There is an old saying “good things come in small packages”
And that’s not just good for managing expectations when out on a date, it also a great notion to consider when you are looking for your next game to play. Often the biggest and most expensive entry on the eShop might not provide what you are looking for, so here is a bite-sized piece of action guaranteed to keep the arcade action fans among you satisfied for hours, we are of course talking about, WRITHE!
This stylish retro-themed FPS was developed by a team of two and is sets in an alternate seventies Thailand where you must defeat constant waves of alien worms. Think of it as Tremors on acid but minus the Bacon, let’s take a closer look!
The only good bug is a dead bug!
WRITHE could not have a simpler set up, you play as an exterminator who is called in to mop up the government’s mess as an experimental strain of worms has broken out and are causing chaos all across Bangkok. Armed with an assault rifle in your right hand and a shotgun in your left, you must survive against the onslaught of slimy penis monsters as long as you can. As you fight for your life the bugs will drop gems which you can collect and spend to unlock lore, which is a novel way of delivering the plot as shoehorning cutscenes into a groundhog day style shooter would have ruined the concept.
This formula also allows for people who aren’t interested in the story to just get on with the gameplay which is all about trying to survive as long as you can and get the highest score but it was nice to see some kind of plot added and to be honest, it’s pretty amusing. The gameplay is tough, and we mean, very tough. Those pesky worms will come slithering at you with no mercy and although most of them go down fairly easily, they have strength in numbers. Occasionally they will drop green cocoons which you can destroy to gain health to keep you in the fight but you won’t be able to stand around and make informed decisions, if you want to survive you must keep moving and just react on the fly.
There are three gameplay areas to choose from, Rundown, Jungle and Factory but they don’t add a great deal of variety, mainly just basic aesthetic differences, we found we just stuck to playing on Jungle as for some reason it’s the only area we didn’t die quite so easily in, must be because we were channelling some inner Arnie. Don’t let the lack of level choice dismay you too much though as the developers have already stated they are working on some quality of life updates including DLC at no extra cost, so expect some new maps and maybe even new modes to be added down the line.
Busy little creatures
A strange blend of challenging simplicity may be the order of the day for WRITHE but there is a fair chunk of additional content and options available to tailor the experience more to your liking. We mentioned the unlockable lore but there is also a museum you can visit to view the various enemies, weapons and arenas. There are also so funky gameplay options available from being able to change the graphic style between Modern, CRT and Retro to switching between a Quality mode which grants a smooth 30fps to Performance mode which brings the gameplay up to 60fps and for those truly hardcore among you, Gyro aiming is also featured.
WRITHE may be a basic concept but is one that has been executed really well with retro fans in mind. If it was available in the arcades back in the good old days, we would have all been skint on the first day of our holidays. There are no two ways about it though, the challenge and repetition will be jarring and offputting for some but for those who love chasing high scores, you will become hooked in no time and lasting just a few extra seconds each session is a relatable and rewarding achievement.
For anyone looking for some pick-up and play, fast-paced action to enjoy either in short bursts or lengthy addictive session, look no further. WRITHE brings the goods for a generous price and we look forward to seeing what the developers have in store for us with future DLC and updates. Though the repetitive, one more try, coin ’em up action won’t be for everyone, arcade fans are going to love it!
Review code provided
Release Date: 15/01/2021
No. of Players: 1
Category: Arcade, Action, Shooter
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop