Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for August 22nd, 2023. Today’s article has a little of everything. We’ve got some news, reviews, new releases, Bin Bunch games, and some interesting sales. Our pal Mikhail has a full review of Red Dead Redemption, while I wax on a bit about Quantum: Recharged. WrestleQuest rolls in a little later than expected, and Megame and Ultimate Games do what they usually do. There’s a lot here, so let’s get into it!
Charles Martinet Retires as the Voice of Mario, Shifting to Role as Mario Ambassador
— Charles Martinet (@CharlesMartinet) August 21, 2023
This news broke shortly after I went home last night, but I figure I might as well mention it because some of you might not have seen. Charles Martinet, who has been voicing Mario in video games since 1994’s Mario Teaches Typing, has retired from the role. He’ll continue working with Nintendo in the newly-created role of Mario Ambassador, which seems to entail traveling around and meeting with Nintendo fans. No reason was given for Martinet’s retirement, but he is 67 years old so it’s reasonable to assume the guy just wants to chill out a bit and enjoy his golden years. It’s not known who will be taking up the role (and indeed his other roles such as Luigi and Wario), but we’ll find out when Super Mario Wonder releases as it has been confirmed he did not voice the characters in that game. Martinet is probably the biggest voice acting icon in gaming, so it’s bittersweet to see him move on. Not that he will ever read this, but I hope he has a blast with whatever he decides to do next!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Red Dead Redemption ($49.99)
My history with Red Dead Redemption is quite weird. When I borrowed my best friend’s PS3, I bought Red Dead Redemption because I loved almost everything I played by Rockstar Games. I never got far into it for whatever reason, and ended up buying it when it became backwards compatible on Xbox One. I played more, but didn’t finish it.
When Red Dead Redemption II was announced, I thought I’d finally play the original on Xbox One, but I didn’t. I then played and adored Red Dead Redemption II, and have since replayed it, but for some reason, Red Dead Redemption was still a game I hadn’t played till the end. When Rockstar announced Red Dead Redemption for Nintendo Switch, I thought to myself…is it time? Will this be the version that gets me to beat Red Dead Redemption? After all, I owned every version of The Witcher 3, but only beat it on Nintendo Switch. I needed to see how the port would end up being before I could think of that.
If you’ve never played Red Dead Redemption before, it is a 2010-released action adventure Wild West experience where you play as John Marston. At the time, and even now, it is super impressive with its production, scope, story, and gameplay. While I prefer Red Dead Redemption II, Red Dead Redemption is essential for Wild West fans and those who enjoy Rockstar Games’ newer releases. That sounds a bit weird given the time between releases from the main studio, but Red Dead Redemption has aged very well.
Going into Red Dead Redemption again after loving and replaying Red Dead Redemption II is a funny experience given the story of the second game. The Wild West setting is a big part of the experience, and Red Dead Redemption even has a superb soundtrack with an amazing use of vocal songs. All of this comes together brilliantly with the gorgeous visuals and great gameplay that still impress in many ways over a decade later when played on a portable screen with crisp image quality.
While the Switch has gotten some amazing ports, it has also gotten some awful ones, even from less powerful systems. Red Dead Redemption thankfully is one of the best ports the Switch has seen recently, and it brings one of Rockstar’s most beloved games to a portable for the first time, and the release is excellent. It isn’t a huge upgrade or even close to what we saw with Metroid Prime Remastered, but it is improved over the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, and feels great to play in handheld.
Red Dead Redemption on Switch is a re-release I never saw coming, but the conversion from Double Eleven is very impressive for a Switch port. It runs at 720p handheld and 1080p docked with a very stable frame rate. It isn’t perfect, but this is a lot better than almost every open world game on Switch. Load times are also surprisingly short. When playing docked on the same monitor I use for the Xbox Series X version, the Switch port obviously falls short, but handheld is where it shines. I was hoping Red Dead Redemption on Switch would give me a decent portable version, and it did a lot more. When a lot of explosions happen or when you enter a dense location, it can noticeably dip, but nothing is remotely bad, and it is still a lot better than the original version I played on PS3.
