Switch version tested
Review code provided
Brutal. That’s the quick review of Arcade Fuzz, available now on the Nintendo Switch. The following words of ‘wisdom’ will mostly be my rhetoric of how hard the game is and/or how bad I am at it. Still, the soundtrack is awesome and gets a sticker.
Arcade Fuzz couldn’t be anymore arcade if it tried. What I mean by that is the relentless difficulty and instant gameplay. There’s no convoluted story to tell or an arduous in-game menu system to work out. Arcade Fuzz is bona fide pick-up and play, and play, play again. That’s right, not only will you die a lot, but it’s addictive too.
The goal is simple: survival. You play an eyeball in a suit (right), and hover in space, avoiding all forms of obstacles in the process. If you touch anything, you die and start again. There aren’t any special moves like dashes or lasers to cheat your way through; instead, you take control of your character using either the left analogue stick or the d-pad. While the stick feels much more comfortable to use, the d-pad is a whole lot more precise but doesn’t feel as natural. Throughout my multiple playthroughs, I alternated between the two as neither of them gave me the confidence that I would go far.
A note on playthrough – I mean playing the game. Also, Arcade Fuzz is made up of two games: TTV3 and Warpzone Drifter – TTV3 is the eyeball in a suit game. At the time of writing this, I haven’t been able to get the elusive 100% required to complete all the screens in the game. Not even close. Though I don’t have a reputation to uphold, I’m not proud enough to display my scores. Let’s say that I’d be sitting on the sidelines in the school discos of arcade gaming experience. Arcade Fuzz really is brutal.
In some ways, Arcade Fuzz epitomises the term ‘glutton for punishment’. Each time I pick this up, I die shortly afterwards, but there’s this naivety that I might get somewhere on the next attempt. Sometimes I do, but usually, my score is so embarrassing that if someone clocked the statistic screen that greets you between plays, I’d quickly hand the controls to the dog and say “she did it”. So what’s so hard about the game I assume you ask?
It’s the fluidity of the levels. While Arcade Fuzz doesn’t have procedurally generated scenes as there’s definitely a pattern, it does feel random most of the time as it’s just so quick – a blink and you miss it situation. The obstacles on-screen vary from giant cogs to what can only be described as ‘bush’ and perhaps the ‘fuzz’ in Arcade Fuzz. I could drop the tone at this point, but if you’re as childlike as I am, you were already there. These landscapes you manoeuvre around don’t have a set routine, well, maybe they do, but you never see a full cycle as you have to navigate between any available gaps. Perhaps a little too cruel from QUByte Interactive as you see a clearing, dash in that direction only for a new hazard appear, resetting your run.
Deaths are quick as there’s no fuss made. You don’t explode in a ball of flame or see guts splatter up the screen. Instead, you clip an object, boom: the title screen. It’s that swift and the reason why you press the A button again. That’s not your only option though as press the B button and you shift to the second game, Warpzone Drifter. Of the two games, I liked this the least, mostly because of the controls. While TTV3 was brutally hard, the onus was on me as the controls were clear, uncomplicated and responded the moment the thought came to my head. The same can’t be said about Warpzone Drifter.
Without any tutorials, button configurations or hints, you get launched onto the screen as a supercar fixed in a permanent drift, going way too fast to make any fine adjustments. For the first few plays or so, I had no idea what to do and gave up on two occasions. After clearing my head, i.e. dying 30 or 40 times in TTV3, I went back to Warpzone Drifter afresh and started to get the hang of it. The car never stops so you have to position it in a way that you don’t venture off the screen. In this case, the objective is to light up these circles on-screen, but stray off the screen too far, and it’s game over.
As the graphics are so small, you can’t make out the front of the car so have to rely on the tracer effect that follows you as you move. After getting the hang of it, the next levels introduced further hazards and just felt forever impossible to complete. Taking that sentiment into account, while it feels impossible, you never seem to give up hope. Sure, both games are relentless – maybe TTV3 more, but despite that, there’s an element that lures (or tricks) you into playing for a further attempt, repeatedly dying thinking that you have it this time, then end up crashing into the scenery.
Arcade Fuzz doesn’t offer anything other than this flurry of difficulty so whether you stick with it depends on your patience levels or whether you’re able to fluke it and do well from the start. If you can do the latter, I take my invisible hat off. For me, it will be a repeat play (x100) here and there, but it’s more of a quickfire game to see if you can get any better with each play.
TBG Score: 6/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 25/02/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Action, Arcade, Puzzle, Strategy
Developer: Walter Machado
Publisher: QUByte Interactive
Download link: eShop