Reviews Featuring ‘Hebereke Enjoy Edition’ & ‘Open Roads’, Plus Today’s Releases and Sales – TouchArcade


Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for April 2nd, 2024. In today’s article, we’ve got a little slice of news to get us going before we head into a handful of reviews. I take a look at Hebereke Enjoy Edition and EGGCONSOLE Xak, while our pal Mikhail dives into Open Roads and Krimson. After that, we have a new release to check out, plus the usual lists of new and expiring sales. Let’s get to work!

News

It’s ‘Showtime’ in the Next ‘Tetris 99’ Maximus Cup Event

It’s been a few months since the last Maximus Cup event in Tetris 99, and it seems like we’re finally getting another one. The 39th Maximus Cup event will kick off this Friday and run through the weekend as usual, challenging you to rank as high as you can to earn event points. The theme this time around is connected to Princess Peach: Showtime!, and if you earn 100 points before the event wraps up you’ll add it to your theme collection permanently.

Reviews & Mini-Views

Hebereke Enjoy Edition ($9.99)

Why yes, I did enjoy. Thank you, game. So this is a rather unusual rerelease. City Connection has brought Sunsoft’s classic NES game, Hebereke, to the Nintendo Switch. And I say “Hebereke” and not “Ufouria” because what we have here is the Japanese version of the game rather than its localized version. The original graphics are used, the original gameplay balance is maintained, and all of the text is in Japanese. Whenever said text pops up, you can open up an option in the menu that lets you see a translation along with screenshots of the original localization. Well, you don’t exactly need to do much reading here anyway. It’s weird, but it works. And maybe that’s appropriate for Hebereke.

That little quirk aside, Hebereke is as enjoyable as ever here. This was a very ambitious NES game, and one of Sunsoft’s masterpieces. You control Hebe, who finds himself in a mysterious world. He wants out, and he’s going to need some help to escape. You’ll travel around the open world, recruiting friends whose abilities will help you reach new parts of the map. You can also find items that expand the four characters’ abilities. Yes, that’s right: this is an early Metroidvania-style affair. With a hot 8-bit Sunsoft soundtrack. It’s excellent, and if you haven’t played it before then you should.

You can play the game in Enjoy Mode, which allows you to use things like the rewind and save state features. There is also the Speed Run mode, which disables those features and times you on your run. You can then compare your times with others via an online leaderboard. Apart from that, you also get a list of achievements to complete, some nice scans of the Japanese and German packaging and manuals, and an assortment of display options. There’s also that aforementioned feature that shows translations of the text. All in all, this is a rather robust package for such a nice price. The only thing that isn’t here is the Western release, Ufouria. An odd omission, but I assume there was some reason for it.

Hebereke Enjoy Edition offers up one of the NES’s lesser-known greats with a fine assortment of options and extras to help it shine even brighter. While the unusual approach to translating the game is not ideal, it’s hard to hold it against the game too much. Hebereke/Ufouria is a spectacular game that is still as entertaining as ever, and one I would heartily recommend to anyone.

SwitchArcade Score: 4.5/5

EGGCONSOLE Xak PC-8801mkIISR ($6.49)

I don’t want to sound like I’m not grateful for these EGGCONSOLE releases, because I am. I think it’s cool that D4Enterprise is taking a chance on putting these vintage Japanese computer games out worldwide. And I know that at this price point, doing full-scale localizations of every single game isn’t really feasible. Still, it’s hard to know what to do with releases like Xak. It’s an action-RPG in the vein of Ys, and as with that game you’ll need to be able to understand what characters are saying to know where to go and what to do next. Unlike that game, Xak hasn’t seen many localizations over the years that you can draw on to sort out what to do. All I could really find was an FAQ written for the Super Famicom release, which isn’t exactly the same as this PC-8801 original. You probably need to understand Japanese to enjoy this one.

Indeed, this one puts up a gate for non-Japanese speakers before it even really gets to the game. You’ll have to do a virtual disk swap to start the game, something you’ll only understand if you read the error message it gives you. Said message is of course in Japanese only. You need to swap “Disk Three” into the second drive, for reference. Anyway, once you’re in the game, it proceeds a lot like Ys. Lots of bumping and grinding, a relatively short run time, and some outstanding music to do it all to. It ends without resolving its story, but I imagine we’ll see Xak II in EGGCONSOLE before too long.

