Reviews Featuring ‘Hokko Life’, Plus ‘Skyrim Anniversary Edition’ and Today’s Other Releases – TouchArcade
Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for September 29th, 2022. In today’s article, we have a bunch of new releases to check out with the spearhead being The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition. There’s a little here for everyone, but sim game fans are eating particularly well today. Beyond the many new release summaries, we’ve also got the usual lists of new and outgoing sales. Oh, and our pal Mikhail has a review for us of the quirky Hokko Life. A Thursday review? That’s un-possible! Believe it, friends. Let’s get digging!
Reviews & Mini-Views
Hokko Life ($19.99)
If you watched the recent Nintendo Direct, a lot of people were joking about how everything was a farming or life simulation game. That may have been a problem for some, but I love life and farming simulation games. When Hokko Life was revealed, it looked like another interesting take on the formula, but one that was clearly inspired by Nintendo’s behemoth Animal Crossing franchise of games. I adored Animal Crossing: New Leaf and while New Horizons wasn’t great at launch, it improved considerably with updates.
Hokko Life from developer Wonderscope and publisher Team17 is a farming life simulation game that blends elements of Animal Crossing and Story of Seasons together with its own charm and focus on different customization and crafting elements. You begin in a new village doing basic tasks for the villagers but have a lot of freedom with how to progress. One thing to note early on, is that Hokko Life isn’t reliant on the real time clock like Animal Crossing is, letting you actually play when you want without being forced to do specific things at different times of the day.
The real draw in Hokko Life as a life sim, is how creative you can be with your crafting and customization across the board. There’s even the ability to share your designs and get others. I hope future updates can improve the pacing or unlock times for specific abilities though. The freedom in-game and openness of how you approach specific tasks means you might miss or not unlock something important until later on.
Having left early access and hit 1.0 to launch on PC and consoles, Hokko Life has one aspect that will turn some off, the aesthetic. I got used to it, but still feel like some of the villagers don’t look the part for the game. Everything else visually is very good. Speaking of leaving early access, Hokko Life still has a few glitches with placement and movement. I’m also not happy with the load times on Switch when you move in and out of locations. The performance isn’t as bad as Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town, but it isn’t perfect right now. Hopefully these can be improved in updates.
Hokko Life‘s soundtrack is lovely and one of the highlights of the experience alongside the visuals. I hope it is sold separately because I checked iTunes and Steam after playing for an hour to buy the soundtrack and couldn’t find it. The sound design in general is also very well done.
In its current state, I’d recommend picking up Hokko Life on another platform over Nintendo Switch if you have the option. The long load times and performance issues even in early parts hold it back. The developers have said that they are still working on the game and bringing more to it, and Hokko Life has the potential to be much better on Switch. Right now, I can only recommend it with the caveat about technical issues and assuming you like the aesthetic. I enjoyed my time with this blend of elements from Animal Crossing and Story of Seasons. -Mikhail Madnani
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition ($69.99 or $19.99 Upgrade)
This kind of dropped out the sky, didn’t it? This is available as a stand-alone purchase for $69.99 or as an upgrade DLC for existing Skyrim owners for $19.99. So what do you get? Well, first of all you get all the Creation Club add-ons and extras like fishing, survival mode, some Morrowind-inspired goodies, and a ton of other goodies. You also get some Anniversary Edition-specific things like new quests, characters, gear, and items. I would imagine the graphical improvements seen in some other versions of the game won’t be found here, but perhaps I am wrong.
Moon Dancer ($18.99)
Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait a year for indie developer Terarin’s latest shoot-em-up spectacular to release outside of Japan. Moon Dancer is another vertically-scrolling shooter with a 16-bit style, and the theme this time around is the lock-on laser that calls back to games like RayForce. There’s an eight-stage arcade mode plus a well-tuned Caravan mode that gives you three minutes to rack up as high a score as you can. Naturally, there are online leaderboards to compete on. I’ve had this game since its Japanese release and I can safely say it’s a must-have for shoot-em-up fans.
