Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for November 9th, 2021. In today’s article, we’ve got full reviews of Atlus’s Shin Megami Tensei V and Koei Tecmo’s Blue Reflection: Second Light. There’s a slice of news to dig into, and we’ve also got a few new releases to check out. We finish things up, as we always do, with a look at the new and expiring sales of the day. Let’s get to work!
‘The Worlds Ends With You: Final Remix’ Game Trial Incoming for Switch Online
Nintendo has been doing Game Trials more frequently of late, and I imagine that is a sign that they are working out well for everyone involved. Nintendo Switch Online subscribers in North America will be able to take advantage of the latest one, starting tomorrow. Square Enix’s The World Ends With You: Final Remix will be fully free to play for one week, from November 10th to November 16th. Any progress you make will transfer over the paid version should you decide to pick it up after. As usual, the digital version of the game will be discounted during this period, giving everyone the chance to pick up the game for 30% from November 10th to the 23rd. Given the stir this version’s controls caused when it released, this is a great chance for you to put your hands on it and see how well you take to it.
Reviews & Mini-Views
Shin Megami Tensei V ($59.99)
I feel like I have been waiting a really long time for this game. It was announced back when the Switch itself was first shown off, and for a while it seemed like nothing was going on with it. Later that year we got a proper title and a brief trailer, but it would be a couple of years before we would see the game again. But when the wheels starting turning, they did so heartily. I’ve had to actually ignore some of the marketing because I wanted to experience the game as fresh as I could. Indeed, I initially didn’t want to do a review of Shin Megami Tensei V because I’d rather savor the flavor than try to rush the experience. Fortunately, things worked out that I was able to have my cake and eat it, too.
And wow, what a cake this is. The initial idea behind this game was to split the difference between the popular oddball entry Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne and the more traditional Shin Megami Tensei IV. If I squint hard enough, I guess I can see that. But truthfully, this game goes off in its own direction, and I think it’s all the better for that. There are plenty of the traditional Shin Megami Tensei elements in here, naturally. You’re still building up teams of demons that require deft negotiations, timely fusions, and a strong knowledge of the way weaknesses and strengths work.
The Press Turn combat system also returns, and it works as well here as ever. Take advantage of enemy weaknesses and you’ll earn extra turns, but be sure to cover your own or the tables can be turned in a hurry. The biggest change to the system is the new Magatsuhi Skill system, which allows you use special skills that consume energy from a meter rather than exhaust your turn. It starts off as a small thing, but over time you’ll expand these capabilities, giving them more weight in the battles. Still, the nuts and bolts of the battle system seem to follow the philosophy of things that are not broken not needing to be fixed.
The rest of the game, however, does not follow that belief. Shin Megami Tensei V isn’t just an upheaval for the series, but a more ambitious effort than anything Atlus has done full-stop. You won’t be doing a whole lot of dungeon-delving here, not in first- or third-person. Outside of a small bit at the start, you won’t be navigating a bird’s-eye-view map with a little marker in place of your character either. No stumbling about into invisible encounters with random groups of enemies. This is a completely new realization of the overall structure of a Shin Megami Tensei game, and it really is something to behold.
The stitched-together smaller areas through which we had to imagine a post-apocalyptic Tokyo in previous Shin Megami Tensei games gives way to a handful of vast, largely open-world areas where you can run around, see demons wandering about as they will, and find numerous secrets and side quests by digging around. All of this feeds into a massively overhauled set of systems for customizing your character and your team, rewarding you for exploring by significantly improving the options you have for building the perfect answer to whatever problem you’re facing.
This series is well-known for its relatively high difficulty and demand on the player to put some thought into what they’re doing, and Shin Megami Tensei V if anything pushes that even further. You are given more than enough rope here to customize your builds like never before, but that rope will just as easily hang you if you play carelessly. Death is as ever swift and merciless, tossing you unceremoniously back to your last save point wherever that may be. But you have all the necessary tools to win, and the main path is by the standards of the series not terribly tough. Some of the optional stuff will require you to fully dig into how all of the mechanics work, however. If you are an RPG fan who is more into the mechanics than anything else, you’ll have a field day with this game.
