SwitchArcade Round-Up: ‘Trails of Cold Steel III’ Review, ‘Miden Tower’ Mini-View, Today’s New Releases, and the Latest Sales

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Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for July 6th, 2020. In today’s article, we’ve got a full-sized review of a recent high-profile JRPG and a Mini-View of a recent lower-profile JRPG. A couple of new releases hit over the weekend, and we’ve got summaries of those for you to enjoy as well. Things are rounded out with a surprisingly big list of new discounts and sales, including what I believe is the first-ever North American eShop discount on The World Ends With You. Neat! Let’s have a look!

Reviews

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III ($59.99)

Talk about your complicated histories. Trails of Cold Steel III is the third in its series, itself part of the larger Trails series that began with 2004’s Trails in the Sky. The Trails series is also technically part of Falcom’s The Legend of Heroes franchise, which goes all the way back to 1989’s Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes, the sixth game in the Dragon Slayer series that started with 1984’s Dragon Slayer. You know, the series that also includes Faxanadu, Sorcerian, and Legacy of the Wizard. Just Falcom things, friends.

So how much of that do you need to have played to enjoy Trails of Cold Steel III? Well, the good news is that you don’t need to worry about any of the stuff outside of the Trails series. Phew! The bad news is that if you want to fully appreciate everything happening in this game, you really need to have played all seven of the previous Trails games. The even worse news is that two of those games have no official English versions, and none of them are available on the Switch. And of course, the connections run particularly deep with the first two Trails of Cold Steel games. This game is a direct sequel to Trails of Cold Steel II, picking up the story around a year and a half after the events of that game.

NIS America and Falcom have done their best to accommodate players that are new to the series, at least. You can read synopses of the first two Cold Steel games, and while it’s not the most exciting way to get the information and context you’ll be looking for, it’s something. And if you really feel the need to play those games, it’s not that expensive to buy a PlayStation Vita these days. Bonus: there are a bunch of other cool games on that system you can play, too. But if you need to make do with just the included summaries, you’ll find they suffice for the most part. There are scenes and characters that won’t have the same impact, but you’ll be okay.

Wow, I sure am talking a lot about how to best enjoy the story, aren’t I? To tell the truth, that’s really what brings me to the yard with the Trails series. In terms of the mechanics, these games aren’t terribly special. Some minor deviations from the standard JRPG fare, but nothing jaw-dropping. Where these games excel is in their incredibly dense world-building and rich characters. There is so much to absorb and enjoy here and if you give it the time to get its hooks into you, there will be no turning back. In this installment, Cold Steel series protagonist Rean Schwarzer is now a professor at the military academy. There’s a whole new class to get to know, and a big new threat to deal with. It all ends on one heck of a cliffhanger, just to remind you that Trails of Cold Steel IV is on the way. Luckily, that one will be coming to Switch as well.

That’s all I’m going to give you about the story, though. It’s really best to enjoy it yourself. It’s good stuff, and it’ll keep your interest well enough to distract you from the occasionally glacial pacing. This Switch version of the game runs well, giving those of us who followed the series portably through its Vita versions the handheld continuation we’ve been hoping for. And although there’s been a shift in publishers for the Western releases, the localization staff and voice talent have largely been retained. It’s a smooth transition that will keep existing fans quite pleased.

If you’ve never played anything in this series before but are interested in whether or not this may appeal to you, I’d say that it depends on what you look for in a JRPG. Trails of Cold Steel III, like the previous games in the series, is heavily focused on its story, world, and characters. It demands a lot of your time, but it will reward you for your investment with some of the best moment-to-moment storytelling in the genre.

The gameplay side of things is less remarkable, but it’s not bad either. But if you’re the sort of person that feels that JRPGs tend to drag on too long or find turn-based battles boring, steer clear of this game. I… can’t imagine why a person like that would be reading a review of the third game in a JRPG series, but you know, just in case. And yes, it’s a bit unfortunate if you’re coming into the series cold with this chapter, but you’ll be alright if you read the included summaries. I think there are better choices for JRPGs on the Switch largely due to them having less baggage, but that doesn’t stop Trails of Cold Steel III from being a great ride.

