Developed By: Napalmtree Studios
Published By: Headup Games
Category: Platformer, Puzzle, Party, Multiplayer
Release Date: 10.19.18
The Nintendo Switch’s couch co-op renaissance continues with Tied Together from Napalmtree Studios and Headup Games. It’s a game for 2 to 4 players to traverse together as monsters that are… well, tied together. It’s charming, colorful, and fun… as long as you have 1 to 3 friends to come over and play video games with you. Otherwise it will take you weeks to get your review written.
They’re Monsters and They’re Tied Together; Don’t Look For Any Deeper Meaning
The premise of the game is that between 2 and 4 monsters have been tied together by scientists to see if they can work as a team. Seems like a jerk move by the scientists, but who am I to say what progress looks like? For all I know this is how we got the polio vaccine. Anyway, science has decided that a 2D platforming obstacle course is the best way to learn… whatever they want to learn, so that’s what we’re doing.
Tied Together plays a lot like any other platformer you’ve ever played, except for the rope binding your characters together. You can use the rope to swing one or more monsters around ledges, avoiding spikes and other deadly traps. If you do get hit, don’t worry, because your buddies can revive you. Anyway, you’ll need to work with your friends to unlock doors, traverse tipping platforms, and generally avoid unpleasant deaths on your quest for… learning? Again, the goals are nebulous, but if monsters of different colors and number of eyeballs can work together, then isn’t there hope for humanity to do the same?
Friendly Competition Will Get You Killed
Cooperation is the key to getting through each level. It gets harder the more of you there are to coordinate, however. While there are more levels for 2 player mode (40) than for 3 or 4 players (20-ish), it’ll take longer to clear the levels with a larger party. There’s a different level of strategy involved with 3 or 4 players because of the rope binding you. The players in the middle play differently and have different roles than the players on the ends, which was an unexpected (but welcome) surprise. The roles are pretty interchangeable with only 2 players, but with a larger group the roles of each player get more specific to your place in the chain.
When you finally pull it off and come away with a top-tier trophy, it’s accompanied by a great sense of accomplishment. Like a lot of games, there are gold, silver, and bronze trophies awarded depending on how long it takes you to clear a level. It’s fun no matter what, though, as long as you can get enough people together – not that bitter, lonely, video game reviewers have any trouble finding friends, no sir. Life of the party, I am.
Tied Together has a cartoony, colorful design aesthetic that is perfect for a casual game. The characters and backgrounds are crisp and detailed enough to delineate what your objectives are. The bright color palette builds a fun and festive atmosphere to play in, and the light and breezy music encourages a lighthearted experience just as well. There isn’t much in the way of story, so there’s not a lot of voice acting needed, but the grunts and wails of the monsters are amusing and welcome accompaniments to the action nonetheless. It’s great to see and hear a game that recognizes what it wants to be, and when the design sense is perfectly in sync with that ideal a great game is born.
Tied Together doesn’t have any touch or motion controls, so you can play it docked or undocked as you prefer. Personally, since it required a group to play, I’d recommend playing it on a TV. You get a better view of the level and of the action that way. However, it is a party game, so it travels well and looks good undocked, too, so I wouldn’t worry if that’s not an option for some reason. I guess that’s the biggest thing to keep in mind when playing this game; don’t worry about it, just have fun.
TL;DR: Fun, bright party game. I tried to think of something more complex to say, but that really says it all.