Those who come for the story may be less impressed, however. I’m not going to spoil anything, but if you’ve been through a Shin Megami Tensei game or two before, you probably know how this kind of thing tends to go. Characters essentially exist as paper-thin representations of philosophical extremes, and you don’t get very much time with anyone but yourself for the most part. The game is more interested in setting up its intriguing world than in creating a strong narrative within it, though it is so good at the former that you will likely be forgiving of the latter.
If I had to poke at anything else, it would be the game’s technical performance. It’s not dreadful, and I have definitely suffered games that run far worse on the Switch. But there are times where the resolution and framerate take noticeable hits. It’s never as bad as say, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but those who are sensitive to such issues will want to know. For the most part the game runs rather well for an Unreal Engine-based 3D title, and the game can certainly look great when it’s at its best. Given that Atlus doesn’t usually make games with this kind of graphical gusto, the flaws are easy enough for me to overlook.
Shin Megami Tensei V represents a bold new step forward for the venerable series. While I suspect some long-time fans may be put off at just how many changes are on the table, I think Atlus has done an impressive job of retaining the elements that made the previous games work while injecting ambitious new ideas that make for a truly fresh take on the genre. The complexity and difficulty may turn off some newcomers, but this latest entry gives players more tools than ever for overcoming the many challenges contained within. I wish the story had been equally enterprising, but it’s a small (and highly familiar) flaw on an otherwise fantastic game.
SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5
Blue Reflection: Second Light ($59.99)
I’ll be straightforward with you all, friends: prior to owning a Nintendo Switch, my experience with Gust’s RPGs were quite limited. I mean, I had a PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita. I’m reasonably sure I even bought some of Gust’s Atelier games during particularly spicy PSN sales. But I never really got into them, for reasons that run the gamut from reasonable to embarrassingly silly. Even on the Switch, I didn’t earnestly dig into any of their releases until Atelier Ryza. Playing that game showed me what I had been missing. Gust games have a very particular flavor to them that few other RPGs can match.
From that information, you can probably surmise that I’ve never played the original Blue Reflection. With that in mind, here is the first useful bit of Blue Reflection: Second Light information in this review: you don’t need to have any familiarity with the series to get into this game. The second thing I will say is that Blue Reflection: Second Light is as Gust as it gets. If you’ve enjoyed any of the Atelier games, you’ll be right at home here. A generally fluffy slice-of-life story with plenty of heart? Check. Gorgeous art? Naturally. Crafting out the wazoo? You bet. A battle system that is probably a little too complicated for its own good, but manages to work anyway? Yes. A whole lot of side quests? You have to have those.
The story in this game sees a high school girl named Ao waking up in a school that seems to be isolated by water on all sides. She meets other girls who seem to live at the school, all of whom have no memories about their lives before arriving there save their own names. While having a conversation with one of the girls, she seems to remember something. Suddenly, a new realm appears before them. What mysteries will they find in there? And what is this bizarre situation really about? Don’t count on a hard, driven plot. The mystery is enough to keep things moving, but that’s not the game’s true story-telling strength. The meat of Blue Reflection: Second Light‘s story is in the everyday interactions between the girls, and it’s really well done.
Of course, this is an RPG. There’s combat to be had, and it’s… fine. There are some quirks to it, but for the most part it boils down to a fairly typical turn-based battle system. I wouldn’t recommend the game on its strengths alone, but it gets the job done. For the most part, the many side-quests also fall into this category. There are some utterly dreadful stealth sections, but they’re not mandatory unless you’re trying to finish everything. The crafting system is superb, very much in line with the Atelier games. Gathering up goodies and seeing what you can make with them is enjoyable. There’s also a mechanic wherein you are improving the school building itself, and that’s neat. Plenty to digest here, and it’s all rather relaxing and well-paced.
