Reviews Featuring ‘Pepper Grinder’ & ‘Not Tonight 2’, Plus Today’s New Releases and Sales – TouchArcade

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Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for April 1st, 2024. It’s Easter Monday! It’s April Fools! But here at TouchArcade Towers, it’s just another day. We’ve got a bunch of reviews for you today, friends. Our pal Mikhail takes a careful look at Not Tonight 2, while I’ve got my takes on Pepper Grinder, Felix the Cat, and One Last Breath for you. After that, we take a look at the new releases of the day. Not the most bumper of crops, I’m sure you can guess. We finish things up with the usual lists of new and expiring sales. Let’s get going!

Reviews & Mini-Views

Not Tonight 2 ($19.99)

No More Robots is back with another Switch port of one of its PC games in Not Tonight 2. I assume this means we are one step closer to Slayers X hitting Switch but only time will tell. Before digressing further, Not Tonight 2 is a follow-up to the original Not Tonight: Take Back Control Edition on Switch, and is an interesting take on that formula with three stories, mini-games, and some Papers Please thrown into the fray. As a sequel, I like what it does, but some aspects might not hit as hard depending on what you’re looking for.

It had been a while since I played the original game, and trying out Not Tonight 2 on PC reminded me of how good it was. I didn’t finish the game on PC though. I decided to wait for a console release. When No More Robots announced the Switch release, I knew it would be worth waiting for, and it has been for the most part having now played it.

If you’ve not played Not Tonight before, I recommend getting it first, or grabbing the bundle of both if you’re curious about these games. As No More Robots‘ first sequel release as far as I’m aware, Not Tonight 2 is quite a bit more ambitious, and I think it is going to be a love it or hate it kind of game for fans of the original. I ended up more positive on it through the different stories being told. Some might be turned off by the humor within the more serious stories, but I always love that in a narrative.

In Not Tonight 2, you will explore, make choices, go through a lot of dialogue, and play minigames. As I said before, it has also been inspired by the amazing Papers Please. The developers describe Not Tonight 2 as an “American document-checking road trip, fusing a time-pressure RPG with a politically charged, dark comedy where every decision matters”. That is quite long but an accurate summary of the game. This is accompanied by a great visual style as well.

Not Tonight 2 has a few performance hiccups on Switch that aren’t huge issues compared to it running perfectly on Steam Deck, but it wins in controller support. I couldn’t get the PC version on Steam Deck to work without the virtual cursor regardless of using the Deck itself or an external controller. The Switch version plays well across the board, but I would like touchscreen support because adventure games like this benefit from the option of tapping to move around or selecting things. Basically the ideal control scheme for Not Tonight 2 would be a mix of controller and touch/virtual mouse support.

For some fans of the original, Not Tonight 2 might feel erratic in some ways, but I enjoyed it almost as much as the original on Switch. I recommend it to fans of the original and those who enjoy Papers Please. It just needs some performance improvements in certain areas. -Mikhail Madnani

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

Pepper Grinder ($14.99)

I like Pepper Grinder. It knows what it wants to do, and it does that thing without fussing around, then has the courtesy to end before it runs out of ideas. To honor it, I’ll try to make my review equally efficient. First, the things I like. The drill-based mechanics are clever and result in some fast-paced, exciting platforming. The visuals are appealing. I enjoyed finding the secrets in each stage. The difficulty curve felt pretty good outside of a few hiccups. It’s even fun to replay the stages.

Second, the things I didn’t like. The boss battles aren’t very good. I found them tedious and frustrating, and I was never happy to see one. And while I appreciated that the game didn’t drag itself out too long, I feel like the game ended a little quicker than I’d have ideally preferred. There was definitely room to keep going a little longer here and explore some concepts more.

