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Nintendo Switch Reviews Reviews

Paranautical Activity Review (Nintendo Switch)

Fool’s Gold

Paranautical Activity, a 2014 game by Code Avarice,  has finally made its way to the Nintendo Switch courtesy of Digerati. For those of you who aren’t in the know, Paranormal Activity is a rogue-like FPS with 3D voxel graphics which has you running around and shooting a bunch of shit up. Sounds pretty fun right? Well…not really. If you are wondering if Digerati’s efforts to bring this title to the Switch should even have been bothered with, the answer is a resounding no.

Doomed

At the onset, you are immediately tasked with choosing character. I suppose at this point I would be going on about the pros and cons of each one but seeing as the game itself doesn’t clearly spell it out, whom you end up choosing is of very little consequence. Sure, one character has more health and another shoots farther, but during actual gameplay the differences are negligible. After you select your character you are dropped into and empty room and it slowly dawns on you that you should really be reevaluating your life choices. The empty room is literally just that – an empty room – with nothing but a door on the other side of it. Once you make your way to the door, you find yourself in another room but this time there is an enemy in it; WHAT FUN! I don’t think much of the little bugger so I blast…and I blast…and I blast some more, and then I die. Without enough time to even contemplate dying at what is an intro/tutorial level, my character re-spawns into a slightly different room, also with a door like the one before it. Gee…what could be waiting me on the other side? Surprisingly it was a completely different enemy…which proceeded to kill me in similar fashion as the previous one. Something was very, very wrong here. And eventually I realized that my bullets weren’t actually connecting with my target at all – I just thought they were.

Paranautical Activity’s most glaring flaw is its incredibly poor action feedback. Nothing in the game appears to have any real weight to it. Bullets chug out of your gun a tad too slow and float-y before completely disappearing off of the screen. Did they hit your target? You are never really quite sure. I found that the only way to really make sure I hit an enemy was to be extremely close to it. So close that – you guessed it – your whopping three health bars are sapped away from you almost immediately. Look, I get that the rogue-like genre has a reputation of being ‘challenging’ but the challenge shouldn’t in broken gameplay. What we have here is a just an obvious failure of game design. And it really sucks because Paranautical Activity does have a few good things going for it.

Do you ‘mined’!

Graphically speaking, the game is actually pretty nice to look at. Its Minecraft-like aesthetic while a bit off-putting at first slowly began to grown on me. The game’s rather creative and eye-catching enemy designs convinced me to press on just to see what I would be put against next. The constant struggle with the misguided gameplay/combat mechanics aside, Paranautical Activity has its share of unique monsters. The ‘blood splatter’ and elemental effects are wonderfully vibrant and colorful, and help give a lot of life to otherwise bland and dull level design. The soundtrack is a complete nostalgia-fest as well, tickling your earballs in all the right places. It very clearly that a lot of thought went into the game’s graphics and sound design (with exception to the actual levels themselves). If only the same can be said of Paranautical Activity’s gameplay.

Man Overboard

Overall, Paranautical Activity is a fun concept that has moments of interest, but is too poorly implemented to really make it worth the time it takes to tolerate its frustrating mechanics. FPS gameplay should not be this poorly executed. And its a real shame because the monsters are an absolute blast to discover. If you are a fan of the genre, there might be something here for you to latch onto…maybe. But I were you, I might want to hold out until something with slightly tighter gameplay mechanics comes along. I hear Doom and Wolfenstein II are wonderful on the Switch…

 

 

 

 

 

Disclosure: Paranautical Activity Review Code for the Nintendo Switch was provided to Proven Gamer by Digerati.

 

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Nintendo Switch Reviews Reviews

INK – Review – Nintendo Switch

A Splash of Brilliance

Equal parts exhilarating and frustrating, INK is a puzzle platformer with a twist that has you coming back for more and more. You will run, jump and wall slide your way to victory & and feel that familiar rush of ultimate satisfaction – or the gimmick of INK will run its course and you will be looking to get your puzzle platforming fix elsewhere.

A Shot in the Dark

INK has you assuming the role of an unassuming white square that resembles a tofu block. You sit there in a completely dark space, with no light to guide you. Platforms lay in complete darkness waiting for you to explore them. You take your first leap into the emptiness only to splat against a wall once invisible to you and splash ink all over it. You now see the side and part of the corner of what appears to be the top of a platform. Everything you touch, gets splashed with bright multi-colored ink, revealing the platforms in front of you and allowing you to reach the end goal of the level. While trying to figure out where the platforms lie can be fun, it is often times a forced trial and error. This is ultimately more frustrating and less satisfying than you would hope, especially with a platformer with a nice balance of the two like Celeste still fresh on the mind.

Friend of Foe?

Just as you get used to the game’s floaty platforming controls, they throw enemies at you. At first, you don’t really know they are enemies, so you might go and touch them, and if you do, you die and go back to the beginning of the level to start over. Your next thought is to avoid them – but once you do that you realize you cannot go through the gate at the end of the level. It requires you to kill all of the enemies. You soon figure out that to kill them you must jump on top of them. This sounds simple enough, but imprecise hit detection has you landing on what you believe is the top, but is too much of the corner and you will die. You can string a few kills together and propel yourself forward, only to be stopped dead in your tracks by an invisible wall you have not splashed yet. Luckily when you do die, only enemies respawn, the platforms do not go back into darkness. When you do reach your end goal it is incredibly satisfying, especially when you reach a boss battle that really tests your skills. These battles are intense and brilliantly designed and had me wishing that the game was more of that and less guess-work platforming. Speaking of intense, you can play local co-op with a friend using split joycon. Seeing how you stack up against a friend is fun, but playing with split joycon, I can tell you first hand, is NOT recommended. If you have a pro controller you might want to use that instead.

Pleasure for Eyes and Ears

One thing that is evident here is that a lot of care went into the vibrancy of the visuals and the beautiful soundtrack. Each splash of color is a visual treat and bouncing around to the catchy beats ties everything together quite nicely. You almost catch yourself platforming rhythmically, even though the game is not designed to be played that way.  Once you do get into a nice groove, especially when trying to do some speed runs, the presentation enhances the experience tenfold. It is a rarity these days to find a game that blends ambiance in such a cohesive way, but INK does it flawlessly.

Going in Blind.

Ultimately, INK has a bunch really great ideas. Clever level design, gorgeous visuals, and intense boss battles will have you coming back for more, but floaty controls and forced trial and error may have you looking to more polished experiences to scratch that puzzle platforming itch..  With 75 levels for you to explore, you will have plenty to enjoy.

Review code has been provided by Digerati.