Wednesday, May 29

Review: Unruly Heroes [Nintendo Switch eShop]


While the Switch has done plenty to help popularize the return of local co-op gaming, and there are many strong examples to be found in the indie space, the tendency has been towards puzzlers specifically for the most part. While this is a pretty smart choice by developers since it allows for a pretty big disparity between the two participants, a less experienced gamer can likely get by pretty well with some help, it has lead to the offerings being a little too much alike at times. While not forgoing puzzles entirely by any means Unruly Heroes has staked out a territory with much more of a platforming focus, perhaps most targeting the likes of some more recent Rayman titles, and while the result isn’t perfect it’s at least a refreshing more action-oriented choice in the Switch eShop without a ton of accomplished competition.


The first thing that jumps out about the game is simply how gorgeous is looks, with very detailed characters and environments which help the game pop. You’ll be working with a team of 4 said heroes, each with their own quirks, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses and working through a mix of careful platforming, some fun and sometimes intense combat, and a fair number of action puzzles to boot. For the most part it’s all pretty light and fun, throwing you some challenges here and there with some boss fights, and giving you just enough hidden items to encourage you to check out weird things you see in the scenery without it becoming a burden.


Mechanically you’ll have the choice of taking on the game by yourself, able to cycle through your heroes pretty quickly when necessary, or with up to 3 of your friends if you’d like so there’s some versatility. That said the sweet spot is probably 2 people, just enough to make quicker work of some puzzles and combat but not so many people that things get a bit chaotic and the action muddled as everyone is trying to do their own thing. The controls are nice and consistent in their execution between heroes though obviously their attacks and movements have some unique nuances to get used to so switching never feels disorienting, you’ll just tend to gravitate towards specific characters when the choice doesn’t make much difference. There are times where you may be in a pinch since you’ve lost someone that you then realize you need to get by an obstacle their attack will remove but in general you won’t need to fret since a bubble will soon show up with your fallen comrade in it. This may not always show up in a convenient spot but to the developer’s credit at least you’re not having to restart from a checkpoint whenever you lose someone.


The only criticisms I have for the game are actually pretty general and will come down to taste. The first is that at times the controls just felt a bit too sluggish for their own good and let me down. I wouldn’t say it was a consistent problem but in certain situations it just didn’t feel like everything was working as well as it could. The other is that though the game is certainly playable solo there’s an element to the game that feels like it has a multiplayer bias at times. I suppose in either direction this would have been a problem potentially but since not every aspect of the game feels like it has this issue there are just some sections that seem to be more versatile either way than others. Of course, if that’s being noted as a criticism, and it’s relatively minor, I suppose that’s a good indicator for the level of quality it brings to the table.

Especially considering it’s pretty modest price Unruly Heroes is a rock-solid platformer that looks phenomenal and plays well whether you’re taking it on by your lonesome or with some friends. The degree of difficulty generally feels well-balanced, the gameplay has a number of surprising variations along the way, and there’s a sense of style that permeates it and helps it be memorable. While perhaps not quite a flawless title it’s certainly worth a good look if you’ve been searching for a worthwhile platformer.


Score: 8.5

Pros:
  • It’s wonderfully detailed and looks terrific
  • The gameplay manages to explore some different styles from level to level to help keep things from feeling stale
  • Works reasonably well as a single-player or multi-player title, something not all games manage to pull off well

Cons:
  • There are situations where the controls don’t feel as responsive as I’d like
  • While solo play is doable there are times where it seems situations were set up more with multiple players in mind