Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for August 28th, 2023. In today’s article, our pal Mikhail comes in hard and fast with three, count ’em, three full reviews. He’s got a new game! He’s got a slightly older one! He’s even got DLC! Wow Mikhail, you’re quite the hard worker. Yours truly is guarding the rear with a review of his own, plus the summaries of the latest releases. We finish things up in the usual manner by covering the lists of new sales and expiring discounts. Let’s get going!
Reviews & Mini-Views
The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood ($17.99)
When the developers of The Red Strings Club had a new game coming out through Devolver Digital, I knew I had to play it. I wasn’t sure what to expect barring a compelling story, but Deconstructeam went above and beyond with The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood, one of the best indie games of 2023 so far.
The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood blends in tarot cards (with tons of customization), deckbuilding, magic, branching paths, amazing characters, gorgeous pixel art, and superb music to be truly special. I was surprised to see it almost become a different game around the middle, and while I preferred the mechanics in the opening parts, it still ended up handling everything well. No spoilers here given the plot-heavy experience, but if you did like The Red Strings Club, you will love the way Deconstructeam’s narrative unfolds here.
You play as Fortuna who is a witch on an asteroid. Your aim is to find your friends after a long exile, meet new people, travel across time, and more with the help of your cards that you make. The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood might seem like one of those space and time travel narratives, but it is very well done not only with how it handles important topics, but also its pacing.
On Nintendo Switch, The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood has full touch support. The game itself feels designed for mouse controls, so touch feels natural. It does work pretty well with a controller, but I ended up playing it almost exclusively in handheld mode on Switch.
The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood is instantly one of the best indie games of 2023. It is Deconstructeam’s finest work yet, and proves that Devolver Digital still has it in them to publish the kind of games I originally became a fan of theirs for in the first place. Now we just need a physical release with a nice big artbook for all the cards and gorgeous pixel art included in The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood. -Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5
Cassette Beasts ($19.99)
Back in June, I wrote about Cassette Beasts in my feature on the best new indie games to play on Steam Deck. While the game itself was excellent and a superb monster collecting experience, Cassette Beasts launched in a very rough state on Switch and Xbox. Fast forward to today, it is in a much better place on Nintendo’s hybrid console, but there’s still work to be done.
While many games have tried to do interesting things in the monster collecting genre, few succeed like Cassette Beasts does. It also goes above and beyond with its audio design. I thought the visual style and music would feel disconnected, but it just works. The many beasts, great designs, fun combat, and exploration make Cassette Beasts one of the best games in the genre. It just needs some more optimization on Switch to be an essential for all.
The reason I waited this long to do my Cassette Beasts Switch review, is that I physically could not play the game before the latest update. I got motion sickness playing Cassette Beasts at launch on Switch after a few minutes and had to close the game. I loved the game on Steam Deck, but it wasn’t great even on Xbox Series X initially.
The developers have done a great job making use of the Switch’s features. Not only does Cassette Beasts support HD Rumble really well, but it also has touchscreen support. I used buttons to play, but I love being able to navigate the interface and progress through dialogue and combat.
Having played Cassette Beasts on Steam Deck, Xbox Series X, and Switch, I’d go Steam Deck as the best version followed by Nintendo Switch to play in handheld mode. On Switch, there are frame pacing issues and some draw distance cutbacks compared to Steam Deck, but it is a lot better than it was at launch right now. I’ll be revisiting the game when to see if any technical issues have been addressed.
Cassette Beasts on Switch isn’t perfect right now, but it is a superb monster collecting game that does many things better than the genre kings. It excels with its style, music, and gameplay, and is a game I hope gets a physical release soon. I’m looking forward to trying the DLC when it does launch on Switch. -Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Two Point Campus: Medical School ($9.99)
Having reviewed the base game, the Space Academy DLC, and the School Spirits DLC, I was excited to see what the studio would do with Two Point Campus: Medical School. I did not expect it to essentially be Two Point Hospital Lite brought into Two Point Campus. This could be good or bad news depending on who you ask.
This DLC includes three new campus locations: Lake Tumble, Molten Rock, and Pointy Peak. Barring the new locations, it adds new courses, student types, many items, and special events. It is definitely better value than the last DLC, but I feel like some might prefer just playing Two Point Hospital instead of a lite version of that essentially inside Two Point Campus. As a fan of both games, I’ve enjoyed the DLC overall. The addition of emergencies and ghosts in particular makes it more interesting than I expected.
As with prior DLC packs, I had Two Point Campus: Medical School for review on Steam before getting Nintendo Switch code. Two Point Campus remains a joy to play on Steam Deck, and thankfully I’ve not run into major issues with the game on Switch following the launch of this DLC. It still needs work though with its super long load times and lack of responsiveness in parts.
While Two Point Campus: School Spirits was overpriced, Two Point Campus: Medical School feels like a great addition to the game. The only caveat with this DLC pack is the state of the Switch version. This DLC pack is worth grabbing if you liked Two Point Hospital, and it has me excited to see what more Two Point Studios has in store for this game. –Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Alice Escaped! ($19.99)
Alice Escaped makes a solid first impression. The graphics are colorful and the characters are cute. The gameplay is snappy, with good controls and a few fun mechanics you don’t see in a typical Metroidvania-style game. The skill tree even has conversation skills in it, which certainly points to some interesting possibilities. And yes, it’s fine. It’s a decent Metroidvania and if you like that sort of game you’ll derive a certain level of pleasure from this one.
As promising as it starts off, Alice Escaped has one element that I really came to dislike. There are multiple endings in the game, and to get them all you will most likely need to replay it a few times. The game goes a lot faster on subsequent plays (your upgrades and such carry over for the most part), but it’s still really tedious to go through everything again for each ending. I feel like the game is trying to spread its assets as far as it can, giving the player more bang for their buck, but it ends up coming off more like watering down a perfectly decent bowl of soup.
