SwitchArcade Round-Up: ‘Ys Origin’ Review, Mini-Views Featuring ‘Let’s Sing Queen’ and More, Plus Today’s New Releases and Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for October 5th, 2020. In today’s article, we’ve got a whole mess of games to look at. There’s a full review of Dotemu’s port of Ys Origin, plus Mini-Views for Let’s Sing Queen, Unlock The King 3, Orangeblood, and Embracelet. Four new games popped up since we last looked at the eShop, and we’ve got summaries of all of them. Finally, we’ve got the usual lists of incoming and outgoing sales to dig into. Let’s get started!

Reviews

Ys Origin ($19.99)

The Ys series is one of the oldest action-RPG series still alive today. It’s had a few distinct styles over the years. The original games are well-known for their bump-to-attack mechanics, amazing music, and tense boss battles. The series hit a bit of a rocky period after its fifth installment released, but after a few remakes and some time it came back strong with its sixth chapter. While still sporting an outstanding soundtrack, Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim presented far more involved action and even wilder boss battles. Falcom applied its style to some remakes and side games before taking the next big step with the series in the form of Ys Seven. That game greatly added to the RPG side of the equation, with multiple playable characters and a greater emphasis on story.

Up until now, the only Ys game on Switch has been Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, a rather lengthy game that builds on the foundation set down by Ys Seven. It’s a great game, but there’s a certain immediacy to the pre-Ys Seven games that is missing in the modern era. Thanks to the release of Ys Origin, Switch owners now have the chance to experience that high-speed, high-octane flavor on their platform of choice. Ys Origin originally released on home computers in 2006 and at the time had the distinction of being the first Ys game that allowed you to play as characters aside from the regular hero of the series, Adol. Indeed, it is still the only game to not feature Adol as a playable character in its main story at all.

That’s because Ys Origin is a prequel. It tells a story set 700 years before the events of the first Ys, and largely takes place in one of the main locations of that game: Darm Tower. It explains a lot of the foundations of that world and setting, from the twin goddesses to the six priests of Ys. I won’t lie: it’s best enjoyed after already experiencing the events of Ys I&II, which are not available on the Switch. They are available on many other platforms, including mobile phones, and I do recommend seeking them out. You don’t need to play them to enjoy Ys Origin, but the story probably won’t do much for you if you don’t.

Hey Shaun, how can you enjoy an action-RPG if the story isn’t doing much for you? Because this is Ys, friends. As a series it has always leaned heavily on the action side of the equation over the RPG side, particularly prior to Ys Seven. The incredibly fast-paced slash-em-up action sits in the forefront here, with boss battles that border on bullet-hell at times. There are puzzles here and there, and leveling up certainly helps you take down enemies faster, but you’re going to need to demonstrate some proper action game chops if you want to see this game through to its end. You’ll also need to do that with all three playable characters if you want to get the full story, which requires that you come to grips with their rather different fighting styles.

From a gameplay perspective, there are only a few downers. The first, and perhaps most frequently-cited when it comes to this game, is that you’re spending the entire game in Darm Tower. As massive towers built to bridge the planet and the heavens go it’s quite varied, but you certainly won’t be enjoying the diverse areas seen in other Ys games. The other thing to keep in mind is that the combat system here doesn’t offer a ton of options compared to later games, especially if you’re using Yunica. Most of the gameplay variety comes from the enemies, with the array of moves available to you rather limited and barely growing through the course of the adventure.

I tend to find this a small problem in the broader scope of things. Ys Origin is quite good at throwing you into all kinds of different set-ups, with a mix of enemies, traps, and room designs keeping you from experiencing the same kind of encounter too often. The bosses are a highlight, putting your skills to the test and constantly demanding you to find new ways to use your limited bag of tricks. Apart from that, Ys Origin also benefits from the look, feel, and sounds that are perhaps the most consistent part of its decades-long history. Amazing music pumps in the background, little bits of enemies and bonus pick-ups fly everywhere as you destroy things, and the controls just feel great. It’s just stupid-fun to mow through monsters in this game.

This Switch version of the game is a good way to experience it. While I greatly enjoyed the PlayStation Vita port, it suffered from a lot of framerate issues that the Switch version has a better time with. While it’s important to keep in mind that this is a relatively low-budget game from 2006, I think its presentation holds up nicely. Ys Origin isn’t my favorite Ys game, but it’s a very good one and I think its distinct flavor when compared to Ys VIII makes it a great pick-up for Switch owners who want something a little lighter to occupy their time with.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

Mini-Views

Let’s Sing Queen ($39.99)

