SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘Razion EX’ and ‘Boulder Dash Deluxe’, Plus the Latest Releases and Sales

Austen


Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for September 20th, 2021. In today’s article, we’ve got a few reviews of some recent releases. Razion EX, Boulder Dash Deluxe, and SkateBIRD step into the spotlight for their evaluations. We’ve also got summaries of a few new releases, and the latest lists of new and expiring sales for you to check out. And that’s all, as I am preparing for a hospital thing tomorrow. Let’s get to the good stuff!

Reviews & Mini-Views

Razion EX ($19.95)

Up until now, Razion‘s been enough of a scarcity that there just haven’t been that many impressions of the game. There was a risk its rarity would lend it an air of quality it might not actually live up to. I’m happy to report that isn’t the case. Razion EX is a fine horizontal shoot-em-up in the vein of NEOGEO classics like Blazing Star. It offers a few different difficulty levels that ensures there is something here for a wide variety of skill levels, and its scoring system has just enough depth to keep you coming back without being too complicated. The visuals have a great vintage look to them, and the soundtrack is superb.

Razion EX features six stages that take you through some interesting environments, each capped off by a battle with a massive boss. The bullets fly fast and furious, but you have a useful beam that you can charge up and let fly to clear enemies and their shots alike. The beam will also go through walls, and that’s an important part of the strategy. You can also alternate between two types of shots, basically coming down to a choice of destructive power versus mobility. There are no power-ups to collect, but defeated enemies will leave behind cubes that will give you points and charge your beam. A limited tool set, but it’s sufficient for the challenge you’ll face. Choosing when to use each type of shot and regulating your beams is the name of the game here.

The three difficulty modes truly run the gamut in terms of what they offer. Most players should be able to make their way through the Novice mode without too much trouble, but the Normal and especially Maniac modes kick the heat up appropriately. You start with two credits, but you’ll unlock more as you go. You can also practice any stages or bosses you’ve reached. There is a standard set of video, audio, and control options including the choice of using scanlines and how intense you want them to be.

Razion EX is another high-quality shoot-em-up in the Switch’s library, with a distinct flavor all of its own. While it’s not the most fully-featured of releases, it has all of the important options and modes you would want in a game like this. The different difficulty modes are well-balanced, and whether you’re going for score or survival there is a good time to be had here. Shoot-em-up fans of all sorts will find things to appreciate in this game.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

Boulder Dash Deluxe ($14.99)

Boulder Dash fans, rejoice. Boulder Dash Deluxe is absolutely jam-packed with levels, and the game plays pretty much as you remember. Dig around, grab the necessary amount of gems, deal with the enemies, watch out for falling rocks, and escape unscathed. You get hundreds of levels in this game, including the entire original level set and a brand new batch from the game’s original creator. Boulder Dash has always been an enjoyable action-puzzler, and that core quality shines through here. But shine it must, because there’s a whole layer of really cheap-feeling cruft on top of those high-quality fundamentals.

This game is built on the bones of a free-to-play mobile game, and it regrettably checks off a lot of the boxes of a stereotypical title of of that nature. You collect Gold Bars that you can use for various assists or to unlock new worlds early. There are consumable power-ups you can use to brute force your way through tough levels. The interface feels like it was designed for a much smaller touch display. The overall visual design looks really rough and low-cost, with the only relief coming from switching over to the classic style where possible. There’s a solid tribute to the original Boulder Dash here, with plenty to keep you busy for hours on end, but you’ll have to ignore a lot to enjoy it.

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

SkateBIRD ($19.99)

I really wanted to like this game. Cute birds, a cheerful sense of humor, and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater-style gameplay? Now, I’m under no illusions about what an indie developer can pull off versus one of the largest publishers in the business. But if it managed to come together reasonably well, we would have had a real winner here. The set-up involves a bunch of birds trying to help out their Big Friend who seems to be feeling down of late. Their helpful intentions are matched only by their misunderstandings, and a lot of silly stuff ensues. Naturally, all of it involves skateboarding. You’ll be skating as a little bird through a lot of human-sized environments, which is a fun quirk that helps contribute to a different feel from the obvious source of inspiration.

You can have a great concept, nice visuals, and plenty of novelty, but it’s all for naught if the game doesn’t feel good to play. Unfortunately, SkateBIRD has a lot of issues in that regard. The physics lack weight, which I can forgive to an extent because they are birds. The ridiculous camera is harder to get past. Anytime you’re near pretty much any object, the camera has a tendency to start going haywire, making it hard to point yourself in the direction you want to go and really easy to fall off of raised surfaces. Your birdie boarder also falls off its board at the drop of a hat, and between that and the camera you can end up in some very frustrating situations. All of the charm in the world isn’t enough to save this one.

