Switch version tested
Review code provided
Two’s company, three’s a crowd, and four’s a unit. Gamera Interactive brings us Unit 4, a game that’s based around swapping between the four characters during gameplay. Your planet had an important artefact stolen that Unit 4 has been appointed to retrieve. Traverse through space to explore new planets with your team, only to discover they share a similar problem.
Unit 4 is a run and jump platformer that has an instant character swap feature similar to that of Omega Strike. Each of the four characters has a trait that sets them apart and you’re often required to make use of their powers to proceed. Each person can jump on enemies as an attack. Jumps are half dedicated, meaning they will continue whether or not you hold down the joystick, but you can slowly return a bit if desired. Here is the Unit:
- Yellow – descending floating ability
- Red – dash attack/transport
- Blue – double jump
- Green – grapple hook
Swapping from docked to handheld broke the game. I closed the software, retried, and it froze again. I booted up the game and it erased all the progress I made. I couldn’t tell exactly how far I got because each level beaten just takes you to the next one. There is no sense of progression. The game doesn’t immediately inform the player the use of the coins, so inevitably after multiple deaths, they get skipped instead of collected.
A is the jump button, and X is the action button that controls each character’s power. I would prefer a different button layout but there is no option for that on the pause menu. Maybe this could be added later? Just a bit awkward. The Blue man’s jump is executed with A then the double is continued with the X button. Wall climbing with this combination is unnatural and I don’t like it at all. Wall climbing is barely a feature – jump to a wall with A then tumble outward with X. I tend to stick with the blue man or the red man because of the dash ability.
The longest thirteen minutes passed and I completed the first level. The overworld of each level shows multiple stages, and while you’re in the first level there are many different stages within it, making it seems like you’re beating all the stages seen on the map. That would be incorrect. Unit 4 has levels that are far too long, with many checkpoints and no satisfaction. The second level took me sixteen minutes to beat.
The boulder chase level felt pretty similar to Miles and Kilo and that same vibe is present at a slower pace in most levels. Even if you’re not being chased it’s easier to make progress with half dedicated jump mechanic by always moving. There is a percentage complete shown per level, and world for those that wish to hunt down and collect all the coins. The time it took to complete a level is displayed right after, maybe speed runners would enjoy that bit.
One hit is all it takes to kick the bucket, so the quick restarts are helpful. It doesn’t take away from the frustration of loss but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Boss battles are all about memorising their moves and trying to control your character. I’m not a fan of how your half dedicated jump effect kicks in if you’re bounced by the boss. This is in reference to the first boss, the fight is pretty unforgiving. On the brighter side, each successful “hit” to the boss is saved and each death will restart after that damage has been dealt. The timer stopped at twenty-eight minutes when I defeated Rose.
Once I made my way to the suit store, I purchased the Dragon Ball Z set for my characters which included Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, and Master Roshi. That happened after I did a mini race level underwater, which was an odd mini-game.
The visual style is what initially interested me but the gameplay was okay at best. It didn’t bring me back wanting to play. Quick restarts may be the best part of Unit 4, I didn’t really enjoy anything else. Maybe the Dragon Ball Z reference. That may be the reason the game started at 60% off.
Beard Score: 3/10
Nintendo Switch Essentials:
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Price: $14.99 / £13.49 (on sale up to 60% off)
Release Date: 15/03/2019
No. of Players: 1-4
Category: Platformer, Adventure, Multiplayer, Party
Developer: Gamera Interactive
Download link: eShop