*DISCLAIMER: ALL VIEWS IN THIS REVIEW ARE MY OWN AND DO NOT COME FROM THE COMPANY THAT HAS KINDLY PROVIDED THE GAME*
Red Game - Without a Great Name is, "a challenging 2D arcade game where you play as a mechanical bird traversing a hostile Steampunk world. Prepare to die a lot on barbed wire, spikes, and sawblades. Your only means of survival is your ability to teleport!" - Steam Page
Green Game - Timeswapper is, "a challenging 2D arcade game where you are a master of time. Set it to past, present or future to control various mechanisms, and make sure that a mechanical bird will safely reach the end of the level. Prepare to die a lot – you will be sliced, squashed and crushed." - Steam Page
This is the first series of games developed and published by iFun4All S.A and I mentioned it very slightly in my Serial Cleaner article. These games were originally published onto IOS with a fairly decent reception; receiving an average of 20 ratings with an average score of 4.5/5. However, since then, it has been released onto Steam (Currently 55 (Red Game) and around 50 (Green Game) on Metacritic with an average userscore of 6), Vita and on the 17th and 24th December 2017, both games in the series were released onto the Nintendo Switch. As they were originally IOS games, I was looking for a good port-job that took advantage of some of the Switch's unique features; like touch screen, HD rumble and both docked and un-docked play.
In Red Game, there isn't really much of a story, but from what I could work out, a mad scientist wants to deliver his mail, but there are so many obstacles in this chaotic world that he decides to create a new kind of delivery system. He creates a mechanical bird that has the ability to teleport and so dodge all of the problems that the new world has to offer. All of this effort, is so the scientist can deliver his mail...simple right?!
In Green Game, the story is also completely irrelevant and this time the mad scientist adds a time traveling mechanic into the bird, but by doing so the bird only moves in on direction and cannot be stopped without being pushed up against something.
As both of these games don't really have much of a story going on, I have decided not to grade them for their "story" and so in the summary, I have left that section out so I can try and score the titles more fairly.
As both were originally mobile phone games, the gameplay is relatively easy enough to understand. In both titles titles the overall goal of each of the 50 levels is to get the bird into the cage whilst collecting "cogs" and dodging the various hazards that are in your way.
Mechanics are implemented at a steady pace throughout the levels of this game. In Red Game you start by simply being able to teleport. In Green Game, you don't control the bird... this is because the bird is on rails, instead you manipulate time to move the bird... As you progress through both, you are introduced to various power-ups that are there to help you finish the level. Some of the power-ups include:
- Speed boost: Makes you a little faster for a very small amount of time.
- Wall break: Gives the ability to see where a fragile wall is so you can break it.
- Invisibility: Gives you around 5 seconds of invisibility...5 seconds.
- Invisibility: Gives you around 5 seconds of invisibility...5 seconds.
- Slow Time: Slows time...for like 5 seconds also...
- Teleport: Isn't really a power as it teleports you to a specific location.
Although this drip feeding of mechanics is quite good, sometimes they aren't even required, which would be alright, but sometimes they are necessary to completing the level. This inconsistency makes for a rather frustrating time if you are playing for a long period of time.]
I have to mention that there are a lot more mechanics in Red Game, with different hazard types and triggers for traps to solve the puzzles. This makes this game a lot easier to play and sometimes actually fun, as long as you don't play for more than 10 minutes.
Multiple Routes (Green Game):
Like I mentioned above, the overall 100% aim is to collect all of the cogs. However, in quite a lot of levels, there are multiple routes to take and because you don't have control over the bird very well, you end up having to guess which route will lead you to the cog. This leads you to having to replay levels over and over until you find the right combination. This feels a lot like brute forcing a solution to increase the total playtime and is something that I don't find engaging in a game.
No controller support:
After starting this game, I didn't feel disappointment and instant dislike for a game, until I realised that this game doesn't have controller support AT ALL. The only input that is accepted is touch and for this reason, there isn't any docked support and the game is not playable if you connect it to your TV. How can a game, being ported from mobile, not bother to implement joy-con/controller support??
