Developed By : Chasing Rats Games
Published By : Frontier Foundry
Category : Puzzle, Platforming, Physics
Release Date : Aug 27, 2020
Puzzle games are just about everywhere nowadays. And with so many off-shooting sub-genres, it’s still surprising that there aren’t many duplicates out there in existence. Sure, it’s easy to find an easy comparison when it comes to a control scheme or maybe even a graphic style, but as much as I’ve played puzzle games I’ve yet to come across a blatant carbon copy. So, would swinging into Struggling on the Nintendo Switch continue the streak of mostly originality?
You know how people say that two heads are better than one? Well you’ll be living that quite literally as you start off your journey in this game in a big vat in a labratory…as two heads conjoined. Also joined with you are two arms, each controlled by one of the heads or, rather, one of the joysticks. After a scientist gets blasted at a raving party in the lab and vomits onto your vats controls, the strength of your container is compromised and you’re able to break out and work towards your…hopeful freedom.
Initially, the only way you’re able to move around is using the hands at the end of either arm and throwing your body weight around for momentum. Doing this you can find a funny way to walk down hallways, or grab onto walls and Tarzan swing to your hearts content. And get used to it quick, because once the hazards start popping up it won’t be an easy time.
Your…body? Portions of a body? Whatever you are…you have a total of three spots where you can be hit, each arm and your head…heads. Your arms can regenerate, whether you lose them by damage or choice if you feel you need to reset it. However if your head(s) take the damage then you’ll be sent back to the last checkpoint you triggered.
Hazards come in…numerous forms. While you can cling to most surfaces, they’re not all going to be usable. Some floors and walls will have spiked organisms on them that you need to avoid. There will be vats of stuff that looks like lime jello, but it doesn’t taste as good and does a lot more damage to your system. Sometimes you’ll even come across larger enemies that want to chase you down and make you their snack.
While Struggling is a very simple game and it’s a lot of fun to play, after a little while of playing I felt a more appropriate title would have been Hand Cramp Simulator. When you have your arm grabbing something in the game you’re supposed to still be able to control the momentum of your head/torso. The problem is this doesn’t always register the greatest. and it can take a little bit of rocking the joysticks around before it finally registers. If you’re using the joy-con’s or playing in handheld this can be a pretty uncomfortable scenario. Otherwise, if you can play with a Pro Controller I highly recommend to do so.
Despite this bit of a hinderance, I still highly recommend the game. It’s a lot of fun and can be played in co-op, with each player controlling a single arm and trying to work together. You also pick up additional abilities throughout, like being able to slow down time temporarily to get around faster obstacles, and getting to detach your arms and let them crawl on their own. If you’re a fan of physics-based puzzle games this is definitely a title you should keep on hand.