Sunday, December 23

Review: Koloro [Nintendo Switch eShop]


When it comes to puzzle platformers, the Switch pretty well has you covered, not just with a few titles but with a pretty wide variety of choices and almost sub-genres within that broad category. One flavor that I’ve seen quite a lot of in the indie space is really best described as “jumping a square through spikes and traps”. While it’s not necessarily the most thrilling thing in the world either because of the more modest investment or the level of success these titles have found they keep coming. Koloro is the latest to come to Switch, and while I’ll give it credit for doing a few value-added things like adding boss fights and the ability to play co-op, there’s not much changing the core dynamic that’s very much take it or leave it.


You’ll play the game as Kora, a young girl who is trying to find and save her sister. Once the action begins she’ll just be a pink square though, and your objective will be to collect a series of crystals you’ll need to unlock the exit. Between you and success will eventually get to be a pretty wide variety of traps and obstacles, including anything from spikes, to mechanical doors with switches you’ll need to trigger, and a variety of enemies, all of which you’ll need to avoid. All you have the ability to control in the game is her jump, all movement is automatic and actually pretty quick. To change direction you’ll need to jump onto a wall and then off again. This sets the stage for the puzzles, which require a combination of working out the sequence, coming to master the nuance of how far you’ll move up the wall when you jump, and plain patience since so many traps are relying on you wanting to keep moving.


While I like the curve ball of some boss fights periodically over the game’s 300 levels this is really all about whether you enjoy this sort of puzzle platforming experience. It’s probably the most varied and best implemented of its kind I’ve played, and I appreciate the nuance of the wall jumping and need for precision, but it can also be pretty tedious when you’ve got it figured out, you’ve completed 90% of the stage, but then miss a jump, hit a spike, and need to start the level again from scratch. If you’ve played this sort of thing and enjoy the challenge and somewhat subdued level of action I’d highly recommend it against more lackluster offerings on the system.

Score: 8

Pros:
  • While the core gameplay and look is simple, there’s some nuance to the controls
  • The touch of boss fights being added is a nice one
  • Rather than just being a random collection of 300 levels there’s an attempt to have a story as well

Cons:
  • In particular the black moving spikes tended to annoy me seeming to be gone but apparently just the tip would still be exposed, killing me
  • Longer levels with no checkpoints can be aggravating when you get most of the way through and die on something trivial, needing to then start over again
  • The style of gameplay and simplistic look may not be for everyone