Oh hey, Epic Games. I’ve heard of these folks. Anyway, this is a railway management sim. You have to run the transportation network on an off-world colony and help restore industrial production for the chemical company you’re working for following a massive disaster. Create efficient transportation routes to reconnect parts of the colony, and rebuild the cities surrounding them. The developer on this game is Minakata Dynamics, whose prior work involved supporting the development of Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble. As it turns out, there are a lot of sim games hitting the eShop today. This one certainly has the spiffiest graphics of the bunch.
Let’s Build a Zoo ($19.99)
Yes, let’s. I think you probably don’t need me to explain too much here. This is a sim game where you try to build and run your own zoo. There are more than five hundred different animals and you can splice their DNA to create considerably more. You’ll need to keep the animals and visitors happy however you can, and if you want to play things by the book or try to get away with some shady stuff. Mikhail has been playing this one in anticipation of a review, and he seems to be really enjoying it so far.
From Space ($19.99)
Hmm. To tell the truth, I’m not fully sure this is hitting today. The eShop says it is, but the developer has communicated on its Steam page that there has been a delay to November. But maybe that’s just the computer version? Well, we’ll know soon. This is an overhead shooter for up to four players via online multiplayer. It features a variety of aliens to blast and weapons to blast them with, along with a bevy of characters each with their own strengths and weaknesses. There’s also a leveling system, because that’s a thing most games of this sort have these days. I really like the colors in this game. I hope it plays as good as it looks.
Okay, I checked: this has nothing to do with Tim Conway. Dodged a bullet there. No, this is a chill strategy game where you place tiles that form villages and landscapes. You earn points based on where you put the tiles, so that’s the challenge if you happen to need one. Set a high score, try to beat it. Or just relax and enjoy the vibes. I’m hoping to review this one soon, but we’ll have to see how my schedule shakes out.
Shirone: the Dragon Girl ($14.99)
Shirone is a dragon girl who wakes up in a haunted castle without knowing how she got there. All she knows is she has to escape, and all she has to help her is her wings and her tail. It’s kind of a 3D action-adventure game where you progress stage by stage, solving puzzles and finding the route to the exit. You can also find secret items in each stage that will unlock additional hairstyles and clothes to customize Shirone’s look. It’s only a few hours long, but it’s a good few hours. I know it doesn’t look like much in the screenshots, but it’s surprisingly well-made.
One of those side-scrolling driving games with wild physics, Funtasia leans hard on its extremely funky visuals to distinguish it from similar titles. Gameplay-wise, you probably know how this sort of thing goes. Accelerate, brake, and try to balance your vehicle to make your way to the finish line as smoothly as possible. If you aren’t cautious enough your mistakes will cost you, but if you play it too safe your battery will run out before you hit the goal. There are ten trippy tracks to race on and forty different vehicles to race in. There are online leaderboards, so the replay value comes in trying to come out ahead of other players.
Here’s another conversion of a tabletop board game. Everdell is one of the worker placement variety of games, and it’s rather well-liked within the tabletop space. This Switch version allows you to play alone or with up to four players in local and online multiplayer. It has cross-platform support, so you should hopefully be able to find people to play with. This digital adaptation from Dire Wolf has been out for a few months already on Steam and seems to have been incredibly warmly received by players, and I expect it will also land well here.
Voodoo Detective ($14.99)
It’s been a few days since the last really good point-and-click style adventure game hit the eShop, so I guess we’re about due for another. This game is very much in line with the classic Lucasarts type of adventure, and it has a really cool premise that it mostly delivers on. You play as the Voodoo Detective, who is exactly what his name implies. A particularly wild case lands in your lap, and you’re going to have to use everything you’ve got to solve it. I wouldn’t call it a must-have, but those who enjoy this sort of thing will probably like it a lot.
