Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for December 19th, 2022. In today’s article, we’ve got a bit of news to check out before going into reviews of two games. Square Enix’s Dragon Quest Treasures and PQube’s Adventure Academia are in the evaluation hot-seat today. After that, we have a few new releases to check out, plus a more than healthy list of new sales. Let’s get to it!
The ‘Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster’ Will Come to Switch in Spring 2023
While this was more or less expected by everyone, Square Enix announced over the weekend that the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series, which covers the first six Final Fantasy games, will be coming to the Switch and other platforms in Spring of 2023. There was also a limited physical version announced, but it sold out pretty quickly. Well hey, at least these will be available digitally for everyone.
Reviews & Mini-Views
Dragon Quest Treasures ($59.99)
I had a hard time settling my feelings on Dragon Quest Treasures. There’s definitely something missing that keeps it from being an absolute must-have, but there’s also quite a bit here to like. It’s essentially a stand-alone spin-off, and it feels very much like a spin-off in terms of substance. Could it stand without the Dragon Quest name? The music? The familiar monsters, iconography, sounds, and style? We’ll never know, but I have my own hunches on the matter.
Fortunately for the game, it does have all of those things. It has those things to burn. While it is extremely careful to compartmentalize its story in a pocket where it won’t affect canon in the slightest, it is fully draped in the raiment of its franchise. Some of that is to be expected from just about any Dragon Quest game, like the usual monsters, musical theme, sound effects, and character designs. Some of it is perhaps less standard but not particularly startling, like the bulk of the music being recycled. Some of it I wasn’t expecting, like how often the treasures you find call directly back to specific entries.
Anyway, this is a story about Erik and Mia from Dragon Quest XI. A tale from their younger years, when they were rolling with a bunch of rowdy vikings. After freeing some creatures captured by the crew, they’re whisked into another world. A world where everyone is all about treasure, and Erik and Mia are basically the best treasure hunters around. They meet a bunch of strange characters, butt heads with some of them, help out others with their various requests, and try to save the world by finding the most epic of treasures. That’s really as far as the story goes, for the most part. It’s not that kind of Dragon Quest game.
What that all translates to in gameplay terms is an action-RPG with a heavy emphasis on exploration and big open areas to facilitate that. You’ll have some sort of main quest that takes you out to an area, and probably a big bag full of sub-quests to check off along with the way. You’ll battle enemies with your team of monsters, sniff out treasures to increase your wealth and beef up your base, and recruit new monsters to your team. You’ll have to use the abilities of your monsters to help you find treasure and navigate the maps, with each monster type having its own things to offer in those pursuits.
Finding treasure involves a somewhat unique process of using a compass to find the general area and then using hints from your monsters to pinpoint the spot. Those hints take the form of pictures of their view of the spot, and again the monster differences come into play here in amusing ways. Some of them can only see in black and white. Some have their field of view obscured. It’s cute. I like it. Looking for treasures stays enjoyable all through the game, and that’s a good thing. I also like that as you are exploring the world, almost any cubby you could think of trying to reach has some kind of reward for you. I can tell a lot of thought went into placing things in the world.
On the whole, Dragon Quest Treasures is a very low-friction game. Enemy encounters are never very difficult and your monsters handle things on their own for the most part. You’re constantly tripping over rewards of some kind or another, and your map will soon be positively littered with icons pointing out things of interest. The most annoying bits are when you have to trudge some far distance to get something done, but you usually have an assortment of other tasks along whatever route you have to travel anyway. It took me about twenty-six hours to clear the game, and I felt like that went very briskly once I got past the positively lethargic opening.
Dragon Quest Treasures is an enjoyable action-RPG with an interesting treasure-hunting gimmick that is boosted by how it uses elements of the series. It’s perhaps a little on the easy side, and there are aspects of the game that feel thinner than I would prefer. Still, I think it’s a solid choice for fans of Dragon Quest or younger players who are dipping their toes into the action-RPG genre. It’s a bit of a trifle, but it’s a well-made one that sits well in the proverbial stomach.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Adventure Academia: The Fractured Continent ($39.99)
I was pretty hopeful for this game. It’s developed by Acquire, whose games may be an acquired taste but are a taste I acquired many, many years ago. It’s a spin-off of the Class of Heroes series, which I rather like. It’s a strategy RPG, and I usually have a nice time with those. And yet somehow all I can really conclude is that this is a mess. It has some interesting ideas, but they’re often at odds with each other. The difficulty curve is rather unpleasant. It looks and moves incredibly low-rent for the sticker price. The story is a complete nothing-burger. It just isn’t enjoyable to play, and is really only tolerable in the shortest of bursts.
