Spectrum (Switch Review) – It’s a Blob of Fun

The Switch is rapidly growing into the to-go console for platform games, and Spectrum is one of them. Set in an abstract world of vibrant colors and shifting shapes, players can enjoy eighty levels of pure, zen-like platforming. The game has four ‘worlds’, each with their own unique environments and obstacles. The minimalist art style was pleasing, but the color scheme a little too glaring for my tastes. It does improve as the game progresses, the palette shifting to darker colors like purple or orange.

Beginning levels are a cakewalk, training wheels to get unfamiliar players accustomed to the controls. It’s a little tedious if you’re used to platform games, but they’re short enough that you won’t get bored. That said, levels gradually become more challenging, some even requiring multiple runs to complete. I didn’t expect the spike in difficulty, but it’s not unwelcome. Compared to the starting levels, things get more fun from the second world onward. Depending on your tastes, this is either a good or bad thing.

The player has three objectives. Finish the level within the time limit, remain unharmed, and gather all the orbs. Fulfilling the objects is entirely optional, and there is zero punishment for not completing one, or all three. If you’re competitive and want a rival to outscore, you can do so by checking the leaderboards. For players who aren’t interested in speed runs, Spectrum also allows you to take as much time as you need to beat a level. I thought this was a nice touch, neither completionists nor casual gamers will lose out.

The gameplay is fun and annoying in equal amounts. You control a wispy, three-eyed tadpole that can jump and dive indefinitely. Navigating levels tests the player’s reflex and sense of timing with ever-shifting death traps in the form of brightly colored platforms. Anything colored can harm you. Dull colors take one-third of your health, while bright ones’ end in instant death. In addition, collecting orbs will replenish your health bar, and this can alleviate tense situations if your blob is one touch away from extinction.

Level design is decent with some repeating gimmicks. Despite this, each level has enough differences that the game doesn’t feel too repetitive. There were platform puzzles I really enjoyed, where I needed to keep my three-eyed blob suspended in mid-air as I sped through the space between rippling, revolving patterns.

If there’s one thing I found lacking, it’s the music. I think the game could have benefited from a more varied soundtrack, but as it was, I didn’t find any songs particularly impactful. They suited the aesthetic but started to get on my nerves if I failed a level one too many times.

All in all, Spectrum is a competent platformer, a good choice for people looking for something to tide them over before the next big release. However, the Switch’s eshop price might be a problem if you’re on a budget. If you want a meaty, challenging platformer with a plot, this game will likely disappoint. But if you’re interested in an entry-level platform game with tight controls and don’t mind dipping into your wallet, then Spectrum might interest you.

Devious Dungeon (Switch Review) – A Knight’s adventure

Devious Dungeon is a slick, medieval focused action platformer, with five unique dungeons and complete level randomization. The player assumes the role of a Knight, sent to dispatch the monstrosities that have invaded the catacombs beneath the kingdom at the order of the King. Overcome fowl beasts and misshapen monstrosities to become the true champion!

Platform games are tricky things. On one hand, there are games which grab my attention and leave me hooked. On the other, there are those which leave me stewing in misery and never feel fun, no matter how much I play. I’m happy to report that Devious Dungeon fits into the former category instead of the latter. My time spent with the game was short but it satisfied my craving for an action platformer with its tight controls, cool pixel art style, and just the right amount of challenge.

It is a delicate balance to keep levels hard yet fulfilling, I find this holds true especially for platformers. Depending on the developer’s vision, the act of keeping players from throwing up their hands in an impotent rage could be considered a feat in itself. If you’re looking for a hardcore no holds barrelled platformer, Devious Dungeon won’t be for you. However, if you haven’t played any sort of platformers or dislike extremely challenging games, I’d say this is right up your alley.

There are 65 levels for you to test your platforming mettle. Level randomization ensures each level will be unique, peppered with a nice variety of enemies such as Goblins, Skeletons, or Executioners with a wickedly sharp axe. The goal of each level is simple: Find a key to unlock the portal in order to progress. There is an incentive to go exploring, you might luck out and find enough treasure to make a hoarding dragon jealous, or an item which gives you a nice EXP boost.

The game’s level randomization is not without its cons. It seems like a great idea on paper, but it doesn’t work out so well in reality. There are five kinds of worlds a level can be set in, differing in scenery and enemy types. There is an element of surprise when you don’t know what kind of world you’d be thrown into next.

Unfortunately, I would often find myself trawling the same looking levels for fifteen to twenty minutes. The setting of an icy dungeon teeming with enemies feels thrilling at first, but when the subsequent levels consist of the same tiles, decorations, and enemies, it’s hard not to grow weary. The game tries to break up the monotony with Bosses, but it doesn’t quite erase the dissatisfaction of playing through four or five same-y levels.

