Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for June 9th, 2020. In today’s article, we’ve got a full review of Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, a little bit of news about an upcoming release, summaries of today’s latest new games, and the usual list of new and outgoing sales. It’s a surprisingly big one today for a Tuesday, so let’s put on our gloves and get to work!
Action-RPG ‘CrossCode’ Looks to Release in July
I’ve heard nothing but good things about CrossCode since it came out on PC a while back, but I’ve been waiting for the console release to give it a proper go. It was originally announced to be coming in late 2019, but the game was delayed with no firm release window to replace that planned launch. Well, it seems we may be very close to its release now. The game’s Japanese publisher has announced on its website that the game will be hitting Japan on Switch and other consoles on July 9th. It’s highly likely the North American release will be on or around that date. Next month is starting to look pretty busy!
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition ($59.99)
It’s interesting that a game that was initially seen as too niche to even bother releasing in North America is now seeing its third release in as many generations. Xenoblade Chronicles first hit the Nintendo Wii in Japan in 2010. The game later released in Europe in 2011, and after a large-scale fan campaign, a limited US launch followed in 2012. The game earned a warm reception thanks to its impressive scope, a quality made all the more amazing by it being on the relatively under-powered Wii console. The game got a second chance when it was ported to the New Nintendo 3DS in 2015 as a flagship game for the revised handheld. One of the very few New Nintendo 3DS-exclusive retail games, it was an impressive port for the hardware but a visual step back from the Wii original.
It’s only now in 2020 that Xenoblade Chronicles is available on a hardware platform equipped to do its ambitious scope full justice. With the success of its sequel on the platform, Xenoblade Chronicles now has a much bigger audience to play to. This Definitive Edition sits somewhere between a remake and a remaster, similar to something like Final Fantasy X‘s HD version. It’s certainly a more gorgeous game on a technical level than the original, but it retains enough of the elements of the first game that it doesn’t quite feel up the best of the platform. From a pure technical standpoint, developer Monolith Soft has turned in a game of very similar quality to its previous Xenoblade games on the platform. Could be better, could be worse.
Putting it beside either of the previous versions, however, it’s night and day. The new character models are a lot more detailed than the originals, though the shift in art style may disagree with some. The game world’s structure may not have changed, but it looks crisp and more alive than ever. The framerate sits at a perfectly acceptable 30 frames per second for the most part. The resolution probably could better, following very much in the footsteps of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but whatever the developer has done with the effects at least makes it easier on the eyes.
Setting aside the technical aspects, a ton of improvements to the mechanics and user interface have been made to the game. Xenoblade is a game where you’ll be juggling a ton of side-quests most of the time, and that could be a very cumbersome experience in previous versions. It’s easier to see where you need to go, what you need to do, and who you need to talk to in this Definitive Edition, and it makes for a much smoother game. Other aspects of the UI have seen improvements to some degree or another, applying some crucial modern niceties to game that is starting to show its age in many respects. Unless you’re married to the original art style, this is indeed the best way to play Xenoblade Chronicles. The subtitle checks out.
Still, this is a ten year old game, and it’s one that tried a lot of new things in its genre when it was new. What that means is that in some ways the game feels just a hair out of date. The JRPG genre and Monolith Soft in particular have learned a lot of new tricks in the intervening years, and it leaves certain elements of Xenoblade Chronicles looking a bit messy in 2020. Areas feel too big and empty at times. Side-quests often amount to little more than fetching X amount of Item Y. You get the idea. It would have been difficult to address these things without changing the game more than everyone would probably have liked, so I can live with it. But you have to be willing to put up with a few inconveniences and inelegant design choices here and there if you’re coming to this game for the first time.
Ah, that sounds too ominous. Look, Xenoblade Chronicles is a great game. You could even make a case for it being better than its follow-ups. The story is intriguing, the characters are enjoyable, and the world design is incredible. The battle system is a little complicated, but if you spend enough time with it you’ll find it offers plenty of depth. The game is absolutely jam-packed with stuff to do, almost to an absurd excess, and this Definitive Edition adds a few more scoops on top. It holds its own visually, and the soundtrack and voice work are both top-shelf.
