Josh Miller looks at two eShop games at a 90% discount – Xtreme Club Racing and Soccer Slammers.
Last year I spent my time playing through my backlog and writing about my experiences of those games. This year I’m doing something a little different. I call these pieces “Bait and Switch”.
What is bait and switch you might ask? Well, according to Merriam Webster, one definition is:
the ploy of offering a person something desirable to gain favor…then thwarting expectations with something less desirable
While it’s not the perfect definition for what I have in mind, it was too good of a title to pass up considering that these articles will include cheap Nintendo Switch games featured at steep discounts. The idea that these discounts could be a ploy into tricking people into thinking they are getting a great deal for a potentially trash game makes me think that the term still somewhat fits.
Stephen J. Bronner over at Kotaku wrote about the sales tactic and how these discounts draw eyes to them by having them climb sales charts due to many purchases for such a low price. So let me say now: this isn’t focusing on only awful games. Some developers have their heart in the right place when doing this. However, if I feel a game is awful, I will say as much in my writeups.
There’s no denying that developers need help being discovered on a swamped eShop, but it also leaves people wondering…is the game submitted onto the store at a higher price for the sole purpose of discounting it and it appearing a better deal than it really is? Is the game mere pennies because it’s that terrible and is it worth even that much?
So with my Bait and Switch write-ups, I am purchasing games under $2.00 that have been discounted by 90% or more. This is my attempt to educate people on select cheap games on sale on the eShop, and whether I had fun with it at the very least.
That being out of the way, let’s get to the games:
- Developer: Jorge Biedma Azuar
- Publisher: EnjoyUp Games
- Original Price: $9.89
- Discounted Price: $0.98
Xtreme Club Racing is an arcade downhill racer in which you maneuver through narrow levels collecting coins and stars, extending your remaining time passing through gates, and avoiding other racers and obstacles in your path. Despite the art for the game looking like it involves battle mechanics based on car design or at the very least destructability when ramming into others, none of that is true and the use of “xtreme” in the title is “xtremely” misleading.
Which is sadly one of many faults in the game. The level is riddled with random objects from rolling columns to fence posts that can be difficult to dodge due to bad controls and handling. Things are less destroyed and more bumped out of the way or in front of you, and the same applies to the AI cars too. Yes your car has spikes, but it’s more for appearance than any practical use in the game itself. So don’t bother ramming cars, because it won’t benefit you at all and in most cases hurt your chances of finishing the level.
Racing takes place over a number of levels based on location such as Japan, Egypt, and the wild west. Each level is broken down into a number of races where a trophy must be earned to proceed. Collecting stars, finishing in a high place, collecting coins, and remaining time on the clock all determines the final score. Unfortunately the levels don’t vary enough in terms of design usually meaning that the level winds slightly differently and objects are scattered in new ways. So each race felt mostly the same unsatisfactory way.
The coins collected in the levels are then used to upgrade the cars by boosting the nitrous, increasing power, or improving the handling. Each upgrade can be done 3 times at the cost of 12 coins each time. The upgrades do affect the races, almost to a fault, as I found myself getting to the end quicker but collecting less in the level too as it knocked me off center too much.
The cars are also unlocked through the collected items. At the end of each level, the collected items or surpassed cars provide XP. After so much XP, a new car will be unlocked that has more power and speed than the prior vehicle. While the better stats help with the races, the cars don’t really feel different from one another. There might as well be one car with stats that could be extended out further resulting in the same play.
While those are the major aspects of the game, other things bothered me too. The time ticks down too quickly and I noticed that while it would show 8 seconds being added, it really was only 6 because of how quickly it went down. The graphics are kind of ugly. The simulator aspect had a decent vector look that I enjoyed more than the actual races themselves. Only certain cars with an icon over them are counted towards your final score when you pass them. Don’t get me started on the annoying squeel of the tires any time you direct them somewhere other than straight ahead.
Even at $0.98, I’m disappointed with my purchase. I’m struggling to find any redeeming aspect of the game I can point to and say I actually enjoyed. If anything, this is the perfect kind of game to highlight why I want to do this series. I’m hard pressed to recommend this game at $0.98, but the original price of $9.89 is a straight up joke.
DID I HAVE FUN?
- Developer: Atooi
- Publisher: Atooi
- Original Price: $9.99
- Discounted Price: $0.99
Where Xtreme Club Racing was my worst fear going into this piece, Soccer Slammers was the glimmering hope. My first match that lasted all of a minute was already more fun than I had in the entirety of Xtreme Club Racing. Had I paid attention to who developed/published this game when I bought it, I would have had high expectations as I liked a few of their previous games like Xeodrifter and Mutant Mudds.
Soccer Slammers is a 2v2 soccer game that is simple, hectic, and a lot of fun. It’s not going to satisfy anyone looking for a deep soccer game at a cheap price, but for those like myself who jist want to have a good time, this succeeds in it. It looks sharp and controls well, although the difficulty can be incredibly shocking especially in World Cup mode.
The game allows for quick matchups with upwards of 4 people. The goalies are AI controlled and the players on the field can use a stamina controlled sprint to quickly move around the field. Utilizing a dash, they can steal the ball away from opponents and possibly leave them dazed on the ground. Passing to a teammate is quick and shooting the ball can be too, especially if the kick is charged up leaving a vapor trail behind it.
As I mentioned, the World Cup I found incredibly difficult. I lost in every match I tried, even if I picked what appeared to be the best teams based on their difficulty ranking. The opponent would score almost immediately and the goalie seemed useless. It’s possible there is a way to change the difficulty level, but as of now, I haven’t figured it out. So until I get better, I’ll stick with the quick matches.
The game is a blast to play though. I extended the length of each half which is unusual for me to do although it also means incredibly high scores. Using a turbo shot leads to fast scoring, but I’m also the victim of poorly aiming my shot, it bouncing off the wall, and scoring in the opposite goal giving a point to the other team. I have only played single player, but I imagine with friends it would be a great time.
Soccer Slammers is what people hope to purchase in these sales. I don’t know if I would have been satisfied with it at full price, but at $0.99 I have no regrets. If you see this game on sale, you could do much worse. At the very least, you’ll have a good time for your buck.
DID I HAVE FUN?
And there we go for the first edition of Bait and Switch. One stinker and one winner from the batch.
Thank you for taking the time to look this over and hopefully this gives you an idea whether to purchase the above games or not. I can’t guarantee this weekly, but I’m hoping to do it with some regularity throughout the year.