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SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’, Plus the Latest Releases and Sales

SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’, Plus the Latest Releases and Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for November 28th, 2022. In today’s article, we’ve got a pair of reviews to check out. Full reviews of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet and The Oregon Trail are waiting for you to read. There’s just one new release today, and it’s not really worth caring much about. We’ve got a summary anyway. After that, there are some new and outgoing sales to comb through. Let’s get to it!

Reviews & Mini-Views

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet ($59.99)

I’ll be upfront: I could have easily given this game a five out of five. It really shakes up the Pokemon formula in many ways, and it works so well that it’s going to be hard to go back to the older games. It’s ridiculously fun to play, and in many ways is the kind of Pokemon game people have been asking for almost since the start. It has some things to improve on from a gameplay perspective, but Game Freak took some big risks here and I think almost all of them paid off.

It’s unfortunate, then, that there are so many technical problems here that drag the experience down. From the very beginning, Game Freak’s Pokemon games have had various issues with bugs and performance, but Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are worse than usual. The framerate is all over the place, and even when it’s at its best it’s not great. At its worst, it’s a slideshow. Some animations look like they’re moving at seconds per frame. Textures are equally all over the place. Some look great. Many look fine. Some are extremely poor. And it’s not like the poor textures are limited to things you won’t really look at. Collision bugs are really easy to find. Clipping and drawing bugs crop up often and can be borderline horrifying. The game crashes more than it should. This game does not feel finished.

If you can get over that, and only if you can get over that, you should give Pokemon Scarlet and Violet a shot. I have no idea if those problems can or will be fixed, but it’s probably better to assume that by and large the game is what it is. So why do I still recommend it? Well, let me explain how it basically works. It starts off in a very familiar way. You’re a kid, your mom wakes you up, and the scene is set for another Pokemon adventure. You leave your house, get presented with three Pokemon to choose from, and battle your rival. After a few events, you’re directed to go to the school you’ve enrolled in. The path there is relatively open, but we’ve seen similar areas in Pokemon Sword and Shield.

Normally this is where you’d be given the task of doing a pilgrimage around the game’s world, visiting gyms or doing other challenges in a very particular order that takes you through set locations, collecting increasingly powerful Pokemon as you go. But in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, things work very differently. You’re given three main quests: collecting all the gym badges to become a champion, defeating all the Titan Pokemon to recover some special items, and taking down the trouble-making Team Star by defeating all of their leaders. It’s up to you which of those quests you want to prioritize, and which order you want to do things within each quest line. The whole world is open to you right from the start, so it’s your call how you want to explore it.

The only real gates that nudge you in particular directions are the levels of Pokemon and the trainers who want to fight you along the way. There’s no level scaling here, so your opponents’ levels will vary according to the part of the world they are in. But hey, it’s easy enough to grind up to where you need to be or just do your best to stay out of trouble if you want to go to higher level areas early. It’s not friction-free, but it’s an amazing sense of freedom in a series that has until this year been very much about presenting its worlds like a theme park ride on rails.

One area of gameplay that needs a little more work is in the multiplayer. It’s really fun exploring the world together, and the fact that you can do story missions while in multiplayer is neat. It’s regrettable that you can only really interact with each other during raid battles and the sandwich-making events at picnics. It’s so close to being that full-on multiplayer open world RPG that Pokemon was born to be, but not quite there. Even as things are, my son and I played through most of the game together. If nothing else, we can photobomb each other’s epic battles and events. That’s not nothing.

I really wish this game didn’t come in as hot as it did. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet represent an excellent new vision of what a Pokemon adventure can be, and it says a lot for how many good new ideas are in here that I still found the game incredibly enjoyable despite the severe technical problems. I understand schedules must be kept. Well, the schedule was kept. It’s too bad what it ended up costing, because something this absorbing shouldn’t come with so many provisos.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

The Oregon Trail ($29.99)

What is the oldest game you have played in some form or another? A lot of folks might say 1972’s Pong. It’s the first video game, right? An important game it is, but the first it is not. Many, many games preceded it, and odds are good you’ve played some version of one of them: The Oregon Trail. An educational game created in 1971 and more widely released a few years later, The Oregon Trail is a staple of the computer experience of most North American kids who grew up in the 1980s. Sure, it was teaching you things. That’s why the teachers let us play it. But it was also a cool game! You could shoot things! You could die from dysentery! What is dysentery? Oops, accidental learning!