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

Mini-Views

Miden Tower ($14.99)

I’ve lost count of how many KEMCO-published RPGs I’ve played by now, and I think it’s safe to say that the underlying tech, design philosophy, and budgets aren’t going to change dramatically all of a sudden. So what can the games do to distinguish themselves from one another? For me, it mostly comes down to the story, the characters, and the unique mechanics each game has to offer. In those regards, Miden Tower is a decent enough offering. The setting is a tower, with each floor offering up its own points of interest such as towns and dungeon areas. The interactions between the hero, Valen, and his wall golem, Leila, are reasonably entertaining. Customizing Leila by slotting in special bricks is a neat gimmick, and the battles are reasonably engaging with their heavy focus on battlefield positioning. Not far from EXE-Create’s usual fare in most regards, but I enjoyed this one more than most of the developer’s non-Asdivine titles.

SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5

New Releases

Gerty ($12.99)

It feels like it’s been at least 10 days since the last top-down roguelite twin-stick shooter released on the eShop. Well, time to reset the signboard because that’s exactly what Gerty is. There are four distinct characters to choose from, and five levels of difficulty to challenge. Explore the mines, collect new gear, and battle nasty aliens until you’re inevitably killed. Up to four players can join in via local multiplayer, which is nice if you’ve got people to fill the seats. Nothing seems all that remarkable about Gerty, but if you’ve somehow played all the other twin-stick shooters to exhaustion, this is definitely another one.

Zombies Ruined My Day ($3.99)

Yeah well, I’ve been covering mobile and indie games for more than seven years, so let me tell you about how many times zombies have ruined my day, pal. Anyway, this is a pretty straightforward arcade action game where you take out zombies using an assortment of weapons. There are 27 levels set across three different zones, with a big ol’ boss waiting at the end of each. I’m completely over zombies so any game using them really needs to do something special to catch my attention. This one really doesn’t, but at a mere four bucks it will probably please some.

Sales

(North American eShop, US Prices)

I’m quite certain that is the first sale we’ve seen on the digital version of The World Ends With You: Final Remix on the North American eShop, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume we may never see another one. This discount is connected to the launch of the new anime series, so it’s kind of a special event. Outside of that, the most notable discounts are probably the ones on the Deponia games, finally bringing them down to a reasonable price. Not a lot in the outbox, but have a look through just to be sure you aren’t missing anything you want.

Select New Games on Sale

The World Ends With You: FR ($24.99 from $49.99 until 7/20)
Battleship ($9.99 from $19.99 until 7/10)
Clue: Classic Mystery Game ($14.99 from $29.99 until 7/10)
Hyper Sentinel ($0.79 from $7.99 until 7/11)
Wanderjahr ($3.99 from $9.99 until 7/18)
AeternoBlade ($3.99 from $14.99 until 7/18)
Guns of Mercy – Rangers ($3.95 from $8.99 until 7/25)
Gigantic Army ($3.95 from $8.99 until 7/25)
Mystery of Woolley Mountain ($1.29 from $12.99 until 7/11)
Robonauts ($0.99 from $3.99 until 7/25)
Brawl ($0.99 from $9.99 until 7/25)
One Strike ($2.49 from $4.99 until 7/25)
Coffee Crisis ($0.99 from $9.99 until 7/25)
Mana Spark ($0.99 from $9.99 until 7/25)
Wondershot ($0.99 from $9.99 until 7/25)


Koloro ($0.99 from $9.99 until 7/25)
Super Hero Fight Club ($0.99 from $9.99 until 7/25)
Utopia 9 – Volatile Vacation ($0.99 from $9.99 until 7/25)
Unit 4 ($1.49 from $14.99 until 7/25)
Not Not – Brain Buster ($0.99 from $1.99 until 7/25)
Blazing Beaks ($1.99 from $14.99 until 7/25)
Warlocks 2 – God Slayers ($1.79 from $17.99 until 7/25)
Mini Trains ($0.99 from $5.99 until 7/25)
#RaceDieRun ($0.99 from $9.99 until 7/25)
Chop ($1.99 from $9.99 until 7/25)
Rimelands: Hammer of Thor ($0.99 from $9.99 until 7/25)
REKT! High Octane Stunts ($0.99 from $5.99 until 7/25)
Get Me Outta Here ($0.99 from $4.99 until 7/25)
Space Pioneer ($1.99 from $9.99 until 7/25)
Akuto: Showdown ($1.99 from $7.99 until 7/25)


