Do you want to play a game that has a deep and enriching story? Do you want a fun multiplayer that you can spend hours within? Do you like cuboids? If you answered “YES!” to any of those questions, then Zarvot is the game for you!
Developed by Snowhydra for the Nintendo Switch, Zarvot is “A Game About Cubes” which takes everything you imagine a world inhabited by cuboids would be like and spins it on its head.
The story mode in Zarvot is a real treat which you won’t see coming. Our protagonist is a small blue cube, known as Charcoal. The beginning of the game sees you and your friend, the yellow block aptly named Mustard, trying to come up with the perfect birthday present for your friend whose name is named Red (bet you can guess what colour that guy is?!). There are twelve chapters in the story mode, each taking around fifteen to twenty minutes to complete. The story takes place in a world which seems very human, outside of the fact that people are cuboids and not flesh and blood.
Battling enemies in Zarvot is how you make progress throughout the levels. As you move further into the levels, a wall will suddenly pop up on the field and the only way to continue on in your journey is to defeat all the enemies, a bit like old-school side-scrolling beat-em-ups. There’s a percentage meter which is always present at the bottom of the screen, so you’ll never have to guess how many more enemies you need to take down. At the end of each battle, your health will automatically be restored in order to help you with your next encounter. Although, if you’re defeated during battle don’t worry, you’ll just respawn at the last battle you were in – the game is very forgiving and family friendly.
Battling consists of a standard laser you can shoot as well as a charged laser shot which has a wider beam and does more damage. You can also do a spinning attack for those pesky cuboids which get to close and invade your personal space! In order to defend yourself, you have access to a double jump, which will help you get away from the evil cuboids, as well as a dodge which is very handy and I took advantage of, a lot. However, the best defence you have is a temporary wall which you can put up so that enemies cannot get any closer – yet, you can still shoot through it. This will especially come in handy later on as the screen becomes overly populated with cuboids who have a thirst for your destruction.
As you progress further into Zarvot, you’ll get a Chomp ability which is clearly the best ability within the game as every enemy you bite will give you back a bar of health – you’ll feel like Dra-cube-la.
The game’s atmosphere is very nicely done! The music is fantastic in any given circumstance and the level design never feels like they are just re-skinning previous levels either. Your adventures will take you from environments such as a park to a deep freezer and other wacky places. Speaking of wacky – the humour within the game is top notch and I encountered many ‘laugh out loud’ moments. The back and forth banter between Charcoal and Mustard was consistently making me snicker – btw, I’m a grown man so I can imagine younger people will love it just as much, if not more.
The Arcade mode is very exciting and challenging as it tests your survival skills by placing you up against five waves of increasingly difficult enemies. There are nine different levels within this mode, each one is unlocked as you progress further into the main game. I really enjoy it when games offer progression based rewards which you can use to prolong another experience as it adds motivation and reason to getting further within the main story – not that you’ll need motivation as it’s already quite addictive.
The Multiplayer mode offers nothing different, as far as the core gameplay mechanics are concerned. You and up to three friends go up against each other within six different types of game-modes over twelve different maps. The rules are simple – you each have four hit points which you clearly don’t want to lose. However, once you do run out of hit points, you’re out of the match – unless you are playing the Death Match mode, which gives you ten hit points. I strongly recommend you try out the Joy-Vot mode if you have someone else with you though as this mode allows one player to spawn in enemies whilst you and your buddies try and take them all down – this is lots of fun and a great local multiplayer option.
Every attack from the main game is present, so the more you’ve played the main game, the better you’ll be at the MP mode, although it’s not hard to pick up quickly. The biggest decision you’ll have in this mode is do you utilise the standard laser attack or charge it up for a bigger beam? Or, do you sacrifice long distance warfare for the up-close spinning attack? There are multiple options at your disposal which can lead to lots of multiplayer fun!
Zarvot is a great combination of addictive gameplay, beautiful visuals and frantic action – it’s so much fun! Bar a few issues I had with the visual quality of the menus, everything looks gorgeous and so realistic – well, as realistic as a cuboid world could be! It’s a relaxing and playful game to wind down with after a hard days work, yet also a very challenging and competitive game within its Arcade and Multiplayer modes. From the surprisingly great story to the fun multiplayer, this is a game which you’ll want to come back to again and again.