But the game’s shortcomings are minor. Something I really liked in Devious Dungeon, was the upgrades system. It’s rare for a platformer to give me solid a sense of progression but that was exactly what this game did. The more gold/treasure you collect, the more equipment you can purchase. Along with potions and amulets, armors and weapons also permanently increase your character’s stats.

Other than the ultimate goal of reaching the 65th level, there are quests in place to keep your coin purse filled, rewarding you for say, ‘Killing 5 Goblins’ or ‘Finding 2 keys’. The rewards make it easier for players to continuously upgrade to newer, better equipment without needing to slog for it.

Devious Dungeon is definitely a must own for any Switch owner. It is the perfect game to occupy yourself between big releases and is worth every dollar. If you don’t have a Switch, fret not, because the game is also available for the PS4 and PlayStation Vita. There’s no reason not to buy it!

NakedMan vs The Clothes – A Humorous Battle Between Mankind and Their Wardrobe

Remember those embarrassing dreams where you walk into school naked, being laughed at by all of your peers. Well, NakedMan vs The Clothes brings that embarrassment out of the mind and into your PC. The only difference is… well… your clothes have kinda developed a mind of their own and have taken over the world. The world has been left in shambles as articles of clothing rule from the green plains to the white artics, attacking every nude human that comes within sight. Luckily NakedMan is here to reclaim the world back to the true leaders, the righteous humans.

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Purchasable for $1.99, NakedMan vs The Clothes offers six worlds to navigate and end the plague that is our clothing. Each of the pixelated worlds is of different terrains, making me feel as if I am the “knight in see-through armor”, travelling the entire world for the justice of the fellow man. In each world, you must complete three levels in order to advance to the next. The first two are levels filled with difficult jumps, an abundance of woven enemies, and a golden door you must reach to conclude the course. The final level pushes your skills to the limit… it’s time for a boss battle! Each boss battle with NakedMan vs The Clothes caused more deaths than I’m comfortable to admit. I was forced to create different strategies since each boss was challenging in their own way. The bosses range from a lava throwing pyro to a race with an ice skater.

AWzy99.pngOne thing I did find rather disappointing was the characters used as bosses. While they may have been unique, I felt as if they didn’t fit in the world of NakedMan vs Clothes very well. You would expect that after fighting through pants and rugs, you would be forced to fight the “King of Suits” or the “Jester of Skirts”, but no. Instead, we face scuba divers and flame-throwing mages.

The controls are fairly simple and easy to master. You can either attack or jump. While NakedMan vs The Clothes offers both keyboard and controller support, I found the quick movements needed to duck and dodge easier to perform on the classic controller. These evil pieces of fabric can be eradicated with… well, what is that?

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I couldn’t figure out the weapon for the life of me, so I reached out to the developer. The weapon is a “water atomizer (the “crystal cleaner spray” kind) loaded with bleach!”

While ripping apart clothes have been fun, I got frustrated at the bugs in this game. NakedMan vs The Clothes offers a mechanic where if you press the “down” control on a specific surface, you will fall through the floor. I found frequently that I would randomly fall, causing me to die and restart the course. While it wasn’t too frustrating for the majority of the game, there were certain boss battles that prioritized the flooring to be traversed through. You can imagine the headaches in randomly falling through a floor when the boss was two shots away from death. While I do believe this is a negative trait, I enjoy that this adds but another piece of difficulty to this already challenging masterpiece.

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Do not let the humor of NakedMan vs The Clothes distract you from its difficulty. Although the game may be short, it spares no sympathy in easing you into the game. Straight from level one, you are put into difficult scenarios, oddly placed enemies, and only three hearts to your health bar. You heard me get hit three times and you must repeat the course. While the game saves once you complete a world, you will not receive that benefit if you leave before annihilating the boss. If you choose to exit before the boss is dead, you will be forced to start the world from course one.

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It seems like games nowadays spoon feed its players with an abundance of save points, and easy to defeat enemies. While games like Dark Souls still provide players with a challenge, most games offer quantity over quality. More world with less difficulty. NakedMan vs The Clothes takes no chances. Its six worlds offer more difficulty and strategy needed than any game I have played in a while. I enjoy a game with a challenge, but if that is not your cup of tea, then I would skip out on purchasing this game. NakedMan vs The Clothes can be purchased today in the steam marketplace.

EnomView Score: 8.2 out of 10

Check out the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/592130/NakedMan_VS_The_Clothes/