Game Review #287: Vandals (Nintendo Switch)
Updated: Jun 2, 2019
Reviewer: Bradford E. (The Waffinator)
Publisher: ARTE Experience
Category: Adventure, Strategy, Puzzle
Release Date: 4.25.2019
Price (At Time of Review): $3.99
Buy Vandals from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
I have played many turn-based games (usually it’s battling of some sort or tower defense, all your normal turn-based style games, basically), and many stealth games (Syphon Filter and Metal Gear just to name a couple), but I have never played a stealth game that is also turn-based, or anything of the nature of the game I’m reviewing today. This game is honestly the first game I have ever played like this and because of that I don’t even know how to describe it. Oh, wait - I know, how about I try by this beautiful review? And what game am I talking about anyway? Well, it is none other than Vandals from ARTE Experience and Novelab.
How is this game so different from turn-based games or stealth games? Well for starters usually in turn-based games (the ones I’ve played, at least) you are usually taking turns to battle someone or some kind of fighting is going on. In Vandals you are trying to collect this coin-looking thing with a star on it, graffiti a specific wall, find randomly placed “facts” (facts about real graffiti artists that are famous or other graffiti facts which is cool if you are into art), and exit the stage all while avoiding police officers. Every move you take they take one as well. They are set to go in a certain direction, but you can whistle to draw them to a certain area or collect bottles to throw which draws the officers towards the noise. There are even sewer manholes that you can use to move to another location. That is where the stealth aspect comes in.
Again, this is not a typical stealth style game. Usually you are trying to avoid enemies that want to kill you. Like you are a “good guy” and they are the “bad guy”. Not in Vandals. In Vandals you are a kid that is doing graffiti on the walls which kind of makes you an outlaw, or “bad guy,” who is avoiding the police officers or “good guys”. And because both of you can only move in set pathways it makes the game more strategic. It’s not like you can just run around in a box to avoid suspicion
Each stage is graded from one to three stars upon completion. You get one star each by collecting the star in the stage (if you can), remaining “invisible”, and by completing the stage within a set number of moves, like 11/12 or 12/12. Collecting stars is important because each section has a level that you will need a certain number of stars to play.
The controls in this game are very neat. You can utilize the touchscreen in portable mode, or the Joy-Cons attached to the Switch. You can also use a single Joy-Con and the gyro technology and point to where you want to go with the Joy-Cons. Because it is turn-based and you can only follow a lighted path the movement controls are easy to grasp. You can also use Y to whistle, X to throw distractions, A to confirm or have police officers go to a certain area with a distraction, and when you can use man-holes you use whatever D-Pad direction it will tell you to use to trigger the movement. When it comes to applying graffiti on the walls you really get to take advantage of the touch screen as you can free hand whatever you want for a picture using your finger!
Every stage is seen from a bird’s-eye view but with a slight angle, almost like over-the-shoulder mixed with bird’s-eye. It is a very interesting camera angle. As for the music and sound effects, the music is something you would hear at a blues house. Very chill and jazz-like. Because of this, it gives off a relaxing vibe and makes it a game great for playing when you just want to slow down and chill a bit.
As I said I haven’t played a game quite like this and it totally sticks out in a world of games that all fight to be the same but better. I just don’t know if this game is for everyone. I personally think it can be a fit for a vast number of players; it has freehand drawing and uses all the cool features of the Switch, and not many games do! So, even if you aren’t into the art facts that you find along the way it is a good time killer and a good little pick up in the eShop.
Buy Vandals in the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by ICO Partners