STAFF REVIEW of Switch - Or Die Trying (Xbox One)

Tuesday, May 1, 2018.
by Kirsten Naughton

Switch - Or Die Trying Box art Switch - Or Die Trying, a game developed by Threye, is a game about a character named 'I' who has lost all his friends and 'I' needs to find them. Who are his friends you ask? They are the other 25 letters of the alphabet of course! You need to help 'I' get his friends back by playing 75 challenging levels. When I say 'challenging', I am not kidding. It's no joke. 'I' may look cute, but don't be fooled, as there is more to 'I', and the game as a whole, then meets the eye (see what I did there?).

The game is called 'Switch - Or Die Trying' because 'I' changes from a lowercase 'i' to a capital 'I' to help you navigate the levels. Little 'i' tends to jump a little higher whereas big 'I' doesn't jump as high, and this is due to his size (hey, being a capital letter does have it's disadvantages). You have to maneuver around a big spiky trap in most levels, and if you come into contact with the spikes, you die. I would tell you what shape the big spiky thing is, but it changes from level to level. The big spiky thing could be on the ground or up in the air right near 'that' corner that you have to jump up and over to get to the next area. Trust me, once you see this big spiky thing, you'll know what I mean.

The level progression is by far my favourite thing about this game. There aren't many games that I'm aware of that let you pick the levels you want to play. All you need to do is beat 10 levels, then the game unlocks a new world for you, as 'I', to play. Usually, standard games make you do each and every level in order before another one opens. Not this game!

Have you ever gotten so frustrated with a game that you stop playing? I have, many times, especially when the game won't let me progress until I beat the level I'm stuck on. Now, when this occurs in a game I play, one of two things usually happens. One: I quit playing for a couple weeks and try again, or Two: I ask my friend for help when he comes over. I love that Switch - Or Die Trying allows for this level flexibility, as you don't have to complete every level in the area before heading on to the next area, so you shouldn't hit a brick wall of difficulty.

Each level has three stars, one for your ink drop, one for beating goal time and one for completing the level. I will admit, beating the goal time is difficult. Most of the levels I beat, I have the ink drop and completed level stars, but I don't have many of the goal time stars. The majority of the puzzles are tricky, but eventually you will find solutions by trial by error. As you make your way through the game you may have second thoughts about collecting the ink drops.

These ink drops are usually found in out-of-the-way places, usually nearby that big spiky enemy I was talking about earlier. They can be time-consuming to go for, so you have to weigh the pros and cons in regards to if you do collect it, and risk meeting the 'goal time', or just keep moving on. Do I die trying to jump from this ledge or do I just complete the level? Decisions, decisions.

In the beginning, you will play through a mini-tutorial, which is considered level one. It teaches you the very basics of the level and gameplay mechanics, then you begin the starting book 'Beginnings'. You open the book and you get to jump to your choice of level. I mean, 'I' literally jumps to the level you select which I found a really cool touch. As you progress, the levels get harder and quicker more than you'd expect. By level 4-5, it's very tricky, with much trial by error. Your trusty problem solving skills will be your best friend, but prepare to die, a lot.

I really enjoyed the game's music as it was really upbeat and unique, suiting the gameplay. It would be at a normal pace and then once you go over the time allotment, the music goes from calm to a fast paced drum-type music. The music during gameplay is engaging and keeps you interested, suiting what is happening on screen.

Switch - Or Die Trying is for those who are looking for a real challenge. This game, in my opinion, could be compared to Cuphead and Super Meat Boy in respect to the each games difficulty. Every move you make could mean you move forward, or you die and have to start all over. The other beauty of this game is its unlimited deaths. You could die twenty times in a row if you wanted to and you'd still go back to the level you're on. I'd recommend this game to anyone who's up for a hardcore puzzle challenge. Thumbs up Threye!

Overall: 9.5 / 10
Gameplay: 9.5 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 9.5 / 10


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