There are two caveats to Red Dead Redemption on Switch right now though. The first is the asking price. When Rockstar priced LA Noire on Switch at $50, I thought it was a bit much for a re-release, but I ended up experiencing it for the first time and enjoying it thanks to that Switch release. With Red Dead Redemption, the game itself is a lot better than LA Noire, and the port is also very good, but this release deserved better. I don’t expect 60fps on Switch with ports of PS3 and Xbox 360 games that struggled to hit a locked 30fps, but there should’ve been more added for newcomers instead of the multiplayer mode cut. While I don’t care about multiplayer in games like this or GTA V, I know many do. So cutting content but charging near full price is disappointing.
This isn’t a knock on the Switch port, but with the Switch version being this good, I almost feel like the PS4 version is more disappointing based on what I’ve seen of it in videos. After playing the Switch release, you’d think Red Dead Redemption would scale up a lot better, but it doesn’t seem worth getting right now for me, and I own every single release of Red Dead Redemption II and GTA V. While we’ve seen many ports of older games get mediocre and overpriced conversions for Switch like Tales of Symphonia, Red Dead Redemption has the good port part nailed, and I’d recommend getting it if you’ve never played it or want a competent portable version of one of Rockstar’s best.
If you’ve already played or own Red Dead Redemption on Xbox Series X or Xbox One X, I only really recommend it on Switch for portable play. If you’ve never played it before and own a Switch, I love this release. The lack of gyro aiming is disappointing, but everything else is better than I expected given this is Red Dead Redemption‘s first ever re-release. Hopefully gyro can be added in so that this becomes my favorite way to experience Red Dead Redemption until a potential PC version releases. –Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5
Quantum: Recharged ($9.99)
Regular readers will know I’m a pretty big fan of the Atari Recharged line of games. From somewhat mixed origins in the mobile Missile Command: Recharged, this set of reimagined Atari classics hasn’t let me down in any significant ways yet. It’s been particularly interesting of late since the company exhausted its stock of ol’ reliable games and has waded into less charted waters. This time the subject is Quantum, a vector-based arcade game developed by GCC for Atari and released in late 1982. It doesn’t seem to have made much of an impact, and indeed I only really found out about it through the Atari 50 collection. It’s certainly a unique game, and while I like it I can understand why it might have had some issues getting traction given the landscape of the era.
Well, this isn’t a review of Quantum. The core mechanic of the game has been preserved for this Recharged release, but otherwise it makes a lot of changes both to improve the experience and bring it in line with the tight house style of these reimaginings. Quantum at first looks almost like Asteroids, but there’s a key difference here: you can’t shoot. Making matters more difficult, your opponents aren’t peace-loving space rocks just doing their thing. Some of them are very aggressive, in fact. What’s a little ship thing to do without any means of direct offense?
You make loops, that’s what. Your ship leaves a little trail behind it, and if you can make a closed shape with that trail before it disappears, you’ll create a little vortex that will destroy any enemies that come near it. To aid you in closing those loops, you have a dash that operates on a short cool down. The bigger the loop, the more enemies you can potentially suck in, and the more points you’ll earn. If you can keep up the destruction, you’ll build a combo meter that will inflate your score even further. The variety and number of enemies increases as you play, and what starts off as a relatively chill experience by default quickly becomes very tense. You can adjust the difficulty settings if you want to jump right into the spicier spread of foes, too. To help you out, power-ups will occasionally appear to grant you extra lives, more hits, temporary shields, an enemy shocker, and unlimited dash for a short time.
The aim of the main game is to get the highest score you can and secure a higher spot on the online leaderboards. As usual for a Recharged game, you also get a set of challenges to tackle. They’re not very creative in terms of the objectives, but the varying arrangements of enemies are fun to take on if you’re looking for something to do outside of the endless main mode. You also have a selection of achievements to unlock, and both the main mode and challenge mode offer co-op play if you want to haul a friend in for some fun. The presentation sticks to the familiar combo of vector-style neon graphics and Megan McDuffee tunes. It fits Quantum well enough, though I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t getting a little tired of this particular style.