Each mission has you leading a group of recruited students (each with random quirks that sometimes cause real problems) into battle under the direction of your main character. Your character is also on the field, but extremely vulnerable. You have to babysit them with the other students, because if they go down you’ve lost the mission. One of the more unique elements of combat in this game is that you can pick up and drop your summoned characters to move them where they need to be. They more or less act on their own but you can direct them when needed through a combination of dragging and dropping along with some menu commands. The battlefield gets very cluttered in a hurry, which makes it hard to see and do what you need to.
Can you have some fun with Adventure Academia? Sure. It’s not that there isn’t anything here to like. But it gels together so badly and is such a troublesome game to play that I really can’t recommend it. I’m happy to see Class of Heroes is still alive in some form, but I hope the next time it pops its head up we get something better than this.
SwitchArcade Score: 2.5/5
This is a little indie homage to Toaplan shooters, most of all Tiger Heli. And you know what? It’s not too shabby at all. I grabbed this when it launched on the Japanese eShop a couple weeks ago and apart from it not having online leaderboards it’s a very capable game. If you like Tiger Heli or other arcade shooters of that era, this is a great way to spend a fiver.
Aero Striker – World Invasion ($9.99)
EpiXR sure knows how to get mileage out of that Aery engine. This game is basically Aery but with shooting. Five different modes, ten different maps, and somehow the same chill level of difficulty as the Aery games. Apparently fans of the publisher have asked for this, so if you’re one of those folks, here you are.
Chubby Cat 2 ($6.99)
The Cut the Rope clone featuring a portly feline that came out not so long ago now has a sequel. It offers up more stages to play, and maybe some new gimmicks. A very unambitious thing, but that follows given what the first game was.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Wow, that is some kind of list of new sales for a Monday. Some new low prices on games from 2K Games, Ratalaika, and others. I’ll also call attention to two games I really enjoyed: Gotta Protectors: Cart of Darkness and Moon Dancer. Give them a closer look if you like good video games. No pressure. The size of the incoming list is offset nicely by the tiny nature of the outbox. Check both lists carefully!
Select New Games on Sale
Haiku, the Robot ($14.99 from $19.99 until 12/23)
Carnival Games ($7.99 from $39.99 until 12/27)
NBA 2K23 ($23.99 from $59.99 until 12/27)
L.A. Noire ($24.99 from $49.99 until 12/27)
WWE 2K Battlegrounds ($7.99 from $39.99 until 12/27)
WWE 2K Battlegrounds Deluxe ($9.99 from $49.99 until 12/27)
Borderlands Legendary Collection ($9.99 from $49.99 until 12/27)
BioShock: The Collection ($9.99 from $49.99 until 12/27)
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI ($5.99 from $29.99 until 12/27)
Sid Meier’s Civ VI Anthology ($24.49 from $69.99 until 12/27)
New Tales from the Borderlands DE ($29.99 from $49.99 until 12/27)
House Builder ($11.24 from $14.99 until 12/28)
WarriOrb ($2.00 from $12.99 until 12/29)
Wobbledogs Console Edition ($15.99 from $19.99 until 12/30)
A Little to the Left ($12.74 from $14.99 until 12/30)
Penko Park ($9.09 from $12.99 until 12/30)
Saturday Morning RPG ($6.99 from $9.99 until 12/31)
The House in Fata Morgana ($27.99 from $39.99 until 12/31)
Save Me Mr Tako: DE ($10.49 from $14.99 until 12/31)
Revenge of the Bird King ($3.49 from $4.99 until 12/31)
Corpse Killer 25th Anniversary ($10.49 from $14.99 until 12/31)
Double Switch 25th Anniversary ($10.49 from $14.99 until 12/31)