SwitchArcade Score: 2/5

New Releases

Super Arcade Football ($9.99)

Not to be confused with Super Arcade Soccer or Super Arcade Soccer 2021, Super Arcade Football is another attempt at an arcade-style soccer game. But you know, just looking at the description you can tell this one is different. It has support for online and local multiplayer, a soundtrack by Barry Leitch of Horizon Chase Turbo and Lotus Turbo Challenge fame, a proper story mode, a whole bunch of wacky modifiers, and a bevy of tournament options. I absolutely love the little animations on the players. You can actually try this one out on mobile, albeit with ad support and fewer features. It’s quite a fun take on the sport at a very reasonable price.

Work Trip ($4.99)

Say what you will about Ultimate Games, its games at least aren’t pre-built templates repackaged for the eShop. I will always give them that. This game sees your car damaged by a fallen tree, and you need to wander around, explore, and meet NPCs to try to get it fixed. It uses low-poly graphics, probably for budget reasons, but it at least gives the game some kind of aesthetic. Probably not a great use of a fiver, but if you like wandering around low-poly environments for whatever reason, here you go.

Squabble ($14.99)

No relation to the many board games with similar titles. This is a game meant to be enjoyed by up to four players via local multiplayer, and it has curiously flagged itself as not being compatible with handheld mode. It’s an arena battler where all of the characters are apparently siblings, and they attack each other with a variety of kid-appropriate weapons like water guns and homework. I’m kind of burnt out on this kind of game unless it does something really special, and I don’t think an interesting theme is enough to cut it. But perhaps you still have room in your heart.

Smashy Road: Wanted 2 ($7.99)

The police are after you, and you need to keep one step ahead of them as long as you can. This is a sequel to the spin-off of Smashy Road, and I’m sure most regular readers of this site are familiar with the series through one of its mobile versions. This game too originated on mobile, which means you can try it out there for free before you buy it here. It’s certainly amusing, and I feel that the button controls enhance the experience.

Sales

(North American eShop, US Prices)

An unusual assortment of new sales today, friends. My picks from the bunch would be Orange Pixel’s Space Grunts, the cool puzzle game The House of Da Vinci 2, and the always-entertaining West of Loathing. As for the outbox, if you don’t own both Alwa games, now is the time to get on that. Most of the other good stuff should be back around again before too long, so there’s no pressing need to grab any of it unless you really want to play it. But you know, check those lists yourselves. I’m not the Baron of Bargains or anything.

Select New Games on Sale

Space Grunts ($4.89 from $13.99 until 9/25)
Under Leaves ($5.19 from $12.99 until 9/25)
Little Mouse’s Encyclopedia ($6.49 from $12.99 until 9/26)
Firework ($9.74 from $12.99 until 9/26)
Hero Express ($3.24 from $4.99 until 9/26)
The House of Da Vinci 2 ($4.99 from $9.99 until 9/26)
PuPaiPo Space Deluxe ($3.49 from $4.99 until 9/27)
Colorful Colore ($1.99 from $2.99 until 9/27)
You Died But a Necromancer Revived You ($4.49 from $8.99 until 9/27)
City of Brass ($1.99 from $19.99 until 9/28)
Aery: Broken Memories ($7.49 from $14.99 until 9/28)
Aery: A Journey Beyond Time ($4.99 from $9.99 until 9/28)
Aery: Calm Mind ($4.49 from $8.99 until 9/28)
My Little Dog Adventure ($4.99 from $9.99 until 9/28)
Gordian Rooms: Curious Heritage ($4.99 from $9.99 until 9/28)


Life of Fly ($7.49 from $14.99 until 9/28)
Air Bounce: Jump ‘n’ Run ($2.99 from $5.99 until 9/28)
Submerged ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/28)
Swordbreaker the Game ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/28)
Bossgard ($9.99 from $19.99 until 10/1)
Black The Fall ($4.94 from $14.99 until 10/1)
Mighty Aphid ($3.99 from $4.99 until 10/2)
Restless Night ($3.99 from $4.99 until 10/2)
CATTCH ($4.19 from $6.99 until 10/2)
Caves & Castles: Underworld ($2.99 from $4.99 until 10/2)
Glittering Sword ($2.99 from $4.99 until 10/2)
Dungeon & Puzzles ($5.99 fom $9.99 until 10/2)
Elden: Path of the Forgotten ($3.99 from $15.99 until 10/4)
West of Loathing ($6.60 from $11.00 until 10/4)
Viviette ($5.99 from $9.99 until 10/8)


