Reviews Featuring ‘Pentiment’ & ‘Sympathy Kiss’, Plus Today’s New Releases and Sales – TouchArcade

By admin Mar4,2024

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for March 4th, 2024. Another week is upon us, and while the Switch just blew out seven candles on its cake, things continue to move along around here at a rapid speed. We’ve got a handful of reviews for you to enjoy today. Our pal Mikhail has his thoughts on Pentiment, Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story, and Cricket Through the Ages. Busy beaver the last few days, to be sure. I’ve got a review for you too, looking at Idea Factory’s Sympathy Kiss. After that, we head to the bins for a full load of dubious new releases, then finish things up by checking out the lists of new and expiring sales for the day. Let’s get out on the road!

Reviews & Mini-Views

Pentiment ($19.99)

Last year, I spoke to Josh Sawyer around Pentiment‘s anniversary to discuss the game, his career, cheese, and much more. In that interview, I asked if there was a chance Pentiment could hit iPad or Switch in the future, and he mentioned that he’d love the game to be on as many platforms as possible, but “time will tell.” Fast forward to last week and Pentiment hit Nintendo Switch and PlayStation platforms as the first of a few Xbox exclusives being ported over. When I originally bought the game on Xbox and Steam and fell in love with it, I always said I’d buy every port it gets, and here we are.

Having bought Pentiment on both Switch and PS5, I was curious to see how I felt about the game a little over a year after it debuted. I featured Pentiment as one of the best Steam Deck games of 2022, but how does it feel on Nintendo Switch? The answer is it feels perfect with one small caveat that may or may not affect you. Before getting into the port specifics and how Pentiment feels across every platform, I wanted to go into a bit about why it is a special game.

If you’ve never heard of it or aren’t sure why Obsidian’s Pentiment coming to Switch and PlayStation platforms is a big deal, it is a historical narrative-driven adventure game that is set in 16th century Bavaria that floored me when I originally experienced it. You play as Andreas Maler who is trying to get to the bottom of a conspiracy across a multi-generational story that has elements of detective adventures. So the premise is interesting, but what sets Pentiment apart from other adventure games barring its aesthetic, is in its branching systems that change how you can experience things and what you can see.

This is what got me to keep dipping back into Pentiment multiple times since its launch, and even keep it installed on my Steam Deck to just jump into again because it is that good. Pentiment will make you question a lot of things including how you feel about history in general and your own place in the world.

Since it is a narrative-focused experience, I won’t spoil anything, but even with no voice acting, Obsidian managed to deliver some of the most memorable characters, and this is enhanced by its amazing use of historical fonts and effects for different characters. Pentiment uses a ton of stylized fonts for its dialogue, but you can opt for a more readable experience through an in-game setting. In fact, the accessibility settings have been really good with text size and speed mostly to help me replay it on my TV and also try it on multiple screen sizes over the last week.

Visually, Pentiment is stunning. It has superb animations, character designs, and transitions through its stylish menus. Josh praised Hannah Kennedy, the art director, quite a bit in my interview with him, but Hannah and everyone else responsible for the art really did a stunning job here making even minor characters look distinct and stick with you through the story.

On the audio side, Pentiment does a lot without actual voice acting. This is through various atmospheric sound effects, some small expression clips, and the game’s superlative soundtrack from Alkemie. I don’t buy a lot of game soundtracks on vinyl anymore, but made an exception for Pentiment with its recent repress. The score perfectly complements the narrative moments and even adds some surprising flavor to others.

Having played Pentiment on Xbox Series X and Steam Deck last year, I enjoyed it a lot more on Valve’s handheld. Fast forward to today, I’ve also played it on Switch (OLED and Lite), and recently tried it on PS5. The Steam Deck and Switch versions are still my favorite, and I hope Pentiment comes to iPad in the future. But before that, I wanted to briefly cover what to expect on each console right now.

On Switch, Pentiment has minor frame pacing issues in only specific scenes, but runs and looks great otherwise both docked and handheld. If you want to play Pentiment only on TV or a monitor and have a PS5, I’d get that version as it is higher resolution and has faster load times. The PS5 version also runs at up to 120fps if your display supports it. On Switch, the load times are not bad, but they aren’t as fast as the PS5 as expected. The Xbox version currently doesn’t support 120hz, but that is apparently a bug that will be fixed. It does support Quick Resume though on the console which is good to have.

We don’t usually cover PS5 and Xbox stuff here unless it relates to how a game is compared to the Switch, mobile, or Steam Deck versions, but I wanted to also mention how Pentiment on PS5 has support for the Activity Cards to instantly get into your save. The haptics aren’t as good as they could’ve been on Sony’s console.