It’s difficult for me to position The Oregon Trail in the greater context of video gaming, but Gameloft’s recent remake for Apple Arcade (now on Switch and PC) had me really considering the matter. The Oregon Trail is The Oregon Trail, but what else is it? Dragging it into a 2022 perspective, The Oregon Trail is oddly prescient in its structure and design. It’s kind of a roguelite survival game, when you get right down to it. Permadeath? Check. Resource management? Check. Procedurally-generated events that can turn the whole game on its head? Pretty much the bread and butter of The Oregon Trail. Did this game create the genre? I think it did! That’s weird.

So let’s look at this remake, then. I regret to inform you that this game will likely educate you as it entertains you. It can’t help but teach you, and Gameloft has leaned into that element with this take on it. It might just be the most educational version of The Oregon Trail yet, and it gives you all of this new information without being too in-your-face about it. But hey, that’s for the teachers. The most important bit is that the gameplay is fully intact here, with some modest new additions to go with the welcome level of trust it has in the original game’s mechanics.

At its heart, The Oregon Trail is a game about putting out metaphorical fires. The people in your party can get sick or hurt at any time. Your wagon can and will break down. You’ll run short on supplies, morale, and luck pretty regularly. It is exceedingly unlikely you’ll have everything you need to deal with every problem that comes up, so it becomes a matter of deciding which problems need solving now and which can wait until later. You also need to consider how far you want to push your luck. If you never take any risks, you’ll likely bleed out from one situation or another. If you take too many, it will catch up to you fast.

Sid Meier once famously said that games are a series of interesting decisions. I think it’s that inherent push-and-pull that made The Oregon Trail a fascinating game then, and it continues to make it one here in its latest form. The game can certainly wear thin if you play too much of it, and the framework of its design sometimes betrays its fifty-year-old origins. But in the end this is a game about making hard choices without clearly correct answers. It’s as compelling as it ever was, and Gameloft has done a good job of updating the right parts of it to make it more palatable to modern tastes.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

New Releases

Car Parking Madness School Drive Mechanic Car Games Simulator 2023 ($5.99)

One new release today, and it’s this pile of utter trash. From newcomer publisher VG Games, who have never heard of Midnight Works in their life, no sir. Anyway, if you want to buy some garbage for six dollars, this is one way to do that.

Sales

(North American eShop, US Prices)

There are some new sales for NIS America games in today’s list, but you have to act fast because they expire tomorrow. Also worth noting is the sale on Live Wire’s Cave shoot-em-up conversions. They are all awesome, and if you like the genre at all they are must-haves. There’s quite a bit in the outbox, so make sure you have a careful look through it. You don’t want to miss anything.

Select New Games on Sale

Yurukill: Calumniation Games ($29.99 from $39.99 until 11/29)
Crystar ($29.99 from $49.99 until 11/29)
Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny ($35.99 from $59.99 until 11/29)
The Cruel King & the Great Hero ($17.99 from $29.99 until 11/29)
NIS Classics 3: La Pucelle/Rhapsody ($29.99 from $39.99 until 11/29)
Last Beat Enhanced ($2.99 from $9.99 until 11/29)
Two Hundred Ways ($9.59 from $11.99 until 12/1)
Xeno Crisis ($9.99 from $19.99 until 12/9)
A Plague Tale Requiem Cloud Vers. ($49.99 from $59.99 until 12/9)
Human: Fall Flat ($5.99 from $19.99 until 12/10)
Vereda Escape Room Adventure ($6.29 from $8.99 until 12/12)
How to Fool a Liar King Remastered ($11.99 from $14.99 until 12/12)
Potata: Fairy Flower ($2.16 from $12.00 until 12/15)
DoDonPachi Resurrection ($13.99 from $19.99 until 12/16)
Espgaluda II ($13.99 from $19.99 until 12/16)


