Tuesday, January 29

Review: Necrosphere Deluxe [Nintendo Switch eShop]


I have seen a vision of Hell and it has a certain 8-bit aesthetic, a circuitous Metroidvania layout, and only lets you move around using 2 buttons. That’s being a little overly dramatic, but to some degree the sentiment when playing Necrosphere Deluxe falls along those lines, with the exhilaration of getting through a brutal section instantly stamped out by the crushing difficulty of the next. If you’ve been complaining that there simply haven’t been enough aggravatingly tough games on Switch, this will be one for you.


With a story I don’t even know if I can adequately explain the emphasis here is squarely on throwing crazy challenges at you that will demand you nail the timing and execution to get through them. Whether that’s bouncing off of a series of bubbles, dodging fireballs, evading enemies, or navigating a series of quickly-moving platforms you’re really put through the wringer with this one. With checkpoints that are sometimes at an optimum length apart but occasionally pushing into somewhat cruel territory you really need to work on your ability to stay calm as you’re going to die repeatedly and often pretty quickly.


What usually is either the saving grace or the added insult to injury for games that demand this degree of punishing precision is the controls. One of the main elements this title is billed on is the simplified 2-button control scheme. While I initially experimented a bit with different options that happened to map to the left and right once I settled in at first it worked reasonably well, if sometimes just a bit less crisp than I’d like. Unfortunately, at the point you acquire your first skill to leap things began to go downhill a bit more. Having to double-tap pretty quickly simply isn’t optimal and unfortunately I found myself aggravated with the inconsistency and difficulty with precision that this control choice presented. I understand the idea behind keeping things simple but when it ends up making the game harder for the wrong reasons you’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere.


In the end you’re either someone who relishes a serious challenge, even when the controls may be a bit on the wonky side, or you’re not. For people who like to remain calm and keep their controllers from spontaneously flying across the room Necrosphere Deluxe is probably best to steer clear of. If you’re down for the aggravation, more power to you, this game absolutely delivers that in spades. Just remember you were given fair warning that the two-button controls heap just a little more pain into the mix than I’d have preferred.


Score: 6

Pros:
  • Some great, challenging level design
  • A surprising number of variations in how the challenges come at you considering the limited controls

Cons:
  • Especially once you take on the leap ability the decision to go with a strict 2-button control scheme begins to not seem like such a great idea
  • It can be hard to settle in to which buttons to use, especially with the double-tap being necessary, and overall the controls feel just a little sloppy as a whole
  • The tendency for the map to wrap back into itself more than once you can accidentally end up having to repeat sections you’ve already cleared