.99 from $3.99 until 10/25)
Dunk Lords ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/25)
Multi Quiz ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/25)


Super Loop Drive ($1.99 from $3.99 until 10/25)
Overlanders ($1.99 from $24.99 until 10/25)
Speedway Racing ($2.99 from $9.99 until 10/25)
History 2048 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/25)
Dragon Pinball ($2.00 from $2.99 until 10/25)
Titans Pinball ($2.00 from $2.99 until 10/25)
Just Black Jack ($1.99 from $2.99 until 10/25)
Miniature: The Story Puzzle ($1.99 from $3.99 until 10/25)
BIT.TRIP, Assorted ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/26)
Door Kickers ($4.79 from $11.99 until 10/26)
Arcane Arts Academy ($3.19 from $7.99 until 10/26)
Epistory: Typing Chronicles ($7.49 from $14.99 until 10/26)
Tiny Lands ($2.99 from $5.99 until 10/26)
DungeonTop ($4.19 from $13.99 until 10/26)
Timothy & the Mysterious Forest ($3.99 from $7.99 until 10/26)


Robonauts ($1.99 from $3.99 until 10/26)
Brawl ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/26)
Jumping Joe & Friends ($1.99 from $2.49 until 10/26)
Badland: GotY Edition ($3.99 from $5.99 until 10/26)
One Strike ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/26)
Coffee Crisis ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/26)
Unit 4 ($1.99 from $14.99 until 10/26)
Not Not: A Brain Buster ($1.99 from $2.49 until 10/26)
Good Night, Knight ($5.99 from $11.99 until 10/26)
Blazing Beaks ($1.99 from $14.99 until 10/26)
Akane ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/26)
Mini Trains ($1.99 from $5.99 until 10/26)
Wreckin’ Ball Adventure ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/26)
#RaceDieRun ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/26)
Chop ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/26)


Rimelands: Hammer of Thor ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/26)
Shipped ($1.99 from $5.99 until 10/26)
Puzzle Book ($1.99 from $3.99 until 10/26)
Eyes: The Horror Game ($1.99 from $2.49 until 10/26)
Stencil Art ($1.99 from $3.99 until 10/26)
Zombie Blast Crew ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/26)
Party Treats ($1.99 from $2.49 until 10/26)
REKT! High Octane Stunts ($1.99 from $5.99 until 10/26)
Space Pioneer ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/26)
Barbarous: Tavern of Emyr ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/26)
Akuto: Showdown ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/26)
Welcome to Primrose Lake ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/26)
Pocket Mini Golf ($1.99 from $2.49 until 10/26)
Tharsis ($2.99 from $11.99 until 10/26)
Gravity Rider Zero ($1.99 from $6.99 until 10/26)
Dex ($1.99 from $19.99 until 10/26)


Death’s Hangover (41.99 from $4.99 until 10/26)
Escape Doodland ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/26)
Mana Spark ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/26)
Utopia 9 ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/26)
Wondershot ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/26)
Koloro ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/26)
Super Hero Fight Club ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/26)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 6th

Agatha Knife ($6.59 from $11.99 until 10/6)
ANIMUS ($3.19 from $7.99 until 10/6)
ANIMUS: Harbinger ($3.19 from $7.99 until 10/6)
ANIMUS: Revenant ($16.09 from $22.99 until 10/6)
Antonball Deluxe ($11.24 from $14.99 until 10/6)
Banner of the Maid ($10.19 from $16.99 until 10/6)
Bullet Battle: Evolution ($5.99 from $14.99 until 10/6)
Counter Recon: The 1st Mission ($10.49 from $14.99 until 10/6)
Dark Water: Slime Invader ($10.49 from $14.99 until 10/6)
Deadly Fighter 2 ($1.99 from $3.99 until 10/6)
Demong Hunter ($5.59 from $7.99 until 10/6)
Dungeon Limbus ($10.49 from $14.99 until 10/6)
Filament ($6.79 from $16.99 until 10/6)
Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure ($5.99 from $19.99 until 10/6)
Haunted Dawn: Zombie Apocalypse ($10.49 from $14.99 until 10/6)


Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption ($9.99 from $19.99 until 10/6)
Infinite: Beyond the Mind ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/6)
Infliction: Extended Cut ($9.99 from $19.99 until 10/6)
Instant Sports Summer Games ($16.24 from $24.99 until 10/6)
Jenny LeClue Detectivu ($5.99 from $24.99 until 10/6)
Lair of the Clockwork God ($4.99 from $19.99 until 10/6)
MechaNika ($3.29 from $5.99 until 10/6)
Nine Witches: Family Disruption ($11.99 from $19.99 until 10/6)
Ploid ($1.99 from $2.99 until 10/6)
Ploid Saga ($2.39 from $11.99 until 10/6)
Project Highrise ($9.99 from $39.99 until 10/6)
Reknum Cheri Dreamland ($1.99 from $6.99 until 10/6)
Spy Chameleon ($3.99 from $7.99 until 10/6)
Subdivision Infinity DX ($6.59 from $14.99 until 10/6)


Super Soccer Blast: America vs Europe ($6.49 from $9.99 until 10/6)
Super Tennis Blast ($7.49 from $14.99 until 10/6)
Super Volley Blast ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/6)
TENS! ($2.49 from $9.99 until 10/6)
The Deer God ($1.99 from $7.99 until 10/6)
War of Stealth: Assassin ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/6)
Warhammer 40K Mechanicus ($15.99 from $19.99 until 10/6)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with some more news, some more new releases to summarize, and more sales. What more could you ask for? As for me, I’m a bit burnt out after all those reviews. I think I’m going to rest my eyes a bit. Wake me up in 2022. I hope you all have a terrific Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!

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