Mushihimesama ($13.99 from $19.99 until 12/16)
City Traffic Driver 2 ($5.19 from $12.99 until 12/16)
Puzzle & Dragons ($1.99 from $4.37 until 12/17)
Scar of the Doll ($6.99 from $9.99 until 12/17)
Here Be Dragons ($4.49 from $17.99 until 12/18)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 29th

A Fold Apart ($4.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics ($8.74 from $24.99 until 11/29)
Aground ($7.49 from $14.99 until 11/29)
Amnesia: Later x Crowd ($39.99 from $49.99 until 11/29)
Amnesia: Memories ($39.99 from $49.99 until 11/29)
Angry Alligator ($12.49 from $29.99 until 11/29)
AnShi ($4.99 from $17.99 until 11/29)
Arc of Alchemist ($11.99 from $39.99 until 11/29)
Armello ($9.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Atelier Ryza 2: LL&tSF ($29.99 from $59.99 until 11/29)
Atelier Ryza: ED&tSH ($29.99 from $59.99 until 11/29)
Axiom Verge 1 + 2 ($27.98 from $39.98 until 11/29)
Axiom Verge 2 ($15.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Azur Lane: Crosswave ($14.99 from $49.99 until 11/29)
Barn Finders ($7.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)


Beach Buggy Racing 2 ($5.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Bear’s Restaurant ($9.74 from $12.99 until 11/29)
Best Day Ever ($8.99 from $14.99 until 11/29)
Blackmoor 2 ($3.99 from $4.99 until 11/29)
Blizzard Arcade Collection ($9.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Broken Sword 5 ($2.99 from $29.99 until 11/29)
Buissons ($3.99 from $7.99 until 11/29)
Calico ($5.99 from $11.99 until 11/29)
Castle Morihisa ($5.99 from $14.99 until 11/29)
Chaos Code New Sign of Catastrophe ($5.89 from $9.99 until 11/29)
Chess Ultra ($4.37 from $12.49 until 11/29)
Code Shifter ($3.74 from $14.99 until 11/29)
Collection of SaGa: FF Legend ($11.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 ($2.00 from $12.99 until 11/29)
Cook, Serve, Delicious 3 ($7.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Corner Driver ($1.99 from $2.49 until 11/29)


Crash Bandicoot 4 ($19.99 from $39.99 until 11/29)
Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy ($19.99 from $39.99 until 11/29)
Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled ($15.99 from $39.99 until 11/29)
Crystar ($29.99 from $49.99 until 11/29)
Cupid Parasite ($24.99 from $49.99 until 11/29)
Dadish ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/29)
Dadish 2 ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/29)
Death end re;Quest ($8.99 from $29.99 until 11/29)
Death end re;Quest 2 ($19.99 from $49.99 until 11/29)
Diablo II Resurrected ($19.99 from $39.99 until 11/29)
Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny ($35.99 from $59.99 until 11/29)
Dusk Diver 2 ($39.99 from $49.99 until 11/29)
dweeMIXED Thwee Pack ($11.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Fairy Fencer F ADF ($5.99 from $29.99 until 11/29)
Fantasy Blacksmith ($7.99 from $9.99 until 11/29)


Fantasy Strike Collector’s Pack ($49.99 from $99.99 until 11/29)
Fantasy Strike Core Pack ($9.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Fishing Paradiso ($13.49 from $14.99 until 11/29)
Garden Story ($11.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Grindstone ($9.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Guns, Gore and Cannoli ($4.99 from $9.99 until 11/29)
Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 ($6.49 from $12.99 until 11/29)
Hidden Through Time ($3.99 from $7.99 until 11/29)
Hob: Definitive Edition ($3.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Ironcast ($4.54 from $12.99 until 11/29)
Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf ($3.39 from $9.99 until 11/29)
MacGuffin’s Curse ($7.49 from $9.99 until 11/29)
Mary Skelter Finale ($19.99 from $49.99 until 11/29)
Mayhem Brawler ($11.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Megadimension Neptunia VII ($8.99 from $29.99 until 11/29)


