Reviews Featuring ‘Wizardry’ & ‘Umbraclaw’, Plus the Latest Releases and Sales – TouchArcade

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for June 3rd, 2024. In today’s article, we’ve got a handful of reviews to get the week going. All from Shaun today, as our pal Mikhail is busy with other affairs. I give my thoughts on Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord, Umbraclaw, Goliath Depot, and Arcadia: Colony. After that we have a few new releases to check out, plus the usual lists of new and expiring sales. Plenty enough for a Monday. Let’s get into it!

Reviews & Mini-Views

Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord ($29.99)

It’s kind of impressive how relatively little you need to do to this forty-three year old game to make it work in the current year. That isn’t to downplay Digital Eclipse’s efforts with this remake, because they have done a stellar job updating what benefited from being updated while having the wisdom to leave alone what didn’t need it. It’s just that the core of Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord still feels really good. It’s really challenging, and not always in a good way, but I don’t think that style of difficulty is so out of place in the modern age. Its gameplay loop remains enjoyable, even if it’s a bit strict. Wizardry is as mysterious, cool, and compelling as it ever was.

But let’s talk about what Digital Eclipse has done for it, because it isn’t small. The presentation has gotten a massive overhaul, and that’s the first thing your eyes and ears will notice. The game communicates with the player more as well, with some helpful warnings and hints along with lore-building descriptions added in for good measure. There are a lot of useful new quality-of-life features that you can turn on or off as you like, though you shouldn’t expect any of them to make the game easy. Or even anything less than a cruel climb up a sheer cliff using only your teeth to hang on. Wizardry is not a game you can beat simply by being persistent. It is very beatable, but grinding alone isn’t going to save you.

You will have to grind quite a bit, though. The Wizardry loop involves going into the dungeon as far as you can safely manage and fighting enemies until you can level up. Then you go back to the town, do what you have to do, and head back in a little deeper to do the same. As you do this, you’ll hopefully build out your maps and start thinking about more optimal routes to cut down on the number of encounters you’ll have to deal with. Oh, and don’t forget to level up a back-up party to use as a rescue team when your main team inevitably gets ambushed and murdered by ninjas. You’ll have to retrieve those bodies and bring them back to revive them, after all.

That gets to one of the cool things about this remake of the game. It plays like the original game because at its core it is the original game, running the original code. You can see that original version playing out in a separate window if you like, and that’s quite fun to look at. I also want to highlight the new lore entries, because it really does add quite a bit to the game’s atmosphere. I wish Digital Eclipse had done a little more here in the vein of its documentary-style releases, but I understand that wasn’t really the goal here. It’s a way to play the original Wizardry on modern platforms with some sprinkles and a cherry on top, and in that capacity it does its job well.

Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord is an excellent remake, but not one to be taken lightly. In a change from Digital Eclipse’s usual documentary approach, this remake simply offers the original game with a fresh lick of paint and a few new optional features to make it more convenient (not easier!) to play. This is, at its heart, the same merciless dungeon crawling RPG it has always been. Whether that’s a challenge you want to tackle in the modern age is up to you, but there’s no better way to do so than through this fine effort.

SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5

Umbraclaw ($24.99)

Inti-Creates has often experimented with the idea of putting the degree of difficulty in the players’ hands in ways outside of a simple setting in the options menu. Even going as far back as Mega Man Zero, the player is able to sacrifice Cyber Elves to make the game easier at the cost of penalties to the player’s grades. But what if players don’t care about grades? There are a lot of ways to go about that, but Umbraclaw has one suggestion: rip your heart into pieces.

In this game, you’re playing as a cute little kitty. Your owner loves you very much. There’s just one problem: you’re dead. Well, it happens. This doesn’t have to be the end, however. You’ve awakened in the Soulplane (no relation to the Soul Train, presumably), and if you can make your way through it you can apparently return to the world of the living and reunite with your owner. Another issue immediately arises, though. The Soulplane is a very dangerous place, and you’re a cat. Not a Super Cat. Just a cat-cat. You have no means of attacking enemies, and a single hit will end your afterlife.