When playing Red Game, I felt like I was in control throughout and whenever I made a mistake, I knew that the mistake was my own fault. However with Green Game, you don't have control, instead you have to swipe the screen to "change time" and activate/deactivate certain bird moving items. However some of the movement for the bird requires a very specific angle that is really hard to judge when you have to use your finger on quite a small screen. This doesn't help that there isn't any joy-con support or docked support for at all for the title.
I feel like I have to mention it here also, but these games do NOT support controllers, at all. No joy-cons, no pro-controllers, no bloody motion controls...nothing. These games are touch screen only and because it was originally an IOS and Android game, this just makes it feel like it is a very lazy port, created for some extra money. The price is even more expensive on the Switch, coming in at £2.69 with the original price on IOS being £1.69; that is more than a 59% increase...
Although both games are pretty rubbish, the art-style is one of the only redeeming factors. The colour pallet is simple, but effective and the overall tone of the game is kind of reflected in the style of art used.
As these are Switch games, I wouldn't write a review without mentioning the build quality and the overall optimisation of both titles. I am quite happy to say that there have been 0 crashes and 0 frame drops in the entire time that I've played both. After asking with the developers, both games run at 720p 30FPS.
Red Game surprised me in this aspect, because they actually feature an original theme for their menu screen. This is also coupled with maybe 2/3 background tracks for the puzzles. Green game isn't as good in this aspect and doesn't feature a full original theme with lyrics and that. It also comes with around 2/3 background tracks that don't sound as good as the first game, even though Red Game came out over a year before Green Game.
The whole music style is quite a popping jazz selection mixed with some electric music. So quite nice actually.
Red Game and Green Game are like those titles that are good in moderation, but really annoying, if you play them for longer than 20 minutes.
The mechanics are easy enough to grasp and the overall style of games are pleasing, but the whole thing just becomes a little to repetitive after a short time. That being said, both games were originally IOS titles and they are both only £2.69 on the Switch. However, on IOS and Android, the price is only £1.69.
You would imagine that the Switch edition of both games would come with added features, a more fleshed out experience, and take advantage on the system that it is being developed on, but it didn't even come with docked support. Seriously, these games CANNOT be played whilst in docked mode. This is because it's touch screen only and they haven't even bothered to implement a basic control scheme for the joy-cons or any controller for that matter!
I will say that, in moderation, I did find enjoyment with Red Game. The jazzy soundtrack and presentation is quite good and the mechanics make for a fun little puzzle game. However, even though Green Game has the same style and tone, the mechanics were a lot more frustrating, with no control over the character. All of this resulted in me putting the game down again and again after around 5 minutes of play. But at the end of the day they are only £2.69 each. That being said, I would recommend getting Red Game on your phone, or if you have an extra pound/dollar/euro the Switch version, as this game in the series can be fun puzzle game and can be a good way to pass the time when you're on public transport...as long as you don't have another puzzle game. Also don't get Green Game, you'll thank me later.
|Gameplay||Fun in small doses as the later levels can offer quite a big challenge with different mechanics.||Touch-based only making it impossible to play when docked. It also becomes extremelly repeptive very quickly.|
|Quality||The art style is nice and neat with smooth animations.||Hit-markers can be a little too tight with brute force being the best solution to some levels.|
|Music/Sound||A very nice original jazz style sound track that is high quality and very nice to listen to.||Although the soundtrack is good, it is a little limited for a full game.|
"Dear readers, we’re super excited about the fact that we’ve managed to deliver Green Game: Timeswapper on Nintendo Switch. It’s our first game on this platform, made and published entirely in-house! And although Green Game was born on iOS, then ported to Steam, PS Vita and Android, it’s the Switch version, which is the most satisfied for us. The development process wasn’t easy, mainly due to the fact that Switch doesn’t support most of Unity’s plugins we’re using and cooperating with Nintendo, the submission process and the whole administrative stuff can be confusing at times. But we’ve overcome all the obstacles and made the first step when it comes to expanding to Switch. That wouldn’t be possible without the continuous support from our fans. We hope that by launching on Switch, our games will find new players and we’ll learn a lot from you!" - Developers at iFun4all - 22/11/2017
Review by Sam Elliott
Red Game - Without a Great Name and Green Game - Timeswapper are both available now for PC and Switch for, £2.69/$2.99 and iOS and Android for £1.69. Thank you to iFun4all S.A for supplying both games and assets used in this review. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.