Sometimes it’s really hard to present a review in such a way that it will be helpful to a wide audience. Every now and then, some games make it easy. It’s not hard to figure out if Let’s Sing Queen is for you. Do you like singing karaoke? Do you like Queen? If the answer to both of those questions is yes, you’re golden. Otherwise, you’re probably better off skipping it. As for me, I love karaoke, I love Queen, and I’m quite pleased with the selection of songs included here. The nature of the band means there’s more variety than you would expect from a single-band title, and there are really only a couple of notable songs absent. Sorry, Flash Gordon fans. In terms of the UI and the way the game works, there’s no change here from previous titles. There doesn’t really need to be, though.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

Embracelet ($11.99)

I really dig Embracelet, even if I could think of a lot of ways it could be better. This is a very emotional story about a teenaged boy who is given a magical bracelet by his grandfather. His grandfather asks him to go to the island where he himself was raised to try to find out the origins of the mysterious trinket. It’s a bit point-and-click adventure, a bit puzzle game, and a bit walking simulator. The story takes you on a real ride, but the gameplay itself is rather relaxed. As long as you’re not expecting too much on the mechanical end of things, you’ll probably find yourself as engrossed in Embracelet as I was.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

Unlock The King 3 ($0.99)

I sometimes find myself in a push-and-pull situation with puzzle games. If I really enjoy them, I tend to want more puzzles to solve. At the same time, I sometimes get a bit sick of a particular type of puzzle if I get too many of them in a short span of time. Unlock The King 3 is the third pack of puzzles built around clearing a path for the King to reach the goal. It adds an extra dimension to try to mix things up, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t getting a little tired of this exact set of mechanics. If you’re still game for more puzzles like these, you’ll certainly get your money’s worth out of your purchase.

SwitchArcade Score: 3/5

Orangeblood ($19.99)

This game has gorgeous art and an awesome soundtrack. I love the whole setting and theme, too. I’m sorry to say that those are the only nice things I have to say about Orangeblood. The story is barely there and not all that interesting when it decides to pop up. The dialogue is dreadful. In terms of mechanics, the game is all over the place. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a gun early on that will carry you through the whole game. If you’re unlucky, you’ll be spending a lot of time banging your head against the wall. The game can be cleared in under ten hours, but I’d be surprised if many people feel like it’s worth giving it even that much time. Nice to look at and listen to, but a game needs a lot more than that to get by.

SwitchArcade Score: 2/5

New Releases

Space Grunts ($13.99)

We’re big fans of Orangepixel’s games here at TouchArcade, so it’s always nice to see them pop up on other platforms and potentially reach a new audience. Space Grunts is a particularly enjoyable title. The villainous Carter Dotson once described it as “a turn-based game for people who hate turn-based games, and a roguelike shooter for people who hate roguelike shooters”, and I think that basically sums it up. It’s a turn-based roguelite, to be sure. But somehow it manages to be a very fast-paced one, with lots of tense shooting action. If you don’t like playing on mobile, this is a nice option. I’d be derelict in my duties if I didn’t mention that you can get the game on the App Store for a fraction of the price of the Switch version, however.

Quell ($7.99)

If you don’t know Quell by now, you will never, ever know it, woooooo-oooo-oooooo. Marking third appearance of the series on the Switch, Quell is actually the original game. I mean, it’s been appropriately spiffed up, but at its core it’s the same game that charmed us on mobile back in 2010. The main idea is the same as ever. You have to guide a drop of water through each level, picking up all of the pearls while avoiding dangerous obstacles. The droplet keeps moving until it hits a wall once you’ve set it in motion, so you have to plan your moves carefully. There are more than 80 levels in this version of the game, giving you plenty of relaxing yet challenging fun for your money.

The Legend of the Blue Warrior ($3.99)

From Vikalb, the developer who brought us an unofficial sequel to Konami’s MSX shooter Sky Jaguar, comes The Legend of the Blue Warrior. It’s a pretty clear homage to another Konami MSX game called Knightmare, so I guess this is Vikalb’s thing? Anyway, it’s a vertical shoot-em-up where you play as a knight battling your way through hordes of monsters to rescue Aphrodite. If you have fond memories of Knightmare, you’ll probably enjoy this lavish love letter to the game. Otherwise? Well, I don’t know too many Switch owners that are starving enough for vertical shoot-em-ups to pick up one that’s merely decent.

Infection – Board Game ($9.89)

If any of you remember an old arcade game named Ataxx, or maybe an NES game based on the 7up mascot Spot, or perhaps even the Microscope Puzzle in the classic horror adventure The 7th Guest, you’ll have a good idea of how this game works. You and your opponent control pieces of different colors, and the idea is to have more pieces of your color on the board at the end of the game than your opponent does. You can move your piece to an adjacent space to clone it, or jump it to move it. Wherever it lands, it will convert any enemy pieces in adjacent squares to its color. A bit like Reversi in some ways, but not exactly. This rendition includes multiple boards and features a local multiplayer mode for two players. If you want to play solo, there is an arcade mode that will throw increasingly challenging opponents and situations at you. This has never been a favorite of mine, but it certainly has fans.