I’ve praised Pentiment a lot, but if you’re curious about any of its faults, I only really wish it had touchscreen support on Switch. Barring that, there’s nothing I didn’t like about it back then, and I’ve loved revisiting it. If you aren’t a fan of games that make you read a lot like pure visual novels or historical settings, this may not be for you though.

I usually don’t comment on a game’s price, but Pentiment feels underpriced even as a late port. That’s a good thing because it lowers the barrier of entry to make those who may not have tried a game in the genre or something like this before to give it a shot, but I still wanted to make a note of how cheap it is for the quality and what you’re getting here.

When Pentiment came out, it felt like a game laser focused in its direction and target, and it delivered in spades. It will not be for everyone, but I think the accessibility options for readability and text in general make it more approachable. Hopefully with it now on PS5, PS4, and Switch over a year after its debut, more people give it a shot.

It turns out Pentiment, just like good cheese (ask Josh Sawyer about this) and wine, only gets better with age. Not only do I think it is a magnificent experience from start to finish like it was back on Steam Deck, but it has found a new home on Nintendo Switch delivering the full experience with gorgeous visuals on the OLED screen. If you skipped it before, now is the time to rectify your error and play one of the greats. Hopefully Obsidian can add touchscreen support in an update because that’s literally the only thing I’d like to see added in this port. -Mikhail Madnani

SwitchArcade Score: 5/5

Cricket Through the Ages ($7.99)

Devolver Digital and Free Lives’ Cricket Through the Ages arrived on Nintendo Switch and PC a few days ago following its debut on Apple Arcade. I already played it on iPhone back then, but it has been fun revisiting the game with all updates to see how the hilarious physics-based madness feels on Nintendo Switch.

If you’ve not played it before, Cricket Through the Ages is a single button physics-based party game that aims to teach you about Cricket and more. As you progress through the stages and “learn” more about the sport, you unlock more modes that are even more over the top in their gameplay. I always thought Cricket Through the Ages was a lovely one and done experience on Apple Arcade, but it has since been updated to add more modes and mini-games. Right now, Cricket Through the Ages is a hilarious party game that isn’t as much fun solo.

Visually, Cricket Through the Ages has always been a very colorful game, and it looks excellent on Nintendo Switch in handheld mode. It does look better on modern iOS devices given the better screens, but you aren’t missing much if you play on Switch. The Switch also lets you have a better local multiplayer experience from the get go. On Switch, Cricket Through the Ages has both touch and button controls, and it even supports single Joy-Con play allowing for an out of the box local multiplayer experience.

I always thought Cricket Through the Ages was a great short experience that was a lovely addition to Apple Arcade. As a standalone paid game though, it is a bit harder to recommend unless you’re buying it to play as a hilarious party game with friends. Thankfully the low asking price makes it an easier pill to swallow, and the Switch port is very good. I do hope the developers add more to it though in potential updates. -Mikhail Madnani

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story ($24.99)

Playing Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story has been a rollercoaster in many ways. It being the final Riot Forge release makes me sad, because despite my issues with some of the games, I loved the initiative from Riot, and hoped we’d see more premium games in the League of Legends universe from other developers. When Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story was announced as a crafting RPG in its debut trailer, I was excited to play it, but was curious how it would compare with other games in the genre. Having now played it on both Switch and Steam Deck, the game has a lot of potential, but has a few things holding it back.

Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story by Lazy Bear, who made Graveyard Keeper, is a blend of gorgeous colorful visuals, crafting, and relaxing music. You will knit, explore, cook, build gadgets, help others, and more as you work on reuniting Bandle City. A lot of crafting, cozy, and simulation focused RPGs live or die by how they manage to balance the feel of a grind with story or other progression. Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story is very inconsistent in that regard. You could go an hour having fun exploring and gathering and suddenly run into tedium navigating sluggish interfaces to finish some tasks. These things make it feel like an early access release sadly. I regularly play farming and simulation RPGs and while Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story excels in its aesthetic and charm, it needs more work in its actual gameplay and structure.

As a game aimed at a younger audience, Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story gets a lot right, but it feels a bit too grindy in parts during its long runtime. While the Switch version has uneven performance and sluggish movement in many areas, even the PC version on Steam Deck version seems to have some issues. Most of these relate to how the character movement feels and some judder with the camera. This might not affect you, but the judder during movement gave me motion sickness in some locations. I hope it can be fixed in post launch updates if any are planned.

Bandle Tale: A League of Legends Story could’ve been a much better experience had it seen a bit more polish and tweaking in some of its mechanics and structure. There’s a lovely base here to build on, but there are a few too many things holding it back from being an easy recommendation, and the technical issues on Switch don’t help. It is however a good pick up and play experience and is approachable even by complete newcomers to the universe. -Mikhail Madnani

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

Sympathy Kiss ($49.99)

Perhaps due to the sheer volume of romance-themed visual novels out there, it’s fairly common for them to have some kind of twist that helps them stand out. Idea Factory, via the Otomate line, is no stranger to that kind of thing. So it’s strangely refreshing to see a game like Sympathy Kiss, a game that combines a relatively down-to-Earth premise with the high level of polish we’ve come to expect from this publisher’s work. No fantasy world, no magic, no reincarnation; just an ordinary modern setting with ordinary people and mostly (mostly!) normal relationships.