I actually really enjoyed playing through Xak here, but unless you’re able to understand Japanese I’d strongly caution against picking this release up. You can enjoy poking at it a bit using the included bookmarks, but actually playing the game requires understanding the text. Only the boldest of adventurers, equipped with Japanese dictionaries and/or translation software, need apply. I hope D4Enterprise can figure out a better solution for this kind of thing going forward, but I suspect this is just how it’s going to be.

SwitchArcade Score: 3/5

Open Roads ($19.99)

Open Roads was a game I had been looking forward to for a while now. I love both Annapurna Interactive and the team behind Open Roads who also worked on Gone Home, a longtime favorite of mine. When it finally got a release date and was confirmed for all consoles and PC, I was excited to finally experience it. Having now played it on Switch and also on Steam Deck to compare, Open Roads does a lot right, but falters in some key areas. It definitely didn’t live up to my expectations, but was still worth playing.

If you’ve not followed the game at all, Open Roads is a walking narrative-driven game that plays out like a more ambitious take on Gone Home. You can feel the production values in almost every area as well through the superb voice acting, animations, and design. What started out as an impressive experience with quite a bit of potential in its narrative, ended up leaving me disappointed though. I won’t get into spoilers but I feel like some parts of the story were just incomplete. I also explored and interacted with just about everything in Open Roads as I usually do with these kinds of games.

Open Roads deals with family, relationships, discovering secrets from the past, and more. The one aspect of Open Roads I can praise without any caveat is the voice acting for both Tess and her mother Opal. Both Kaitlyn Dever and Keri Russel are superlative here with their acting. For a game that I thought would focus on the road trip aspect, there wasn’t a lot of that. There are some interesting and poignant conversations, exploration in important locations, and more.

On Nintendo Switch, I wasn’t sure what to expect when it comes to the port, but it is an acceptable conversion in its visuals and most of the performance. It looks nice handheld and docked, but camera movement is a bit too sluggish in parts, and I definitely recommend turning up the camera sensitivity to your liking. You might think slow movement is fine for a walking simulator, but going between the Steam Deck and Switch for Open Roads felt like swapping between walking in quick sand to an open road (couldn’t resist) in three situations. I got used to it after 15 or 20 minutes, but I hope this can be improved in patches.

In a lot of ways, playing Open Roads felt like I just experienced a bigger budget and more ambitious take on Gone Home that forgot what made me love that game in the first place. I wish the narrative struck the same chord with me, but it just felt haphazard in some areas. I don’t want to be too harsh on the game because I did like many things and enjoyed the overall experience, but it made me wish for more after all these years. -Mikhail Madnani

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

Krimson ($9.99)

When I first saw the Krimson trailer, I knew I had to play it. The aesthetic and amazing music alongside it being a rhythm focused platformer meant I would get to it sooner than later. Having now played it, Krimson has a lot going for it, but some glaring issues hold it back in its current state.

After a few simple levels, Krimson from developer CryingPsycho and publisher PM Studios starts to reveal its true nature. In fact, the deeper I got into it, the more I loved it, but the flaws that may or may not affect you were amplified. Krimson is one of those sensory experiences that is only possible in games, and one that I recommend playing with headphones. You might think Krimson is all about metal, but it varies quite a bit in the different styles of levels and boss fights across the music.

Barring the screen shake effect that made it so that I had to take regular breaks while playing to avoid motion sickness, Krimson has a few clarity issues in levels. I found some parts hard to differentiate between the foreground and the background. Those are my main criticisms with the game itself.

On Nintendo Switch, Krimson has good use of HD Rumble and it also looks excellent on the OLED screen in handheld mode. It unfortunately suffers from unstable performance in parts and also input lag that was quite noticeable from the get go compared to the PC demo on Steam Deck.

If you enjoy games like Super Meat Boy and like the aesthetic in Krimson, it is definitely worth your time. The low asking price also makes it easier to recommend. I just wish it had a demo on Switch so you could try it out and see whether the screen shake and input lag were as big issues for you as they are for me.

