Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for January 15th, 2024. It’s a holiday today in the United States, but I live elsewhere so here I am. We’ve got a few reviews for you today. I take a look at Shinorubi and Headbangers: Rhythm Royale, while our pal Mikhail gives his thoughts on the Persona 5 Tactica expansion DLC. After that, it’s time for the new releases of the day. The early access Deluxe Edition of Prince of Persia The Lost Crown leads the charge, but there are a few other games to look at including Legend of Grimrock. After that, we’ll finish up in the usual manner with the lists of new and expiring sales. Let’s go!
Reviews & Mini-Views
There are some good aspects to Shinorubi. It has a nice sense of style. There are tons of extra modes to play. The scoring system, while very basic, is easy to pick up and work with. It has done its homework on the bullet hell genre, even if I’m not sure it actually understood it. If nothing else, it certainly functions as an example of the genre. But then you get to the things that don’t work as well, and it’s an odd combination of some questionable choices on the part of the developer and what I can only assume are unintentional slip-ups. The end result is something of a shoulder shrug of a game, and with this genre being as competitive as it is on the Switch it leaves the game in a rough spot.
The ideal display for a vertical shoot-em-up is a vertically-aligned one. A less ideal but still workable back-up is the old standard 4:3 set-up. The worst possible choice is to fill out the full horizontal area of a wide display, and that’s the way Shinorubi rolls. It gives you very short view of what’s ahead of you, giving you very little time to react to sprays of bullets. It also increases the area to your left and right for enemies to attack you from, making it feel incredibly claustrophobic. I won’t say it’s impossible to make a game like this work, but I will say that Shinorubi doesn’t. Heck, most of the bosses just park their butts in front of you because there just isn’t screen real estate to put a large boss ahead of you in full.
The enemies in Shinorubi aren’t very fun in general. There doesn’t seem to be much genuine variety in how they behave, and the bullet patterns from the smallest popcorn to the biggest boss are lacking. It doesn’t help that your ship’s movement is perhaps a little too sensitive, something even the slow laser doesn’t completely counteract. The game is also visually tricky to parse. Elements don’t stand out the way they need to at times, and I found I sometimes couldn’t tell the action from the background stuff a lot of the time. It was also not super-obvious where my little hitbox was on some of the characters. Between that and the limited screen space ahead of my ship, it was way too easy to die before I could even register what happened.
While I like the game’s art style, the graphics leave a lot to be desired. The stage backdrops are pretty dull, with more repetition than you want to see even in this genre. The designs of the enemies are fine, but as mentioned most of the bosses only show their back end and don’t look very cool in the heat of the action. The framerate is also inconsistent and certainly nowhere near the 60 fps you want to see in this genre. The sprites and backgrounds also look really rough on bigger displays. On the audio side, the sound effects hold up their end of things and the soundtrack is alright albeit very indistinct and forgettable.
Despite some interesting extra modes and a basic level of competency in most aspects, the places where Shinorubi falters really hurt the whole. The claustrophobic play field, muddy visuals, framerate issues, and overall bland design all add up to a game that feels like it wants to hang with the big dogs but has trouble keeping up with the chihuahuas at times. Shinorubi has a lot of heart behind it and it shows, but I really can’t find my way to recommending it with much vigor.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
Headbangers: Rhythm Royale ($19.99)
Hey, cute idea. Marry a rhythm game to a Battle Royale system and see who can keep the beat the best. Or at least, that’s what I thought it would be. Headbangers is less a multiplayer rhythm game and more a Mario Party game for those with an ear for music. Some of its minigames involve tapping along to some music, but just as many involve things like picking out what instruments you hear playing, or repeating a sequence Simon-style. Each player, and there can be up to thirty together online, is represented by a cute pigeon. You can dress them up, bob their heads, and so on. All in all, a nice presentation for this one.
Each game consists of four rounds, each one randomly drawing from one of the more than twenty minigames included in the game. There are also bonus rounds if you satisfy the requirements. In typical Battle Royale style, each round will knock out some of the players, and you have to keep up your pace if you don’t want to get sent home early. Some of the minigames can be a bit challenging, particularly if you don’t have a good ear for music, but hopefully anyone coming into this will be at least somewhat expecting that requirement. The game supports cross-play, and unless you want to be playing against bots I would advise turning that setting on. The Switch-specific community for this game seems quite dead, and I wasn’t able to find even one other human playing at any of the times I tried to play with cross-play off.
