Switch version tested
Review code provided
Testing, Testing, 1-2-3… it seems we have an issue, please Standby. Well, that’s what Noclip and HyperTrain Digital want us to believe with their latest title to hit the Nintendo Switch eShop. Standby is a pick-up and play action platformer that will appeal to all but take a certain je ne sais quoi to master. Let us begin!
Technique is the order of the day as you take control in this super slick and unforgiving rollercoaster ride of repeat levels, item collection and speedrunning. Everything about this game screams style, right from the opening cutscene which is ripped straight out of the golden era of visual style. Minimal animation from a 16-bit pixel heaven that is both simplistic and beautiful as we watch our protagonist head towards the danger zone. This is backed up with a thumping electronic soundtrack that even the Duffer Brothers would be proud of including in the next season of Stranger Things.
Once this visual treat is done and dusted it’s straight into the action. Standby is split into six unique worlds each containing a number of sub-levels, bringing the total to a more than fifty. Gameplay is constant throughout, with the initial few stages acting as an in-game tutorial. Press the A button to jump, reach the goal and the level is complete. Press the B button to slide and the next level is complete, this method of introducing the core mechanics works well, especially when you need to master these in order to truly beat the game.
Each level is cleared by hitting the finish area, how you do this is pretty liner but its the journey and pinpoint accuracy that will keep you spamming the restart button. For the most part, the end goal is easy to find but the drive to collect all of the orbs and in the allotted time will force anyone with even the slightest OCD to rethink. As you progress new moves are introduced adding to the complexity of finishing a run but the aim is the same.
Visually the game falls into the simple yet stylish category, it does the job in being stunningly clean and well designed. There are no noticeable performance issues and everything feels solid without ever being mindblowing. Standby shares a number of common traits to the likes of fan favourite OlliOlli, from Roll7, and it’s excellent sequel. There is a heavy emphasis on linking together every single button press with inhuman accuracy to keep that flow going. Slide, shoot and combo to make the most of each area. Upon completing each level you are presented with a short summary of how many orbs you have collected and the overall time taken. This is where the real fun comes into play, complete rinse and repeat to shave off those vital last few milliseconds.
The real star of the show is the soundtrack, it works in harmony with the gameplay and keeps the adrenaline pumping around the old figure. Of course, if you are not a massive fan of EDM then this might not appeal in the same way but it is part and parcel of the Standby vision and fits perfectly.
Standby is punchy, fun in short bursts and has a difficulty spike that will have even the hairiest gamer well, pulling their hair out. Spot on controls and no performance issues go a long way to making this an enjoyable experience. The soundtrack is the highlight of the game with some pumping tunes that embellish the frantic gameplay. If you are a fan of collecting and speedruns then don’t just Standby and let this game pass you by.
TBG Score: 7/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 01/08/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Platformer, Arcade
Publisher: HyperTrain Digital
Download link: eShop