Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for July 24th, 2023. In today’s article, we’ve got a couple of reviews ready for you. First up is a look at Gust’s remake of Mary’s Workshopfollowed by an evaluation of the Overcooked-ish Manic Mechanics. After that, we have some new releases to check out. Well, we really only check out one of them. The others are in the naughty box. After that, it’s time for the lists of new and outgoing sales. Let’s get to work!
Reviews & Mini Views
Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg ($49.99)
Roughly twenty-six years ago, a plucky little Nagano-based publisher named Gust released its newest game on Sony’s PlayStation console. During its first few years Gust had found only minor success, with the comedic adventure Welcome House being its most well-known release. In the spring of 1997, the company released the game that would shape its future. Atelier Marie: The Alchemist of Salburg in some ways followed the trend of the era by being an RPG, but it had its own twist on things due to its heavy integration of crafting mechanics. The game was a relatively big hit for Gust, and it kicked off a series that has run through twenty-five mainline releases, tons of spin-offs, and a wide array of remakes. While its growth has been a slow burn, it has only gotten more popular globally over time.
The only problem with that global success is that those of us outside of Japan missed out on the first five installments in the series. The first game to be localized was Iris Workshop: Eternal Mana on the PlayStation 2 in 2005. All of the mainline games have been brought over since, but even remakes of those early games didn’t leave their home market. Well, until now. Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg is exactly what it says it is, remaking that first game (well, to be accurate, remaking its 1998 More re-release) with a spiffy new presentation and a few new features. If you buy the Digital Deluxe version, you even get a localized version of the original PlayStation game it’s based on.
If you’ve played any of the games in the series, you’ll find a surprising amount of things familiar here. Gust really nailed down the template out of the gate, and I suspect that original would have really turned some heads had it released in the West back in its era. If you only joined the series recently, there are some aspects here you might find chafing, such as the time limit. That said, one of the new features is to give yourself unlimited time. I would personally recommend not using that on your first playthrough, but the option is there. This isn’t a very long game by the standards of the series or genre, and you can easily reach the end within several hours. That means that if you don’t manage to get things done to your satisfaction by the end of the time limit, it’s short enough to take extra runs at it.
It is worth keeping in mind that despite the modern-ish presentation, this is very much a modest game from 1997 created by a fairly new publisher. The story isn’t particularly fancy, the mechanics are very much in a prototypical form if you’ve played more modern entries, and the scope isn’t very big. But the core loop of the Atelier games, which sees you taking on quests, going out to gather ingredients, engaging in turn-based battles, and crafting items, is here and just as enjoyable as ever. I find its brevity welcome, as it’s an RPG you can play through even if you don’t have a lot of time or energy for something bigger. It’s all very charming, but I suppose that is to be expected from this series at this point.
With all that said, I don’t think Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg should be anyone’s starting point with the Workshop series in the present year. That’s what the Ryza games, or perhaps Sophia 2, are for. But series fans will definitely want to give this game a look if only to see how the long-running and well-loved franchise got its start. For a game that is more than a quarter of a century old, it plays remarkably well. It’s also a fantastic choice for those looking for a lighter RPG bite, provided they’re willing to put up with a few eccentricities owing to its age.
Switch Arcade Score: 4/5
Manic Mechanics ($24.99)
If you looked at screenshots of Manic Mechanics and thought that it looked a lot like Overcooked but with cars, let me be the first to tell you that you’re essentially right. There are lots of Overcooked-inspired games out there, especially on Switch, and they run the gamut in terms of how closely they hew to the source. This one is very, very closed. That is a good thing if you’re looking for more Overcooked in the absence of new entries in that franchise, but it’s a bad thing if you’re looking for something with any real new ideas. About as far as this one goes is having some different kinds of actions for preparing the parts. There are a few other little things, but otherwise it’s just what it appears to be.
You’ve got cars to fix, and they’ll require a number of parts to finish up. Grab the parts from the conveyor(s), bring them to a station to ready them if needed, then bring them to the car. You can chuck parts around as needed, do a little dash, and of course are responsible for keeping that floor nice and clean after spilling oil and paint on it. Depending on your performance you will be rewarded Gears (necessary to open further levels) and points (compare against others on the leaderboards!). Sometimes you’ll have to engage in boss battles of sorts. Each stage also has its own layout that can cause issues, and there will be twists throw in during the middle of rounds at times. Well, you know how this works.
Manic Mechanics is aimed primarily at the multiplayer co-op experience, with support for up to four players via local or online play. As a solo affair, it’s probably not going to satisfy you. Taken as intended, as a multiplayer experience, it’s quite a lot of chaotic fun. I’d be hard-pressed to recommend it over Overcooked but if you need something similar to that game, and I mean really similar, this game checks off all the necessary boxes with sufficient level of quality to satisfy.