While the minigames are enjoyable enough on their own, there aren’t very many of them in the grand scheme of things. You’ll run into repeats before long, and you can assume anyone who is seriously playing online has probably been through all of them many times before. You’ll have to do that too if you want to unlock some of the neat customization options for your pigeon, but I don’t necessarily see it as a negative that a game is dripping out cosmetic options rather than throwing them all at you at once. It gives some sense of progression that might keep you coming back a little longer.
Headbangers: Rhythm Royale is a decent little online party game. I wish there was an option for local multiplayer, and I think it needs more minigames to keep things fresh. The cross-play feature is also a must to use, as the Switch community around it appears to be non-existent. It’s also important to know that this isn’t just a collection of rhythm games, but rather an assortment of music-themed minigames. Not bad overall, but it’s easy to see where some improvements could be made.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Persona 5 Tactica Repaint Your Heart Challenge Pack DLC Review ($19.99)
Usually, Atlus’ spin-offs have notable DLC arrive later on with the launch release offering cosmetics and useful items or Personas. With Persona 5 Tactica, we had what seemed like important DLC day one, and I was curious about it since I loved the base game. The Persona 5 Tactica Repaint Your Heart Challenge Pack is available as DLC for Persona 5 Tactica or included in the Digital Deluxe Edition. I didn’t get around to playing it pre-release, but finally played it during the holidays on Nintendo Switch. If you missed our coverage of the main game, we loved it. Read my Switch review here and I even featured it as the runner-up best SRPG on Steam Deck in 2023. Having seen the DLC through, it is a great addition to the game, but one that should’ve been cheaper.
If you bought the Persona 5 Tactica Digital Deluxe Edition, you would have had the Repaint Your Heart Challenge Pack and a few other packs included. If you only owned the base game, you can get this as paid DLC for $19.99, or as a part of the complete DLC bundle. Once you own it, you can access the expansion even without beating the base game through the DLC menu option on the main menu. This has its own save files and unlocks, and even benefits the new game plus with the addition of Kasume and Akechi who are playable in the DLC first.
With the contents and access out of the way, what the Persona 5 Tactica Repaint Your Heart Challenge Pack excels at, is its gameplay addition and the characters. Retaining the Persona 5 Tactica mechanics, there’s a new paint mechanic added here that behaves sort of like Splatoon. You need to avoid being on enemy paint while enemies try to avoid being on your paint. Being on enemy paint has disadvantages while being on your own color gives you a slight boost.
This mechanic dramatically changes how battles play out, and the Persona 5 Tactica Repaint Your Heart Challenge Pack has also proven to me that a Splatoon tactical RPG would absolutely work, and I hope Nintendo gets Atlus to make it after how well implemented that mechanic was here.
Beyond the new mechanic, there are a few bosses and an interesting story. The problem is you could see this DLC through in under 5 hours. The unlocks are good for new game plus in the base game, but it still feels like the asking price is too high for what is on offer. If you liked Persona 5 Royal and the base Persona 5 Tactica, I definitely recommend this, but only once it gets a discount.
The Persona 5 Tactica Repaint Your Heart Challenge Pack is an essential if you enjoyed the base game with its excellent new mechanic, stages, and character interactions. It is sadly overpriced right now, and would’ve been an instant recommendation without any caveats had it cost less. If you don’t own Persona 5 Tactica at all, I’d recommend getting the Digital Deluxe Edition when you can because the game and all DLC at a discounted bundle price is an easier recommendation than buying this DLC after paying for the base game. –Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Prince of Persia The Lost Crown Deluxe Edition ($59.99)
The latest game in the Prince of Persia series brings things back around to 2D, taking on the mantle of a rather large Metroidvania-style affair. You play as a warrior named Sargon, and you’ll need to use his skills and your wits to defeat enemies, solve puzzles, and uncover secrets. Yes, there is time manipulation. It’s just part of the package with this franchise now, I suppose. Anyway, this game is genuinely great, and I’ll have a review of it very soon. If you can’t wait, there’s a demo available you can try out. Note that only the Deluxe Edition is available today. The regular edition drops later this week. In addition to the early access, the Deluxe Edition also gives you a couple of cool bonus items and a digital guide.
