Monday, June 10

Review: Selma and the Wisp [Nintendo Switch eShop]

With an abundance of puzzle games of all varieties out there, and in particular on the Switch, there’s a challenge to find new ways to change things up to stand out. In the case of Selma and the Wisp you have a sort of puzzle adventure where you indirectly control the main character by guiding her around with the wisp you control, offering guidance and some help with your ability to trigger a small burst to knock over or trigger things. While it may not be terribly long, and your lack of direct control can at times be aggravating, it’s at least a bit different and sports a unique look as well as some smart puzzles along the way.

There’s not much to know to get rolling. Selma and her welfare are your primary concern and aside from trying to avoid having her get crushed, impaled, or meeting some other grim end she can only survive a short time without you close by. So in each scenario you’ll need to try to carefully size things up, anticipate potential traps, and then guide her carefully through, carefully telling her where to stop or move to keep her out of trouble. Your means of interacting with the environment consists only of a burst which you’ll need to use carefully since it will diminish your energy and could eventually cause you to fade away, which will then also kill Selma.

As is the case with almost any game where you lack direct control over the main character there’s a certain inevitable degree of frustration at some unintended deaths and moments where you just can’t seem to get Selma to do what you want. You’ll just need to periodically grit through these, potentially needing to start the stage over, and try again. Thankfully you’ll never lose too much progress, and more often than not deaths are your own fault as you figure out the nuances of the space, but Selma can be quite dense and incapable at times… and that can be frustrating.

All said while Selma and the Wisp can at times be aggravating it at least has a slightly different flavor than most titles on the Switch. Mixing elements of a puzzler with some action with maybe a twinge of horror considering the grim ways poor Selma can meet her demise it’s not a terribly long game but it is at least somewhat unique. If you’ve got some patience, appreciate its unique low-poly but colorful visuals, and are looking for something a little off the beaten path you may find it to your liking.

Score: 6

  • A unique visual style
  • Some of the puzzles have a clever design element to them

  • Only being able to indirectly control Selma can, at times, be aggravating
  • Some stages feel a bit too similar to one another in their execution, detracting from variety
  • There are times where you'll know what you want to do but can't figure out how to make it happen easily