Thursday, November 8, 2018

Review: Shadow of Loot Box [Nintendo Switch eShop]


In particular when you’re releasing games onto a very crowded marketplace full of options your window of opportunity to make a strong impression on gamers is very narrow. Essentially if within the first 30 minutes or so (some would say much shorter than that) you’ve failed to make your case for people to continue playing you’re going to see people drop off and go play something else. Having given Shadow of Loot Box far more time than that I’m say to report that no matter how far I got into it nothing ever clicked, felt compelling, or even demonstrated it had a strong design even at a fundamental level.


You’ll start in a dungeon that you’ll need to wander around in to find bits of experience that will slowly give your character the most fundamental of abilities, including even running and jumping. After “leveling up” a few times to get to even the bare minimum you’d normally begin with you’ll then somewhat abruptly be thrown into the game being a very limited and poor shooter. Repetitively shooting palette swaps of the same few enemies while running backwards is not interesting or in any way rewarding and yet that’s what you’ll spend a fair amount of time doing. Further progress will then have you returning to the dungeon and this time working through 10 different objectives to go further, including simply jumping or shooting a number of times and performing other menial tasks. While the topics or “jokes” may change, the utter lack of enjoyment is a constant thread.


I believe that the intent is to make a satirical point and goof on that state of the industry but there’s nothing clever or insightful here, only bland and generic levels with very little to do and next to zero entertainment value of any kind. Satire and higher-order humor typically works to mock the subject of ridicule by running circles around it in some way by showing wit or subverting expectations (where are you The Stanley Parable?). In this case the game simply seems to wallow in mediocrity and then half-heartedly attempt to justify that by claiming that’s meant to be clever comedy.


Score: 3.5

Pros:
  • Maybe you’ll find a clever observation or two as you slog through the highly generic and uninspired “gameplay”
  • For the most part the only bugs I encountered appear to have been of the intentional variety

Cons:
  • If the goal was to be funny or witty it needed to get off to a far stronger (or any) start to set the stage and hook players to want to stick with it
  • The controls, though generally very simple to begin with, aren’t great… I’m not sure if that was meant to be a joke as well though, they may have got me…
  • Full of dull and pointless things to do. Again, perhaps that’s the point but since it didn’t ever make me laugh or crack a smile there was no payoff for the investment of time in such tedium