Luckily, cats have nine lives. Each time you die, you’ll come back complete with a new ability gained through absorbing another animal’s soul. This will make the game easier, and as you work through your lives and collect more of these souls, considerably so. But the more souls you absorb, the more of your self you lose, and eventually you might not even remember your owner anymore. And of course, if you reach the end of those nine lives you’ll get a game over and have to start the stage over. Basically, you can make things easier on yourself if you don’t care about the little kitty never reuniting with her owner. Nice.

You have ways of dealing with this, however. Whenever you beat a boss, you can purge all of the Hope Shards you’ve collected to return to your basic kitty form. But do you need those Hope Shards for anything else? Well, yes. You can use them to buy upgrades, permanent ones that persist in a New Game+ and will make it far easier to get to the better ending. Ideally you don’t want to be blowing these just to go back to your kitty form. Umbraclaw is essentially built to be replayed at least a couple of times before you reach a happy end. You need to just throw aside the idea of reaching the best ending on your first run. Hoard those crystals and buy some permanent upgrades. Once you have enough of those under your belt, then you can try for a real run.

The problem is that Umbraclaw isn’t that much fun to replay back-to-back, and the bad ending really does feel like a punch to the gut. A bitter pill that must be swallowed for a better tomorrow. But then you have to play through the same game again, hoping that this time you’re powerful enough and have memorized enough to do it better. It feels like the game is wasting my time and motivating me to accept it through emotional blackmail. It drags down the rest of the game, which is pretty solid. The usual Inti-Creates stuff, you know? Solid controls, fun bosses, a good presentation. That’s all here and doing its thing, keeping Umbraclaw from being a total bummer.

I’ll certainly give Inti-Creates some credit here. Umbraclaw is trying some things outside of the developer’s usual wheelhouse, and they are interesting things. It almost gets there, but it ultimately feels caught between being some kind of roguelite and being a more linear action game. I also think the way the difficulty works here is a bit too manipulative in a way that doesn’t feel good. With all that said, Umbraclaw is still a nice-looking game that is very playable, and even if it fails trying something I will at least commend it for trying.

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

Goliath Depot ($6.99)

For me, Flynns Arcade is at its best when it finds and publishes games that align with its name. You know, the kinds of games you would find in a 1980s arcade. Games like Donut Dodo, Galacticon, and Annalynn have all been treats. And hey, here’s another one. Goliath Depot sees you working your way through forty stages where your goal is to slam every door and get out. Baddies will get in your way, and you have a few different ways to take them out. They’ll respawn shortly however, so you’ll want to keep your eyes on your goal. Running through the main game doesn’t take much more than a half hour once you get it down, but between chasing better scores and times and finding all of its fun little secrets, Goliath Depot will keep you busy for a while.

If you’ve enjoyed the recent string of retro arcade throwbacks that have been brought to the Switch by Flynns Arcade, you’ll want to look into Goliath Depot. It has a nice presentation, the gameplay mechanics are unusual and easy to grasp, and it has a lot of replay value packed into it. Chasing your way up a leaderboard is what keeps arcade-style games going, and Goliath Depot nails that aspect quite well.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

Arcadia: Colony ($14.90)

Look, when it comes to a game with any amount of platforming in it, I really need the way the characters control to feel good. Certainly, it should not feel bad. The controls in Arcadia: Colony feel bad, and not intentionally so. Because of that, I couldn’t really enjoy the rest of it. I think the character-switching gimmick is neat, and it adds a nice twist to this entry in the very crowded Metroidvania genre. The presentation is a bit on the modest side, but it gets the job done. But gosh, the whole time I was playing this game it was fighting me on even the most basic of things.

There’s a half-decent game buried somewhere in Arcadia: Colony, but the unreliable controls and overall bad feel of the fundamental mechanics make it hard to find. If you’re incredibly patient and find the idea of a character-swapping Metroidvania particularly appealing, you might enjoy it more than I did. Nevertheless, I find this difficult to recommend.

SwitchArcade Score: 2.5/5

Select New Releases

Kittey 64 ($4.99)

I know there’s an audience for these, but I must admit to being slightly mystified at the appeal of some of them. I get that there is certain level of… random visual pop vomit that calls to mind the Nintendo 64 era of 3D platformers, but this just doesn’t look good to me. Maybe it plays well? I haven’t had the chance to play it yet, so I can’t really say. At ten levels for five dollars, I’m sure at least some 3D platformer fans will take a punt on it. If one of those people happens to be you, let us know in the comments how it turned out.

