Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for September 30th, 2022. In today’s article, our pal Mikhail has another review for us. Gosh, that guy needs a day off! He’s taking a look at Let’s Build a Zoo, and it’s not exactly the game you might think it is. After that, we have a ton of new releases to check out. This has been the busiest couple days in a while for new Switch releases, and we aren’t even into October yet. Then we’ve got the sales, and there are a fair few of those as well. Let’s go for it!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Let’s Build a Zoo ($19.99)
I recently interviewed Mike Rose, the founder of No More Robots about Descenders hitting mobile as the publisher’s first release on iOS and Android. When I asked what would potentially come to mobile next, he mentioned a few games including Let’s Build a Zoo. The simulation strategy sandbox hybrid has now just launched on console platforms including Nintendo Switch, and it is excellent with one caveat right now.
Let’s Build a Zoo, as the name suggests, has you taking care of tons of things relating to running your own zoo. You manage finances, staff, decisions with their own amazing writing and a morality scale, getting animals, upgrading, and much more. It starts out very simple, but quickly shows you how deep things can get. I was initially worried about how all of this would feel with a controller or even Joy-Cons given how uncomfortable they are for some games. Thankfully, the developers have done a great job with the radial menu and combination of bumpers and triggers to get things done.
It also helps that Let’s Build a Zoo has a great tutorial that eases you into everything. Your zoo within the first few days is going to look very different to how things are a week (in-game) later as you buy more land, start DNA splicing, breeding, hiring employees, building up your facilities, and more. It feels weird to talk about avoiding spoilers in a game like this, but I really think the writing in Let’s Build a Zoo is one of the highlights thanks to the humor and morality system at play.
All of this is carried by the lovely aesthetic and excellent soundtrack. The charming pixel art that is quite detailed and relaxing music come together to deliver a memorable experience that feels right at home on Nintendo Switch. If the Switch supported Quick Resume like Xbox Series X does, I’d make sure I have Let’s Build a Zoo pinned there for the foreseeable future given how much time I’ve been spending with it jumping in after long sessions with Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak and the Chaos;Head games recently.
I mentioned one caveat, and it has to do with the interface, but is a two part caveat. I hope future updates can improve the text size and make some interface elements larger. It feels great to play with a controller, but some touch support would’ve also been nice to have for handheld play letting you select enclosures or facilities. Performance is better than I expected on Switch given how some sandbox simulation games run which is nice to see.
Let’s Build a Zoo has tons of content in the base release, but you can take things further with the optional Dinosaur Island DLC that is available as an upgrade or in a bundle with the base game. The asking price for the game is more than worth it. I’m also glad to see a physical release bundled with the DLC available.
Let’s Build a Zoo is a dangerous game. When I decided to take a break from playing The Centennial Case on PS5 to spend a few minutes with Let’s Build a Zoo on Switch, I ended up putting in over an hour and barely realizing it was 1:30 AM. It is a perfect fit for a portable as well, but hope the UI issues can be addressed over time with updates. If you can deal with the small text and some interface elements, this is an essential. I like the controls, gameplay, writing, and never got tired of the music. While I’m sure it runs better on more powerful systems, I don’t think I’d trade portability for anything else with Let’s Build a Zoo, and I hope it does hit iPad in the near future. -Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris ($49.99)
I love how the name of this series implies the games based on it are online games when, generally speaking, they are not. At best you get some online modes like this one has. This game released a couple of years ago on other platforms, and by and large most assessments of it find it to be quite middling. But if you really like Sword Art Online and just want to have some fun action-RPG shenanigans with Kirito and company, don’t let that stop you.
