Monday, December 24

Review: RAZED [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Endless runners aren’t a genre for everyone, and typically games that tackle this sort of action in 3D tend to be an utter disaster. Trying to effectively jump between platforms in 3D simply adds an element of challenge that can be frustrating, having to get precision control down in a third dimension while managing where the camera is pointing, etc. For the most part RAZED ends up doing an admirable job of taking on this challenge, resulting in some pretty high-speed and crazy action. That said, if you don’t handle frustration well you’ll definitely want to steer clear of it since you’ll be making the same runs repeatedly as you try to get your timing and technique down, and that’s just to survive, getting a decent score is an entirely different matter.

The basics of the game boil down to the fact that you’ll need to keep running and collecting crystals along the way in order to stay alive. Run out of energy and you’ll blow up (the game explains it, it’s silly). Little by little as the levels progress you’ll acquire new skills that you’ll quickly be expected to make use of effectively, whether that’s a dash, a stomp, or more. While the moves are roughly explained and make sense mechanically getting the hang of their optimum timing for use can be tricky at times but that statement really applies to the game in general as well… it’s downright brutally hard at times and not always for the right reasons.

Even in 2 dimensions these sorts of games can be brutal but in 3 it adds just a little more frustration to the mix. I actually spent an extended amount of time in one early level really trying to “get” the run button, as based on how by hands were trying to play the game I really wanted the “throttle” to be tied to up and down on the same stick I was using to move right and left. I think my greatest objection in the game is how muddy the throttle is when you’re trying to moderate your speed a bit. It’s simply not very responsive which feels out of place in a game that’s so focused on precision. I get that the goal would be to never pull up and try to slow down at all but then that would beg the question of why there’s a control for trying to manage speed at all in the first place.

If you don’t mind the aggravation and can get into the zone there’s plenty to do, especially given how many upgrade elements as there are hidden even in the earliest levels. You won’t be able to get at them initially, you’ll lack the unlocked power-ups to do so, but if you want to always be putting your best foot forward you’ll need to seek these out a little off the beaten and obvious path or even in some cases hiding in plain sight. It’s absolutely a challenge and is full of colorful visual flair, but it’s also not as polished as the best runners on the system, making it recommended for the right audience but with some caution.

Score: 7.5

  • Visually it’s full of color and flair, though also a bit sparse at times
  • Pulls off a runner in 3D as best as I’ve seen

  • Can be aggravatingly challenging even when it isn’t meant to be
  • The control over your speed isn’t nearly as precise as I would have preferred
  • Needing to go back and revisit levels to find upgrades can get tedious