Friday, November 8, 2019

Super Box Land Demake - Nintendo Switch Review

Super Box Land Demake is quite the monkey's paw scenario....

Here's a game consisting of 2D Zelda like dungeons puzzles! Yay! Except there's no story. Or risk. Or combat. Or, in my opinion, logic involved. You push blocks around until all the blocks have depressed all the switches. Then the door opens to the next set blocks with switches. And every 20 levels there's a bad shmup for some reason? To be fair, I like 2D Zelda dungeons. But this particular iteration feels a bit jarring to play after Link's Awakening. Which, I suppose is no fault of the developers.

That being said, if I were to judge this puzzle game on it's own merits. I'd still say it's not amazing. There are some weirdly absent features here. There's no "single Joy-Con" support, even though co-op and simplicity are the main selling points for this game. It took me 1 hour and 8 minutes to get through 40-ish of the 100 levels in the main game. I didn't have the opportunity to play co-op, but it seems like that would be pretty fun!

The game itself feels a bit like playing Picross. Where you're not really using "logic" per- say to solve anything. but your endurance is rewarded instead. Puzzles often require you to go back and forth doing the same task to get all the blocks in the right place. And like Picross, you're punished severely for making 1 wrong turn. I say severely, but all that means is starting this particular puzzle over. there's also a rewind function, but I found it was usually too late to make economical use of it after making a mistake. If I needed to redo something, I would just go back and forth from the last level to reset.

Then at level 42 I got stuck. The game sort of forces you into playing co-op by yourself, which consists of using the left stick for player 1 and the right stick for player 2, and your push and run buttons are not contextual based on whichever character you moved last... This is not great. I really wish they had implemented a "swap" button where I can just hop between characters on the fly. The ability to move both characters simultaneously is, as far as I can see, never needed.

Normally for a review I try to put in a good amount of playtime to make sure I'm getting the full experience. But in this case, I got annoyed enough with the 1 player co-op controls that it totally turned me off of whatever else Super Box Land has for me. But I'm going to give the actual 2-player co-op the benefit of the doubt based on the enjoyable 40 puzzles I played.

Super Box Land Demake is a tried and true puzzle format with fun visuals, if a little flawed, and probably should have had some more distance between it and Link's Awakening.

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