Ultimately, Blue Reflection: Second Light is another high-quality effort from Gust. Its unique setting, strong character work, and attractive presentation are the highlights here, but it doesn’t outright drop the ball in any categories. If you’re looking for a cozy, low-stress RPG to spend some time with, Blue Reflection: Second Light makes a compelling case. Those who, like me, caught on to Gust with the Atelier Ryza games will certainly want to check this game out. It has many of the same charms, but with enough differences to make it stand on its own.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Blue Reflection: Second Light ($59.99)
If you’ve already read the review, then you know my thoughts on Gust’s latest RPG. It’s very much in line with the developer’s usual fare like the Atelier games, and if that’s what you’re after then you’re going to be quite happy with Blue Reflection: Second Light. It’s a very comfy RPG and makes for an intriguing bit of counter-programming for the impending Shin Megami Tensei V.
Football Manager 2022 Touch ($39.99)
SEGA’s popular football management game is back again for another year of fun. New features this year include improved controls, a handy data hub that gives you a lot of useful information about your team, remodeled animations, AI improvements, and more responsive media interactions. Probably a few other bits and bobs, but those are the bullet points. Otherwise, you can expect the same quality experience we’ve seen all along with this reliable series.
Airborne Kingdom ($24.99)
This is a solid city-building simulation game with an interesting hook to it. Rather than build another boring ground-bound city, you’re building kingdoms that soar high above the sky. It’s not just a cosmetic point, as you need to manage your lift and propulsion so that your floating settlement can explore the world. Like many city-builders on the Switch, you’ll have to put up with some performance issues if you want to get into this port, but the game itself is quite compelling in the way that any good sim tends to be.
My Singing Monsters Playground ($39.99)
I feel like one week after a Mario Party release isn’t the best position for a new party game release, but perhaps the My Singing Monsters brand will be enough to call some attention to this. Up to four players locally can join in on some monster minigame fun, with three different modes on offer. There are a number of minigames to play, and fans of My Singing Monsters will spot many of their favorite characters here. No idea how many minigames are included, but the trailer shows off a decent number. But will the monsters sing?
(North American eShop, US Prices)
Not much to note today in the new sales, but DEEMO -Reborn- is an excellent rhythm game and the Boot Hill titles are certainly unique. In the outbox, the various titles from Onion Games are ending their discount period. Grab Dandy Dungeon: Brave Yamada, Black Bird, and moon for nice prices while you can. I’ll do that thing I always do and remind you to check both lists yourselves, just in case ol’ Shaun has led you astray. Oh, that’s another good one. MO: Astray. Fun game, grab that as well. See? You really have to double check those lists!
Select New Games on Sale
Forest Guardian ($2.74 from $10.99 until 11/16)
Big Dipper ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/16)
Into a Dream ($5.59 from $13.99 until 11/16)
Potion Party ($4.99 from $9.99 until 11/16)
Merrily Perilly ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/16)
Sheepo ($7.69 from $10.99 until 11/16)
DEEMO -Reborn- ($15.00 from $25.00 until 11/17)
Boot Hill Heroes ($4.99 from $9.99 until 11/22)
Boot Hill Bounties ($7.49 from $14.99 until 11/22)
Summer Paws ($2.99 from $4.99 until 11/22)
Shadow Gangs ($17.99 from $23.99 until 11/22)
Ellipsis ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/22)
Last Encounter ($1.99 from $14.99 until 11/22)
Fin & the Ancient Mystery ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/22)
