Reviews Featuring ‘Freedom Planet 2’ & ‘Terra Memoria’, Plus the Latest Releases and Sales – TouchArcade

By admin Apr15,2024

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for April 16th, 2024. In today’s article, we’ve got a handful of reviews for you to dig into. I have my thoughts ready on Freedom Planet 2, Terra Memoria, Moonglow Bay, and Tengoku Struggle, and it’s a real assortment to be sure. After that, we have some new releases to look at including a new game featuring Inugami Korone, my very favorite Vtuber. After that, it’s sales time! Lists of new and expiring sales, as you like it. Let’s get this week going!

Reviews & Mini-Views

Freedom Planet 2 ($24.99)

I liked the first Freedom Planet more than I like most Sonic games. Just mentioning that now so that you know where I am coming from. I felt like the story bits were a little too much, but the actual gameplay mechanics and level designs were outstanding. I also really enjoyed the boss battles, though some of them were a little long for my liking. It wasn’t hard to spot its origins as a Sonic fan game, but it was an incredibly well-made one. My hopes for the sequel were that it could find a better story-to-gameplay balance, and that it could properly break free from its source of inspiration and fully become its own thing.

Well, I didn’t get everything I wanted, but Freedom Planet 2 is a solid improvement on the original. The cutscenes are a lot easier to tolerate, as they’re shorter and better paced. The game still feels like Sonic at times, but I think it’s moving in a good direction in that regard. Perhaps the most important thing is that the game itself shows a lot of enhancements across the board. The presentation is better, the level designs are more interesting, the various characters feel more natural within those stages, and the mechanics have been tightened up. It’s a terrific 2D action game, and fans of 2D Sonic should have a great time with it.

I won’t belabor the point here. Freedom Planet 2 takes everything Freedom Planet did right and does it better, while also making sure to improve on the things it didn’t do well. It’s still not a perfect game by any means, and it can’t quite escape the orbit of Sonic the Hedgehog. But maybe it doesn’t have to? Maybe it isn’t meant to? Perhaps it’s just fine if it’s a really great riff on Sonic‘s gameplay. It knows what it wants to be and executes on that amazingly well. If you like 2D platformers, you’ll want to put this game on your shopping list.

SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5

Terra Memoria ($19.99)

One thing I’ll give Terra Memoria: it has a lot of charm. I can really feel the passion that went into its creation, and early on it had me enchanted. The world design is intriguing, the characters who make up your party are distinctive, and the combat system takes a lot of cues from Grandia. That’s a good place to draw inspiration from. But the more the game went on, the more it lost me. The characters don’t get much development or fleshing out, the sub-systems often feel like an afterthought, and the battle system quickly becomes repetitive. By the end, I felt like I had played through a KEMCO RPG. A KEMCO RPG with an outstanding presentation, mind you.

The game is set in Terra, a fantasy world where magic makes everything go ’round. All is fine until some ancient robots awaken and start attacking. Six characters come together in these circumstances and must explore both the past and present to figure out what’s gone wrong and why. The turn-based battle system sees you exploiting weaknesses to try to delay the enemies’ turns, and it’s fun but never really challenges you to try new tactics. Nothing in the game demands more than simply picking at the enemies’ weaknesses with the best magic you’ve got.

There’s also a crafting system in here that you’ll mainly be using to build up your town/base, which is an enjoyable mechanic even if it isn’t very essential. There are other side quests beyond the town-building to complete, so the game certainly checks off the necessary boxes. But despite the game running a respectable twenty-ish hours, it never quite takes off the way you would hope. It feels like there’s half a game missing here. Not so much a missing second half, but rather bits and pieces cut from the game as it stands.

There’s a lot to like in Terra Memoria, especially in the game’s outstanding presentation. It’s clear its creators are fans of the RPG genre, and the foundation is here for something really great. Unfortunately, after a solid start the game doesn’t really build on things very well. Characters are paper-thin, the combat system quickly stagnates, and it all starts to feel like you’re just going through the motions. There’s enough gas in the tank here for me to recommend it to fans of the genre, though.

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

Tengoku Struggle -Strayside- ($49.99)

The latest visual novel release from Idea Factory and Aksys comes from many of the same people that worked on Olympia Soiree, a game that our pal Mikhail reviewed and really enjoyed. I’ll say this for Tengoku Struggle: you can tell it’s from the same writer as that game. There are a lot of heavy adult themes in this game, including sexual assault and necrophilia. Most of the guys in this game don’t hesitate to threaten the heroine in very forceful ways. Maybe that’s your thing, maybe it’s not. But consider yourself advised, if nothing else.

Rin Enma is the adopted daughter of the King of Hell, and she’s just passed her final tests and taken a position as a Hell Guardian. She has no memories of her life before she died, and is simply dedicated to helping her father as best as she can. When some sinners use a loophole to escape Hell, Rin’s father tasks her with going to the human realm to track them down. To help her out, Papa sends four of his best “dogs” – some of Hell’s worst sinners. They’ll all have to live together in a house in Asakusa, a task made all the more arduous by the fact that Rin has a strong dislike of men. Their investigation will reveal a lot of secrets, and Rin might just find love along the way.

You’ve got five routes to play here, each with a good and bad ending. Some are a lot better than others, and this is one of those games where it feels like it’s strongly pushing you towards one particular pairing. Everything is written well enough, dialogue-wise, and some of the routes have interesting stories to tell. The truth behind Rin’s existence isn’t too hard to figure out before it’s properly revealed, but there are a few shocking twists up the writer’s sleeve. I only ended up really enjoying two of the routes, and one of them did absolutely nothing for me at all. It sometimes felt like the writer was going a little too over the top without good reason to. I will say that I absolutely loved Papa Enma, whose voice actor completely sells the bizarre character he’s portrayed as here.

