Friday, April 20

Review: The Way Remastered [Nintendo Switch eShop]

There was a variant of action-adventure that had a relatively brief heyday, inspired by the likes of the classic Out of This World, that you simply don’t see anymore. Blending together often tricky environmental puzzles, some action, and pretty tricky platforming these games were both active and cerebral to a degree you rarely see now. One of those games, The Way, has gotten a bit of a modernizing facelift and demonstrates both why this style of game was well-regarded but also perhaps why they just don’t make them like this anymore.

In the game you’ll play as Major Tom, a man you quickly come to understand is driven by a desire to bring his dead wife back to life. While normally this sort of thing would be wishful thinking in his case he apparently believes he may know the key to making this happen, and it just so happens to be on an alien planet he’d done research on for the government. Since he’s understandably skeptical that everyone may be on board with his plan your very first objective will be to break into a government facility and steal a spaceship… and thus his challenging adventure begins.

The most notable thing in the game is that though it can be a little awkward and frustrating in places it is also varied and pretty smart. Environmental puzzles can take some work and trial and error but in general they’re fair and nothing a bit of exploration and experimentation can’t resolve. If you see a note somewhere be sure to take it in, very often details you find matter and in several cases throughout the game you’ll be expected to retain at least some rough details you may find. In addition to the game’s more cerebral side you’ll need to be ready to test your action chops because in a very old school way there are sections that are unapologetically challenging that you’ll be expected to get through. Whether a series of platforming jumps, making some careful shots with the ray run you’ll acquire, or working under pressure as one of the game’s “boss” sequences is hot on your tail you can expect to die quite a bit. Fortunately the game’s tendency is to autosave on a pretty regular basis and usually it is fair in what it will expect you to repeat when you fail.

All that said, while elements of the original game have been improved and some rough edges sanded it still retains some of the at times wonky and stilted controls that can take some work to master or at least understand. Your movement and jumping, especially when it is crucial that you don’t lose time, aren’t always your friend. In particular there were times that the simple act of getting onto a ladder when the pressure was on was more challenging than it ever should be. No doubt this kind of thing wasn’t uncommon in older titles, I just wish they’d refined issues like that a little more to eliminate a few aggravating and unnecessary deaths. That said, if you bear with the game and its quirks it has its rewards and the feeling of satisfaction when you manage to master a sequence is significant.

In the end I think this is a style of game that people will tend to either love or hate without much of a middle ground. Even gamers who are nostalgic for a lost age could find it to be a refreshing but are just as likely to find that there are some styles of play better left behind. Younger gamers who appreciate a challenge may enjoy the odd mix of action and puzzles but may well get hung up on some of the dated mechanics. Regardless, The Way Remastered does a fine job of helping to revitalize a deserving title that has its merits, how it is received will just likely be in the eye of the beholder.

Just as an addendum until the game gets its first patch be warned that there is a significant bug that will wipe your progress and save file. There’s help for how to get through the boss fight it involves but even knowing what to do if you’re unable to execute the plan within 2.5 minutes the game will crash and you could lose a significant amount of or even all of your progress to get there (it is roughly 2 hours in). The patch is in the works and going through certification but at this time when it will release is not known.

Score: 7

  • A classic style of play pretty well equally blending puzzle solving and action
  • Has a great classic pixel art look with some impressive characters and creatures
  • Continues to add new wrinkles to the mix throughout the game

  • Due to the challenge in both puzzles and action in places some people may get aggravated by one or the other
  • Crisp execution is vital in some sequences but the controls themselves can get in your way more than they should
  • If you happen to encounter the game-breaking bug before it is patched that will be very aggravating