Game Review #360: Scrap (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Steven Green
Developer: Woodland Games
Publisher: Ultimate Games S.A.
Category: Endless Runner / Platformer
Release Date: 06.21.2019
Price (at time of review): $4.99
Buy Scrap from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Scrap is an endless runner-style platformer in which you take control of a cute and loveable robot who is attempting to get out of the factory he was created in without being captured or killed. Jump through treacherous levels with tons of traps and enemies you must attempt to bypass with a lot of skill, and a little luck. Will you survive, and what awaits you at the end?
The gameplay for this title consists of jumping through chaotic platforming levels while dodging traps and baddies. That about sums up what you can expect when you jump into Scrap. The jumping feels fluid, and with double jumps as well you really have a great control of your character, which is something that can be lost at times in mobile ports of endless runners. The way the game is laid out is really trying to direct you through a few pathways to reach the end of the level, and this is something that is fun to maneuver and is well designed in that sense.
Lasers, Lasers, and More Lasers
The main thing you will be looking to avoid throughout this title are the dreaded laser beams that disintegrate you in an instant. Various types of lasers that go vertically, horizontally, and even spin! Robots enemies stand in your path; wielding laser guns, and this is only the beginning. They also utilize mines and electricity; however, variety isn’t really the point here. The reason all of this is laid out is to direct you through a level while taking a certain trajectory. The game design is spectacular, but also at the same time a little wishy-washy. You are subtly directed through the level with capsules you collect, signs, and the avoidance of obstacles, but the way those traps are laid out outside of building a straight line for you to take is somewhat cluttered and nonsensical. Basically, they drew out where they wanted you to go and then threw down random objects to block you from there.
There are power ups you can grab to aid you in getting through the levels, like a speed boost or higher jump, however most of them hurt me more than helped me. I found that changing up the formula I was used to didn’t really help me all that much when trying to get to the conclusion of the level, but power ups like the magnet that grabs capsules regardless of how close you are, and the shield that saves you from getting hit once are the useful items you will want to go out of your way to grab.
Each level also has bonus objectives to try to attain, which include getting a certain number of capsules, not dying through your play-through, and jumping a certain number of times. This adds a small amount of replay value; however, a good number of these objectives can be completed on your first run.
The difficulty is something that might be a saving grace for the title’s longevity as the game starts to get brutally hard as you progress through to the later levels. A gradual increase in difficulty is truly felt here, and even though the game is very short (30-ish levels total; with more coming as a free update) I had to run through the later levels quite a few times in order to finally defeat the game. Luckily, for those who are not into games with a tough difficulty curve, the developers have added in a checkpoint system that really makes it much easier to progress through, as you don’t need to take on the levels in one big chunk, and you can really focus on getting from checkpoint to checkpoint.
Whatcha lookin’ at Robot?
Scrap is a pretty game and reminded me of an art style you might see in a cartoon. Things are well-drawn, and the art design is straightforward with what it is trying to accomplish. The only downside is that as you progress you enter different map areas, and I feel like there was a lost opportunity in not spicing things up a bit more between maps. Each is pretty much the same factory aesthetic with different main colors for the background. Beyond that, however, it really is hard to complain. The game looks great, and something that is common in endless runners is the motion blur and headache inducing color field you can find. When games like this pack in too much you can really start to hurt your eyes from things running past the screen, however nothing in this title was out of place or was unpleasant in any way.
Scrap is a fun little title and is a great surprise coming over from the mobile landscape. The game is intuitive and works well and isn’t trying to be anything that it isn’t. Pure platforming from start to finish with a tough difficulty curve to spice things up and allow for more longevity. The game is short, so if you are very good at platformers then you might find a lack of content to be a problem, but at the price it is hard to complain about what you are getting. Scrap is a fun addition to the eShop library and is something I would recommend for platformer fans or mobile aficionados. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Scrap, despite its shortcomings sprinkled here and there.
Buy Scrap from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by Ultimate Games