Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for November 23rd, 2020. In today’s article, we’ve got a full review of Nintendo’s latest release, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. It’s joined by Mini-Views of Mars Horizon and Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead. We take a look at the sole new release that popped up over the weekend, then finish things off with all of the new sales from the weekend and a list of discounts set to expire tomorrow. Wow, that’s a lot! Better get to it!
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity ($59.99)
Whenever two big gaming franchises come together for a collaboration, people are always going to come at it primarily from the angle of one brand over the other. It’s the rare fusion that balances things perfectly, so when the game inevitably leans one way or the other, one of those groups ends up a bit disappointed. Maybe you wanted more Fire Emblem in Tokyo Mirage Sessions. Perhaps Kingdom Hearts isn’t Final Fantasy enough for your liking. Maybe you can get past that, and maybe you can’t.
When it comes to Koei Tecmo’s Warriors games, its many crossovers with other brands tend to result in something that is very much a Warriors game. It was true for Gundam, it was true for One Piece, it was true for Dragon Quest, it was true for Fire Emblem, and it was most certainly true for Hyrule Warriors. That’s not to say that the other brands aren’t represented well. Indeed, they prove to be the spice that helps keep such a prolific series interesting after so many installments and so much time. But at their core, Warriors games are Warriors games, and it’s best to not expect differently.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity had people expecting differently. It’s not difficult to see why. First, it ties in with one specific title in the Zelda series, and quite a beloved one at that: Breath of the Wild. Second, all of the marketing presented it as telling part of the backstory of that game that many fans have a strong interest in. We get plenty of hints and slices of the era before Calamity Ganon did his thing while playing through Breath of the Wild, and I don’t know anyone that didn’t want to see more. Finally, Age of Calamity is clearly borrowing assets from Breath of the Wild, making it look particularly authentic. Perhaps this is the Warriors game that will be a little bit more?
Warriors games are Warriors games, and it’s best to not expect differently. Age of Calamity is very much a Warriors game, one that will be enormously familiar to anyone who played the original Hyrule Warriors and comfortable enough for those who have played any recent Warriors games. If you were expecting big things from the story, it’s best to scale back those hopes. There are little snippets here and there, but very little of what was hinted at in the early trailers. It’s nice to spend some time with the characters we know and love in a new context, but there’s more proper backstory and character moments in the Champions’ Ballad DLC for Breath of the Wild than there is here.
Once you get past that little disappointment, you’ll discover a fine Warriors game here. The Sheikah Slate powers are integrated into the battles in fun ways, and the new characters are really enjoyable to use. Impa in particular is a tiny wrecking ball, and it’s always a blast clearing out crowds everywhere you go with her ability to clone herself. And while it may come up a little shorter on story than some may have hoped, the trappings of Breath of the Wild are handled well. Battlegrounds feel familiar. The Champions are still the Champions. And sending a ton of bokoblins flying with a mighty strike always feels good. Boss battles are also incredible, pulling in some infamous pains in the rear for you to try to beat down.
Unfortunately, as we’ve seen with many of Koei Tecmo’s Switch games, there are some very noticeable performance issues in Age of Calamity. The framerate is all over the place, and so is the resolution, with handheld mode in particular having a lot of trouble keeping any sort of consistency when the action gets spicy. It’s a little disappointing, but frankly I don’t expect Switch versions of Warriors games to behave any differently at this point. I’m okay with it, but if you’re sensitive to technical issues you’re going to find it maddening. It’s a shame as there are some awe-inspiring sights to see in this game. Perhaps its full potential will be realized on Nintendo’s next hardware with the inevitable Age of Calamity Legends.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a fine game that has been put into a position it should never have ended up in. It’s an excellent take on the Warriors concept of strategic brawling, and a respectable follow-up to the superb original Hyrule Warriors. It’s not the full-on Breath of the Wild prequel that many might have been hoping for, and as a November anchor for Nintendo’s line-up it’s probably not as widely-appealing as it needs to be. It also suffers from technical issues which, while nothing new for Warriors games on the Switch, can cause a bit of a whiplash when blended in with Breath of the Wild assets. Come in with the right expectations, however, and you’ll have an awesome time rolling around and smacking around baddies as you capture forts and craft cool gear.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Mars Horizon ($19.99)
Mars Horizon takes one of the most imagination-provoking parts of human history, the space race, and renders it in the most mundane possible way. I don’t mean that in a bad way. Behind all the flash and marvel of using tons of dead dinosaur matter to explode humans into places we were clearly not meant to reach and then somehow bring them back, there’s a whole lot of pencil-pushing and paperwork. Mars Horizon is all about showing you that side of things, and as a simulation it’s a fun, competent one. It’s surprisingly easy to pick up, and the UI does a fairly nice job given all the things it needs to take care of. There are bits of it that could work a little better, like the base building, but overall I enjoyed this one and even felt like I learned something along the way. Mostly making me wonder about the status of accountants in Star Trek, but hey, a lesson’s a lesson.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead ($14.99)
The biggest compliment I can give to Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead is that it somehow makes a ridiculous mash-up work in a sensible way. To be sure, this is still a Bridge Constructor game first and foremost, but it also feels like a The Walking Dead game. From the way the cut-scenes play out to the fact that you’re figuring out ways to squash the undead almost as often as you’re trying to create paths for characters or vehicles, this is definitely a talky game about zombies and desperate survivors. The game plays well enough in handheld mode using touch controls, but I found the button controls just didn’t feel right. It genuinely feels more at home on a mobile device, and it’s cheaper there too. Still, not a bad way to pass a weekend on your Switch.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
This is a pinball-style game where you need to keep the ball above the rising water. If it stays submersed in the water too long, it’ll blow up. So you’ll want to pass it onward and upward to the next set of flippers and targets, earning points and completing objectives as you go. It’s a bit slow for my tastes where the pinball aspect is concerned, but otherwise it seems like an amusing enough diversion for those looking for a lighter bite.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
By and large, the new sales that arrived over the course of the weekend are the ones we usually see. There are a few noteworthy exceptions like Ancestors Legacy (coming soon to iOS exclusively through GameClub!), 198X, and Shakedown: Hawaii, but you’ve probably seen most of these games discounted before, and recently at that. Not hard to figure out why, mind you. Black Friday is this week, so most of the truly noteworthy stuff is going to sit until the sales officially begin. Similarly, there isn’t much of note in the outbox. Groove Coaster is probably the best one that doesn’t go on sale super-often, but even that shows up every couple of months or so lately.