Bullet Soul ($14.00)
If you’ve got a hankering for a vertical shooter, MAGES has a pair of blasts from the past for you to enjoy today. Bullet Soul originally came out on the Xbox 360 in Japan all the way back in 2011, with Western releases on the console and Steam following in 2016 and 2017 respectively. And now you can play it on your Switch! How nice. I do enjoy playing shoot-em-ups on my Switch. This one is livened up with its bullet cancelling mechanic and excellent soundtrack by Kenji Ito (Secret of Mana, Romancing SaGa 3) and Kouta Takahashi (R4: Ridge Racer, Klonoa 2). Normally I’d give it a ringing recommendation, but…
Bullet Soul -Infinite Burst- ($14.00)
Perhaps awkwardly, Bullet Soul -Infinite Burst- is an enhanced rerelease of Bullet Soul with some new features and extras. This one came out originally on the Xbox 360 in 2014. And, um, yeah. There’s actually no reason to buy the original Bullet Soul with this available. It has everything that game has and more. So buy this one if you’re interested in Bullet Soul. Not the other one. Not both. This one. This is the one to buy. Why would they release both of them on the same day? I do not know.
EA Sports FIFA 23 Nintendo Switch Legacy Edition ($39.99)
EA phones in another installment of FIFA, and I’m confident it will sell a ton as usual. It’s the same game as the last few years, just with updated rosters. Look at EA sneaking that “EA Sports” into the title in anticipation of its upcoming parting of ways with the FIFA brand. Oh well. Can’t really expect them to do more if they don’t have to.
Wow, they are really going for it with that price. So, Airoheart homages Link to the Past hard. Maybe harder than any other game I’ve ever seen. It does so adequately but utterly without inspiration. You have to ask yourself how much that is a problem for you, I suppose. What is less subjective is how much buggy and crash-prone this game is in its current form. Hopefully it will get patched up soon so we can go back to deciding how much of a crime it is for a game to have too few ideas of its own.
Lemon Cake ($29.99)
Here’s another farming game, this time with a time management component blended in. The story sees you running your own bakery. You’ll have to repair and decorate the rooms of the bakery, grow or gather the ingredients you need to make all of your tasty treats, whip together orders, and serve the customers before they get impatient. Oh, and the bakery may or may not be lightly haunted. Probably nothing to worry about. This one has a decent reputation in its computer form. We’ll see if it has what it takes to woo the Switch crowd as well.
Bunny Park ($19.99)
Decorate your park as you see fit and try to make an environment that will attract bunnies to come and hang out. Each bunny has its own personality, so you’ll have to think about how best to keep them happy. Don’t forget to give them a little petting once in a while, but try not to bother them too much. The bunnies come in a variety of patterns, and I suppose if you need a goal you can try to collect them all. This is another one that has a lot of fans of its other versions, so I don’t doubt its quality. I do, however, wonder why it’s four times the price on Switch that it is on Steam. Probably better to pick it up over there if you have the option.
Sakura MMO 2 ($9.99)
This visual novel continues the story of Kotone/Viola, who was zapped into the world of the MMO she was playing. Now that she has been there a while, the proverbial honeymoon period is starting to wane. She’s starting to ask questions, including the big one about whether or not she’ll ever be able to return to Japan. Well, it’s another Sakura game. You probably know by now if these are your thing. If they are, you’ll likely enjoy this one. If not… there’s nothing here that’s going to change your mind.
Caffeine: Victoria’s Legacy ($17.99)
And here’s another visual novel, this one with a few more choices on the table than the average one. The setting is a world of fantasy with a Victorian steampunk vibe. The hero, Taka, is returning to his homeland and finds himself at a coffee house that tickles his memories. This is a world where coffee is the most important thing around, and everything seems to involve it in some form or another. There are four different romance options and multiple endings based on the decisions you make. If nothing else, that weird premise counts for some points.
Paw Patrol: Grand Prix ($49.99)
Wait, it’s a Paw Patrol-themed kart racing game? Oh, this is going to make a whole bunch of money. Up to four players can join in via local multiplayer courtesy of splitscreen play. There are eleven different tracks to race on, and a variety of characters from the show to play as. Naturally there are also items that more or less do the same things the items do in Mario Kart. Obviously nowhere near as good in terms of gameplay or amount of content as Mario Kart, but Paw Patrol-loving kids aren’t going to care.