While Tengoku Struggle shows the usual high production values and polish seen in Idea Factory’s other visual novels, I found the story here just wasn’t quite up to the usual output we see from the developer. There’s some good in it, and the best route is certainly worth experiencing if the premise has intrigued you. The writer’s tendency to try to shock the reader in cheap ways gets a little out of hand here, and some of the romances really aren’t sold well. A decent effort, but given the generally high-quality output of Idea Factory in this genre, Tengoku Struggle has some difficulty making its mark.

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

Moonglow Bay ($24.99)

A tale as old as time, by this point. A decent game that is heavily dragged down by its terrible technical performance. To be clear, even if the game ran well, Moonglow Bay has its fair share of design issues. It’s a life sim of sorts where you’re fishing, cooking, interacting with townspeople, and running a business. These aspects aren’t balanced as well as they could be, with the basic tasks becoming incredibly tiresome very quickly and the business aspect undercooked and easily exploitable. The story has trouble finding a consistent tone, and the interface can often feel unintuitive.

None of this is as big of a problem as the technical side of the game, though. The game absolutely chugs as you walk around through the voxel-style world, to the point that I was almost feeling nauseous at times. A game that looks like this really shouldn’t run this poorly, so I’m hoping it’s an optimization issue that the developer can fix with some patches. Moonglow Bay is also extremely buggy. I ran into full-stop crashes back to the Switch’s home menu more often than I’d like, and sometimes cut-scenes would play multiple times in a row. I managed to get stuck in objects a few times, too.

It’s frustrating because despite the flaws in the game’s design, I found myself enjoying the basic loop well enough. It’s no Stardew Valley or anything, but it’s fine. I was really cheering for the protagonist as they tried to bring themselves and their town back to life. This is a game I want to enjoy, but it’s very difficult to do so in its current state. Had I not been playing the game for review, I would have bailed out very early due to how queasy it made me feel.

Moonglow Bay has a lot of good aspects to it that unfortunately are balanced against some balancing and pacing issues. All of this is overshadowed by the game’s buggy, unpolished state here on the Switch. Between framerate issues, crashes, collision mess-ups, and other bizarre bugs, it’s hard to properly get into the world the game is trying to build. I’m hoping the game can improve with some updates, because there is something here that compelled me when the problems weren’t pushing me away.

SwitchArcade Score: 3/5

New Releases

Evil God Korone ($3.95)

Yubi-yubi! The best Vtuber doggo comes to the Switch in this Korone-themed twist on Tsugunohi. Just like in the regular game, you’re walking to the left continuously as scary things happen. Korone is known for her occasional yandere tendencies, and she leans into it here as she goes full-blown evil god on us. Water in the fire, why?! Okay, this has a very particular audience. They know who they are, and they will probably pick it up even if they are base cowards who hate horror. No confidence.

Dream Tactics ($17.99)

A promising looking strategy RPG that blends deck-building elements with a fairly traditional take on the genre. The Dream World is in trouble, and you’re the only one that can save it. You’ll have to assemble a team and gather an assortment of cards as you battle your way through the evil Pillow Legions. The developers cite the Game Boy Advance era as their source of inspiration, and at least from what I’ve seen that tracks well enough. I’ll have to spend some time with this one to see if it’s as good as it seems.

The Bin Bunch

ZooKeeper ($10.99)

Overdelivery – Delivery Simulator ($7.99)

Perfect Knife ($0.99)

Sales

(North American eShop, US Prices)

A tiny list of new sales, but I sure can’t argue with Gimmick or Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf at those prices. Over in the outbox… not much at all. Not much at all. Well, I’ll leave it to you. It won’t take too long for you to scan both lists; I suspect you already have as you’ve read this.

Select New Sales

Gimmick! Special Edition ($7.49 from $14.99 until 4/22)
Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf ($2.49 from $9.99 until 4/24)
Bendy & the Ink Machine ($3.99 from $19.99 until 4/25)
Hexapoda ($4.99 from $12.99 until 4/29)
Kittengumi: The Sakabato’s Thief ($4.99 from $9.99 until 4/29)
Outer Terror ($7.99 from $9.99 until 5/3)
Virus Rush ($1.99 from $7.99 until 5/3)
Evil Nun: The Broken Mask ($13.99 from $19.99 until 5/3)
She Sees Red: Interactive Movie ($2.49 from $9.99 until 5/4)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, April 16th

Blazblue Centralfiction SE ($12.49 from $49.99 until 4/16)
Blazblue Cross Tag Battle ($4.99 from $19.99 until 4/16)
Instant Tennis ($1.99 from $9.95 until 4/16)
Pinball M: The Thing Pinball DLC ($4.66 from $5.49 until 4/16)
Railgrade ($19.49 from $29.99 until 4/16)
Sheepo ($3.84 from $10.99 until 4/16)
Stay Cool, Kobayashi-San! ($1.99 from $13.99 until 4/16)
Torn Away ($12.75 from $15.00 until 4/16)
Xiaomei & the Flame Dragon’s Fist ($8.99 from $14.99 until 4/16)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more reviews, more sales, more new releases, and perhaps some news. I had a nice weekend despite a lot of issues bearing down on me. I credit the fine weather and a rare chance to sleep in on a Sunday. I recommend both things. I hope you all have a magnificent Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!

By admin

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