Alfonzo’s Arctic Adventure ($3.49 from $4.99 until 12/31)
Night Trap 25th Anniversary ($10.49 from $14.99 until 12/31)
Pictooi ($6.99 from $9.99 until 12/31)
Cosmic Star Heroine ($10.49 from $14.99 until 12/31)
Grapple Dog ($7.49 from $14.99 until 1/1)
OBAKEIDORO ($9.99 from $19.99 until 1/1)
RUN: The World In-Between ($7.49 from $9.99 until 1/2)
Foretales ($15.99 from $19.99 until 1/2)
Ruggnar ($9.79 from $13.99 until 1/2)
Pompom: The Great Space Rescue ($7.99 from $9.99 until 1/2)
Souldiers ($15.99 from $19.99 until 1/2)
Alpaca Ball: Allstars ($9.99 from $19.99 until 1/2)
Captain Velvet Meteor ($12.49 from $24.99 until 1/4)
Advent Calendar ($4.99 from $24.99 until 1/5)
Alfred Hitchcock Vertigo ($27.99 from $39.99 until 1/6)
New Joe & Mac Caveman Ninja ($23.99 from $29.99 until 1/6)
Nonogram Minimal ($1.99 from $6.99 until 1/6)
Asterix & Obelix XXXL: TRfH ($27.99 from $39.99 until 1/6)
The Sisters Party of the Year ($4.49 from $29.99 until 1/6)
Car Parking Club ($7.79 from $l2.99 until 1/6)
My Universe: Puppies & Kittens ($14.99 from $29.99 until 1/6)
Orn: The Tiny Forest Sprite ($2.50 from $8.99 until 1/6)
My Universe: Interior Designer ($14.99 from $29.99 until 1/6)
The Bluecoats North & South ($4.49 from $29.99 until 1/6)
Oddworld Soulstorm ($39.99 from $49.99 until 1/6)
Pinball Jam ($9.99 from $24.99 until 1/6)
Stranded Deep ($12.49 from $24.99 until 1/6)
PigShip & the Giant Wolf ($3.19 from $7.99 until 1/6)
XIII ($23.99 from $39.99 until 1/6)
Smurfs Kart ($27.99 from $39.99 until 1/6)
Grand Mountain Adventure ($17.49 from $34.99 until 1/6)
Arkanoid Eternal Battle ($20.09 from $29.99 until 1/6)
Garfield Lasagna Party ($27.99 from $39.99 until 1/6)
Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch ($31.99 from $39.99 until 1/6)
FUZE4 Nintendo Switch ($6.79 from $19.99 until 1/6)
Blackwind ($12.50 from $24.99 until 1/7)
Projection: First Light ($5.99 from $19.99 until 1/7)
Nine Witches: Family Disruption ($5.99 from $19.99 until 1/7)
Around the World ($2.99 from $9.99 until 1/7)
ENOH ($7.69 from $10.99 until 1/7)
Moon Dancer ($10.99 from $18.99 until 1/7)
Gotta Protectors: Cart of Darkness ($10.04 from $14.99 until 1/7)
Chubby Cat 2 ($1.99 from $6.99 until 1/7)
Pirate’s Gold ($2.99 from $9.99 until 1/7)
Farmquest ($2.99 from $9.99 until 1/7)
CosmoPlayerZ ($7.69 from $10.99 until 1/7)
KungFu Kickball ($5.99 from $19.99 until 1/7)
Super Mabus Mania ($3.94 from $7.89 until 1/8)
Nape Retroverse Collection ($3.49 from $6.99 until 1/8)
9 Clues: TSoSC ($1.99 from $14.99 until 1/8)
9 Clues 2: The Ward ($1.99 from $14.99 until 1/8)
Grim Legends 3: The Dark City ($1.99 from $14.99 until 1/8)
Catmaze ($6.99 from $9.99 until 1/9)
Angels with Scaly Wings ($5.99 from $9.99 until 1/9)
Moto Roader MC ($4.89 from $6.99 until 1/9)
Gynoug ($4.89 from $6.99 until 1/9)
Gleylancer ($4.89 from $6.99 until 1/9)
Avenging Spirit ($4.19 from $5.99 until 1/9)
Millie & Molly ($1.99 from $4.99 until 1/9)
Aquadine ($13.99 from $19.99 until 1/9)
God Damn The Garden ($3.49 from $4.99 until 1/9)
A Frog’s Job ($3.49 from $4.99 until 1/9)
Bones of Halloween ($3.49 from $4.99 until 1/9)
Runout ($3.49 from $4.99 until 1/9)
Roar of Revenge ($3.49 from $4.99 until 1/9)
Caffeine Victoria’s Legacy ($12.59 from $17.99 until 1/9)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, December 20th
Crash Drive 3 ($1.99 from $19.99 until 12/20)
Fury Unleashed ($5.99 from $19.99 until 12/20)
Marooners ($1.99 from $14.99 until 12/20)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more reviews, more sales, more new releases, and perhaps some news. I have to get back to my review pile so that I can start my year as clean as possible. I hope you all have a marvelous Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!