One Hell of a Ride ($6.99)
This game isn’t shy about name-dropping its sources of inspiration, and it paints a clear picture of what the developers were thinking about. Whether or not they achieved that goal, I leave up to you to decide. Anyway, this is a racing game with an emphasis on carnage, with weapons you can use to attack the other racers and potentially knock them out of the race completely. You can also smash them with your car, but that’s obviously a riskier play. It’s very reasonably priced, so if you like the sound of the premise you don’t have much to lose by rolling the dice on it.
9 Clues 2: The Ward ($14.99)
It’s been a while since the last Artifex Mundi release. I wondered if maybe they had tapped out because of the significant competition in their niche. But no, here we are with another hidden object adventure from one of the publishers best known for them. A pair of detectives are called to a psychiatric hospital located on a remote island. I feel like going there isn’t a great idea, but I guess something has to get the plot going. See if you can get to the bottom of things before you end up in the exact sort of condition you’d expect to be in after going to such an ominous location.
Shotgun Farmers ($9.99)
This is a shooter that can be played with up to ten players via online multiplayer. You can also play offline by yourself. The gimmick is that all the weapons are homegrown, with bullets serving as seeds to grow new ones. So if you get shot at, the bullets that whizzed past you will soon become a weapon of the same type. Bonkers. There are a few different modes to play, and you can unlock a ton of cosmetics to customize your farmer with.
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous – Cloud Version ($49.99)
It’s another one of those hard choices for Switch owners. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is a really good isometric RPG, one that is certainly worth playing for fans of the genre. But this is a Cloud Version, and that means you need to be anchored to a good internet connection at all times while playing it. If you have any other means of experiencing the game, they are are almost certainly going to be a better choice. If you don’t… well, download the demo and see how it runs for you.
This is an action-RPG that saw middling reviews for its computer version. Most of the mixed reviews come down to its overuse of tutorials and text dumps, along with some polish and difficulty scaling issues. On the other hand, the game was praised for its setting and world-building, and I can see why. It’s a cool science-fiction story about clashing multiverses, and I can’t say I have seen many games in this genre that look quite like it. I haven’t been able to dive into it, but I think you should probably wait for some reviews on how this particular port turned out before wading in.
Swarmrider Omega ($4.99)
If you enjoyed Swarmriders, here’s the next game in the series. It’s darker, it’s faster, and it features new power-ups and a denser swarm. For those unfamiliar with the previous game, this is a cross between an auto-runner and a twin-stick shooter. It’s a pretty neat little action game, albeit one you’ll probably exhaust somewhat quickly.
Guns N’ Runs ($9.99)
Yes, this game certainly features both of those things. It’s a fast-paced run and gun action game with eight different characters and a variety of weapons to use. There are twenty-three bosses to fell as you make your way through two hundred tightly-timed challenges. Seems like a decent game for the price, but I haven’t done much of a deep dive on it yet.
I find that clown unsettling. Sorry, I’m sure he’s a lovely boy and he seems to enjoy a good hug, but he troubles me. That said, I think I am supposed to find him a little creepy. This is a point-and-click style adventure game about a clown who just wants to bring a little joy to an overly negative and harsh world. It manages to thread the needle between comedy and horror quite well with its story, and if you’re going to love the game it is going to be for the narrative aspects. Its gameplay elements aren’t quite as endearing, but I could see people going one way or the other on that. I’ll have a review of this one as soon as I can stop screaming at the clown.
School Race GP ($10.00)
SAT-BOX has another game in its Desktop/Eraser series of games. This one is a kart racer that supports up to six players via local multiplayer splitscreen. You get fifteen courses to race on, so from a pure numbers standpoint this game is kind of looking like the winner for best kart racer of today’s games. Sadly, it does not have a Paw Patrol license so I imagine it will not be the sales victor.
