Developed By: Static Dreams
Published By: No Gravity Games
Category: Puzzel, Platformer
Release Date: 02.21.2020
Since opening its doors to indie developers, Nintendo Switch has become an attractive home for mobile ports and similar titles. Although the market is a bit saturated, it’s given a second life to games that would otherwise only be played on a phone or desktop. It does raise the question, however, if many of these titles are worth the trouble. While not technically a mobile game, Ego Protocol: Remastered doesn’t exactly present a convincing case for a remaster on the Switch system.
As a casual puzzle platformer, Ego Protocol doesn’t have a lot of ambitions. It’s a bare-bones package of 60 levels spread across 5 stages and a bonus pack of levels which is indistinguishable from the rest. The only character each of these stages possesses are different colors and a picture of either a Science Lab or Workshop visible in stage selection menu. There’s an optional tutorial which I would recommend to get an idea of how the game is played if the instructions weren’t so unclear. It took me far too long to understand what the “action” button was without the simple label of A,B,X, or Y (hint: it’s Y).
Ego Protocol is puzzle game much like those sliding tile puzzles where the objective is to slide a number of tiles up, down, or across a two-dimensional plane in order to establish a path from beginning to end. The logic here holds the same. The player must lead a tiny android to safety by rearranging the tiles of different platforms or tunnels either before it’s set in motion or during its travels. On its journey to the tractor beam at the end, the little robot will encounter such obstacles as a mines, other dangerous robots, and entry guns. To surpass these traps, the player must press the action button within the highlighted square. And that’s it.
Naturally, the puzzles become increasingly difficult as the game goes on, but what little replay value there is comes from achieving the highest score possible on each level. Upon completing a level the player is given a 1 to 3 star review based on the number of points earned. One element to consider is a timer which serves no other purpose than to give the player more points for completing a level within the selected time. However, I found I was still getting two stars even after blowing past the timer, so it’s hard to say why it’s there at all.
With a basic set of “retro,” simple graphics the game doesn’t wow visually either. The different levels are different in color only, and they’re pretty dull, muted colors at that. As for the sound, I personally liked the sci-fi, ambient music that droned in the background, but the two or three tracks got old after an hour of play. Thankfully, Ego Protocol is a threadbare videogame experience. Turn it on, move some blocks around, and turn it off when your name is called at the front desk or you’re at your stop.
I can see the appeal in Ego Protocol: Remastered as a means to kill time and nothing more. There’s very little here to entice any more than a few minutes of play per sitting. Some of the puzzles are challenging later on, but other than sliding a few tiles around to watch a little humanoid hop over a pit, it has no replay value whatsoever outside of achieving a higher score.