3 Switch Games for £5 Budget Gamer Challenge #1
Here’s a new series I’m starting called the 3 Switch Games for £5 Budget Gamer Challenge. That’s right, I’ve scoured the eShop sales and bought 3 games whose total price together equals £5 or less. This feature is for you gamers on a budget to see if you can still have a good time without having to splash the cash. And just remember all the prices and dates relate to the UK store, I’m sure other regions vary wildly with this kind of thing.
This episode’s games are:
Mecho Tales, currently 87 pence which is 88% off the standard £7.49 price point.
Next we have Plague Road which is currently 94 pence which is a whopping 92% off the standard £11.99 price.
And finally we Bouncy Bob which is currently going for 89 pence which is 80% off the £4.49 price tag.
So all together we have three games totalling £2.70, yeah, we’re well off that £5 target for this first episode!
Starting with my first purchase we have Mecho Tales who’s current offer ends very, very soon on the 27th of July!
This is an action platformer made by Arcade Distillery and was originally released on the Switch very late last year on the 28th of December, no doubt lost in the flurry of the Christmas madness. While this can be played with up to 4 people together, running and gunning through the levels I just took it as a single player game.
Firstly, what you will notice upon starting the game is just how ugly it is. The art style is pretty horrendous, with colour clashes, sickly tones and platforms that look like they were put together by someone who couldn’t be bothered. The characters and enemies look nice and well designed but the environments are highly off putting. If you can’t make your ground anything other than the same singular blocks over and over again, then I think we have a problem.
What you may be interested to know about Mecho Tales is that it’s a run and gun, twin-stick shooter. The left stick allows you to move left and right while the right analogue stick aims the drone that follows your character around. There’s a slight uncomfortable disconnect between you and the character as the drone follows you in a delayed fashion, making the aiming being from a different location than your actual character. I always wanted to aim from the perspective of where my character was rather than the delayed motions of the drone following behind and it did take a fair bit of getting used to.
The most interesting aspects for me are the bosses, which are pleasingly frequent and the different kinds of drones you can equip. It’s these drones where some semblance of depth may hide within Mecho Tales. These can be bought at the shop between levels and you’ll need to pick up cogs from enemies in order to afford them. There’s plenty of variety and I recommend giving them a try.
The gameplay overall is really quite mediocre, bordering on derivative and by the books of how old classic action platformers used to go, just this is without the heart or nuanced purposefulness of how they used to be designed. It’s just a lot of enemies, some platforms, ladders and a boss fight here and there.
I think you can have some mild amusement for this price and paying the 87 pence is almost a laughable amount. That’s actually decent. The original £7.49 price is a certain no-go, for something that’s priced less than a chocolate bar these days, why not. It’s just a question of if you value your time.
Verdict: Maybe… If you’ve really got nothing else to play.
The second game in our challenge is Plague Road, a game no doubt to be the biggest interest for many of you thanks the massive saving and generally decent looking screenshots found on the eShop. By pure coincidence this is also published by Arcade Distillery like Mecho Tales I just talked about.
Once again released during the Christmas period on December 21st, the sale for this one ends on August 2nd, so you have a little bit of time to jump on board.
Now, admittedly I’ve had my eye on Plague Road for a while. I remember it getting a very limited retail release on the Vita just at the point I was eyeing up collecting for the system. I love the look of the plague doctor, but honestly, the trailers and screenshots didn’t convince me at the time. The 94 pence tag did, however.
This is a turn-based strategy game with a very surreal, exaggerated medieval European setting. No doubt the cool looking plague doctor has caught your eye a few times.
The first thing that struck me was just how similar the interface and general design looks compared to Mecho Tales. You can tell they are from the same developer. Again, characters look really nicely designed but the backgrounds are incredibly off putting with almost vomit coloured tones and weirdness. I don’t particularly like how nothing can keep still either. Even when characters are standing still talking to each other they act like carrier bags flapping in the wind.
