Reviews Featuring ‘Circus Electrique’ and ‘Catmaze’, Plus New Releases and the Latest Sales – TouchArcade
Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for September 12th, 2022. In today’s article, I’ve put together a few reviews for you. From Zen Studios, we’ve got Circus Electrique, an intriguing turn-based RPG with a bizarre theme. Next, I look at Ratalaika’s console conversion of the Metroidvania game Catmaze. Finally, I get radical with a review of QUByte’s Radical Rex: QUByte Classics. There are a couple of new releases to summarize, and a decent list of new sales to comb through. Let’s get into it!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Circus Electrique ($19.99)
I have played a lot of Darkest Dungeon and a lot of games inspired by Darkest Dungeon. So much that the basic novelty of the concept just isn’t very thrilling for me anymore. A game has to do something weird to get me to come to that dinner table again, and if I can grant Circus Electrique anything, I can say that it does some weird stuff. The characters are weird. The enemies are weird. The setting is weird. The fact that I am trying to manage a circus in this turn-based RPG is weird. The dialogue… sometimes it’s weird. Sometimes not. The battle system is not so weird, as long as you’ve played the aforementioned Darkest Dungeon.
For all the strangeness of the game, the gameplay feels a little too ordinary. The circus management thing is easy enough to get your head around, and after that it’s just another turn-based RPG. Look at how the skills for each character mesh with the others, decide how you want to approach each encounter based on the enemies you’re facing, level up each character’s stats and skills, and try not to die. There’s a bit of additional resource management due to the light circus simulation, but nothing you can’t sort out in fairly short order. Multiple difficulty settings mean that you can try to find a level of challenge that suits you, but the gap between each is perhaps a bit wider than it should ideally be.
Unless you’re completely burned out on the Darkest Dungeon variety of RPG, you’ll probably find something to like in Circus Electrique. The theme is strange enough to catch your attention, the mechanics are solid, and the added gameplay elements don’t ruin anything with their presence. The moment to moment dialogue is well-written, but the story as a whole could have been more interesting. I also think the difficulty curve could be a little smoother. Otherwise, it’s a somewhat unusual take on a concept that is becoming a bit well-worn by now, and worth checking out for fans of the genre.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Time to write a very unhelpful summary to start this little review off with. Here we go: Catmaze is what you get when someone decides they want to make a normal ol’ Metroidvania and properly makes one, no more and no less. Aside from its charming Slavic mythology theme and better-than-average story, it doesn’t do much to stand out from the incredibly packed crowd. At the same time, it doesn’t do anything badly either. The controls are fine. The map layouts are engaging enough. The pacing is about where it needs to be. The bosses are, for the most part, decent. The worst thing I can say about it is that some of the attempts to break up the standard gameplay don’t work as well I would have preferred.
If you want a solid but not spectacular Metroidvania-style game that won’t let you down or knock your socks off, Catmaze does the job. I don’t see myself returning to it all that often, but I don’t regret playing through it in the least. In a genre with so many different working parts, I suppose I have to give this one a little extra credit for not dropping the ball in any major way. It’s a completely competent Metroidvania-style game, even if it isn’t especially exciting.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Radical Rex: QUByte Classics ($7.99)
QUByte has brought several of the games from Piko Interactive’s catalog to modern consoles already, and here’s another set. While it is called Radical Rex, only one of its two included games was ever known as Radical Rex. The other went under many names, but was originally known as Baby T-Rex. The former is a SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive game; the latter a Game Boy game. Neither game was better than a 6/10 on its best day, and I wouldn’t disagree with anyone who felt either was worse than that. Both games are side-scrolling platformers originally developed by Beam Software at the height of the “animal mascot with a ‘tude” era of gaming, and apart from some nice animation in Radical Rex there isn’t a lot to praise here.
Making matters worse (somehow), QUByte has done these games a bit dirty. The emulation on the Game Boy game is dreadful, with screen tearing, shimmering, and terrible input lag. On top of that, they’ve actually made it so the game starts from a built-in save state past the title screen, presumably to avoid showing the Baby T-Rex title. The Genesis game fares better, but the audio has some glitches, there are occasional hitches in the gameplay, and there is a bit of input lag. You get the usual options we’ve seen in all of these QUByte Classics releases, with save states, some filters, control remapping, and a few different screen size options.
This is a less than stellar package of two less than stellar games. Those who aren’t fussy about emulation accuracy can probably find some fun with Radical Rex‘s 16-bit version, but there’s practically nothing good to say about the game in its Game Boy form as presented here. More of a Dubious Dino than a Radical Rex.
SwitchArcade Score: 2.5/5
Dead Invaders: Modern War 3D ($6.99)
Another unremarkable shooter from the folks at T-Bull. I think you’re fighting against zombie aliens? Or maybe they’re dead because you’re killing them? It doesn’t matter. Grab your weapon, fight through the streets, and take down bosses. This is a port of a free-to-play Android game with a nearly identical title, so if you want to try before you buy you can find it on the Google Play Store.
If you’re going to make cheap junk games, I suppose a cheap junk game that looks good is better than one that doesn’t. And friends, this is definitely a cheap junk game. Get it cheap enough and you might get your money’s worth out of it, but will you get your time’s worth from it? Probably not.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Some uncommon opportunities for savings on City Connection’s shooters, with Deathsmiles probably being the best of its offerings. Ubisoft is also running a sale on some of its games, with the Assassin’s Creed ports hitting new low prices. I would be remiss if I did not also mention the Ty the Tasmanian Tiger HD remasters hitting new lows. Lots of good ways to spend your money today, really.