Sales

(North American eShop, US Prices)

Okay, first thing’s first: Killer Queen Black is 90% off, and if you enjoy multiplayer games you will definitely get your two bucks’ worth out of it. Apart from that, it’s a mix of the usual weekend suspects and the odd rarer discount like Raiden V: Director’s Cut and Rise: Race the Future. Do check out the outgoing sales, as Deep Silver, Playism, and a few others are wrapping up their latest batches of cheap goodies.

Select New Games on Sale

Syberia 3 ($9.99 from $49.99 until 10/7)
Mega Party: Tootuff Adventure ($11.99 from $29.99 until 10/7)
Cyber Protocol ($0.99 from $9.99 until 10/9)
Clumsy Rush ($0.99 from $4.99 until 10/9)
Perfect Traffic Simulator ($3.99 from $9.99 until 10/9)
Nirvana Pilot Yume ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/9)
OMG Police ($0.99 from $4.99 until 10/9)
Zumba: Burn It Up! ($27.99 from $39.99 until 10/10)
Terraria ($20.99 from $29.99 until 10/10)
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ($10.49 from $14.99 until 10/10)
ABZU ($13.99 from $19.99 until 10/10)
Journey to the Savage Planet ($20.99 from $29.99 until 10/10)
Last Day of June ($9.99 from $19.99 until 10/10)
The House of Da Vinci 2 ($7.99 from $9.99 until 10/11)
Vampire: Coteries of New York ($9.99 from $19.99 until 10/11)


Gaokao.Love.100Days ($6.99 from $11.99 until 10/12)
Soulslayer ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)
Grim Legends 2: SotDS ($8.99 from $14.99 until 10/12)
Skull Rogue ($0.98 from $2.99 until 10/12)
FunBox Party ($0.29 from $1.99 until 10/12)
CrunchTime ($0.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)
Pew Paw ($2.48 from $6.99 until 10/12)
Tactical Mind ($0.44 from $2.99 until 10/12)
Event Horizon ($0.74 from $5.99 until 10/13)
Debtor ($0.29 from $2.99 until 10/13)
Swordbreaker the Game ($1.49 from $4.99 until 10/13)
Breathing Fear ($1.74 from $4.99 until 10/13)
Raiden V: Director’s Cut ($8.99 from $29.99 until 10/16)
Bubsy: Paws on Fire! ($4.99 from $24.99 until 10/16)
Chameleon ($1.49 from $4.99 until 10/16)


F-117A Stealth Fighter ($1.49 from $4.99 until 10/16)
Monkey King: Master of Clouds ($1.49 from $4.99 until 10/16)
No Heroes Here ($2.99 from $14.99 until 10/17)
Squidlit ($0.19 from $1.99 until 10/17)
Monica e a Guarda dos Coelhos ($2.99 from $14.99 until 10/17)
Doom & Destiny ($8.39 from $11.99 until 10/18)
Miner Warfare ($5.59 from $7.99 until 10/18)
Birthday of Midnight ($3.99 from $4.99 until 10/19)
Build a Bridge! ($2.99 from $14.99 until 10/19)
Bridge Builder Adventure ($2.99 from $14.99 until 10/19)
Mittelborg: City of Mages ($4.49 from $8.99 until 10/19)
Pixel Gladiator ($1.39 from $6.99 until 10/20)
Tactical Mind 2 ($0.49 from $4.99 until 10/20)
Island Maze ($1.49 from $2.99 until 10/20)
Solitaire Klondike Minimal ($0.69 from $2.99 until 10/21)


Killer Queen Black ($1.99 from $19.99 until 10/22)
The Lost Light of Sisu ($0.99 from $9.99 until 10/22)
Adventure Pinball Bundle ($2.96 from $8.99 until 10/22)
Safari Pinball ($0.98 from $2.99 until 10/22)
Where Angels Cry: TotF ($3.99 from $9.99 until 10/22)
The Drama Queen Murder ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/22)
Black Rainbow ($3.99 from $9.99 until 10/22)
Brightstone Mysteries: PH ($6.99 from $9.99 until 10/22)
Country Tales ($6.99 from $9.99 until 10/22)
Farm Mystery ($2.99 from $9.99 until 10/22)
WildTrax Racing ($4.95 from $7.99 until 10/22)
Zombies Ruined My Day ($2.99 from $3.99 until 10/22)
SpaceColorsRunner ($1.49 from $5.99 until 10/22)
Julie’s Sweets ($2.49 from $9.99 until 10/22)
Crypt of the Serpent King ($0.99 from $2.99 until 10/22)


