[Review] 140 – Nintendo Switch

Written by Mel Curtis
Editors Note- Purchase either THOTH or 140 and you’ll get the other game FREE*
*Available for Two Weeks after Launch
  • Devleoper: Carlsen Games
  • Publisher: Carlsen Games
  • Release date: 09/01/2020
  • Price: £4.49 / $4.99
  • Review code provided by Carlsen Games

Intro

I’ve always been a fan of platforming games, even if I did not actually play a lot of the ones that are considered the greats while I was growing up. Still, I find a simple satisfaction in getting to a place that a game tells me to go and playing with the mechanics that these sorts of games can bring to the table. They’re not my favorite genre, but there is a reason that I tend to pick up ones that look interesting to me. 140 caught my eye in that same way that so many before had and I eagerly dove in for a look around at what this one had to offer.

1, 2, 3, 4

I’m not one to advocate for playing in one particular style over another on the Switch. Everyone should be playing in the way that is the most comfortable for them, after all, but in the case of 140, I am going to have to give a strong recommendation to play this game in handheld or tabletop mode so you can wear headphones. The music of this game is so integral to playing as platforms move and vanish and swap in time with the beat and with sounds of their own. Not to mention the hypnotic and trace-inducing style of it is sure to get you more into the grove than just staring at the screen will. Playing the game while docked does work just fine, but headphones just bring another layer to the music, which I found made the game easier to keep time with while they were on.

The music on it’s own is an absolute bop, despite being music that I wouldn’t normally listen to on its own. If you are a fan of lo-fi hip hop streams, I could see you getting really into this. The best part is that the sound of your death does not interrupt the music and is just a sort of beat of it’s own. The most energetic and engaging that the music gets has to be in the “boss battles”, though as it changes things up a little and pumps things a little faster in order to get your heart racing.

Taking form

Game play itself is fairly simple and straightforward. You are a block that turns into a circle when you move and a triangle when you jump. Progress forward by getting the little circular objects that act as keys to change the color palette or getting to the next place you need to go. It’s straightforward in the best way, with the music building over the course of a level with your progression, giving a real feel for how you are moving forward. At the end of each area, you’ll get what could only be called a boss battle. These take a lot of different forms and change up the game play from the jumping that you have been doing up to this point, giving a break from it, even if that does mean you will need a second to figure out what exactly you’re doing.

The mechanics that change how things happen in the world build on themselves in a natural progression, even if when you first encounter them it may take you just a little while to get a feel before they expand. Thankfully, each one is introduced to you in a controlled environment where you can collect your bearings before the game makes them more complicated. Checkpoints before difficult spots abound so there’s no shame in dying as you’re at another attempt in mere seconds. I, for instance, took a little while at the beginning of the game to get a feel for how the jump arc of my little square was, as the jump is weightier than I initially expected. But, by the end of the game, I felt like I was a master of moving through the musically shifting technicolor world, even if I scraped through by the skin of my teeth multiple times.

Sights and sounds

There’s not any sort of a story to the game really, unless it’s so esoteric that it entirely flew over my head. This is a game that is here for the game play and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s presenting an experience rather than a story and we always need games like that. What might bother some is how the game is very short. It can be completed easily in a single sitting. I, myself, took less than two hours to finish it up. It’s not exactly pricey, though, and has plenty of replay value in trying to see how much better you can do on your next run around. It might not be long, but every moment of that length is solid.

I know this game might not be for everyone, though. If you don’t have a sense of rhythm, this game is likely going to be much harder on you than others since 140 is entirely choreographed to the beat like a digital dance. It’s not easy in the first place anyway. I died plenty of times when I didn’t pick up on a mechanic right away or jumped just a second too early. The challenge was never frustrating for me, but I can see how it might be for some players, particularly a younger child. I’d also like to caution anyone that has sensitivities to flashing lights. I know this is a caution with a lot of games but there is some flashing of black and white when you die. It’s not lengthy by any means, but those who are limited might want to check in and before diving in headfirst.

Once more, with feeling!

By the time you read this, I’ll likely already be playing again and bopping along to the beat of 140. While it’s not my favorite platformer on the switch, the short playtime leaves me free to pick it up for a while when the mood strikes me. One of those moods has come as I finish writing this up.

Pros

  • The soundtrack SLAPS!
  • Mechanics are introduced organically without unnecessary explanation.
  • Game play and mechanics are varied and interesting.

Cons

  • Rather short experience
  • Might not be good for those who have trouble keeping rhythm.

Verdict
This game bops towards the top of pick-up-and-play platformers on the Switch.
4.5/5

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