Friday, April 26

Review: Ding Dong XL [Nintendo Switch eShop]

While it may seem to be counter-intuitive when you’ve played as many games on Switch as I have, focusing particularly on the indie market, it is clear that making a “simple” game is anything but. Certainly the impression when you look at a budget title with limited action is that it was just whipped together, and I’ve played plenty that have that feel, but to do it right takes some skill and even craft, even when the game only uses one button. The latest title in this space, one carrying a supremely budget price, is Ding Dong XL. While, at a glance, it isn’t a terribly complex game playing it for a few minutes reveals that it was put together with both some smarts and love.

The principle in action is simple. Pass an orb between the top of the screen and the bottom while trying not to let it get hit by anything. Simple, right? Yes and no. While it’s obvious you’ll need objects coming from two directions that you’ll have to feel out for speed and distance to send the ball between them there’s more to it than just that, and it’s the tweaks that add to the complexity and fun. There are a few power-ups you can activate for a variety of effects like slowing time, getting some extra points, and more. If you essentially glance the edge of an object without hitting it more substantially you’ll destroy it and get an extra point. Finally, as you get further new objects with diagonal trajectories, that are spinning, and more get introduced to put the pressure on further.

In the end this is a very low-budget title that very much earns what little it asks for. No, this isn’t a title that will likely occupy you for a terribly long time but as a palette cleanser of a time-waster for a reasonable price it’s probably among the very best options on the system. Throw in some silly unlocks to replace your ball (my favorite is a dachshund’s head) and it won’t change the world but it’s far more entertainment for some spare change that it needs to be.

Score: 8

  • An ultra-budget price
  • Ideal for playing in short bursts
  • For being simple it has some nuance to it that I appreciate

  • For most people it isn’t likely to occupy them for more than a few odd hours
  • Being realistic it’s doing nothing to remotely push the Switch hardware