Review: Sol Divide (Switch)

Sol Divide may actually ring a bell for the more eagle-eyed PS1 fans of the day, because this got a release on the 32-bit machine internationally not too long after it was released in Japanese arcades. Of course, I hadn’t heard of this game prior to Zerodiv re-releasing it on the Nintendo Switch; I imagine that’s exactly why they’ve done so in the first place. After all, many have been trying to re-introduce classic titles on Nintendo’s still-shiny new console. I gotta say: For a console that still doesn’t have a Virtual Console (Why, Nintendo?!), there sure are a lot of attempts made to bring classics to the Switch’s library.


Mad with power, Emperor Ifter has declares war on neighboring nations, naturally bringing destruction to the homeland of the three playable characters. They have some subtle differences between each other, but you could play as one almost the same way as the other. The differences mainly revolve around how powerful or weak projectile/melee/special attacks for the characters are.


Now this is a sight for sore eyes! Whereas a lot of other shooters are top-down, this is a side-scroller. This means there’s a lot more intriguing set pieces and eye candy to look at. The sprite-based graphics are already great in these games, but the side-scrolling view allows for so much more visual potential. The developers of this game clearly knew that, so they took great advantage of it. Just look at these screens!


While not the most recognizable soundtrack in gaming, Sol Divide’s OST carries plenty of audibly pleasing SNES and RPG elements. Come to think of it, the game in general does sound like it would be at home on a Super Nintendo. The sound effects have that kind of crunch to them, and voice samples are much clearer than they would be on the SEGA Genesis or late ’80s arcade games.


At first, this game plays much like the other games Zerodiv have been releasing on the eShop. However, there are some subtle twists that make this venture interesting. You see, even though this controls like any other shoot ’em up, you can’t mow down baddies as quickly as you would in other games. You’d have to examine their attack patterns and briefly think about how to strike back. You could shoot at them like usual, or you could use melee attacks when enemies are close to you. You can also fill up a meter that enables you to use one of many special powerful attacks at your disposal.

The way it plays around with attack strategies like that is what makes Sol Divide a fresh goody in the genre. It carries over a few vibes from the RPG crowd and has them fit into the shoot ’em up space. Some of the Psikyo shooter tropes still carry through in this game, though. It’s awfully challenging if you have the difficulty anywhere above the easiest, and typical of a ’90s arcade game, the game can be blazed through in under 40 minutes.


Still, Sol Divide is a likable journey back to its era. Fans of the genre may appreciate the littler details that make it stand out from the crowd. I can’t say I know how to properly compare this to other decades-old titles waiting to be played, but I can provide a thumbs up should you download this one.

Review copy provided by Zerodiv

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