Virtual Families Cook Off: Chapter 1 Let’s Go Flippin’ ($4.99)
Oh, I don’t like the look of that Chapter 1. I don’t like the look of it at all. This is another one of those time management cooking games. Customers come up and order food, you prep it and deliver it to them, and if you take too long they get angry and leave. I don’t know if this is made from a template or not, and that alone is not a great sign for a game. See you next week for Chapter Flippin’ 2.
Elite Soldier Shooter ($9.99)
Megame is definitely rising up in my list of junk game purveyors of late. They have a few poor efforts for us today, and this is probably the most ambitious of the lot. It’s a pretty generic single-player first-person shooter, and as you might expect it is not very good. Some will buy it anyway.
Sudoku Casual Puzzle ($9.99)
This is just another Sudoku game, with absolutely nothing to distinguish it from the many other Sudoku games on Switch.
Chess Classic Board Game ($9.99)
A completely generic, low-effort chess game. You can play against the CPU or another player in local multiplayer. You can do a lot better than this on Switch for around the same price.
Neon Mine ($4.99)
It’s just Minesweeper with a different visual theme.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Cuphead and its expansion DLC are on sale, and that is some good news. There are also sales on the Picross S games and several Arcade Archives titles, which happen so rarely I insist you at least give them a little attention. Not too much in the outbox for the weekend, but have a look at it anyway just in case.
Select New Games on Sale
Cuphead & The Delicious Last Course ($20.00 from $26.99 until 10/7)
Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course DLC ($7.19 from $7.99 until 10/7)
Squish ($10.49 from $14.99 until 10/12)
Superbeat: XONiC ($20.99 from $29.99 until 10/12)
Severed Steel ($16.24 from $24.99 until 10/13)
Underhero ($4.24 from $16.99 until 10/13)
Shikhondo: Soul Eater ($2.79 from $13.99 until 10/13)
Sunless Sea: Zubmariner Edition ($4.99 from $19.99 until 10/13)
The Procession to Calvary ($7.49 from $14.99 until 10/13)
Apsulov: End of Gods ($13.49 from $29.99 until 10/13)
Unto The End ($7.49 from $24.99 until 10/13)
Tamashii ($2.99 from $11.99 until 10/13)
Bloody Rally Show ($9.99 from $19.99 until 10/13)
Picross S ($6.39 from $7.99 until 10/13)
Picross S2 ($7.19 from $8.99 until 10/13)
Picross S3 ($7.99 from $9.99 until 10/13)
Picross S4 ($7.99 from $9.99 until 10/13)
Picross S5 ($7.99 from $9.99 until 10/13)
Picross S6 ($7.99 from $9.99 until 10/13)
Picross S7 ($7.99 from $9.99 until 10/13)
Picross S Genesis & MS ($7.99 from $9.99 until 10/13)
ACA NEOGEO Puzzle Bobble ($3.99 from $7.99 until 10/13)
Arcade Archives Time Tunnel ($3.99 from $7.99 until 10/13)
Arcade Archives Typhoon Gal ($3.99 from $7.99 until 10/13)
Arcade Archives Front Line ($3.99 from $7.99 until 10/13)
Arcade Archives Pirate Pete ($3.99 from $7.99 until 10/13)
Arcade Archives The Ninja Warriors ($3.99 from $7.99 until 10/13)
Seashell ($1.99 from $3.99 until 10/14)
Timberman: The Big Adventure ($3.34 from $4.99 until 10/14)
MotoGP 19 ($1.99 from $19.99 until 10/14)
Monster Energy Supercross 2 ($2.49 from $24.99 until 10/14)
Mad Games Tycoon ($11.99 from $39.99 until 10/14)