When you get passed the unpleasant visuals, however, and get stuck into the gameplay, you’ll actually find that Plague Road is actually a much better game than Mecho Tales.
You, as the Doctor are traversing a long road, heading back to the city where your skills are needed. The road, however, is very dangerous. Full of bandits, wolves and golems; it’s your task to venture out and rescue stranded innocents and take them back to the safety of a derelict farm you found. Once rescued you can head back to base and unveil them as fighters. Some may be healers, other soldiers, peasants or engineers. There’s a decent variety and you’ll need many of them in your party to help you in your travels as occasionally you’ll meet up with people who perhaps need a healer or and engineer to build them something.
Most of the game, however, is spent in the battles which are on a grid like system. As you wander around the environments you’ll end up touching monsters or bandits who will then initiate the battle. You move your fighters around the small arenas and participating in some simple fighting. It’s quite basic, at least at the beginning until you get plenty more abilities and you fight tougher monsters, but it’s still rather enjoyable. There’s no exp to speak of which can make the frequent battles sometimes a chore but it all depends on your luck in the randomly generated levels.
As for value for money, Plague Road is a no brainer for the budget gamer. It’s not the best or deepest turn based strategy game in existence, but it has a lot going for it. Lots of content, a nice steady growth and progression system that’s often rewarding and fairly addictive. In fact I had to force myself to put it down in order to get on with the other games in this video.
It’s not the best game ever but for 94 pence I think you’d be crazy at not giving it a try. At full price I’d probably give it a nice recommendation to people who love strategy games too.
Finally we have Bouncy Bob from Sonka, a publisher we’ve covered before with their release of The Way which I reviewed. This one is a very different beast however thanks to it’s party style arcade platforming. The sale for this one ends on the 1st of August.
Let’s not beat around the busy, it may be one of the least fun games I’ve ever played. At least the single player section. I will defend the game right off to say that it’s clear it’s built as a party game in mind considering multiplayer is the primed default option on the main menu. The single player component has bob trying eliminate enough enemies per stage by bouncing on their heads. It’s classic platfomer right there. Where Bouncy Bob tries to be different is in its infuriating control scheme.
Bouncy Bob is a one button game, as though it was primed and ready for a mobile experience. The A button is all you need here, but you wish you could have more. Holding the A button will put Bob in his charging jump position as a directional arrow sways side to side. You have to time your jump when the arrow points where you want. Mid-flight you can mash the A button again to give Bob an extra flap or two to send him soaring in the air.
I get where they were coming from. But when you have to land on the heads of zombies and rabid rabbits which gather in large gangs, it’s just an exercise in advanced frustration. The lack of any sort of precision or any outlet to put your skills to the test mean that it’s just not built for this kind of experience in mind. If you’re honestly out to find a decent cheap single player game, stay well away from Bob. It’s certainly not worth the £4.49 initial asking price, it’s not even worth the 89 pence in the sale. In fact, I really wish someone had paid me to play this game, rather than me paying for it myself. It’s just not even slightly fun.
I do like the visual style and the music is pretty decent too, but it just doesn’t work gameplay-wise as a single player experience.
So those have been 3 games for less that £5. As a reminder, we’ve looked at Mecho Tales, Plague Road and Bouncy Bob and I think it’s clear as to which one would get my recommendation here. Bouncy Bob is a bit of a dud and Mecho Tales is probably a last resort if you’ve got nothing else to play but Plague Road is great value for your money. It’s not the best or most in depth strategy game ever but it’s well worth the very cheap price. Sure it doesn’t look great but it’s got a lot going for it in with its simple strategy gameplay.
Here’s a round up of the stats:
How has our luck been in this first episode of the Switch Budget Gamer Challenge? It’s been a mixed bag for sure, but it does show that it is possible to be a gamer on a budget and get some enjoyment from your Nintendo Switch at the current time.
So budget gamers, did you pick up any of these title in the current sales or did you pay full price when initially released? Let me know. And of course tell us what you think of this article, it’s format and so on. If you want this to be a semi-regular series leave a comment and share it around.