Scrap – Nintendo Switch
Developed By: Woodland Games
Published By: Ultimate Games
Release Date: June 21, 2019
Nintendo Switch has become a haven for ports of mobile games. Being able to suspend your progress at any time on Switch makes it easy to play on the go and is perfect for mobile games which are built around the idea of fitting in a quick play session. We welcome high quality mobile ports to the Switch (more please of Downwell, Reigns), and less so mobile port shovelware. So should Scrap be consigned to the scrapyard or is this another man’s treasure?
Scrap is a mobile port of an endless runner from Polish developer and publisher combo Woodland Games and Ultimate Games. You play the eponymous Scrap, a robot that channels Pixar’s excellent WALL-E, who wakes up in a robot factory and decides to attempt an escape after breaking free from the production line. The story is basic but this is not a story based experience. It’s a standard platformer at heart but with your character always moving forward, so you could play using only your right hand as you only have 2 controls: to jump or to fall from a higher ledge. You don’t have any weapons, so you must make it to the finish of each level using your skills and pixel perfect timing by jumping across gaps and avoiding enemies and hazards along the way.
Scrap includes 3 different worlds, each with 10 levels. The first level serves as the game’s tutorial stage and does a good job of teaching you the basics by showing you well placed visual and text prompts as you navigate your first stage. After learning the basics, you’re into the main game proper. Each level has checkpoints where you can restart from if (when) you die. As you progress you come across new power ups to help you along the way, such as a shield slowing down time to make it easier to avoid hazards, or a jump boost, and usually does a good job of introducing you to each one.
Each level has 3 challenges for you complete, including ‘Don’t Die’ which can be quite challenging. The other challenges can include ‘jump a certain number of times’ or collect a specific number of power cells which usually isn’t too challenging. Each level has power cells, which are collectibles arranged throughout each level, which can be positioned in locations which add an element of challenge for you to collect to complete this challenge. If you complete all 3 challenges for each of the 10 levels in a world, then it unlocks an extra bonus level for that world.
Scrap performs well in handheld mode and docked as this is not a heavy workout for the Switch, as you would expect from a mobile port. Load times are short so you won’t be waiting long to restart from the last checkpoint or start the next level. Backgrounds and 2D sprites are quite clean and low detail but with some charm thanks to modelling it’s aesthetic on WALL-E. It is however a bit derivative and not as memorable as the inspiration in question.
Controls are tight and responsible which is key for an endless runner which demands pixel perfect movement and lightning reactions at times. With the simplicity of the controls and the premise it’s easy to pick it up and play without having to reacclimatise yourself. The length of the experience is anywhere between 2 and 5 hours depending on your skills and how many of the challenges you choose to complete. Levels are bite sized in length, but you may find yourself getting stuck on certain sections with a frequent return to the last checkpoint.
It can be a frustrating experience with the level design sometimes posing a real test to your patience and skill. In this age of streaming and speed runs, developers are finding ways to quench the thirst of masochistic gamers looking for tough experiences. But the likes of the excellent Celeste are showing us there is a way to create an experience that challenges the best, but also allows gamers that don’t have the reflexes of a ninja to be challenged with it’s customisable difficulty.
How much you enjoy playing Scrap maybe depends on your level of patience and how determined you are to overcome the traps and challenges that lie in wait for you. It can be a frustrating experience at times, it’s a bit derivative and it won’t take long to complete or last long in the memory. But for 5 bucks it provides a few hours of challenging gameplay, perfect for playing on the Switch in your spare time at home or on the go.