Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for February 22nd, 2022. There are a few new releases to look at today, and on top of the usual summaries I have reviews of two of them. Sol Cresta and Monark are the games in question. One of them I initially liked a lot and then cooled on, and the other I was cool on at first and ended up really liking. We’ve also got some fresh sales for you to look at, along with the expiring discounts. Like normal. Anyway, let’s get to it.
Reviews & Mini-Views
SOL CRESTA ($39.99)
I didn’t think very much of Sol Cresta the first little while I spent with it. I was trying to play it like any other vertical shoot-em-up, and it turns out that isn’t a good way to appreciate what it has to offer. This is Platinum’s first swing at a traditional shoot-em-up, and in a lot of ways that is very evident. This is also a game made by fans of the genre, and that too is rather evident at times. Sometimes for good, sometimes for ill. Mostly good. This is a game that you need to unravel at its own pace, but if you do the rewards are worth it.
So here’s the scoop: seven levels, each based around a different planet en route to the Sun itself. You have a ship that can have up to three parts, each one with its own type of shot. You’ll start off with one piece, but you’ll soon have the others by grabbing power-ups. If you take a hit, you’ll lose a piece again. Once you have all of them, the real game begins. The order of the ships will determine your shot, and you can rearrange them as you like by changing formation. Having certain parts in front will allow you to break special blocks, earn extra points by going through rings, and deal more damage to certain enemies and obstacles. Constantly changing formation based on the current situation is where a lot of the game’s strategy is found.
But wait, there’s more. There are other power-ups to collect, including shields that you can stockpile to take extra hits and special formations. The latter allow you to rearrange your ships to create special formations for a limited period of time. You’ll have to charge up a meter to use them, so you’ll have to decide when is the best time to pop them. Still more: as you rack up points, a meter on the right side of the screen fills up. As you reach certain thresholds, you’ll get certain rewards. This includes some command-based special moves that you can use to fire off shots in helpful patterns. Phew.
What you need to do in Sol Cresta is make the best use of your formations to earn as many points and power-ups as possible, using special formations at the right time to get through tricky situations and also juice your score. With those extra points comes rewards from the meter, giving you access to a variety of tools that will help you survive. There are no continues, but once you reach a new stage you can start from there next time. You’ll also want to try to check off achievements, as they unlock more gameplay features like a sound test, online leaderboards, and more. You can choose between three difficulty settings from the outset, with more unlockable as you go. I recommend starting with the easiest while you get your bearings, but you won’t knock off all of the achievements unless you ramp up.
Some of the systems feel a little overly complicated and extraneous, but I certainly appreciate that there is some depth to be mined here. Other than that, the other flies in the ointment are related to the visuals. Sometimes background obstacles aren’t as clear as you would like, making it hard to see things before it’s too late. Occasionally there is a weird hitch before a boss makes its way in. Not a big problem, but it does seem odd. Finally, the last sequence of the game suffers from some serious choppiness that can make it really hard to keep your eyes on what they need to be on.
Sol Cresta is a game that you need to chew on for a bit before it shows its true value. But stick with it, learn its idiosyncrasies, and you’ll find a unique, satisfying entry into the crowded shoot-em-up genre. Is it an all-timer? Probably not, but considering Platinum just waltzed into this club for the first time, it has done an exemplary job.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Monark tries to be modern Persona, but it comes across like it was made on a classic Persona budget. That would explain almost all of its problems, but also why it’s not entirely without merit. It seeks to tackle real-world social issues using a supernatural backdrop, and at times it comes off surprisingly smartly-written. At other times, it drops the ball painfully, doing disservice to the serious topics it’s trying to tackle. The gameplay also feels this sting. There’s a good foundation here, but it just feels like the budget is crunching at all times. Palette swaps, repetitive environments, and a sense that it wants to be so much more expansive and diverse than it is.
If you can accept its scope, accept that it falls short of its intentions almost as often as it realizes them, there is something in Monark to enjoy. The way it explores the ideas of personality traits and the dangers of excesses can be very intriguing, and the combat can be satisfying for a while. The localization is solid, with some sharp bits of writing here and there. And yes, there is just enough of a whiff of Persona about it that it might at least lightly scratch the itch for more Atlus-ish RPG enjoyment. But one can’t help but wonder what this could have been if the developers had had more resources to play with.
SwitchArcade Score: 3/5
SOL CRESTA ($39.99)
Platinum takes on a decidedly lower-key project by making a sequel to a shoot-em-up franchise that has been dormant for around 25 years and frankly hasn’t been relevant for over 35 years. This is the developer’s first crack at a somewhat traditional vertical shooter, and it’s actually rather good. A little complicated in places, but it certainly has a feel of its own that I can’t say I dislike. A few tech issues mean this Switch version isn’t the best way to play it, but they’re relatively minor snags most of the time. Those who really like the game can splurge for an extra story mode available as DLC.
FuRyu has a trick where they get a couple of reasonably big names and attach them to a game vaguely similar to the thing those names are known for. Not a bad strategy, but the games rarely end up anywhere near as good as the original thing. Such is the case with Monark, an RPG from a team with a couple of ex-Atlus people who worked on Shin Megami Tensei if and the first Persona game, among others. It’s set in a high school that has been taken over by a mist that drives people insane. The only way to drive away the mist is to deal with Pactbearers representing the seven deadly sins. It comes off as a discount Persona in just about every regard, and whether or not you’ll enjoy it comes down to how much you’re willing to put up with in terms of cut corners.
Another game where you wander around a scary location solving some light puzzles and avoiding monsters. You’ll also need to mind your temperature. It’s cold outside, and you’ll need to use whatever heat sources you can find to keep from freezing to death. It’s Ultimate Games, so I wouldn’t get too excited about it. No comment on the name.