This is an outstanding RPG that has almost 100 hours of content to offer for those who want to absorb it all. If you like RPGs and haven’t played this one before, I recommend you do that little thing. If you have played it before, it gets a little tougher. The new Future Connected epilogue can be jumped right into without replaying the main story and offers a solid ten or so hours that fans of the original game will not be unhappy with. The main game for all of its little improvements remains by and large the same experience, so you have to ask yourself if you’re up for another playthrough. I rather doubt we’ll be seeing another kick at this particular game for a while, so it’s quite fortunate that its claims of being definitive largely hold water.
SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5
Jump King ($12.99)
I don’t know, buddy. There’s already one Jump King on the Switch, and he’s not the sort to suffer pretenders. Anyway, the full title of this one appears to be Tactical Leaping Adventure – Jump King: There is a Smoking Hot Babe at the Top!, and that sure is a title. You have to ascend a treacherous vertical structure using a very unorthodox style of jumping. You won’t die if you fall, but you’ll keep on falling until you plant your feet on something. Losing progress is a very real and frequent possibility. It’s a bit of a tough one, and you can probably get the sense of it by the screenshots. This version of the game also includes two free expansions: New Babe+ and Ghost of the Babe. As cheesy as that all sounds, the game itself is really good. If you like platforming and have a stout heart, I recommend giving it a go.
Demon’s Tier+ ($9.99)
The latest in developer Cowcat’s series that includes Xenon Valkyrie+ and Riddled Corpses EX, Demon’s Tier+ is yet another top-down roguelite twin-stick shooter. It’s a nasty-tough one, too. That’s really the key to whether or not you’ll enjoy this game. There’s plenty of stuff to unlock, so you’ll be busy with the game for a while if you can deal with its high level of challenge. Naturally, you can bring in a friend if you want some back-up. While it’s far from the best game of this sort on the Switch, it’s a high-quality example whose price makes it even more enticing. It probably won’t change your mind if you’re sick of these kinds of games, but otherwise it’s a fun game to take a kick at now and then.
1971 Project Helios ($39.99)
This turn-based strategy game is fine. Not much more than that, but it’s at the very least fine. Like a lot of Western-developed games in this genre, 1971 Project Helios takes quite a few cues from XCOM. It doesn’t last more than a few hours in total, but what’s here is decent enough. There are three different endings that are based on your choices, giving the game a little extra replay value. I think the strongest part of the game is in its striking presentation, but at this price it’s a bit difficult to be too enthusiastic about it.
Rigid Force Redux ($19.99)
This stylish horizontal shoot-em-up pays homage to R-Type in many ways, not least of all its difficulty. There are a couple of extra modes in here to extend the game past its main campaign mode, which is always nice. It feels a touch on the expensive side given how many great shoot-em-ups come in well under this price on the Switch, and when compared to the games in the same price bracket it’s just not quite what it needs to be. But if you’re a big fan of R-Type, are on the look-out for similar games, and don’t mind dropping twenty bucks on such things, you’ll find a solid enough experience here.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
At the very least, I can say that the games in today’s list are not the usual bunch. I don’t have any personal recommendations from this bunch, but there are some decent games in there depending on your tastes. As for the outbox, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is ending its latest discount, and Lightwood’s big sale on its word and logic puzzle games is also coming to a close.