Welcome to Primrose Lake ($3.99 from $7.99 until 7/25)
HyperParasite ($9.99 from $17.99 until 7/25)
Tharsis ($7.99 from $11.99 until 7/25)
Gravity Rider Zero ($1.99 from $6.99 until 7/25)
Ultimate Racing 2D ($4.99 from $9.99 until 7/24)
Die for Valhalla! ($2.39 from $11.99 until 7/17)
Neverout ($1.00 from $7.49 until 7/23)
Steamburg ($0.99 from $4.99 until 7/17)
Feudal Alloy ($3.39 from $16.99 until 7/23)
Thea: The Awakening ($7.19 from $17.99 until 7/17)
The Path of Motus ($4.49 from $14.99 until 7/23)
X-Morph: Defense ($3.99 from $19.99 until 7/23)
Quest for the Golden Duck ($0.19 from $9.99 until 7/20)
Pillar ($2.39 from $7.99 until 7/23)


Rogue Bit ($0.99 from $4.99 until 7/20)
Zombie Driver Immortal ($2.99 from $14.99 until 7/23)
Tetsumo Party ($0.99 from $4.99 until 7/17)
Freecell Solitaire Deluxe ($1.34 from $8.99 until 7/23)
Felix the Reaper ($8.49 from $24.99 until 7/19)
Rally Road ($1.99 from $4.99 until 7/19)
Immortal Planet ($5.99 from $14.99 until 7/17)
It’s Raining Fists & Metal ($3.49 from $6.99 until 7/13)
Stab Stab Stab! ($3.99 from $9.99 until 7/17)
LocO-SportS ($1.97 from $5.99 until 7/23)
Clash Force ($3.99 from $4.99 until 7/20)
Shift Happens ($5.09 from $14.99 until 7/19)
Silence ($9.99 from $39.99 until 7/19)
Deponia ($9.99 from $39.99 until 7/18)
Chaos on Deponia ($9.99 from $19.99 until 7/19)


Goodbye Deponia ($9.99 from $19.99 until 7/19)
Deponia Doomsday ($9.99 from $19.99 until 7/19)
Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes ($9.99 from $19.99 until 7/19)
Edna & Harvey: The Breakout ($17.99 from $19.99 until 7/19)
Genetic Disaster ($7.49 from $14.99 until 7/14)
Membrane ($0.09 from $9.99 until 7/18)
Super Sportmatchen ($3.74 from $14.99 until 7/18)
Mech Rage ($0.99 from $9.99 until 7/13)
Momodora: Reverie Under Moonlight ($10.49 from $14.99 until 7/18)
Tardy ($1.99 from $9.99 until 7/13)
Dead Dungeon ($0.39 from $4.99 until 7/13)
Sweet Witches ($1.49 from $9.99 until 7/13)
One Person Story ($0.59 from $2.99 until 7/13)
Event Horizon: Space Defense ($1.95 from $6.99 until 7/13)
Farabel ($0.99 from $9.99 until 7/14)


Drawngeon: Dungeons of Ink & Paper ($2.99 from $4.99 until 7/13)
Alder’s Blood ($13.99 from $19.99 until 7/24)
Ara Fell: Enhanced ($11.24 from $14.99 until 7/18)
Dark Burial ($0.99 from $3.99 until 7/13)
Infini ($10.00 from $12.00 until 7/24)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 7th

Adrenaline Rush – Miami Drive ($0.79 from $3.99 until 7/7)
Bear With Me: Lost Robots ($2.49 from $4.99 until 7/7)
Beast Quest ($11.99 from $29.99 until 7/7)
Breathing Fear ($1.99 from $4.99 until 7/7)
Bud Spencer & Terence Hill ($7.99 from $19.99 until 7/7)
Build a Bridge! ($2.99 from $14.99 until 7/7)
Children of Morta ($14.73 from $21.99 until 7/7)
Deer Drive Legends ($5.99 from $19.99 until 7/7)
Degrees of Separation ($1.99 from $19.99 until 7/7)
Event Horizon ($0.99 from $5.99 until 7/7)
Hungry Shark World ($1.99 from $9.99 until 7/7)
Ninjin: Clash of Carrots ($1.99 from $9.99 until 7/7)
Override: Mech City Brawl ($23.99 from $39.99 until 7/7)
Swordbreaker The Game ($1.99 from $4.99 until 7/7)
The StoryTale ($10.79 from $11.99 until 7/7)
Trine 4: Nightmare Prince ($11.99 from $29.99 until 7/7)
Trine: Ultimate Collection ($19.99 from $49.99 until 7/7)
Troll & I ($2.99 from $29.99 until 7/7)

That’s all we’ve got for today, friends. Tomorrow will see the release of Atlus’s hit puzzle action game Catherine: Full Body among other games, and we may have a review ready to go along with that. Whatever news and sales arrive in the next day will also be included, of course. I hope you have a marvelous Monday, and as always, thanks for reading!

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