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Capcom must be in a celebratory mood, because it has a bunch of games on sale including some cool DLC. If you loved Monster Hunter Stories 2, you can grab some extras for a nice discount. There are a few other things in the list worth noting, so give it a look. The outbox, on the other hand, is pretty small. You should of course check it, but there’s nothing in there that I am jumping up and down to highlight.
Select New Games on Sale
Monster Hunter Stories 2 ($39.99 from $59.99 until 2/28)
Monster Hunter Stories 2 Deluxe ($45.99 from $69.99 until 2/28)
Monster Hunter Generations Ult. ($15.99 from $39.99 until 2/28)
Monster Hunter Rise Deluxe ($52.49 from $69.99 until 2/28)
Onimusha Warlords ($7.99 from $19.99 until 2/28)
Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen ($14.99 from $29.99 until 2/28)
Ghosts n Goblins Resurrection ($19.79 from $29.99 until 2/28)
Mega Man Legacy Collection ($9.99 from $14.99 until 2/28)
Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/28)
Mega Man 11 ($14.99 from $29.99 until 2/28)
Mega Man X Legacy Collection ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/28)
Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/28)
Mega Man Zero/ZX Collection ($19.79 from $29.99 until 2/28)
Okami HD ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/28)
Shinsekai Into the Depths ($14.99 from $19.99 until 2/28)
Resident Evil 0 ($12.99 from $19.99 until 2/28)
Resident Evil ($12.99 from $19.99 until 2/28)
Resident Evil 4 ($14.99 from $19.99 until 2/28)
Resident Evil 5 ($14.99 from $19.99 until 2/28)
Resident Evil 6 ($14.99 from $19.99 until 2/28)
Resident Evil Revelations ($7.99 from $19.99 until 2/28)
Resident Evil Revelations 2 ($7.99 from $19.99 until 2/28)
Devil May Cry ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/28)
Devil May Cry 2 ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/28)
Devil May Cry 3 SE ($11.99 from $19.99 until 2/28)
Capcom Arcade Stadium Pack 1 ($11.99 from $14.99 until 2/28)
Capcom Arcade Stadium Pack 2 ($11.99 from $14.99 until 2/28)
Capcom Arcade Stadium Pack 3 ($11.99 from $14.99 until 2/28)
Capcom Arcade Stadium Packs 1+2+3 ($29.99 from $39.99 until 2/28)
Capcom Arcade Stadium Ghosts n Goblins ($0.99 from $1.99 until 2/28)
S.N.I.P.E.R. Hunter Scope Deluxe ($1.99 from $16.99 until 2/28)
Super Street Racer ($12.49 from $39.99 until 3/7)
Speed 3 Grand Prix ($14.99 from $39.99 until 3/7)
Mickey Storm & the Cursed Mask ($12.49 from $24.99 until 3/7)
Taxi Chaos ($14.99 from $34.95 until 3/7)
Angry Alligator ($19.99 from $29.99 until 3/7)
Slide Stars ($9.99 from $19.99 until 3/7)
AnShi ($12.49 from $17.99 until 3/7)
Ancient Rush 2 ($2.49 from $4.99 until 3/7)
Luna’s Fishing Garden ($5.27 from $7.99 until 3/13)
Merchant of the Skies ($9.89 from $14.99 until 3/13)
Lazy Galaxy Rebel Story ($5.27 from $7.99 until 3/13)
Potata: Fairy Flower ($3.60 from $12.00 until 3/13)
Cubicity ($2.04 from $6.00 until 3/13)
Super Battle Cards ($1.99 from $5.99 until 3/14)
Klondike Solitaire ($1.99 from $8.99 until 3/14)
Food Truck Tycoon Asian Cuisine ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/14)
Cooking Tycoons 2: 3 in 1 ($1.99 from $12.99 until 3/14)
Pancake Bar Tycoon Deluxe ($1.99 from $6.99 until 3/14)
Breakfast Bar Tycoon ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/14)
Sushi Time! ($1.99 from $4.99 until 3/14)
Food Truck Tycoon + Expansion ($1.99 from $5.99 until 3/14)
Paratopic: Deluxe ($2.49 from $5.99 until 3/14)
Modern Tales: Age of Invention ($2.09 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Skyland Heart of the Mountain ($2.09 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Wild & Adventure Pinball ($7.49 from $14.99 until 3/14)
Demon’s Rise: Lords of Chaos ($2.99 from $7.99 until 3/14)
Torn Tales: Rebound Edition ($2.49 from $7.99 until 3/14)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 23rd
Asterix & Obelix Slap Them All! ($23.99 from $29.99 until 2/23)
Circa Infinity Ultimate ($1.99 from $10.99 until 2/23)
Clumsy Rush ($1.99 from $4.99 until 2/23)
Crossbow: Bloodnight ($1.99 from $4.99 until 2/23)
Cyber Protocol ($1.99 from $9.99 until 2/23)
EQI ($1.99 from $4.99 until 2/23)
Fobia ($1.99 from $9.99 until 2/23)
Iconoclasts ($7.99 from $19.99 until 2/23)
Instant Sports Tennis ($3.73 from $14.95 until 2/23)
Magic Pen Color Book ($3.39 from $3.99 until 2/23)
Nirvana Pilot Yume ($1.99 from $4.99 until 2/23)
OMG Police: Car Chase TV ($1.99 from $4.99 until 2/23)
Urban Flow Extended Edition ($1.99 from $16.99 until 2/23)
Vesta ($1.99 from $9.99 until 2/23)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more sales, and maybe some news. The big release tomorrow appears to be the cloud version of Edge of Eternity, so… yeah, maybe not the biggest of days. Well, we’ll deal with whatever comes. I hope you all have a terrific Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!