Switch or Die Trying Review

I’m a pretty calm character on the whole.  I’ve never, in 25 years of gaming, smashed a controller in temper for example.  In Switch or Die Trying, that patience is tested right to the limit.  You know that feeling of frustration when you fail over and over and over and you can almost feel the blood in your body rising and boiling?  Be prepared for a lot of that.

But, I’ve jumped ahead.  Switch or Die Trying is a no nonsense, straight-talking, hardcore platformer.  Basically, but sharply, animated, you play as the letter I.  Either in it’s capital or lower case form.  Controls are mapped to a handful of buttons and you’ll be immediately familiar with concepts like wall jumping.  Later levels add a projectile which must be aimed a specific object in order to progress.

What it lacks in complexity, it more than makes up for in precision required.  This is a game aimed at the most dedicated hardcore audience.  The developers tell you up front to expect death to come frequently and don’t expect to be disappointed in that regard.  Each level has three stars to collect on completion.  One simply for surviving, the second for beating par time and the final one for collecting each level’s ink drop.  I would suggest that if you manage to get just one out of the three, you shouldn’t be unhappy with your performance.  Clearly wary of the monster they were creating, in terms of difficulty, Threye Interactive allow players to move onto the next set of levels having only completed 10 out of the previous 15 stages.  It’s the one concession made to the “average gamer” and sensible in my view.  Several times, I had to move on to later stages, returning later to try my hand at earlier failures with a more complete skill set – and a calmer mind!

Levels are short, but I still wouldn’t have minded the introduction of the odd mid stage check point, as death bottle necks are a frequent bug bear, even in the early levels.

All of this said, Switch’s controls are tight, and rules it sets for itself immovable.  If (and when) you die, you only have yourself to blame.  Loading times for restarts are instantaneous, which is both a blessing a curse when it comes to Switch.  The number of deaths mean you definitely don’t want to be staring at a loading screen to restart every time.  By the same token, when frustration at dying for the 30th time on the same level (not exaggerating) sets in, a few seconds to compose yourself would be a welcome respite.

For the number of levels, there are a decent number of tracks to accompany the action and the little screams your letter I emits following each death are cute (for a time.)  Once again though, when you’re playing a stage for the umpteenth repeat, do expect the music to grate after a time.

As a little aside, if you really want to feel inferior, Google (other search providers are available) a walkthrough for this on YouTube.  How people complete some of the later levels first time, even with practice is just astounding.

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