Legend of Grimrock ($14.99)
I’d imagine this game doesn’t need too much of an introduction, but just in case, let’s go through it. Once upon a time there was a really great game called Dungeon Master. It was a first-person dungeon crawler, but it featured a lot of interesting puzzles and semi real-time action. A lot of people liked it, and things were lovely. Many years later, some fans of that game made their own game inspired by it, and it turned out to be excellent. That game is Legend of Grimrock, which you can now buy and play on your Switch. Good stuff.
Ultimate Racing 2D 2 ($9.99)
Shockingly, this is the sequel to Ultimate Racing 2D. Another top-down racing experience, with a local multiplayer mode for up to eight players. You’ve got thirty-five racing classes, almost fifty tracks, a few different modes including a single-player career mode, and a team customization feature. For what it’s doing, it’s a more than agreeable example. Fans of classic racers like Super Sprint should give this a closer look and see if it’s up their alley.
The Bin Bunch
Gladiatorial Conquest Battle: Arena of Legends ($9.99)
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Another relatively quiet day for new sales, but there are a few things in there worth considering. Fur Squadron might be of interest to Star Fox fans, Pan’orama is a relaxing building puzzle that goes down easier at a discount, and it’s never a bad day to play Cat Quest if you haven’t. Over in the outbox, Sophstar and No Man’s Sky are the games that catch my eye. Take a look through both lists and see what strikes your fancy.
Select New Sales
Fur Squadron ($3.84 from $6.99 until 1/20)
Pan’orama ($13.99 from $19.99 until 1/20)
Gamedec: Definitive Edition ($2.99 from $29.99 until 1/22)
Blazing Beaks ($1.99 from $14.99 until 1/22)
Arise: A Simple Story DE ($2.99 from $19.99 until 1/22)
Metamorphosis ($1.99 from $24.99 until 1/22)
Golf Club Nostalgia ($1.99 from $9.99 until 1/22)
Cat Quest ($3.89 from $12.99 until 1/27)
Door Kickers ($1.99 from $11.99 until 1/28)
Neodori Forever ($1.99 from $4.99 until 1/28)
BIT.TRIP Runner ($1.99 from $4.99 until 1/28)
Blade of Darkness ($2.95 from $14.99 until 1/29)
Super Cyborg ($2.09 from $6.99 until 1/29)
Pixel Cafe ($6.49 from $12.99 until 2/2)
Construction Simulator 2 US ($6.99 from $19.99 until 2/2)
Anime Girls: Highschool of Dead ($3.99 from $7.99 until 2/2)
What The Duck ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/2)
Kitten Hero ($3.99 from $4.99 until 2/2)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, January 16th
Bit Orchard: Animal Valley ($1.99 from $6.99 until 1/16)
Cat Simulator ($1.99 from $14.99 until 1/16)
D-Corp ($1.99 from $17.99 until 1/16)
Deflector ($1.99 from $22.99 until 1/16)
For The Warp ($2.87 from $17.99 until 1/16)
Helvetii ($8.49 from $16.99 until 1/16)
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle ($13.99 from $39.99 until 1/16)
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle Gold ($20.99 from $59.99 until 1/16)
No Man’s Sky ($29.99 from $59.99 until 1/16)
Nora: The Wannabe Alchemist ($4.99 from $19.99 until 1/16)
Nuclear Blaze ($7.49 from $14.99 until 1/16)
Package Rush ($1.99 from $14.99 until 1/16)
Sky Caravan ($1.99 from $19.99 until 1/16)
Sophstar ($6.49 from $12.99 until 1/16)
Space Tail: Every Journey Leads Home ($6.99 from $9.99 until 1/16)
The Blind Prophet ($1.99 from $24.99 until 1/16)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more sales, more reviews, and perhaps some news. I’m once again headed to the hospital tomorrow for a blood test and check-up, but I should have more than enough time to write up tomorrow’s article. You know, unless I get hospitalized again or something. I hope you all have a magnificent Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!