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[Review] RIOT: Civil Unrest – Nintendo Switch

Reviewed by @Brett_SevenDaze

  • Developer:  Leonard Menchiari, IV Productions
  • Publisher:  Merge Games
  • Release Date: 07/02/2019
  • Price: £14.99 / $16.99
  • Review code provided by Merge Games

Intro

Riot: Civil Unrest is an unique strategic game based on real events with the genre being dubbed as a real-time riot simulator. Each campaign will take you to different cities around the world where you will experience the turbulent turmoil on the go or from the comfort of your own home, whether you play as a Rebel and stand up for what you believe in or try to keep the peace by controlling the local police force.

The creator of the game Leonard Menchiari witnessed the riots of NoTAV in Italy first hand making Riot: Civil Unrest a somewhat interactive biographical experience.

Anarchy in the pixel world

The story mode is made up of 4 areas from around the world – Italy, Greece, Spain and Egypt. Each level will have you completing various objectives from keeping the rebels in an area for a set amount of time or destroying items, again in a certain amount of time. The levels have just one area to explore with a 3D backdrop of a landmark with the sprites being in 2D. The combination works well together creating that retro feel but with pretty impressive results, especially the cut scenes.

The story mode has three difficulty settings; too easy, challenging and lawless. When playing on ‘too easy’ the AI of the opposition seem to be unresponsive resulting in a guaranteed victory. Also the game play can be quite messy at times causing very frustrating moments. An example of this is when the objective is to destroy certain items. One of the levels is to control and send 4 groups of police officers to knock down the tents of the rebels. Actually getting the officers to interact with the object was hit and miss considering the group should automatically start attacking when moved over to the area.

Global Mode

Global is made up of 17 campaigns set in different locations. This mode has it’s own difficulty rating which seems to be completely dependent on the actions and outcome of the previous level. If you have a victory but start attacking from the get go you will not get the following of the public, meaning you will lose people, making the groups smaller and the game impossible to progress. The intro text of the game urges you to go back to previous levels to try different strategies and use unlocked items to maximise global public opinion and then making the campaign easier to beat.

Global is first on the menu list so most people will naturally play this mode straight away which might put players off the game due to the lack of tutorial. I found this caused confusion fumbling through levels not knowing how I won and pressing random buttons. I would recommend playing through the story first.

Conclusion

Riot: Civil Unrest has the potential to be a great game but unfortunately falls short due to awkward controls, clumsy game play and a confusing in game menu. The audio is simplistic but does the job perfectly in building an atmosphere of what a real riot would sound like with the chanting and the cacophony of passionate protesters. The pixelated visuals and a mixture of 2D and 3D is an interesting approach and works really well together but can leave you feeling slightly nauseous sometimes when watching cut-scenes, despite their impressive artistic direction. I do like the loading screen which has quotes from inspirational speeches.

You can definitely see the hard work that has gone into making this game and the affection Leonard has towards riots and protests. It has certainly opened my eyes and has left me wanting to learn more, which I guess is job done for IV Productions…. but from an entertainment point of view it left me bored and confused.

Pros

•Visuals and sounds are impressive
•Based on true events
•Plenty of replay action

Cons

•Controls need refining
•Game play is frustrating and clumsy
•AI can be unresponsive
•Screen can become crowded and impossible to follow at times

Verdict
A great concept with a unique story to tell but poorly executed, hopefully it can be improved with future updates
2.5/5

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