Tuesday, January 29

Review: Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Remasters of various kinds, ranging from full-blown to merely updating the assets and some tweaking, have become quite popular these days, often bringing experiences many people may have missed to new audiences. Typically you’d see this happening with titles that were well-known at their time but you can also sometimes end up with games that someone must have seen enough merit in to invest the time on. I’d consider the latter to be the case for Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy, a game that I wasn’t positive was a remaster until I started playing it. While it certainly offers up some varied and decent 3D action platforming, it’s also impossible in places not to notice that it still plays like it’s from another time. Whether that’s a pro or a con in your book may well define how much you’ll enjoy this adventure.

Starting out as the title Sphinx you’ll be charged with obtaining the Blade of Osiris, trying to avoid the attention of beam-firing evil castle that is feeling very Eye of Sauron. This sequence serves as a tutorial of sorts, getting you on board with some of the game’s basic mechanics, but it also struck me as a bit odd by not making the best first impression with what I’d consider wonky progression. To get up to a ledge there’s suddenly a giant lizard that pops its head out from the lava and since there’s nothing else that looks promising you’ll just to over to it, assuming that’s tied to solving your problem.

Once you’re through that sequence and gain the Blade the game will somewhat abruptly jump over to having you play as Prince Tutankhamen, who’ll soon serve as the title Mummy. While Sphinx is more suited to combat and action, when you play as Tut things shift over to more exploration, stealth, and puzzle solving. I appreciate how this can help break things up and reduce the risk feeling one note, but at least initially since there was no narration I was wondering what the hell was going on.

The chief concern with the game, and something that’s a function of when it was made, is the often-wonky camera. It’s implementation is likely no worse than almost anything else from that era, but when you’re used to more modern games it can be aggravating, especially when tackling some platforming sections. That frustration paired with save points that are inconsistently spaced can boil over into outright aggravation in a few cases, but most of the time as long as you’re not being reckless you should be able to get through most challenges reasonably well.

I’d say the value proposition with Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy would be tied to how much nostalgia you have for 3D action platforming from a few generations ago. Even with the inconsistencies and flaws it also has a certain charm and feels like settling into an old pair of shoes in a way. If you’re a fan of that era and feel like taking on a challenge that has a distinctive old school tilt to it you might find this satisfying.

Score: 7

  • Offers a mix of 2 very distinctive style of play
  • Should have some appeal for people nostalgic for action platformers from that former era

  • Dated mechanics and camera issues very much rear their head
  • The spacing of save points, paired with the quirks of the game, may prove to be a source of unneeded aggravation