Yuso is an all-new puzzle game from developer and publisher Vertical Reach releasing on Steam, Nintendo Switch and mobile platforms. Vertical Reach is a small independent team based in sunny Portugal and has had the pleasure of winning “Best Children’s Game” two years running in the PlayStation Premios contest with their previous titles.
In Yuso you take on the role of a space doctor travelling across the solar system, moving from planet to planet, meeting the inhabitants and completing over 80 different stages in the story. Each level can be conquered by clearing the screen of the Yuso with the gameplay mechanic reminiscent of the classic Bejeweled, where you must match three in a row in a bid to destroy the various objects. With a quirky cast of characters, there is plenty of support to help you on your journey! Graphically the game is bright and colourful with a simplistic yet fun style. It more than does the job and works extremely well on smaller screens, it’s cute characters will particularly appeal to the younger audience.
Levels are split into eight stages represented by one of the planets in the solar system. It is a good choice by the development team and helps to break up the game into quick short burst chunks which is an ideal set up for gaming on the go. The first stop off acts as part of the tutorial and gives an overview of how to play. As you progress Yuso gets harder, this is done by introducing new colours to match up and a number of gadgets to help you along the way but beware not all are friendly. Each time a new gameplay element is introduced you are assisted with on-screen guidance.
The game also has an open progression system giving you the chance to progress and come back to difficult stages at will. This once more is a good feature for the development team to include as there is often that one level which is a cause of much frustration only to be finished in no time at all upon a return visit. Each of the eight planets has its own theme accompanied by unique music helping to bring the world created to life. Yuso can be controlled with a traditional input method by using the supplied Joy-Con, this works perfectly well as you are not being timed and feels responsive. Controls are simple and intuitive but really the best way to play the game is by making use of the touchscreen, a series of swipes is all that you require.
To its credit, there are a couple of neat in-game options designed to help make progress through the game to completion. The most useful of these by far is the rewind feature, allowing you to take a step back through a puzzle, turn by turn, at the push of a button.
Yuso offers a simple gameplay mechanic that is easy to learn but has enough about it to challenge the more experienced among us. The graphics are simple with a cute charm and playing on the go is a good way to pass a fleeting moment. Sometimes level completion is more a case of keep trying until you get it right rather than any in-depth master plan.
Beard Score: 6/10
Publisher: Vertical Reach
Format: Steam, Nintendo Switch, Mobile