Switch Arcade Score: 3.5/5
Calm Waters ($12.69)
This is a point-and-click style adventure game about a man on vacation who ends up in the middle of a mystery. In the small coastal town he’s decided to visit, people are suddenly going missing without a trace. All fingers point to a rather sinister island, and our protagonist and his friends decide to investigate. Something tells me he’s in for more trouble than he bargained for. Reviews for this were middling on other platforms, but it might be the flavor you’re looking for today.
The Bin Bunch
Animal Farm Parking ($19.99)
Police Cop Hot Pursuit – Car Racing Driving Simulator Real ($6.99)
Hospital Doctor – Fix Me Up for KIDS (Boys & Girls) ($8.99)
(North American eShop, US Prices)
If I was asked to pick out a few games to shout out today, I’d go with Nelly Cootalot for adventure game fans, Sifu for cinematic action game fans, and Raptor Boyfriend for those who want to smooch a dinosaur. And who doesn’t? The main point of interest in the outbox is the latest Activision Blizzard sale wrapping up. Check those lists yourselves, though.
Select New Games on Sale
Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet ($9.99 from $19.99 until 8/3)
Lamplight City ($10.49 from $14.99 until 8/3)
growbot ($13.99 from $19.99 until 8/3)
Unforeseen Incidents ($13.99 from $19.99 until 8/3)
Sound ($13.99 from $19.99 until 8/3)
The Longing ($11.24 from $14.99 until 8/3)
Mutropolis ($12.99 from $19.99 until 8/3)
Last Labyrinth: Lucidity Lost ($22.49 from $29.99 until 8/3)
Otoko Cross: Pretty Boys Klondike Solitaire ($4.19 from $6.99 until 8/4)
Bishoujo Battle Mahjong Solitaire ($2.99 from $5.99 until 8/4)
Under the Warehouse ($4.19 from $5.99 until 8/4)
Pretty Girls Escape ($3.59 from $5.99 until 8/4)
Raptor Boyfriend: A High School Romance ($8.39 from $13.99 until 8/4)
Crimson Spiers ($7.99 from $19.99 until 8/4)
Drunken Fist 2 Zombie Hangover ($3.19 from $7.99 until 8/4)
Poker Pretty Girls Battle: Texas Hold ‘Em ($2.99 from $5.99 until 8/4)
Thunder Kid: Hunt for the Robot Emperor ($2.39 from $7.99 until 8/4)
Thunder Kid II Null Mission ($2.39 from $7.99 until 8/4)
BookQuest ($3.49 from $6.99 until 8/4)
Until the Last Plane ($5.99 from $9.99 until 8/4)
Sifu ($26.79 from $39.99 until 8/5)
dragonfury ($9.99 from $19.99 until 8/6)
Into the Dark ($9.99 from $19.99 until 8/6)
Hell’s High Harmonizers ($5.99 from $11.99 until 8/7)
The Darkest Tales ($11.99 from $19.99 until 8/7)
Blind Fate: Edo no Yami ($12.49 from $24.99 until 8/7)
Railways ($2.50 from $4.99 until 8/7)
Yuoni Rises ($2.59 from $12.99 until 8/11)
road builder ($4.49 from $8.99 until 8/11)
Sephonia ($15.99 from $19.99 until 8/11)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 25th
Crash Bandicoot 4 ($19.99 from $39.99 until 7/25)
Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy ($15.99 from $39.99 until 7/25)
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled ($13.99 from $39.99 until 7/25)
Dark Deity ($14.99 from $24.99 until 7/25)
Diablo II Resurrected ($13.19 from $39.99 until 7/25)
Diablo III: Eternal Collection ($29.99 from $59.99 until 7/25)
Formula Retro Racing ($1.99 from $14.99 until 7/25)
Funtasia ($3.74 from $14.99 until 7/25)
In My Shadow ($6.00 from $12.00 until 7/25)
Jetboard Joust ($2.49 from $9.99 until 7/25)
LIT: Bend the Light ($4.80 from $8.00 until 7/25)
Monorail Stories ($7.49 from $14.99 until 7/25)
Slime Rancher: Plortable Edition ($12.49 from $24.99 until 7/25)
Spyro Reignited Trilogy ($15.99 from $39.99 until 7/25)
Sunshine Shuffle ($8.99 from $9.99 until 7/25)
Terracotta ($15.99 from $19.99 until 7/25)
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 ($15.99 from $39.99 until 7/25)
That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with more new releases, more sales, more reviews, and any big news that rolls in over the next twenty-four hours. I hope you all have a wonderful Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!