CATTCH ($3.84 from $6.99 until 11/23)
Glittering Sword ($2.74 from $4.99 until 11/23)
Caves & Castles Underworld ($2.74 from $4.99 until 11/23)
Sir Tincan: Adv. in the Castle ($3.49 from $6.99 until 11/23)
Animal Fun for Toddlers ($3.49 from $6.99 until 11/23)
Fatum Betula ($1.99 from $5.49 until 11/29)
Paratopic ($1.99 from $5.49 until 11/29)
Skyland: Heart of the Mountain ($2.09 from $14.99 until 11/29)
Summer in Mara ($9.99 from $24.99 until 11/29)
Dreamwalker: Never Fall Asleep ($2.09 from $14.99 until 11/29)
Darts Up ($1.99 from $2.99 until 11/29)
Abyss ($1.99 from $2.99 until 11/29)
99Seconds ($1.99 from $2.99 until 11/29)
99Moves ($1.99 from $2.99 until 11/29)
Air Conflicts: Secret Wars ($2.99 from $19.99 until 11/29)
.dog ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/30)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Wednesday, November 10th
Alder’s Blood: Definitive Edition ($8.99 from $19.99 until 11/10)
Apparition ($3.49 from $9.99 until 11/10)
Asterix & Obelix XXL ($13.49 from $29.99 until 11/10)
Black Bird ($9.99 from $19.99 until 11/10)
Bob Help Them ($1.99 from $7.99 until 11/10)
Body of Evidence ($2.49 from $9.99 until 11/10)
Brave Dungeon + Dark Witch Story ($7.19 from $8.99 until 11/10)
Cafeteria Nipponica ($8.40 from $14.00 until 11/10)
Connection Haunted Server Error ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/10)
Connection reHaunted ($2.49 from $6.66 until 11/10)
Crazy Gravity ($3.99 from $4.99 until 11/10)
Creepy Tale ($3.49 from $9.99 until 11/10)
Dandy Dungeon: Brave Yamada ($11.39 from $18.99 until 11/10)
Deployment ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/10)
Destropolis ($3.49 from $5.99 until 11/10)
Divine Ascent ($3.49 from $4.99 until 11/10)
Drag Racing Rivals ($2.49 from $9.99 until 11/10)
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 ($7.99 from $49.99 until 11/10)
Dream Alone ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/10)
Ego Protocol: Remastered ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/10)
Exorder ($1.99 from $12.99 until 11/10)
Flashback ($1.99 from $19.99 until 11/10)
Golden Force ($9.99 from $19.99 until 11/10)
Graviter ($2.39 from $7.99 until 11/10)
JARS ($11.99 from $14.99 until 11/10)
Kiai Resonance ($3.49 from $4.99 until 11/10)
Kickerinho World ($2.49 from $4.99 until 11/10)
Kids: Farm Coloring ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/10)
Lone McLonegan: Western Adv. ($7.99 from $9.99 until 11/10)
Make War ($2.49 from $9.99 until 11/10)
MO: Astray ($7.49 from $14.99 until 11/10)
moon ($16.99 from $18.99 until 11/10)
My Universe: Cooking Star Restaurant ($11.99 from $29.99 until 11/10)
My Universe: Fashion Boutique ($9.99 from $29.99 until 11/10)
My Universe: School Teacher ($9.99 from $29.99 until 11/10)
Nonograms Prophecy ($1.99 from $3.99 until 11/10)
Picklock ($2.39 from $7.99 until 11/10)
Pirates: All Aboard! ($1.99 from $5.99 until 11/10)
Pool Pro Gold ($1.99 from $9.99 until 11/10)
Powertris ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/10)
Rawr-Off ($1.99 from $2.99 until 11/10)
Splashy Cube ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/10)
Star Horizon ($2.49 from $9.99 until 11/10)
Strike Force Kitty ($1.99 from $4.99 until 11/10)
Tanuki Justice ($7.49 from $14.99 until 11/10)
The Legend of Dark Witch ($5.59 from $6.99 until 11/10)
The Manga Works ($8.40 from $14.00 until 11/10)
The Pyraplex ($8.40 from $14.00 until 11/10)
The Suicide of Rachel Foster ($15.99 from $19.99 until 11/10)
Wallachia: Reign of Dracula ($7.49 from $14.99 until 11/10)
World Cruise Story ($8.40 from $14.00 until 11/10)
X-Force Genesis ($3.50 from $7.00 until 11/10)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with what is looking to be the typical Wednesday edition. Some news, some new releases, some sales, and that’s about it. Could be a bit quiet, but don’t worry as the rest of the week will certainly make up for it. I hope you all have a terrific Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!