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502's Arcade Icon
502's Arcade

Developer: 502 Studios

  • Price: $9.99
  • Release Date: Feb 22, 2024
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Last on Sale: -
  • Lowest Historic Price: -
  • ESRB Rating: E10+ [Everyone 10+]
  • Watch this review on YouTube
    An eclectic mix of 4 arcade-style games, each representing a different flavor, with varying degrees of polish

    Usually when I think of indie games, I’m thinking about anything from bigger titles that you could argue are in the “double A” space on down to budget singular games, sometimes even ones that would be mobile-friendly. What I don’t normally see much of are eclectic compilations of multiple titles that don’t share a common thread of being ported from another system or just from a specific genre. Walking into 502’s Arcade I’ll admit then that I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but while not all of its titles clicked for me, I did appreciate the pretty solid effort in it across the board.

    Starting with a somewhat unusual twin-stick shooter you have Ghost Hunter Hana, which could have just been a run-of-the-mill arcade shooter of sorts, but adds some mechanics with capturing ghosts that makes it a bit more distinctive. There was some satisfaction in pulling off chains of captures, and it provided a bit of challenge, but with so many twin-stick shooters out there on the Switch already, this failed to impress too much. Moving on to a more action puzzle feel there was Potions Panic, which challenges you to rearrange differently-colored vials to create chains of at least 4 to clear them. It’s implemented well enough, but then again it’s just a variation on other games already out there, though at least this is just one game in a compilation, so that helps.

    The next title, High Seas Survivor has more of a beat-em-up flair overall, and since I’m a big genre fan I’d actually consider it my biggest disappointment in the bunch. It’s distinctive, with you trying to defend your treasure chests against all comers, so I’ll give it credit for having its own approach to gameplay. That said, your character’s moves just feel too limited and the variety in play just isn’t quite there, so I wasn’t terribly interested in returning to it. The last in the bunch, Mighty Strike Team, is absolutely a straight-up copy of the excellent Super Crate Box, which always had an uncommon take on platform shooting. Your goal is simply to survive an onslaught of incoming enemies, trying to pick up more powerful weapons and quickly jumping between platforms. It may well be too difficult for more casual players to enjoy, but the intensity of it reminds me of older-school arcade games I grew up playing, so I was absolutely a fan.

    Putting it all together, for the most part aside from simple variations in specifics this is a collection of clones of some other games already out there. That being said, considering the budget price, this does actually feel like a pretty fair deal on the whole. Across the board they control well, have a pleasing pixel art look, and are at least representative of their respective genres. The challenge may be whether any average gamer will really enjoy more than perhaps 2 of the games included, so they can be sure to get sufficient mileage out of it for the price… so results may vary, depending on your tastes.

    Justin Nation, Score:
    Good [7.5]

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