Select New Games on Sale
60 Parsecs! ($4.99 from $9.99 until 11/25)
Dungeon Warfare ($2.49 from $9.99 until 11/27)
Awakening of Cthulhu ($2.39 from $11.99 until 11/29)
Lots of Slots ($3.99 from $7.99 until 11/29)
Funny Bunny Adventures ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/30)
Ancestors Legacy ($19.99 from $39.99 until 11/30)
Shakedown: Hawaii ($13.33 from $19.99 until 11/30)
Aborigenus ($1.99 from $4.99 until 12/1)
Diabolic ($1.99 from $4.99 until 12/1)
60 Seconds! ($4.99 from $9.99 until 12/1)
AeternoBlade ($5.99 from $14.99 until 12/1)
Swaps and Traps ($1.99 from $8.99 until 12/1)
Island Maze ($1.99 from $2.99 until 12/1)
Pixel Gladiator ($1.99 from $6.99 until 12/1)
Tactical Mind 2 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 12/1)
StarCrossed ($6.49 from $9.99 until 12/2)
Dog Gone Golfing ($6.69 from $9.99 until 12/3)
The Persistence ($20.99 from $29.99 until 12/3)
City Driving Simulator ($5.99 from $11.99 until 12/4)
Gas Station: Highway Services ($5.99 from $11.99 until 12/4)
Detective Driver: Miami Files ($5.99 from $11.99 until 12/4)
Car Driving School Simulator ($6.99 from $13.99 until 12/4)
Newt One ($1.99 from $9.99 until 12/5)
Where the Bees Make Honey ($2.49 from $9.99 until 12/5)
Miner Warfare ($5.59 from $7.99 until 12/5)
Doom & Destiny ($8.39 from $11.99 until 12/5)
198X ($6.99 from $9.99 until 12/5)
Captain Cat ($2.09 from $2.99 until 12/6)
Spell Casting: Purrfect ($1.99 from $9.99 until 12/6)
Circuits ($2.49 from $4.99 until 12/6)
Super Skelemania ($2.49 from $4.99 until 12/6)
King Lucas ($2.49 from $4.99 until 12/6)
Jump, Step, Step ($2.49 from $4.99 until 12/6)
Path to Mnemosyne ($2.99 from $9.99 until 12/6)
Micetopia ($3.99 from $4.99 until 12/7)
Archaica: Path of Light ($4.49 from $14.99 until 12/8)
The Great Perhaps ($4.99 from $9.99 until 12/8)
Event Horizon: Space Defense ($1.99 from $6.99 until 12/8)
Spirit Roots ($1.99 from $6.99 until 12/8)
Sweet Witches ($1.99 from $9.99 until 12/8)
Apocalipsis Wormwood ($1.99 from $4.99 until 12/9)
Solitaire Spider Minimal ($1.99 from $3.99 until 12/10)
BFF or Die ($6.79 from $7.99 until 12/10)
Quell Memento ($1.99 from $7.99 until 12/10)
Swapperoo ($1.99 from $7.99 until 12/10)
Highrise Heroes ($1.99 from $7.99 until 12/10)
Destropolis ($4.79 from $5.99 until 12/10)
#NoLimitFantasy, Puzzles Dream ($2.04 from $6.19 until 12/10)
S.N.I.P.E.R. Hunter Scope ($8.99 from $14.99 until 12/11)
Urban Flow ($4.49 from $14.99 until 12/11)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 24th
Ages of Mages: Last Keeper ($8.39 from $11.99 until 11/24)
Airfield Mania ($1.99 from $5.99 until 11/24)
Azkend 2: The World Beneath ($3.99 from $7.99 until 11/24)
Baseball Riot ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/24)
Breathing Fear ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/24)
Bridge Constructor Portal ($5.99 from $14.99 until 11/24)
Cattails ($1.99 from $14.99 until 11/24)
Croc’s World ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/24)
Croc’s World 2 ($1.99 from $5.99 until 11/24)
Debtor ($1.99 from $2.99 until 11/24)
Fobia ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/24)
Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party ($44.99 from $59.99 until 11/24)
Human: Fall Flat ($7.49 from $14.99 until 11/24)
Jewel Fever 2 ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/24)
Jewel Rotation ($1.99 from $5.99 until 11/24)
King Oddball ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/24)
Lines XL ($1.99 from $3.99 until 11/24)
Mech Rage ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/24)
Pacific Wings ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/24)
Spellspire ($4.99 from $9.99 until 11/24)
Super Star Panda ($7.99 from $9.99 until 11/24)
Swordbreaker The Game ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/24)
Tennis in the Face ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/24)
Water Balloon Mania ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/24)
Xenoraid ($4.99 from $9.99 until 11/24)
Yellow Fins ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/24)
That’s all for today, friends. Tomorrow will see a handful of new releases, though nothing of serious note as far as I can tell at a glance. We’ll have summaries of them anyway, as we tend to. We should also have a review or two ready, and of course whatever news and new sales pop up will be included as well. I hope you all have a magical Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!