Wednesday, April 4

Review: Sling Ming [Nintendo Switch eShop]

When creating a game in a pretty saturated genre you have two major options: to do something that’s been done with a little extra flavor or a new twist, or to go in a direction that’s simply a bit different. The safer path with the known quantity at least has the benefit of people who are already fans of that style that you just need to convince, but the alternative can help you stand out from the crowd… if you can get people to try it. In the case of the new puzzler, Sling Ming, I’m not only happy to report that they’ve gone with a style I can’t say I’ve seen before but that it isn’t just riding on a novel concept, but on polished and challenging play as well.

Explaining the story isn’t terribly necessary as it is all a bit odd. Just know that your character, Ming, is suspended on a system that drags her on a line from point to point. To make things more entertaining this line also happens to be elastic, making her swing and bounce around as she’s moved about. Your primary goal is to simply move from the beginning of a given stage to the end, though you’ll also want to collect coins and other items along the way as you make your way through 4 increasingly-challenging worlds. Along the way, just to make things a bit more tricky, you’ll also pick up a companion eventually and you’ll need to carefully manage both of them while not having anyone die.

On any given level getting to the end is only a small part of what you can and will probably want to do if you’re a puzzle fan. There are 3 challenges with every level and they can truly be maddening at times to collect. While not having Ming hit her head sounds like it shouldn’t be too tricky a task I think, more often than not, it was actually the toughest. Timed levels, having to collect all coins, and a few other variants exist as well and these will make you plan and work pretty hard to get them. Where it really steps up the challenge, though, is with the boss fight for each world. Expect that you’ll need to have relatively mastered all of your skills to those points as these are demanding, require some strategy, and can be a bit aggravating.

It’s always a joy to see something new and different arrive to check out and Sling Ming really fits that bill. Not quite like anything else I’ve played to date Ming herself it an entertaining character making her way through a pretty tough collection of levels that really make you work. Mixing basic problem-solving with more physics-based conceptual challenges with momentum it has a style all its own and is entertaining (though sometimes frustrating) throughout.

Score: 8

  • A reasonably-good story for a puzzle game with a great main character
  • Challenging and different, it’s not quite like anything you’ve played before
  • For completionists the challenges can be maddeningly tough

  • Can skew to being quite difficult in places, particularly boss battles
  • If you can’t get a hang of the momentum-based challenges you’ll struggle