Escape Goat ($4.99)
This extremely well-regarded puzzle-platformer makes its way to Switch in this steal of a deal. I first encountered Escape Goat, as many probably did, in the Xbox 360’s Xbox Live Indie Games catalog. It is a wildly clever game with some very inventive stages, and if you enjoy things like Solomon’s Key or Catrap you will be right at home. You get more than fifty stages to jump and butt your way through, plus a level editor for you to make your own devilish creations. Definitely worth the fiver.
Burger Patrol ($4.99)
Oh heck, a falling block puzzle game where you build burgers? I’m already interested. There are seven different modes of play, with multiple difficulty levels and timed challenges. It takes a bit to learn how the game works, but once you do, it’s quite fun. It sort of reminds me of the Yoshi puzzle game on the NES and Game Boy, but not as constricting. A rather nice game of this sort, and I’d imagine any fans of the genre will feel like they got their money’s worth from it.
Fashion Friends ($9.99)
Like Fashion Girls and Fashion Princess before it, Fashion Friends is a Qix-style arcade action game disguised as a fashion game. Carve out portions of the play area to reveal the clothes hidden underneath. There are eighty levels to play, and once you’ve unlocked clothes you can use them in the photo mode to make your own scenes. Unlike many games that borrow from Qix, this one doesn’t use saucy pictures and is thus appropriate for kids and adults alike.
Arcade Archives Assault ($7.99)
Another Bandai Namco game from the archives, this time 1988’s Assault. It’s a multi-directional tank shooter, one that you could say follows in the lineage of games like Tank Battalion, Battle City, and Grobda. It’s actually a really fun game, and one that doesn’t seem to come up often in retrospectives of Bandai Namco’s legendary arcade output. The original arcade game used two sticks for proper tank controls, and that is replicated quite nicely here.
This is a 2D platformer that was apparently inspired by the likes of Cave Story, Jazz Jackrabbit, and Speedy Eggbert. You play as a robot who is lost in a sprawling complex and need to find your way out, all while helping your friend on the outside. You need to solve puzzles and gain new abilities to get around. This one is the work of Andrew Kenady (more famously known these days as Nintendrew) and his friend Matt Bitner, who you may know as the sole developer behind A Robot Named Fight. Some pretty good credentials, so I’m looking forward to digging into this one to see if it lives up to them.
Martian Panic ($39.99)
Man, I don’t want to come off as rude or anything, but if your price heads north of the thirty-dollar mark on the eShop, you really need to bring something resembling an A-game. I’m not sure Martian Panic is that, but I’ll be happy to be proven wrong. This is a shooter in the vein of the old light-gun arcade games where you’re fending off a Martian invasion in eight different levels. There are various weapons and power-ups you can find along the way. Up to four players can get in on the alien-busting action at once via local multiplayer.
Picross S8 ($9.99)
Yes, it’s more Picross from the folks at Jupiter. You may or may not need more Picross. It has a whopping 485 puzzles in total to solve. The new gimmick in this one is that it supports up to four players in local multiplayer. Given this is the eighth game in this series on the Switch and something like the eleventh or twelfth of Jupiter’s Picross games on the platform in total, there really isn’t much new for me to talk about here. Buy it, wishlist it, or leave it.
Host 714 ($4.99)
This is a stealth game where you play as someone who joins a treatment center only to find himself as a test subject for an entirely different and more sinister experiment. Now you have to escape the research institute by whatever means you can muster. As usual for QUByte’s releases, it’s at least quite affordable.
Crossroads Inn: A Fantasy Tavern Sim ($19.99)
While this game’s premise of mashing up a management sim with a proper fantasy campaign is an intriguing one, I have a number of concerns that will need to be allayed before I can even start to recommend it. You see, this game has been out on computers for a while, and it kind of has a reputation for being extremely buggy and having a number of technical issues. Considering those kinds of things seem to happen more frequently rather than less in Switch ports, I strongly suggest exercising caution before considering purchasing this game.