Ultra Mission ($2.99)

Hm. This is a top-down shooter with twenty levels, and you have to battle your way through slightly maze-like screens filled with killer robots. The location you’re traveling through is called Otto Labs. Wonder if that Otto is Evil? So yes, this is obviously a naked homage to Stern’s Berzerk, which is now Atari’s Berzerk. I don’t think it’s done with ill intent, so if you like that game and have three bucks to burn then you might enjoy what it offers.


(North American eShop, US Prices)

Bethesda sales again, I see. Nothing wrong with that. A few cool indies like Celeste and Owlboy, too. Also some EA games, and some hidden object games, and even some Dadishes. Who doesn’t like Dadishes? In the outbox: Jackbox stuff! Other things too, so why not check out both lists in your usual manner?

Select New Sales

TowerFall ($4.99 from $19.99 until 6/11)
Celeste ($4.99 from $19.99 until 6/11)
Owlboy ($9.99 from $24.99 until 6/15)
CLeM ($3.99 from $15.99 until 6/15)
Game Dev Tycoon ($7.49 from $14.99 until 6/15)
DOOM 1993 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 6/20)
DOOM II Classic ($1.99 from $4.99 until 6/20)
DOOM 3 ($3.99 from $9.99 until 6/20)
DOOM 64 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 6/20)
DOOM 2016 ($7.99 from $39.99 until 6/20)
DOOM Eternal ($9.99 from $39.99 until 6/20)
DOOM Slayers Collection ($14.99 from $49.99 until 6/20)
TES V: Skyrim ($29.99 from $59.99 until 6/20)
TES V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition ($34.99 from $69.99 until 6/20)
Super Mega Baseball 4 ($14.99 from $49.99 until 6/20)

Grounded ($27.99 from $39.99 until 6/20)
Burnout Paradise Remastered ($5.99 from $29.99 until 6/20)
Need for Speed Hot Pursuit ($7.99 from $39.99 until 6/20)
Lost in Random ($4.49 from $29.99 until 6/20)
Pentiment ($11.99 from $19.99 until 6/20)
Wolfenstein II New Colossus ($5.99 from $39.99 until 6/20)
Wolfenstein Youngblood ($4.99 from $19.99 until 6/20)
Quake ($3.99 from $9.99 until 6/20)
Quake II ($3.99 from $9.99 until 6/20)
Quake + Quake II Enhanced Bundle ($5.99 from $14.99 until 6/20)
Three Minutes to Eight ($2.99 from $14.99 until 6/21)
Itorah ($3.99 from $19.99 until 6/21)
Encodya ($2.99 from $29.99 until 6/21)
Lacuna ($1.99 from $19.99 until 6/21)
Fall of Porcupine ($7.99 from $19.99 until 6/21)

Detective Agency Gray Tie 2 ($2.99 from $14.99 until 6/21)
Twin Mind Murderous Jealousy ($3.74 from $14.99 until 6/21)
Twin Mind Power of Love ($3.74 from $14.99 until 6/21)
Twin Mind Nobody’s Here ($3.74 from $14.99 until 6/21)
Finding America: The Pacific Northwest ($7.99 from $9.99 until 6/21)
I Love Finding Furbabies($5.99 from $9.99 until 6/21)
Magic City Detective Wings of Revenge ($8.99 from $14.99 until 6/21)
Magic City Detective Secret Desire ($8.99 from $14.99 until 6/21)
Maze of Realities Flower of Discord ($8.99 from $14.99 until 6/21)
Maze of Realities Reflection of Light ($8.99 from $14.99 until 6/21)
First Time in Hawaii ($7.19 from $11.99 until 6/21)
Just Find It ($5.99 from $9.99 until 6/21)
Big Adventure Trip to Europe 5 ($8.99 from $14.99 until 6/21)
Nature Escapes 2 ($8.99 from $14.99 until 6/21)
Nature Escapes 3 ($8.99 from $14.99 until 6/21)

