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Game Review #333: A Duel Hand Disaster: Trackher (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Steven Green

Developer: AskAnEnemyStudios

Publisher: AskAnEnemyStudios

Category: Arcade, Action

Release Date: 06.10.2019

Price (At Time of Review): $9.99

Buy A Duel Hand Disaster: Trackher from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Mind Melting Multi-Tasking

A Duel Hand Disaster: Trackher describes itself as a split-screen, single-player, twin stick risk ‘em up and if that confuses you then just know that is the first of many things that will confuse you from here on out if you take the plunge into this intense multi-tasking arcade cabinet explosion. In this title, you take control of both sides of the screen and use your ships to try to rack up the high scores, but remember, your score is meaningless unless you exist…

Arcade ‘Em Up

This game takes inspiration from classic arcade style gameplay, where you operate spaceships in intense fields of glory where the only task is to survive (for the most part). The screen you are working with is split, and on one side you have a classic, Galaga-esque experience where you are invincible, but must manage your “LINK” that slowly decreases as you move and shoot. To remedy your “LINK” issue you must utilize the right side of your screen where you move a ship through a low poly surface that has “MATERIAL” you must gather in order to keep your “LINK” intact. However, it couldn’t just be that easy. Enemy ships you don’t destroy on the left can enter the right and attack your ship. Unfortunately, your right-hand ship has no way to defend itself, and must just run away while continuing to collect “MATERIAL”. This makes the game increasingly difficult and intense, as is the norm with classics from the arcade, as you try to survive with the largest score possible. Dying is an issue, as if you die you lose your score entirely; you must survive past the game itself.

In order to keep your high score, you must extract with it. To achieve this, you need to collect 12 “PARTS” from the right-hand screen and get to the extraction point with them. However, this ain’t your Daddy’s arcade cabinet, as not only does dying make you lose your current high score, but has the potential to wipe you from the leaderboards altogether.

Finally, the game offers multiple “TEARs” in which you can play around. Each TEAR has new challenges beyond the basic gameplay you are accustomed to, so be prepared. Think of these TEARs as new game boards that you can try to survive in, where increases in rewards come with each step further into the TEARs you progress to.

Tough Luck

If you are like me and getting high scores in arcade games is already something you aren’t great at, then you will have the toughest of times with this title. Arcade aficionados will thoroughly enjoy this experience as it brings something entirely new and fresh to the genre, but for anyone like me who lacks the skill to survive as it is, then also adding two screens you have to manage is something that will give you nightmares, as it did me.

Besides the simple fact of needing to be proficient in pure arcade experiences like this, you also have the TEARS to thank for making a bad day even worse. If you get to TEAR 3, you will find yourself in a situation where the screens could potentially flip upside down, making for even more brain busting goodness. You can also experience events such as your controls being reversed or the screens themselves changing which side they lie on entirely. All of this makes for some of the most punishing gameplay I have ever experienced, not because of anything to do with the actual mechanics or gameplay, but because keeping all of these things straight while playing was almost the death of me.

What A Scene

This game is so beautiful and stylish that it made my eyes water (or maybe that was because of all the confusion I discussed earlier?). The game oozes arcade style, and the throwbacks in the design are something that really left me aesthetically pleased. The game’s low poly art design, matched with its pumping soundtrack and stylized graphics make for an experience that will leave you wishing you could walk into a classic arcade cabinet, Wreck-It Ralph style, so you can see the types of things this game is pumping out first-hand.

Lack of Depth

One of the only detriments to this title is the lack of depth it offers beyond its basic gameplay loop. ADHD: Trackher doesn’t offer much in the diversity department, it just does what it does extremely well and sticks to it. Leaderboard progression is what you are looking to achieve here, or just simply enjoying the gameplay for yourself if you can’t get close to anywhere on the leaderboard’s top ranks, like me. But I found myself wishing there was more. The game plays like you are walking up to a cabinet, and man is that cool, however as someone who isn’t particularly fond of pure gameplay experiences, I found myself wishing there was something else to keep me punishing myself with this game. And the scariest part about this title is even if you are a master and achieve the highest rating you might not want to keep playing after that as you risk getting your score erased entirely with each death, which is an extremely risky addition to a title that is just wanting you to play it over and over again.

In closing…

A Duel Hand Disaster: Trackher is an exceptional arcade title. If you are someone who gets the itch when it comes to titles with joysticks and wants to get into that button mashing action than this is the perfect love letter for you (if you can handle the multi-tasking mechanic). This game doesn’t beat around the bush with what it is, and it just drips with style; the kind of style that just brings a smile to your face. But, for anyone who is looking for more than just a pure gameplay experience straight from the arcade then this might be something to investigate a bit further before making the jump, as the difficulty and genre are really something that comes with a niche audience. Perfect game for the arcade lover. Bravo!

Score: 8/10

Buy A Duel Hand Disaster: Trackher from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by Plan of Attack

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