The heroine, whose default name is Akari Amasawa, is a junior designer at a mobile app company. She enjoys the job well enough and seems to be good at it, but she’s still searching for her “thing”. The company itself is quite successful, but its original flagship product, a news app called Estarci, has lost popularity to the point that it’s at risk of being shut down. Akari is suddenly invited to join the small team assigned to try to save it. If they succeed, it would be a feather in all of their caps. If they fail… well, they’ll probably lose their jobs. Akari will have to learn as she goes, all while trying to get along with a rather unusual team.

The gameplay systems here are also quite ordinary. You’ll be prompted to make choices here and there, which sometimes comes in the form of dialogue and sometimes in emotions. Those choices will determine which route you end up on and which ending within that route you’ll arrive at. There are six main romanceable characters, plus two secret ones. They cover a lot of the usual archetypes of this genre, but the writing quality manages to put enough of a spin of them that they mostly avoid being too plain or predictable. You’ll almost certainly like some better than others, but that’s always the case. Do note that one of the characters, predictably, goes full yandere and does some pretty skeevy stuff. It might not be something everyone is comfortable with.

All the usual options and features we see in Idea Factory’s visual novels are present and welcome. As already mentioned, Sympathy Kiss in its nuts and bolts is fully up to the usual standards of the publisher. The characters are nicely realized, the prose is well-written, the art is excellent, the voice acting (Japanese only) is well-done, and the wide array of routes to play through gives you plenty to do. The setting is as slice-of-life as it gets, but the main plot and the heroine’s role in it are both engaging enough to serve the purpose.

Sympathy Kiss probably won’t knock anyone’s socks off, but sometimes it’s nice to get a game that colors inside the lines with a fair amount of skill. The office setting and highly grounded plotline work as a useful anchor for the often unusual characters you’ll be meeting, and with a total of eight routes to play through there is bound to be a favorite dude here for anyone’s tastes. Its greatest strength is also its greatest weakness; it’s a very ordinary visual novel in just about every regard. Come in with those expectations, and you’ll find this a decent enough treat.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

New Releases

The Bin Bunch

Crazy Goose Simulator ($12.99)

Pool Together 2 ($4.99)

Taser Gun ($0.99)

Buggy Race – Racing Master ($11.99)

Gravityscape DX ($3.99)

Hexa Puzzle Block ($3.99)

Fantasy Tower Defense Ultimate ($3.99)

Chimp Quest: Spirit Isle ($9.99)

Sales

(North American eShop, US Prices)

A nice Marvelous/XSEED sale to start the week off with. Nice. Rebellion’s also doing some deep discounts on its titles, and they’re almost all worth trying out. Not much in the outbox of note, but some good games in there to be sure. Have a gander through both lists to see if there’s anything you’re in the mood to pick up.

Select New Sales

Sakuna: Of Rice & Ruin ($14.99 from $29.99 until 3/12)
No More Heroes ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/12)
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/12)
Silent Hope ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/12)
Trinity Trigger ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/12)
Trinity Trigger Deluxe ($22.49 from $49.99 until 3/12)
Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle LE ($14.99 from $29.99 until 3/12)
Loop8: Summer of Gods ($11.99 from $39.99 until 3/12)
Deadcraft ($6.99 from $19.99 until 3/12)
Deadcraft Deluxe ($8.99 from $29.99 until 3/12)
Rune Factory 3 Special ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/12)
Rune Factory 3 Special Deluxe ($24.99 from $49.99 until 3/12)
Rune Factory 4 Special ($14.99 from $29.99 until 3/12)
Rune Factory 5 Deluxe ($24.99 from $49.99 until 3/12)
Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/12)


Story of Seasons: Mineral Town ($15.99 from $39.99 until 3/12)
Story of Seasons: Olive Town ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/12)
Gal Metal ($4.99 from $19.99 until 3/12)
Touhou: New World ($14.99 from $24.99 until 3/12)
Melon Journey Bittersweet Memories ($4.49 from $14.99 until 3/12)
Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed ($7.99 from $19.99 until 3/12)
Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed ($14.99 from $29.99 until 3/12)
Corpse Party ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/12)
Corpse Party Blood Drive ($7.99 from $19.99 until 3/12)
Freedom Planet ($4.49 from $14.99 until 3/12)
The Pale Beyond ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/14)
Citizen Sleeper ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/14)
Paradise Killer ($7.99 from $19.99 until 3/14)
The Stillness of the Wind ($1.99 from $12.99 until 3/14)
Red Dead Redemption ($34.99 from $49.99 until 3/15)