MLB The Show 22 ($9.99 from $59.99 until 11/29)
MLB The Show 22 Deluxe ($36.99 from $99.99 until 11/29)
Moero Chronicle Hyper ($7.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Neptunia X Senran Kagura ($19.99 from $49.99 until 11/29)
New Super Lucky’s Tale ($14.99 from $29.99 until 11/29)
NIS Classics 3: La Pucelle/Rhapsody ($29.99 from $39.99 until 11/29)
Nun Massacre ($3.59 from $5.99 until 11/29)
Of Mice and Sand Revised ($4.09 from $9.99 until 11/29)
Overwatch 2: Watchpoint Pack ($23.99 from $39.99 until 11/29)
Pascal’s Wager DE ($15.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Pawarumi ($9.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Perpetuum Mobile ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/29)
Plague Inc Evolved ($5.09 from $14.99 until 11/29)
Poker Club ($15.39 from $21.99 until 11/29)
Princess Farmer ($9.74 from $14.99 until 11/29)
realMyst Masterpiece Edition ($5.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)


RiffTrax: The Game ($6.99 from $9.99 until 11/29)
Robo Revenge Squad ($15.00 from $20.00 until 11/29)
Romancing SaGa 2 ($7.49 from $24.99 until 11/29)
Romancing SaGa 3 ($8.69 from $28.99 until 11/29)
SaGa Frontier ($14.99 from $24.99 until 11/29)
SaGa Scarlet Grace Ambitions ($8.99 from $29.99 until 11/29)
Scrapnaut ($7.55 from $11.99 until 11/29)
Sir Lovelot ($3.99 from $9.99 until 11/29)
Slice, Dice & Rice ($5.03 from $17.99 until 11/29)
Smash Club: Streets of Shmeenis ($2.40 from $3.00 until 11/29)
Snooker 19 ($12.24 from $34.99 until 11/29)
Sonic Frontiers ($41.99 from $59.99 until 11/29)
Sonic Frontiers Deluxe ($48.99 from $69.99 until 11/29)
Soundfall ($14.99 from $29.99 until 11/29)
Spyro Reignited Trilogy ($19.99 from $39.99 until 11/29)


StarCrossed ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/29)
Subnautica ($14.99 from $29.99 until 11/29)
Subnautica Below Zero ($14.99 from $29.99 until 11/29)
Super Fowlst ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/29)
Super Fowlst 2 ($2.00 from $10.00 until 11/29)
Super Meat Boy Forever ($3.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Super Neptunia RPG ($11.99 from $39.99 until 11/29)
Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery EP ($4.99 from $9.99 until 11/29)
Teacup ($6.49 from $9.99 until 11/29)
The Bounty Huntress ($3.99 from $4.99 until 11/29)
The Cruel King & the Great Hero ($17.99 from $29.99 until 11/29)
The Last Cube ($14.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
The Spectrum Retreat ($4.54 from $12.99 until 11/29)
Thea 2: The Shattering ($12.59 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Torchlight II ($4.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)


Torchlight III ($9.99 from $39.99 until 11/29)
Various Daylife ($20.29 from $28.99 until 11/29)
Voice of Cards: Beasts of Burden ($23.99 from $29.99 until 11/29)
War of Ships ($1.99 from $2.49 until 11/29)
War Party ($4.99 from $9.99 until 11/29)
Warp Frontier ($11.24 from $14.99 until 11/29)
Wunderling ($1.99 from $14.99 until 11/29)
Wytchwood ($12.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
Yeah Yeah Beebiss II ($7.49 from $9.99 until 11/29)
Yum Yum Cookstar ($27.99 from $39.99 until 11/29)
Yurukill: Calumniation Games ($29.99 from $39.99 until 11/29)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, another review or two, more sales, and perhaps some news. I hope you all have a great Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!

November 29, 2022 at 12:42AM