Thursday, October 11

Review: Joggernauts [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Party games, whether they’re competitive or cooperative, have really gotten new life in the last year on a general level, and the Switch no doubt has contributed to that trend. Most of the time the goal is to blow people’s faces off or prove which of you is the best (this time). Taking a very different direction is Joggernauts, a game that blends elements of runners like the Bit.Trip series with a heaping helping of need to coordinate and communicate with each other. While it can scale all the way down to being a very different kind of single-player experience this is best tackled with a party of 4 for maximum aggravation and (hopefully) fun.


As a party game your job will be to coordinate as you’re trying to get your aliens through a gauntlet of differently-colored monsters/gates that correspond to the colors of your team. Your goal is to switch that member to the front so they’re the one that hits the gate, otherwise they’ll die and remove a heart from your collective pool for the level. Simply surviving can be a challenge in itself but you’ll also be trying to grab colored jewels along the way that can be used for vital things like checkpoints as well as the trophies that are floating about. As the levels progress the challenge will increase with alternative paths, trophies that will require some technique-based warp-jumping, and ever-more rapid-fire color changing. You’re able to play with less than 4, and things still work, it’s just more scaled back. Whether this makes things easier or harder probably has more to fo with the people playing than the game, just everyone needs to be on the same page and communicating clearly or things tend to go downhill in a hurry.


If you opt to play it solo the game becomes something else entirely. Here you’ll be given the imposing challenge of making your left and right brain and hands to cooperate instead. In general, being methodical and getting into a rhythm becomes the key here but since you won’t have anyone else to yell at and blame for your failings it can be a bit tougher. Certainly the fact that you lose the smack talking and increasing panic amongst your friends as you try to make it through also detracts a bit… well, and the fact that once you get several levels in it’s plain tough.


While the 20-ish levels the game offers across 3 worlds doesn’t seem like much getting through many of them will take some serious coordination and perhaps even planning. Especially if you want to grab both trophies and all of the goodies along the way to help unlock new characters and some fun you’ll need to work for it. While you’ll probably be best off playing with a group that’s at least roughly in the same class in terms of core skills with time probably just about anyone can get the hang of the relatively simple controls as long as everyone works together. Or, just for giggles, it can be fun to sometimes royally screw people up as well.

Score: 8

Pros:

  • A unique twist on the cooperative party game
  • You’re never able to get comfortable for long, and will need to develop and even master new techniques as you go
  • Works as a very different single-player game, though losing the group aspect robs that of much of the potential for fun


Cons:

  • Especially if you’re not trying to at least grab both trophies on all levels it may feel a bit short, depending on the skill level of your group
  • If you’re just going to rock the game solo or with one friend it may not be as fun in the end