Treasures of the Roman Empire ($6.99)
This is an odd adventure game of sorts where you go to various scenes and play minigames to reveal the treasures you have to collect. There are thirty-two levels in all to play. The game’s strangest flex is that the soundtrack was done by Matthew Malley, the former bass guitarist of Counting Crows. Might be interesting if you’re in the right mood.
Casual Challenge Players’ Club ($4.99)
The folks at eastasiasoft know that if you want to sell a game that is basically the same as a million other games on the eShop, all you have to do is add some anime girls to it. Here’s another billiards game, with four different gameplay modes and support for local multiplayer. And anime girls. Some anime boys, too. Maybe that’s enough to sell you on it.
Corrupt – Political Idle City War Strategy Simulator Craft ($9.99)
Here’s Midnight Works to drop another turd in the punch bowl. Handheld mode only because this developer will never give enough of a crap to put in any effort on its mobile ports. It’s complete trash, as is par for the course from these folks.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Some games we don’t often see on sale are in today’s list already, including The Journey Down and Super Meat Boy. Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown is having its first post-launch sale along with other Tin Man titles. And while not quite as uncommon as some other discounts, you can’t go wrong picking up Dragon’s Dogma and the Mana games. As the Mana games go on sale, pretty much all of Square Enix’s other games are finishing their latest discounts. Check that outbox and see if anything catches your eye.
Select New Games on Sale
Anima: GoM Arcane Edition ($6.89 from $29.99 until 10/10)
The Jackbox Party Pack 3 ($17.49 from $24.99 until 10/11)
Krispain Hero ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/12)
Collection of Mana ($19.99 from $39.99 until 10/13)
Trials of Mana ($24.99 from $49.99 until 10/13)
Legend of Mana ($14.99 from $29.99 until 10/13)
Slipstream ($7.99 from $9.99 until 10/13)
Super Meat Boy ($5.99 from $14.99 until 10/13)
Hammerwatch ($3.49 from $9.99 until 10/13)
Heroes of Hammerwatch ($9.99 from $19.99 until 10/13)
Vagante ($9.74 from $14.99 until 10/13)
Airborne Kingdom ($14.99 from $24.99 until 10/13)
Broken Mind ($6.99 from $9.99 until 10/13)
JankBrain ($2.49 from $4.99 until 10/13)
Epic Dumpster Bear 2 HWBW ($2.49 from $4.99 until 10/13)
Dragon’s Dogma ($9.99 from $29.99 until 10/13)
Cannon Brawl ($3.49 from $9.99 until 10/13)
The Journey Down: Chapter One ($3.14 from $6.99 until 10/13)
The Journey Down: Chapter Two ($6.74 from $14.99 until 10/13)
The Journey Down: Chapter Three ($8.99 from $19.99 until 10/13)
Warlock of Firetop Mountain: GS Edition ($2.99 from $29.99 until 10/19)
Table of Tales: Crooked Crown ($14.99 from $19.99 until 10/19)
Choices That Matter: ATSWO ($2.99 from $5.99 until 10/19)
Choices That Matter: ATSWE ($2.99 from $5.99 until 10/19)
Choices That Matter: ATHWL ($2.99 from $5.99 until 10/19)
To Be Or Not To Be ($3.49 from $6.99 until 10/19)
This War of Mine: CE ($1.99 from $39.99 until 10/19)
South of the Circle ($9.09 from $12.99 until 10/19)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Friday, September 30th
Aegis Defenders ($4.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
An American Werewolf in LA ($2.49 from $4.99 until 9/30)
Archvale ($11.24 from $14.99 until 9/30)
Balan Wonderworld ($11.99 from $39.99 until 9/30)
Bit Dungeon Plus ($2.06 from $8.99 until 9/30)
Car Dealer Driver ($4.99 from $9.99 until 9/30)
Carto ($9.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Catmaze ($7.99 from $9.99 until 9/30)
Chocobo GP ($24.99 from $49.99 until 9/30)
Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon ($15.99 from $39.99 until 9/30)
Collection of SaGa FFL ($13.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Crying Suns ($14.99 from $24.99 until 9/30)
Crypt of the Necrodancer ($3.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
DEEMO -Reborn- ($15.00 from $25.00 until 9/30)
Dodgeball Academia ($17.49 from $24.99 until 9/30)
Dragon Quest ($3.24 from $4.99 until 9/30)
Dragon Quest II ($4.21 from $6.49 until 9/30)
Dragon Quest III ($8.11 from $12.49 until 9/30)
Dungeon Encounters ($14.99 from $29.99 until 9/30)
Farm Tycoon ($9.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
FF Crystal Chronicles ($11.99 from $29.99 until 9/30)
Final Fantasy IX ($10.49 from $20.99 until 9/30)
Final Fantasy VII ($7.99 from $15.99 until 9/30)
Final Fantasy VIII Remastered ($9.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster ($24.99 from $49.99 until 9/30)
Final Fantasy XII TZA ($24.99 from $49.99 until 9/30)
Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition ($11.99 from $29.99 until 9/30)
Flynn Son of Crimson ($13.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Forager ($7.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Have a Blast ($1.99 from $7.99 until 9/30)
I Am Setsuna ($15.99 from $39.99 until 9/30)
Ikenfell ($11.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Infinite Golf 2 ($2.49 from $4.99 until 9/30)
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 Cloud Vers ($27.99 from $49.99 until 9/30)
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Cloud Vers ($34.99 from $49.99 until 9/30)
Kingdom Hearts III Cloud Vers ($34.99 from $49.99 until 9/30)
Kingdom Hearts Integrum Cloud Vers ($62.99 from $89.99 until 9/30)
Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory ($24.99 from $49.99 until 9/30)
Lost Sphear ($14.99 from $49.99 until 9/30)
MO: Astray ($7.49 from $14.99 until 9/30)
NEO The World Ends With You ($29.99 from $59.99 until 9/30)
One Step From Eden ($11.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Oninaki ($19.99 from $49.99 until 9/30)
Paddles ($4.49 from $4.99 until 9/30)
Parkasaurus ($18.74 from $24.99 until 9/30)
Ring of Pain ($9.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Romancing SaGa 2 ($7.49 from $24.99 until 9/30)
Romancing SaGa 3 ($8.69 from $28.99 until 9/30)
SaGa Frontier Remastered ($17.49 from $24.99 until 9/30)
SaGa Scarlet Grace Ambitions ($8.99 from $29.99 until 9/30)
Slay the Spire ($9.99 from $24.99 until 9/30)
Spelunker Party! ($8.99 from $29.99 until 9/30)
Staxel ($9.99 from $24.99 until 9/30)
Supraland ($11.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
The Centennial Case: Shijima Story ($32.49 from $49.99 until 9/30)
The Wild at Heart ($16.74 from $24.99 until 9/30)
Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2 HD ($14.99 from $29.99 until 9/30)
Ty the Tasmanian Tiger HD ($14.99 from $29.99 until 9/30)
Unsighted ($13.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Voice of Cards: The Forsaken Maiden ($20.99 from $29.99 until 9/30)
Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars ($20.99 from $29.99 until 9/30)
Void Bastards ($11.99 from $29.99 until 9/30)
Wandersong ($4.99 from $19.99 until 9/30)
Wildfire ($7.49 from $14.99 until 9/30)
Wizard of Legend ($6.39 from $15.99 until 9/30)
World of Final Fantasy Maxima ($15.99 from $39.99 until 9/30)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with the remaining releases of the week, including games like Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris, FIFA 23 Legacy Edition, and… Bunny Park? We’ll have summaries of all of them, along with whatever sales and big news items roll in. Probably a fair few sales. Fridays are like that. I hope you all have a great Thursday, and as always, thanks for reading!