Select New Games on Sale
Awesome Pea ($2.39 from $5.99 until 6/28)
Blood Waves ($4.99 from $9.99 until 6/28)
Crashbots ($3.99 from $9.99 until 6/28)
OVIVO ($2.79 from $6.99 until 6/28)
Grass Cutter – Mutated Lawns ($2.79 from $6.99 until 6/28)
The Tower of Beatrice ($2.99 from $5.99 until 6/28)
Pantsu Hunter: Back to the 90s ($8.44 from $12.99 until 6/28)
A Winter’s Daydream ($3.59 from $5.99 until 6/28)
Stellatum ($8.24 from $14.99 until 6/28)
Horror Pinball Bundle ($4.49 from $8.99 until 6/28)
Touchdown Pinball ($1.50 from $2.99 until 6/28)
7th Sector ($13.99 from $19.99 until 6/28)
Rift Keeper ($5.99 from $9.99 until 6/28)
Music Racer ($4.89 from $6.99 until 6/28)
Legends of Amberland ($16.99 from $19.99 until 6/29)
Castle of Heart ($1.49 from $14.99 until 6/29)
Warplanes: WW2 Dogfight ($4.99 from $9.99 until 6/29)
Agent A: Puzzle in Disguise ($1.99 from $19.99 until 6/29)
Jet Kave Adventure ($13.99 from $19.99 until 6/29)
Queen’s Quest 4: Sacred Truce ($1.49 from $14.99 until 6/29)
Boot Hill Bounties ($12.74 from $14.99 until 6/29)
Broken Lines ($19.99 from $24.99 until 6/15)
The Count Lucanor ($2.99 from $14.99 until 6/21)
Save the Ninja Clan ($0.99 from $4.99 until 6/28)
Battle Group 2 ($0.99 from $4.99 until 6/21)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 10th
Block-a-Pix Deluxe ($3.99 from $7.99 until 6/10)
Car Mechanic Simulator ($2.99 from $14.99 until 6/10)
Chameleon Run Deluxe ($2.99 from $5.99 until 6/10)
Desktop Basketball ($5.04 from $7.20 until 6/10)
Doom & Destiny ($8.39 from $11.99 until 6/10)
Epic Word Search Collection ($3.99 from $7.99 until 6/10)
Fifty Words by POWGI ($3.99 from $7.99 until 6/10)
Fill-a-Pix: Phil’s Adventure ($3.99 from $7.99 until 6/10)
Grid Mania ($0.16 from $0.99 until 6/10)
Harvest Life ($13.99 from $19.99 until 6/10)
Jim Is Moving Out! ($7.49 from $14.99 until 6/10)
Jumping Joe & Friends ($0.16 from $1.99 until 6/10)
Just a Phrase by POWGI ($3.99 from $7.99 until 6/10)
Laser Kitty Pow Pow ($0.16 from $2.99 until 6/10)
Link-a-Pix Deluxe ($3.99 from $7.99 until 6/10)
Mecho Wars: Desert Ashes ($0.99 from $9.99 until 6/10)
Miner Warfare ($5.59 from $7.99 until 6/10)
Monster Bugs Eat People ($0.16 from $1.99 until 6/10)
Odium to the Core ($0.16 from $4.99 until 6/10)
Phoenix Wright: AA Trilogy ($14.99 from $29.99 until 6/10)
Pic-a-Pix Deluxe ($3.99 from $7.99 until 6/10)
Pic-a-Pix Pieces ($3.99 from $7.99 until 6/10)
Sheep Patrol ($0.16 from $1.99 until 6/10)
Skelly Selest & Straimium Immortaly ($5.99 from $19.99 until 6/10)
Strikey Sisters ($4.99 from $9.99 until 6/10)
Sunless Sea: Zubmariner ($14.99 from $19.99 until 6/10)
The Keep ($8.99 from $17.99 until 6/10)
Tic-Tac-Letters by POWGI ($3.99 from $7.99 until 6/10)
War Theatre ($0.99 from $9.99 until 6/10)
Word Puzzles by POWGI ($4.99 from $9.99 until 6/10)
Word Search by POWGI ($3.99 from $7.99 until 6/10)
Word Sudoku by POWGI ($3.99 from $7.99 until 6/10)
Word Sweeper by POWGI ($3.99 from $7.99 until 6/10)
Word Wheel by POWGI ($3.99 from $7.99 until 6/10)
Wreckin’ Ball Adventure ($0.16 from $4.99 until 6/10)
That’s all that’s good for today, friends. Tomorrow doesn’t have any new releases on the schedule as of now, but we should have some news and new sales to check out. I’ve also got a couple of reviews cooking if things are looking particularly light. I hope you all have a good Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!