Mad Tower Tycoon ($8.99 from $29.99 until 10/14)
Pac-Man CE 2 Plus ($5.99 from $19.99 until 10/17)
Mr. Driller DrillLand ($7.49 from $29.99 until 10/17)
One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 ($8.99 from $59.99 until 10/17)
Katamari Damacy Reroll ($7.49 from $29.99 until 10/17)
Dragon Ball FighterZ ($9.59 from $59.99 until 10/17)
Dragon Ball Z Kakarot ($29.99 from $59.99 until 10/17)
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 ($7.49 from $49.99 until 10/17)
My Hero One’s Justice 2 ($14.99 from $59.99 until 10/17)
Sword Art Online Hollow Realization ($7.49 from $49.99 until 10/17)
Strike Buster Prototype ($3.49 from $6.99 until 10/17)
The Gardens Between ($5.99 from $19.99 until 10/17)
Death Park ($3.49 from $6.99 until 10/18)
Castle on the Coast ($5.99 from $14.99 until 10/19)
May’s Mysteries: TSoD ($8.99 from $14.99 until 10/19)
The Amazing American Circus ($6.99 from $19.99 until 10/19)
Effie ($5.99 from $19.99 until 10/19)
orbit.industries ($12.99 from $19.99 until 10/19)
This is the Zodiac Speaking ($2.98 from $12.99 until 10/19)
An NPC’s Odyssey ($3.49 from $4.99 until 10/20)
Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments ($14.99 from $29.99 until 10/20)
Anger Force Reloaded ($6.99 from $9.99 until 10/20)
Devil Slayer Raksasi ($9.99 from $14.99 until 10/20)
Heaven Dust ($3.99 from $7.99 until 10/20)
Heaven Dust 2 ($9.99 from $14.99 until 10/20)
Desktop Soccer ($2.13 from $7.11 until 10/20)
Our Winter Sports ($3.81 from $12.72 until 10/20)
G-MODE Archives29 Zanac ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/20)
Chef’s Tail ($5.17 from $11.49 until 10/20)
S.W.A.N. Chernobyl Unexplored ($5.62 from $12.49 until 10/20)
Ancient Islands ($6.86 from $12.49 until 10/20)
Trios Lofi Beats/Numbers ($2.95 from $7.99 until 10/20)
Feather ($3.69 from $9.99 until 10/20)
Sales Ending This Weekend
Armed 7 DX ($2.79 from $6.99 until 10/1)
Driving School Sim ($7.99 from $9.90 until 10/1)
Elena Temple: Definitive ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/1)
Extreme Trucks Simulator ($7.99 from $9.90 until 10/1)
Farmer Sim 2020 ($7.99 from $9.90 until 10/1)
Flight Sim 2020 ($7.99 from $9.90 until 10/1)
Gigantic Army ($3.59 from $8.99 until 10/1)
Glitch’s Trip ($3.24 from $12.99 until 10/1)
Gnome More War ($1.99 from $2.99 until 10/1)
Grand Guilds ($1.99 from $19.99 until 10/1)
High Noon Revolver ($1.99 from $2.99 until 10/1)
Real Driving Sim ($7.99 from $9.90 until 10/1)
Satazius Next ($2.79 from $6.99 until 10/1)
Ship Sim 2020 ($7.99 from $9.90 until 10/1)
Shmup Collection ($5.99 from $14.99 until 10/1)
Taxi Sim 2020 ($7.99 from $9.90 until 10/1)
The Last Survey ($1.99 from $14.99 until 10/1)
Towertale ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/1)
Twin Blades of the Three Kingdoms ($11.99 from $19.99 until 10/1)
Wolflame ($2.79 from $6.99 until 10/1)
Arcadia Fallen ($19.99 from $24.99 until 10/2)
BouncyBoi in Puzzle Land ($7.47 from $14.95 until 10/2)
Discolored ($3.49 from $9.99 until 10/2)
That’s all for today, this week, and this month. We’ll be back next week to start off October with more new releases, more reviews, more sales, and some news. As for me, I’ll be spending my weekend playing PSP games. That’s the current kick I am on. I hope you all have a nice weekend, and as always, thanks for reading!