Tuesday, September 25

Review: A Gummy's Life [Nintendo Switch eShop]

There are times when I get the chance to play games that are innovative, surprising, and thoroughly different. Titles that exude creativity, terrific execution, and polish. Then there are titles where it feels somewhere along the line things just didn’t quite work out, and the result is just a bit of a sloppy mess. Unfortunately, though it has some decent elements and variety A Gummy’s Life struggles in the most fundamental area in a multiplayer brawler like this, where it comes to the controls.

Starting with the positive you do have a small assortment of modes to choose from, and specifically there are quite a lot of stages to play on. Each of these can have an innocent enough appearance but they also typically have unique elements that can make them varied and tricky, much better than just a cosmetic change. Though I can’t say there’s a great deal of creativity in the selectable characters necessarily, they’re varied enough and do seem to at least have some minor variations in how they play. You can brawl it out locally or even online (assuming there will be players who choose to try it out and then stick with it) with up to 8 players total, and solo you can also train or play matches against 3 AI opponents to try to hone your skills.

Where it falls down, unfortunately, is really at the foundation. The controls are simply too muddled and messy. The developers have said that it’s supposed to have a sort of physics-game feel, I suppose to try to emphasize the fun somehow, but if this is an intentional implementation it’s a horrible mistake. The result is aggravating, inconsistent, and not terribly satisfying as the gap between trying to play with some finesse versus simply button-mashing feels negligible. If nothing else the consistent lag between when you press the button to execute a move and the time it actually triggers is maddening.

In the end if you don’t mind the wonky controls and get into the different stages, and the variety they offer, A Gummy’s Life may not be a bad fit. Unfortunately, I’d say there are simply better-implemented games of this kind out there, even if they may lack the variety in stages or even the number of simultaneous players. The flaws here feel very core and fundamental and I’m not positive they can even be patched away, my family and I just didn’t find much joy or excitement in the experience.

Score: 4.5

  • Support for up to 8 players in a brawl, locally or online
  • Aside from the 4 modes there’s a fair degree of variety in the numerous stages
  • The overall controls aren’t just lacking in ambition, they’re very sloppy and don’t emphasize skill
  • Controller lag specifically is a horrendous problem, even when playing locally
  • Works better the more people you can get involved, but ongoing online availability would be fair to question