GTA The Trilogy DE ($29.99 from $59.99 until 3/15)
L.A. Noire ($24.99 from $49.99 until 3/15)
Borderlands 3 Ultimate Edition ($29.99 from $59.99 until 3/15)
Tears of Avia ($4.94 from $14.99 until 3/15)
Adventure Academia: TFC ($23.99 from $39.99 until 3/15)
Raging Loop ($14.99 from $29.99 until 3/15)
The Dragoness: Command of Flame ($13.49 from $17.99 until 3/15)
Lair Land Story ($8.24 from $14.99 until 3/15)
Archetype Arcadia ($23.99 from $29.99 until 3/15)
Gravity Heroes ($2.24 from $14.99 until 3/15)
The Plane Effect ($3.74 from $14.99 until 3/15)
Zengeon ($3.99 from $19.99 until 3/15)
Die After Sunset ($15.99 from $19.99 until 3/15)
Valthirian Arc: HSS 2 ($13.99 from $19.99 until 3/15)
Strange Brigade ($6.99 from $34.99 until 3/15)
Strange Brigade Deluxe ($11.99 from $59.99 until 3/15)


Zombie Army Trilogy ($8.74 from $34.99 until 3/15)
Zombie Army 4: Dead War ($14.99 from $49.99 until 3/15)
Sniper Elite V2 Remastered ($8.74 from $34.99 until 3/15)
Sniper Elite 3 UE ($8.74 from $34.99 until 3/15)
Sniper Elite 4 ($9.99 from $39.99 until 3/15)
Sniper Elite 4 Deluxe ($14.99 from $59.99 until 3/15)
Battlezone Gold Edition ($6.99 from $34.99 until 3/15)
Psyvariar Delta ($14.99 from $29.99 until 3/16)
Penguin Wars ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/16)
Japanese Rail Sim: Journey to Kyoto ($34.99 from $49.99 until 3/16)
OlliOlli World Rad Edition ($14.84 from $44.99 until 3/18)
Whateverland ($5.99 from $14.99 until 3/19)
Mystery Box Evolution ($7.99 from $9.99 until 3/21)
All I Want for Christmas are Subgames ($7.99 from $9.99 until 3/21)


Connected Hearts Full Moon Curse CE ($11.99 from $14.99 until 3/21)
Connected Hearts Fortune Play CE ($11.99 from $14.99 until 3/21)
Twin Mind Ghost Hunter CE ($8.99 from $14.99 until 3/21)
Big Adventure Trip to Europe 4 CE ($5.99 from $14.99 until 3/21)
One More Dungeon 2 ($11.99 from $14.99 until 3/22)
Druidwalker ($1.99 from $2.99 until 3/22)
Suicide Guy The Lost Dreams ($4.95 from $7.99 until 3/22)
Turnip Boy Robs A Bank ($11.99 from $14.99 until 3/22)
Livestream 2: Escape from Togaezuka ($19.99 from $24.99 until 3/22)
Sentimental Death Loop ($13.99 from $19.99 until 3/22)
Love on Leave ($14.99 from $24.99 until 3/22)
Retimed ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/23)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 5th

Burnout Paradise ($5.99 from $29.99 until 3/5)
Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium, Assorted ($0.99 from $1.99 until 3/5)
Capcom Arcade Stadium, Assorted ($0.99 from $1.99 until 3/5)
Choo-Choo Charles ($15.99 from $19.99 until 3/5)
Cynthia: Hidden in the Moonshadow ($11.19 from $13.99 until 3/5)
Fe ($3.99 from $19.99 until 3/5)
Full Quiet ($3.49 from $9.99 until 3/5)
It Takes Two ($19.99 from $39.99 until 3/5)
Little Orpheus ($7.79 from $12.99 until 3/5)
Lost in Random ($2.99 from $29.99 until 3/5)
Make Way ($9.89 from $14.99 until 3/5)
Mighty Switch Force! Collection ($6.99 from $19.99 until 3/5)
Mystic Gate ($6.49 from $9.99 until 3/5)
Need for Speed Hot Pursuit ($7.99 from $39.99 until 3/5)
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero ($6.99 from $19.99 until 3/5)
Snake Pass ($8.19 from $19.99 until 3/5)
Super Mega Baseball 4 ($19.99 from $49.99 until 3/5)
The Isle Tide Hotel ($14.99 from $19.99 until 3/5)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more (and hopefully better) new releases, more sales, some reviews, and perhaps some news. I’ve been really exhausted the last few days, and the amount of tea in my work fridge is woefully insufficient. Cold water over my head it is. I hope you all have a magnificent Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!

By admin

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