Pepper Grinder is an enjoyable, unique platformer with a zippy pace, interesting mechanics, and some cool level designs. The boss battles are a bit clunky and only subtract from what is otherwise a very tight experience. It’s also worth noting that the game is quite brisk in its run-time, so do take that into account before buying. I personally think it ends a little too soon, but that’s not a terrible problem for a game to have.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

Felix the Cat ($24.99)

Certainly a curious pull, but not one I’m entirely opposed to. At some point Konami bought Hudson, adding its catalogue of titles to its collection. Konami has enough to deal with in its own library, let alone throwing a large one like Hudson’s to the mix. So anytime I see a Hudson game get a rerelease, I’m happy. That it’s a licensed one this time makes it even more welcome. Most of the time games with a license get passed over, especially when it’s a license that doesn’t exactly put butts in seats anymore. With all that taken into account, I’m glad to be looking at Felix the Cat on my Switch.

The title doesn’t have the word ‘collection’ in it, and whoever made that call was probably right. There are three games in here, technically speaking, but when you get right down to it you’re really just getting one. Back in 1992, Hudson released Felix the Cat for the NES. It was kind of a tie-in to the 1989 movie and part of an attempted revival for the older-than-Mickey kitty. Then, in 1993, Hudson ported the game to the Game Boy. We get both of those games here, along with the previously unreleased Japanese Famicom version. The Famicom version doesn’t seem to have any differences from the NES one apart from having Japanese language instead of English. The Game Boy version cuts out some stages and stage pieces but otherwise closely resembles the NES game. So yes, really just one game.

How is that game? Not too shabby, really. It’s very much a Hudson platformer, all the way down to a life meter/timer that ticks down and has to be periodically restored by picking up food items (milk, here). At the same time, it’s also post-Super Mario Bros. 3 and has clearly picked up some lessons from that game. The controls are tighter, and the game is considerably more fair than earlier Hudson games. Perhaps too fair, as it’s a rather easy game even by modern standards. I suppose the important thing is that it’s fun, and it is. Felix’s Magic Bag of Tricks is put to full use here, and you’ll get to make use of a variety of abilities as the game goes on. It never really flies as high as it probably could have, but it’s an enjoyable game to run through a few times. The Game Boy port is also worth a spin or two.

It’s all powered by Limited Run Games’ Carbon Engine, and it’s very much in line with its other releases using that wrapper. The emulation gets the job done, and you can make use of a rewind feature and a save state on each game. That’s about all you get, so don’t go looking for cool extras to contextualize these games. It’s about as quick and dirty as it gets, and I think that brings us to the proverbial elephant in the room here: the price. Not something I like to consider when doing reviews, as prices can and do fluctuate, but I will say that at this initial price point, I would expect a little more meat on the bone. There are as many games here as we could have, so perhaps that additional meat could have taken the form of some historical goodies? I don’t know, but the package feels a bit too thin here overall.

If you’re looking for an official way to play the NES Felix the Cat, this is certainly the most affordable way to do so. It’s a pricy cart in the aftermarket, so having it widely available again along with its Game Boy counterpart is welcome. The game itself is a pleasing romp, albeit not much more than that. Still, I can’t help but wish there were some extras here. Every game has a story behind its creation, and telling this one would have helped make the package more special. Alas, we just get the game and a couple variants of it in a plain brown bag. Not bad, but it could have been so much better.

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

One Last Breath ($17.99)

There were times where I felt that One Last Breath might really take off and reach the potential it was scratching at during its relatively brief run time. There’s a certain beauty to the game’s desolate environments, with nature reclaiming abandoned structures. The sound design is quite good, too. A few puzzles, particularly the ones that involve the main character Gaia using her nature powers, were enjoyable. But these were bright spots in an adventure that far too often feels rote and too opaque for its own good.

You’re left to your own devices to figure out how everything works in this game, but there fortunately isn’t too much to it. You can run, crouch, and have a context-sensitive “use” command. It’s up to you to figure out what you can and can’t interact with, how to deal with dangers you run into along the way, what you need to do to proceed, and so on. A lot of the time it involves slowly dragging crates around. You’ll probably die a lot while you try to sort things out. The graphics, while looking nice on their own, can sometimes be hard to visually parse. I fell to my death a lot that way. You’ll just reappear at the last checkpoint though, so figure out what you did wrong and keep moving.