Mystery Box: Hidden Secrets ($5.99 from $9.99 until 6/21)
Demon Drop DX ($1.99 from $3.99 until 6/22)
The Cat ($1.99 from $9.99 until 6/22)
Super Fowlst ($7.99 from $9.99 until 6/22)
Super Fowlst 2 ($8.00 from $10.00 until 6/22)
Dadish ($7.99 from $9.99 until 6/22)
Dadish 2 ($7.99 from $9.99 until 6/22)
Dadish 3 ($7.99 from $9.99 until 6/22)
Daily Dadish ($7.99 from $9.99 until 6/22)
Dadish 3D ($11.99 from $14.99 until 6/22)
Molecano ($6.40 from $8.00 until 6/22)
Gravityscape DX ($1.99 from $3.99 until 6/22)
Headbangers: Rhythm Royale ($9.99 from $19.99 until 6/23)
Blasphemous 2 ($17.99 from $29.99 until 6/23)
DREDGE Deluxe Edition ($17.54 from $26.99 until 6/23)
Neon Abyss Deluxe Edition ($6.99 from $27.99 until 6/23)
The Escapists 2 GotY Edition ($5.39 from $26.99 until 6/23)
Worms Rumble ($2.99 from $14.99 until 6/23)
Overcooked! All You Can Eat ($15.99 from $39.99 until 6/23)
The Survivalists ($2.49 from $24.99 until 6/23)
Moving Out ($7.49 from $24.99 until 6/23)
Moving Out 2: Deluxe Edition ($16.49 from 32.99 until 6/23)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, June 4th

8th Millennium: War Against Pagan Gods ($14.99 from $29.99 until 6/4)
Back to Bed ($1.99 from $4.99 until 6/4)
Castle of Pixel Skulls ($1.99 from $4.99 until 6/4)
Devastator ($2.09 from $6.99 until 6/4)
EA Sports FC 24 ($17.99 from $59.99 until 6/4)
Fibbage XL ($4.49 from $9.99 until 6/4)
Halftime Heroes ($1.99 from $4.99 until 6/4)
Inferno 2 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 6/4)
Jack ‘n’ Hat ($1.99 from $7.99 until 6/4)
Lost Wing ($1.99 from $7.99 until 6/4)
Luckslinger ($1.99 from $9.99 until 6/4)
Lumini ($1.99 from $9.99 until 6/4)
MLB The Show 24 ($39.59 from $59.99 until 6/4)
Quiplash ($4.49 from $9.99 until 6/4)
Rainswept ($1.99 from $9.99 until 6/4)

SnowRunner ($19.99 from $39.99 until 6/4)
Synaxarion Acts Part 1 ($2.49 from $4.99 until 6/4)
The Bug Butcher ($1.99 from $7.99 until 6/4)
The Jackbox Party Pack ($11.24 from $24.99 until 6/4)
The Jackbox Party Pack 10 ($20.99 from $34.99 until 6/4)
The Jackbox Party Pack 2 ($12.49 from $24.99 until 6/4)
The Jackbox Party Pack 3 ($16.24 from $24.99 until 6/4)
The Jackbox Party Pack 4 ($12.49 from $24.99 until 6/4)
The Jackbox Party Pack 5 ($16.49 from $29.99 until 6/4)
The Jackbox Party Pack 6 ($16.49 from $29.99 until 6/4)
The Jackbox Party Pack 7 ($17.99 from $29.99 until 6/4)
The Jackbox Party Pack 8 ($17.99 from $29.99 until 6/4)
The Jackbox Party Pack 9 ($17.99 from $29.99 until 6/4)
The Jackbox Party Starter ($9.99 from $19.99 until 6/4)
The Last Dragon Slayer ($7.49 from $14.99 until 6/4)
Untitled Goose Game ($9.99 from $19.99 until 6/4)
Wonder Boy Anniversary Collection ($24.99 from $49.99 until 6/4)
Wonder Boy Asha in Monster World ($9.99 from $19.99 until 6/4)
Wonder Boy Collection ($14.99 from $29.99 until 6/4)
Xiaomei & the Flame Dragon’s Fist ($8.99 from $14.99 until 6/4)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more games, more sales, more reviews, and maybe even some news. I’m a bit tired today, and I don’t really know why. Maybe I’ve been playing too many games recently? No, that’s not possible. I’ll keep investigating to find some other reason to blame. I hope you all have a marvelous Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!

By admin

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