Pizza Parking ($1.49 from $5.99 until 10/22)
Membrane ($0.09 from $9.99 until 10/23)
Carnage: Battle Arena ($2.99 from $14.99 until 10/23)
Strike! Ten Pin Bowling ($7.49 from $9.99 until 10/23)
LocO-SportS ($1.43 from $5.99 until 10/23)
#womenUp, Super Puzzles Dream ($1.48 from $6.19 until 10/23)
Quell ($0.99 from $7.99 until 10/23)
AeternoBlade II ($19.99 from $24.99 until 10/24)
Rise: Race the Future ($11.54 from $16.49 until 10/25)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 6th

Angels of Death ($8.99 from $14.99 until 10/6)
Ash of Gods: Redemption ($17.99 from $29.99 until 10/6)
Astebreed ($7.99 from $19.99 until 10/6)
Blazing Beaks ($1.99 from $14.99 until 10/6)
Brotherhood United ($4.49 from $8.99 until 10/6)
Bud Spencer & Terence Hill ($5.99 from $19.99 until 10/6)
Chalk Dash Carnival ($0.85 from $7.09 until 10/6)
Croc’s World ($0.99 from $4.99 until 10/6)
Desktop Baseball ($5.10 from $7.29 until 10/6)
Desktop Bowling ($5.17 from $7.39 until 10/6)
Desktop Dodgeball ($5.21 from $7.45 until 10/6)
Desktop Rugby ($5.20 from $7.43 until 10/6)
Desktop Soccer ($4.97 from $7.11 until 10/6)
Desktop Table Tennis ($5.18 from $7.41 until 10/6)
EQQO ($4.00 from $6.00 until 10/6)


Farabel ($0.69 from $9.99 until 10/6)
Hakinowa Explorer Plus ($9.59 from $11.99 until 10/6)
HyperParasite ($8.99 from $17.99 until 10/6)
Jewel Fever 2 ($0.99 from $4.99 until 10/6)
Kero Blaster ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/6)
Kona ($5.99 from $19.99 until 10/6)
Let’s Sing 2018 ($23.99 from $39.99 until 10/6)
Let’s Sing 2019 ($23.99 from $39.99 until 10/6)
Let’s Sing 2020 ($26.99 from $44.99 until 10/6)
Let’s Sing Country ($26.99 from $44.99 until 10/6)
Lost Horizon ($5.24 from $14.99 until 10/6)
Lost Horizon 2 ($5.24 from $14.99 until 10/6)
Lydia ($3.00 from $4.00 until 10/6)
Mad Carnage ($0.29 from $4.99 until 10/6)
Manticore – Galaxy on Fire ($7.99 from $19.99 until 10/6)


Metro 2033 Redux ($13.74 from $24.99 until 10/6)
Metro Last Light Redux ($13.74 from $24.99 until 10/6)
Mushroom Quest ($0.29 from $2.99 until 10/6)
Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 ($33.99 from $39.99 until 10/6)
One Way Heroics Plus ($11.99 from $14.99 until 10/6)
Our Flick Erasers ($9.07 from $12.96 until 10/6)
Pacific Wings ($0.99 from $4.99 until 10/6)
Red Faction Guerilla ($14.99 from $29.99 until 10/6)
Redeemer: Enhanced ($11.99 from $29.99 until 10/6)
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected ($23.99 from $39.99 until 10/6)
Saints Row The Third ($17.99 from $39.99 until 10/6)
Save Your Nuts ($8.99 from $14.99 until 10/6)
Secret Files 3 ($7.49 from $14.99 until 10/6)
Secret Files: Puritas Cordis ($5.24 from $14.99 until 10/6)
Secret Files: Sam Peters ($2.44 from $6.99 until 10/6)


Secret Files: Tunguska ($5.24 from $14.99 until 10/6)
Soul Searching ($6.99 from $9.99 until 10/6)
Star Sky ($1.49 from $4.99 until 10/6)
Strange Telephone ($6.99 from $9.99 until 10/6)
The Dresden Files Card Game ($8.49 from $16.99 until 10/6)
TorqueL -Physics Modified- ($2.49 from $4.99 until 10/6)
Vertical Strike Challenge ($2.99 from $4.99 until 10/6)
Voxel Galaxy ($5.20 from $7.43 until 10/6)
Voxel Pirates ($5.09 from $7.28 until 10/6)
Voxel Shot ($5.60 from $8.00 until 10/6)
Voxel Sword ($4.90 from $7.00 until 10/6)
Water Balloon Mania ($0.99 from $4.99 until 10/6)
Yellow Fins ($0.99 from $4.99 until 10/6)

That’s all for today, friends. Tomorrow will see a handful of new releases, including 9th Dawn III and Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2. We’ll have a summary for each of them, along with whatever news and sales come along in the meantime. I hope you all have an excellent Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!

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