Select New Games on Sale
Quarry Truck Simulator ($6.49 from $9.99 until 9/16)
Crossbow Crusade ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/17)
Karma. Incarnation 1 ($4.79 from $11.99 until 9/17)
CATTCH ($2.79 from $6.99 until 9/17)
Yoko & Yuki: Dr Rat’s Revenge ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/17)
Caves & Castles Underworld ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/17)
Die With Glory ($2.79 from $6.99 until 9/17)
Dead Dust ($1.9 9from $4.99 until 9/17)
Boom Blaster ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/17)
Galaxy Shooter ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/17)
Layer Section & Galactic Attack S-Tribute ($23.99 from $29.99 until 9/18)
Gunbird ($6.39 from $7.99 until 9/18)
Gunbird2 ($6.39 from $7.99 until 9/18)
Gunbarich ($6.39 from $7.99 until 9/18)
Samurai Aces ($6.39 from $7.99 until 9/18)
Samurai Aces III ($7.99 from $9.99 until 9/18)
Tengai ($6.39 from $7.99 until 9/18)
Strikers1945 ($6.39 from $7.99 until 9/18)
Strikers1945 II ($6.39 from $7.99 until 9/18)
Strikers 1945 III ($7.99 from $9.99 until 9/18)
Zero Gunner 2- ($6.39 from $7.99 until 9/18)
Dragon Blaze ($6.39 from $7.99 until 9/18)
Sol Divide ($6.39 from $7.99 until 9/18)
Cotton Boomerang Saturn Tribute ($14.39 from $17.99 until 9/18)
Cotton 2 Saturn Tribute ($14.39 from $17.99 until 9/18)
Guardian Force Saturn Tribute ($14.39 from $17.99 until 9/18)
Game Tengoku CruisnMix Special ($14.99 from $29.99 until 9/18)
Deathsmiles I – II ($31.99 from $39.99 until 9/18)
Hot Gimmick Cosplay-jong ($10.00 from $20.00 until 9/18)
Abarenbo Tengu & Zombie Nation ($9.59 from $11.99 until 9/18)
Genetic Disaster ($2.48 from $14.99 until 9/19)
Rabbids: Party of Legend ($29.99 from $39.99 until 9/23)
Family Feud ($9.89 from $29.99 until 9/23)
Starlink: Battle for Atlas ($11.99 from $59.99 until 9/23)
Starlink: BfA Deluxe ($19.99 from $79.99 until 9/23)
Assassin’s Creed Ezio Collection ($19.99 from $39.99 until 9/23)
Assassin’s Creed III ($9.99 from $39.99 until 9/23)
Assassin’s Creed Rebel Collection ($14.79 from $39.99 until 9/23)
A Robot Named Fight ($1.99 from $12.99 until 9/23)
Crumble ($8.99 from $14.99 until 9/26)
Super Cyborg ($3.49 from $6.99 until 9/27)
Farm Tycoon ($9.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Ty the Tasmanian Tiger HD ($14.99 from $29.99 until 9/30)
Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2 HD ($14.99 from $29.99 until 9/30)
Bit Dungeon Plus ($2.06 from $8.99 until 9/30)
Catmaze ($7.99 from $9.99 until 9/30)
Car Dealer Driver ($4.99 from $9.99 until 9/30)
An American Werewolf in LA ($2.49 from $4.99 until 9/30)
Elena Temple: Definitive ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/1)
Towertale ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/1)
Grand Guilds ($1.99 from $19.99 until 10/1)
High Noon Revolver ($1.99 from $2.99 until 10/1)
Gnome More War ($1.99 from $2.99 until 10/1)
Discolored ($3.49 from $9.99 until 10/2)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 13th
Boreal Blade ($1.99 from $3.99 until 9/13)
Colsword ($1.99 from $4.00 until 9/13)
Dead by Daylight ($11.99 from $29.99 until 9/13)
Dead by Daylight Killer Expansion ($23.99 from $29.99 until 9/13)
Dead by Daylight Survivor Expansion ($23.99 from $29.99 until 9/13)
Dead by Daylight Ultimate Edition ($48.99 from $69.99 until 9/13)
Dead by Daylight, Various DLC Packs ($3.99 from $7.99 until 9/13)
Gum+ ($1.99 from $7.99 until 9/13)
RIVE: Ultimate Edition ($1.99 from $14.99 until 9/13)
Shadow Gangs ($17.99 from $23.99 until 9/13)
Strange Field Football ($2.00 from $6.99 until 9/13)
Swap This! ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/13)
Swords & Soldiers ($1.99 from $7.49 until 9/13)
Toki Tori ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/13)
Toki Tori 2+ ($1.99 from $14.99 until 9/13)
Trine 2: Complete Story ($4.24 from $16.99 until 9/13)
Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power ($4.99 from $19.99 until 9/13)
Trine Enchanted Edition ($3.74 from $14.99 until 9/13)
Wildbus ($2.00 from $6.99 until 9/13)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with a couple more reviews, some new release summaries, and whatever new sales and news items come along in the interim. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some Splatoon 3 to get back to. I hope you all have a fantastic Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!