As score-chasers go, Quantum: Recharged is very good. It’s fairly unique (though NiGHTS into Dreams fans will be nodding their heads to the paralooping), extremely tense, and has that compelling quality that makes you want to take one more go every time you die. If you aren’t into climbing online leaderboards you might find it has too little to offer, but I’d hope people understand what the Recharged line is offering by now. If you’re down with that, then you’ll likely find Quantum: Recharged to be an excellent addition to your library.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
I’m as big a fan of weird RPG concepts as the next person, so when I first heard about this game I was a bit excited. But then I saw the developer didn’t have much experience with making RPGs before, and it gave me pause. And yes, this turned out to be a pretty lousy RPG. The wrestling fan service is great, and you’ll smile frequently as you play the game if you count yourself among that number. But the battle system is positively drenched in QTE commands, the character abilities are wildly unbalanced, and the way the story unfolds is really clumsy. Well, this isn’t a review. But I wanted to give you all a bit of a heads-up since this is on the pricier side for an indie game and it looks so cool.
The Bin Bunch
Brave Bow Archer: Princess Rescue Simulator! ($9.99)
Lost Forest ($4.99)
(North American eShop, US Prices)
If I had to pick out a few interesting things from today’s list, it would be the BIT.TRIP Collection at a bonkers price, the quality Metroidvania-style game Haiku, the Robot at a new low price, and the fantastic shooter Drainus in its first sale in a while. There are plenty of good games, so check through that list carefully. Also check out those two games in the outbox. They’re easy to miss!
Select New Games on Sale
Haiku, the Robot ($11.99 from $19.99 until 8/28)
Pinball FX3 Universal Monsters Pack ($3.39 from $9.99 until 8/28)
Cult of the Lamb ($16.24 from $24.99 until 8/29)
Super Mega Baseball 4 Ballpark Edition ($35.99 from $59.99 until 8/29)
Pac-Man World Re-Pac ($14.99 from $29.99 until 9/4)
Drainus ($15.99 from $19.99 until 9/11)
Subway Midnight ($7.69 from $10.99 until 9/11)
Alpaca Ball: Allstars ($3.99 from $19.99 until 9/11)
Record of Lodoss War: Wonder Labyrinth ($17.49 from $24.99 until 9/11)
Mighty Goose ($9.99 from $19.99 until 9/11)
Orangeblood ($7.99 from $19.99 until 9/11)
Astebreed ($3.99 from $19.99 until 9/11)
Legal Dungeon ($4.99 from $9.99 until 9/11)
Kero Blaster ($2.99 from $9.99 until 9/11)
Gnosia ($17.49 from $24.99 until 9/11)
Strange Telephone ($4.99 from $9.99 until 9/11)
Croixleur Sigma ($5.99 from $19.99 until 9/11)
Drago Noka ($15.99 from $19.99 until 9/11)
Marfusha ($9.59 from $11.99 until 9/11)
BIT.TRIP Collection ($2.69 from $9.99 until 9/11)
WHY I was Born ($6.99 from $9.99 until 9/11)
LEGO Star Wars Saga Galactic Edition ($26.39 from $79.99 until 9/11)
Moon Dancer ($13.29 from $18.99 until 9/11)
Star Gagnant ($22.80 from $38.00 until 9/11)
OSHIIRO ($7.69 from $10.99 until 9/11)
GyroGunner ($5.76 from $7.20 until 9/11)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 23rd
Dariusburst CS Core + Taito/SEGA Pack ($20.99 from $29.99 until 8/23)
Slime Rancher: Plortable Edition ($12.49 from $24.99 until 8/23)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more sales, and perhaps more news and reviews. We’ll have to see how things go. I’ve been getting back into roguelikes lately, and I do mean the “like” type. It’s a bad idea because I don’t really have the time for them, but I wouldn’t be Shaun if I didn’t make a lot of bad decisions. I hope you all have a terrific Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!