If you’re in the mood for a Metroidvania-style game that leans a bit more into the action than the exploration, Alice Escaped! gets the job done well enough. It can get a bit tedious if you want to see it all the way through to the true ending, and the amount of tricks up the game’s sleeve doesn’t match the run time it’s trying to pull off. Still, the cute presentation, zippy gameplay, and intriguing mid-game twist mean this isn’t a total write-off by any measure. One for those who aren’t exhausted with the genre, but if you’re looking for a game with something new to offer, this isn’t it.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Garden In! ($9.99)
A pretty straightforward gardening game that vaguely reminds of the one available as a StreetPass game on the Nintendo 3DS. Plant a seed, raise the plant, combine seeds with other seeds to create new plants, and decorate your growing garden as you see fit. Not very fancy and there are certainly other ways to scratch your gardening itch on the Switch, but some might appreciate its no-frills approach.
Heart Chain Kitty: All Screwed Up ($4.99)
This 2.5D platformer is a follow-up to the original Heart Chain Kitty. It features over twenty-five stages and six boss battles, plus some secret levels and extra challenges to add to the fun. The gimmick this time ties into the title, as Kittey has a special screw ray that can be used to interact with the screws that have suddenly appeared all over the island. Big five dollar Switch platformer energy, actually priced at five dollars.
The Bin Bunch
Boomshine Plus ($1.99)
Bust Up ($0.99)
Bounce House ($0.99)
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Fran Bow is at a new low price, and I think that is probably the biggest thing to call out in today’s list of new sales. Well, Smurfs Kart at twenty bucks is probably wiser than the same game at forty, if that’s a thing you want. The outbox has more interesting stuff in it, like Cult of the Lamb, Dark Deity, and the Teslagrad games. Have a look through both lists as usual, just to be sure.
Select New Games on Sale
Fran Bow ($5.99 from $19.99 until 9/1)
Paradise Killer ($7.99 from $19.99 until 9/3)
Citizen Sleeper ($11.99 from $19.99 until 9/3)
A Little to the Left ($10.49 from $14.99 until 9/5)
Aery Heaven & Hell ($6.99 from $9.99 until 9/8)
Rise of Fox Hero ($2.99 from $4.99 until 9/9)
Formula Bit Racing DX ($2.99 from $4.99 until 9/9)
Best Forklift Operator ($13.19 from $19.99 until 9/11)
Round People ($3.99 from $7.99 until 9/14)
Zombie Apocalypse: Survival Stories ($2.99 from $5.99 until 9/14)
Drone Master Racing ($2.99 from $5.99 until 9/14)
Scar of the Doll ($4.99 from $9.99 until 9/15)
Super Box Delivery: Beyond the Horizon ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/15)
Ashina: The Red Witch ($7.99 from $9.99 until 9/15)
My Universe – Interior Designer ($11.99 from $29.99 until 9/16)
Airplane Flight Simulator ($3.74 from $14.99 until 9/16)
Ship Simulator ($1.99 from $14.99 until 9/16)
Taxi Simulator ($1.99 from $14.99 until 9/16)
Drag Sim 2020 ($1.99 from $14.99 until 9/16)
Beyond a Steel Sky ($15.99 from $39.99 until 9/16)
Agatha Christie Collection ($18.74 from $29.99 until 9/16)
Smurfs Kart ($19.99 from $39.99 until 9/16)
Clone Drone in the Danger Zone ($7.99 from $19.99 until 9/17)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 29th
Afterimage ($17.49 from $24.99 until 8/29)
Athanasy ($7.79 from $9.99 until 8/29)
Clouzy! ($4.94 from $14.99 until 8/29)
Coromon ($14.99 from $19.99 until 8/29)
Cris Tales ($7.99 from $39.99 until 8/29)
Cult of the Lamb ($16.24 from $24.99 until 8/29)
D-Corp ($1.99 from $17.99 until 8/29)
Dark Deity ($12.49 from $24.99 until 8/29)
Extreme Trucks Simulator ($1.99 from $14.99 until 8/29)
Farmer Simulator ($1.99 from $14.99 until 8/29)
Hello Goodboy ($11.99 from $14.99 until 8/29)
In Sound Mind ($3.49 from $34.99 until 8/29)
Jetboard Joust ($2.49 from $9.99 until 8/29)
Kukoos: Lost Pets ($17.99 from $29.99 until 8/29)
Lost Words: Beyond the Page ($2.24 from $14.99 until 8/29)
Monorail Stories ($5.99 from $14.99 until 8/29)
Override 2: Ultraman Deluxe Edition ($5.99 from $39.99 until 8/29)
Police Simulator 2023 ($4.99 from $19.99 until 8/29)
Real Driving Simulator ($3.74 from $14.99 until 8/29)
Ruin Raiders ($4.99 from $19.99 until 8/29)
Super Cute Alien’s Adventure ($4.99 from $9.99 until 8/29)
Super Mega Baseball 4 Ballpark Edition ($35.99 from $59.99 until 8/29)
Swords & Bones ($1.99 from $7.99 until 8/29)
Teslagrad 2 ($13.99 from $19.99 until 8/29)
Teslagrad Power Pack ($20.98 from $29.98 until 8/29)
Teslagrad Remastered ($4.99 from $9.99 until 8/29)
War Titans ($1.99 from $14.99 until 8/29)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with a surprisingly robust list of new releases including the new Samba de Amigo game and The Making of Karateka. We’ll also have more reviews from me and Mikhail, plus whatever sales and big news pop up in the next twenty-four hours. I hope you all have a magnificent Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!