One Last Breath has some good qualities, but they’re counter-balanced by pacing issues, dull puzzle designs, and an overall excess of vagueness. There is some optional content to help extend things, but it ends up feeling like a chore to complete. Some of the sights and sounds are worth experiencing, but I found myself bored with this game at least as often as I found myself entertained.

SwitchArcade Score: 3/5

New Releases

What They Don’t Sea ($4.99)

A cute little platformer about exploring the sea to find algae samples for some kind of new energy project. Make friends with the friendly creatures, avoid the unfriendly ones as much as possible, and keep an eye on your air supply. One cool thing is that the developer, Team Atlantis, consisted of a group of middle school girls. They first came up with the game at the Girls Make Games summer camp, though this was back in 2019. They worked with some professional developers to polish up their original concept, and the result of that is what we have here.

The Bin Bunch

Drift Force Xtreme: Ultimate Car Simulator 2024 ($9.99)

Bungee Run ($0.99)

Labyrinthia Nightmares: The Journey of Little Fluffypuff ($11.99)

Bubble Bunny ($2.99)

Lots of Things Collector’s Edition ($9.99)

Alien Invasion ($9.99)

Sales

(North American eShop, US Prices)

Look, I didn’t write a review of Berserk Boy, but if you like challenging 2D action games like Mega Man X then you’ll definitely have a good time with it. You can now grab it at a solid discount. The Trine games are at their lowest prices yet, and if you want to get your Castlevania on in Dead Cells there’s a discount for that. The outbox is rather small, so give that a look while you pass on by too.

Select New Sales

Berserk Boy ($16.00 from $20.00 until 4/9)
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope ($19.79 from $59.99 until 4/11)
Trine Enchanted Edition ($3.44 from $14.99 until 4/12)
Trine 2: Complete Story ($3.90 from $16.99 until 4/12)
Trine 3: TAoP ($4.59 from $19.99 until 4/12)
Nine Parchments ($4.59 from $19.99 until 4/12)
My Lovely Daughter ($2.99 from $14.99 until 4/15)
My Lovely Wife ($5.99 from $14.99 until 4/15)
Pan’orama ($9.99 from $19.99 until 4/18)
Teppo & the Secret Ancient City ($3.99 from $7.99 until 4/19)
Party Friends ($1.99 from $7.99 until 4/19)
Toodee and Topdee ($4.99 from $19.99 until 4/19)
Forrader Hero ($3.99 from $4.99 until 4/19)
TT Isle of Man RotE 2 ($5.99 from $59.99 until 4/20)
Modern Combat Blackout ($1.99 from $7.99 until 4/20)
Dead Cells ($12.49 from $24.99 until 4/21)
Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania ($7.99 from $9.99 until 4/21)
DREDGE ($17.49 from $24.99 until 4/21)
Moving Out 2 ($14.99 from $29.99 until 4/21)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, April 2nd

Among Us ($3.25 from $5.00 until 4/2)
Clue ($3.99 from $19.99 until 4/2)
Golfinite ($1.99 from $12.99 until 4/2)
Monument ($1.99 from $7.00 until 4/2)
Right and Down ($2.99 from $9.99 until 4/2)
SUPERHOT ($12.49 from $24.99 until 4/2)
The Cub ($8.99 from $14.99 until 4/2)
Untitled Goose Game ($9.99 from $19.99 until 4/2)
Warhammer 40k: Dakka Squadron ($9.99 from $19.99 until 4/2)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more reviews, some new releases, more sales, and maybe even some news. I had a nice Easter weekend, even if we can’t really do a full-on celebration here in Japan due to lack of materials and ingredients. There was chocolate, there were eggs, what more do you need? I hope you all have a magnificent Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!

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