Dojoran ($3.99 from $4.99 until 10/8)
Smashy Road: Wanted 2 ($3.99 from $7.99 until 10/8)
Prehistoric Life Puzzles ($4.00 from $5.00 until 10/8)
Race Track Driver ($7.79 from $11.99 until 10/8)
Street Racing: Tokyo Rush ($5.99 from $11.99 until 10/8)
Super One More Jump ($1.99 from $6.99 until 10/9)
Crash Drive 3 ($11.99 from $19.99 until 10/9)
Super Club Tennis ($14.99 from $29.99 until 10/9)
Banana Treasures Island ($5.94 from $9.90 until 10/9)
Shinobi Blade ($5.94 from $9.90 until 10/9)
AXS ($7.49 from $14.99 until 10/9)
Squabble ($9.99 from $14.99 until 10/9)
Plague Road ($1.99 from $15.00 until 10/9)
Mecho Tales ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/9)
Mecho Wars: Desert Ashes ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/9)
Death Tales ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/9)
War Theatre ($1.99 from $9.99 until 10/9)
#womenUp, Puzzles Dream ($2.06 from $5.99 until 10/9)
#NoLimitFantasy, Puzzles Dream ($2.06 from $5.99 until 10/9)
#Wish travel, Puzzles Dream ($1.99 from $5.99 until 10/9)
Super Arcade Football ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/10)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 21st

1912: Titanic Mystery ($2.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)
Alwa’s Awakening ($4.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)
Alwa’s Legacy ($8.99 from $17.99 until 9/21)
Ascendance ($1.99 from $5.99 until 9/21)
Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia ($14.99 from $49.99 until 9/21)
Bass Pro Shops: The Strike CE ($9.99 from $19.99 until 9/21)
Beast Quest ($3.99 from $19.99 until 9/21)
Cabela’s: The Hunt CE ($9.99 from $19.99 until 9/21)
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger ($9.99 from $19.99 until 9/21)
Cars 3 Driven to Win ($7.99 from $39.99 until 9/21)
Cathedral ($10.49 from $14.99 until 9/21)
Caveman Tales ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)
Charge Kid ($1.99 from $2.49 until 9/21)
Curved Space ($15.99 from $19.99 until 9/21)
Dead by Daylight ($14.99 from $29.99 until 9/21)


Death and Taxes ($5.84 from $12.99 until 9/21)
Deer Drive Legends ($3.99 from $19.99 until 9/21)
Degrees of Separation ($5.99 from $19.99 until 9/21)
Demon’s Rise: War for the Deep ($1.99 from $6.99 until 9/21)
Dreamo ($7.49 from $14.99 until 9/21)
Faircroft’s Antiques: HfC CE ($2.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)
Faircroft’s Antiques: ToT CE ($2.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)
Family Vacation: California ($4.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)
Fate of the Pharaoh ($4.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)
Genetic Disaster ($2.99 from $14.99 until 9/21)
Ghost: Elisa Cameron ($2.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)
Guards ($1.99 from $4.99 until 9/21)
Halloween Pinball ($2.00 from $2.99 until 9/21)
Invisible Fist ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)
Kingdom Tales ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)


Kingdom Tales 2 ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)
Legends of Amberland: Forgotten Crown ($9.99 from $19.99 until 9/21)
LEGO City Undercover ($5.99 from $29.99 until 9/21)
LEGO DC Super-Villains ($11.99 from $59.99 until 9/21)
LEGO Jurassic World ($9.99 from $39.99 until 9/21)
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 ($7.49 from $29.99 until 9/21)
LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game ($9.99 from $49.99 until 9/21)
LEGO The Incredibles ($11.99 from $59.99 until 9/21)
LEGO Worlds ($5.99 from $29.99 until 9/21)
Mortal Kombat 11 ($14.99 from $49.99 until 9/21)
Mummy Pinball ($2.00 from $2.99 until 9/21)
Murder By Numbers ($7.49 from $14.99 until 9/21)
Myths of Orion: LftN ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)
Override 2: Super Mech League ($9.89 from $29.99 until 9/21)
Pirates Pinball ($2.00 from $2.99 until 9/21)


Rise of Insanity ($3.49 from $9.99 until 9/21)
Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break ($7.49 from $29.99 until 9/21)
Runbow ($2.99 from $14.99 until 9/21)
Scribblenauts Mega Pack ($7.99 from $39.99 until 9/21)
Scribblenauts Showdown ($3.99 from $39.99 until 9/21)
Shieldwall Chronicles: SotN ($4.79 from $7.99 until 9/21)
Tales from the Dragon Mountain ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)
Tales from the Dragon Mountain 2 ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)
The Last Days ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)
The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame ($7.99 from $39.99 until 9/21)
The Man With The Ivory Cane ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)
TOEM ($17.99 from $19.99 until 9/21)
Troll & I ($3.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)
Werewolf Pinball ($2.00 from $2.99 until 9/21)
Where Angels Cry ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)
Where Angels Cry: TotF CE ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)
Zotrix Starglider ($1.99 from $9.99 until 9/21)

That’s all for today, friends. As I mentioned up above, I have a hospital procedure tomorrow. As such, there won’t be a SwitchArcade Round-Up on Tuesday. I’ll be back on Wednesday and we’ll catch up on whatever we need to then. I hope you all have a great Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!

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