In its current state, Krimson desperately needs some accessibility options when it comes to the screen shake effect. I love the gameplay, level design, aesthetic, and music, but the aforementioned screen shake and clarity issues in some situations hold it back from being an easy recommendation. It also suffers from noticeable input lag and some unstable performance on Switch. I hope these can be addressed because Krimson deserves better. Right now, I’d recommend trying the demo on Steam to get a taste of the game before buying it. -Mikhail Madnani

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

New Releases

Saviorless ($12.99)

This is an exploratory platformer with a striking hand-drawn look. You play as a fragile child named Antar who seeks to escape the cursed Smile Islands. Luckily, this child has a bit of help from The Savior, a powerful and violent avatar that attacks swiftly and decisively. Using these two characters, you’ll need to explore dark fantasy world and see the story through to its end.

Sales

(North American eShop, US Prices)

Wow, that sure is a bunch of hidden object adventures. I hope some folks enjoy them. Check out Super Mega Zero and Super Impossible Road at their new low prices, or perhaps enjoy some hot laps in Hot Lap League Deluxe for a couple of bucks. Over in the outbox: almost nothing! Do what you must.

Select New Sales

Hot Lap League Deluxe ($1.99 from $19.99 until 4/10)
Strike Team Gladius ($3.99 from $9.99 until 4/15)
Terror of Hemasaurus ($8.99 from $14.99 until 4/15)
My Lovely Pets ($2.09 from $14.99 until 4/21)
Detective Agency: Gray Tie ($2.09 from $14.99 until 4/21)
Brightstone Mysteries: The Others ($2.09 from $14.99 until 4/21)
So Much Stuff ($2.99 from $14.99 until 4/21)
I Love Finding Furbabies ($7.99 from $9.99 until 4/21)
Magic City Detective: WoR ($11.99 from $14.99 until 4/21)
Magic City Detective: SD ($11.99 from $14.99 until 4/21)
Maze of Realities: RoL ($11.99 from $14.99 until 4/21)
Maze of Realities: FoD ($11.99 from $14.99 until 4/21)
First Time in Hawaii ($9.59 from $11.99 until 4/21)
Just Find It ($7.99 from $9.99 until 4/21)
Big Adventure: Trip to Europe 5 ($11.99 from $14.99 until 4/21)


Nature Escapes 2 ($11.99 from $14.99 until 4/21)
Nature Escapes 3 ($11.99 from $14.99 until 4/21)
Mystery Box: Hidden Secrets ($7.99 from $9.99 until 4/21)
Twin Mind: MJ ($7.49 from $14.99 until 4/21)
Twin Mind: PoL ($7.49 from $14.99 until 4/21)
Twin Mind: NH ($5.99 from $14.99 until 4/21)
Alicia Griffith: LM ($2.09 from $14.99 until 4/21)
Yggdra Union WNFA ($19.99 from $24.99 until 4/22)
Super Impossible Road ($3.99 from $19.99 until 4/22)
Inertia 2 ($3.07 from $4.39 until 4/22)
Super Mega Zero ($1.99 from $9.99 until 4/22)
Mortal Kombat 1 Premium ($54.99 from $109.99 until 4/22)
LEGO Star Wars: TSS Galactic Edition ($19.99 from $79.99 until 4/22)
Dungeons of Dreadrock ($1.99 from $10.00 until 4/22)
Homebody ($4.99 from $19.99 until 4/22)
Fisti-Fluffs ($3.99 from $19.99 until 4/22)
Super Glitch Dash ($1.99 from $9.99 until 4/22)
Under: Depths of Fear ($1.99 from $9.99 until 4/22)
Monomals ($3.99 from $19.99 until 4/22)
Cozy Hamlets ($4.49 from $5.29 until 4/22)
Harlow ($2.59 from $12.99 until 4/22)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, April 3rd

Railbound ($2.59 from $12.99 until 4/3)
Raji: An Ancient Epic ($6.24 from $24.99 until 4/3)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more sales, and perhaps a review or two. Maybe some news? Only time will tell. I went to the hospital this morning and had a scary test, but the result turned out okay. Phew. I hope you all have a terrific Tuesday, and as always, thanks for reading!



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